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Missionary Training

The Ultimate Guide To Missionary Colleges: Schools, Scholarships, & More

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Written by Avery Rimiller

Going through the process of finding a college is hard enough, but trying to find one as a Christian that teaches you how to grow in your faith, love others, and share the gospel can be difficult. That’s why I compiled this guide to help you find out what missionary college, school, scholarship, and program may be right for you.

What is a missionary college, and why do they matter? Missionary colleges and universities train missionaries in theology and ways to share the gospel with other cultures, no matter what degree is being pursued. Missionary colleges matter because they prepare and equip future missionaries to take the gospel to the ends of the earth and make disciples.

As John Piper put it, missions exist because worship doesn’t. So, as we are trained to spread the love of Jesus cross-culturally, we are also inspiring others to worship God and praise him with us for the rest of eternity.

This post will cover:

If you want to learn more about missionary colleges, read: What is a Missionary College? Definition & Lists of Colleges.

The Heart Behind Missionary Colleges

We know that before Jesus comes back, the gospel will be preached in every nation, and believers representing every tribe, tongue, and nation will be with us in heaven.

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Matthew 24:14 NIV

But before the end does come, God calls us and sends us to these people of the world, the unreached people groups so that every person will get the chance to say yes to Jesus.

Unfortunately, there are still 7,414 unreached people groups who have no access or inadequate access to the gospel according to the Joshua Project. Because of this, there is still a lot of work to be done for the Kingdom of God.

To accomplish this work, Christians are being trained to become missionaries and take the gospel to the ends of the earth. That’s where missionary colleges and schools come in.

Is Education Necessary To Becoming A Missionary?

Though the Bible never demands missionaries to get a formal education in missions, education is still recommended and even required by most missionary sending agencies and churches.

A specific area of study or training in your preferred type of ministry could be extremely beneficial to your impact overseas and propel you forwards in your God-given purpose.

To learn more about why this is the case, read What Education is Needed to Become A Missionary? Full Answer.

Something to consider is whether or not you can be a missionary without a degree. Almost always there must be some training before heading out to the mission field, but when it comes to earning a whole degree, it depends on what you want to do overseas.

Of course, if you want to reach people with the gospel through health, aviation, or business, you’ll want a degree to adequately accomplish your ministry. Even a short time of study in the long scheme of things could save you lots of bumps along the road as you invest your life into missions long term.

To understand why this matters and how you can decide for yourself if a degree is necessary for you, read Can You Be A Missionary Without A Degree? The Full Answer.

But to make sure you know all the options available to you, I’ve made a list of all the best colleges, degrees, and scholarships you can earn where you can learn how to become a missionary.

Types of Missionary College Degrees

Students wanting to become missionaries can use just about any degree to reach the lost and share the gospel of Jesus with others, however, some degrees are more helpful than others of course.

If you’re serious about reaching unreached people groups or serving overseas, you’ll want to find a degree that prepares you well for these specific things. And if you’d like to find out exactly what missionary college degree would work best for you, read The Best Missions College Degrees & Where To Find Them.

In this article, there are six different types of degrees that you can pursue and use overseas, but some other common degree paths for missionaries include:

  • Aviation
  • Biblical Counseling
  • Language
  • Worship Leader
  • Church Planting

Five other incredible degree choices for aspiring missionaries are:

  1. Bible & Theology Degree
  2. Intercultural Ministry Degree
  3. Education in Mission Degree
  4. Business Degree
  5. Medical Degree

1. Bible & Theology Degree

If you’re wanting to share the gospel, make disciples, and teach the Bible to people you’re ministering to, you’ll probably want to start with the actual Bible.

It may be tempting to think that you don’t need to know theology to love people and talk about Jesus, but as soon as unbelievers start asking who Jesus is and why it matters, that’s where theology is needed.

Understanding the Bible and theology essential to answering people’s questions about the gospel.

Plus, people will respect you when you speak from a place of deep conviction and belief. Sometimes, your own faith and testimony through the lens of God’s Word could be the thing that convinces others that Jesus is the Son of God and died and rose again.

But, if you prove that you don’t know exactly what it is that you’re talking about, why will anyone want to believe you?

As Christians, we are called to know the Word of God, meditate on it, and seek after all wisdom and knowledge. What better way to do this than earn a degree that not only spurs us on to love God more with our minds but also shares the good news with others?

2. Intercultural Ministry Degree

Another great idea for work on the missions field is to get an intercultural missions degree. This will help you contextualize wherever it is you end up in the world and apply the true gospel to the culture you’re in.

Cultures are hard enough to figure out on your own, so why not honor God and the people you’ll witness by learning how to interact in a culture different from your own in a way that is respectful and loving?

The more you learn how to carry out your own faith in a way that the people around you understand, the faster it will be for them to comprehend how Jesus works.

Because Jesus loves us so much, he chose to contextualize the Kingdom of God for us by coming down in the form of a humble human, taking on all the same temptations and sufferings we experience. In the same way, we are to relate and have compassion for the people we will serve.

By earning an intercultural ministries degree, we learn how to take the culture of the kingdom of God and integrate it into another culture that desperately needs him.

3. Education in Missions Degree

One degree that extremely useful is an Education Degree since it allows us as missionaries to raise up a whole people group through education.

Not only can education change societies, governments, and families, but it can also change an individual’s heart, even from the age of a young child.

Early development is crucial for children and if you’re especially passionate about kids and/or teaching, a degree in education may be the best option for you.

You may even choose to pursue different tangents of education as well, such as teaching English as a foreign language or even specializing in a certain age group or subject.

Whatever passion for education God has placed in your heart, you can know there’s a place for it all over the world.

4. Business Degree

One degree that could be incredibly transformational for societies, communities, or individuals in any country is a business or entrepreneurship degree.

But using transformational entrepreneurship to reach people groups with the gospel, Christian missionaries could see a serious revival among people in the market space who would never be caught dead in church.

The gospel is not and should not be confined to the walls of a church building, but in actuality can thrive within a Business as Mission that exists to glorify God and reach others with the love of Jesus through their business.

Acting as Jesus would if he was a businessman, which he partly was since he was a carpenter, missionaries with business degrees could bust the myth that missions have to be operated outside of the secular world.

Yes, we are called to be in the world and not of it, but what an incredible opportunity to create businesses that shine the light of Jesus in a world submerged in darkness.

5. Medical Degree

As you prepare for the mission field, a great degree to get is a medical degree so that you can not only help people spiritually but physically.

By building relationships with patients, helping people in dire need of health care, and genuinely wanting to see people healed, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals can point people to the Great Physician through their own medical practice.

If you’ve always been passionate about the medical field as well as taking the gospel to the nations, why not combine the two and use the strengths God has given you to heal people’s physical and spiritual wounds.

Missionary Scholarships You Can Apply For

Saving money for your life as a missionary is important, and no matter where you’re pursuing a degree, you’ll want to apply to scholarships in order to help you along your journey.

If you want to find out about what opportunities are available to you, read 11 Missionary College Scholarships You Can Apply For. These scholarships are offered at many different colleges, including:

  • Randall University
  • Liberty University
  • San Diego Christian College
  • Colorado Christian University
  • Biola University
  • Wheaton College

You can also apply to scholarships from other foundations, no matter where you’re going to college. One of these foundations is the Christian Connector.

The Christian Connector

The Christian Connector offers multiple scholarships for Christian students who demonstrate their faith in their lives and actively pursue the Lord’s calling for them.

Among some of their scholarships, they have a $2,500 drawing for students and platforms where you can search up scholarships from multiple participating colleges and universities.

The Christian Connector also has information about different Christian colleges and degree plans, so you can discover the best fit for you.

To find out more about the Christian Connector and their scholarships, click here.

The Christian Missionary Scholarship Foundation

Another great resource is the Christian Missionary Scholarship Foundation, which supports missionary kids who know that like their parents, they are called to worship God and serve him through making disciples of all nations.

To apply, students must be missionary kids, show their dedication to following Jesus within their application, and attend one of these Christian colleges:

  • Wheaton University
  • Calvin University
  • Dordt University
  • Hope College
  • Kuyper College
  • Trinity Christian College

If you’d like to find out more about the Christian Missionary Scholarship Foundation and their scholarships, click here.

United Church of Christ Scholarships

The United Church of Christ offers two categories of scholarships as well as grants to students willing to further their education in ministry and missions.

Scholarships offered are under the categories of Ministry Education Scholarships, and Leadership Development Scholarships, which cover a host of expenses from tuition to room and board and fees.

Each scholarship has differing requirements and eligibility, but to find out if one of these scholarships is right for you, click here.

The Foundation For College Christian Leaders Scholarship

If you’re wanting further the Kingdom of God and are called to leadership, The Foundation for College Christian Leaders offers a scholarship to undergraduates who have had leadership experience and attend college in either California, Oregon, or Washington.

This scholarship is given out each year and covers expenses according to a student’s financial need so that students can focus on glorifying God through their academics without worrying about finances.

If you’d like to find out more about The Foundation for College Christian Leaders Scholarship, click here.

6 Steps To Apply To The Right Missionary School For You

If you’re wondering what steps are required to apply to your dream missionary school, read Missionary College Admission: Requirements & Complete Guide.

On this guide, there are 6 steps listed on what to expect and how to complete your application. These 6 steps are:

  1. Fill Out Personal Information
  2. Fill Out Your Educational History
  3. Write Out Your Testimony
  4. Upload Your Standardized Test Scores (if Needed)
  5. Choose Your Major or Area of Study
  6. Include Letters of Recommendation

Other things to look for in your application are an application fee, a reason for wanting to be accepted, and an explanation of how you are pursuing a relationship with Jesus in your life today.

Remember that a missionary college application is a stepping stone to the next chapter in your life, and God is writing every page. Because of this, you can trust that he will be with you throughout your whole journey, from application to graduation and beyond.

Missionary Colleges You Can Apply To

Here, I’ve gather 5 of the best missionary colleges you could apply to:

  1. Bethany Global University
  2. Biola University
  3. Liberty University
  4. Appalachian Bible College
  5. Word Of Life Bible Institute

If you’d like to look at more great missionary training schools, read The Ultimate Guide to Missionary College Programs.

1. Bethany Global University

Located in Bloomington, Minnesota, Bethany Global University is a four year accredited missions college that trains missionaries to take the gospel and the church to where it is not.

With a major in Theology, students at BGU can choose to double major in either Education in Missions, Transformational Entrepreneurship, or Intercultural Studies.

As students move forward in their chosen area of study, they get to participate in hands-on ministry and missions through outreach assignments, prayer watches, and even a 16-month internship abroad.

This 16-month Global Internship starts in Junior year and allows students to truly experience a different culture, language learning, and ministry all the while still attending online classes.

Among these incredible opportunities, BGU also practices a tuition-paid model that provides the student with donor gifts, grants, and the chance to work on campus so that the aspiring missionary won’t have to go into debt before jumping onto the mission field.

Because BGU is a work college, a student’s average annual cost is only $10,297. Another pro is that students get to exercise what they’re learning in the classroom in their on-campus jobs and then take those skills to the nations.

Whether that looks like working in the Montessori school on campus, in the Call Center, or with the maintenance team, students will surely be able to grow spiritually, intellectually, and professionally.

Overall, Bethany Global University desires to see God’s glory known throughout the nations as the water covers the seas, and the whole school is dedicated to providing an affordable, practical, and spiritually healthy education as well as a 16 month internship program overseas that helps you get hands on experience in missions. 

A video explaining more about BGU

To learn more about Bethany Global University, click here.

2. Biola University

Biola University is one of the nation’s finest Christian Universities and includes multiple different programs, including associates, bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees.

Whether online or on-campus in southern California, students get to experience a rich campus life full of good community, academic rigor, and faith-fueled events.

For Christians called to missions, Biola offers many different degrees to launch future missionaries forward into their calling. These degrees include:

  • Bible, Theology, and Ministry
  • Biblical Ministries
  • Education
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Evangelism and Discipleship
  • Intercultural Education
  • Intercultural Studies
  • international Business
  • Middle East Studies
  • Missions
  • Preaching and Pastoral Ministry
  • Social Justice
  • TESOL
  • Theology
  • Worship Arts

These are only a few top picks from the multiple degrees that Biola offers, which is why you’re sure to find a degree you’re passionate about at BU.

On average, annual expenses for life on campus including tuition, room and board, and other fees totals out to $55,513, with tuition making up $44,382 of that total.

Ultimately, Biola aspires to grow their students spiritually and intellectually, pointing everyone around them to Jesus. For students at Biola, it’s all about learning how to love God with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength and helping others do the same.

To learn more about Biola University, click here.

3. Liberty University

Located in Lynchburg Virginia, Liberty University exists to grow their students in academics as well as challenge them spiritually so that they can live out the gospel for the rest of their lives.

At Liberty, students can choose from many different programs and degrees in order to prepare them for what the Lord is calling them to. Some of these degrees include:

  • International Business
  • Worship Leadership
  • Pastoral Ministry
  • Global Studies
  • Women’s Leadership
  • Aeronautics
  • Theology and Apologetics

These are just a few of the incredible degrees at Liberty that can prepare you for the mission field. Students can also choose to study online or live on campus and explore the wonderful opportunities, outreaches, and events the college offers on-campus.

Tuition for undergraduate students living on campus is $23,800, not including room and board and other fees, however, Liberty does offer a host of scholarships which are listed later on in this blog.

To find out more about Liberty University and how to apply, click here.

4. Appalachian Bible College

Appalachian Bible College in West Virginia is a college that focuses on building a solid foundation in theology and ministry in their student’s lives.

With ABC, you choose to enter their one year Bible Certificate program or earn an accredited BA in Bible and Theology with a double major in one of these ministry options:

  • Biblical Counseling
  • Camping Ministry
  • Elementary Education
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Missions
  • Music
  • Pastoral Ministry

Specifically for their missions major, ABC offers in-depth study in either:

  • Biblical Languages
  • Foreign Languages
  • International Studies
  • Nursing
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Others Languages

On average, tuition at ABC is $6,870, with room and board for on-campus students equaling $4,200, not including other fees and expenses.

Overall, with a more affordable program at Appalachian Bible College, fun, on-campus events, and opportunities to apply what you’ve learned to your life, students at ABC get to grow personally, intellectually, and spiritually.

To find out more about Appalachian Bible College and how to apply to their school, click here.

5. Word Of Life Bible Institute

Word of Life Bible Institute located in New York is dedicated to deepening student’s relationship with Christ and helping them discover God’s will and call for their lives.

To accomplish this, WOL has their students spend two years in intensive study of Theology, which builds the foundation of their faith and calling through classes like Survey of the Old Testament, Introduction to Biblical Counseling, and Theology I and II.

Students also get a hands-on approach to ministry during their second year at WOL and get to take classes like Public Speaking, Hermeneutics, and Homiletics, all in order to bring what they learn in the classroom into the real world.

On average, students at Word of Life pay only $11,314 a year for all costs, and like Bethany Global University, get to work on campus to keep their tuition cost down.

Another opportunity with WOL is their two-year internships which students can choose to go on in one of 67 countries, or even become a Resident Leader on campus. These internships focus on cross-cultural training, youth ministry, and camp ministry.

Overall, Word of Life Bible Institute wants to see students develop their God-given skills, and use them for his kingdom, wherever they plan on going after school.

To learn more about Word of Life Bible Institute and how you can apply, click here.

Other Missionary Programs

Some other missionary programs include the World Race, an 11-month mission trip to 11 different countries that helps you grow in your relationship with Jesus as well as discover different types of ministries and people groups you could one day be lead to serve.

Youth With A Mission, or YWAM is another great missionary training program where you could spend three months attended a Discipleship Training School and then putting what you’ve learned into practice on the mission field.

Another great resource is the Online Missionary Training School with Global Frontier Missions. This program equips you specifically to reach unreached people groups and make disciples through a curriculum that gathered its strategies from churches, missions organizations, and Bible schools in order to get you where God is calling you to.

Finally, Ethnos 360 is a wonderful missions organization that offers mission trips, Bible training, mission career opportunities, and many more training programs to inspire and help you to live your life on mission. You can find out more information about them here.

Missionary Colleges & Schools Matters

Missionary schools, colleges, and universities are imperative to training Christians to advance the gospel all over the world in the most efficient and loving ways.

We don’t just want to evangelize and leave others to figure out their faith on their own, we want to be trained so that we can walk alongside people, lead them to Christ, and walk with them through the process of discipleship.

From there, we can teach others about the grace of God and change the world for God’s glory, so that the disciples we make go on to make more disciples of Jesus.

Jesus will not come back until there is a believer in every tribe, tongue, and nation, and as Christians, it is our desire to hasten his coming by going with the gospel to all the people groups of the world.

This is why missionary colleges and schools matter, and it is why you can believe right now, that God made you on purpose and for a purpose.

You can be a part of what God is doing to change the world for your good, his glory, and other’s freedom.

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