Did you know that half of the missionary workforce leaves the field in under five years? One of the biggest reasons for low attrition rates is a lack of pre-field training. While seminary and Bible college may provide a theological foundation for missions, pre-field training gives you hands-on experience in missions. Here are five benefits of pre-field mission training:
Get coached by mentors and long-term missionaries
On any mission field, you will encounter numerous new trials and difficulties. One benefit of pre-field mission training is the opportunity to learn from people who have spent years on the field already. Facing these trials in one year of training could make up for a decade of learning on the field by yourself. Your mentors can help develop principles and learn how to become more resilient faster.
Learn your philosophy of ministry
What is your philosophy for effective ministry? What are your values, objectives, expectations, etc.? How do you communicate these to prospective long-term teams? Putting together a philosophy of ministry enables you to ask good, productive questions of potential long-term teams. This avoids dealing with unmet expectations and misaligned ministry visions later.
Navigate team dynamics
One of the biggest reasons missionaries leave the field is because of inner team conflict. Another benefit of pre-field training is learning to enact a ministry plan with a team. This allows you learn who you do ministry the best with and what philosophies of ministries are compatible with your own. It also allows you to handle inner team conflict alongside coaches to come out as a stronger team.
Learn how to communicate the Gospel cross-culturally
America is built on a guilt-based worldview. When we do something wrong, we feel guilty, and we change our course of action. We learn in Sunday school that Jesus took on our guilt and died for our sins so that we could be innocent before God. While that is certainly true, this does not resonate in every culture. Can you articulate the Gospel in shame or fear-based culture? Learning to contextualize the Gospel helps you successfully communicate it wherever they go!
Get practical, hands on-experience
The final benefit of pre-field training is simply getting the hands-on experience of living as a missionary. The church often has an idealized picture of being a missionary. But pre-field training takes this picture and replaces it with practical experience and tangible equipping to build more resilient and effective missionaries. These people will stay on the field longer and see more fruit in the long-run.
Bottom line: you will do better on the field with pre-field training. You would not go into any other job without some kind of training, and mission work is no different. Getting hands-on training under coaches is invaluable for a successful long-term ministry. Are you ready to start investing in your ministry? Start a conversation with a coach today!