"The world is my parish." - John Wesley
The United Methodist Church has launched more than a dozen new or renewed Mission Initiatives in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Central America since the 1990s. Current Mission Initiatives, and those emerging, are responses to God’s calling to spread spiritual and social holiness throughout the earth, working in specific locations.
Several of the current initiatives are mature to the point of becoming integral parts of the regular United Methodist connection; some will go the path of church autonomy. Each in its own way inspires the United Methodist people to follow God leading into other new areas and cultures. They also provide lessons for the renewal and revitalization of congregations in annual conferences in the United States, Africa, Europe, and the Philippines.
In the four years between 2009 and 2012, a total of 574 new faith communities were launched within 13 initiatives, a harvest far exceeding the goal of 400.
Mission Initiative Countries and Regions
The goal for 2013 to 2016 is to launch 600 new faith communities.
Malawi’s transition from Mission Initiative to Provisional Annual Conference started with the 2012 General Conference in Tampa, Florida, and will be celebrated during the October 2013 meeting of the Global Ministries Board of Directors.
A transition of three others will happen by 2015. The oldest is the Russia Initiative, where there is a renewal of Methodism in a region closed during the decades of the Soviet Union. The fall of the USSR in 1991 paved the way for renewal initiatives in Latvia and Lithuania and for new work in Central Asia Republics that had also been under Soviet control.
Three initiatives in Southeast Asia—in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam—were planted and nurtured by former refugees from those countries who returned as missionaries through Global Ministries after having been introduced to Methodism in the United States. Thailand would later become an initiative site. The spark in Mongolia was a touring young adult mission choir. In Cameroon and Senegal in West Africa, impetus came from local individuals who experienced Methodist communities while living abroad. In Malawi, the mission energy came from neighboring Zimbabwe, but quickly became Malawian.
Read more about these initiatives on the country profile pages (see above).