United Methodist Mission Agency Issues Call for New Missionaries

April 05, 2006

Stamford, CT, April 3, 2006—The United Methodist Church needs at least 20 new international missionaries over two years.

A recruitment effort—“The Next Missionary May be YOU”—was launched here at the semi-annual meeting of the directors of the General Board of Global Ministries.

“We are extremely pleased to be able to again actively recruit missionaries for international service,” said the Rev. R. Randy Day, chief executive of the international mission agency.

Dramatic revenue shortfalls, primarily from a sharp drop in investment income, resulted in a moratorium on new missionary recruitment and assignment in 2002. International missionaries placed over the last three years have filled emergency needs, Rev. Day noted.

“We are looking for missionaries in 2006 and 2007 for service in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Israel/Palestine,” said the Rev. Edith Gleaves, who heads the Mission Personnel unit of the board. “We need missionary pastors, educators, health and social workers, children and youth workers, administrators, and specialists in rural and construction ministries.”

A typical missionary term is three years in length and provides health benefits and educational provisions for dependent children.

The board currently provides full support for 229 missionaries; 179 in international services and 50 in the United States. Partial support is provided to another 120 persons, mostly in the US. These include Church and Community Workers, Hispanic/Latino Plan missionaries, Alaska missionaries, and short-term young adult missionaries.  These persons are "commissioned" personnel. “To commission” means to send forth for special service.

Another 100 persons are “non-commissioned” mission personnel, and the agency helps to support 293 persons in mission selected by partner churches around the world.  There are 119 deaconesses and home missioners who are commissioned by the board but find their own places of service.

“All United Methodist missionaries must, first of all, have a strong faith in Jesus Christ,” Gleaves said. “They must love the church and feel called to work hard—very hard—in spreading the Gospel and in serving other people in ways spiritual and material. Our missionary roster is truly international in terms of race, ethnicity, culture, and nation of origin.”

Educational standards appropriate to the type of service are also required. Bi-lingual skills are necessary in some assignments. All missionaries are expected to actively cultivate prayer, financial, and volunteer support for their missions in ways outlined and approved by the General Board of Global Ministries.

Day said that the mission agency is also looking for congregations to enter into “covenant relationships” of support and solidarity with new and current missionaries. Possible countries of assignment in 2006 and 2007 include:

  • Africa—Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Senegal, and Zimbabwe.
  • Asia—Cambodia, Mongolia, and Thailand.
  • Europe—Germany and Lithuania
  • Latin America—Argentina, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Venezuela
  • Israel/Palestine

The requirements for missionary service in The United Methodist Church can be found online at http://gbgm-umc.org/who_we_are/mp/documents.cfm <http://gbgm-umc.org/who_we_are/mp/documents.cfm> .       

Interested persons should contact the mission personnel unit of the Global Ministries board at 475 Riverside Drive, 3rd Floor, or by telephone at (212) 870-3660, or email to awilson@gbgm-umc.org.

A recruitment flyer suitable for posting on church bulletin boards can be downloaded online: http://gbgm-umc.org/who_we_are/mp/docs/missionaryflyer.pdf.

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