'We need missionaries'


The United Methodist Church is launching a long-term missionary recruitment campaign.

"We need missionaries," the Rev. R. Randy Day told directors of the General Board of Global Ministries at the opening of the mission agency's semi-annual meeting in Stamford, Conn., on April 23. Day is chief executive of the international mission and service agency.

The campaign theme is "The Face of Today's Missionary: Is It Yours?" Personnel are needed for work in evangelism, church development, education, medical care, agriculture, legal services, and financial administration. A majority, although not all, assignments are outside the United States.

"Our recruitment initiative is quite broad," Day said. "It covers regular, or 'standard support,' missionaries as well as persons in special categories, including short- term young adult service, Hispanic ministries, and our Church and Community Workers program. It also includes a new category, Global Health Missionaries, which is currently focused on sub-Saharan Africa."

Extensive information on the recruitment campaign can be found at www.ummissionaries.org.

Day indicated that there is no numerical goal for the campaign. "While we need new personnel in the immediate future, we are thinking long-range. We need to cultivate people with a mission call, to help young people make the educational choices that will equip them for mission, and to identify existing professionals who may want to use their talents and skills in missionary service."

Four years ago, financial shortfalls resulted in a slow down of new missionary recruitment and placement. The fewer numbers in a three year period, especially among standard support missionaries, increased the impact of retirements in 2006 and 2007. The typical term of a standard support missionary is three year, subject to renewal.

Day said that several new groups of missionaries are in the final stages of placement. Nine Church and Community Workers were commissioned on April 24, including Diane Wood, a deaconess serving at the Choctaw Mission near Philadelphia. Sixteen standard support missionaries, including six in the global health category, will be commissioned and assigned to work in Africa in May, and 20 short-term young adults will be commissioned in July of this year.

United Methodist missionary assignments are carried out in collaboration with partner churches around the world and with annual (regional) conferences and church-related or ecumenical institutions in the U.S.

The qualifications for missionary service can be found online at www.ummissionaries.org.