This week I’ve been at the NTM Missionary Training Center outside Camdenton, Missouri, at an international trainers forum. And I count it a privilege to be surrounded by people who equip missionaries in Bolivia and Colombia, the Philippines – even exotic, faraway places like Canada and the UK.
This is in answer to one of the challenges before us as an international organization: providing consistent training worldwide.
These days, an American couple could very well be teamed up with a Filipino family and two single women from a tribe in the Asia-Pacific region to establish a mature church among an unreached people group. If their training doesn’t mesh, that could be a disaster – a tragedy that leaves people without hope.
At the same time, the way you train an American couple has to look a lot different from the way you train Filipinos, and neither of those models will fit those women from a remote mountain village. So how do you coordinate that?
With Core Principles for Training. Around the world, NTM is using ten principles to evaluate and frame every training program. Principles like:
- Our place in the church’s mission: Pre-field training should orient candidates as to where they fit within the Church and in its task of fulfilling the Great Commission.
- Relationship-Centered Ministry: Pre-field training should cultivate in candidates a love for people and give them a deep seated conviction that effective ministry is not possible without knowing and understanding people.
- Life-long Learning: Pre-field training should be a genuinely “seamless” introduction to in-ministry training.
- Understanding Complexities: Pre-field training should give a clear picture of ministry realities and the growing complexities involved in reaching least-reached people groups.
Those increasing complexities present another challenge. More and more, NTM missionaries are working with people in settings other than remote tribal villages. More and more, they are being called on not to plant churches themselves, but to equip others to plant churches. More and more, they face situations that hinder the spread of the gospel.
How can our training programs in a dozen countries around the globe possibly stay on top of that? How can they prepare men and women for this?
With Core Principles for Training. With principles like this one:
- God’s Eternal Purposes: Pre-field training, in every aspect, should be founded in a comprehensive view (the “big picture”) of God’s eternal purposes.
Needless to say, despite the challenges and changes, God’s eternal purposes never change.
But what about here in the USA, where the characteristics of today’s younger generation’s present new challenges for an organization focused on a long-term goal, a task that requires a significant commitment, a work that is often slow and hard – concepts that to them are equivalent to “bad”?
You probably already know the answer: With Core Principles for Training. Principles that stay the same, though the training methods will change to properly equip succeeding generations.
It’s a privilege to be part of a worldwide team engaged in a God-sized work. I’m honored that you’ve chosen to partner with Julie and me in your prayers, giving and encouragement. Thank you!
- That I will be able to effectively communicate what I am hearing at this forum to our Communications team, so we can help present that clearly to North Americans.
- That I will find my balance again. The death of my mom a few weeks back has affected me more deeply than I expected. I feel off-balance and unsettled. And except for a couple of days in the last two-and-a-half weeks, I have been apart from Julie, which has not helped.
- For our trainers as they take this information back and strive to implement it well in the ten countries represented here this week.
Leave a Reply