Missiology

Missiology is a field that focuses on the history, theology and social implications of Christian missionary efforts. Find out about career options, related degree programs, educational requirements and course topics.

Is Missiology for Me?

Career Overview

Missiology is the scholarly study of the theological, historical, social and practical work of the missionary dimension of the Christian church. Missiology addresses the theory and practice of religious outreach and can prepare you for ministry and missions positions. Degree programs are commonly available at the master's and doctoral degree levels, but some schools offer bachelor's degree programs or specializations in missiology. With this training, you can become a domestic or international missionary, possibly specializing in an area such as relief work, community development, education or healthcare; you could also manage outreach programs, run a homeless shelter or direct missions organizations.

Employment Information

Missionaries raise their own support from churches and individuals to cover their living expenses. The Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) states that this includes salary, housing, benefits, administration, ministry expenses, medical expenses and funds to cover their children's education (www.efca.org). They also raise money for start-up costs, including training, foreign language courses, traveling to the location where they plan to serve, the cost of setting up their home, transportation costs and office equipment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2013, the median annual salary for religious directors was $38,160, while for other religious workers, including missionaries, it was $28,750.

How Can I Work in Missiology?

Education

Missiology is primarily available as a graduate level program, but some schools offer it at the undergraduate level as a specialization within another program, such as international studies. Through this degree program, you'd explore the social sciences, religion and history, and complete a missions experience in a cross-cultural setting. The missiology aspect of the program includes studies in leadership, the Bible, evangelism and the history of missions.

Through a master's degree program in missiology, you would prepare for a career in missions and evangelization. You'd study the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, church history, world religions, principles of missions and Biblical languages. Some courses address strategies for growing churches, issues faced by missionaries and church-planting strategies.

Admissions requirements for the Doctor of Missiology program vary depending on the school; for instance, some schools require that you earn a Master of Divinity (Div.M.), but others require a master's degree in missiology or in international studies. Some schools require that you share why you want to work in missions and ministry. Your coursework may cover theories of church growth, church multiplication, church leadership, spiritual warfare and teaching in cross-cultural settings. Through this degree program, you'd gain practical missionary experience, write a doctoral dissertation and demonstrate proficiency in a second language.

Required Skills

According to the Occupational Information Network (O*Net), qualifications for individuals who are managing religious activities include being able to organize events, create a curriculum, give advice and effectively ask for monetary support (www.onetonline.org). You'll be responsible for helping people make decisions regarding religion and spirituality. The official website of the state of Michigan adds that you must be able to communicate with people of different backgrounds, nations and religious denominations, handle dangerous situations and interact well with others (www.michigan.gov).

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