The International Missionary Training Network

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Deb Scheuermann of the Mission Aviation Fellowship wrote, “One of the struggles our staff is having in learning to adjust to their new culture is learning to “unplug” from the US, due to social media (facebook, snapchat, facetime, skype,  etc.) and expectations from family & church.  Do you know of or have any resources that addresses these issues?”

Here is summary of posts received from IMTN members:

  • We must be focused on the task before us - of being missionaries where God has placed us and not let the internet distract us. God will help us as we take the decision. 
  • Discuss with co-workers some realistic limits and be accountable to each other to keep to them.
  • Consider a "fast" from the internet for three months on starting in a new place (e.g. checking email only once a week, no social networking or Internet surfing; not using phones other than speaking to family once a week. Not using music or Kindles either (except for help with spiritual matters). No movies. This helps focus on adjusting and not comparing everything with home. One may not realise how routine it is to check Facebook, email etc. It also stops one thinking about what is going on at home and helps to focus on things where we are serving God.
  • Share with friends/supporters back home may be some realistic expectations in terms of availability for social media contact.


  •  Rev. Sam Lazarus a missionary from India, currently involved in pastoral training


• It is a choice.
• It is personal.
• With God's grace all things are possible.
• If we take one step by faith God will lead 10 steps.
• We can achieve success in this matter.

Earlier on I used to take teaching assignments in remote places which did not have even phone facility much less internet. So I told myself, OK, I am coming out to these places to do God's work, and so He will take care of my family. If I do not contact them still they will be OK.

This thought helped me to stay calm in those places. We need to have our own restricted plan to get on the internet.

We need to ask ourselves a question, Is internet, Facebook, Twitter or email a Life threatening issue? Can I live without it? What I am come here for. If God returns tomorrow, can I answer Him saying, I was busy using my Facebook.

Taking up the cross and denying oneself in Mark 8:34 also include dying to these little things. We are after eternal things and glorious things, since we are in pursuit of such noble things, we need to and we have to - Unplug from our own culture.

To strike a balance we can visit our friends and contacts through these avenues on "limited" time that we know that is safe for us to stay focused. Any time we feel it is "little" too much we need to remember we have already crossed the safe boundary.

I hope this is helpful. If you need more dialogue you can call me at USA 646-327-0628.

May God bless you as you work through this.

Yours in His service,

Rev. Sam Lazarus




Mike Frith, Founding Director, OSCAR:


Mark Morgenstern - EFCA
"This question being asked is truly an issue for effective cross-cultural and “incarnational” ministry today. What will you let loose of (even though technology makes it that you don’t have to) for the sake of serving others in a new adopted cultural environment?"



Jonathan Lewis - Our missionary candidates are required to unplug for the first month of their cross-cultural internship except for reporting to the center or emergencies. This “fast” does help them to get more plugged-in to where they are.



Dr Omar Gava - COMIBAM: La sugerencia es que el viajero toma los primeros 4 semanas de su entrenamiento con un control fuerte sobre email, facebook, etc/ He escuchado de otras agencia y misiones que toma 4 - 6 meses de "ayuno digital" para los nuevos misioneros.

La idea es que así van a formar vínculos dentro de la nueva comunidad en vez de mantener su punto de contacto espiritual, emocional, y social en su tierra natal.


Samuel Chiang: While I do not know of resources, I do know this takes discipline and setting of boundaries.  From what I read from the quote, it would appear that the bigger issue is for people to say 'no'.


 Leiton Chinn: one thought is to share with my friends/supporters back home what may be some realistic expectations in terms of availability for social media contact.



In 1995 Ray Windsor published the 2nd edition of the World Directory of Missionary Training Programmes a catalogue of over 500 missionary training programmes from around the globe. This was one of the early missionary training resources published by the Mission Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance and the International Missionary Training Network. As is the case with any printed directory it did not take long before this valuable resource was outdated.

The Mission Commission of the WEA occasionally studied the possibility of republishing this list, and these discussions began to focus on the developing Internet technology as a preferred medium of delivery. It was soon apparent that an online directory would allow institutions to register and update their information which would better serve the needs of the institution as well as provide more up-to-date information for those researching available missionary training.

The IMTN decided to partner with the Evangelical Training Directory project headed up by Ian Benson of the UK-based Missionary Training Service. This directory gathers in all evangelical training. The new World Directory of Missionary Training filters the contents of the Evangelical Training Directory to present only dedicated missionary training programmes. In February of 2009, Ian Benson was invited to become part-time volunteer staff of the IMTN as the Director of Information Services. This directory is now available online featuring self-registration and maintenance of contact and course information.

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