INTRO TO MISSIONS COURSES: Strengths & Weaknesses
No “one-course-fits-all” missions study exists. That’s why we’ve provided a brief review of the strengths and limitations for each of the following popular courses. More reviews will be added in the future.
PERSPECTIVES ON THE WORLD CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT (Extension Study Program)
Introducing the Biblical, Historical, Cultural and Strategic dimensions of world mission. Over 60 denominations and mission agencies endorse Perspectives. Provides 90-150 hours of study. Undergraduate and graduate credit available at various U.S. schools. Excellent for all believers, but especially helpful for missionary candidates, missions committees, church leaders and pastors. Fifteen different professors, each an expert in his/her own field (over 700 nationwide) Over 180 extension sites across the U.S. Spanish Perspectives available on video as well as “Latinized” version of the textbook Also: African American, Korean and South Asian versions of the textbook.
- Strengths: An unparalleled introduction-to-missions experience due to the extensive and well organized content of the Reader (and it’s dozens of contributors) and it’s study guide. A rich mix of practical insight, vision and passion is provided by fifteen different mission professors from diverse backgrounds in mission.
- Limitations: If your city is blessed to have a class, Perspectives requires a significant time commitment (especially if it is taken for credit) and it is often held only once a year (sometimes even less) on one particular evening of the week. If you’re naturally a self-starter/self-sustainer, you can get Perspectives online.
This eight lesson study rips apart the old, traditional understandings of Gods plan and purpose for our lives. In eight lessons, author and global activist, Jeff Lewis, lays bare the heart and mind of God as he combines powerful Bible passages with challenging and provocative questions. Each lesson is followed by a time of meditation (Selah) and a focus on an unreached people group. If you really knew the heart and mind of God, would you dare to follow Him?
- Strengths: A good study on the Biblical basis of mission.
- Limitations: Little on either follow-through action steps or discovering the various World Christian roles.
Formerly called the Condensed World Mission Course, Kairos is a condensation of Jonathan Lewis’s World Mission study (The Perspectives Reader with an outstanding commentary and discussion questions interspersed throughout). The CWMC Reader and Study Guide combination contains eight chapters and covers the four essential areas of mission concern: Biblical, Historical, Cultural & Strategic. Note: This course has become a growing movement and is a strategic tool for the Church around the world to become involved in mission.
- Strengths: Great for church missions teams (committees) to take as a group, allowing for discussion and applications of the course material. Kairos also contains: the essentials of the Perspectives Course, uses helpful videos to reinforce the study material, “growth point” discussion groups, and an entire class devoted to World Christian roles. It is rapidly being translated into other languages, making it perfect for taking the course overseas to help another ethnic group the church is working with to become involved in reaching the unreached.
- Limitations: You need a trained coordinator to run the course. The upside is that once you’ve taken the course and have been trained as a coordinator, you can help spread the course in your city and beyond.
Based partially on the life-changing course, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, Operation WorldView introduces the Biblical, Historical, Cultural, and Strategic aspects of world missions. Eight lessons are presented through a live seminar event — or through a video/DVD curriculum. Featuring powerful lessons based on classics such as “The Story of His Glory” and “The Kingdom Strikes Back,” Operation WorldView is perfect for local churches wanting to explore profound truths in Scripture, history and culture — to motivate greater involvement in world missions.
- Strengths: Very well done Powerpoint and video media presentation (Ee-Tauw! and The Harvest videos are included) and contains many of the powerful truths contained in the Perspectives Course.
- Limitations: It connects viewers to a strong emphasis on supporting national workers.
In partnership with the Perspectives Study Program and The Traveling Team, OMF produced a series of five-minute videos to help you discover how you can be involved through learning with intention, prayer, going cross-culturally as messengers of the gospel, sending (which includes giving), welcoming internationals around you and even mobilizing others for all of these strategic roles. 6 Ways to Reach the World includes discussion starters for small-group or large-class settings, and is easily shown in six sessions.
Strengths: Brief, professional video presentations introduce participants to the following World Christian roles (Learner, Prayer, Goer, Sender, Welcomer, Mobilizer), and a variety of pratical follow through steps are offered on OMF’s web site. If these steps are followed as an individual or study group – and especially if the Perspectives course is taken for a much deeper exploration of mission, lasting impact is highly likely.
Limitations: Six Ways follow through steps are largely connected to involvement with OMF. Also, if participants are not encouraged and led through the follow through steps, the impact for most will likely remain a “seed” waiting to be watered.
THE STORY OF THE BIBLE by Bob Sjogren
(Formerly called: Unveiled, God’s Heart for His People)
Eight powerful half-hour sessions on DVD, plus workbooks and leaders guide, unveil the missionary purposes of God throughout the Bible. Outstanding for motivating believers to get serious about God’s call to reach every people group with the gospel.
- Strengths: A very powerful Biblical basis of World Mission course on DVD.
- Limitations: Doesn’t provide “Where do I go from here?” assistance.