Feb. 5, 2017 | College of Bible and Ministry |
Members of the College of Bible and Ministry’s Center for World Missions advisory council gathered on the Harding campus for an annual gathering Friday, Jan. 27, through Saturday, Jan. 28. Students were invited to join attendees during a portion of the weekend.
The Center for World Missions, under the direction of Dr. Shawn Daggett, facilitates connections between missionaries and students to provide opportunities to train students to take the Gospel into the world. Through summer mission trips, internships and other training opportunities, students gain experience in cross-cultural service and learn about the life of being a missionary. The center’s advisory council is made up of donors, interested missions ministry chair persons and former missionaries. According to Daggett, students became participants in the council meetings approximately five years ago.
“For the advisory council, their only interface at Harding had previously been only through faculty, and we wanted them to meet the students who are really the ones who are benefiting from their guidance and their financing,” Daggett said. “We just felt like it would be a healthier exchange.”
Students were invited to a dinner with the council on Friday evening and an educational session led by Dr. Jared Looney on Saturday morning. Looney is the network leader for The Global City Mission Initiative, a ministry focused on making disciples in globally-centered cities. He is also author of Crossroads of the Nations: Diaspora Globalization and Evangelism and Mosaic: A Ministry Handbook for a Globalizing World.
“We wanted to give something to our advisory council members so when they come, they not only give advice but also go home feeling like they learned something,” Daggett said. “By inviting students, they also get to learn something that they don’t learn in the classroom.”
Junior Shauna Yeager attended Looney’s Saturday morning presentation. She heard about the session from her Bible classes and was interested in hearing about future mission opportunities.
“I wanted to learn more about missions around the world and how, as a student, I can contribute to that in the Searcy community and in the future where I end up,” Yeager said. “I learned about globalization and urbanization and how the implications of growing cities should affect our mission strategy now and in the future.”
Each year, the advisory council chooses a project to complete for the Center for World Missions. This year, members began launching the Global Apprenticeship Program (GAP), a formalized approach to connecting students with missionaries for an extended period of time.
“A lot of people see themselves going into the world — outside the states or inside of — to evangelize, build churches and bless people. Every single one of those people really need the apprenticeship program,” Daggett said. “You ought to run alongside who is doing it to learn it because otherwise they might try but lose heart and quit.”
The advisory council spent their Saturday afternoon discussing the GAP and what the requirements and expectations would be. According to Daggett, the council is seeking to send at least six students per year to work alongside established missionaries during the first year of the program.
“I owe an unpayable debt to the missionaries who gave me this kind of experience,” Daggett said. “When we launched our mission work church planting, I knew how to start relationships, how to get studies going, time expectations, and how to get the word out there. I had seen it done, and I knew where to start. There was little in school that taught me this side of practical ministry, so I think there is a huge need, but we’d like to start small.”
There are approximately 10 recent graduates working as apprentices around the globe. According to Daggett, the GAP initiative provides a more formal and intentional approach to connecting students with mission efforts.
“The GAP represents the gap between inexperience and experience — between being a fresh graduate, getting to the field and knowing what to do,” Daggett said. “There is also a gap with teaching. We feel like there is only so much we could teach in the classroom. This would help fill that gap.”
For more information about the program or mission efforts at Harding, contact the Center for World Missions.