What makes for a successful cross-cultural church planter?
At RADIUS we take ownership of our students’ progress in terms of developing their own heart-felt convictions about important theological and missiological principles. It’s not enough for us to just “cover the material”, we wrestle through the worldview and practical implications of these principles for each of our students in classroom and small group discussions.We’re also committed to the development of skills, especially in the area of culture and language acquisition, and the development of personal relationships cross-culturally (which our Mexico location allows us to implement).
At RADIUS we’re taking a serious shot at balancing the KNOW (understanding), the BE (character), and the DO (skills) of effective pre-field equipping for those who plan to bring Christ into the world’s remaining unreached peoples.
Character As Fundamental
The rigors of the mission field demand far more than familiarity with textbooks and classroom training.
Many missionaries become ineffective or return from the mission field early because they are unable to handle the high-stress and high-risk situations that inevitably arise. Sometimes the stress comes from the context in which they labor; sometimes it comes from the difficulty of working in intimate team relationships.Because of this, RADIUS International uses “designed stress” to simulate stressful situations that arise on the mission field. At various times, trainees are intentionally separated from electronics and communication, deprived of privacy, and placed in situations that require serious stress-management skill and emotional maturity. The entire training program is lived out in tight living conditions where there’s little escape from your fellow-students. Trainees are challenged and evaluated in their response to all of these challenging situations.
This type of training is patterned more after a medical internship or a boot camp than a traditional classroom model. We believe that this approach builds the necessary knowledge, skill, and character into our missionaries and therefore prepares them to minister effectively in the midst of the incredibly challenging environments they will face on the mission field.
Another leading factor in missionaries becoming ineffective is the inability to make necessary sacrifices in becoming true members of the community among the people group they are trying to reach. This includes the persistence and devotion required to learn another language with fluency as well as the attention, humility, and discernment needed to become relevant in another culture. Our program is designed to bring these crucial abilities to the surface so students can develop godly attitudes and responses that will serve them well on the field.