PREPARATION AND TRAINING PATH:ESSENTIAL STEPS IN THE PROCESS
by Steve Hoke and Bill Taylor The following excerpts are from the new WEF Missions Commission title,
Send Me!Your Journey to the Nations
, by Steve Hoke and Bill Taylor. This practical manual targets people, both young and older, who are willing to go as missionaries but are unsure how to get there. The article should be read with the understanding that the two authors are writing for a North American audience. Hence, some of the items are par- ticular to that context. However, the general structure of the publication has validity in many cultures. The book may be ordered from William Carey Library, P.O. Box 40129, Pasadena, CA 91114, phone 1-800- MISSION, 1-626-798-0819, e-mail <orders@ WCLBooks.com>. 144 pp. US$7.95.
here are three major phases of missionary preparation and train-ing. Each of these has a number of steps that go together. They can beclustered in the following manner:
Phase 1: Getting Ready Stretching
Personal spiritual formation(being)
Body boost: getting on-the-job experience at home(doing)
Exposure to other cultures(doing)
Basic education (knowing)
Phase 2: Getting There Linking
Church and agency contactand candidacy
Ministry assignment search
Hands-on missionary training
Phase 3: Getting Established Bonding
Apprenticeships and internships
PHASE 1: Getting Ready Stretching
Step 1: Personal spiritual formation
Who you areyour character andspiritual formation as a disciple of JesusChristis essential to the role you willplay and to what you do in missions.Clarifying your basic commitment, your call, and your spiritual gifts and mak-ing sure your spiritual foundation issolid are necessary first steps to ensurean effective journey. Finding a personalmentor early on in this journey is foun-dational to starting well.
Step 2: Body boost: Getting on-the-job experience at home
Understanding your churchsunique missions vision and finding your place and gifted role in it arecritical to your ultimate effectiveness inextending the church into other cul-tures. Making disciples in your homeculture will hone your ministry skillsand help sharpen your spiritual gifted-ness before serving in a cross-culturalsetting. Investing financially in missions will accelerate your own education andestablish a lifelong habit.
Step 3: Exposure to other cultures
Growing up in only one culturelimits our ability to understand others,appreciate diversity, and learn other languages. Frankly, being mono-cultural is really boring for todaysglobal citizen in a pluralistic society. Sogain some early cross-cultural expo-sure. It will stretch your mental, physi-cal, and spiritual muscles and will help you understand and accept people of other cultures. Its also an invaluablecrucible for testing your gifts, your pas-sions, your dreams, and your capacity for a longer-term commitment.
Step 4: Basic education
Academic preparation for a short- or long-term ministry needs to be custom-ized to your experience, skills, andgifts. What kind of formal training andeducation do you need for missionstoday, whether at the level of voca-tional or professional equipping? Whatsteps can you take at this point that willbroaden your worldview and enrich your basic educational background?
PHASE 2: Getting There Linking
Step 5: Church and agency contact and candidacy
What sending group or team(church or agency) is the best fit for youas the vehicle for service? Your best work is not a solo effort. What kind of team do you need to make you mosteffective and to help you grow themost? What kind of team leader do youneed to stay focused and effective? What are the options? How do youthink through the various possibilities?
Step 6: Ministry assignment search
Related to the question of the mis-sion sending group are the questions of location, people group, and specificrole on a church planting team that Godis asking you to fulfill in reaching others with the gospel. Who are they? Whereare they? How can your gifts be used
Volume 99, Number 1August 1999 Occasional bulletin of the INTERNATIONAL MISSIONARY TRAINING FELLOWSHIP,a global network of programs and individuals dedicated to training for cross-cultural ministry.Editor: Jonathan Lewis, PO Box WEF, Wheaton IL 60189, USA; E-mail: <JonathanLewis@xc.org>
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