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Missionary Training

Top 12 Missionary Training Programs Compared

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Written by Avery Rimiller

In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus tells us to go and make disciples of all the nations. As Christians, we take this call seriously, so much so that many of us want to respond to God’s calling on our lives by becoming missionaries. If you know God has called you to be a missionary, a great place to start would be a missionary training program.

What is a missionary training program? A missionary training program is a school, gap year program, or internship that trains Christians spiritually, academically, and practically on how to become missionaries cross-culturally and take the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Here are the top 12 missionary training programs in alphabetical order that I found:

  1. ABWE International
  2. Adventures in Missions
  3. Appalachian Bible College
  4. Bethany Global University
  5. Ethnos 360
  6. G42 Leadership Academy
  7. Greater Europe Mission Internship
  8. Global Frontier Missions
  9. Global U
  10. Reign Ministries
  11. Word of Life Bible Institute
  12. Youth with a Mission (YWAM)

ABWE International

ABWE International is a missionary training agency that specializes in sending future missionaries and training them on how to evangelize and multiply churches across the globe.

They are passionate about following the call of God and have numerous areas of study to learn from. From aviation, business, and church planting, to theological studies, healthcare, and women’s ministry, ABWE is sure to have something you’re passionate about.

Pros:

  • ABWE has 92 years of experience and opportunities to serve in 70 different countries.
  • ABWE offers apprenticeships, internships, events, and certification workshops to make sure that you are equipped to take the gospel wherever you go.

Cons:

  • ABWE does not have much information about how to fundraise for their different programs. Their fundraising strategy is fairly vague.
  • ABWE is not accredited.

You can find out more about ABWE International here.

Adventures in Missions

Adventures in Missions (AIM) is a mission sending organization that has sent over 115,000 people overseas for short and long term missions.

They exist to disciple believers and raise them up to spread the kingdom of God to all the nations. They focus heavily on community and evangelism.

Some of their programs include the World Race, Gap Year program, Semester trips, and other short term trips for teenagers, families, and churches. They also send missionaries overseas long term.

The World Race is an 11-month internship in 11 different countries which allows aspiring missionaries to experience different cultures and ministries.

Their Gap Year trip consists of nine months of ministry divided in-between 3-5 countries.

Semester trips include college-age students serving in 1-3 countries from 1-6 months overseas.

Pros:

  • AIM has multiple programs to choose from.
  • AIM has all kinds of different ministries to serve with.
  • AIM has a large pool of countries to choose from too.
  • In the World Race, applicants get to choose a specific route they feel most called to.

Cons:

  • AIM’s demographic is narrow, consisting mostly of young adults.
  • All applicants must fundraise for their trips, with the price for the World Race being upwards of $18,000 and Gap Year amounting to $15,000.

You can find out more about Adventures in Missions here.

Appalachian Bible College

Appalachian Bible College, or ABC, has an accredited Missions Degree Program that specifically digs deep into training up future missionaries.

Areas of study within this mission degree include biblical languages, foreign language, international studies, nursing, and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

Pros:

  • After three years on campus serving with local outreach programs, students get to go on a 4-8 week internship overseas, putting what they’ve learned into practice.
  • ABC’s tuition is much more affordable than normal universities, starting at $7,014 a year and $12,842 for out of state students, with the opportunity to fundraise for the overseas internships.

Cons:

  • ABC’s international internship is relatively short compared to other missionary training program internships.
  • ABC only has one mission degree and as a whole do not specialize in missions.

You can find out more about Appalachian Bible College here.

Bethany Global University

Bethany Global University (BGU) is an accredited four-year missions college located in Bloomington, Minnesota. Their mission is to take the church to where it is not and spread the gospel to all unreached people groups.

BGU’s programs include BAs in Transformational Entrepreneurship in Missions, Intercultural Ministries Studies, and Education in Missions, all of which create a double major with Theology.

BGU also has master and associate degrees to choose from, as well as a gap year and a special needs program.

For the undergraduate courses, the first two years are spent on campus, then, students head overseas for 16 months on global internship and return afterward for their last semester back on campus.

Pros:

  • Most students pay only $9,500 a year through the tuition paid model. Students work for their tuition through on-campus jobs. Click here to learn more about this model.
  • BGU is heavily mission-minded and specifically geared towards unreached people groups.
  • BGU is an accredited university.

Cons:

  • BGU only has three bachelor degrees to choose from.
  • BGU has a student body of under 500 people.

You can find out more about Bethany Global University here.

Ethnos 360

Ethnos 360 has a Missionary Training Center and a Bible Institute that prepares students through intensive theological studies and various ministry opportunities for a life on mission.

Ethnos 360 specializes in teaching their students how to become church planters in different cultures through ministry outreaches, community gatherings, and language training, all from experienced missionaries.

Pros:

  • All expenses are covered at only $9,086 a year, making it one of the most affordable missionary training schools.
  • Ethnos 360’s Missionary Training Center gives students real-world experience from short-term trips within their courses which are taught by missionaries.
  • Ethnos 360 focuses on community, church planting, and spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Cons:

  • To attend Ethnos 360’s missionary training program, you must have been a student for at least two years at their Bible Institute, or have two years of equivalent training.
  • The Ethnos 360 Bible Institute is not accredited.

You can find out more about Ethnos 360 here.

G42 Leadership Academy

G42 Leadership Academy, or the 42nd Generation, is a nine-month program that grows its students in a personal relationship with Jesus, encourages a healthy Christian community, and prepares its students to take the gospel anywhere and share the love of Jesus with anyone.

The program is split up into three sections. In the first three months in Mijas, Spain, the class learns about a life lived with Jesus through experienced professors and speakers, and take intensive classes about discipleship and how to evangelize.

The next three months are spent on the mission field, which G42 calls your practicums. They are based in different countries and different areas of ministry which pose incredible opportunities for all students.

Lastly, the final three months are spent debriefing back in Mijas about what worked, what didn’t, what students learned, and how to take their vision and experience into the world once the program is done.

Tuition is $10,900 and includes room and board and flights to and from the practicum sites.

Pros:

  • G42 students live in an intentional community where they can make lasting relationships and grow in their love for Jesus together.
  • The practicums allow for hands-on experience on how to create a mission-minded ministry and how to do missions on the field.
  • G42 Leadership Academy is a niche area of mission, narrowing in on how to lead mission businesses and ministry organizations.

Cons:

  • Students must be 21 years or older to attend
  • Though beautiful, the academy is located in Mijas, Spain which is hard to get to.
  • G42 is not an accredited program.

You can find out more about G42 Leadership Academy here.

Greater Europe Mission Internships

Greater Europe Mission or GEM is a missionary training and sending agency that’s purpose is to bring the gospel to the people of Europe, where the people know religion, but only 2% know Jesus.

The main way that GEM trains future missionaries to go to these largely unreached peoples is through their unique internships.

Whether it’s two months overseas in the summer, two years as an apprentice, or any amount of time in-between, GEM focuses on training their interns in discipleship, practical hands-on experience, and evangelism. They do this with the best professionals in missions that Europe has to offer.

Pros:

  • Greater Europe Mission has multiple opportunities for different types of ministry.
  • GEM uniquely has different professionals teach their interns depending on what area of ministry they are studying.
  • Since GEM is more niche and specified, you can count on healthy leadership and expertise that meets experience within your internship.

Cons:

  • GEM only has ministry sites in Europe.
  • GEM doesn’t have as many training resources.

You can find out more about Greater Europe Mission Internships here.

Global Frontier Missions

Global Frontier Missions (GFM) has an incredible selection of missionary training programs, from short term trips to a six month-two year internship in South Asia, to their online and in-person missionary training school, its clear GFM is all about international missions.

GFM has a five-month missionary training school that accepts anyone from high school-aged students to retirees. Tuition for this training is $3,750, which also provides for housing and utilities.

Through GFM’s missionary training school, they take their students through 20 hours in the classroom each week, 12-15 hours of cross-cultural ministry each week, and opportunities for personal discipleship and spiritual formation.

Pros:

  • GFM’s approach to training missionaries is holistic, biblical, and strategic. They are whole-heartedly dedicated to mobilizing missionaries and reaching unreached people groups to fulfill the Great Commission.
  • Students get intensive, thorough, and practical hands-on training for how to do missions cross-culturally.

Cons:

  • If you’d like to transfer what you’ve learned to college credits, tuition is an additional $850.
  • GFM’s training schools are not located in different countries, only here in the United States.

You can find out more about Global Frontier Missions here.

Global U

Global U is a gap year program founded by leaders from the previously mentioned organization Adventures in Missions.

This program specifically coaches entrepreneurs, artists, and web developers through their business ideas and takes them through the process of launching that business into the world.

After fundraising $19,000-$24,000, students can gain real-world experience in web development, leadership, marketing, and more, interns spend their time learning abroad in 1-3 different countries. Global U’s main countries are Guatemala, Greece, and Spain.

Pros:

  • Global U puts a heavy emphasis on community, discipleship, and spiritual growth.
  • Global U is extremely unique in their hands-on approach of coaching their students towards real-life success and kingdom impact startups.
  • Global U also provides a specific avenue to attaining college credits through their 9-month program.

Cons:

  • Though missional, Global U focuses solely on business as mission and does not have other areas of study.
  • Global U is narrow in its focus, accepting only 4% of applicants.
  • Global U only a few countries and routes to choose from.

You can find out more about Global U here.

Reign Ministries

Reign Ministries specializes in raising up the next generation of disciple-makers through their eight-month discipleship school and short term mission trips.

Reign’s discipleship school, Kairos, is based in Minneapolis and is for young adults ages 18-26. Tuition is $10,500 and covers all costs such as accommodation, food, studies, and a stateside mission trip as well as an international mission trip.

Kairos focuses on teaching their students about discipleship, missions, leadership, community, and the importance of God’s Word.

Another program Reign has is their Royal Servants short term trips. These trips are available to high schoolers as well as churches, families, and college students and are dedicated to spreading the love of Jesus.

Their Boost mission trips also allow anyone to create their custom mission trip and explore the call God has placed on their life.

Pros:

  • Reign Ministries has an incredible structure for raising up the youth to take the gospel all over the world.
  • Reign has multiple sites across five continents, including a site in China and five sites in Europe.
  • Reign also has a base in London where they work with a Youth Ministry Degree program to help their students earn a BA in Theology through getting real-world experience in youth ministries and churches.

Cons:

  • Reign Ministries’ main programs are only for youth and young adults, not for all ages.
  • Reign does not have any long term training or sending facilities, but instead focuses solely on transformational short term trips.

You can find out more about Reign Ministries here.

Word of Life Bible Institute

The Word of Life Bible Institute is an accredited, collegiate level training school that raises students up in the knowledge of theology and ministry both locally and internationally.

Throughout their first and second-year programs, Word of Life helps students lay a strong biblical foundation through discipleship, biblical studies, ministry opportunities, and studies on apologetics.

Among multiple other smaller trips and programs, Word of Life also has a separate two-year missionary internship program. Students will learn how to fundraise, learn a new language, and adjust to a new culture as they share the gospel and gain hands-on missionary experience.

Pros:

  • Word of Life Bible Institute focuses on deep community and helps students grow exponentially in their understanding of the Bible and their relationship with Jesus.
  • Students at Word of Life Bible Institute receive the incredible opportunity to spend a separate two years overseas living as an actual missionary.
  • Word of Life also has local outreach and evangelism opportunities for students to learn how to share the gospel with anyone at any time.

Cons:

  • Word of Life Bible Institute’s missionary internship is a separate entity from their theology studies and requires additional fundraising.
  • Though cheaper than most colleges, tuition is $19,404 a year, more than double that of Bethany Global University and Ethnos 360, which have similar programs.

You can find out more about Word of Life Bible Institute here.

Youth with a Mission (YWAM)

YWAM is probably the most well-known missions organization out there. With its numerous bases, ministry opportunities, and Discipleship Training Schools, its popularity needs no explanation.

YWAM’s most well known program is their Discipleship Training School program, or DTS, where their participants spend three months at a base growing in discipleship, knowledge of God’s Word, and their relationship with Jesus.

The second half of the program is called outreach, where the participants put what they’ve learned into practice in different countries.

Through endless avenues of ministry and different types of outreach, YWAMers get to dig into the dreams God has given them and learn how to love others as Jesus did.

Pros:

  • YWAM stresses the importance of time in God’s word, with Jesus, as well as a community with other believers.
  • YWAM has numerous countries to choose from, helpful for participants who feel called to a certain country and are looking for opportunities to grow there.

Cons:

  • YWAM is an extremely large corporation with multiple bases in almost every country, so their leadership and secondary values vary greatly at each location.
  • At their larger sites (such as Kona, Hawaii), YWAMers have discovered issues with accountability and discipleship due to a large number of participants, which makes it harder for leadership to keep up.
  • Participants have to raise upwards of $9,000 or more for their DTS.

You can find out more about Youth with a Mission here.

Missions Matter

Whatever missionary training program you choose, know that God will lead and guide you through it always. He’s the one who put this calling on your life, so He’ll be the one to provide for you.

Being a missionary is an amazing calling and often times difficult, but it’s always worth it to show people the love of Jesus and spend time learning how to do that.

You might’ve heard before that missions exist because worship doesn’t, so as Christians, let’s dedicate ourselves to taking the gospel to where it’s not so that Jesus can be known and worshipped in every tribe, tongue, and nation.

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