Committed to the Mission
A conversation with Greg Mundis, who recently retired as executive director of Assemblies of God World Missions.Three years ago, it seemed unlikely Gregory M. Mundis would complete his third four-year term as Assemblies of God World Missions (AGWM) executive director.
During March 2020, as the first patient with COVID-19 in a Springfield, Missouri, hospital, Mundis nearly died three times. He spent 60 days in four hospitals and underwent an additional seven weeks in outpatient rehabilitation.
Yet while immobilized in a hospital bed, Mundis recalled the words of Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord … will rejoice over you with singing.”
Mundis attributes his full recovery to the grace of God and prayers from thousands of people. Now 72, he retired at the end of September. John L. Easter was elected as new AGWM leader during General Council.
The pandemic was a pivotal event not only for Mundis, but also for AGWM overall. More than three years after the onset, the movement of some global workers remains constrained.
“COVID-19 has impacted our global workers beyond the emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual issues,” Mundis says. “Government policies have restricted their leaving or arriving in several countries.”
Nevertheless, he says global workers have been resilient, devising new methods of spreading the gospel. Mundis presides over a missionary force of 2,640 across 252 nations, territories and provinces.
Throughout his tenure, Mundis placed a strong emphasis on unreached people groups, establishing indigenous churches, upgrading global worker training, and restructuring for a more effective and efficient organization.
“In addition, the partnership with U.S. Missions and Chi Alpha in the World Missions Summit has been a great feeder of workers into the world’s harvest fields,” Mundis says. “The MA (Missionary Associate) program has accelerated our efforts to identify men and women who have a call of God for overseas service.”
Under Mundis, AGWM also has strengthened relationships with national Pentecostal fellowships around the world. Thus, when the Russia-Ukraine war broke out, pastors and laypeople in Poland drove vehicles to the Ukrainian border, collected displaced citizens, and housed them in churches. Likewise, AGWM’s partner in Germany established more than 30 congregations among Ukrainian refugees who fled into that country.
While some denominations have abandoned church planting and evangelism, Mundis insists they remain crucial to AGWM’s purpose.
“Our mission is to establish the Church among all peoples everywhere by reaching, planting, training and serving,” Mundis says. “This integrated pattern isn’t archaic; it’s biblical. Nothing can replace global workers sharing the good news.”
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies from Central Bible College and serving a four-year stint as youth pastor at Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, Mundis and his wife, Sandie, became AG missionaries to Austria in 1980. They served there 18 years, co-founding Vienna Christian Center, which now has more than 2,000 weekly attendees.
Following seven years as area director for Central Europe, Mundis in 1998 became the first AGWM regional director for Europe. In 2011, he succeeded the retiring L. John Bueno as AGWM executive director.
Along the way, Mundis earned a master’s degree in theology from Assemblies of God Theological Seminary and a doctorate in ministry from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
Compared to when Mundis began his missionary service, those spreading the gospel around the world face increasing opposition, including rising nationalism and tribalism, deepened geopolitical and historical divisions, sectarian extremism, difficulties obtaining visas, and growing numbers of people viewing Christians as a detrimental force in society. The latter also can be a problem in the U.S.
“The rapid deconstruction of our American morals and traditions, as well as a growing class of people skeptical of Christianity and the Great Commission, has challenged evangelical believers to update their apologetic of Scripture,” Mundis says. “How do we communicate with a society that is in deconstruction mode without being perceived as bigots or racists?”
Even so, Mundis is bullish on the future of AGWM, saying the agency is poised for increased efficacy among unreached, lost and underserved people groups.
“I believe doors closed to the gospel will be cracked open,” Mundis says. “Although I see a lot of difficult storms in the future, I see a lot of sunshine, too. The fields are ripe unto harvest.”
Mundis believes the best is yet to come for AGWM because of a growing workforce, generous donors, and faithful prayer partners.
“I’m not retiring from life or ministry, just my position,” Mundis says. “I am willing to serve where I am wanted or needed in the United States or overseas.”
Meanwhile, Mundis plans to spend more time with Sandie, his wife of 52 years, and the couple’s eight grandchildren — all of them teenagers.
When Mundis was hospitalized in 2020, his two children — Hollie McClaflin, then an overseas missionary, and Greg Jr., a surgeon — put their careers on hold and rushed to his side as he hovered between life and death for weeks.
“COVID taught me a new appreciation for the grace of God,” Mundis says. “It sharpened my focus again about reaching the unreached, particularly Buddhists and Hindus.”
That health scare wasn’t the first time Mundis realized his plans could be interrupted in a heartbeat. In addition to his brush with death during the pandemic, Mundis came close to dying from meningitis in 1963, a car crash in 1969, hepatitis in 1975, and a severe reaction to a shingles vaccine in 2017.
Each time, Mundis met the giant on the battlefield and by the grace of God triumphed.
“God is sovereign, and every time I’ve been spared, I’ve tried to find out the Lord’s next purpose for me,” Mundis says. “Until I die, God is in charge and has something left for me to finish.”
In 2022, Mundis wrote a Proverbs-based book, Wisdom to Lead: The Guided and Guarded Heart, specifically for his grandchildren.
In addidtion, Mundis wrote with Sandie, Patient # 1: Embracing Hope in Times of Despair. It details his traumatic COVID ordeal, which included double viral pneumonia, respiratory failure, kidney dialysis, a tracheostomy, sepsis, acute respiratory distress syndrome, fungemia, blood clots, and an induced coma. All proceeds from the book will benefit AGWM.
Assemblies of God General Superintendent Doug Clay says Mundis has been a great source of strength and encouragement to him.
“Greg’s burden for the lost and passion to finish the Great Commission is contagious,” Clay says. “Greg shares a commitment to see a healthy church in every community that is known for Bible engagement, Spirit empowerment, and missions participation.”
This article appeared in the Summer 2023 issue of Influence magazine. Used with Permission.