Preparing You for the Field
So you’ve decided to take the incredible step of faith and answer God’s call to become a missionary. What’s next?
Your path to the mission field depends a lot on your background and where you’re going to serve. Frequently, we have people who come to us with a heart for missions but lack the biblical knowledge or ministry experience that we believe is essential to missions. That’s where we come in.
We’ve created a robust prefield development program to prepare our missionaries with personalized coaching and training before they head to the field. Our goal is to equip you with the knowledge and skills you will need to effectively minister in the place that God has called you to reach.
Our Prefield Process
Once you’ve become an ABWE missionary, you will begin a dual track of meeting both the fundraising and educational goals that are required to get to the field. ABWE missionaries may be asked to complete several reading assignments in addition to required continuing education and training.
To provide you with a solid foundation for missionary service, ABWE requires that all our missionaries fulfill specific educational requirements based on their ministry role.
The following graduate-level courses are available onsite at ABWE’s International Headquarters in Harrisburg, PA and through distance learning, and they can all be taken for Graduate Academic Credit:
- Methods of Bible Study*
- Old Testament Story or The Roots of Faith — Old Testament
- New Testament Story or The Roots of Faith — New Testament
- Basic Missional Theology
Most missionary candidates who come to ABWE have already completed some or all of these required courses, but for those candidates who have not taken these courses, ABWE’s training department will evaluate training needs and make recommendations individualized to each missionary. The final training requirements will be determined by each missionary’s Executive Director.
These courses are available also to members of churches that send and support ABWE missionaries, national partners working with ABWE missionaries, missionaries from other organizations, and anyone seeking basic Bible training.
* Generally, a course in hermeneutics differs essentially from a course in Methods of Bible Study. We cannot accept hermeneutics for this requirement unless it can be demonstrated that the hermeneutics course did, in fact, cover the kind and amount of content generally included in a Methods of Bible Study course.
3. Ministry Experience
ABWE requires missionaries to have some appropriate type of supervised ministry experience.
Don’t have the ministry experience necessary for field ministry? Let us work with you to develop customized prefield ministry internships and mentoring opportunities to get the experience you need. Where possible, we try to include your sending church in helping to establish and oversee these supervised ministry experiences.
4. Missions Training
Because we want to help you succeed, we require certain trainings to help prepare you for ministry. This includes a five-day course called Essential Mission Components: Mapping to the End Vision of Missions, which focuses on ABWE’s core ministries of cross-cultural evangelism, discipleship, and church planting, and Field Preparation Seminar, which will equip you to transition to the mission field, adjust to living in another culture, and come alongside the existing ABWE field team.
5. Linguistical Preparation
Because of the difficulty of learning a new language, we will evaluate your need for language preparation and will provide basic training to help you start this part of your journey to the field. If more extensive training is needed, we will recommend a language acquisition program.
6. Cultural Preparation
Previously acquired cross-cultural preparation is highly recommended for any mission field, and even required for serving on some fields. We will look at your cross-cultural experience and training, and knowledge of the culture and country where you intend to serve and help you prepare for ministering in your specific ministry context.
Every prefield missionary is required to conduct an online research study regarding the country where you plan to serve. Completing this “Country Specific Research and Eco-Factor Cards” assignment is a prerequisite for attending the Essential Mission Components (EMC) course.
7. Family Life
Our interviews with missionary candidates often reveal a need for counseling. Whether it be in issues in your marriage, financial concerns or parenting struggles, our team of missionary care personnel is here to help you understand and overcome any issues that could derail your ministry and missionary life. ABWE’s Director of Prefield Ministries personally supervises the assignment and completion of these counseling assignments.
8. Online Support
As a way to track your progress in the prefield journey, ABWE gives you access to Central, an online portal that allows you to report your assignments and provides up-to-date information on your progress, as well as tracks your personal support and financial information.
Additionally, our training leaders, prefield department and executive directors provide valuable accountability by monitoring your assignments and helping you meet the requirements for field departure.
We Are Here for You Every Step of the Way
We’ve been told that our training program sets us apart as a mission agency and has been invaluable to many people, just like you, who wanted to serve but weren’t sure they were ready.
We are excited to see how God uses you as you embark on this incredible journey of becoming a global ambassador for Christ to the nations.