Thirty years ago a group of dedicated Christians covenanted together in the formation of the National Association of Evangelicals. With spiritual rather than material objectives in view, they recognized at the outset that their potential strength lay neither in their determination nor in their good will. If their movement was to bear fruit it would be only as the Holy Spirit of God brought it about.

Thirty years later, on the anniversary of this significant milestone in the progress of the evangelical witness in our day, we rejoice in that solid record of achievements throughout these years, confessing that it has been “not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” as the Lord promised.

From a handful of dedicated men, the National Association of Evangelicals has grown to a membership of some 3 million and a service constituency of over 10 million.

From a beginning of some 12 member organizations at the time of its formation in 1946, the Evangelical Foreign Missions Association has grown to some 64 member bodies and a missionary force of more than 7,500.

The Chaplain’s Commission, organized in 1944, today represents some 129 chaplains from 19 denominations.

National Religious Broadcasters today covers 75 per cent of all religious broadcasting, with 443 active members, 262 program producers, 153 Christian station owners and operators.

The National Association of Christian Schools has grown from an original 8 schools in 1946 to a total of 370 schools in 42 states and 35 foreign countries.

Organized in 1944, the National Sunday School Association today represents over 30 million Christians in 50 states and other countries.

For these and other achievements and the continuing unanimity under the same statement of faith which originally formed and has continued to be the basis of cooperation without compromise among us, we give thanks to God the Holy Spirit.

By that self-same Spirit we have sought to proclaim the Gospel and advance the kingdom of God at home and overseas; and not only in relations among ourselves but also in relations between state and Church; and in service to mankind.

Through the World Relief Commission, millions of persons have been aided around the world with food for the body accompanied by food for the soul, in programs of both relief and rehabilitation.

Today we see more clearly than once we did, that the power of the Gospel lies not in our denominational distinctives but in those Christian convictions that we hold in common. We declare that in our experiences together in the Gospel our personal faith has deepened and our denominational relationships have been enriched. By the distinctive contributions we have made to one another we have been enabled better to serve both God and our fellow men.

Nevertheless, we confess that we have not been fully open to the Spirit in our deliberations, nor fully yielded to Him in our endeavors. While much has been accomplished, much more remains to be done.

As we look back, therefore, with thanksgiving, we look forward with the prayer that He who began a good work in us will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

If it is true – and 30 years have proved it so – that our oneness is based on God’s infallible Word, the Bible, and on our commitment to Jesus Christ and His reign over us, it also is true that our service is a growing concept, responding to the changing needs of our world. New areas of need and of challenge continually present themselves to us.

Multitudes of evangelicals continue to live and worship and work in separated, parochial or lonely isolation from fellow believers with whom they might have fruitful fellowship in the bonds of Christ. Denominations, churches and individual Christians who might contribute to one another’s enrichment continue in ignorance of or in isolation from one another.

Lack of coordination and duplication of efforts deny the unity we profess in the Body of Christ. The multiplicity of agencies and operations in our administrative structures is wasteful of both manpower and money that could be used in evangelism and social service. The poverty of contacts and exchanges with one another diminishes the contributions that we could make to one another and through one another.

As we contemplate a revolutionary world plagued with seemingly insurmountable problems of unredeemed mankind as well as the parochial problems of the churches, we remember the words of the Lord Jesus: “Without Me, ye can do nothing.” But we also remember that in the same context He said, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

By the Spirit of God things can be achieved that are humanly impossible. In this time of great change, we will be sensitive to the human needs around us, while maintaining our commitment to the truth which gives meaning to life and hope of eternity. And we have the promise of Scripture that He is “able to do exceeding abundantly more than we ask or think, according to the Power that worketh in us.”

Therefore, in humble reliance upon divine grace and renewed commitment to the Lord of Glory, we pledge ourselves, not only to greater efforts but to greater united efforts in evangelism, in missions, in education, in political and social action, in the relief of human suffering, in Christian fellowship, until He comes.

We must demonstrate that we are good citizens, that we are valuable members who are willing to become involved in the problems people face. The media must discover that Christians have something to say, because they have something for which to live and die. Government must find in us people who can be trusted and who must be respected.

While guarding the balance and stability which come from experience, we must train our young people to be the leaders of tomorrow.

We must enlarge the scope of services offered to our denominations and churches, making available in greater abundance ideas, personnel, training and effective representation before federal and state governments.

By His Spirit, therefore, we pledge ourselves to maintain the unity we have based on God’s infallible Word, the Bible.

We will explore and implement the will of God for us in meeting real, hard human problems wherever they exist.

We will expand the services we have rendered to meet the growing needs of church and community in our day.

And we will do this by His Spirit until the impact of a significant Christian voice is felt among all races and tongues and nations around the world.