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Washington: State with the Largest Christian Relief and Development Ministry

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While Washington might be home to fewer Christian ministries than other states, it has one of the largest and best known in the country. Coming in at eighth on the MinistryWatch list of the top 25 states with Christian ministries by revenue, Washington is home to 24 Christian ministries that together generate about $1.58 billion.

World Vision, founded in 1950, accounts for the lion’s share of that revenue. It generated $1.23 billion in 2020, and is well-known for its child sponsorship program, holiday gift catalog of handcrafted items made by artisans lifting themselves from poverty, and disaster relief.

According to its website, World Vision has helped provide access to clean water for 3.4 million people and works in nearly 100 countries around the world. It tops the MinistryWatch list of largest relief and development ministries. Its headquarters are in Federal Way.

But even before World Vision began its ministry, Crista Ministries began its work in Shoreline in 1948. Founder Mike Martin began by renovating an abandoned sanitorium that was then used to house both youth and elderly residents. Soon a Christian school was opened to provide Christian education to the young residents. Eventually, the family of ministries would add an international relief ministry, a media ministry, and youth camps. It is now headquartered in Seattle and has annual revenue of about $93 million.

Partners International dates its work to 1943 when it began as the China Native Evangelistic Crusade to allow “western Christians to fuel the vision of indigenous leaders in China.” The work expanded in the 1960s to include Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In the 1980s, it took the name Partners International.

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Today its work focuses on reaching the “3.2 billion people who have not yet had an opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel.” It took in over $16 million in revenue last year. Although it is still listed as a ministry in Spokane, the mailing address on Partners International website is Atlanta, Georgia, where its President and CEO Bryson Vogeltanz lives.

Seattle Pacific University (SPU), located in a residential area of the city, has an enrollment of about 3,600 students. It was founded in 1891 by the Free Methodist Church. Its mission states it is “a Christian university fully committed to engaging the culture and changing the world by graduating people of competence and character, becoming people of wisdom, and modeling grace-filled community.” Additionally, as part of its statement of faith, it claims to be orthodox, evangelical, distinctively Wesleyan, and ecumenical. In 2020, SPU took in almost $173 million in revenue.





World Vision, Inc., U.S.

Relief & Development

Federal Way


Seattle Pacific University




Crista Ministries

Community Development



Partners International

Foreign Missions



Children of the Nations

Foreign Missions



Yakima Union Gospel Mission

Rescue Missions



Tri-City Union Gospel Mission

Rescue Missions



All God’s Children International

Adoption/Foster Care



Vision House

Rescue Missions



Warm Beach Christian Camps

Camps/Conference Centers



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Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is a freelance writer who holds a Juris Doctorate from Baylor University. She has home schooled her three children and is happily married to her husband of 25 years.