Working overseas

Mission partners are recruited by the World Mission Council in response to requests received from our partner churches in Malawi, Zambia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Israel/Palestine and Pakistan. Find out more about where our mission partners work.

Our partner churches are involved in quite specific projects and often ask for highly skilled and experienced people from such professions as ministers, lecturers, nurses, doctors, teachers, social workers, administrators, accountants and development workers.

If you are doing medical training and considering spending your medical elective period in another country, you can find out more here about how to arrange this.

Current Vacancies

There are no vacancies at this time.

The job description for the role is listed under each vacancy along with our application forms. Please complete both Application Form A and Application Form B and send to or print and post (marked 'private and confidential') to Human Resources, Church of Scotland, 121 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 4YN.

Please save the forms to your device before filling them in and returning them to us. If you encounter any difficulties when editing them, please download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Recruitment Process

The recruitment process begins when an individual offers their support to the Council. Our Partner Churches are then contacted to enquire where they may need support.

Due to the nature of the positions that we recruit for and the associated level of assessment involved, it should be noted that the recruitment process can take up to 8 months, however this is not the case with all vacancies.


Interviewing is carried out by members of the World Mission Council (WMC), World Mission Departmental staff and a representative from the Church of Scotland Human Resources Department.

Prior to interview, short-listed candidates, and their family where applicable, are asked to complete questionnaires sent out by our partners Healthlink 360, who act as the Council's medical officers.

If successful at interview

If successful at interview, the candidate will then be asked to attend for a medical at Healthlink 360. This is to assess the candidate's physical fitness to work overseas. Where spouse/family members intend to accompany the successful candidate overseas they are asked to attend for a medical to ensure their own suitability for living overseas. Follow-up psychological assessment is done by Healthlink 360 exploring further the paper exercise completed prior to interview. Successful candidates may also have a period of training in mission and cross-cultural issues prior to departure.


Q: What is a mission partner?

A: Our mission partners are the overseas personnel of the World Mission Council (WMC). They work in various roles with our partner churches and institutions in Malawi, Zambia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Israel/Palestine and Pakistan.

Q: How long will I go for?

A: The most common contract length is four years and eight months. Approval of the Council is required for a contract of less than 2 years.

Q: What is the reason behind the contract lengths?

A: Our aim is to use mission partners to build capacity in our partner churches around the globe and not for the partner churches to become reliant on our mission partners.

These contract terms give the mission partner the ability to settle in and make a difference, but are not too long so as to avoid dependency issues.

Where the contract is 4 years and 8 months long the time will generally be divided as follows:

two years overseas; followed by four months leave in the UK (2 months holiday, 2 months deputation/work); followed by two years overseas; followed by four months leave in the UK (2 months holiday, 2 months deputation/work)

Q: Will my travel expenses be paid for?

A: The WMC will cover the following travel expenses:

  • Travel from the UK to the country of appointment
  • Travel back to the UK every 2 years, or between contracts
  • Travel home on the completion of the mission partner's final contract

Q: Will I have to continue to pay National Insurance Contributions?

A: No. National Insurance contributions are paid on behalf of the Mission Partner by the WMC.

Q: Will I be provided with medical insurance cover?

A: Yes. Mission Partners are provided with a comprehensive medical insurance policy, subject to approval from the WMC's medical insurance provider.

Q: Is there a pension scheme?

A: World Mission Council has a defined contribution pension agreement available for eligible employees. This is not contracted out for the purpose of any state pension provision. Overseas staff are required to complete a questionnaire to see if they are eligible to join the  scheme.  If it is not  possible World Mission Council will pay an equivalent amount which could be used for personal pension provision arrangements.

Where our mission partners work


Scottish links with what is now Zambia go back to the 19th century when many people responded to David Livingstone's call for people to go Africa to end slavery through Christianity and commerce. The Church of Scotland was one of seven churches that joined together in 1965 to form the United Church of Zambia and UCZ remains our partner church.

UCZ's 18 presbyteries cover the whole of this landlocked country. In addition to traditional parish activities UCZ runs schools and colleges, a theological seminary, vocational training programmes, hospitals, poverty mitigation projects and promotes Christian and theological education of lay people - especially important in a church of 850,000 members in over 1,200 congregations that is largely led by lay people.

Israel and Palestine

The World Mission Council's work in Israel and Palestine involves a number of Centres within the region. All have the same central purpose of delivering the objectives of the World Mission Council. The Centres referred to are:

  • St Andrew's Scottish Guesthouse, Jerusalem
  • Tabeetha School, Jaffa
  • The Scots Hotel, Tiberias

In addition to the three Centres mentioned above, the Church also undertakes a wider ministry within the region through the presence of a 'Parish Grouping' of the two congregations, St Andrew's Scots Memorial Church, Jerusalem, with St Andrew's Church, Tiberias.


The World Mission Council's primary partner in Nepal is United Mission to Nepal (UMN). UMN is a co-operative effort between the people of Nepal and a large number of Christian organisations from 18 countries in four different continents. Established in 1954, it seeks to serve the people of Nepal in the Name and Spirit of Christ. Areas of work include Conflict Transformation, Food Sovereignty, Disaster Management, HIV/AIDS, Organisational Development, Enterprise Development, Women and Children.

Visit for further information, including details of current opportunities for service. If you wish to apply for any of the positions posted on the UMN website, please download our World Mission application form.