After some preliminary meetings, IAMS was inaugurated in Driebergen, The Netherlands, in 1972. Since then, every four years an international assembly has been held on the different continents. There are now more than 400 scholars who are members of IAMS as well as over 50 institutions that are corporate members.
Every four years, an Executive Committee is chosen by the members and is responsible for the development of the association and charged to organise the next quadrennial assembly. On this Committee, different regions of the world are represented. The Secretariat of the association is usually taken charge by one of the associated institutions. Currently the Secretariat is located at CMS in Oxford, United Kingdom.
The quadrennial assemblies are designed for intensive study and discussion of a particular missiological theme. They attract a large group of scholars that engage in plenary debates, focus groups, Bible study, exposure visits in the local context, etc. Thanks to the intervention of some missionary and other donor agencies, the representation at these assemblies are truly international and intercultural. The language used at these assemblies is English.