"Faithful to the Scriptures, True to the Reformed Faith, Obedient to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ."

—Motto of the Presbyterian Church in America


Celebrating 50 Years of Grace



Founding of Mission to the World

In 1973, a group of gospel-centered, Reformed churches broke off from the theologically liberal Presbyterian Church in the United States to form the Presbyterian Church of America. Among the PCA’s stated reasons for leaving was the PCUS’s “departure from evangelism and missions as the primary role of the Church.” Global missions was a priority from the very beginning.

Later that same year, Mission to the World (MTW) was formed as the fledgling denomination’s international missions agency, with 25-year missions veteran and leader John Kyle appointed as its first coordinator. In the beginning, MTW had just 11 missionaries and three missionary candidates. Over the next three years, John helped the agency grow to more than 100 missionaries serving in 20 countries across the globe, including at Christ College in Taiwan and major church planting efforts in Korea and Mexico.

<< Photo: John Kyle, MTW's first coordinator

“A person who is not interested in missions has not been properly exposed. Few churches stress missions, mainly because the pastors themselves lack education and exposure ... When pastors are really turned on, the people will follow them.”

—John Kyle, MTW Coordinator 1974–1977, 1988–1994


Committee on Mission to the World, gathering approx. late 70s, early 1980s.

Early MTW Medical Ministry

Kathy S gives medical aid to locals in Haiti - late 1970s.




Under Paul’s leadership, MTW began strategically targeting global cities for church planting initiatives, ministering primarily to the middle- and upper-classes—a tactic aimed at transforming urban cultural centers with the power of the gospel. During these years, MTW also increased its global ministry focus on reaching unreached people groups, planting Reformed churches, and sending teams to minister in Third World contexts—continually growing both its missionary staff and the number of countries reached.

Hand in hand with its primary works of evangelism, discipleship, and church planting, MTW also worked to serve the physical needs of the world’s most vulnerable in the wake of natural or man-made disasters. When a typhoon caused a massive tidal wave in the Bay of Bengal, MTW responded with relief teams and funds to aid refugees in South Asia. When famine struck Bangladesh, Haiti, and the Sahel region of Africa, MTW sent food and aid. From the very beginning, MTW paired ministries of mercy and justice with evangelism and long-term church planting efforts.

Photo: Jim Stewart - a Servants in Missions Abroad (SIMA) missionary in Africa >>

“Ministry flows from relationship.”

—Paul McKaughan, MTW Coordinator 1977–1987

Congress on World Evangelization, Thailand - 1980

Left to right: Archie Parrish, William Shoemaker, John E. Kyle, Paul McKaughan, Donald B. Patterson, Robert G. Rayburn, Arthur Glasser




By the early ‘90s, MTW missionaries were serving more than 24,000 people in more than 900 churches across the globe. During this time MTW also started a leadership development program to equip and empower all leaders of church-planting teams and began researching tent-making opportunities to enable missionaries to better serve in areas closed to missionary activity.

All the while, with the same aim of cultivating future career missionaries, MTW continually expanded its short-term and summer missions opportunities. By 1999, 3,840 people went on short-term or summer mission trips through MTW. By 2005, those numbers hit an all-time high of 7,500 participants.

<< Photo: MTW staff member, Marty Davis meets with a Ukrainian pastor, Sergei Betin and wife, Luda Betina, of Belgorod Presbyterian church.

“As I see it, we have done a pretty good job of reaching some unreached people in rural areas of the world, but the real task facing us is evangelizing the unreached in urban situations. … Thousands are moving from the country to the city. In one city alone there can be dozens of complex ethnic groups, a barrier just as formidable as tribal groups.”

—John Kyle, MTW Coordinator 1974–1977, 1988–1994

Kids from a South Asia Children's Home – 1990s

MTW ministries grow to be able to include a home for displaced young girls in South Asia where they receive food, shelter, and education with the support of local missionaries.

Aid for Refugees in Uganda - 1993

Over 20,000 refugees displaced by the conflicts in Zaire were able to shelter here and receive clean drinking water thanks to the aid of funds from MTW Minutemen, an early term for donors committed to provide funds quickly in the wake of a disaster.




During the early 2000s, MTW began to emphasize its role as a facilitator or partner, helping PCA churches in the United States achieve their Great Commission goals and partnering with local Christian leaders across the globe—empowering them to plant and lead local churches rather than primarily depending on American missionaries to do so.

When the 2008 economic recession took its toll on the American Church, MTW’s global church planting ministries continued to thrive and expand—particularly in Asia. Decades of faithful ministry in the Philippines resulted in more than 50 churches planted. By 2010, MTW missionaries were able to completely turn this ministry over to national leadership—one milestone of many as missionaries across the globe began to see their work bear fruit for the kingdom.

Photo - Street Child ministry in Central Asia. >>

“God is the painter, and we are the paintbrush. God is the one who accomplishes the work. He accomplishes it through us, but we’re just the instrument.”

—Paul Kooistra, MTW Coordinator 1994–2014

Teaching in Honduras - 2008

Missionary Mike Pettengill teaches at a local village in La Ceiba, Honduras



The Kingdom Advancing, One Church Plant At A Time

The last decade has been one of global upheaval and incredible opportunities for growing the Church and advancing the gospel around the world. In Vanuatu and South Asia, Spirit-driven movements saw thousands come to faith—and MTW missionaries were right in the thick of the evangelism and church planting. As the world became increasingly aware of the scourge of modern-day slavery, MTW church-planting teams in Cambodia and Bulgaria launched anti-trafficking ministries, reaching, discipling, serving, and empowering women and children trapped in the sex trade. When conflict in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia spurred a global refugee crisis, MTW missionaries in Greece and Germany opened their hearts and the doors of their churches to serve the displaced with gospel-driven love.

<< Photo: Rev James Bab, a South-Sudanese pastor stands with other refugees in Uganda. He received shelter and theological training from MTW missionaries Don & Fran McNeill.

“Our vision isn’t just maintaining what we have. It’s the gospel of the kingdom advancing through the world. What would a kingdom-advancing prayer look like? We want to challenge the church to offer up its best evangelists, disciple-makers, and leaders to go and serve in missions.”

—Lloyd Kim, MTW Coordinator 2015–Present

Staff Brunch Welcoming Lloyd Kim

MTW Staff welcome and pray for Dr. Lloyd Kim and his family - Fall 2014


Over nearly a half century of ministry, MTW’s size and kingdom impact have grown enormously: from a scrappy handful of missionaries with a budget of just $100,000 to a global agency comprised of 543 missionaries serving one year or longer, 996 short term missionaries, and 1,337 national partners serving in 100 different countries around the world.

Today, all across the globe, MTW missionaries are planting churches, discipling university students, and training local Christian leaders with solid, Reformed theology. Medical missionaries serve the poor in the mountains of Peru and the slums of Ethiopia; artists use their craft as a vehicle for evangelism, discipleship, and expressing the beauty of our Creator in Germany and Japan; and entrepreneurs start business as missions enterprises in countries hostile to the Christian faith. The particular callings pursued by our missionaries are diverse, and yet the Church is at the center of each.

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