- Corporate body
The International Missionary Alliance was founded in 1887 by Rev. Albert Benjamin Simpson, as the Evangelical Missionary Alliance, its major object being "to carry the Gospel 'to all nations', with special reference to the need of the destitute and unoccupied fields," seeking "to unite all Christians of evangelical denominations in its work." The EMA was governed by a board of managers, which was comprised of a president, seven vice-presidents, four other executive officers and 22 members-at-large from seven states. The Board was responsible to appoint foreign missionaries and to exercise general supervision over all the interests of the Alliance. A smaller executive committee, consisting of 13 officers, was charged with carrying out the Board's business between meetings. The organization’s name was changed to the IMA, coinciding with its incorporation in November 1887 (Alliance Yearbook 1888, p. 52-55).
The Christian Alliance was also founded in 1887 as a "fraternal union of believers in cordial harmony with evangelical Christians of every name." It was responsible to hold annual conventions and in conjunction with the districts, form local branches. These were seen as fellowships, not as churches, with the purpose of bearing testimony to the Four-fold Gospel, promoting diffusion of these truths, providing community for those who believe them, and praying for the evangelization of the world. The Christian Alliance was governed by an executive committee, consisting of a president, 29 vice-presidents, four other executive officers and 41 members-at-large (Alliance Yearbook 1888, p. 48-51).
On Mar 31, 1897, the two respective boards authorized the merger; it was made law on Apr 1, 1897 by a special act of the New York legislature and ratified by a special convention held Apr 14-18 at the Gospel Tabernacle in New York. The aims of the new organization combined those of the original bodies: (as stated by the Fraternal Letter that resulted from the 1898 annual convention) the C&MA was "to preach a full Gospel at home and send missionaries; to carry the same glad tidings to the unevangelized regions beyond; to preserve our non-sectarian and interdenominational attitude; to study to confine the [administrative] machinery to that which is necessary…." (Pardington, George P. Twenty-five Wonderful Years, p. 74, 75). The C&MA officially became a denomination in 1974.
The Board of Managers, elected by the annual General Council (the supreme governing body of the C&MA) provides general oversight and management and serves as the executive committee of General Council when General Council is not in session. The Board first met on Apr 17, 1897, with 18 members present. At this meeting it adopted a constitution and approved the sending of a number of missionaries. The Board of Managers currently consists of 28 members.