International Migration a Global Missional Challenge

In their newly released annual report for 2020, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has estimated some 272 million people globally (two-thirds of them labor migrants) are living outside their countries of birth. It is significant that this estimated number and proportion of international migrants in 2020 has already surpassed former projections made for the year 2050. What does this promise for world evangelization?

By Grant McClung

The IOM stated that the overwhelming majority of people are migrating internationally for reasons related to work, family, and study. A growing number over past years have left their homes and countries for sometimes compelling and tragic reasons such as conflict, persecution, and disaster. Those include refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) whose numbers doubled in the two decades between 2000 and 2020 (

Evangelicals and Pentecostals in the Great Commission community have marked this developing global phenomenon. Their proactive initiatives in mercy ministries, evangelism, and church planting among “people on the move” is known as diaspora missions. Their strategic, prayerful reflection upon this trend has contributed to an emerging missiological discipline called diaspora missiology. They are collaborative participants in such networks as the Lausanne Movement for World Evangelization ( and the Global Diaspora Network (, which provide ongoing resourcing through consultations and published resources.

Pentecostal missionaries and missiologists bear witness to God’s missional intent through this pervasive phenomenon of global diaspora. They assert that the sovereign God of history has orchestrated this missional moment and is superintending one of the most massive evangelistic opportunities in world missions history. They indicate that intentional global scattering by the Holy Spirit develops unprecedented receptivity among peoples living beyond their borders and deploys evangelistic workers through creative, unexpected means. Pentecostals believe this is consistent with the patterns among the people of God and surrounding nations evidenced in scripture and chronicled in the modern Pentecostal world missions story.

Dr. Grant McClung, President of Missions Resource Group, is a member of the Executive Committee of the World Missions Commission of the Pentecostal World Fellowship, and international missionary educator with Church of God World Missions. His world missions publications and resources are available online at

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