Question about Missionary Training for missionaries:
"What types of training should I consider?"
Options include secular colleges and universities, Christian liberal arts colleges and universities, Bible colleges, correspondence study (consider World Christian Foundations), and Christian graduate schools and seminaries.
Whatever avenue of training or study you choose, it can be a rich phase of your life. It's a time when lifelong friends are made and life partners are often found. Surrounded by like-minded teachers and students, you'll find freedom and support to test your calling and refine the direction of your life.
Answer excerpted from The Global Mission Handbook, by Steve Hoke and Bill Taylor.
I've found that regularly participating in the church and its outreach efforts is essential. A good hour or more each day in prayer and Bible reading has also proven profitable. Small groups are another key way to grow.
As for a training curriculum, the best education I've received has been through World Christian Foundations from William Carey International University. It's largely a correspondence school with the benefit of a local face-to-face mentor and then the opportunity to apply the training by teaching someone else.
This method has enabled me to remain active in the community and to learn from a thoroughly mission-oriented curriculum. Think creatively about learning, and remember that the goal is service, not academic credentials.
The classes at Bible school were just what I needed. I found a new fascination for the Old Testament. The mission and evangelism classes were challenging and demanding, with all the memorization, but later I realized how valuable those Scripture passages were to my daily life. The doctrine classes were revealing as I learned about the different doctrinal beliefs. At school, we had the opportunity to not only study and work on the campus but also to take part in outreach ministries. All these areas shaped my life more than I could imagine. It is one thing to know God's Word; it's another to live it and to explain God's truths to others who have never heard them. That was twenty years ago. Those preparation years at discipleship training school, Bible school, my year of internship, and then my hands-on training on the field were life-changing.
Excerpted from Scaling the Wall: Overcoming Obstacles to Missionary Involvement, by Kathy Hicks.
Phil Casey graduated from a Christian college and went straight to Chile to serve as a missionary involved in evangelism, church planting, and leadership training. During his first two years, he learned through trial and error. He felt unprepared to meet some of the challenges he encountered on the field. So he chose to attend an evangelical seminary. "The education I received at seminary helped me see the bigger picture and gave me a chance to explore the questions that had been raised during my first two years on the field."
Having been on the field first allowed Casey to directly apply his education to his ministry of establishing a theological-education-by-extension program for national church leaders. "The thesis I wrote was directly related to what I had done and was planning to do on the mission field, so this gave me great confidence and insight, as well as practical tools for my future work," Casey says. Casey believes both academic instruction and practical experience are essential for ministry preparation and success. "The two years between Bible college and seminary were vital in helping me 'see the questions' before someone tried to 'give me the answers.' They made me hungry for answers, prepared me for the rigors of graduate-level study, and gave me a context in which to apply what I was learning."
My undergraduate school was a secular one, but I found the support of the Christian community there invaluable. I learned how to foster my faith in an environment that wasn't always supportive of it, which is a great skill for those who see themselves overseas. In fact, that was probably a time in my life that I experienced the most spiritual growth.
I felt the call toward missions and pursued a profession (medicine) to make that happen. Getting professional training has been invaluable. During medical school, I was again required to grow my faith in a secular environment. It also taught me the value of social justice in missions and that Christ partnered spiritual ministry with tangible care for others.
There are many ways to train and give yourself a truly unique offering to those you choose to serve. Consider skills that many parts of the world lack: facility maintenance, healthcare, aviation, infrastructure or logistics planning, education and the list goes on.
Four Fields encompasses the idea of a farmer entering a field, spreading seed broadly, waiting for that seed to grow and helping it mature, gathering the crop into bundles, and then using the best seed to be sent out into new fields. Mark 4. The first field is the entry, your mission field. How do we engage lostness? The second, is spreading the seed. AKA, sharing the gospel. We use tools such as the three-circles since it is reproducible. Our goal is to not only make disciples, but to multiply them as well. The third field is discipleship. Meeting with the new believer, and teaching him to obey such as what is commanded in the Great Commission Matthew 28:18-20, and the last field, is church. Gathering believers to create a healthy church. From there, leaders are raised up out of these churches and sent into new fields, thus creating creating a reproducible cycle.
Jesus never said you needed a Bible degree to do ministry. Most of the disciples were laymen with a heart of obedience and a God-sized vision to see nations come to Christ. Be a good steward of your money which is truly God’s money, and practice what you hope to accomplish somewhere else, at home.
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