Billions of people around the globe are considered unreached, and many are struggling without hope. The only way to reach everyone is through partnership.
We want to highlight United World Mission (UWM) because they are a wonderful example of churches and ministry organizations uniting for a common mission. Today, the mission of UWM is to equip leaders, establish churches, and engage in holistic ministry by partnering with the church globally. Here’s how they accomplish each of those things.
Equip Leaders: The ultimate goal of UWM in equipping leaders is to make relevant theological education, practical training, and spiritual formation accessible to every ministry leader in every nation. In 2020, 5,686 leaders were directly equipped by UWM and they helped their global partners equip another 38,304 leaders.
Establish Churches: UWM helps local church planters start new churches that pour themselves out in loving service for their communities. In 2020, 1,145 new churches were planted.
Holistic Ministry: UWM partners with the local church to share the love of Jesus with refugees, children-at-risk, victims of human trafficking, and families stuck in cycles of poverty and injustice. In 2020, they helped their partners serve 196,294 people through holistic ministries.
The history of UWM has three significant strands, including the original United World Mission organization, the Latin America Mission and the Overseas Council. Each organization has its own unique story.
History of United World Mission
United World Mission was founded by Dr. Sydney Correll, a local church pastor in Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Correll and his wife, Helen, led their church on evangelistic and compassion trips to India, Africa, and Latin America. They established a Bible School and local churches in Cuba, with a vision to see Cubans go as missionaries to Latin America. Their vision attracted 17 other Ohio churches that “united” for world mission. In 1946, they incorporated as United World Mission and began to grow into a global, interdenominational ministry with a passion for church planting, ministry training, and ministries of compassion and development.
Since the early 1990s, UWM has focused on partnership with national churches around the world. UWM leaders made an intentional shift in the missionary role from “doing” to “facilitating,” especially by equipping and capacity-building, rather than by leading and directing. An era of partnering was born.
History of the Latin America Mission
The Latin America Mission was born in the hearts of Harry Strachan, a Canadian-born Scot, and his Irish-born wife, Susan, who felt God’s missionary call to Argentina. In 1921, the Strachan’s moved from Argentina to San José, Costa Rica, where they founded what would later be called the Latin America Mission. The Latin America Mission was innovative, inter-denominational, and bold in its efforts to bring the whole gospel to all of Latin America. Evangelism and social concern were always integrated in the LAM, which became known for “integral mission.”
In 1971, control of all LAM ministries was legally transferred to Latin partners. The LAM’s conviction was that the future of the gospel in Latin America was with the Latin Church, and missionaries needed to serve Latin vision and under Latin leadership. Another era of partnering was born.
History of Overseas Council
Overseas Council was born of the vision of several businessmen in Indianapolis. While attending a building dedication of the Seoul Theological Seminary (STS) in 1974, they noticed the inability of students to pay for their seminary studies. The group returned home, determined to raise scholarship funds for STS, and Overseas Council for Seoul Theological Seminary was born! Within five years, the ministries of Overseas Council expanded beyond scholarships for Korean students to include various programs and strategies for assisting seminaries and men and women in many nations who were called to Christian ministry.
In 2017, the Overseas Council board of directors voted to merge with United World Mission. By that time, it was helping to provide theological education to equip Christian leaders through 130 seminary partners in 70 nations.
What Overseas Council Does
Today, Overseas Council equips Christian leaders by partnering with vital seminaries worldwide to advance God’s kingdom. They work primarily with seminaries where the most influential Christian leaders are being formed. These educational and training centers are strategically positioned to equip the church’s leaders to train trainers of church planters and pastors, and to be thought leaders in their nations.
Overseas Council prioritizes areas of the world where Christian leadership training is most under-resourced. They have partner seminaries in over 70 countries grouped into regions, each one with oversight of at least one Regional Director. Their ministry covers Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, eastern Europe and the Middle East.
How Can You Be Praying for United World Mission?
There are many ways you can be praying for this mission agency, but here are a few specific items:
Good Neighbor Insurance loves the work United World Mission is doing. We provide health insurance to protect their workers so they can perform their important ministries. If you are interested in learning more about the organization or how you can get involved, visit their website (https://uwm.org).