In the office of Rev. Alexander Lar, President of the Church of Christ in Nigeria, in a place of prominence, hangs a dusty, fading black and white photograph of a rather handsome, austere looking gentleman. It’s a classic, framed Georgian portrait; head and shoulders, of a man with well groomed, thick wavy hair, wearing a bow tie and jacket. He has a square jaw, penetrating eyes, and a faint hint of a smile.
Early last century, a young German doctor by the name of Karl Kumm, prompted by the Holy Spirit and filled with a passion to reach unreached people with the gospel, commenced a series of survey trips through the vast regions of north central Africa. His primary goal? To believe God for the establishment of an unending chain of churches across the continent, stemming the southward advance of Islam. In 1904, Dr. Kumm and three English nurses pioneered this fledgling new work. The Lord blessed the work, and in time, mobilisation bases for what became the Sudan United Mission were established around the world, including USA, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, Denmark, South Africa, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Today, the story of the church planting movements that have arisen out of the work of SUM could only be described as staggering in their scope and breadth. In spite of intense hardship and persecution, the gospel spread in remarkable ways. Today, over fifteen million men and women meet to worship the Saviour in churches spawned from the work of SUM. And the work continues.
In 2001, the Australian and New Zealand branches of SUM-Action Partners joined with Pioneers.