United Methodists Launch New Missionary Recruitment Drive

|TOP|The United Methodist Church launched an effort this week to recruit new long-term missionaries during a meeting of its international mission agency.

The effort, "The Next Missionary May be YOU," is looking to recruit at least 20 new international missionaries over two years, the United Methodist News Service reported after the conclusion of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries’ Apr. 3-6 spring meeting.

"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 board's mission personnel unit, according to UMNS.

"We need missionary pastors, educators, health and social workers, children and youth workers, administrators, and specialists in rural and construction ministries."

|AD|The Rev. R. Randy Day, chief executive of the Board of Global Ministries, noted that 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, he added, have filled emergency needs.

"We are extremely pleased to be able to again actively recruit missionaries for international service," the mission leader said, according to UMNS.

The General Board of Global Ministries reported that the agency currently provides full support for 229 missionaries and 179 in international services. Partial support is provided to another 120 people. These include church and community workers, Hispanic/Latino Plan missionaries, Alaska missionaries, and short-term young adult missionaries.

Another 100 people are non-commissioned mission personnel, and the board helps to support 293 people in mission selected by partner churches around the world. There are 136 deaconesses and home missioners who are commissioned by the board but find their own places of service.

In a GBGM press release, Day also reported that the mission agency is 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 Congo, Liberia, Senegal, and Zimbabwe.
• Asia—Cambodia, Mongolia, and Thailand.
• Europe—Germany and Lithuania
• Latin America—Argentina, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Venezuela
• Israel/Palestine

Joseph Alvarez
Christian Today Correspondent