AMMAN, Jordan (BP)–Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s ‘two-plus-two’ students gathered in Amman Jordan mid-January from across Northern Africa and the Middle East for an annual modular meeting designed to help them evaluate their first four months on the mission field.
More than eighteen Southeastern families serve as missionaries in Northern Africa and the Middle East.
In cooperation with the International Mission Board, Southeastern Seminary offers a Master of Arts in International Church Planting, also known as the ‘two-plus-two’ program, designed for students who are called to be missionaries.
Seminary students spend two years studying at the Wake Forest, N.C. campus and then they spend the next two years on the mission field. During that time, the seminary brings the classroom to the students once a year, and Southeastern professors conduct classes.
Keith Eitel, director of the Center for Great Commission Studies said there are several advantages to bringing the professors to the students on the mission field.
“The students’ learning dynamic is enhanced during the modular class meetings when they actually discuss first-hand experiences from the field,” he said.
The students are able to discuss what is going on in their particular area of mission work. Team bonding, comparison of strategies and one-on-one time with the professors take place, Eitel said.
“Not only do the modular classrooms benefit the students on the field, but the one-on-one time with the student missionaries benefit the seminary professors as well,” explained Eitel, a former missionary to East Africa.
“It heightens the degree of relevancy inside the formal classroom,” he explained. “The students immediately apply the mission principles and the awareness of global evangelism is heightened.”
The customized classes taught during the modular relate specifically to the needs of the student missionaries. The issues of cross-cultural conflict management, cross-cultural adaptation, and stress management are addressed during the modular to help the students grabble with the everyday issues of international church planting.
One student attending the January modular said the time of fellowship helped him re-focus and re-strategize his time on the mission field.
“The Lord showed me that my experience on the mission field is not unlike my fellow students’,” said the seminary student who works in a restricted-access country. “The Lord also showed me that I need to gear my ministry toward raising up national believers in the local village where I work.”
Assistant Director for the Center for Great Commission Studies Ed Pruitt addressed the students at the modular and said he was encouraged by the testimonials of the missionaries.
“I enjoyed seeing them interact with each other,” said Pruitt. “It is always positive to see that the students are using what they were taught in the classes here at Southeastern. Classes such as anthropology of missions and area studies have prepared them for the work they are doing now.”
“We can talk about missions all day in our classes, but until our students go and experience it themselves on the mission field, they can’t fully apply the principles of global evangelism,” said Pruitt.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: STUDENTS STUDY IN JORDAN and PRAYER ON EDGE.