BIU provides cutting-edge and strategic missionary training to penetrate the last frontiers of the Greater 10/40 Window nations.
BIU’s aim is to produce:
- Missionary Practitioners for cross-cultural and non-traditional missionary settings
- Trainers of Missionary Practitioners to multiply the process across the 10/40 window
- Tentmakers to multiple disciples
BIU’s Philosophy of Training
Bethany School of Missions had its humble beginnings in 1988 as a small local school of missions. It was gazetted with the ministry of education of Singapore in 1990. Later, the Bethany International University was born as the training arm of Asia Pacific Mission (Singapore) in 1993 under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, when a small group of men and women came together and waited upon the Lord for a new direction. Then the Holy Spirit spoke to Bethany leadership to be a blessing globally by bringing the eternal love of God to the unreached peoples by inviting national leaders from different parts of the world for specialized Trainers training for pioneering relevant, culturally-sensitive and contextualized Schools of cutting-edge missionary training for multiplying workers for the harvest for reaching their own unreached.
Therefore, the need for a carefully planned comprehensive, strategic, cutting-edge training has been emphasized as reports from research findings pointed that attrition of Asian and African and Latin American missionaries was quite high. This was found to be very damaging to the cause of Christ, and very costly to the sending church, the receiving church, and to the missionary through the emotional, spiritual, and often physical damage received. Bethany's cutting-edge training is needed by Asian and African, north American and Latin American missionaries to reduce the likelihood of premature failure in their high calling to Intercultural evangelism and church-planting.
Philosophy of Missiological Education
A. Educational Philosophy: Vision and Focus:
BIU’s training is primarily developed to enable Asians, Africans, and Latin Americans, to reach the greater 10/40 Window nations (Westerners are also accepted if their calling is to this "Window").
1. It is determined then that this region will be the primary focus of all prayer, planning, and training concern, and challenge.
2. It is essential that training be creative, flexible, contextualized and culturally-sensitive because many of these missionaries will be primarily pioneers and trail=blzers, going into new and often difficult situations.
3. Training must go beyond the academic and even experiential to train students in total dependence on the Spirit of God, hearing His voice and following His guidance and direction to live by faith and developing an ongoing Christ-Like Character. This calls for unique and specialized curricular components.
4. Missiological Education for Trainer students will be taught on how to develop new training programs to accomplish the goal of reaching the great 10/40 Window nations for starting contextualized and culturally sensitive missionary training centers. We will utilize all components of our missionary training as a framework and model to augment the lectures and experiential aspects of their training as educators.
B. Educational Philosophy: Training for Competence for Ministry
BIU's purpose is to produce Christ-like competent, and effective field missionaries, mission leaders, and mission educators who in obedience to God and filled by the Spirit of God fulfill the Will of God in seeing the Kingdom of God extend through the planting and development of churches by bringing the eternal love of God across Asia, Africa, and worldwide (the unreached people groups). We recognize that it is God who makes us competent in ministry (II Cor. 3:5-6). Bethany emphasizes developing missionary competence on the foundations of Christ-like character. The following is a general description of some dimensions of missionary competence.
A competent missionary has a biblically-sound and psychologically-healthy self-perception and world-view, dynamic growing spirituality (expressed in total dependence on and obedience to God, a Spirit-controlled Christ-like life and ministry, growing knowledge of the Word of God, and concern and compassion for the lost), and positive personality characteristics which are oriented to active learning, to effective action, and to be sensitive interpersonal interaction.
He or she demonstrates the following: 1. adaptive skills (enabling behavioral flexibility to changes required by physical, interpersonal, and cultural demands as well as the requirements of the Task); 2. functional skills (ability to learn, process, and use cultural data, facts, and information in conjunction with previously learned missiological data, and ability to relate to people in the culture in socially and individually meaningful ways), and 3. Cross-cultural ministry skills for church-planting and church development (both basic professional ministry competence and acculturated ministry skills).
Since all of this occurs within a context, this competent missionary has contextual sensitivity to and ability to effectively relate to:
1) structures, meanings, values, ethos, etc. of the culture,
2) the receptor culture and their individual real and felt-needs and interests,
3) the church (local, regional, and national) as corporate bodies, and to individuals, and
4) spiritual realities (both the visible religious context and the invisible spiritual dimension).
The missionary has a determination to be competent and so works at developing and maintaining positive and satisfactory marital life and family relationships, continues to grow and learn in all areas of life and ministry, and has a sense of progress in ministry as total dependence on the Spirit of God is maintained.
C. Educational Philosophy: Androgogical and Experiential
Because of the strengths and weaknesses inherent in both pedagogical (the most common form of formal education) and androgogical training, and because the purpose of our training is to prepare competent missionaries for pioneer ministry, both types of education will be included appropriately in the planning and structure and delivery of our curriculum. Formal (academic), non-formal (experiential), and informal (spontaneous interactive-discipleship) approaches will all be included in a healthy balance.