World Outreach International Moves Missionary Training into the 21st Century
Over the last ten years or so, WOI has developed a healthy training arm. We have a number of excellent training courses in our stable. Take our flagship six-week Nations Course for example. More than two hundred missionaries have been equipped with this course. We need various life-long learning courses for our members, but face the challenge of delivering them in a cost-effective way to our personnel who are spread out over more than thirty countries across the globe.
The solution lies in using modern internet technology. WOI has launched an online training website, where we plan to host all kinds of training in the future. Although still in its early stage, we already have an online orientation course that prospective members take, and an information security course for our administrative people. More courses will be developed in the future.
Another training initiative is the development of video-based online training as a service to missionaries from the majority world. The Lord is sending out more and more excellent workers from countries in Africa, Asia and South America. Many of these missionaries have limited funding, and as a result cannot afford to go on training courses in other countries. To help them, our online missionary training will be totally free of charge. They will be able to do their training part-time if they are tent makers, and they can continue training even when they are on the field.
Online training brings with it some special challenges. For example, not being able to look the learners in the eye, and trainers not being able to answer questions immediately. The latest research shows that such hurdles can be crossed by using online discussion forums, computerized assessments and local mentors and facilitators.
Of course, even classroom teaching is not without its own challenges! Look at the medieval painting from the year 1233 – note the students sleeping, talking and looking at the girls!
WOI is determined to remain at the cutting edge of missions. Nowadays this means that in addition to the stereotypical pith helmet-clad missionary hacking through the jungle with a machete, we also need the stereotypical geek missionary armed with a keyboard and pocket protector to develop innovative technological solutions for advancing the cause of world evangelisation! Any volunteers?
Henry and Betsy are based in South-East Asia. Drawing from ten years’ experience in pioneering work among an unreached people group in Africa, and being course leaders and trainers for WO’s Nations course, they are now focussed on developing Didasko Academy, a free online training provider for intercultural ministry training.