International (MNN) — Just as a heart specialist invests
time into training in his field, so do missionaries.
Marv Ketcham with New Tribes Mission says that as their
teams lay the groundwork for the Gospel with a group of remote animistic
people, they invest time in specialized training. "We do that through a process of
building a strong relationship with them while learning their heart language,
and we begin to discover, really, what their worldview is, what makes them think
the way they do, and what makes them act the way they do."
It's one thing to see the barriers. It's another thing entirely to know how to
overcome them. Mistakes can be costly in
terms of cultural offenses, setbacks, and time/credibility lost.
New Tribes Mission provides specialized training because
planting churches among people with no concept of the God of the Bible is a
difficult, long-term and complex task.
Church planters work in the context of the people group's
culture and language, so the message of God's Word is clearly understood. It is presented through foundational Bible
teaching — presenting God's story step by step, as God Himself unfolded it.
Ketcham says they're very serious about the training each
candidate goes through before going on their own in the field. 79 missionary candidates recently graduated from
their two-year missionary training course and will soon be joining
church-planting teams among tribal groups in Africa, Latin
America and the Asia-Pacific regions.
Many of the
students had been on short-term missions trips and saw the need for
cross-cultural church planting. They also discovered the cultural and language barriers
that prevent isolated people groups from understanding the Gospel.
Ketcham explains, "We have a three to four
semester program just to lay this out very carefully and then interact and make
sure that our candidates are grasping concepts. It's not something that you can
just go in and sprinkle a 'pixie dust' Gospel."
for the candidates as they move forward to put their training into practice.