The prospect of spending one or two years at a mission training college can seem like an age. After all, isn’t the Gospel a simple message and isn’t simply, to ‘preach Christ and him crucified’ (1Cor 1:23) something all Christians should do anyway?
Here are 2 points to think about, when thinking about mission:
It’s not about you!
We owe it to those we are working with to provide the best level of care, support, teaching, preaching and practical help that we are able to give. This, like any other job, requires training.
Missionaries often work in underdeveloped and less privileged areas. As such, the role of a missionary can involve serving in ways that may differ to what one may have signed up for (One of my first jobs on arrival in South Africa was to be arms deep in sewage on our run down base – I thought I was going to teach!). Flexibility is key, wherever one goes invariably leads to serving alongside other people that often think differently to you, especially in a cross-cultural context. Which leads to the next point…
It is about you!
There is much about ourselves that we don’t realise until we are placed in a situation that tests us.
Teams and working environments may change, but we always take ourselves with us!
Learning why it is we respond in certain ways, how we function best in a team and what makes us either thrive or suffer, enables us to be fitter ambassadors for Christ. This is important as missionaries often find themselves in tough circumstances.
We are products of our family and cultural backgrounds, often so much so that we don’t question why we behave like we do or why it is that we believe what we believe.
Time to study and to wrestle with questions of Theology, the Bible, Spirituality and ourselves is never wasted. After all, we can only give out as much as we have put in.
Leaving the comforts of home and heading into the unknown is an exciting and exhilarating experience. In order for it to stay that way, it’s important that you take the right tools with you.
Time at a Mission training College provides the opportunity for acquiring and sharpening these tools. It’s after this ‘getting ready’, that the ‘Let’s Go’ can make much more of a difference.
Benj Wesby - Theology Lecturer
Benj (Bsc,BA,MA) grew up in Wales and after studying and working, he served in his local church involved in outreach and summer Beach Mission. He later attended Redcliffe Bible College and from there, with his wife Nina, spent the next 5.5years serving in South Africa on OM’s Mission training base. Benj enjoys being outdoors and is happiest near a fire having a braai. Now Benj serves at Cornerstone as a theology teacher.