Our Story and Beliefs
History of World Impact
World Impact was birthed out of the rubble of the 1965 Watts riots in Los Angeles when Keith Phillips made a deal with six boys who attended their initial Bible club. He promised to tell them about Jesus if they would tell him about life in the city.
The next week, when Keith returned to Watts, 25 young boys were waiting for Bible club! Within six weeks, 100 youngsters had joined the Bible club. Keith called a meeting and told the children that no one else could join until someone dropped out. He soon recognized the scope of this evangelistic opportunity and knew he needed help to take advantage of it.
Keith spoke at the chapel service at Biola University and told the story of his new friends in Watts. Three hundred Biola students responded to Keith's invitation to join him in the city. Soon, bus loads of college students were teaching Bible clubs in Watts and making friends with children who desperately needed to know they were loved by God.
In 1971, World Impact was birthed as an urban missions organization. Over forty years later, World Impact missionaries are still making friends in the city—sharing the love of Jesus as they go. How we love our neighbors has changed over the years. God guided us through four distinct seasons of ministry, each built on and complemented by the previous phase:
Beliefs to Guide Our Mission
World Impact has nine core beliefs, or affirmations of faith. These help guide the missions organization in church-planting movements and evangelizing the unchurched urban poor. World Impact uses their beliefs to honor and glorify God and to make His teachings known in the inner cities.