Missionary Training

The Ultimate Guide to Missionary Training: Schools, Courses, & More


Written by Evelyn Oliver

If you are thinking of going into missions and wondering how you get qualified for such a job, below are some training options that are available. This post will help you learn more about missionary training, schools, and courses.

It’s time for us to dive into the missionary training world.

What Is Missionary Training?

Missionary training comes in many different forms. The goal of missionary training is to help you learn and develop the skills needed on the missions field.

Missions is more than a job, it is a lifestyle. Missions work is unique and extremely important.

A missionaries goal is to share the Gospel. To be an effective missionary and share the Gospel well, you need training.

Missionary training can look different depending on who is training you, but generally, missionary training is helping you develop skills such as working in a new culture and understanding the Bible more.

Missionary training can be for anyone who hopes to grow in their relationship with God and have a more complete understanding of the mission’s work that is taking place.

Missionary training is designed for people preparing to go overseas and share the gospel.

Some colleges have programs that specialize in majors like cross-cultural ministry and ESL which are important for missions, as well as some colleges that focus completely on missions.

Missionary training teaches how to be an effective missionary and live a new lifestyle on the mission field, in a new culture.

What Missionary Training Programs Are Like

There is a wide variety of options when it comes to missionary training, many factors of missionary training vary depending on where you get your missionary training either through a school, a missions agency, or any other Christian organization.

While missionary training programs can be different depending on where you receive your training, there are some constants in missionary training.

Many include chapels or worship sessions throughout your time at the school or at least a requirement to be apart of a church. There are many whose program offers a chance to go and serve and share the gospel as a part of your training.

Many classes will cover some of the same important topics as discussed below.

There is also a wide variety of lengths that a missionary training program could be, anywhere from two weeks to four years all depending on where you choose to learn.

Some programs for missionary training are shorter and although they might not be accredited they contain many of the classes that will extremely useful on the missions field.

You do not need to already have a plan to go overseas to be a missionary to take missionary training. Missionary training can be helpful for anyone looking to widen their knowledge on sharing the gospel with others.

Through missionary training, you will be learning about missions work going on around the world and learning how you can be involved.

By being involved in missionary training you will also get to grow your faith and grow in your understanding of God and his word.

Missionary training is the doorway to effective missions work, the training received during missionary training includes important subjects not taught at typical schools that are important for those hoping to go overseas to share the gospel.

While any education would be helpful to embark on the work of a missionary, rarely do other courses cover all the appropriate topics like missionary training does.

The courses taken during missionary training positively impact the work one will be able to achieve while sharing the good news.

What Do You Learn in Missionary Training?

Missionary training includes classes that teach topics relevant and important to work that occurs on the mission field as well as helping you understand scripture fully and be able to teach others.

Why is there such a difference between what is taught in any other classroom and one that focuses on training missionaries?

There are certain topics that need to be covered to be a more successful missionary. This is because the lifestyle of a missionary can look much different than most. Missions work takes place all over the world in places that operate much differently and have different cultures.

To be successful in a new setting and communicate the gospel clearly to those who have never heard takes skills that may not be taught at most schools.

Depending on where you are working within the ministry you may need specific training in areas such as music, working with children, business, or any other ministry.

Living and teaching in a new culture will bring challenges of their own, you may get to take classes in missionary training that focus on working in cross-cultural settings.

Much of what you will learn in missionary training will depend on where you get the training from. Different schools and curriculums have different topics they emphasis though most teach the basics of the Bible, theology, and working cross-culturally.

If you have any particular interests you would like to learn before starting missions work search out colleges and curriculums that focus on the topics you feel called to.

Missionary Training Schools: Common Class Topics

As a student at Bethany Global University, I have hands-on experience with missionary training courses. Below are common mission training class topics you should expect.

Hermeneutics Class

Some of these topics include a deeper study into scripture which is called hermeneutics.

Interpreting the scripture for yourselves plays a powerful role in teaching others the scripture and benefits yourself and your own personal Bible study time.

In addition to hermeneutics, you can be sure that there will be other Bible classes and theology courses to help you gain a deeper understanding of scripture.

Partnership Development Course

Another important class to take while training is a partnership development course. Partnership development is one-way missionaries gain support. It involves asking people in your life to support you as a missionary.

This class will include how to reach out to people to gain support, and how to grow and update current support once you are on the mission field.

You may also get to learn how to budget your money so you can wisely use it while on the mission field.

History of Missions Course

History of missions is another common course for missionary training school. It is important to be encouraged and inspired by those who have gone before us in the missions field.

Taking a class about leadership or teamwork may be another class you will get to take in training. A class in leadership and teamwork may help you overcome relational problems in your team when you are on the field.

Language Class

Language is another possible barrier to encounter while working in a new culture.

It depends on where you get to serve what language you will learn, but general language skills are important to have to help you more efficiently pick up other languages.

There is a wide variety of topics that you may encounter while attending missionary training.

You will get to experience some typical classes depending on where you attend as well as classes that are very specific to the career of missions and ministry.

To learn more about missionary training topics, check out 11 Essential Topics for Missions Training. This article goes in-depth into missionary training & includes great resources.

Missionary Training Colleges

Schools that offer training for missionaries are not very common. There are only a handful of schools that specialize in training their students for the missions field.

Missionary training colleges provide amazing courses, resources, and professors to help you thrive overseas. 

1. Bethany Global University

Bethany Global University is an accredited school dedicated to taking the Church to where it is not. They offer different programs including:

BGU is the only accredited college dedicated to missions. Their bachelor’s program includes a sixteen-month internship overseas helping students to live out what they are learning and gain experience. 

The three bachelor degrees offered at BGU include:

Each of the many programs offered helps equip those who desire to go into the mission field with knowledge and tools to help them be successful.

As a student at BGU right now, I can atest to how they are training me to go overseas. Through their classes and circulumn, I am learning how to work cross-culturally while sharing the Gospel.

If you have questions about BGU, click here.

To learn more about BGU & how their programs work – check this video out.

2. Global Frontier Missions

Global Frontier Missions helps prepare students for living cross-culturally. Their Missionary Training School is a five-month program that offers time in the classroom to learn from experienced professors and hands-on experience.

They also help train those wanting to work in the missions field through a missionary residency program as well as training that occurs in South Asia that gives you training while in the field.

Global Frontier Missions has also recently implemented an online program similar to the missionary residency program that allows you to learn online wherever and whenever needed. 

Some of these courses offered by Global Frontier Missions can be redeemed for credits at Crown College, Eternity Bible College, and Covenant Theological Seminary. 

To hear more about cross-cultural missions training programs read The Top 7 Cross-Cultural Missions Training Programs.

Ethnos 360

A good two-year Bible school that focuses on the Bible, missions, and discipleship is Ethnos 360. You will earn an associate’s degree in Biblical studies, although they are not currently an accredited school.

This program takes you chronologically through the Bible and is taught by those who have experience in the mission field. They also offer opportunities to work hands-on and travel overseas.

Following the two-year Bible program, you can then continue with your education through Ethnos 360 by taking the Missionary Training Center Course. From there, you can help plant churches with Ethnos 360 cross-culturally.

Steiger Missions School

Steiger Missions School is located in Krogis, Germany, is a ten-week program. 

This program is focused on helping train those who want to reach the youth of today that are religiously unaffiliated. 

Steiger Missions School helps its students deepen their relationship with God while equipping them with the resources needed to reach the youth of today.

After completing the ten weeks, they offer opportunities to their students to reach youth across Europe. 

Wheaton College

Wheaton College helps those desiring to do missions with the Institute for Cross-Cultural training. They offer specific courses for helping those interested in second language acquisition, cross-cultural communications, and ESL (English as a Second Language) teaching.

Institute for Cross-Cultural training is available in-person, as well as online. Online courses include video as well as a chance to interact with those from a different culture via video. 

All Nations Bible College

All Nations is a Bible college helping train students for cross-cultural ministry. They are located in Hertfordshire, England, but offer online courses as well.

They offer a variety of courses including a bachelor’s program as well as postgraduate and some short-courses.

They aim to help equip their students to be effective in cross-cultural ministry starting with diverse campus and a variety of classes to help deepen your understanding of God’s Word.

To learn more about the many missionary training schools, check out The Top 13 Missionary Training Schools blog post.

Missionary Training Courses (Online)

I compiled the best missionary training courses below. These courses will help you grow in your walk with the Lord while preparing you for cross-cultural ministry.

Perspectives Course

If you are looking for courses that may be offered at your local church, look into perspectives.

Perspectives is a 15-week course that is put on by nearly 200 Churches. This book and course provides content on missions and cultures as well as Church history, God’s mission for the world, and more.

The content is this book is written by a variety of scholars and missionaries with experience in the field. There is even the option of taking this course for college credit. 

Good Soil Curriculum

Good Soil curriculum is another program that aims to train missionaries to share the word of God cross-culturally. Their training occurs online as well as in-person seminars and smaller programs that occur at Churches.

This material focuses on the redemptive story in the Bible and helping missionaries be able to effectively share it with those in different cultures and worldviews. 

For more training curriculums, check out The 7 Best Missionary Training Curriculums blog post.

Why Missionary Training is Important

Missionary training courses want to help you dig deeper and understand the Bible more as well as being ready to effectively reach those without the gospel and share the good news.

In addition to the many skills taught there, you will learn in-depth about the scripture. The more you know the more you will be able to communicate to those in need of the good news. You cannot teach them more than you know.

We are given the command in Matthew 28 to make disciples of all nations, we are also told we need to be teaching others what we have learned from God and his word.

Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.

(Matthew 28:20)

The best way we can teach others is to know ourselves fully what the scripture means and how it applies to our life.

It is important to go into the field to share the good news with those who don’t know, and it certainly is urgent but we need to be careful that when we go we will be able to help them, and this comes with training.

Those who do not know the good news of the gospel need to hear, and as we see in scripture, God uses us to share the good news.

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

Romans 10:14-15

We as Christians have the responsibility to preach the good news, and to do that effectively means to know ourselves the gospel fully so we can share it accurately.

Many missionaries do not stay on the field as long as they would like, and one reason for this is because of lack of training.

They were not trained to effectively share the gospel cross-culturally or were not prepared for the difference in lifestyle while overseas and in a new culture.

There can be other reasons as well but good training can help lower the number of missionaries who come home early.

Cross-cultural training has an amazing impact as well, when you understand the differences in cultures you will be able to create relationships and communicate the gospel in a way that makes sense to those in different cultures.

Going into a new culture, especially one that has never heard the gospel and coming in thinking we know from our own life how to communicate the gospel can be ineffective.

It is when we understand the differences in culture and how they affect our view of the world can we thoughtfully and meaningfully share the gospel with those in a different culture while continuing to be theologically correct. 

It will be difficult to join a missions agency to go overseas if you have not had training. Even though some mission agencies do offer training, it is better to come in with an understanding of missions and training in the skills needed for working overseas as well as knowledge in cross-cultural ministry and language.

The greater knowledge we have in God and his word the more we can exemplify and teach others. Missionary training programs focus on what is most vital to know and to teach others.

The Best Way to Pursue Missionary Training

If you feel called to go into the mission’s field it all begins with the missionary training that you receive. 

How exactly do you go about receiving missionary training?

First, find college or other training courses that fit your needs and will help you reach your ministry goals. 

You can read about the Top 12 Missionary Training Programs Compared blog post to help you decide what school is best for you.

Finding a program that works best for you may depend on the calling on your life as well as what resources you have available to you now.

Some programs cost more money, and since entering the missions field is best without debt is best, you may want to focus on programs within your price range.

Bethany Global University, for example, has a model in place to help you work to pay off your tuition as you attend schools helping you enter the missions field close to debt-free.

Location and length may also be vital in deciding where you receive your training.

If you are interested in a very specific aspect of missions you may also want to research to find what schools and courses have options available for your specific call in ministry.

Wheaton’s Institute for Cross-Cultural training offers many courses very focused on certain aspects such as English as a Second Language and second language acquisition.

The best part is that you don’t have to have to know all your plans for the future to get missionary training, many programs will help you discover where you can best serve, or offer opportunities once you have finished training.

Make sure to research the school that you plan on attending or taking courses from, some do require pre-requisites, or other commitments while taking their courses or following your attendance at their school.

It is also important to make sure the school and training you are looking into are in agreement with your convictions and beliefs.

Look up their statement of faith to see how it lines up with your own beliefs before deciding what training school you want to attend.

There are many options when it comes to pursuing missionary training. Some offer certificates or degrees for completing, and others include ministry opportunities for those taking courses.

Make sure whatever course you decide on lines up with what you hope to take away from missionary training.

Make sure to check out the credibility of programs you are considering as well, this includes recognition from notable Christians or Christain organizations as well as how long they have been operating and accreditation they may have. 

Even if you are not sure if you want to go into the mission field missionary training can be helpful since it is our responsibility as Christians to share the gospel and to make disciples.

We have opportunities to do this not just overseas but in our hometowns and workplaces.

Cross-cultural training which may seem only useful for work overseas can have a great impact on our daily lives and sharing the gospel wherever you are now.

No matter where you go it is likely you will meet someone with a different background and cultural upbringing making cross-cultural training useful in many situations.

There are many opportunities to share God’s word near and far. Missionary training can give you a leg up to efficiently and effectively sharing the gospel wherever you are.

There is no one correct path to pursuing missionary training, it will all depend on where God is calling you.

The best way to get missionary training may differ from person to person depending on your life situation and your plans for the future.

Ultimately God has the final say in our life, follow what He is calling you to do. Listen to His voice.

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