Since 1916, Crown College has served as a training ground for students to serve God with their time, talents and intellect. But how did Crown get started? And what is the college’s foundation?
Glad you asked!
Crown College (called the Alliance Training Home in the early years) is associated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance. The College began with one young man who journeyed from Illinois to Minnesota with a desire to be taught the Bible. Rev. J.D. Williams, a devoted follower of Jesus Christ and a leader in the C&MA, was living in St. Paul in 1916 and took this young man into his home to teach him the Word of God. Rev. Williams began training many more young people using the Bible as his only textbook. As the superintendent of the Northwestern District of the C&MA as well as the founder and president of the newly formed college Rev. Williams was a busy man. The tradition of being both District superintendent and college president continued for the first several decades. Crown College has grown considerably since then and uses many more textbooks, but the Bible remains at the core of what we believe and teach.
But what is the Christian and Missionary Alliance? Glad you asked!
The C&MA began in 1887 and grew out of the vision of Rev. A.B. Simpson, who was a Presbyterian pastor. Throughout his journey, Simpson came to proclaim Christ as not only his Savior, but also his Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King which he expressed through personal and dramatic spiritual encounters. The C&MA began as a missionary society not a denomination. Early Alliance congregations were known as “branches” and came from several major denominations at that time.
After Simpson’s death in 1919, Dr. Paul Rader, a dynamic evangelist and pastor, was chosen to lead the C&MA. It was at this time that C&MA tabernacles (churches) sprung up in many U.S. cities and in Canada. The Great Depression and World War II had some impact on C&MA, but it did not deter its expansion to spread the Good News to new mission fields around the world. In fact, these challenges actually brought a healthy spirit of sacrificial giving and solid community. Many churches gave as much to missionary efforts around the world as they did to their local congregational expenses. It truly was an inspiring time.
After the battles of World War II, people began moving to more urban populations, and the C&MA continued to move forward. Tabernacles were exchange for traditional church buildings and many C&MA churches moved to the suburbs. In 1974 the C&MA officially declared itself to be a denomination, along with a sweeping restructuring of the organization. During this time, Dr. A.W. Tozer and Dr. Louis L. King greatly influenced The Alliance. Dr. King as head of the missionary effort began to implement the indigenous church policy—envisioning each national church of the C&MA as self-supporting, self-propagating, and self-governing entity.
Today the C&MA in the U.S. and Canada is becoming increasingly multicultural with immigrants form many countries around the world, but specifically refugees from Southeast Asia, which began in the mid-1970s. As ethnic churches were planted, the awareness of a need for mission-sending congregations was never higher. The Alliance is answering the call to go and make disciples. A deeply rooted desire that has permeated the C&MA since its founding in 1887.
It was on this foundation that Crown College built its mission to train Christian leaders to serve an influence the world.