In the wake of budget cuts at the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), two Presbyterian groups have announced they will be sending their own missionaries overseas, probably starting this year.
Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship www.pff.net/ and The Outreach Foundation www.theoutreachfoundation.org/ issued a joint statement June 12 saying that “the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) faces a missionary sending crisis. The number of PC(USA) missionaries continues to shrink at a time when global partners are telling us that more are needed.”
So, working together, the two groups have decided to raise funds to send their own missionaries. Frontier Fellowship concentrates on reaching people in settings where there may not be churches; The Outreach Foundation — which already has sent some missionaries on its own — is involved in evangelism both overseas and in the U.S.
This decision follows a $9.1 million budget cut by the PC(USA) in May — a cutback which has meant the loss of 40 missionary slots, which will be achieved through attrition.
In a Q and A on its website, the Outreach Foundation says it will continue to work cooperatively with the PC(USA) — for example, making good on its pledge to raise the funding to send four couples and one individual as missionaries for the denomination. The Web site states that it provides some financial support for 30 other PC(USA) missionaries and will continue to do so.
But the groups say that in a changing world, more leadership, creativity and flexibility are needed — and “it is no longer reasonable to expect a single, centralized mission-sending ministry to respond to the needs of congregations, missionaries and global partners.”
The Outreach Foundation already has missionaries in the U.S. working with Portuguese- and Arabic-speaking groups and with Native Americans. It’s also supporting a couple working in Campeche, Mexico and two Zambians involved in evangelism in Tete province in Mozambique.
Marian McClure, director of the PC(USA)’s Worldwide Ministries Division, issued a statement June 12 saying that the denomination welcomes partnerships in support of international mission, and that “our partnerships with the Outreach Foundation and Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship have been very fruitful and will continue to be so.”
McClure also said in the statement that the PC(USA) would discuss in upcoming meetings with the Outreach Foundation and Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship ways in which their efforts could mesh with the denomination’s work, “to avoid competition and redundancy in our mission efforts and to prevent confusion for international partners and mission service candidates.”