365 DAYS IN MISSION (365M) is an NTS Diploma in Cross-Cultural Ministry being implemented collaboratively with participating universities and Nazarene Global Mission. The objective of 365M is to expose students to integrated learning through academic resources used in a classroom environment, as well as through experiential learning in a contextual setting (by spending a year in ministry in a culture different from their own). At the conclusion of their year of international ministry, students will have earned a total of 24 credit hours of graduate studies.
We asked Dr. David Wesley, 365M Program Director and Professor of Intercultural Studies, some questions about this new program. Below is our full interview with him.
WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR 365M ORIGINATE?
There was a combination of things that came together that aided in developing the 365M Program:
First: I hoped to find an optimal learning experience in which students could learn about culture from those in a specific cultural context itself (equipping them with tools for learning any context).
Second: I had been doing some reading related to short-term mission research, and I noticed that a growing percentage of college graduates leave the U.S. for a one-year transition before going on to graduate school. It seemed that a program like 365M would be a great opportunity for students to learn as they experience culture.
Third: A growing trend within the Church of the Nazarene is sending out missionaries as tent-makers or volunteers. Thus, one objective that we have is to prepare students to raise their own support and/or serve in a role other than that of a full-time, salaried missionary.
AS YOU TALKED WITH PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS, WHAT HAS THEIR RESPONSE BEEN?
Students have been very receptive. What appeals to them most is the integration of learning and practice. They see the value in both acquiring and immediately applying knowledge in a cross-cultural context.
WHERE WILL THIS YEAR’S STUDENTS MINISTER?
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND – Working with a local congregation to implement a church planting initiative.
BRAZIL – Participating in the ministry of the local church in four different areas.
CROATIA –Church planting and church development.
No specific sites have been finalized for the 2011-2012 year. However, along with the potential of repeating at any of this year’s three sites, we are also looking into sites in Asia and additional sites in Europe.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE RESPONSE OF MISSIONARIES IN PARTICIPANT COUNTRIES?
They are excited, not only to have young people working alongside them, but also because these young people will be very intentional about learning what ministry means in their particular context. 365M is not just about ministering, but also about gaining the tools necessary to understand a culture and why a certain form ministry may or may not be effective in that particular context.
YOU ARE FINISHED WITH THE FIRST 365M ORIENTATION IN KANSAS CITY. PLEASE SHARE YOUR REFLECTIONS ON 365M THUS FAR.
As with any pilot program, this first year has had plenty of bumps, but the students have been very gracious and have shown servant hearts. This has not been an easy process, but they are a determined group of students eager to serve and learn. God has been faithful, and in a way that only He could, provided the necessary resources so that 365M could become a reality. 365M will help to equip the next generation of cross-cultural ministers and missionaries. All thanks and glory be to God!