The International Missionary Training Network

Basic principles for planning learning experiences to prepare missionary candidates to be effective in a cross-cultural setting.

To design or revise a missionary training curriculum we heartily recommend the book Integral Ministry Training—Design and Evaluation edited by Robert Brynjolfson and Jonathan Lewis (WEA-William Carey Library, 2006). Click on the title to download a free pdf copy.

It is a practical manual for equipping cross-cultural workers. Integral training helps develop the whole person - who he or she is as well what he or she knows and can do

The book is distinctive in setting forth a very simple sequence of design steps that focused the learning of candidates on the actual knowledge, attitudes and skills they actually need on the mission field. The process of planning for training begins with the creation of a "profile" of the 3-fold competencies a cross-cultural missionary would need, including core knowledge, spiritual formation (attitudes), and ministry formation (skills). Candidates could then rate themselves on the "profile" to discover strengths and weaknesses. Specific training modules can be designed to equip candidates in the particular areas in which they were both strong or deficient. In this way, training becomes much more relevant and immediately useful, preparing candidates for the actual roles they will fulfillon the field.

Section 1: The Foundations of Integral Training

  • Ch 1:  The Integral Ministry Training Journey Rob Brynjolfson
  • Ch 2:  Philosophy of Integral Ministry Training  Jonathan Lewis
  • Ch 3:  Understanding Integral Ministry Training  Rob Brynjolfson
  • Ch 4:  Starting a Ministry Training Program  Lois Fuller
  • Ch 5:  Designing Training for Adults Evelyn Hibbert

Section 2: The Process of Integral Training Design

  • Ch 6:  Stakeholder Assumptions and Consensus Building Jonathan Lewis
  • Ch 7:  The Outcomes Profiling Process  Jonathan Lewis
  • Ch 8:  Writing Learning Objectives  Stephen Hoke
  • Ch 9:  Designing Learning Experiences Stephen Hoke
  • Ch 10:  Evaluating Ministry Training Programs  Robert Ferris

Section 3: Additional Resources

This section includes program descriptions of 13 missionary training programs that have emerged in each continent. They are a gold mine of ideas, topics and learning experiences. The section ends with four different evaluation tools that may be adapted for use in any country of the world.

We also recommend Establishing Ministry Training - A Manual for Programme Developers - edited by Robert Ferris (WEA-William Carey Library, 1995) which includes eight chapters that overview the curriculum planning and design process. Please click on the title of the book above for more information and to download a free pdf copy.

Other helpful books on missionary training

Internationalizing Missionary Training: A Global Perspective (William D. Taylor (ed) Paternoster Press, UK; Baker Book House, USA, 1991), was the Mission Commission's initial contribution to what would become six books on missionary training. This emerged from a key meeting in Manila 1989 of 60 experienced mission workers gathered to discuss improvements in missionary training. This book aims to assist churches, mission organizations and missionary training centers in creating relevant and contextualized training materials. A new global stage was set for missionary training; models of equipping-training were presented, coming from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and the USA. In this revitalized, multi-cultural network, a diversity of voices grappled with some of the critical issues affecting missionary training around the world. Click here for a pdf copy of the English book. The book was adapted into Spanish and Portuguese contexts and published as the first work dedicated to missionary training. 

The World Directory of Missionary Training Programmes by Dr. Raymond Windsor (ed), (WEA Missions-Commission-William Carey, 1991, 1995) catalogued over 500 missionary training programmes from around the world. This became a useful networking tool for start-up directors who could find encouragement and counsel from colleagues from around the world.This is now part of the Evangelical Training Directory.

Preparing to Serve: Training for Cross-Cultural Mission by C. David Harley (WEA-Missions Commission--William Carey, 1995), provides a comprehensive introduction to cross-cultural missionary training. It examines a wide range of topics related to the task of training missionaries seriously, from the setting up of a new programme to the selection of missionary candidates and those who train them. It also considers how to plan a curriculum to train the whole person, and how to related training to culture. Click here for the English pdf. Portuguese. Spanish. 

Too Valuable to Lose - Exploring the Causes and Cures of Missionary Attrition. This book is based on the Missions Commission’s 1994-1997 study on missionary attrition. It includes a summary report on the study and a systematic treatment of missions sending and supervising structures in relation to attrition. Authors from around the world discuss how to prevent attrition from their cultural perspective. Together, they present a wealth of wisdom and insight into this critically important aspect of cross-cultural ministry. View the book online here.

Other Selected Resources:

Summary of Second Study of Missionary Retention and Attrition Important conclusions for helping missionaries survive long-term.  

Worth Keeping Part 1 - Global Perspectives on Best Practice in Missionary Retention
Part I of IV. The whole idea of Worth Keeping is to look for best practice in missionary retention. In this book, we present that best practice very positively and constructively, but we also seek to help you discern between bad and good. Indeed, going a stage further, we need the courage to choose to go for the best; rather than to simply accept what may already be okay, even good. May we have the courage to review, examine and react upon our current practice. Let us retain, renew and protect best practice where it already exists. View this here.

Edgar J. Elliston. Home Grown Leaders. William Carey, 1992.

Robert Ferris (ed). Establishing Ministry Training. WEA-William Carey Library, 1995.

Jane Vella. Learning to Teach; Learning to Listen: the power of dialogue in educating adults. Jossey-Bass, 1994.

_____. Taking Learning to Task: Creative Strategies for Teaching Adults. Jossey-Bass, 2001.

MTS. The Missionary Training Guide 2002.