Exciting ministries are happening in the global United Methodist Church! As the new Conference Secretary of Global Ministries, I wish that many stories of mission could be shared with you from Congo, Viet Nam, Mongolia, and even the United States. Global Ministries is involved in many aspects of mission, including but not limited to, church planting in 125 countries, alleviating suffering through health programs, promoting justice, freedom, and peace in order to make disciples for Jesus Christ. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and the United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) programs are just two popular ministries of this agency.
Many of the responsibilities of the Conference Secretary of Global Ministries involve interpretation of the work and outreach programs of our global agency based in New York. Connecting with Conference Missionaries, helping with the itineration of missionaries within an Annual (regional) Conference, and providing information about The Advance, are just some of the responsibilities associated with this position.
Often, local congregations are seen as the source of monetary support for our missionaries and projects—such support is greatly appreciated! This is an important part of our outreach, but even more beneficial is to establish a personal relationship with a missionary or a person representing a certain project.
Establishing a partnership and cultivating relationships helps everyone to see the global world in a better perspective. Connections are much easier today because of e-mail, Skype, ooVoo or other telecommunications methods. Any church can have a guest appearance of their missionary or project in a worship service by using some simple communication technology. As a pastor, I’ve had conversations with missionaries in Malaysia, Kiev and other places during a worship service with their image projected on a screen and voices piped into the public address system. Although a missionary’s itineration is always appreciated, any local church can establish a relationship with a missionary at any time. I’ve discovered that the missionaries’ projects or groups in other countries can be a source of inspiration for new ministry ideas with one another. Supporting missions in this way creates a partnership and strengthens the local church.