To be a frontier career missionary requires a commitment to lifelong learning, growth and personal development. There are few occupations that demand so much from so few people. Over the course of the lifetime of a project an individual is required to master fundraising, creative writing, photography, linguistics, anthropology, strategy and tactics, curriculum design, soul winning, disciple making, leadership development and training of trainers among other things. There are no shortcuts to becoming a frontier missionary.
In fact, training and equipping career missionaries takes up most of our time and attention. We believe that in order for you to effectively invest in the unreached we must first invest in you. Preparation for discipleship is a process that includes the following components:
1. Before you come.
The way you live your life as a Christian before you join AFM is very much a part of your training and preparation. While we are not responsible for this part of your training, what you do before you come really impacts our time together. We encourage you to take your training seriously. People who do well reaching people cross-culturally often have had significant experience reaching and discipling people in their own culture.
2. After Orientation
The time between you are accepted and summer training is a very important part of your preparation. Developing your support team refines the skills that you will need to lead people to Jesus. These include trusting in God completely, meeting new people, sharing your testimony and calling, inviting them to join you in the journey and nurturing those relationships over time. As a matter of fact how this phase of training goes is often a key indicator of how things will progress in the field. In addition to this your curriculum will include reading “Anthropological Insights for Missionaries” by Hiebert, “Draw Close to the Fire” by Wardle and “PathWays to Global Understanding”, compiled by YWAM. One of the best ways to learn something is to teach it, so you will be asked to teach the PathWays to Global Understanding at your local church. This will prepare you for one of your most critical roles, to become a teacher and trainer of trainers.
View the volunteer missionary candidate pre-training prerequisites.
3. Career missions training through the Summer Institute of Foreign Missions (SIFM)
This four-month intensive is designed to be a life-changing experience for missionaries. To be a world changer demands a lifelong commitment to experiencing heart change. This is where true transformation, revival, missions and discipleship begins. For this reason summer training is deeply personal and profoundly challenging. You will make relationships that will last a lifetime, develop skills that will enrich every dimension of your life and acquire insight that will change the way you see the world. Here are a few of the highlights (for more information, view sample course descriptions):
- Worldview dynamics and Biblical methods—classes on worldview, church planting, prayer, spiritual issues, and Biblical methods
- Cross-cultural training—training for language acquisition, culture adaptation, anthropology
- Project management—concepts for managing finances, strategic planning, medical ministry, communications, writing, development
- Surviving the unexpected—adventure and survival training, safety and security, family transitions
- Teamwork and leadership-focused training in teamwork, leadership, and the Crucible
Are you an AFM Missionary in Training? Register for SIFM.
If you sense God calling you to serve the unreached, we encourage you to complete our missions interest form.
4. On-the-Job Training and Support
Once you launch to the field the Training Department partners with Field Operations to provide you with just-in-time training, consulting, mentoring and support. You will work with your field director to create a personal and professional development plan. You will have opportunities to attend specialized training events hosted by other agencies and organizations as well as participate in training and consulting events and opportunities provided by the Training Department. One of these events is affectionately called P2T or Phase Two Training.
5. Phase Two Training (P2T).
Once you have acquired the language and studied the culture significantly enough to become a cultural insider (typically, 1-2 years), the Training team will come out to your project to partner with you and your Field Director to develop an evangelistic strategy specific to the indigenous culture.
This could include translations of the Bible, a series of Bible lessons designed to awaken interest and meet the unfulfilled spiritual needs of the culture, another set of lessons to take one through the basic gospel message, and a third series designed to develop mature Christians. In some cases, these lessons are oral only, in others they are produced in written form.
It is our goal that you will be a more mature, more well-rounded and more employable Christian, more like Jesus and more effective at making multipliers because you have been called to work with AFM for a season. Jesus commanded us to make disciples and to do that with integrity means that we spend a lot of time and money investing in you!