The primary resource for world evangelism is the people God calls into cross-cultural ministry. Mission senders only can be effective in advancing God’s global cause as the people sent are effective in ministry. The training and development of missionary personnel is critical, therefore, to Kingdom expansion. To fail to attend to training and development is to fail in our stewardship of the Great Commission.
Training is a comprehensive function which includes ministry preparation, ongoing personal and professional development, and re-training for new ministry opportunities and challenges.
The context and realities of agencies, churches, and mission training institutions as well as strategies for missionary training vary widely. Opportunities and resources also vary between small and large ministries. While some organizations provide training internally and others outsource most training functions, stewardship demands assessment and evaluation of both.
The “Missionary Training Assessment” (MTA) instrument was designed by trainers from churches, agencies, and schools working together who share a concern for improving the quality of missionary training for North American missionaries. It is designed for individuals and teams engaged in missionary training to evaluate their own training efforts. The assessment tool which follows is intended to initiate and advance a conversation based on seven assumptions regarding missionary training. We propose that:
- An excellent program of missionary training identifies the learning and performance needs of the trainees, the organization, and other stakeholders.
- An excellent program of missionary training is aligned with the values, mission, and vision of the parent organization.
- An excellent program of missionary training intentionally promotes spiritual formation, dependence on God, and Christian community.
- An excellent program of missionary training employs adult learning theory and methods.
- An excellent program of missionary training makes careful use of spiritual, human, and financial resources.
- An excellent program of missionary training will have a clear, measurable, and feasible evaluation plan.
- An excellent program of missionary training is accountable to stakeholders and peers.
When used as suggested in the guide, this assessment tool will help you clarify aspects of an effective training program, discover differences in staff perspectives, build consensus among trainers regarding assumptions and goals, develop or refine training goals, identify key areas for improvement, and contribute to achievement of your organization’s mission. The purpose of assessment is to improve all our training programs so that missionary personnel are well equipped and Christ’s Kingdom is extended.
Distribute the MTA to any persons in your organization who have a stake in your training outcomes, including trainers, learners, administrators, and receiving field team leaders. Ask them to complete the form as honestly as they can, providing additional suggestions or input as they desire.
Don’t be surprised if responses differ. Rather, use differing responses to initiate discussion among the varying perspectives represented within your organization. The “Action Planning Guide” provides suggestions for capturing the insights and evaluations of your team for improving your training.
Instructions for carrying out a Missionary Training Assessment
Missionary Training Assessment Follow-On Action Planning Guide
NEXTSTEP case study on Missionary Training Assessment