In the School of Christ - At God's Service
: a school for training in the particular skill and service uncommonly known as Missionary Church Planting
: an on-the-go missionary church-plant training, in the ‘piazza’, not in the classroom
Jesus didn’t teach in a classroom, but personally while doing the Father’s work. His classroom was the mission field. His lectures were given while evangelizing. His disciples walked with him, ate with him, traveled with him and much more. We at PMc follow the same style of teaching; hands-on while church planting through evangelism and discipleship.
WHAT IS THE IDEA BEHIND THE ACADEMIA?
Many bright and talented American Christians who study “missions” are given a perspective from 3rd world missions. This is important, but the time has come for new missionaries to get a good education in missions in 1st world countries as well. Today Europe is considered the darkest continent.
When it comes to missions there is nothing like on-field training. In a very real sense, when a missionary arrives on the field he/she must forget everything previously learned and enter the ‘school of Christ’ to learn afresh what it means to be a Christian. The new missionary quickly learns that much of his understanding of Christianity has been based on his culture; it is indeed American Christianity. Some of it is fine and well, some of it is simply not Christian at all. Only in the school of Christ can the new missionary take ahold of his/her calling and bear fruit for the Kingdom of God in another land among different people. All Christ-followers are in the ‘school of Christ’ - the PMc Academia exists to keep missionaries growing in their knowledge of God and His personal calling for them in His mission in a way that helps missionaries to flourish even in spiritually dark Italy.
The best theological and missionary education, in our opinion, is partnered with hands-on ministry; combining study with actual experience and service in missionary church planting. Italy is unique, as is church planting in general on the mission field. His laborers are unique and have specific needs to continue to grow according to their call. The PMc Academia enables us to focus particular attention to personal needs when we are discipling new missionaries so they can not only survive in the so-called 'spiritual graveyard' of Italy, but actually flourish in their calling, both with us and/or wherever the Lord may later call them.
Too often new missionaries are left without solid guidance or are used for personal agendas. This is a real pity because everyone God sends to the field has something to offer. At the same time, however, the new missionary needs time to adapt and learn from more experienced missionaries, not to mention he cannot yet even speak the language. He needs to slow down, humble himself and take on a humble and teachable spirit.
Entering the mission field with PMc the new missionary also enters the PMc Academia. It doesn’t matter how much knowledge and or experience he may or may not have. The new missionary in the PMc Academia joins others ‘in the school of Christ at His service’. Together they grow, sharpen one another, are stronger and bear more fruit that lasts; all for God’s glory.
WHO IS THE ACADEMIA FOR?
All missionaries who participate with PMc on the field in Italy are part of the PMc Academia to some degree. PMc Short-termers who come for 10 -15 days during the summer are not only in the school of Christ while evangelizing but they are also exhorted through daily Bible devotional times led by long-term PMc Missionary Church Planters. PMc Missionary Interns that come for 1-3 months at a time are involved weekly in personal one-on-one discipleship and group gatherings together with Missionary Church Planters and Cohort Leaders. Long-term Missionaries on the Church Plant Cohort also participate in regular one-on-one discipleship with the cohort leader and they participate in group gatherings among the church-plant cohort and with the short-termers and interns when they are present.
HOW DOES THE ACADEMIA WORK?
The PMc Academia expresses itself in regular discipleship meetings one-on-one and with a group of others on our cohort. Based on needs we recognize we prescribe a book reading list from the PMc recommended reading lists. All new PMc missionaries are required and encouraged to go through a prescribed reading list. All PMc Interns have a customized reading list for their shorter stay in Italy. Long-term PMc missionaries desiring to become recognized PMc church planters and/or cohort leaders have a specialized reading list for this very very unique endeavor. The missionary disciple takes notes from each chapter and shares with the one discipling: what he/she got out of the chapter, what was difficult to comprehend, personal thoughts, application in life and in our current context, prayers, etc... In addition, the long-term missionary can be placed on a unique training path with supplementary courses that we recommend.
WHERE IS THE ACADEMIA LOCATED?
On the mission field in Italy. Participants read during scheduled time throughout the week and at their own pace. Meetings happen in our homes or in public places like the Italian piazza and coffee bars among the people we are reaching out to with the gospel through evangelism. We follow Jesus’ approach to teaching; sometimes we retreat away from the people and other times we teach in the midst of reaching out to the people (on the go).
WHAT IS THE DESIRED OUTCOME?
Missionaries receiving necessary and valuable guidance for all areas of life and in ministry while living and serving on the mission field.
Missionaries knowing their role in the missionary cohort and fulfilling it joyfully.
Missionaries growing in God’s grace and in the knowledge of God and His will, both personally and as a group.
Missionaries gaining a better understanding of themselves; strengths, weaknesses, callings, gifting, etc…
Missionaries gaining a better understanding of the challenges of missions, particularly in postmodern Italy.
Missionaries being better equipped to bear fruit that lasts for the Kingdom and to fight the good fight of the faith.
Lord willing, all the missionaries who participate in the PMc Academia will feel truly a part of God’s work in Italy. As a result, we pray some will continue to serve the Lord in Italy either with PMc or any partner ministries with which PMc is associated. For those who do not feel called to continue serving Jesus in Italy we pray they will never see Italy the same again and that their love for God increases and that they will always be personally involved in Jesus’ worldwide mission - the great commission.
To God alone the glory
Post Tenebras Lux