Question about Missionary Training for missionaries:
"As an African-American is there anything specific I should learn about being sent as a missionary overseas?"
However, in certain countries, racism is still very much an issue. For example, in Russia beatings and murders of non-white residents are common enough to warrant a mention on the US State Department's travel site.
Before traveling abroad, it is best to be aware of any such issues.
Do you have Bible training? This is important. There are several routes. In Philadelphia, where I live, there are some churches, especially African American, that run their own Bible schools geared to those who are working full time, so the schools are in the evening. Traditional Bible schools are also found around the country.
Your racial background is a non-factor. General preparation is what you need.
The Reconciliation Ministries Network helps evangelical churches establish and pursue their global mission priorities. They can help you find agencies specifically seeking African-Americans for cross-cultural ministry.
African American mission executives helped to refine a survey that was sent to African American cross-cultural missionaries to determine reasons for the under representation of Blacks (African Americans) in intercultural missions. A theory is proposed and supported from findings that the core worldview value of survival / security in current African-American culture explains the under-representation. Implications for recruitment of African American missionaries are given for both Black and White mission recruiters as well as recommendations to the Church to remedy deeper issues of racism (read the report).
Editor's note: See also the books Profiles of African American Missionaries and African-American Experience in World Mission: A Call Beyond Community. The National African American Mission Conference meets annually and is led and attended by those who share these concerns.
I did not think that I could not go because I was black.
I did not think that I could not go because I poor.
I did not think that I could not go because I didn’t speak the language.
I did not think that I could not go because I had no education.
I did not think that I could not go because I had no mission organization sending me.
He said go and that He would be with me unto the end of the world! I thought... what more do I need? I can’t get out of God’s will by obeying His word! So my wife and two children moved into the sums of the Dominican Republic with nothing but a desire to share the Good News!
Twenty-four years later... 29 churches later... four Christian K-12 schools and 450 students later... ... a Bible Training Institute, Water Purification Plant, Youth Mentorship Program-Sports Evangelism, Agricultural Projects, and Missions Center later...
I am still black, still poor, still have no formal education, and still have no missions organization funding me accept the one I started.
His promise still stands today! "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
His love is the root, sacrifice is the fruit of missions!
One thing I would say is not to focus on being African-American, but focus on being a follower of Jesus Christ. The Great Commission is universal; it goes far beyond race, culture, gender, etc. God is the God over all and he expects us all to obey.
Depending on where you serve, you might encounter some racism still. This gives you a great opportunity to show the love of Christ and any resentment or bitterness you might feel needs to be left at his feet.
You should prepare well. Learn the language of the country you are going to and take some classes in cross-cultural communications. Most agencies also require that you are near to, if not completely, debt-free. Most agencies may also require that you have some level of Biblical training. I would recommend that you also take a Perspectives course. And most of all: Pray and trust the Lord's guidance.
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