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3 Growing Needs in Missionary Education

Written by Ed Stetzer on . Posted in Ed Stetzer

Missionaries need a biblical, theological, and missiological foundation.

Any conversation around an exponential increase in the global missionary force must include methods for missionary education and training. When we think about those things, our gut reaction is often to rely solely on seminaries and missions agencies to fulfill educational needs.

The problem with that knee-jerk response is that it de-emphasizes the role of local churches in missionary training when congregational life and discipleship should prepare missionaries for cross-cultural sending in many ways. We need to develop more robust methods of discipling our congregations that include training for purposefully crossing cultures with the gospel.

That said, there is certainly great value in the vast educational resources offered by theological institutions that can undergird, support, and strengthen the training efforts of our local churches. I’d like to note three distinct essentials for missionary training that could be served by such partnerships.

1. Biblical Foundation

The first may seem a bit obvious, but a solid biblical grounding is absolutely essential. Any candidate with a desire to enter into cross-cultural sending must first have a healthy, growing understanding of the Scriptures and the ability to engage practically with its foundational principles. He or she needs a biblical fluency that goes beyond simple head knowledge of Scripture and into the experience of obedient application.

This sort of life would produce familiarity with biblical teachings and the doctrines that flow from them. For instance, it would develop an understanding of salvation taught by the book of Romans, the person of the Holy Spirit from the writings of Luke, and the doctrines of righteousness and justice as seen in Amos. A grasp of these ...

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