Worldwide support of mission and ecumenism

The “List of Needs” is the EMW’s funding program, which is supported by grants from Protestant state churches and free churches. The focus is on the promotion of mission-ecumenical programs and projects of global, continental and national associations of churches and church-related organizations as well as theological education worldwide.

© Photo: fotomek/stock.adobe.com

A sign of ecumenical solidarity worldwide

Since the inception of the List of Needs, support for theological education has been a significant funding priority. Partner relationships range from large university associations in India to the local seminary in Cuba. In addition to theological education, applications from regional and national councils and federations of churches are supported, as are mission-related programs of global church associations (World Council of Churches, Lutheran World Federation, World Communion of Reformed Churches) and World Bible Aid. The focus of the fourth funding area, Public Relations and Education, is awakening interest, informing and promoting commitment to mission and ecumenism in the German churches and the general public.


  • List of Needs – an unusual name

    In 1963, the List of Needs was launched as a joint program of the Protestant state and free churches. In this way, they could participate in the ecumenical mission work of their partner churches around the world. Behind the unusual name of the funding mechanism are basic theological insights.

    Ecumenical sharing in the sense of Acts 4:32-35 was and is the basic idea that moved churches and missions to establish the List of Needs – that is, sharing the Good News and the God-given wealth of ideas, the engagement of people and of finances. From the beginning, it was clear that the churches in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Oceania were best placed to assess their tasks and needs. However, in order to avoid competition for the resources – which already at that time were insufficient to meet the need – the plan was to bring these needs into the consultations of the worldwide Christian associations. The “List” is thus an instrument of “sharing of resources” that has endured to this day and leads to a global view of how resources should be used to promote the tasks of mission and ecumenism regionally, nationally and locally.


  • Key Areas of Support

    Worldwide partners: In a significantly changing landscape of global Christianity, global partners, especially through their mission-related programs, retain a prominent role in the ecumenical movement.

    Theological education: Only through qualified training and continuing education of lay people, clergy and teachers, local churches and the ecumenical community can adequately meet the local and global challenges of the present. For this reason, this area of funding also receives additional funds from the Church Development Service.

    Continental partners and themes: Here, the focus is on short- and medium-term projects from a variety of partners, for example ecumenical encounters, programs on Christian-Muslim dialogue, and more. Through the funding, the partners are to be enabled, among other things, to respond to new church-mission and ecumenical challenges.

    Public relations and education: The insights and experiences in worldwide mission are to be reviewed in such a way that they contribute to strengthening the common mission responsibility of congregations and churches in our country. This includes, for example, the EMW publications, but also conferences on topics from the field of mission and ecumenism and educational events on these subjects.


  • Distribution of Funds

    A committee appointed by the EMW General Assembly stands for transparency in planning and allocation of funds. The Appropriations Committee deliberates and decides on the allocation of funds provided by the regional and free churches on the List of Needs. The EMW General Assembly has appointed eleven representatives of churches, member ministries and other persons with competencies in the funding areas to the committee. The units in the office work with the committee and accompany the projects.


List of Needs 2020

With a total of 5,296,219 euros, numerous ecumenical mission-related programs and projects around the world were supported again in 2020.

As worldwide partners, the World Council of Churches received 706,000 euros, the Lutheran World Federation 880,000 euros and the World Communion of Reformed Churches 200,000 euros for mission-related programs. World Bible Aid received 695,000 euros, the World Student Christian Federation 100,000 euros and the YMCA World Federation 15,000 euros.

Theological education worldwide was supported with a total of 2,075,145 euros. This includes 957,145 euros from the Evangelisches Werk für Diakonie und Entwicklung (EWDE).

Short- and medium-term projects of continental partners were supported with 408,500 euros. Measures in the field of public relations and education were supported with 216,574 euros.

For Transparency and against Corruption

Corruption destroys lives, violates human dignity and hinders social development. That is why the organizations under the EMW umbrella are committed to transparency and participation and to the common fight against any form of embezzlement, misappropriation and corruption.

Learn more

The EMW newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date.
(only available in German)