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“He learned obedience through what he suffered.” —Heb. 5:8

Three critical global issues of Presbyterian World Mission

Addressing poverty, evangelism, reconciliation

A message from Hunter Farrell
An invitation to respond to three critical global issues
Partner with Presbyterian World Mission video
Resources about the three critical global issues

A message from Hunter Farrell, director of Presbyterian World Mission

Did you know that…

  • Women and children bear a disproportionate share of the burden of poverty today and their number is increasing. Who will work to address the root causes of this plague that weakens the hope of so many?
  • Two-thirds of the world’s people have never heard the good news of God’s love in Christ in a way that makes sense to them in their language and culture. Who will share with them this transforming love?
  • The texture of warfare has changed significantly in our lifetime: while 90% of war casualties in World War II were among enlisted forces, more than 90% of today’s war casualties are among civilians. Who will bring healing to the traumatized and work for reconciliation in a world where violence is glorified?

Imagine a secret society—two million members strong—embedded in 10,000 communities across the most powerful nation in the world. Together, they speak a hundred languages, are one of the best educated groups in the country, can leverage incredible social capital from corporate boardrooms to the halls of Congress to professional associations across the country, and share a common perspective that is deeply rooted in their faith. They are teachers, doctors, factory workers, business executives, public officials, lawyers, and social workers. They have deep, long-term relationships with trusted partners in churches around the world.

Imagine if this secret society—in an age of increasing individualism and societal fracturing—felt God’s call to organize itself to make a significant, measurable impact on three critical global issues: addressing the root causes of poverty as it impacts women and children; witnessing to God’s love in Christ together with other members of Christ’s body; and working for reconciliation amidst cultures of violence, including our own. The results would be astounding.

Around the world, families would be freed from poverty’s grip, people would come to know the good news of God’s good intention for a realm of peace and justice, and communities would be protected from the scourge of violent conflict. But surprisingly, the impact would be every bit as transformative for the members of the secret society themselves: the members would find deeper meaning for their lives—a chance to live out their faith; young and old alike would come together in a heart-felt desire to make a difference in the world; even the divisions within their society would be seen through the lens of the unity that God’s mission brings.

Through consultation with the Presbyterian Church’s global partners, mission workers, and congregations’ mission leaders, World Mission has heard a deep desire for all three groups to work together to form movements for justice, evangelism and reconciliation in the name of Jesus Christ. Over the next nine months, we’ll be planning the specific strategies needed to address these monumental goals with Presbyterians across the denomination--and around the world.

An invitation to respond to three critical global issues

We will identify and address the root causes of poverty, particularly as it impacts women and children.

Christ, through the Great Commandment, calls his followers to love God and to love neighbor. Scripture is clear concerning God’s particular concern for “the widow and the orphan”, that is, the most vulnerable members of society.  As the human family undergoes increasing fragmentation in our globalizing world as evidenced in the growing gap between rich and poor, it is the poor who suffer from a lack of access to food, clean water, education, basic health care and jobs. Among the poor, women and children bear a disproportionate burden of poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, violence and the diseases of poverty (TB, HIV/AIDS, malaria) making them the most vulnerable of our day. While women have made important gains in some societies, unfair treatment of women remains a major concern to which we as Christians are called to respond.

In addition, while our global partners express appreciation for the work our church does in alleviating the symptoms of poverty, many of them urge us to work intentionally and prayerfully with them to identify and address the root causes of poverty—and its interconnections with our own lifestyle— so that together we can make a lasting impact on their lives and ours.

Faithful discipleship in a globalized world requires us to focus our attention on women and children, and to support communities as they mobilize to address the root causes of poverty:

  • We will work to ensure access by women and children to a quality education and health services;
  • We will advocate just economic and trade policies that affect the poor;
  • We will support an increased role for women in Church and society, including within the PC(USA), prioritizing women for leadership development opportunities;
  • We will encourage consumer, investment, economic and political choices that are life-giving toward “the least of these”; and,
  • We will prayerfully examine our personal and communal practices regarding our use of wealth.

In this initiative, we will join with partners such as: global partners, mission networks, congregations and middle governing bodies, Presbyterian Women, Compassion, Peace and Justice Ministry Area, the Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare Association, Medical Benevolence Foundation, ecumenical and interfaith partners, and NGO’s, and we will be guided by General Assembly policies such as: Resolution on Just Globalization: Justice, Ownership, and Accountability; The Accra Confession: Covenanting for Justice in the Economy and the Earth; Hope for a Global Future: Toward Just and Sustainable Human Development; We Are What We Eat; Report of the Girl Child: God’s Work in Women’s Hands; Women and AIDS: A Global Crisis, and other policies.

Together with other members of Christ’s body, we will share the good news of God’s love in Jesus Christ.

Christ, through the “Great Commission” in Matthew, calls his followers to “go and make disciples of all nations”.  Over the last two centuries, Christians’ response to this call has caused the church to grow in every major region of the world.  Approximately one-third of the world’s six billion people now claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. While in many places the Church is strong and vital, growing by leaps and bounds each year, in other places, the church is weak and fragile, lacking adequate infrastructure and financial capacity to adequately prepare leaders and carry out its mission.  Many other churches struggle to exist, threatened by hostile governments and hampered by emigration.  The Church, imperfect as it is, remains one of God’s instruments to share God’s love through a multi-faceted witness to millions of people around the world. While we praise God for the tremendous growth of the global church and its amazing witness to God’s love in Christ, there is still much to be done to strengthen the church—including our own— for witness.

Faithful discipleship in a globalized world requires us to strengthen the capacity of the PC(USA) and its global partners to witness to God’s love in Jesus Christ:

  • We will build our global partners’ and our constituents’ capacity in context-sensitive evangelism;
  • In places where there is no church or where partners are severely constrained by context— we will accompany God’s Spirit and ecumenical partners in the establishment of new churches;
  • We will help partners to train leaders;
  • We will stand in solidarity with churches which struggle under hostile governments, through appropriate advocacy and accompaniment; and,
  • We will only witness when we can do so through a respectful and authentic engagement with people of other faiths.

In this initiative, we will join with partners such as global partners, mission networks, congregations and middle governing bodies, Evangelism and Church Growth Ministry Area, Theology, Worship and Education Ministry Area, Racial/Ethnic, Women and Presbyterian Women Ministry Area, The Outreach Foundation, Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship, ecumenical and interfaith partners, and others.  We will be guided by General Assembly policy such as: Turn to the Living God: Evangelism in the Way of Jesus Christ; Witness Among Peoples of Other Faiths, and other policies.

We will engage in reconciliation amidst cultures of violence, including our own.

God has entrusted to us— Christ’s disciples who know both brokenness and healing— the ministry of reconciliation as ambassadors of Christ. Violence is a threat to God’s vision for a reconciled world and it comes in many forms in our families, churches, communities, and societies. Increasingly, violence rooted in ethnic strife, or fed by religious conflict, joins the violence of poverty brought about by exploitation and oppression, forcing people to leave their homes as refugees. Women and children are the primary victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, the sex trade, and, increasingly, harmful military practices, at a time when ninety percent of the victims of war are civilians. At times, cultural patterns influence Biblical interpretation leading to the abuse and oppression of women and children. Yet God calls us to live in wholeness, well-being, and at peace with God and our neighbor and to be agents of reconciliation in the world. Out of our own brokenness, we are called to be part of God’s healing work in this world.

Faithful discipleship in a globalized world requires us to live in concert with God’s vision for a reconciled world:

  • examine our personal and communal lives for ways they contribute to the culture of violence;
  • identify and address the root causes of violence in our world;
  • work toward a culture of nonviolence;
  • address harmful cultural practices and beliefs and theological interpretations which justify the use of violence;
  • work for the rehabilitation of those who engage in violence;
  • support communities as they mobilize as agents of peace;
  • support partners and PCUSA mission constituents in the ministries of human rights advocacy, conflict transformation, and peace-building; 

In this initiative, we will join with partners such as global partners; mission networks; Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, Presbyterian Women, the Presbyterian Interfaith, Washington and United Nations’ offices, Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy, ecumenical and interfaith partners and NGO’s, and be guided by General Assembly policy such as Peacemaking: The Believer’s Calling, Resolution on Just Peacemaking and the Call for International Intervention for Humanitarian Rescue; Witness Among Peoples of Other Faiths; Turn Mourning into Dancing: A Policy Statement on Healing Domestic Violence; Resolution on Violence, Religion, and Terrorism, and other policies.

Partner with Presbyterian World Mission video

Watch this short video that presents three examples of mission co-workers who are addressing the root causes of poverty, engaging in reconciliation work, and sharing the Good News of Christ's love with a hurting world. 

Resources for the three critical global issues

International mission and partnership

Publications and statements addressing more than one of the three critical global issues (poverty, witness and reconciliation)



  • Christian Witness in a Multireligious World: Recommendations for Conduct, (World Council of Churches, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue,  World Evangelical Alliance).
  • Turn to the Living God. The 203rd General Assembly (1991) gave evangelism continued high emphasis in the life of the church. One of the actions taken by the assembly was the adoption of the document "Turn to the Living God: A Call to Evangelism in Jesus Christ's Way," which articulates our commitment to global evangelization.
  • Video on Community Health Evangelism (CHE), a community-based and holistic strategy to address root causes of poverty and share the Good News of God’s love in Jesus Christ.




  • This is such a powerful statement and commitment. I just returned from two years of serving in the Peace Corps in South Africa....this is so sorely needed! Thank you for this. by Mary Pat Brennan on 04/19/2012 at 1:03 p.m.

  • I just finished reading "Half the Sky" and am looking for a way to get involved in helping to support and empower women and children in developing countries. I am glad to see that this group is the focus of one of PCUSA's mission initiatives. by Sherry Kenney on 02/09/2012 at 11:08 a.m.

  • As the mission committee chairman within our church and living in one of the poorest counties within our state I am well aware of the impact of poverty on women and children. This year our congregation became involved in the local community gardens, with the majority of produce raised going to our local food bank and some members within our congregation to utilize the bounty. Our children within our congregation are quite active in working in the garden. We are so encouraged by this activity we are seeking to expand next year. We would love to know what others are doing. We wish to take the next step in seeking to aid those who are struggling. by Sharon Mobley on 08/06/2011 at 9:37 a.m.

  • This is truly invigorating, has made the blood of this 83-year old gushing again. How does a local congregation plug in to this life-giving juice? I divide the year between Arizona and Metro-Manila, Philippines. Hope you can help me connect. by Cayetano Santiago, Jr. on 07/13/2011 at 7:18 p.m.

  • Thank you. I was looking for an illustration for my sermon this Sunday on Jesus’ parable on the weeds in the wheat. I found it in this emphasis. It communicates powerfully the weeds of the world and the good seed/wheat which is the church brilliantly expressed in this mission emphasis. It’s amazing and focused. It's a call to faithfulness. Thank you. by Cornel Barnett on 07/12/2011 at 6:26 p.m.