World Mission Initiative was founded in 1996 to help and support local congregations to engage faithfully and effectively in God’s mission.
The World Mission Initiative is a program of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. WMI provides intercultural experiences for students, staff, and faculty, and offers programs on campus to raise awareness of global mission issues.
With relationships in many countries, WMI offers students, staff, and faculty the opportunity to build relationships with leaders from the global church and seek to establish partnerships between PTS and our global partner institutions.
WMI’s congregational focus seeks to support and provide congregations with resources and tools, consulting, speaking and/or teaching as they engage in God’s intercultural mission.
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary has a long history of involvement in preparing men and women for world mission. One of the early professors of the Seminary, Elisha Pope Swift, was also the key leader in the founding of the Western Foreign Missionary Society in 1831 in Pittsburgh. Through the years, Pittsburgh Seminary has prepared many men and women who have gone out to serve in mission around the world. The Seminary has also prepared national leaders from overseas partner churches.
Recent changes sweeping the world and impacting the church have necessitated innovative structures to continue the mission of Jesus Christ. With this in mind, pastors, missionaries, and church leaders met with denominational officials, Seminary faculty, and administrators at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in early 1996 to discuss, pray, and strategize about ways to support the work of local congregations in world mission. From these initial meetings, the World Mission Initiative was born.
In April 1996 a group of Presbyterians came together at Pittsburgh Seminary to discuss theological and practical issues related to Presbyterian missions. The catalyst for the meeting was Dr. Glendora Paul, a mission advocate who had previously worked with Presbyterian Women in the Synod of the Trinity, who in 1995 became a mission volunteer at PTS. Retired missionaries, two former moderators, Seminary faculty and administration, mission pastors, representatives from the Worldwide Ministries Division (WMD) of the Presbyterian Church (former name of the PC USA World Mission Agency), and others met to discuss what could be done to help provide leadership which would serve the local congregations and the Division. The response to this first meeting was very positive; in fact it was overwhelming. It was clear that shifting cultural and ecclesial trends necessitated new structures for mission in the denomination.
After this first meeting an advisory board was formed, leadership was chosen, and purposes were established: The World Mission Initiative is dedicated to developing mission vision, nurturing missionary vocations, and cultivating missional congregations. In short, WMI is a regional body standing in the gap between the Seminary and local congregations to build confidence and responsible mission involvement.
|Meet Our Staff
The Rev. Dr. Hunter Farrell, Director
Hunter Farrell is the director of the World Mission Initiative at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Hunter brings 30 years of experience to the position. He has been a professor in DR Congo, coordinator of the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s mission work in East and West Africa, community organizer addressing issues of poverty and justice in Peru, and director of World Mission for the PC (USA) in Louisville. Farrell attended Pontificia Universidad Católica (doctor of anthropology), École Pratique des Hautes (post-graduate diploma), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and the University of Texas at Austin (BA).
Lisa Bunting, Administrative and Program Assistant
Lisa Bunting is the administrative and program assistant to World Mission Initiative. She previously served at PTS as the welcome center and events director. Lisa is passionate about social justice and women’s leadership both nationally and internationally. She loves to travel on leisure and religious intercultural trips, and views them as necessary as she aspires to become a "responsible global citizen." Previously, she served as vice president of the Business & Professional Women’s Club of Greater Pittsburgh, as a community organizer for Ntosake of the Gamaliel National Network, and as a board member for the Voter Empowerment Education & Enrichment Movement, Pittsburgh (VEEEM). Lisa holds a bachelor's in marketing from West Chester University and has experience in community engagement, marketing, event management, and community organizing.
The Rev. Balajiedlang (Bala) Khyllep, Associate Director
Bala Khyllep is the associate director of the World Mission Initiative of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Bala grew up in Northeast India. He belongs to a Khasi people group, which is an indigenous group that was evangelized by the Welsh Presbyterian missionaries back in the 1840s. He attended Shillong College, India, for his Bachelor of Science; Serampore College, India, for his Bachelor of Divinity (equivalent to M.Div.); and Princeton Theological Seminary for his Master of Theology. Prior to joining WMI, Bala co-pastored a church along with his wife in Britton, South Dakota. Bala enjoys working with people from different cultures and he is excited for the opportunity to engage churches in the area and students at PTS in global and cross-cultural mission.
|World Mission Initiative
616 North Highland Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Lisa Bunting, WMI Staff
The Rev. Chad Collins '05, Chair, Valley View Presbyterian Church
Keea Dorsey, Eastminster Presbyterian Church
The Rev. Boyd Edmondson, First Presbyterian Church, Marienville
The Rev. Hunter Farrell, WMI Staff
The Rev. Bala Khyllep, WMI Staff
Dr. Scott Hagley, PTS Faculty, Ex-officio
The Rev. Todd Leach, Westminster Presbyterian Church
Dr. AnneMarie Mingo, PTS Staff, Ex-officio
The Rev. Dennis Molnar, Unity Presbyterian Church
The Rev. Ben Nti '17, Westmont Presbyterian Church
John Shortridge, Former PTS Board member
The Rev. Ayana Teter, PTS Staff, Ex-officio
Victoria Wellstead '22, PTS Board
Hannah Ostlund, PTS Student, Ex-officio