by Dotsey Welliever and Minnette Northcutt
The new Mission Handbook is out. Frequently I receive questions about which organizations work in a particular country, conduct certain kinds of ministry, what I know about an agency or how to get in touch with it. This is where I go for the answers.
EMIS, P.O. Box 794, Wheaton, IL 60189, 2004, 551 pages, $49.95.
—Reviewed by David Mays, Great Lakes regional director, Advancing Churches in Missions Commitment (ACMC).
The new Mission Handbook (www.missionhandbook.com) is out. Surprisingly few people know of this directory of missions organizations. Frequently I receive questions about which organizations work in a particular country, conduct certain kinds of ministry, what I know about an agency or how to get in touch with it. This is where I go for the answers.
The first fifty-page analysis, “Putting the Survey in Perspective,” makes the book worth reading. Numbers and trends are helpful, but don’t jump to conclusions. The first chapter clarifies the reality behind the numbers. Keep in mind, data are from the year 2001.
What do we learn about the 810 agencies—690 in the US and 120 in Canada—listed in the Handbook? The agencies reported 45,617 North Americans serving in other countries (for one year or longer), 5,902 non-North Americans serving in countries other than their own, and 60,971 national workers serving in their own countries. The agencies represent 211 countries and territories.
Long-term missionaries (defined as greater than four years) grew by 5.5 percent since the last edition (which had shown a drop of about one percent from the previous three-year span). Short-termers of one to four years grew by 15.9 percent, while those serving two weeks to one year grew by 256 percent. Agencies sent 346,225 short-term workers in 2001—likely a small fraction of the total since it does not include those sent directly from local churches or who went on their own.
The total reported income for overseas missions was more than $3.75 billion, an increase of 5.7 percent per year since the 2001-2003 edition of the Handbook.
What kinds of ministries are these agencies engaged in? Evangelism and discipleship remain the most frequently reported activities, though a slight shift is occurring toward education and relief and development activities.
The top five countries in which the most agencies are ministering are: Mexico, India, Philippines, Brazil and Kenya.
The largest portion of the book is given to the alphabetical listing of mission agencies. Each listing includes agency name, contact information, brief description, purpose statement, year founded, income for overseas ministries, personnel and countries where the organization serves.
The Handbook also includes a selective bibliography for the study of contemporary mission activities, an appendix of members of missions associations and an appendix of the survey form used to obtain the information in the book.
The Handbook has long been a primary resource for missions administrators and educators. It is also a useful reference tool for churches.
Mission agencies can update their information in the Handbook at . These updates are available for viewing online.
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