World Christian Foundations began on the campus of the USCWM in Pasadena, California in the early 1990s. At the time, Dr. Ralph Winter, the chief architect of WCF, said it was the biggest project he had ever undertaken because of the massive amount of material integrated into a chronological, inter-disciplinary framework.
For a few months every year from 1992-1995, a small cohort students assembled every morning to listen to guest lecturers ranging from Dudley Woodberry (Fuller) to Samuel Moffett (Princeton). Between the opening lecture at 5am and closing lecture at 7:15pm, the students completed their reading and coursework. During the remainder of the year, these lectures were transcribed, and the editorial team assembled the material for the following year.
The editorial team of professors designed World Christian Foundation to be an alternative seminary education for cross-cultural workers and indigenous leaders that: (1) Did not require students to re-locate, (2) Did not require leaders around the world to depend greatly on foreign money, and (3) Could be adopted by other educational institutions and agencies.
Since the early 1990s, WCF has been adopted by multiple educational institution and agencies. Also, in the late 1990s, the editors of WCF significantly reduced the reading load (which sometimes stretched to 1000 pages in one day) in order to make it more broadly accessible. Today, an editorial team continues to revise and tighten the scope and sequence of this unique, chronological, inter-disciplinary curriculum.