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A Phased-Hybrid Training Approach for Missionaries

Author: Henry Vermont and Johannes Malherbe
Published: Winter-Spring 2021

MD 12.1

Article Type: Peer Reviewed Article

This article describes new approaches to making Integral Ministry Training accessible to more missionaries. Building on modern missionary training approaches such as hub-based phased training and online e-learning, the article proposes a phased hybrid e-learning approach. The approach can be used to bring practical and affordable training to more missionaries worldwide. The article discusses and evaluates an implementation of the approach. Finally, it calls for collaboration between mission organizations for the further development, implementation, and deployment of such training.

Missionary training has been shown to lower missionary attrition rates. Mission organizations with higher requirements for missiological training exhibit lower rates of preventable attrition. Research also found that pre-field missiological training contributes significantly to a missionary’s ability to persevere and to be fruitful in ministry.1

Nevertheless, many long-term missionaries are still going to the field with little or no missiological training.2 Few churches and mission organizations have enough in-house resources to provide their own training. Even when such training is available, expenses such as course fees, travel, and accommodation place such training out of the reach of many missionaries, especially those from the majority world.

The need for centralized training venues forces trainers to squeeze as much into each course as they possibly can. Trainees sometimes feel it’s a bit like “drinking from a fire hose.”3 Thankfully, new approaches to practical and accessible training that combine technology and face-to-face training are starting to become available.

This article starts with an overview of current training approaches such as Integral Ministry Training, competency-based syllabi, and the move towards just-in-time (JIT) training through the use of training hubs. From there it progresses to discussing approaches such as e-learning and blended learning. It then shows how these approaches can be combined into a phased hybrid training approach, and discusses an early implementation of the approach. Finally, it points out the need for organizational collaboration to fully implement the approach so that high-quality missionary training can be developed.

Integral Ministry Training (IMT)

The concept of Integral Ministry Training (IMT) is widely accepted in the world of missionary training.4 IMT is defined as follows: “Integral training delivers a learning experience that intentionally addresses the needs of the whole person, including their character and spiritual formation, skill development and their understanding.”5 In educational circles these three areas of learning are called affective, psychomotor and cognitive learning respectively. IMT adds spiritual formation to these areas.6 Good IMT-style training uses formal and nonformal training techniques. Formal refers to training developed and presented in a classroom at an educational institution such as a school or university. Nonformal implies any designed systematic educational activity that occurs outside a formal institution, with content that is usually adapted to the needs of individuals to optimize learning.7 Included in this approach are correspondence courses, apprenticeships and mentor-led work. Educators understand “informal” education through unintentional everyday life experiences and influences through which people acquire skills, abilities and knowledge spontaneously and unplanned. Learners are often not conscious of the fact that they learnt anything. Informal learning can happen at work, or in discussions with others, or through trial and error.8 Jesus regularly taught for an informal learning style by telling parables, teaching groups of people, asking questions and having personal conversations.9

IMT is also designed with specific outcomes in mind. Robert Brynjolfson and Jonathan Lewis note that George Walker of New Tribes Mission explained these outcomes well when he wrote: “If church planting is the ultimate purpose of NTM,10 then to evaluate and redesign training we must start at the end and work backward.” They continue: “We all understood what he meant. We must start with what church planters need to know, be and do to be able to establish effective churches. Once we determined what church planters should look like, we could work backward in designing training to meet that goal.”11

IMT embeds important concepts12 that can be tested against a Christian worldview.13 The goal of a missionary curriculum is not only to increase learners’ effectiveness in serving Christ but also to motivate and assist them to grow in him. The training includes the use of numerous methods in several contexts and caters to different learning styles to achieve understanding and to develop certain practical competencies and attitudes. Both trainers and learners accept responsibility for the achievement of these outcomes because both parties are fellow servants, committed to extending God’s kingdom. Based on their experience, competence and authority, trainers guide the training process, accepting the uniqueness of each person’s gifting, calling, and personality. Learners are dependent both on their peers with whom they interact during the training and on the input from their teachers. Trainers understand the need for not only imparting knowledge but also teaching obedience and diligence that lead to maturity, understanding, and ultimately competence.14 The primary goal of IMT is to develop all the competencies missionaries need.

Competency-Based Syllabus

The competencies missionaries need in order to be effective have been well studied.15 Because the most important goal of missionary training is to produce competent missionaries,16 training should aim at producing competent missionaries.17 To this effect, Integral Ministry Training (IMT) seeks to form missionaries with competencies in the areas of attitude, character, skills and cross-cultural communication, in addition to biblical exegesis and theology.18

In 2009, researchers did a study of missionary practices linked to ministry fruitfulness. They interviewed hundreds of practitioners working among Muslim peoples in a multi-year, multi-organizational research project. The study identified factors that these practitioners recognize as contributing significantly to the building of churches among Muslims.19 Many of these practices require training in certain competencies, such as language proficiency, communication of the Gospel in the heart language of the people, discipling in locally appropriate and reproducible ways and finally, the use of a variety of approaches to share the Gospel and to disciple new believers.20

Hub-Based Phased Training

The Optimal Time for Training

Malcolm Knowles’s ‘readiness to learn’ principle points out that adults prefer to learn something close to the time when they will need to use it.21 Immediate practical use of knowledge and insights leads to higher-order learning and is also more likely to cement the new knowledge or skill in the learner’s long-term memory.22 Learning timed in this way is referred to as “just-in-time” (JIT), a term originally borrowed from supply-chain planning in the manufacturing and distribution industry. JIT learning has always faced the problem that the optimal timing for the learner is not always feasible for the instructor.

Most courses take place at a central location. However, the world of missions differs from other situations in that JIT means missionaries must attend a course just before starting to raise funds in their sending country, again once they are in the country and start learning the trade language, again once they start church planting, and so on. Because it is usually infeasible to provide conventional training in all these places and at the ideal times, most missionaries have to do intensive missionary training courses before leaving for the field. Such intensive courses are inevitably not JIT, and because of the need to convey a lot of information in a set time, the training feels a bit like the proverbial fire hose infusion (see above). This approach often leads to cognitive overload.23

JIT Missionary Training in a Hub-Based Phased Approach

Stan Parks described how these challenges can be reduced by using an innovative four-phased approach to missionary training.24 In this approach, training hubs at different locations present different aspects of missionary training.25 Each location is near to where missionaries are at different phases of their careers. This adjacency is made possible through interdenominational cooperation, with different churches or organizations providing training at each of the four training hubs.

The first phase, internship, is completed in the missionary’s home country. This phase consists of both theory and practice. The second phase, residency, is done at a training hub at the missionary’s starting point on the field, culturally close to their ultimate target Unreached People Group (UPG). The third phase, launch, is where missionaries start applying their earlier experience among their target UPG.26 During the third phase, the coaches and trainers from phase three continue to assist and guide them. In the fourth phase, the now-trained missionary leads a new team or becomes involved in training other missionaries who are in the earlier phases.27

Rob Hay et al. suggested a similar phased approach as a way of reducing avoidable attrition among missionaries.28 Even though they suggested only two phases, namely pre-field and on-field, these fit in with the four phases Parks suggested.

This hub-based phased training model is challenging the assumption that missionary training has to happen in a single location at a specific time. Furthermore, it agrees with the principle that adults should ideally be trained just before they need a new skill or knowledge (JIT). This phased model is a great improvement over the traditional training model, but it can be made even more effective by combining it with hybrid e-learning and situated learning.29

Online E-Learning

In 2003, Garrison and Anderson described the growth of e-learning as “explosive, unprecedented and disruptive” and predicted that it would transform all forms of education in the twenty-first century.30 They have been proven right by recent developments,31 and the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has been a stimulus to its growth.

There are numerous and diverse definitions for the term e-learning, ranging from “any learning that uses ICT [information and communications technology]” to “a fully online course.”32 In this article, e-learning means learning delivered, facilitated, and supported through the Internet by using multimedia and social media technologies to enhance learning. It can be presented synchronously or asynchronously, can be instructor- or self-paced, and can be combined with coaching and facilitation in a hybrid approach.

Synchronous and Asynchronous E-Learning

E-learning can be either synchronous or asynchronous. “Synchronous” refers to two things happening at the same time (synchronized). “Asynchronous” refers to events that are not happening simultaneously.

In the context of e-learning, synchronous training refers to situations in which lecturers use live online tools such as video conferencing, Web conferencing, text-only chat software, telephone-like voice over IP (VOIP) talks, or Internet radio.33 Asynchronous training refers to the use of learning management systems, virtual libraries or repositories of documents, illustrations, audio or video files, email, online discussion forums, social networking, wikis and other forms of collaborative documents with no direct ‘live’ interaction with the instructor.34

Learning in asynchronous courses can be either instructor-paced or self-paced. Instructors control the pace of a course similarly to a normal class, by “opening up” sections at certain dates and requiring students to hand in assignments before a target date. Self-paced e-learning is when learners decide their own pace of progress through the course. Even though self-pacing faces the danger of procrastination, learning no longer needs to be compressed into a short time,35 thereby avoiding learner cognitive overload.36

Even though the majority of educational institutions mostly use synchronous instructor-paced courses,37 training effectiveness does not strongly depend upon whether the training is asynchronous or synchronous. Research by Stefan Hrastinski and also by Garry Falloon demonstrated that both of these approaches can produce effective e-learning.38 There is no need to choose between the synchronous and asynchronous approaches, because an effective and practical balance can be achieved by using both. Such a balance increases the likelihood of creating an optimum e-learning environment for learners.39

Online Video Mini-Lectures

Online video mini-lectures in lecture sequences are fast becoming the most prominent medium for instruction in e-learning.40 Video mini-lectures are focused messages that cover a specific topic. They are “mini” in that they are short, usually in the order of six to twelve minutes each. Mini-lectures “chunk” content into meaningful pieces, which helps to enhance learner memory.41 The pedagogical roots of this approach lie in cognitive memory theory and specifically in the cognitive theory of multimedia learning. It has also become one of the best practices for online instruction.42

Training institutions typically concentrate significant resources into the planning and production of such videos. The most effective videos show the instructor’s face, making eye contact with the viewer for at least part of the video.43 Such purpose-made videos create more of a one-to-one connection between the instructor and the individual learner than videos recording during a lecture video capture.44

Based on a large-scale study of video engagement (6.9 million video watching sessions), Guo et al. found that videoing the instructor in tight frame and making eye contact with the learner resulted in engagement levels that were higher than with in-class filmed lectures and even with professionally made studio-setting videos.45 The same study found that the instructor’s rate of speech affected learner engagement, specifically, that learners performed better with videos where the instructor speaks faster.46 The authors found median engagement time to be at most six minutes, with engagement time decreasing with longer videos.47 Certificate-earning students engaged more with videos than others, presumably because of greater motivation.

Learner experience of video mini-lectures can be enhanced using additional technology. Some modern educational online video players offer enhanced features in addition to the standard play/pause and forward/rewind controls. A timed transcript can appear to the right of the instructor. Learners can pause the video, scroll back and click on text, causing the video to rewind and start playing again at that point. Furthermore, such players can speed up or slow down the playback speed of the video without affecting the pitch of the speaker’s voice. In this way, learners can change the speaking rate to suit themselves.

The fact that learners can rewind videos reduces the need for the use of repetition in lectures. A study has found that well-planned videos reduce the required lecture time. For example, lectures that took 400 minutes in the classroom could be reduced to only 260 minutes in video format, a 35% reduction.48

Social Media Technologies to Enhance Learning

Online text-based discussion forums offer an opportunity for e-learners to increase their critical understanding and develop an appreciation for diverse opinions. Online discussion forums can be effective for collaborative learning even in the context of asynchronous e-learning. Before writing, learners have time to reflect upon what their opinion of a topic is. This reflection helps learners who are shy in class or come from a culture with a high power distance index.49 In normal classes, more vocal fellow learners sometimes obscure the contribution of such shy learners.50 Some software systems can require learners to write a new entry on a discussion forum before they can view what others have written. In addition, they are required to comment on at least two or three other entries. Knowing beforehand that others will read and comment on what they write, they tend to think carefully about what they write before submitting it.51

The effectiveness of e-learning

In studying missionary training through e-learning, Lorna Wiseman drew several conclusions.52 She found that although cross-cultural ministry training is most effective when done in community, it does not necessarily have to be face-to-face to be meaningful. Furthermore, she found that personal and spiritual formation can take place in an e-learning environment.53 Interestingly, she also found that at least some of the “head, heart and hands” of missions training can be achieved with e-learning.54 Effective e-learning requires engagement and total commitment from both the learner and instructor in a proactive, learner-centered e-learning environment.55

To be effective, the e-learning process needs to include at least one person who can offer guidance and support, as learners would expect in a classroom. This person may be a subject expert or mentor who interacts with the learner via Internet technology such as Skype or Zoom, or a facilitator or advisor within the learner’s local context.56 Wiseman also found that it requires vision to see the opportunities that technology-based learning can offer and how it can enhance opportunities for relationships between distant instructors and learners.57 Blended learning offers such an opportunity.

Blended Learning

Blended learning is a combination of online video and classroom-based training that has created a quiet revolution in educational institutions around the world.58 Blended learning was developed to overcome learner cognitive overload while integrating the teaching of theory and praxis. Recent cognitive and brain research indicates that for the learning process to be successful, factors such as practical exercises and emotions need to be integrated into the learning process.59 Research has also found a significant correlation between the use of blended learning and improved learner engagement, achievement, and satisfaction.60 Blended learning especially benefits adult learners such as missionaries.61

A fascinating example of blended learning exists at the Vermont Medical School (VMS). VMS is phasing out lectures in favor of what they call “active learning.” One of their subjects is pharmacokinetics, which studies how drugs get to the target organ. This science has a strong theoretical component using mathematical equations. Instead of only giving lectures that present these equations and examples of how they work, VMS requires students to learn the equations via asynchronous e-learning before coming to the classroom. In the classroom, students work in groups where they solve pharmacokinetics problems. The university has found that students learn better by obtaining the theoretical knowledge and then using it soon afterwards, rather than by only learning the theory.62

Extrapolating this kind of learning to missionaries on the field could include learning about cultural surveys using online e-learning and then doing a cultural survey as their assignment. Upon their return, the team could have a discussion of what they found, facilitated by their team leader. This approach could be called situated e-learning.

Some see blended learning as the logical next step in effective instruction. The use of blended learning is an opportunity to innovate by combining modern technological advances in e-learning with the interaction of traditional learning. Classroom instructors can act as coaches who ask the right questions to stimulate thinking, or as mentors who dispense wisdom to individual learners.63

Hybrid Instruction: E-Learning Combined with NonFormal Learning

The concept of blended learning can be taken into a slightly different direction by combining e-learning with nonformal training (coaching or mentoring). Face-to-face nonformal training, whilst forming an integral part of the training program, need not be in a classroom. In a missionary training setting, coaching or mentoring might take place in a church group setting, a missionary team, or even by using synchronous video-based conferencing tools such as Zoom.

Combining e-learning with nonformal learning techniques such as coaching, mentoring, group facilitation, and situated learning can bring traditional classroom advantages like immediacy and peer learning into hybrid learning. Coaches and facilitators need not be subject experts to achieve their goals. The expertise can reside in a combination of the online video mini-lectures and expert mentors who can interact with the learners through video conferencing. A larger part of the face-to-face learning process can then be achieved by coaches and facilitators who are not necessarily well-versed in the subject the group is studying. This approach introduces a paradigm shift in learning, because it is now possible to rethink where, when, and how quickly training should happen.

Rethinking the Pace, Time and Place of Training

Asynchronous hybrid e-learning makes it possible for course designers to choose between making their courses instructor-paced, learner-paced, or self-paced. David Kolb states that “learning is a continuous process grounded in experience.”64 Therefore, self-paced hybrid e-learning makes such learning feasible today because learning no longer needs to be compressed into a short time,65 thus reducing learner cognitive load.66

Because e-learners are not tied to a specific time and place where they will receive training, classroom and instructor availability is no longer as significant.67 This independence from pace, timing, and place has made phased training easier to implement.

Phased Hybrid E-Learning

In phased hybrid e-learning, the e-learning component can reduce the workload of training hubs. In some cases, it becomes possible to create online training hubs. These hubs, in turn, enable a finer-grained set of phases to suit the JIT requirements of a missionary’s training life cycle. In the following list of phases, the numbers in brackets indicate each sub-phase’s position in the four hub-based phases mentioned earlier. The proposed phases are: (1) church, preparation, and short-term visit; (2) trade language and culture acquisition; (3) heart language and culture acquisition, initial evangelism, initial disciple-making, and church-planting and establishment; and (4) relocation and return or teaching.68

This division of phases enables a paradigm shift in training: instead of dividing courses into levels like Anthropological Insights 101, 201, and so on, phased hybrid e-learning makes it possible to divide them into JIT sections. A language-learning course can be used to illustrate this principle. In the preparation phase, the future missionary gets an overview of the language learning process and is taught some basic language learning techniques. This knowledge helps her plan for language learning and set aside the necessary time and money. It also helps her to explain to supporters the necessity of setting aside a year or two for this process. Then, during the on-field language and culture acquisition phase, she will e-learn specific skills such as choosing a good language nurturer, how to prepare for your first language learning session, and so on. After each of these lessons, the team leader will encourage her to immediately apply the skills learned.

In the context of phased hybrid e-learning, competencies can be developed through the principles learned during online training and through personal interactions between team members in a missionary team context, while under the guidance of competent team leaders. These activities could be augmented by synchronous training and consultation with remote or visiting mentors and instructors.

Implementing and Evaluating the Concepts

An early implementation of this approach can be seen on Didasko Academy’s Website.69 The initial short courses are “The Bible and Missions,” “Missions 101,” “Roles in Missions,” “Fundraising for Missionaries,” as well as a workshop called “Prayer for Ministry.” Although all these initial courses target the preparation phase, they have been used successfully with on-field missionary teams on at least three occasions. Early on-field courses are currently under development.

In the first sixteen months after the launch of the courses, learners have earned two hundred three certificates. These learners were from twenty-one countries, but the most were from South Africa, the Philippines, Nigeria, and the USA. While most of the early batch of learners did the courses fully online, about a quarter did them in some kind of hybrid setting: a blended learning workshop at a mission organization’s summit, selected videos at another organization’s on-field gathering, in mission school classes, and a number of online sections of the courses done asynchronously, followed by discussion groups on Zoom or WhatsApp after each section. All of these cases have resulted in very positive feedback.

Video analytics showed that the average video watch time was high, indicating good learner engagement. The highest average learner engagement was for videos between six and ten minutes long. This finding is useful for determining the duration of future mini-lecture videos.

The findings showed that free online e-learning compatible with mobile devices makes courses widely accessible financially and geographically, especially by missionaries from the majority world.

Further findings indicate that video mini-lectures with little cultural bias can be achieved when the lecturer appears in smart-casual clothes whilst standing before a neutral background.70 Learners from all cultures reported that they like the concrete-relational approach to teaching. Such teachings start with an illustrated and concrete story followed by an exposition of the concepts in the story, instead of starting by explaining concepts and then using stories as illustrations. Stories exchange precision for explanatory power,71 an approach Jesus frequently used.

Learners reported that they found the availability of reflection questions, group discussion questions and online discussion forums, in addition to optional reading material after each video, to be beneficial. This finding proved that the chunking of learning into small learning units works well for different cultures, as long as the video mini-lectures are kept between six and ten minutes in length. This approach also proved effective when it was done in classroom and online hybrid situations.72

Examples of How the Approach Can Be Used in Practice

A missionary team in Indonesia learnt about missionary strategy formation together by working through a series of videos on a Didasko course. After each video they followed the discussion questions included in the course, applying it to their own situation. Subsequently, the team reported that they were re-invigorated and started improving their old strategy.

A church in the Philippines wanted to mobilize their people to reach out to a nearby UPG. A course facilitator from another country coordinated meetings via Zoom. Together, the group of thirty decided how often they would meet in this way. The facilitator then assigned a series of videos after each meeting people were to work through. During the next meeting, he led them through the course group discussion questions. A number of the class went on to complete subsequent courses and said they were planning to start their outreach to the UPG.

The facilitators in each of these cases were experienced people, but probably not subject experts. The expertise lay in the courses themselves. For certain kinds of material it might be necessary to bring in a subject expert to answer specialized questions.

Organizational Collaboration

Indications from these early studies are that mission organizations and churches will be able to productively use the training approach presented in this article. A similar decentralized, modular format might also be applied to biblical and theological formation.73 This approach could supplement a traditional seminary approach.

Developing high-quality, video-based, hybrid e-learning courses is time consuming and requires more resources than most mission organizations have. A proposed solution is to develop courses through loose collaboration by subject experts from multiple agencies, using the Christian Commons approach.74 Each organization will then be able to customize not only the courses themselves but also the way they facilitate the training. Didasko Academy is one institution using this approach and is actively seeking organizations, churches, and individual missionaries who would like to contribute course material.

Ideally, a major convening of representatives from mission agencies could set standards and determine who should be responsible for developing which parts of the curriculum. A network such as Missio Nexus could provide such a platform.


The article has shown that proven methods such as competency-based syllabi and training methods like IMT and hub-based JIT training can be combined in an e-learning and blended learning approach to build a phased hybrid training approach. By using new technology in combination with facilitation, resource-limited churches and mission organizations will be able to better serve missionary candidates spread over a wide geographical area.

Even an early implementation of the hybrid approach was shown to make a difference among field workers and those preparing to go. Once hybrid courses covering all aspects are available, situated Integral Ministry Training using a phased hybrid e-learning model will be affordable and widely accessible over the Internet. It will empower organizations to train their workers in-place and closer to the ideal time.

Finally, the article points out the need for interorganizational collaboration to fully implement the approach so that high-quality hybrid missionary training can be developed.

After making disciples among East-African Muslims for ten years, Henry Vermont and his wife Betsy moved to Southeast Asia in 2011 as trainers. They started Didasko Academy, an online, video-based missionary training school ( offering free training. Henry’s PhD dissertation at the South African Theological Seminary focused on the development of accessible and effective training of missionaries from the majority world. He can be contacted at

Johannes Malherbe is the Head of Quality Assurance and Innovation at the South African Theological Seminary (SATS). His academic expertise is in Old Testament Studies and his other research interests include childhood studies, leadership development, and missiology. He has been involved in formal theological training since 1996 and joined the staff of SATS in 2012. SATS operates fully online and offers courses from certificate to doctoral levels.

1 Robert Hay et al., Worth Keeping: Global Perspectives on Best Practice in Missionary Retention (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2007), 18, 55, 155, 156.

2 Jonathan Lewis, “Center for Cross-Cultural Missionary Training (CCMT),” in Integral Ministry Training: Design and Evaluation, ed. Robert Brynjolfson and Jonathan Lewis (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2006), 158.

3 Mary Hurley, “At MIT, How the Hack They Did It,” The Boston Globe, August 24, 2003,

4 Darrell L. Whiteman, “Integral Training Today for Cross-Cultural Mission,” Missiology 35, no. 1 (2008): 11; Lorna K. Wiseman, “E-Quipped to Serve? A Journey into Mission Training Delivered by E-Learning,” IMTN Bulletin 4 (2016): 2; Jessica Udall, “Preparing Ethiopians for Cross-Cultural Ministry: Maximizing Missionary Training for Great Commission Impact” (Masters thesis, Columbia International University, 2013), 17.

5 Rob Brynjolfson, “The Integral Ministry Training Journey,” Brynjolfson and Lewis, 5.

6 Ibid., 8.

7 Irina T. Manolescu, Nelu Florea, and Carmen C. Arustei, “Forms of Learning Within Higher Education: Blending Formal, Informal and Non-Formal,” Cross-Cultural Management Journal 20, no. 1 (2018): 7–15.

8 Ibid., 8.

9 For example in Matt 13:3; 6:5; 16:13; and 16:22.

10 NTM: New Tribes Mission, now known as Ethnos360.

11 Robert Strauss, “New Tribes Mission (NTM) Missionary Training Center (MTC), USA,” in Integral Ministry Training, 180.

12 See the ten concepts listed in Jonathan Lewis, “Philosophy of Integral Ministry Training,” in Integral Ministry Training, 22. Some of the concepts include: helping believers grow in the likeness of Christ, encouraging each trainee to perceive and develop God’s unique design for them, and teaching that knowledge is not a goal in itself but is to be combined with obedience and diligent practice.

13 Anthropologists call the deepest level of culture “worldview.” Worldview is a culturally determined and structured set of assumptions. These deep-level assumptions include a person’s underlying values, commitments, and allegiances and determine how people of a culture perceive and respond to reality. Worldview is not separate from culture but is inherently part of culture, representing the deepest level of presuppositions upon which people base their lives. See Paul G. Hiebert, Transforming Worldviews: An Anthropological Understanding of How People Change (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008), 15; Charles H. Kraft, Anthropology for Christian Witness (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books. 1996), 11.

14 Lewis, “Philosophy of Integral Ministry Training,” 22.

15 John Kayser, “Criteria and Predictors of Missionary Cross-Cultural Competence in Selected North American Evangelical Missions” (PhD diss., University of Edinburgh, 1994); Kayser 2002; Robert W.. Ferris, Establishing Ministry Training, World Evangelical Fellowship Series 4 (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 1995); Brynjolfson and Lewis; and Mark R. Hedinger, “Towards a Paradigm of Integrated Missionary Training” (DMiss diss., Western Seminary, 2006), among others.

16 Cf. David E. Kern, Patricia A. Thomas, Donna A. Howard, and Eric B. Bass, Curriculum Development for Medical Education—A Six-Step Approach, 2nd ed. (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009), 28; Brynjolfson and Lewis, 7.

17 Kayser, “Criteria and Predictors,” 65.

18 Brynjolfson, 30.

19 Don Allen et al., “Fruitful practices: A Descriptive List,” International Journal of Frontier Missiology 26, no. 3 (2009): 111–122; J. Dudley Woodberry, ed., From Seed to Fruit: Global Trends, Fruitful Practices, and Emerging Issues Among Muslims (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2011).

20 Ibid., 118.

21 Tim Hatcher, “Towards Culturally Appropriate Adult Education Methodologies for Bible Translators: Comparing Central Asian and Western Educational Practices,” Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics 3 (2008): 1–60,

22 David R. Krathwohl, “A Revision of Bloom”s Taxonomy: An Overview,” Theory Into Practice 41, no. 4 (2002): 212–25.

23 Krathwohl, 237.

24 Stan Parks, “Training ‘Movement Catalysts’—Ethné Pursues A Revolution in Missionary Training,” Mission Frontiers (2016), 18,

25 David Coles and Stan Parks, eds., 24:14—A Testimony to all Peoples (Spring, TX: The 24:14 Network, 2019), 228,

26 Parks, 18.

27 Chris McBride, “24:14 Goal: Movement Engagements in Every Unreached People and Place by 2025,” Mission Frontiers (2018): 36–39,

28 Rob Hay, Valerie Lim, Detlef Blöcher, Jaap Ketelaar, Sarah Hay, Worth Keeping: Global Perspectives on Best Practice in Missionary Retention (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library 2007), 122.

29 Situated learning happens in real environments. It encourages autonomous thinking and independence to acquire knowledge actively in real-life situations. See Wu-Yuin Hwang, Hong-Ren Chen, Nian-Shing Chen, Li-Kai Lin, and Jin-Wen Chen, “Learning Behavior Analysis of a Ubiquitous Situated Reflective Learning system with Application to Life Science and Technology Teaching,” Journal of Educational Technology and Society 21 no. 2 (2018): 137–49.

30 D. Randy Garrison, E-Learning in the 21st Century: A Framework for Research and Practice (2nd ed., London, UK: RoutledgeFalmer 2011), 2.

31 Ziad D. Baghdadi, “Best practices in Online Education: Online Instructors, Courses and Administrators,” The Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education 12, no. 3 (2011): 109–17.

32 Petra Boezerooij, E-Learning Strategies of Higher Education Institutions (Czech Republic: UNITISK, 2006), 18,

33 See Hsiu-Mei Huang, “Toward Constructivism for Adult Learners in Online Learning Environments,” British Journal of Educational Technology 33, no. 1 (2002): 27–37; Julie Meloni, “Tools for Synchronous and Asynchronous Classroom Discussion,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 11, 2010,

34 Huang, 30; Meloni.

35 Hurley.

36 Krathwohl, 237.

37 Tommaso Leo et al., “Online Synchronous Instruction: Challenges and Solutions,” in 2009 Ninth IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society, 2009), 489–91,

38 Stefan Hrastinski, “Asynchronous and Synchronous E-Learning,” Educause Quarterly 31, no. 4 (2008): 51–55; Garry Falloon, “Exploring the Virtual Classroom: What Students Need to Know (and Teachers Should Consider),” MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching 7, no. 4 (2011): 448.

39 Falloon, 448.

40 Lori Breslow et al., “Studying Learning in the Worldwide Classroom Research into edX’s First MOOC,” Research & Practice in Assessment (2012): 14.

41 See Julie Dirksen, Design for How People Learn (Berkeley, CA: New Riders 2012), 91; Norma I. Scagnoli, Anne McKinney, and Jill Moore-Reynen, “Video Lectures in E-Learning,” in Handbook of Research on Innovative Technology Integration in Higher Education, ed. Fredrick Muyia Nafukho and Beverly J. Irby (Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference, 2015), 115–16, 129.

42 Scagnoli, McKinney, and Moore-Reynen, 116.

43 Philip J. Guo, Juho Kim, and Rob Rubin, “How Video Production Affects Student Engagement,” in Proceedings of the First ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale Conference (New York: Association for Computing Machinery, 2014), 42.

44 Scagnoli, McKinney, and Moore-Reynen, 129.

45 Guo, Kim, and Rubin, 46.

46 Ibid., 41.

47 Ibid., 44.

48 Stephen Cummins, Alistair R Beresford and Andrew Rice, “Investigating Engagement with In-Video Quiz Questions in a Programming Course,” IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies 9, no. 1 (2016): 60,

49 Power Distance Index (PDI) is one of Geert Hofstede’s six cultural dimensions. A culture’s PDI measures the degree of acceptance of inequalities in society. A low PDI indicates an egalitarian society, where people generally try to equalise power. In high PDI cultures, people tend to accept a hierarchical order, and learners will expect the instructor to have higher status than they do, and instructors are expected to be treated accordingly. See Geert H. Hofstede, Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions, and Organizations Across Nations, 3rd ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications 2001).

50 Lorna K. Wiseman, “E-Quipped to Serve: Delivering Holistic Christian Mission Training through E-Learning” (PhD diss., Loughborough University, 2015), 143,; Lorna K. Wiseman, “E-Quipped to Serve?,” 1–8.

51 Robert A. Danielson, “Navigating the Online Missiology Classroom: Class Design and Resources for Teaching Missiology Online,” Missiology: An International Review 43, no. 2 (2015): 215.

52 Wiseman, “E-quipped to Serve?,” 4.

53 Ibid., 5.

54 Ibid., 6.

55 Ibid., 5.

56 Ibid., 6.

57 Ibid., 7.

58 Ibid., 93.

59 Ian A. Nell, “Blended Learning: Innovation in the Teaching of Practical Theology to Undergraduate Students,” HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 69, no. 1 (2013): 26–32.

60 Xiangyang Zhang and Jie Xu, “Integration of Micro Lectures into the Blended Learning Discourse in Tertiary Education,” Asian Association of Open Universities Journal 10, no. 2 (2015): 13–28.

61 Kathleen Cercone, “Characteristics of Adult Learners with Implications for Online Learning Design,” Association for the Advancement of Computing In Education Journal 16 (2008): 137–59.

62 Audie Cornish and Sam Gringlas, “Vermont Medical School Says Goodbye To Lectures,” National Public Radio, August 3, 2017,

63 Nell, 27.

64 David A. Kolb, Experiential Learning: Experience as The Source of Learning and Development (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1984), 27.

65 Hurley.

66 Krathwohl, 237.

67 Huang, 28.

68 Henry Vermont, “Designing and Evaluating a Curriculum for the Effective and Accessible Training of Frontier Missionaries from New Sending Countries” (PhD diss., South African Theological Seminary, 2020),

69 Didasko Academy,

70 Vermont, 310.

71 Kenneth E. Bailey, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2008).

72 See Vermont, 262.

73 An example of a purely online bible school is the Christian Leadership Institute, An advanced accredited distance learning approach is used by the South African Theological Seminary (SATS),

74 Tim Jore, The Christian Commons: Ending the Spiritual Famine of the Global Church, 2nd ed. (n.p.: Tim Jore, 2015), Information about church and/or missions agency collaboration can be found at

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