BIG TENT 2015 • July 30–August 1, Knoxville, TN REGISTER NOW →

Skip to main content

“Daughter, your faith has made you well.” —Mark 5:34

Mission Matters

A monthly update from Hunter Farrell, director of World Mission, on the impact of Presbyterian mission in the world and the issues that affect mission co-workers, the people we walk with and assist in service to God, and our partners around the globe.


June 2015

What Would It Take to Change the World? Part II

It used to be that the church attracted young adults by offering nice, shiny programs and getting the popular kids up front leading songs and Bible studies. That was how you filled the youth group, we thought! Whether that was a successful strategy or not in that era—it sure didn’t work for me!—it’s clear that today’s younger generations are less concerned about our efforts to attract them than they are about what the church is actually doing about the issues that they care the most about: global poverty, the environment, human trafficking, and injustice. In fact, in conversation with young adults, you may find that their primary draw to your church is your congregation’s involvement in mission: many young adults want to be part of an effort that’s making a difference in the world.

So what would it take to change the world, exactly? Based on our church’s 178 years of mission experience—a movement that has resulted in the establishment of thousands of schools, universities, churches, seminaries, hospitals, and clinics around the world, and globally brought more than 94 million people to faith in Jesus Christ—I dedicated this column in April to the first component of world change: the identification and empowerment of local leaders. Today, I’d like to discuss a second way you can connect your congregation with what God is doing in dozens of countries around the world through Presbyterian World Mission: by helping communities improve the quality of education for one million children, both in the United States and internationally.

In the last century, U.S. Methodists committed to helping educate thousands of black South Africans at a time of “banned books and whispering voices,” when many despaired of the possibility of a nation where blacks and whites could actually live together in peace. But there was one child who received an education from a mission school in Eastern Cape Province. He grew up shaped by the knowledge and skills provided not only by that good Methodist education, but also by the Christian values that came with that mission education. The child later recounted that he began to see his oppressor not as his enemy, but as his brother (and sister). That child, of course, was named Nelson Mandela. Against all odds, at a time of deep despair and growing violence, Nelson Mandela used his education to lead his people to freedom and the whole South African nation toward reconciliation. At the end of his life, Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

So what would it look like if Presbyterian congregations across the United States worked together with our global partners in places like Guatemala, Haiti, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Thailand, and the Philippines—and with our public schools in the United States—to actually improve the quality of education for one million of God’s children? Can you imagine the impact on the world this effort would have?

If your congregation or presbytery feels a desire to help change the world, beginning with children, I hope you’ll contact my colleague Frank Dimmock ( and check out the One Million Children Campaign website at:

Mission Matters Archives

May 2015 - Mission Co-workers Need Your Prayers and Financial Support
April 2015 - What Would It Take to Change the World?
March 2015 - The Church You Grew Up In No Longer Exists

December 2014 - A Harvest Beyond Our Wildest Dreams
November 2014 - Both Bricks and Mortar
October 2014 - Binding Threads
July 2014 - Abound in Hope: the 221st General Assembly (2014) 
May 2014 - Training Leaders for Community Transformation 
April 2014 - Ending Violence against Women and Children 
March 2014 - 3 Critical Global Issues—#1: Quality education for 1 million children by 2020
February 2014 - CEDEPCA: Caring for God's Creation 
January 2014 - Young Adult Volunteers: New YAV Sites Opening

December 2013 - We are truly better together
November 2013 - South Sudanese: Displaced by violence 
October 2013 - Haiti: the Presbyterian Church is here to stay



  • We love to hear ways to engage more young people in mission as a way to draw them closer to the church. they really do seem to have to have something meaningful to do. They do not come to church if there is nothing for them to do. Thanks for your great work. by Steve Zeigler on 03/03/2015 at 10:35 p.m.

  • thanks Hunter for great message! by Bob Rice on 11/28/2014 at 1:38 p.m.

  • Thank you my dear Brother for the Work you and the World Mission Board are doing. May the Lord continue to open many new doors for Us. Amen. by Isaac Saka (Rev) on 07/23/2014 at 6:55 p.m.

Join the Discussion

Post Comment