Missionary Skills

Missionary Teachers: Working With the Least of These

Written by McKenna Von Gunten

In a mountain village, Sashi sweeps the cold dirt from the marble floor. While other children her age go to school, Sashi helps her mother with household chores and taking food to the temple.

She has no need or knowledge of how to read or write, and she’s only ever learned how to count from when her father comes back from working in the coal mines and tallies up his wages. Her days are spent weaving, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of her younger siblings. At the age of fourteen, she may marry and live with her husband’s family while only ever leaving the house to bring him a meal as he also works alongside her father in the coal mines.

Sashi has never heard about Jesus and her language is not a written language so there is no chance for a Bible to be translated. It may be several years before a foreigner comes and lives among them to tell them the gospel and is able to teach them how to read the Bible and write in their own language.

Today, there are over 250 million children who have never been taught the basics of reading, writing, and math skills. 

Many live in rural areas where they don’t have any access to a Bible in their own language or a church in their area. As a result, most of them have never heard the name of Jesus uttered in their lifetime.

What if you could be a missionary who learns the language and brings the gospel to an unreached people while also having the skills and knowledge of teaching primary age children how to read, write, and do basic math skills when they have had no previous learning education?

Bethany Global University’s BA double major in Education in Missions and Bible and Theology will equip you to be a world-class educator and missionary. While English teachers carry a huge benefit to people overseas in the form of communicating in another language, Early Childhood Education focuses more on young children and their developmental understanding of God and the world.

What is an Education in Missions Degree?

A four-year double major degree in Education in Missions is a compilation of Bible, theology, intercultural studies, educational methods, and early childhood development.

Students in this major also take courses from the Christian Montessori Training Center, which provides students with Montessori training credentials. Earning the full credentials enable students to become a lead teacher in any Montessori school.

In this degree you will be able to:

  • Define the developmental and learning needs of young children
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the Montessori method of education, it’s philosophy, principles, and methodology
  • Describe Biblical opportunities and approaches to meeting the needs of young children and their families
  • Demonstrate the development of key competency skills necessary to provide a Christian learning environment for children in diverse environments
  • Apply the Montessori method of learning to intercultural contexts within the framework of Christian missions

Like all of BGU’s BA degree’s, this major blends learning in a classroom with hands-on experience in one of our 16-month Global Internship locations overseas.

What is Montessori?

The primary focus of this degree is equipping you with the tools needed to be an effective teacher using the Montessori method. Montessori is an internationally recognized education philosophy that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning, and collaborative play. This allows you to be educated on the critical stages of childhood development so that you can understand what is crucial for a child to learn at a young age.

In the early stages of childhood, kids are still learning about their world and how things work. In their curiosity, they will discover new things which will shape their perspective of God and the world. The world is in need of well-defined Christian teachers who understand that education is not just in teaching but in the learning.

“274 million primary school children worldwide are not learning basic foundational skills necessary to lead productive and healthy lives.”

Global Partnership for Education

As a missionary teacher, you have the opportunity to influence a culture just by educating children. Not only will you be able to teach children anywhere you go, but you will be impacting the next generation of great creative minds all over the world through Montessori.

Read more about What is Montessori?

Why are Missionary Teacher Degrees Important?

Children are often overlooked in missions as an unimportant people group to reach.

While many missions organizations focus on children’s ministry, not all programs are teaching children on who God is, or how to discover what their callings and giftings are, or how to grow up in wisdom and maturity. Yet, if our calling as followers of Jesus is to go out into all the world and make disciples of all nations, that includes the children.

“Children are no remote or obscure people group. The Church today may not be looking for children, but they wouldn’t have to look far to find them.”

The Lausanne Movement

In cultures where education is not valued, it can be difficult for missionary teachers to help the parents see the need for their kids to learn anything from a foreigner. Or, even husbands of girls like Sashi may not want their wives to have an education.

To show how much you value education, you need to first understand their culture and the language and build relationships with the local community and families you’ll be working with before you begin implementing the Montessori method among their kids.

“Half of all children in low and middle-income countries are not taught in a language they speak.”

– Global Partnership for Education

By immersing yourself into their culture and living among these families, your life will exemplify a life confident in Christ and reveal your passion for children and parents alike to learn more about who God is and the world they live in.

When you show how practical education skills enable a healthy lifestyle, you are sending a message to the parents that education is also of high value to them. Parents may begin to get curious and want to learn about how education can help them and ask to be taught alongside their children.

This is an amazing opportunity to let the light of Jesus shine through you and bring both physical and spiritual transformation to the nations.

As a missionary teacher, you have the possibility to impact the next generation of leaders and shape the way people will live in the future. Nations have the potential to thrive because missionaries recognize the need for children to be taught while also bringing the gospel to the least of these.

By teaching children how to be delight-directed and discover for themselves how the world works and teaching them who God is, you are encouraging the next generation to be creative critical thinkers about the world they live in.

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