By Dean Blevins on Mar 14, 2011
Kansas City, Missouri -- The 365 Days in Mission (365m) learning experience has seen a successful year with 10 students serving and learning in three teams placed in the Republic of Ireland, Croatia, and Brazil. Nazarene Theological Seminary (NTS) is currently preparing another group of students to embark on the second year of the program in September 2011. This second year includes new sites and more students as NTS works collaboratively with sites throughout the world.
Students who left for the respective sites August 2010 will complete the cross cultural component of learning experience at the end of May 2011. Next August 2011, the students will return to NTS for the completion of two week intensive module classes. During these summer modules students just beginning their first year of 365m (2011-2012) will have the opportunity to learn from current students as both groups take classes together. The second group consists of 13 students from six of the Nazarene schools. The students will be placed in Kenya, Bulgaria, Republic of Ireland, New Zealand and a Creative Access country.
The current 10 students serving in the Republic of Ireland, Croatia and Brazil actively engage in cross-cultural ministry experiences/education ranging from church planting to language learning classes with international students. Several students in 365m previously served in cross-cultural settings prior to their participation in 365m. Collectively these 10 students served in over 42 countries. The current students represent five of our Nazarene colleges including Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU), Northwest Nazarene University (NNU), Mount Vernon Nazarene University (MVNU), Trevecca Nazarene University (TNU) and Southern Nazarene University (SNU).
In Brazil, Liliana Reza, a graduate of SNU, and Scott Brubaker, a graduate of MVNU, work with local congregations to learn the structure of Latin American church culture. Throughout the duration of the program, Liliana and Scott will be working in Manaus with local villages and recent church plants. Each student remains actively engaged in classes at NTS through online distance learning and experiential church ministry in the Amazon. They were initially joined by Aimee Niles and Carl Wright, who returned to the United States where they are still participating in the program.
Students in Croatia include Brittany Argabright, Hope Brock, Jerry Romasco and Emily Humble, all graduates of TNU. These students are learning about culture and language as they participate with Nazarene missionaries to expand the church in Croatia. Field Coordinator Jay Sunberg, along with his wife Teanna, mentor the students. A few of these students are considering returning to Croatia for another year to continue working alongside the church planting initiative.
The third team serves in the Republic of Ireland alongside mentors and church planters from Northern Ireland. Dustin Wine, of MVNU, and Hannah Beers, a graduate of NNU, explore potential church planting sites in and around the current church of the Nazarene in Greystones. Each student is responsible for relational building in the community to help form connections for the local church.
“From my experience in 365m thus far,” said Beers, “I find the program to be a new and innovative approach to cross-cultural education. For the past seven months I have had the opportunity to learn and serve in the Republic of Ireland; having had the privilege of preaching, leading Bible studies for the youth, attending different retreat weekends with the church, and being a volunteer in different community outreach programs. Being a part of 365m has allowed me to use my experiences in Ireland to help develop my personal calling to ministry. The program has brought my textbook learning into a real life context.”
The goal of the 365m remains to provide students with an opportunity as they serve Christ in a cross-cultural setting for longer than a couple of days or weeks, but rather an entire year! Students will be exposed to the ins and outs of doing ministry in a culture that is not their own. 365m provides a Diploma in Cross-Cultural Ministry from Nazarene Theological Seminary. The program represents a collaborative effort between participating universities, mission agencies, NTS, and individuals desiring a “hands on” cross-cultural learning experience. Those who participate in this learning experience would include students who desire to discover a cross-cultural setting for year and to explore the possibilities of ministering in another culture.
365m provides a combination of online courses, face-to-face seminars at NTS with missiologists and mission leaders, and face-to-face mentoring with leading missionaries and local leaders who will work alongside participants to make the involvement in mission a learning experience. The program is designed to give students a “hands-on” approach to intensive cultural emersion in different world areas; each student takes courses from NTS and engages in a cultural internship on site.
Students considering cross-cultural service opportunities ought to explore the opportunities provided by 365m. The Church of the Nazarene is hoping to bridge the gap between education and ministry fields around the world. As God continues to call men and women to different areas of ministries around the world, NTS hopes to be an integral part in providing opportunities for learning in cross-cultural environments.
-- Hannah Beers contributed to this report.