World Vision

   World Vision is a Christian missionary organization that has specialized in relief and development work and service to the overall missionary movement among Evangelical Christians. It was founded in 1950 by Robert "Bob" W. Pierce (1914-78), a minister in the Church of the
   Nazarene, in response to the plight of children orphaned by the Korean War. It began with a child sponsorship program, which was carried to other countries, first in Asia and then in Africa and South America.
   In the 1960s, it expanded its work to include relief efforts following natural disasters. A subsidiary agency, World Vision Relief Organization, delivered food grants from the U.S. government and merchandise donated by large corporations. Pierce resigned in 1967 over objections to his management style. He later founded Samaritan's Purse, an organization with goals similar to World Vision.
   During that period, World Vision leaders were also considering ways they could help the burgeoning Evangelical missionary endeavor. Under the leadership of Ted Engstrom and Ed Dayton, the Missions Advanced Research and Communications Center (MARC) was opened, to apply computers to rationalize the somewhat chaotic world of global missions, with its hundreds of independent agencies. MARC compiled a mission handbook, including key data about North American-based sending agencies, and about unreached peoples, as defined in the Lausanne Covenant. MARC subsequently established an office in Europe, which began compiling data on the state of European Christianity.
   In the meantime, World Vision enlarged its own work in developing countries with a new focus on breaking the cycle of poverty in defined communities. It began with vocational and agricultural training programs and funds to seed small businesses, and evolved into more expansive community development programs aimed at self-sufficiency. Thus, when famine struck in Ethiopia, World Vision sent massive assistance to alleviate the immediate problem, and as the famine receded, created programs to help survivors rebuild their lives and restore land most affected by drought.
   In 1995, World Vision, today the largest Christian relief agency in the world, moved its headquarters to suburban Seattle, Washington. One of the most respected of mission agencies, it continues both its relief and development programs and its cutting-edge research on the missionary enterprise. MARC has pioneered consciousness-raising efforts among missionary personnel about the living conditions of the people they are trying to evangelize, including problems of HIV/AIDS, war, child exploitation, and hunger. As World Vision has expanded, so has MARC, which in 2003 changed its name to World Vision Resources.
   As of 2003, World Vision was working in more than 100 countries.
   See also faith missions.
   Further reading:
   ■ Richard Gehman, Let My Heart Be Broken... With the Things That Break the Heart of God. The Story of World Vision and Dr. Bob Pierce (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1960)
   ■ Minnette Northcutt and Dotsey Weliver, eds., Mission Handbook: U.S. and Canadian Christian Ministries Overseas (Federal Way, Wash.: World Vision Resources, 2004) regularly updated.

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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