The Society of the Divine Word or SVD missionaries work primarily where the Gospel has not been preached at all, or only insufficiently, and where the local Church is not yet viable on its own. The SVD's membership reflects the international nature of the congregation and representative of the areas of the world they serve. The SVD missionaries serve according to the needs of the local Church and the particular expertise they bring to the task.
In Asia, the SVDs are involved in education, especially in the Philippines and Japan. They are also involved in pastoral and developmental work, and other specialized ministries such as Bible apostolate, the youth, communications, and refugee apostolate in Africa and South America. Their work in the United States involves the minority communities, especially African-American and Hispanic communities, as well as poor areas such as Appalachia.