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A future in Missions
By Amber Gragert
One of the last teachings of Jesus during His time on earth was a commission to the disciples saying in Mark 16:15, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." It really is that simple. We are called to do the same, some of us are even called to this as a full time career in missions. A degree in missions or intercultural studies is the perfect choice of higher education before going out into the world and fulfilling that calling to serve through missions, relief, or development work both nationally and internationally.
To enter intercultural or missions studies is to delve deep into the word of God and learn how to best and effectively communicate the gospel as a skillful worker of the word. This will include not only Biblical studies and course work, but also many hours of practice in real world settings. Through this teaching, students learn how to analyze and understand different cultures and their unique settings from Christian and social perspectives. These are vital areas of study in order to learn and know how to create positive social change. This in turn also leads students to learn all about community development, social structures, cultural nuances, how to develop intercultural relationships by engaging with new people in different cultures personally, and how people organize themselves and economically, socially, and politically interact.
Coursework will include classes like missionary biographies - what better way to learn than from those who pioneered the world before us? Others include missiology, cross-cultural living and ministry, cultural anthropology, integrating faith and cultures, intercultural communications, Christian world movement, world views, current mission trends, etc. Students will also have opportunities to be part of short-term mission trips and to serve abroad through service projects and internships. All aid in developing strong character and ministry skills in students. Having the ability to navigate through cultural differences and connect with all sorts of people within those cultures is an invaluable skill to have in a world of global thinkers and connectedness.
The missions or intercultural studies major pairs well with any student interested in anthropology, sociology, and political sciences. Types of work related to this major include long-term missions, evangelism and church planting, foreign service official, diplomacy, house parent, political analysis, rehabilitation counseling, and social work. This would also be a beneficial major to become a teacher in a different country or education administrator at an international school. Education requirements for any of these careers of course vary by job and employer.
"Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples."
If you have a heart for the nations and to serve, a love for experiencing new and different cultures and people, a desire to travel, and a general feeling of wanting to be used by God to bring glory to Him - then by all means you have found the major for you in missions and intercultural studies.