Mission life: THE KUKMIN DAILY

Annual Increase in Number of Overseas Missionaries Is Lowest in Generations

2018-01-05 12:57

The number of missionaries dispatched overseas by the Korean churches last year exceeded the number in the previous year. But the rate of increase was the lowest in generations.

According to “Trends in Korean Mission Movement,” a research report issued on January 2 by the Korea Research Institute for Mission (KRIM; Moon Sang-cheol, director), 21,220 Korean missionaries are serving in 159 countries as of the end of 2017. The number of missionaries has increased by 145 over the previous year. The problem is the rate of increase, which has gone up and down within a narrow range, marking 1.90% in 2014, 1.01% in 2015, and 1.94% in 2016, but last year was recorded as 0.69%. This is the lowest rate on record since KRIM began studying mission trends.

Analysts believe this research result is related to the prolonged stagnation in the Korean church. Lee Cheon, KRIM’s headquarters director, said, “With the deterioration of the Korean church’s social credibility, there has also been a decline in church membership, and along with this a natural weakening of the churches’ vitality in terms of human and material support for mission fields.” As for the increase in the number of missionaries, “The chief cause is probably that many seminaries are turning out large numbers of graduates, and the surplus human resources are entering the mission field.” It is predicted that the annual rate of increase in the number of missionaries may become 0% or even minus, if the present trend continues.

Reporter Lee Saya (Isaiah@kmib.co.kr), with Marion Kim (marionkkim@icloud.com)

Full Story in Korean:
해외 선교사 증가율 0.69% 역대 최저: 한국선교연구원 선교운동 동향

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