As a student attending a missionary college, people often ask me questions like, “How will you get a job once you graduate?” or “How will you get support overseas?” I began to realize that many people don’t understand missionary colleges and sending agencies, so I wanted to write this blog post to explain how missionary colleges and agencies work.
Here are types of missionary careers:
- Early Childhood Educator
- Social Justice
- Teaching English
- Medical Missions
You can read more about what each one of these missionary careers entails here. First, let’s look at missionary colleges.
Missionary & Mission Colleges
A missionary college is a university that seeks to train missionaries to be sent overseas to share the Gospel. While there are not very many missionary schools in America, many Christian universities do offer a degree in Intercultural studies. Intercultural studies are essentially a degree in missions. First, let’s look at a missionary college called Bethany Global University.
Bethany Global University (BGU) is an accredited missionary training college in Minnesota. BGU offers three Bachelor of Arts majors:
- Intercultural Ministry Studies
- Transformational Entrepreneurship in Missions
- Education in Missions
Each BA major is a double major with Bible and Theology. One key aspect of BGU’s four-year program is each student goes on a sixteen-month internship overseas. The purpose of this internship is for students to learn how to raise funds, live in a new culture, and learn how to be an effective missionary anywhere in the world.
BGU is a place to learn and grow in your walk with Christ while taking steps to become a missionary. As a student at BGU, I have had the privilege of being apart of the Bethany community. The classes at BGU teach you the practical skills you need on the mission field. The staff and students serve one another with love. Needless to say, my time at BGU has been priceless and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is considering doing missions.
Bethany Global University puts first things first—the Word and the world.-Marvin J. Newell, Senior Vice President, Missio Nexus
Harding University is a college located in Arkansas with a mission focus. They offer over 100 degrees. One unique aspect of this university is they offer study abroad locations around the globe. A few options include:
- London, England
- Latin America
- Zambia, Africa
- Florence, Italy
The purpose of studying abroad is for students to receive cross-cultural experience. Living overseas will give students a different outlook on life. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. Harding University is training its students to live dedicated to Christ. They also teach their students to be life-long learners and servants.
Integrating faith, learning and living. Grow through a commitment to Christ, an emphasis on life-long learning and servant leadership.-Harding University’s Mission
Dallas Baptist University (DBU) is focused on raising up students who will transform the world. They are closely located to both downtown Dallas and downtown Fort Worth in Texas.
DBU partners with Texas Baptist student ministry. This ministry works to engage college students and support them as they follow God. They have mission trips and different events on campus. They are currently working with 110 college campuses in Texas, including DBU.
One of the degrees they offer is Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Intercultural Studies. This degree will train students on how to work with people from another culture and how to share the Gospel in different cultures. Students at DBU will learn valuable life skills while pursuing a degree. Another bonus is that DBU has a vibrant student life from athletics to intramural games and musical concerts.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.-Theme Scripture of Dallas Baptist University
Appalachian Bible College (ABC) is an accredited university located in West Virginia. Their school motto is, “Because life is for service.” They are working to train men and women in ministry. Students at ABC are learning how to serve God and others.
ABC has a mission program with four practical degrees. The four degrees are:
- Foreign Language – a strong language foundation will help students with cross-cultural ministry overseas.
- International Studies – students will experience life as a missionary overseas for a year.
- Nursing – a degree in nursing will allow students to access people with both medical care and the message of the Gospel.
- Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) – Students will learn how to teach English overseas.
Each one of these majors is a double major with Bible & Theology. Having a Biblical foundation is a key aspect of ministry. ABC prides itself on having students who spend time in the Word of God and serve Him whole-heartedly.
Think Biblically. Live Godly. Serve Practically.-ABC’s Mission
Moody Bible Institute is located in Chicago, Illinois. Moody offers a variety of bachelor’s degrees for people looking to do ministry overseas and in-state including:
- Ministry to Victims of Sexual Exploitation
- Intercultural Studies
- Elementary Education
- Human Services
Through these degrees, students will have learned how to minister to people. With a degree in Intercultural studies, they will be able to enter into a new culture and understand how to best bring the Gospel to the community. A degree in TESOL will give students the skills to teach English anywhere in the world. Each one of these degrees is valuable for ministry both in America and overseas.
Moody will give students the tools and education they need to go out and transform the world with the Gospel. Students will be prepared for the ministry God is calling them to do.
Moody exists to equip people with the truth of God’s Word to be maturing followers of Christ who are making disciples around the world.-Moody’s Mission Statement
To read about more missions/missionary schools click here.
Why Attend A Missionary/Missions School?
Now that you have read about many missionary and mission schools, let’s address the answer to why should missionaries attend school?
The first reason to go to a missionary school is to become educated. The education you receive at a university will help prepare for living on the mission field. You will also have a strong understanding of the Bible. Missionaries must know the Bible to help disciple others wherever they are living. Education will help you in the mission field as you disciple others.
2. Practical Skills
Secondly, having a degree from a missionary or mission school with also give you practical skills to take onto the field. When you get a degree in Intercultural studies, elementary education, or nursing you will have practical skills to bring to another country. A practical skill can open doors to countries that do not allow missionaries.
Through your college education, you will gain valuable wisdom from the classes, homework, professors, and other students. If you go to a missionary school, you would hear from missionaries and be able to learn from their experiences. A missionary school will provide you with tools for how to be wise while living on the mission field.
Missionary Sending Agencies
Missionary sending agencies are organizations that work to send missionaries into the field. Some organizations have pre-set jobs in specific countries, whereas, other organizations will support missionaries where they feel called to go.
Bethany International works to train, partner, and send missionaries. Bethany Gateways is the missionary sending organization under Bethany International. They work to place missionaries on the field. Currently, they have missionaries in 20+ countries.
Bethany Gateways does offer jobs around the world. You can see what positions are currently open here. Along with having job opportunities overseas, they partner with missionaries to send them where they feel God is calling them to. They will do all they can do help a missionary reach the place they feel lead to.
Bethany’s mission statement is to, “Take the church to where it is not and help others do the same.” They focus on reaching the unreached. They also allow missionaries to do ministry the way they seem best for the country they are in. They understand there is not a “one size fits all” when it comes to ministry. Missionaries are encouraged to do what works best for the culture and place they are in.
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.–Habakkuk 2:14
Globe International is a missionary sending organization with missionaries in over 70 countries around the world. They offer short and long term internships overseas, as well as career mission job (3-5 years). They work with people to place them where they feel God is calling them. If you don’t have any missionary experience, they will place you at a site that is already established with a seasoned missionary.
Globe International is also working to reach the unreached people in the world. They need people to go overseas as missionaries to different people groups, pray partners, churches to sponsor a specific people group and financial supporters. You can read more about their efforts here.
One key element Globe International offers is training for people wanting to enter the mission field. All applicants are required to complete the Perspectives training course. This course gives students a look into how each member of the body of Christ is woven into God’s plan. Perspectives is a course taught around the U.S. You can learn more about the Perspectives course here.
To release God’s Missional People to the work He has given them to do with as little encumbrances as possible.-Globe International’s Vision Statement
3. Ethnos 360
Ethnos 360 is a missionary sending organization dedicated to fulfilling the Great Commission. They are working to build thriving churches in every nation. They are willing to put in the hard work to support missionaries overseas. Ethnos 360 uses two models to help fulfill their mission of the church being taken around the world called Our Thriving Church Model and Foundational Bible Teaching. These two models help the missionary as they take the church around the world.
With Ethnos 360, people apply for a job. They do not send missionaries wherever they want to go. They have over two hundred jobs available around the world for missionaries. These needs vary from pilot to teacher and administrative assistant. You can see job opportunities here.
Ethnos 360 works to ensure you are properly trained before entering the field. They recognize the importance of understanding the Bible and different cultures. With Ethnos 360, the training does not stop once you enter the mission field. The training continues while you are on the field through seminars, workshops, and consultations.
Ethnos 360 cares about their missionaries and wants them to be prepared for the mission field. They also want them to continue learning and growing while they are on the mission field.
Your gift to God’s work large or small is appreciated. You can also help others be blessed by taking part.-Ephesians 4:17-19
TEAM is a missionary sending agency with hundreds of opportunities for missionaries to serve overseas. They work to help connect missionaries and churches. From there, the church can support the missionary while they are living overseas. TEAM works to train churches as to how they can best support missionaries. They also offer practical resources for both churches and missionaries.
The four areas TEAM focuses on overseas are:
- Creation Care – working to support local farmers around the world.
- Church Ministry – continuing to work to plant churches around the world.
- Community Devoplement – training and teaching people in the community skills.
- Creative Arts – using art to bring the Gospel overseas.
TEAM is partnering with churches to support missionaries. You can learn more about job opportunities here.
From everywhere to everywhere: We help churches send missionaries where the most people have the greatest need, making disciples and planting reproducing churches to the glory of God.TEAM’s Mission Statement
Next, let’s look at missionary stats to help us understand how missions are doing worldwide.
Missionary stats help us understand where missionaries are going and where we need missionaries to go.
75.9 percent of missionaries go to the reached world. 23.7% of missionaries work with the unevangelized. Only 0.37% go to those who have never heard the name of Jesus.–The Traveling Team
The majority of missionaries are going to places that already have the Gospel. There is a lack of missionaries being sent to unreached people in the world.
There is one missionary for every 60,000 tribals, every 71,000 unreligious, every 179,000 Hindus, every 260,000 Buddhists, every 405,500 Muslims.–The Traveling Team
Christians must be awakened to the people around the world in need of the Gospel. We must take it upon ourselves to pray and ask God what we can do to help to fulfill the Great Commission. There are people around the world who have never heard the name of Jesus. We need to help to spread the message of Jesus to all nations.
Roughly thirty-times as many missionaries go to reached people groups to work with Christians, as go to unreached people groups. Far less go to the frontier people groups, where there are as yet no believers.–R.W. Lewis
30:1. That is the ratio of missionaries being sent to reached people vs. unreached. It’s vital that as Christians we see the need for the Gospel to be taken to where it is not. I would encourage you to pray and ask God what you can do to help take the Gospel to unreached people groups.
If you would like to learn more about unreached people groups in the world today, click here.
The Future of Missions
The future of missions depends on us: the body of Christ. It depends on if we are willing to make sacrifices to take the Gospel to where it is not. Are we willing to lay down our lives for the sake of the Gospel?
We need more workers overseas. While not every Christian is called to be a missionary, we are all called to help fulfill the Great Commission. Here are a few practical ways you can support missions:
- Financially – commit to making regular donations to missions/missionaries
- Prayer – pray for missionaries on the field and for unreached people groups.
- Support – encourage your local church to support missionaries. You can also support missionaries by welcoming them into your home when they are back in America.
We are the future of missions. If we don’t spread the Gospel, who will? Let’s recognize the responsibility we have as Christians to help fulfill the Great Commission. Now is the time to reach the unreached.
We all have a role to play in missions. You could be a college student, like me, training to be a missionary. You could be a business person in America who supports missions finically. You could be a stay-at-home mom who takes a few minutes out of her day to pray for unreached people groups.
Every Christians role in helping to fulfill the Great Commission will look different. We simply need to ask God what our role is. Once He tells us, we must be willing to obey.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.Matthew 28:18-20