Question about Missionary Training for missionaries:
"What degree or major in university would be most helpful to have on the mission field?"
1. University prepares a person more for life than for a job, though it does help to orient and guide toward a job. So a helpful background for ministry or missions would be in the humanities, probably as broad as possible.
Fields such as history, literature, psychology, anthropology (especially cultural anthropology), and perhaps even sociology prepare you to understand people, their culture, and their basic ideas and needs. If you plan to attend graduate school, I highly encourage you to pick a major in one of the above fields, take the minimum courses required in that major, and then take electives in the other fields listed above.
2. A second consideration has to do with you as a person. Exploring your interests in depth may prepare you well for the unique place of ministry for which God has made you and is preparing you.
3. A third, and often neglected, aspect of preparation has to do not so much with a major as with exposure. I urge you to make friends with people who are different than you (other races, other cultures), participate in a mission trip, and get involved in ministry on campus. Learn how to develop your own spiritual life, how to share the gospel, how to answer the tough questions, and how to help a new Christian grow.
These are skills you'll use all your life, and there is no better place to learn them than right where you are. I encourage you to move into the dorms or some other incarnational evangelism position, where you live with people whom you might not have chosen to be your friends.
A degree that open doors in nearly every creative-access country is an MA in TESOL (teaching English). The downside is that often, a career in TESOL will not encourage one to learn the local language and engage the community family structure.
A degree that allows one to translate the Bible or help with Community Health Education (CHE) may be more strategic than ESL in that it gives us access to communities and at times favor with the government.
For someone eager to become a missionary, my agency can work with almost any university degree, including history, psychology, philosophy, and business. If you're studying at a secular school, then get involved with Christian campus groups and receive valuable ministry training.
Finally, I recommend taking a language at university. If you can take one language for four years, wonderful; two languages for two years each, almost as wonderful; or one language for two years, still good. You may never use that particular language overseas, but the practice of learning another language will assist you in whatever language you later will need to learn.
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