CSI History


It all began in 1992 when Bill Davis, a Baptist pastor in Indiana, retired and moved with his wife, Mary, back to Henrietta, Texas.  The vision for an international mission organization and the founding of CSI began when Brother Bill Davis accepted an invitation to go on a mission trip to Romania.  It was during this trip that God gave him a vision and dream that changed this retired pastor’s life.  It has been said that it was like a beautiful butterfly emerging from a cocoon.   Shortly after the first Romanian Mission trip, Church Starts International was founded.  It was formed strictly as a volunteer organization.  The first emphasis of this new international mission organization was to identify churchless communities in Romania, lead Romanian Baptist churches to name and train church starters, have US Baptist churches form volunteer mission teams, and send the teams to the targeted communities to take God’s Word to adults and children.  From the beginning God blessed Brother Bill and the new international mission organization commonly referred to as CSI.

CSI’s role was to match a team with a community and to coordinate travel, lodging, food, and language interpreters.  CSI, with the help of the mission team assigned to a village or town, worked with local Romanian Christian leaders to start a church.  According to those continuing to work in Romania today, more than 100 new Romanian Baptist churches have been started under the inspiration of CSI leadership.

US Mission teams continued to go to disciple and reach the lost. This movement continues, year after year, under CSI leadership.

Over the years, God has opened up other countries to CSI’s mission and plan for church starting and the use of CSI materials that support church starting in such countries as Honduras, Moldova, Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Namibia, Vietnam, Malaysia, USA, Canada, Australia, and Russia.

The CSI leadership was expanded by the addition of Dr. Ted Lindwall as Vice President.  Dr. Lindwall was an IMB missionary to Guatemala and bringing to CSI a very valuable writing expertise, as well as a highly experienced international mission strategist.  He is now retired from IMB and is a significant factor in the leadership at CSI.

With God’s call and Dr. Lindwall’s help, CSI designed a plan for writing and publishing materials to be used in church starting and leading the lost to Christ and helping new Christians grow in Christ.  The number of the publications continues to increase.  CSI now has more than 40 such publications in 10 languages thus far.  During the past 5 years, CSI has developed Church Starting Strategies that support its efforts to meet its goals and to experience its vision, for example, such strategies as “Full Circle Discipleship” and “Starting or Strengthening Churches by Clusters.” CSI has created models for church starting to help multiply churches and reach the lost.  You will learn about the models from information on our website.  CSI has developed video media that supports use of its materials and implementation of the strategies.

CSI has formed partnerships with missionaries of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, US Southern Baptist Churches, and national Baptist churches in many countries.
From the beginning, the nature of the CSI ministry has expanded, but it is always focused on the disciple-making command of Christ.