Glenn Schwartz is the founder and Executive Director Emeritus of WMA. Glenn was born in York, Pennsylvania in 1938 and was reared on a farm. He graduated from high school in 1956. After several years of employment, Glenn graduated from Messiah College, Grantham, Pennsylvania in 1965.
During the 1960’s, Glenn became alarmed with unhealthy dependency related to missions in Central Africa where he and his wife Verna served as missionaries for seven and half years with the Brethren in Christ Church in both Zambia and Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia). In 1971, Glenn and Verna returned to the USA. Glenn earned a Master of Missiology degree at Fuller Theological Seminar from The School of Mission in Pasadena, CA. He then served in The School of Mission from 1973 to 1979.
Following several years in commercial business in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Glenn founded WMA in 1983 and served as the Executive Director from 1983 to 2012. His teaching, writing, consulting, and traveling ministry gave voice to the foundational idea that Biblical and practical methods of cross-cultural ministry should rely upon the use of local resources, development of local leadership, local funding, and local decision making. Throughout the years, Glenn has traveled extensively conducting seminars and consultations on unhealthy dependency and Spirit-led self-reliance for church and mission leaders in Africa and Europe, and has visited Asia, Australia, the Pacific Islands and Latin America in the interest of missions.
Many mission leaders and missionaries were relieved to discover that someone had identified a problem that they saw and experienced, but which they had not clearly defined. Many church leaders, especially in Africa, found deep encouragement and hope through the work of Glenn addressing unhealthy dependency issues. Requests for seminars and consultations resulted in life-changing conversations and healthy changes in ministries. Institutions were put in the hands of local leaders and churches became self-supporting.
Requests for Glenn to speak on the issues of unhealthy dependency and Spirit-led self-reliance increased significantly, so WMA responded by producing and making available a video series consisting of eight hours of lectures on Dependency Among Mission Established Institutions.
In 2007, Glenn wrote a book about avoiding or overcoming unhealthy dependency in the Christian movement entitled When Charity Destroys Dignity, based on his experience and research of many years working on the mission field.
Currently, Glenn continues to minister in the Christian movement through writing, teaching, traveling, and consulting. Glenn and Verna have entered a new chapter in ministry through working with Immerge ministries in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which provides pre-field training for overseas Christian workers.
Click below to read about the major events in the life of WMA and Glenn Schwartz’s personal journey.