This is the first of a two part look at the School of Frontier Missions (SOFM), which is the school I lead at YWAM Jacksonville. The purpose of the SOFM is to prepare the students for living and ministering overseas. Our goal is to equip them with tools that will make adjusting to life easier while stripping away their own cultural biases to make ministry easier. There are four main areas that the SOFM aims to address. Today we'll look at the first two.
The First objective is to build a foundation for missions. This involves giving the student a Biblical foundation, seeing Father's heart to reveal himself to all the peoples of Earth, and a historical foundation, learning from those who have gone before us. Many of our speakers touch on these areas, but by the far the most in depth look comes from working through the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course. Another vital aspect is to help the students recognize the difference between the ideal universal church and cultural expressions of that church. We spend an entire week looking at what scripture has to say about God's bride, the church. Another facet of building this foundation is making the students more aware of the world around them. Learning more about the people groups that inhabit this world, their cultures, religions and lifestyles.
The second objective is to help the student learn how to communicate inter culturally. The first aspect of intercultural communication is language learning. The students learn different methods for learning language while finding language tutor locally, if possible, to begin learning their target language. The next skill covered is cultural acquisition. This takes the form of learning about anthropology and ethnography. Learning the culture of the people you desire to reach is vital to learning how to present the Gospel. The students are also expected to do a research project on the people group they will be working among. This is done to help prepare them for the type of religious, political and environmental situation they will be living in.