The City Mission movement started in Glasgow in January 1826 when David Nasmith founded the Glasgow City Mission (Scotland). It was an interdenominational agency working alongside churches and other Christian agencies to provide for the spiritual and material welfare of those in need.
Agencies in the movement are variously called "City" or "Gospel" or "Rescue" Missions.
Nasmith visited the United States and Canada in 1830, setting up 31 missions supported by various benevolent institutions. He founded missions in France, as well as the London City Mission, the London Female Mission, the Dublin Christian Mission, and a number of other ministries.
Subsequent conferences were held in:
- Birmingham, England, 1991 - this formed the City Mission World Association (CMWA)
- Washington DC, USA, 1994
- Helsinki, Finland, 1997
- Glasgow, Scotland, 2000
- Sydney, Australia, 2003
- Kansas City MO, USA, 2006
- Website of City Mission World Association, as of 2012, see link below.