Directors vote to increase missionary salaries
A new compensation package will increase the base salary of many active United Methodist missionaries. Action to approve the package was taken at the 2014 semi-annual Global Ministries’ board meeting. In October 2013, directors approved a missionary pension package that introduced a Defined Contribution Plan. That plan began January 1, 2014. The missionary compensation package aligns with the vision and guiding principles of the agency that frame the processes and policies undergirding missionary service.
General Secretary Thomas Kemper, who is a former missionary, said that this is the first step toward a longer term goal that seeks to align the missionary compensation system with the guiding principles of missionary service that were developed in 2012 by a working group that included Global Ministries staff, missionaries, and other participants with mission experience. “As a church agency dedicated to justice, it is important that financial support for our missionaries is fair and equitable, based on where each missionary is from and where she or he is serving.” He continued, “The process must also be financially and programmatically sustainable.”
This package offers the first significant change to missionary compensation in 15 years. Primary changes in the compensation package include:
- The base salary will now be assessed on the salary scale of US teachers, taking into account a housing allowance.
- Annual increases will be comparable to Global Ministries’ staff increases.
- Cost of living adjustments will be based on the International Index (also known as the Mercer Multinational Cost-of-Living approach, which develops cost-of-living indices and differentials based on a blended international spending pattern). These adjustments will utilize a positive and negative index that reflects the incarnational aspect of missionary service.
Judy Chung, who leads the missionary services area of Global Ministries, explained, “The incarnational aspect of missionary living is reflected in how missionaries embody the lifestyles of the communities they serve.” She continued, “This compensation policy will provide a path for missionaries to live simply and equip them to retire with dignity.”
The leadership of the United Methodist Missionary Association affirmed the salary base increase, which will result in an approximate 20 percent average increase in missionary salary and benefits. Jim Dwyer, who chairs the association, said, “This is a very important first stage and we will continue to review how to best address the salaries of missionaries who are from countries outside the United States.” Expressing appreciation for the staff and directors of Global Ministries, he said, “This has been a thoughtful process by those who take the interest of missionaries to heart, following the direction of this general secretary.”
Noting that missionary salaries in other denominations are fully funded through fundraising, George Howard, who leads the Mission and Evangelism unit said, “World Service dollars don’t fully cover the cost of sending a missionary—we use a combination of World Service and fundraising.” He continued, “Expanding the number of missionaries around the world while supporting them with a living wage and pension is a priority of the global church. Doing both at the same time reflects our faith that God will provide both the missionaries and the resources through the generosity of the United Methodist people.”
The new salary package covers standard support missionaries and is expected to be implemented in January 2015.
About Global Ministries Missionaries
The General Board of Global Ministries is the global mission agency of The United Methodist Church, its annual conferences, missionary conferences, and local congregations.
Working in more than 60 countries around the world, United Methodist missionaries come from many places and backgrounds and witness and serve in dramatically different locales and cultures. They engage in a range of activities and professions—including pastors, educators, congregational and leadership developers, regional coordinators for UMCOR, agriculturalists, health coordinators, and doctors.
There are more than 300 Global Ministries missionaries available for partnership opportunities through a Covenant Relationship. Individuals and churches can partner with a missionary to provide financial, spiritual, and emotional support. This partnership is much more than a financial commitment. It is a dynamic relationship in which the church and missionary pray for one another and communicate regularly. Making a covenant with one missionary supports the entire United Methodist missionary community on that one missionary’s behalf and in his or her name. To enter a covenant relationship with a missionary, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To support missionaries around the world, please give through Advance #00779Z.