News And Events
Helen Blier Appointed Director of Continuing Education
CE Program Recognized in National Study
PTS Honors Three Retiring Faculty Members
Professor Andrew Purves Receives Honorary Degree
Paula Cooper Receives Calian Prize for Community Service
Graduates Receive Awards During Commencement
PTS Welcomes New Board Members
Meet our Faculty and Staff in Your Area
World Mission Initiative
A group of pastors, missionaries, and church leaders met with denominational officials, Seminary faculty and administrators at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary early in 1996 to discuss, pray, and strategize about ways to support the work of local congregations in world mission. From these initial meetings, World Mission Initiative (WMI) was born. WMI continues to help students, pastors, and local congregations recognize that the changes sweeping the world and impacting the church necessitate innovative structures to carry on the mission of Jesus Christ.
WMI is a fellowship of Presbyterians dedicated to:
- developing mission vision,
- nurturing missionary vocations,
- cultivating missional congregations
WMI exists to help Presbyterians understand how God is at work in the world and how they can share in that work. WMI seeks to light a fire for mission in the Seminary and the whole church. WMI also works to unite the resources of key mission entities: our local congregations, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and the World Mission office of the PC (U.S.A.) in order to advance the mission of Jesus Christ in our world of ever increasing need.
World Mission Initiative's main vision and purpose is mission mobilization! We hope to help lead the church to rediscover its purpose, calling, and missional center.
Certificate in World Christian Discipleship
The Certificate in World Christian Discipleship is designed for recent university graduates who are interested in discerning and preparing for Christian vocation offers a monastic missional encounter. The WCD allows young adults to discern and prepare for Christian vocation, regardless of occupation (pastor, church planter, lawyer, teacher, missionary, etc.). The program is non- traditional and experiential so students will live a simple life, they will live in community, and they will serve the East End community and churches in Pittsburgh while reflecting on Scripture and great interpreters of the faith. The community of about 12 will be a diverse ethnic community from across the nation, committed to living according to a religious rule, accountable to one another, while exploring the global needs of the Church.
Disciples work 15-20 hours per week in local businesses as a missional presence in the East End. In addition they volunteer with local ministries and are assigned to a local church plant or a church in redevelopment.
WMI is Regional
First, WMI is a regional structure with no concern to have a national clientele. In fact, if WMI is “successful” other regional structures will develop which have the confidence of local congregations and of the PC (U.S.A.) World Mission. Each regional structure will be unique, reflecting the regional concerns, involvement, and needs.
WMI is Seminary-Based
Second, this initiative for world mission is located at a Presbyterian seminary with board members representing the faculty, administration, board, and staff of the Seminary, in addition to local churches. Seminaries taking leadership in world mission is something which is long overdue. In the past two decades there have been new mission chairs at most seminaries and it is now time for these professors and their institutions to provide missional denominational leadership. Pittsburgh Theological Seminary now has the ability to help students locate overseas internships and prepare for leading missional congregations as part of their basic theological education.
WMI is Relational
Third, WMI links together three important players in our missionary obedience: the Seminary, PC (U.S.A.) World Mission, and local churches. Note that the presbyteries and synods are not official partners in this new structure. WMI does not want to limit its “regional character” by pre-selected judicatories, so any local congregation or presbytery which wishes to be involved may do so. Again, this reflects some of the relational or “voluntary” nature of WMI. Risks are involved, but participation is enhanced both by the voluntary nature and the important linking function of WMI with PC (U.S.A.) World Mission.
WMI is Connected
And finally, WMI has joined forces with the New Wilmington Mission Conference (NWMC). The NWMC is an annual Presbyterian-related, multi-generational, youth-focused mission conference held at Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA. The expressed objective of the NWMC includes, “the deepening of the missionary spirit, with a view to the fulfillment of our Lord’s Great Commission...[A] prominent place is given in the Conference to mission study and to the presentation of the duty and ideal of carrying the gospel to all the world...” With a shared director between WMI and NWMC, there is a healthy interchange of mission theology, ideas, and personal involvement.
WMI in the Future
In the future WMI hopes to:
- develop an MA program in mission studies,
- develop a network of seminary student internships overseas as well as in urban areas of the United States,
- help with orientation and preparation for mission trips and longer term mission work,
- train pastors and Christian workers in ethnic congregations, and
The recent emphasis at WMI has been to provide cross-cultural mission experiences for Seminary students. The experience of living in another culture and building relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ across cultural barriers can be life changing. There is no better way to help students gain a passion for mission and to become interested in how to lead the church in mission.
In 2008, a total of 76 students, spouses, members of other churches, and leaders participated in cross-cultural mission trips. These life-changing and ministry-shaping experiences were underwritten by $34,175 from WMI, plus additional grants of $14,550 from the Shortridge Scholarship Fund.
WMI's work keeps growing and expanding. A History of Presbyterian Missions: 1944-2007 was published in 2008. This book, a project of World Mission Initiative, and edited by Dr. Scott Sunquist and Caroline N. Becker, is available from Geneva Press (call 1-800-523-1631 or order on amazon.com). Fourteen contributing authors highlight the history and lessons from Presbyterian Mission to help shape a strong and vibrant future for mission!
World Mission Initiative
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
616 North Highland Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
E-mail the Director of WMI Don Dawson at firstname.lastname@example.org.