Louisville (PNS) While work is fully funded for 2015, based on financial projections using 2014 actual receipts, the Presbyterian Mission Agency is facing a significant financial challenge for 2016 and 2017 in World Mission. By 2017, the result could be the recall of 25 percent of mission workers currently in service around the world. That’s the message Hunter Farrell, director of World Mission, delivered to the executive committee of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board Wednesday morning.
Farrell said World Mission leadership has been closely monitoring giving trends for the past five years, cutting costs and increasing revenue whenever possible, but attempting to keep as many mission workers as possible in the world serving global partners. However, based on 2014 receipts, lowered revenue projections will create a gap of $925,000 in funding for mission workers in 2016. This could result in not replacing four retiring mission workers and prematurely ending the service of as many as five mission co-workers in 2016. While World Mission is weighing other possible solutions, the situation may likely have an even greater impact in 2017.
By 2017, most of World Mission’s gifts for mission workers from prior years will be exhausted and World Mission, like the other ministry areas of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, will be operating solely on current receipts. Starting in 2017, the gap between projected revenue and expenses may be as much as $4.5 million annually, and would force World Mission to recall an estimated 40 mission co-workers globally. There are currently 162 mission co-workers in service.
“This is a very serious situation,” said Farrell, “Our first challenge, by the end of the year, is to generate an additional $925,000 for mission workers in 2016. We are praying that the church will respond to the challenge so we can continue God’s work in places where it is so desperately needed.”
The 175thanniversary of international mission by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church was celebrated in 2012. In that time, Presbyterian missionaries have planted churches, built hospitals, and started schools on every continent. The seeds sown by those missionaries have, in many places, developed into self-sustaining churches and institutions led by local Christians. Today, more than 94 million Christians around the world now belong to churches that were founded or co-founded by Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) mission workers.
“As Presbyterians we must support mission workers over and above anything we’ve done before,” said Terri Bate, senior director of Funds Development. “Our mission workers and global partners are counting on this support in order to continue in partnership together in God’s mission.”