On the Importance of Training
**Guest Post by Joshua Kuhn, missionary en route to Brazil with Ethnos360**
In 2014, I left the USA and hit the mission field without pursuing education in missions or the Bible. God used my testimony in incredible ways. I do believe that it was very productive. I was able to share what God did for me and what he could do for them. I could show them by example how a person should live, and I would not trade that time for anything. But God also used that time to show me how much I didn’t know. I feel like I could have been more impactful, convincing, and efficient if I had gone through training first. My Bible education was lacking, and therefore, the depths of my conversations and teachings were lacking. Relating real-life stories back to the Bible was impossible because I had not spent the time needed studying it.
The life-changing truths of the Bible should not be explained only on a surface level.
That would be like trying to teach the Bible and the significance of who God is and what Jesus accomplished to a tribal group with only a second-grade language level. Like trying to reach a people group with the Dr. Suess Bible.
I did not realize how much Bible I was missing until I came back to the US and studied the Ethnos360 Bible Institute. After graduating, I could not even imagine trying to teach without it. The stories and the truths that God communicates through those stories are crucial to understanding the Bible. And how can you teach about a book that you don’t understand? Sure, we are not going to fully understand the Bible until we are with the Author; but if I am going to teach the Bible, I’d much rather have a college-level understanding compared to that of a second-grader.
Then, I went to the Mission Training Center where I learned so much more about how to communicate the gospel while taking into consideration things such as culture, language, history, previous religion, cast systems, etc. If these things are not carefully taken into consideration, you might be doing more damage than good. I’m guessing that before training, in certain cases I might even have turned people away from the gospel because of my ignorance of these types of things.
There is so much more that goes into communicating the gospel than we initially think.
Maybe our entire goal is merely the salvation of the people. The Bible calls new believers “babies,” and that is just what they are. Are you going to just get to the point that the baby is born and then leave it? NOOOOOO. You will mess up the rest of its life! New Christians need nurturing as much as babies do. They need to be brought up and fed Spiritual meat as they grow to maturity. If all you can feed them is milk then they will never grow.
A missionary is not only someone that can lead a person to Christ but can help them grow into maturity. How can a missionary do that if he is not mature himself?
Editor’s Note: If you are interested in missionary training or other issues related to global missions, be sure to attend the Ridgeview Conference for Global Missions, on March 19-20. Our keynote speaker is Brooks Buser, the President of Radius International, one of the best missionary-training organizations in North America.