A year ago I felt confident that God was calling me to missions, so I started moving towards that calling. I thought that my only option was to get some training then enter the field, but that was not my case because I found a missionary college. Most people don’t realize that college is an option for them if they want to pursue missions, but it’s in fact one of the best options.
What is a missionary college? A missionary college is a school that trains and equips students with the necessary tools needed to go and fulfill the great commission. These colleges put Christ at the center and help students solidify their relationship with Christ before entering the mission field.
Before we dive into mission colleges you can attend, let’s look at the definition of a missionary college.
Missionary College Definition
A missionary college is a college focused on training and equipping students with the tools/ skills needed for the mission field. These colleges give students the opportunity to gain a higher education while also preparing them to be a successful missionary.
In Mathew 28:16-20, Jesus states the great commission to the disciples,
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 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.’Mathew 28:16-20
God has called all of us to be fishers of men, and to not stop until He is known among the nations. This verse is still applicable to us today and though it is a big calling, mission colleges are to help you feel more prepared before entering the field.
These colleges are able to achieve this by helping students grow in their knowledge of theology, the history of missions, knowledge of the Bible, and practical skills that can be applied in the field.
Benefits Of Attending A Missions College
You may be currently contemplating whether you should attend a missions college and major in a missions-related degree, or if you should just attend a university and obtain a more broad degree.
Though both have their separate benefits, here’s a list I compiled of benefits of attending a missions college.
- Pre field training: shows students the possibilities of what occurs on the missions field, and helps equip them with tools needed for different situations that missionaries encounter on a daily business. This gives students the ability to go into the field with more confidence in their abilities as a missionary.
- Hands-on experience: Each mission college varies on the hands-on experience they offer to their students, but each one offers the opportunity for students to have experience as a missionary before receiving their degree. This can include opportunities for evangelism, mission opportunities in the states, or even an internship overseas which varies in duration.
- Deepend understanding of the Bible: Though we may not ever understand every single nugget of knowledge within the Bible, it is imponent that we have a concrete understanding of it as a follower of Christ. This is even more important as a future missionary so that you are able to use Bible verses/stories to bring others to Christ as well as be able to better answer questions they have regarding the Bible.
Top 8 Missions Colleges
I recently researched the best missionary colleges – here are the top 8 I found.
1) Bethany Global University
Degrees/ certifications: Certifications in Bible and missions, pre-field prep, Associates, Undergraduates, and graduates.
Majors: Intercultural Ministry, Transformational Entrepreneurship, and Education in Missions.
Bethany Global University is an accredited holistic mission geared college located in Bloomington, Minnesota. BGU offers many different certifications and degrees that each focus on training and equipping future missionaries before they enter the field.
Students obtaining their Bachelor’s degree at BGU spend their first two years on campus fully immersed in student life. These first two years students focus on basic skills needed to acquire a Bachelors degree, and skills needed prior to entering the missions field.
On top of attending beneficial classes, students are also attending events that help them grow in their spiritual walk and also have opportunities for outreach in their local area.
Starting the beginning of their junior year through the first semester of senior year, students go on a global internship and spend 16 months overseas.
This gives students hands-on experience in missions related work, by teaching students how to raise funds for their work, applying all of their knowledge learned in their first two years and working in a ministry that fits their calling.
After students finish their internship overseas they return back to campus for their last semester to finish earning their degree.
BGU students have the opportunity to be an intern at the school after graduation if approved and to also receive their master’s degree before entering the field.
To learn more about Bethany Global University click here.
2) Appalachian Bible College
Degrees/ certifications: certification for Bible and Theology, Associates, Undergraduates, and Graduates degrees.
Majors: Women’s Ministry, Youth and Family, Camping Ministry, Elementary Education, Interdisciplinary Ministry, Missions, and Music.
Appalachian Bible College is an accredited non-denominational university based in Mount Hope, West Virginia.
ABC emphasizes the importance of serving as a follower of Christ and focuses on growing followers of Christ in their skills that will benefit their serving.
ABC offers five different missions based majors: Biblical languages, Foreign language, International Studies, Nursing, and Teaching English as a Second Language.
These five different majors offer students classes dedicated to helping them grow in their calling that God has called for them and giving them the skills they will specifically need for the missions work they want to pursue.
ABC offers two different options for their students to encounter hands-on experience in the missions field. Students who are pursuing the International Studies degree spend 11 months of their time in Peru applying the skills they have learned and growing in further skills from their experience.
All other majors spend 4-8 weeks of their senior year on internship and working alongside seasoned missionaries.
To check out Appalachian Bible College for yourself click here.
3) Dallas Baptist University
Degrees/ certifications: certificates for missions, business, communication, social justice, health care, music minstry, undergraduate, graduate, and doctorates.
Majors: Biblical Studies, Christian Studies, Intercultural Studies, and Philosophy
Dallas Baptist University is a baptist university located in Dallas, Texas.
Students can receive their Bachelor of Arts or Science in Intercultural Studies, and also offers a fast track program for students to obtain their Bachelor’s and Masters simultaneously.
This major helps lead students to grow in their knowledge of world culture, Theology, the Bible, and missions as a whole. This degree helps students who feel called to missions, relief, or development work acquire the skills needed to flourish in their calling.
Students who major in Intercultural Studies will take classes that help them discover practical tips for mission life, discover how to make a change, and make disciples in foreign countries.
This program allows students to not only have a Biblical understanding of missions and the great commission but also of the social perspective of those who live in a foreign country and their needs.
To discover more about the Intercultural studies degree from Dallas Baptist University click here.
4) George Fox University
Degrees/ certifications: Undergraduate and Graduate degrees
Majors: Biblical Studies, Christian Ministry, Philosophy, and Theology
George Fox University is located in between Portland and Salem Oregon in Newberg. George Fox University was recently listed as one of the best colleges for your money in 2019-2020 by Money magazine.
George Fox prides themselves on ensuring that all of their students are known, and focus on the relationship between staff and students to build a solid community for each student.
George Fox University offers their Christian Ministry major with a minor in Cross-Cultural ministry for their students who are pursuing their calling to the missions field.
This program trains students to take the Church not just over seas, but also to those in our own country who have not yet accepted Jesus as their savior.
Through their classes, students learn about the theology of missions, the historical development of the global church, issues, and trends in contemporary mission, and contextual methods for cross- cultural ministry.
Students receiving their minor in Cross-cultural ministry are given several different options for ways to receive hands-on experience in the missions field while working towards their degree.
They have the option of partnering with their local church, non-profit organizations, or parachurch organizations.
George Fox also has many connections in the missions community and is able to assist students with potentially find an organization to work for after graduation.
To look more into this George Fox click here.
5) Grand Canyon University
Degrees/ certifications: Undergraduate, Graduate, Doctorate
Majors: Christian Ministry, Christian Studies, and Worship Arts
Grand Canyon University is an accredited interdenominational university located in Phoenix, Arizona. Grand Canyon University offers many different degrees to its students, but for this article, I am focusing on their Theology degrees.
Grand Canyon University offers opportunities for students to grow, connect, and have fun through different events on campus throughout the year.
Though GCU does not offer missions as a major, it has a mission focused minor. Students who are pursuing missions are able to major in Christian Studies with a minor in global studies through GCU’s College of Theology.
This program offers students the opportunity to grow in their knowledge of God’s Word, and His heart for missions. GCU focuses on training its students towards missions centered in North America.
Through GCU students have the choice between attending school in person in Phoenix or from the comfort of their own home through their online program. Either way, students will take many different classes to help them grow in their calling.
Students will not only be taught about the foundations of missions but also be able to grow in their leadership skills.
To get more information about their program click here.
6) Toccoa Falls College
Degrees/ certifications: Undergraduate, Graduate
Majors: Bible Theology, Global Ministries, Ministry and Leadership
Toccoa Falls is a private Christian nonprofit liberal arts educational institution located in Toccoa Falls, Georgia. Toccoa Falls’s mission is to create a special Christ-centered atmosphere for students to learn and raise up students who prepared for their calling.
They offer personal advising to their students and have an open-door policy so that every student is able to receive the assistance they need.
Toccoa Falls’s school of Christian Ministries offers four different missions focused majors for students to receive the training needed as a future missionary.
The four majors offered to these students are Cross-Cultural Studies, Cross-Cultural Adult Education, Cross-Cultural Business Administration, and Sustainable Community Development.
Students who pursue this major are also offered seven different options for their minor.
These mission-minded students are able to learn abroad through four different educational opportunities located in four different locations. Missions majors are also able to pursue a global internship program to gain experience before graduation.
To see everything that Toccoa Falls has to offer click here.
7) University of Mobile
Degrees/ certifications: Undergraduate, Graduate
Majors: Christ Leadership & Business, Christian Leadership & Ministry, Intercultural Studies, Biblical & Theological Studies, and Worship Leadership & Theology
The University of Mobile is a Christ-centered university that offers opportunities in the liberal arts as well as professional programs. The University of Mobile can be discovered in Prichard, Alabama.
The University of Mobile is centered around the gospel and uses that as the foundation of their school. Mobile has seven different colleges within the organization and offers 50 different degree options for undergraduates.
The School of Christian Studies at Mobile offers an Intercultural Studies major for students who feel called to missions. Students pursuing this major are grown to become effective witnesses of their heavenly father and will grow in their knowledge of how to do so in the country they feel called to.
They will spend their time increasing their knowledge of God’s word, missions, ministry, Theology, leadership, and other Christ-centered subjects to help them grow as disciples.
Though Mobile does not offer an internship program to their students, they still provide an atmosphere for students to engage in fellowship with others all over the world.
They are able to build connections with past missionaries, those who are currently overseas and learn from teachers who are equipped with knowledge of missions.
To receive more information about Mobile click here.
8) Wheaton College
Degrees/ certifications: Certificates, Undergraduate, Graduate
Majors: Interdisciplinary Studies, Biblical and Theological Studies, International Relations, and Christian Formation & Studies
Wheaton College is a Christian college based in Wheaton, Illinois. Since 1860 Wheaton has focused on providing excellent Christ-centered higher education.
Wheaton currently offers 40 undergraduate programs and 18 different options for those pursuing their graduate degree. Those who attend Wheaton will not only learn more about their specific area of study but will also grow in living a life that is pleasing to Christ.
Wheaton offers both a global program and studies to students who feel called to work all over the planet.
Though Wheaton does not offer a major focused on missions, they offer several different opportunities for students to travel overseas and gain experience.
Students enrolled in their interdisciplinary program are able to spend a semester in Jerusalem during their time at Wheaton and earn 16 credits.
While there students learn about different Christ-focused narratives and get to explore different places mentioned in His word. Other global opportunities at Wheaton include traveling to Mexico, London Tel Shimron, Germany, Santiago, Queretaro, Quebec, and the Holy lands.
To check out more of where you can travel with Wheaton click here.
Why Are Mission Colleges Valuable?
Though it is not always required by missions agencies that you have attended a missions college or hold a bachelor’s degree before entering the field it is incredibly valuable to do so.
Attending missions colleges allow students to get a taste of what their calling will look like and whether or not they feel fully called to it before committing to missions as a career.
Missions colleges equip future missionaries with the tools necessary to thrive as a missionary, while also helping them solidify their relationship with Christ before they even begin their career.
The missions field is by far an “easy” career path and those who pursue it will encounter many struggles and difficulties because the enemy does not like they are fulfilling God’s great mission for them.
Attending a missions college will help you have a wider idea of the struggles you may encounter on the field, and help you feel prepared to face them head-on.
Before jumping into the field spend time in prayer considering all of your options, and know that when God calls us to something great there is almost always a time of waiting.
So why not spend that time preparing yourself to thrive in your calling and pushing yourself to grow as much as possible during that time?