Enthusiasm for Missions
When the church engages in cross-cultural missions, do we follow the admonition of Proverbs 19: 2?
Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes. (New Living Translation)
Enthusiasm is wonderful. According to the Oxford Dictionary, it can be defined as “intense and eager enjoyment, interest, or approval, religious fervour supposedly resulting directly from divine inspiration.” ( https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/enthusiasm) As a missionary and a missions professor, I love enthusiasm for missions!
However, as a student of missions history, I also recognize that missions enthusiasm has led to tragic results. Proverbs 19:2 encourages us to combine enthusiasm with knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge can help missions avoid mistakes and tragedy. State-of-the-art research, sound theology and rigorous planning will also make missions more effective.
I am delighted about the new MA in Intercultural Studies program at Logos Evangelical Seminary. The program is carefully crafted to provide wisdom for the twenty-first century missionary. At its core, the program provides a robust curriculum of biblical studies and theology (27 units). There can be no compromise on the primary mandate to provide theological education at Logos Evangelical Seminary. Since its founding, Logos has also insisted that spiritual formation is an essential component in preparation for ministry. Thus, the MA in Intercultural Studies requires Spiritual Formation and Personal Evangelism (5 units).
Building on that theological core are the traditional courses in Intercultural Studies, such as Missions History, Urban Ministry, and Spiritual Warfare (19 units). Beyond these traditional courses, however, Logos is also addressing the needs of missions among Chinese Christians in the twenty-first century. First, we are requiring classes on Leadership Development (3-6 units). The vast diversity of the contemporary missionary movement, with missionaries from all different cultures and from all parts of the world, require strong biblical leaders.
Second, we also require courses in Family Ministry (6 units). One of the greatest struggles for all missionaries is the missionary family. Family issues is a primary reason for missionary attrition. Drawing on the strength of the faculty in the Family Ministry department, we require the courses Bible and Family and Pastoral Counseling. Finally, there is an individually designed and personally mentored Missions Practicum.
Currently many of the courses are available online. In the future, we envision students taking the majority of our courses from home or, even better, while they are serving on the missionary field.
For many people, there is an even better option than the MA in Intercultural Studies. For students who envision serving God full-time through church planting, pastoral ministry, or Bible teaching, there is also a more comprehensive program. Students can take the complete three year M.Div. curriculum at Logos, and add an additional year of Intercultural Studies courses to receive two masters degrees. (This is the 3+1 program; an MA + M.Div. degree.)
May we continue to inspire enthusiasm in the missionary movement! May the churches in China successfully raise up 20,000 missionaries by 2030! But I pray these zealous brothers and sisters, as they spread around the world, would be informed by cutting-edge scholarship, biblical truth, and godly wisdom.