Preparing for life in the field is no small task, particularly if it’s someone’s first time embarking on long-term overseas missions. In response, ACCI has created a new Intercultural Missions Course; an online course which covers the information most relevant to engaging in effective intercultural missions.
Here, John Symons, one of the course creators, talks about the course’s value and how it can help people maximise their impact once they arrive in the field.
Broadly speaking, how will this course help people prepare for long-term work in the field?
“The various modules will help people think through the way they’re going to approach things in the field; what they are going to do and how they are going to do it. This will save them time once they’re there, by hopefully preventing them from reinventing the wheel or from setting off in the wrong direction. Completing the course will provide motivation, assurance and confidence for the road ahead.”
How does this course differ from other training people might have already undergone, like Bible College or university degrees?
“The course is designed to provoke thinking rather than provide a ‘complete knowledge base’ for people. It's designed to make them go and find out more about something or to provoke further enquiry in a particular area that they think they will be working in.
This course is very strongly focused to the work that ACCI missionaries, in particular, are likely to be doing, and it is quite pragmatic and oriented to the process they will be going through to become ACCI missionaries. Being able to tailor the course this way was one of the motivations for creating it.”
How important is it that people have this knowledge before they embark on long-term work in the field?
“No course can provide all the answers, or help people avoid all the pitfalls, but I think this one will push people in the right direction. It will get them thinking the right kind of thoughts and pursuing the right information; to launch them in the right direction, the right way, for the right reason. It will also hopefully improve their ability to deal with pitfalls, should they stumble upon them.”
How can people get the most out of it?
“I'd say that as people do this course, they need to be thinking about how what they are reading and hearing impacts the context in which they intend to minister. For example, how does it impact the ministry they are thinking they will do? They need to engage with the course on that level and discuss the issues that arise from that thinking with their field supervisor.”
The course is online at acci.talentlms.com/catalog and can be started at any time, with new modules being released every month.
Module 1 – Welcome: available now - free
Module 2 – A Biblical theology of mission: available now
Module 3 – Culture, worldview and belief systems: available now
Module 4 – Cross-cultural communication strategies: available now
Module 5 – Biblical responses: available now
Module 6 – Planting and developing churches in context: available 30 November 2019
Module 7 – Self and family care: available 31 December 2019
Module 8 – Supporter and funding engagement: available 31 January 2020
Module 9 – Working with others on the field Managing effective ministries and organisations: available 31 March 2020
Module 10 – Managing effective ministries and organisations: available 31 March 2020
Each module is designed to take between 10 and 12 hours to complete and additional reading references are provided for those who would like to dig deeper.