Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
Greetings in the name of the Lord, and thank you for your service to the church. In this time of turmoil and transition, you are in our prayers. An important part of your ministry is leading the denomination in discerning what its priorities should be, particularly at the General Assembly level. We noted that, faced with an uncertain future, you took time at your recent meeting to engage in a “priorities exercise,” and it is about priorities that we write. We each lead mission agencies that intentionally collaborate with each other and with Presbyterian World Mission to connect congregations to God’s mission in the world.
At this critical point in the life of our denomination, when many dynamics invite inward focus, it is difficult to overstate the importance of our Presbyterian involvement with the church around the world. We believe that this participation with global partners in God’s mission must become an increasingly important part of what the PC(USA) gives its attention and resources to at the General Assembly level. Presbyterian World Mission is uniquely positioned to help the church as a whole rediscover the wholeness of the Gospel and of God’s mission and to help us discern the shape of faithful discipleship and witness on our own mission field.
We well understand that every program and activity of the PC(USA) has its own champions and stakeholders, yet we believe that the work of Presbyterian World Mission is most essential for the church at the General Assembly level. It is Presbyterian World Mission that connects us to the global church at a time when those relationships are critical to our faith and health. Moreover, the work of World Mission engages each of the directional goals in the PMAB Work Plan, crossing over “party lines” in the church to touch on issues of passion to young and old, left and right, large congregation and small church, urban and rural.
In our regular engagement with congregations across the denomination (collectively, we connect with nearly 3000 congregations), we see that healthy congregations are those that are focused on God’s mission in the world. Furthermore, what we hear is that the work of World Mission continues to be work that the vast majority of the church recognizes (in agreement!) as something that can be done by the national church “uniquely and best.” While middle governing bodies and congregations are taking new initiative to establish global mission relationships, they are simply not equipped to engage in this work alone. Partnering through World Mission allows them to access networks, to share best practices, to ground innovation in historic, mature cross-cultural relationships and to find a fuller, more constructive participation in God’s mission.
Within the work of World Mission we particularly commend to you the need to increase support of PC(USA) mission coworkers – financial support, prayer support, care and logistical support. More than any other expression of the church’s life and work, mission co-workers connect us to brothers and sisters in other cultures and contexts. Although the work of Presbyterian mission workers is now expressed through new patterns of service and partnership, global partners are telling us that coworkers are needed as much as ever before. On our side, our coworkers keep us connected to these global partners, to their innovative ministries and indigenous mission workers, to their faith and faithfulness, through vital mutual connections that open up to us the much-needed gifts of the global church.
In this challenging season for the church, and at a time when many are wrestling to understand the implications of an increasingly non-Western Christianity and a non-Christian West, we commend to you the work of Presbyterian World Mission and encourage you to prioritize its support. While our mission organizations each have their own specific purposes and causes, we remain committed to working together to strengthen Presbyterians’ involvement in God’s mission. We also are united in our conviction that the PC(USA) cannot regain its health and its bearings without a visible recommitment to sharing in God’s work in the world – and this entails a prioritization of the work of Presbyterian World Mission.
Grace and peace in the Lord,
Andrew Adair, Executive Director, The Antioch Partners
Don Dawson, Director, New Wilmington Mission Conference; Director, World Mission Initiative
Richard Haney, Executive Director, Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship
Andy Mayo, CEO, Medical Benevolence Foundation
Rob Weingartner, Executive Director, The Outreach Foundation
Steve Young, Executive Director, Living Waters for the World