Introduction: Simon Cozens (Worldview Centre)
What would it look like if our missionary training was guided and directed by love?
Lecturers loving their students, sharing their genuine selves and encouraging learning and equipping in knowledge and depth of insight (Phil 1:9).
Mission agencies: Trends, Needs and Training Practices
Coralie Preston (WEC Australia), Rev Dr Darrell Jackson (ECM/Morling), Jane Fairweather (Interserve), Woody Baker (Wycliffe)
- Mission recruits are increasingly diverse in terms of age, family status, profession and educational background.
- Training is becoming more flexible and being tailored to the individual candidates, taking into account their experience, and the role to which they are going.
- Bible college training continues to be a requirement for long-term mission candidates with an emphasis on theological reflection; resilience in spiritual formation; cross-cultural and missiology.
- The merging of education and vocation invites communication between the agency and trainers.
- Formal feedback channels from agencies to training bodies are vital for ensuring that candidates are receiving training that is fit for purpose.
- Cultivating a “community missiology” for a team as opposed to a more individualistic missiology for missionaries.
Connecting Pre-field and On-field training
Rev. Tim Meyers (MST) + Liz Hentschel (WEC Australia)
- Trends in pre field training - superficial and naive approaches to training driven by a “drive through window” approach to profiled preparation; an identified decrease in biblical literacy; current processes are becoming more holistic and more nuanced around mission identity rather than mission vocation.
- Trends in on-field training - a greater emphasis and expectation for life-long learning; increased mentoring and training plans.
- The commitment of team/field leadership is essential in positive and production on infield training.
- Missionaries that have an awareness and are reflective in their ecclesiology will inevitably have a refined missiology.
- Collaborative relationships, that promote reflection, with theological educators and agencies will enhance both the pre- and on-field education opportunities.
Learning to Come Home: Re-entry and Debrief
Marie Pearce (WEC Australia)
- Debriefing is essential for the health of missionaries and their children/families.
- Debriefing can, and should, be offered at all stages of transition (i.e. completion of training to field preparation; exiting an agency). Debriefing is finished when the participants feel it is finished.
- Debriefing develops self-awareness, builds self reflection and processing abilities.
- There is a role for training organisations to include debriefing practices in their curriculums as preparation for missionary/ministry candidates.
- Debriefing can take multiple forms (professional counselling, organic relational debriefing, simple conversation). Individuals may require one or all of these formats.
Responding to Australia's Changing Academic Climate
Panel Discussion: David Turnbull (Tabor); Delle Matthews (MST)
- Addressed trends and issues arising from the contemporary climate in the higher education sector in Australia which impact missionary training
- Numerous stakeholders for colleges to consider in delivering missionary training.
- External standards impact on college programs and operations in regard to teaching, research, quality assurance, marketing, course completion (reduce attrition), delivery possibilities (nested courses, multi-mode learning and off-shore) and course/curriculum management.
- The importance of experiential learning for intercultural engagement..
- With increased attention on online learning and use of technology, new opportunities exist to move beyond the standard blended learning and to support experiential learning eg virtual/augmented reality
- Work Integrated Learning provides insights for the value, logistics and best practices for intercultural based experiences. New approaches include internships, partnerships, and hackathons.
Mission Training as Transformation
Dr Christoph Ochs - Worldview Centre
- The Great Commission instructs us to “teach them to obey” - a process of spiritual transformation rather than a cognitive function. Spiritual formation has often been peripheral to theological education.
- Love is the overriding attribute that we want to develop in our students. Trainers must model this in those they disciple - becoming spiritual parents to those their classrooms.
- Networking, relationship. member care, debriefing, discipleship are all aspects of love.