‘Mission’ Vital But Dangerous Prompting Name Change

The Mission Society is now TMS Global, a pivot aimed both at fitting the organization’s desire to work into least-reached areas of the world and protecting its missionaries while doing so.

The Rev. Max Wilkins, president and CEO, explained that the Norcross, Ga., organization was originally named The Mission Society for United Methodists before becoming interdenominational. The organization didn’t have a strong connection with the shortened name and would even receive donations intended for a similarly named group.

“The Mission Society, it was both fairly generic and a little arrogant,” Wilkins quipped. “We believe that this is a name that will serve us well moving forward.”

On a far more serious note, the removal of the world “mission” from the organization’s name is also intended to remove some of the danger and baggage associated with the term, according to Wilkins. Missionaries can be killed in some places in the world, Wilkins said, especially in some of the more dangerous areas of the globe in which TMS Global works. He declined to identify those areas.

The name change is to be accompanied by a more contemporary goal set, which was announced in the organization’s magazine – Unfinished. The five-point objectives include a focus on least-reached populations, capitalizing on the strengths of Millennials, reaching populations on the move, training churches to impact cities and emphasizing spiritual formation.

Wilkins explained that he hopes to mobilize North American churches to understand missions and actively engage the global communities in their own communities. Wilkins referred to the “global diaspora” — millions of people living somewhere other than their birth nation, often not by choice. “There are large communities from least-reached places,” Wilkins said. “God has delivered these people to our doorstep, but the average church doesn’t even know these people exist.”

TMS Global’s 180 missionaries work in more than 30 countries representing more than a dozen denominations. Organizational initiatives include agricultural training, literacy, medical care and teaching of English as well as church planting and evangelism.