Philosophy of Ministry Training

Did you know that most missionaries only last about two years on the field? Statistics show the proper pre-field training greatly increases your chances of being more fruitful and staying on the mission field longer. We are absolutely committed to providing the best training possible so that our graduates can go serve all over the world and bear much fruit.

We take a balanced, holistic approach to missionary training and preparation. We purposely focus on integral ministry training: head (formal, classroom, theory), heart (informal, community, spiritual), and hands (non-formal, on-the-job, practical). Books like Integral Ministry Training as well as others studies and research explain that this is the best way to equip long-term laborers for the mission field.

Head (knowledge)

There are people running all over the globe with great intentions and a true love for the Lord but making a mess in the missions world! A little bit of Bible knowledge and some good missiology can go along way. We study God’s Word as well as books like When Helping Hurts, Church Planting Movements, and Eternity in Their Hearts to help us understand some of the best practices as we go out to make disciples of all nations. Head knowledge alone can be dangerous and maybe even isolate you from some of the people that you are wanting to reach as they may not be very educated at all. So, we do not want to overemphasize “book smarts” but having an understanding of things like worldview differences, world religions, how to learn a language, sharing your faith with a Muslim, church planting principles, and Scripture will be a huge help for serving overseas.

Heart (character)

The disciples were “uneducated, common men…that had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13) and used by the Lord to “turn the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). We know that apart from Him, we can do nothing. Because of this, a bit of our training is focused on learning to abide in Christ by becoming better disciples of His. We spend time in His Word, pray together, have corporate times of worship, have accountability groups, and our staff disciples the students. Spiritual growth best happens in the context of community, so all of our staff and students live within walking distance as we live out what it means to be the church and disciples of Christ. John Piper says “worship is the goal and the fuel of missions: missions exists because worship doesn’t.” The best way to prepare for missions is to cultivate a lifestyle of worship which is a high priority for us.

Hands (skill)

Patrick Lai, in his book Tentmaking, researched a lot of missionaries on the mission field and saw correlations between their fruitfulness on the field and things that were done before deployment. People that had worked with internationals before going overseas, people that had been discipled, people that had led someone to the Lord, and people that had led small group Bible studies did so much better on the mission field. Jesus showed us that the best way to learn to do ministry was modeling it for us and then sending us out to do it. Paul trained Timothy by mentoring and doing ministry together. We think that is the best way to prepare to become a missionary. Students spend at least twelve to fifteen hours per week participating in community service, teaching English, learning other languages, doing evangelism, providing discipleship, church planting in apartment complexes, helping with children’s programs, doing youth ministry, leading Bible studies, etc. On-the-job training is where the bulk of the training takes place as you will be discipled, coached, and mentored in the skills necessary to become a successful long-term missionary.

We want to live as a missional community spending just as much time doing missions as we are learning about missions. As we fall more in love with Jesus by individually and corporately praying, worshipping, spending time in His Word, and seeking first His kingdom, He will equip us with everything we need to go and make disciples of all nations. This is one of the most unique aspects of our missionary training as you get holistic training by studying cross-cultural principles and missions strategy in the classroom, coupled with hands-on missionary training on the field. And all of this happens while living in authentic Christian community.

We often compare our missionary training school to a medical school. We look for folks that have already gotten their “pre-med” in the local church by getting basic discipleship, a firm foundation in Christ and the Word, have been involved in some ministry, etc. We provide specialized training to help people learn how to do evangelism, discipleship, and church planting in a cross-cultural setting with people from other religions which is a special skill set that people do not get in most local churches. We also can help connect you to other on-the-field training opportunities through our partner agencies.

Missionary Training School is currently offered at our Atlanta and Richmond locations each spring (January) and fall (August). As God provides more laborers in the future, we hope to add missionary training schools in new cities as we start new bases. We also have an online missionary training school for those that are not able to make it to one of our existing locations.