The Demise of the World’s Greatest Mission Agency by Mark Tooley

The Demise of the World’s Greatest Mission Agency

Mark Tooley on Mainline Decay

Just over ten years ago, fresh out of college, I became missions chairman at my small United Methodist congregation in northern Virginia. I was curious about my denomination’s missions outlook, so I ordered a copy of our missions board’s budget and began reading the board’s publications. My distress over what I discovered about United Methodist missions propelled me into a decade of renewal work within United Methodism (a calling to which I am now devoted full-time at the Institute on Religion and Democracy in Washington, D.C.).

The United Methodist Church was once the nation’s, and probably the world’s, largest missions dispatching organization. Earlier this century it had nearly 2,700 full-time missionaries serving overseas. But a recent ranking of U.S. churches and missions agencies revealed that 25 other organizations now outrank the Methodist missions board in number of missionaries. These organizations include not only conservative denominations and parachurch groups like the Assemblies of God and Wycliffe Bible Translators, but also even the mainline (and smaller) Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:


Mark Tooley directs the United Methodist committee of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (www.ird-renew.org) in Washington, D.C.

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone

• Not a subscriber or wish to renew your subscription? Subscribe to Touchstone today for full online access. Over 30 years of publishing!


personal subscriptions

Purchase
Online Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives including pdf downloads for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!


RENEW your online subscription

Purchase Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!


RENEW your print/online
subscription

gift subscriptions

GIVE Print &
Online Subscription

Give six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for the reduced rate of $29.95. That's only $2.50 per month!


RENEW your gift subscription

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

kindle subscription

OR get a subscription to Touchstone to read on your Kindle for only $1.99 per month! (This option is KINDLE ONLY and does not include either print or online.)

Your subscription goes a long way to ensure that Touchstone is able to continue its mission of publishing quality Christian articles and commentary.


more from the online archives

27.4—July/August 2014

The Things Freely Given

The Bible, Sacred Theology & the Mind of Christ by Patrick Henry Reardon

31.6—November/December 2018

Tragedy & Transcendence

on Futility & the Open Door to Deliverance by Patrick Henry Reardon

33.4—July/August 2020

Pondering Evil

on Boethius's Consolation in a Time of Plague by Thomas Albert Howard

00