Global ministry trends and issues, part 8: Mission training in the 21st century

No Comments » Written on October 6th, 2016 by
Categories: Faculty, Missions, Press Releases, Programs, Students

A few years ago I was invited to consult on a mission and development project that was focused on caring for at-risk kids. As I approached the residential group home where several dozen young people were being cared for, I couldn’t help but notice the despair in the eyes of the mission volunteers and caretakers of the children. You see, the missionaries were passionate about seeing young lives transformed by the gospel. There was no doubt in their sincerity to see these lives restored, but the tools and training they had received did not match the challenges they were facing.


Whether it be working with at-risk youth and children or church planting, cross-cultural workers need proper preparation. When our academic and training programs fail to properly prepare them for the immensely difficult task of working in a new culture, communicating with a different set of standards and training in specializations needed in the field, we prevent them from fully thriving. Fortunately, some see the need and will seek additional training, some will burnout and unfortunately others will cause harm to the very ones they seek to care for. Sadly, this was the case with the group mentioned above and they were eventually closed by the local government authorities despite our best efforts.


Mission education and training (on both the undergraduate and graduate level) must continue to reinvent itself in the coming years. The field of mission training, as I argued in my first blog post, must keep pace with global changes and issues. This means that mission education must also keep up and even in some cases lead the way on strategy and best-practices. Mission programs are by nature an applied discipline. Developing practical skills is critical to whatever field one aspires to work in. Jim and Judy Raymo conclude that, “Skills and training are essential for successful workers of every generation” (39). As described by Moreau, Corwin and McGee, training can take place through informal, nonformal and formal opportunities (173). While all of these areas are important for mission preparation, I deeply believe that formal academic training provides students with the best opportunity to establish themselves and prepare for a thriving ministry and career in international and local contexts.

The World Evangelical Fellowship recently identified four critical skills as essential for lessening attrition rates and providing an environment in which future cross-cultural workers will thrive. They are: Spirituality, Relational Skills, Ministry Skills and Training (Taylor xiv-xv). I would argue that both undergraduate and graduate programs related to the field of mission, international development and global studies should seek to incorporate these components.

Spiritual Formation: There is no substitution for spiritual formation. One’s spirituality must seek to develop an intimate relationship with God. This will prove critical in those moments of despair and hardship. J.D. Payne discusses the importance of “being continually filled with the Spirit of Mission (Eph. 5:18)” as part of our daily task in serving Christ in mission (165). One of the goals of formal Christian training should include, “genuine growth toward spiritual maturity” (Moreau, Corwin and McGee 173). This growth should be nurtured while the student prepares to serve cross-culturally. This takes place through the integration of spiritual discipline practices in the classroom and assignments related to this.

Interpersonal Skills: Relational skills provide an atmosphere for which team-work and friendships can develop. Academic programs in this field must focus on demonstrating humility and teachability as two key skills. These skills can be nurtured in students preparing to serve on a team (especially a multicultural team). According to Moreau, Corwin and McGee “these attitudes are built on proper self-appraisal” as we encourage mission students to reflect on their purpose and service in the kingdom (176). Teachability is a critical skill in developing global partnerships. Students should be prepared to learn from others from different cultural backgrounds. “A teachable person is one who recognizes the inherent worth and wisdom of others” (Moreau, Corwin and McGee 176). Most agree that “loud, impatient, demanding people with weak interpersonal skills often fail on the mission field and in team situations” (Raymo and Raymo 45).

Ministry Skills: These skills are another critical piece to developing and preparing future cross-cultural workers.        Learning to disciple others is critical to forming leaders who will bring transformation. Whether students are working in humanitarian contexts, business contexts, diplomacy or other areas, discipleship must be emphasized. Cultural sensitivity is also an area that must be developed inside the classroom through simulation activities and group interaction.

Another area that deserves attention is professional development. Professional skills must be viewed as part of our training. Integrating both ministry skills and professional skills not only opens up more opportunities for students of mission, but provides them with the foundation they need to succeed. One of the ways to develop these skills is by providing practical experiential opportunities.

Practical Training: When working with a multicultural team or engaging with unreached people groups one notes the critical training in cross-cultural communications and competency. This is often times referred to as Cultural Intelligence. These skills can be discussed in the classroom, but must be developed on the field. This is where experiential opportunities such as internships and practical assignments move the student from the classroom to a real-life laboratory. Guided internships provide opportunities to develop these skills. According to researchers Jim and Judy Raymo, internships are an essential tool in preparing cross-cultural workers in today’s world (50). Another viable means for ensuring an experiential learning environment is through study abroad programs. In particular, study abroad programs that incorporate first-hand interaction with the culture and social realities is most valued. These and other experiences are key for practical training.

“Equipping God’s people to accomplish the missio Dei in the twenty-first century will require more diversity and cooperation than has been known hitherto” (Elliston 232). The complexity of mission training has only increased. As Edgar Elliston rightly notes, the preparation for global mission engagement will require more diverse efforts.

Andrew Kirk calls for a listening of two voices when reading Scripture. We are to listen to the voice of God (Scripture) and the voice (cry) of the people. This process will help us to combine the “universal nature and intention of the Christian’ foundation document with the particular reality of every situation into which the message and life of Christ comes” (14). The cry in our world today has been highlighted in the issues and trends discussed in this eight-part series. The voice of God will continue to shed light on healthy global engagement with these issues and many more that we will face in the coming months and years as we seek to be salt and light in our communities and world.


If you would like additional information on either the B.A. in Global Studies or the M.A. in Global Development and Justice degree programs, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Greg Burch via email at



Works Cited

Elliston, Edgar. “Moving Forward from Where We Are in Missiological Education.”  In Missiological Education for the 21st Century: The Book, the Circle and the Sandals, edited by Edgar J. Elliston, Charles Van Engen and J. Dudley Woodberry. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1996.

Moreau, A. Scott, Gary Corwin and Gary B. McGee. Introducing World Missions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2015.

Payne, J.D. Pressure Points: Twelve Global Issues Shaping the Face of the Church. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson 2013.

Raymo, Jim and Judy Raymo. Millennials and Mission: A Generation Faces a Global Challenge. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library. 2014.

Taylor, William David, ed. Too Valuable to Lose: Exploring the Causes and Cures of Missionary Attrition, World Evangelical Fellowship, Globalization of Mission Series. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library. 2007.

New biology professor integrates faith and science

Comments Off on New biology professor integrates faith and science Written on September 21st, 2016 by
Categories: Faculty, General, Press Releases, Programs

For the true scientist, faith is something that must be simultaneously held at arm’s length and embraced. Being in a field where knowledge is tested, retested and tested again forces the scientist to stand at a certain distance from what he or she knows. Some scientists who are perched in that place see faith as a distraction, or at worst a limitation. Some, however, see their faith as precisely the force that gives them courage to delve fearlessly into the mysteries of life. Dr. Sarah Gall, chair of the biology department at MU, is this latter type of scientist. Read the rest of this entry »

Campus Happenings, Fall 2016

Comments Off on Campus Happenings, Fall 2016 Written on September 2nd, 2016 by
Categories: Faculty, Newsletter, Pray For MU, Programs, Students

Dr. Derek Chinn selected as interim dean of Multnomah Biblical Seminary

Dr. Derek Chinn, who directs the seminary’s Doctor of Ministry program, assumed his new role on August 1. “I’m going to work closely with my colleagues to pursue what God is calling Multnomah to be in our rapidly changing society,” he says. Chinn takes over for Dr. Roy Andrews, who served as seminary dean for the past three years.

MU community raises support for family of Khen Tua Tang

Khen Tua Tuang was getting ready to start his second year of the Global Development and Justice program when he was tragically killed in a car accident on July 28. He left behind his wife Huai and their young daughter ZemZem, who will need tremendous financial help in the months ahead. You can support them by contributing to the Khen Tua Tuang Family Fund here.

Multnomah announces arrival of new student center

MU is excited to introduce The Den, a student gathering space opening in January 2017. The industrial-style lounge will serve as a living room for commuter students on weekdays. During evenings and weekends, it will be a go-to spot for general student events. The Den concept was born thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor and the creativity of various university employees and student leaders.

Business students volunteer in Italy

MU’s business program has forged an on-going partnership with Kingdom Ministries, a local nonprofit that equips ministries in Italy by connecting them to volunteers who can serve in their camps, English classes and city festivals. Five business majors interned in finance, marketing and project management roles to promote, arrange and fund this year’s summer camps. “They’re getting experience they won’t get anywhere else,” says Kingdom Ministries co-founder Andrew Stone. The interns’ work culminated in a trip to Italy in June.

Athletics Department adds indoor track and field

The Athletics Department is happy to announce the addition of indoor track and field to its sports lineup, which also includes outdoor track and field, basketball, cross country, golf, volleyball and soccer. Stay connected to our sports teams by visiting

MA TESOL students run Bible camp in Japan

Comments Off on MA TESOL students run Bible camp in Japan Written on August 31st, 2016 by
Categories: Faculty, Missions, Programs, Students


This month, a team of MA TESOL students and professors led an English Bible camp for college, high school, junior high and elementary students in Kobe, Japan. In addition to preparing English lessons for each day of camp, the group also planned games, rallies, campfires, worship services and special activities. Team members spent a week before the 12-day trip studying Japanese culture and taking a collaborative approach to camp planning.


The team worked with Pastor Akinori Taniguchi of Youth Harvest Church, which offers English Bible Club classes throughout the week. For Taniguchi, TESOL is a way to engage his community, build relationships and share the gospel. “Churches in Japan are small, and the work can be discouraging,” says MA TESOL Director Kristyn Kidney. “Our collaboration with this local church allowed us to support, encourage and pray over their workers.”


It also allowed them to richly bless their Japanese students. “They had a lot of fun, and they learned a lot of English,” says Kidney. “We saw first-time professions of faith. We saw campers memorizing scripture together and discussing the meaning of the verses. We even saw some attend church for the very first time.”


But the campers weren’t the only ones who were impacted. “It was amazing to see how God spoke to our team members through this experience,” says Kidney. “Some discovered new confidence in their teaching as they relied on God and found him faithful. Others felt a new tug on their heart to connect their TESOL training to overseas missions.”


The theme for this year’s camp was Great Discoveries. “Both campers and our team discovered a great deal about language, friendship, and love of God,” says Kidney. “We delighted in getting to know them, teaching them English and seeing God work in their hearts.”

Youth Harvest Church has invited the team to return next year.


‘It’s intimate learning’: Johanna Ohmes shares passion for history program

Comments Off on ‘It’s intimate learning’: Johanna Ohmes shares passion for history program Written on June 30th, 2016 by
Categories: Programs, Students

Johanna Ohmes is fascinated by stories. She loves seeing the way they connect, intertwine and build upon each other in the present and the past. That’s why she was drawn to Multnomah’s history program.

Ohmes chose Multnomah after attending community college for a year. “I desired a common worldview where I could be comfortable expressing my beliefs and building on what I already had,” she says. “I love the small class environment, engaging with professors and not being lost in a sea of people. It’s intimate learning.”

Hanna2Diving into historical studies has made Ohmes think like never before. “History works with my brain,” she says. “I get to see the process behind social change and enter into different worlds. It’s creative, relevant, gives my mind something to chew on, and it creates empathy.”

While she’s been at Multnomah, Ohmes has maximized her time in the study of the past and present. She toured the nooks and crannies of London with her history professor and fellow students, she worked at a museum in Germany over the summer, and she is fully engaged in class discussions. “I lose track of time because of how good my classes are,” she says.

Studying history constantly points her to God’s design for humanity. “I love seeing God’s fingerprints on the human story,” she says. “I can see where he has worked.”

Ohmes can also see God’s fingerprints on the people around her at Multnomah. “I’ve found it fascinating to see so many people and stories,” she says. “There is both diversity and unity. This has enhanced my view of diversity among Christians.”

But the history program hasn’t come without paradigm shifts. “It’s both affirmed and challenged my thinking,” Ohmes says. “We talk about challenging issues. I’m forced to wrestle with my faith. It’s given me a stronger framework and filled in the gaps where I didn’t understand.”

Ohmes is excited to find out how her story will fit into the big picture. “Studying history is very general,” she says. “It helps train the way I think about processes and context. It will turn into an occupation, but I don’t know what yet.” Whatever it is, she’ll be ready to integrate it into her story.

Doctor of Ministry program strengthens Chris Haughee’s child welfare chaplaincy

Comments Off on Doctor of Ministry program strengthens Chris Haughee’s child welfare chaplaincy Written on June 22nd, 2016 by
Categories: Programs, Seminary, Students

Chris Haughee has worked with children and teens for more than 15 years. He’s heard many stories, listened to many heartbreaks and learned many names. Now, as a chaplain at Intermountain Residential Services — a child welfare agency in Montana — he is fostering an atmosphere of love. “As I walk forward in advocacy for children, I am walking with Jesus,” he says. “I am embraced by a love that transcends me.”

Haughee earned his Master of Divinity degree at Multnomah from 1996 to 2000 while pastoring nearby. In 2005, he took a pastoral call in Helena, Montana. While serving the congregation of First Presbyterian Church, he continued his education at Fuller Theological Seminary, where he pursued his doctorate for two years. A series of personal and professional curve balls upset the smooth road he’d envisioned and caused Haughee to question if education was for him. “I needed a program that provided the flexibility for me to continue [my ministry] and make connections between the children I serve and the work of the Kingdom,” he says.

Chris_mainHe found this combination in the cultural engagement track of MU’s Doctor of Ministry program. “The cohort in cultural engagement allows the freedom to explore themes of advocacy alongside brothers and sisters in Christ from a wide range of backgrounds and ministry settings,” he says.

This support is especially valuable due to the nature of Haughee’s ministry. “It means a great deal when you are doing the often hard and lonely work of advocacy for an underserved and misunderstood part of the church,” he says. “It’s a journey closer to the heart of God embodied in the crucified Savior.”

Haughee’s studies are effectively being transferred to his work environment. He is intentional about fostering spiritual discussions with staff members at Intermountain. In a recent conversation, they connected Jesus’ Beatitudes with the work of healing emotionally disturbed children. “There were a few tears shed as we realized that despite our best efforts, the brokenness of this world is something only God can ultimately heal,” Haughee says. “We may not see the fruits of our labors on behalf of many of these children, but still we have to keep pressing forward and doing the best we can for as many as we can for as long as we can.”

The work inside and outside the classroom is a battle. Haughee is careful to cultivate the attitude of a listener in all of his interactions. “The world is filled with people talking,” he says. “I don’t need to add to the noise. A Spirit-empowered whisper will achieve more than the bullhorn shout of the self-righteous and self-assured.”

Haughee’s leadership has also been enhanced through his studies. “I am more balanced, more humble, and more grateful for the small influence I do have,” he says. “I know Christ better and can serve the church more ably as a result of my time at Multnomah.”

When he’s not perusing an article or engaging in class conversation, Haughee can be found organizing activities, fundraising for Christmas gifts, or simply eating barbeque with the children in his ministry. He is daily being transformed by love. “It is a love that shows me I have more to gain in this work than I have to give,” he says.

Multnomah students make dorm life their business

Comments Off on Multnomah students make dorm life their business Written on May 19th, 2016 by
Categories: Faculty, Programs, Students


Marketing professor Michael Hohn doesn’t like fake case studies. He prefers bringing the curriculum to life by instigating legitimate projects with real impact. That’s exactly what his Sales and Marketing class did last semester.

Director of Student Life Kim Stave “hired” Hohn’s class to help her department answer an important question: How can Multnomah University increase occupancy in the dorms? The business majors divided into three teams to create a value proposition, conduct research, gather data and analyze their findings. This allowed them to offer evidence-based recommendations to their client.

“As we worked on the project, it was awesome to see how we were immediately able to apply what we were learning in class,” says business student Valerie Wakefield.

Her classmate Robbie Miller concurs. “Our business classes taught us that we’d need extensive and thorough research to do a good job on this project.”

The amount of data they gathered even kept Hohn on his toes. “It was the most memorable of any projects that I can remember!” he says.

After administering a competitive analysis, Miller and his team came up with a few proposals to make dorm life more attractive, such as planning more student events on campus and adding a new communal student area. “A long-term goal is to create a space for students to gather other than the JCA,” Miller explains. “It’d be a space where people would walk to and not walk through.”

At the culmination of their work, the students presented their findings to the judges, a group of faculty and staff members, including Business Department Chair Lee Sellers and Multnomah University President Craig Williford. The teams were judged on the depth and scope of their research as well as the quality of their recommendations. The group with the winning proposal was awarded dinner at Portland City Grill with Sellers, Williford and Stave.

Although the students are young in their careers, Stave and her department found their work extremely helpful. “Our students are intelligent and creative, and they came up with some ideas that we will certainly consider implementing,” says Stave. “The fact that all three groups, each approaching the project from a different angle, came to some of the same conclusions was significant to me.”

The students feel confident that the experience afforded them important skills for their future jobs. “This project was good practice on how to communicate well with group members and stay on the same page,” says Miller.

Wakefield agrees. “I was able to practice skills that are useful in most any profession,” she says. “I’ve even applied some things we learned in my everyday interactions!”

Conference teaches church leaders how to respect, engage with science

Comments Off on Conference teaches church leaders how to respect, engage with science Written on April 28th, 2016 by
Categories: Events, Programs, Seminary, Students


Many see faith and science like oil and water — they’re impossible to integrate. But New Wine, New Wineskins thinks differently. On April 16 and 23, the institute hosted a conference aimed at dispelling the segregation of these communities through thoughtful dialogue. The conference, Church and Science: Partners for the Common Good, was made possible by a grant Multnomah Biblical Seminary received from the American Association for the Advancement of Science in an effort to integrate science into the seminary curriculum (view the 10 seminary courses that have adopted this integration here).

“It’s bound up with our ongoing, strategic effort at Multnomah to prepare seminary graduates in their pastoral calling to constructively engage our scientific age,” says Paul Louis Metzger, director of New Wine, New Wineskins. “It’s for the sake of their parishioners who have scientific questions and scientific vocational interests, and for the church’s own missional engagement with the surrounding culture.”

The event brought in speakers from Portland and across the country to explore several themes, including the history of faith and science, hermeneutical humility, and faith and scientific methods. Attendants delved into the themes through a variety of formats, such as plenary sessions, panels, workshops and thoughtful discussion times.

“Many young Christians are leaving churches because of what they perceive to be antagonism by the church toward science,” says Metzger. “It’s vitally important that pastors in training are equipped to develop an informed respect for science and discernment on how to articulate biblical faith in our scientific age.”

Many attendees walked away feeling more prepared and aware. “As a pastor, this conference opened my eyes to the tremendous need we have to address the role of science in our faith communities,” says Gaby Viesca, pastor to women at Cedar Mill Bible Church. “It also equipped me with practical tools to help people navigate their own questions and doubts, and how to engage in meaningful conversations around this topic.”

Jared Bennett, associate pastor at Grace Community Church called the conference “phenomenal” and found Dr. John Walton’s session especially insightful. “He stressed that the debate over young earth creationism/evolution is not what we should be focused on; the mechanics of ‘how’ are secondary to the agency of ‘who.’” Bennett claims to have walked away with a lot to think about. “I will continue to read, think and pray on what I learned at the conference in the hope that I can use that personal growth to better pastor my students,” he says.

Join the ongoing discussion. New Wine is hosting forums at local churches, and you can check out their website for information and updates. You can also read endorsements for the Church and Science conference here. Lastly, if you’re a youth pastor, New Wine wants to collaborate with you in order to care for teens wrestling with their faith in the midst of scientific questions. Stay tuned.


‘A sense of adventure’: Tirzah Allen satisfies her love of travel in the MATESOL program

Comments Off on ‘A sense of adventure’: Tirzah Allen satisfies her love of travel in the MATESOL program Written on April 18th, 2016 by
Categories: Programs, Students


Tirzah Allen has the traveling bug. Immediately after high school she packed her bags and headed to Scotland for a year-long adventure. She worked odd jobs, met people from all different backgrounds and explored the country. “That time planted the seeds of travel in my life,” says Allen, who’s enrolled in the Master of Arts in TESOL program. And it wasn’t long before those seeds started to germinate.

After graduating with a BA in English and communication, Allen began researching grad schools. “I had no idea that MU offered grad programs, but I happened to stumble upon it,” she says. “I chose TESOL because I wanted the ability to open more doors and be challenged continuously. I don’t want to be too comfortable, and I want to keep extending myself. This requires a built-in sense of adventure.”

TIRZAH_ClassThat sense of adventure is being satisfied during her studies at Multnomah. Not only does she have enriching classroom time, but she also teaches weekly, on-campus ESL classes. “This is the full program, plus the tools to succeed,” she says. “I’ve had the opportunity to meet with people from Burma, Vietnam, Cuba and beyond.”

Whether she’s preparing coffee for her customers in Roger’s Café, or bantering with her Cuban students over homework, Allen strives to reflect Jesus in every interaction. “Finding a Christian in a public setting is like finding an agate on the beach,” she says. “There is something that sparkles. I can’t always out rightly incorporate the gospel in every environment, but I can always show others what I believe.”

Allen is also enjoying each of her professors. “These are teachers who really care,” she says. “It emanates from them, and they go above and beyond what is required. Their servants’ hearts are evident. I’m learning that a teacher’s journey is one of servitude. I want to inspire my students to aspire to be more.”

Allen doesn’t know where the seeds of travel will take root. But she does know she has an open heart for wherever God leads her. “I’d love to teach overseas,” she says. “Anywhere, anytime, any way. Wherever God sends I will go. I’m taking my life one step at a time.”

Local nonprofit creates unique internship opportunities for business students

Comments Off on Local nonprofit creates unique internship opportunities for business students Written on April 15th, 2016 by
Categories: Events, Programs, Students


Business Department Chair Lee Sellers is passionate about integrating practical experience into his students’ education. So when Andrew Stone at Kingdom Ministries needed interns to help support his young nonprofit, an on-going partnership was created.

“It seemed like a good opportunity to give young people real world experience while helping the organization grow more efficiently,” says Stone, who started the Portland nonprofit with his father, Multnomah alumnus Kevin Stone. Joined by their families, the father-son team equips ministries in Italy by connecting them to volunteers who serve in their summer camps, English classes and city festivals.

Mike Kamlade, Lindsey Weaver, Miranda Schmillen, Grant Warner and Lucia Morud are the interns supporting this mission. Over the course of the school year, the five business majors have diligently worked in finance, marketing and project management roles to promote, arrange and fund this year’s summer camps. They’ll see the culmination of their work in June when they travel with other Kingdom Ministries volunteers to Italy.

Although they’ve encountered a number of hurdles throughout the planning process, the interns say the hiccups are undeniably constructive. “It's teaching me to adapt to my surroundings and be open to learning new things,” says finance intern Mike Kamlade.

Project management intern Lindsey Weaver had to adapt too. “Once you get out of the classroom and deal with people in real life, it changes things,” she says.“I looked for this kind of opportunity in high school, but nothing ever came up.” Weaver’s duties include liaising with contacts, coordinating schedules and planning trip logistics.

Miranda Schmillen, who’s responsible for tracking donations and budgeting, admits the internship would be much harder if she was unequipped. But luckily she has a semester of accounting under her belt. “My accounting class totally helped me,” says the finance intern.

Stone’s instruction has only built upon students’ knowledge, and his attentiveness has inspired them to do their best. “He’s super ambitious and has these huge ideas, but he’s also hands-on and shows you how to do things,” says Schmillen.

Stone has simply created an optimal space for trial, error and learning.“They’re getting experience they won’t get anywhere else,” he says. “It’s a very safe environment to learn in.”

It may have been safe, but it wasn’t easy. The interns have bonded through shared struggles and successions — and they’ve emerged stronger than ever. “This internship has blessed me more than I expected because of the relationships I've built with the other interns and the Stone family,” says Kamlade. “They are all great people.”

For more information about this internship and Kingdom Ministries, visit