Center for Cross-cultural Missionary Training (CCMT)
Part 1: Demographics:
|Name||Center for Cross-cultural Missionary Training (CCMT)|
|Address||Villa Retiro, Cordoba, Argentina|
|Contact Information||Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web site: http://www.ccmt.com.ar
Phone: + (54) (0351) 499-0505
|Dr. Jonathan Lewis
Lic. Ana Atencia Ramos de Hergenrether
|Language of instruction||Spanish|
|Affiliations and sponsors||The CCMT is governed by the Asociación Campos Blancos. This is a non-denominational organization based in Cordoba. As a center, it has strong ties with the Argentine Evangelical Alliance and COMIBAM International. Fomal mission agency affiliates include Fronteras, PMI, WGM, SIL, and ProVision.|
|Length of program||The CCMT offers an advanced program for candidates that lasts approximately 10 months. We offer intensive modular courses and online courses as well.|
|Number of students||There are typically 10-15 persons from several countries that take the advanced candidate level course each year, and 25-30 students in the two-year basic EMPI course.|
For the advanced course, students come from all over Latin America and occasionally, from Europe. They are mostly sent by their churches for the training and are serious, missionary candidates. They must be a minimum of 21 years old and have met the biblical training standards set by their church or sending agency. While not large in numbers, this program has seen the vast majority of its trainees placed in long-term cross-cultural ministries on several continents. The Internet courses have been taken by Spanish speakers in over 30 countries.
A sister program on the campus (Escuela de Misiones y Plantación de Iglesias) serves those students that sense a missionary call but don’t meet the requirements to enter the CCMT cross-cultural training program. There are 42 students enrolled in this two-year program that emphasizes Bible and ministry training with a missions emphasis. Those with a call to cross-cultural missions will typically enroll enroll in the CCMT’s advanced candidate training program.
The CCMT over the years has been staffed by full-time missionaries and part time staff. Missionary staff brings their own support. Currently, there is full-time couple (director and his wife) and five part-time staff with major roles of responsibility. They come from Chile, Argentina and the USA. Instructors are recruited for the modular courses from Cordoba and South America.
History and Objectives:
Argentina’s First National Missions Congress was conducted in June 1986. The Argentine Evangelical Alliance’s Missions Commission (Misiones Mundiales) also sponsored a series of regional consultations leading up to the continent‑wide Missions Congress, COMIBAM ‘87, in Sao Paulo, Brazil (November, 1987). Consultations on missionary training followed and Argentine seminaries and Bible institutes began offering courses in cross‑cultural missions during the next few years.
In July 1991, the Argentine Missions Commission along with COMIBAM, and the WEA Missions Commission, sponsored the First Consultation on Missionary Training for the Southern Cone of Latin America. Over 60 delegates from missions and training institutions from Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina were present. A descriptive profile of the entry-level missionary was developed that demonstrated the need for dedicated missionary candidate training. During an evaluation session, two‑thirds of the participants identified the establishment of a regional missionary training center as the highest priority coming out of the consultation. Planning for the proposed center began shortly after this historic consultation.
In January of 1995, four families joined together to establish the new Center for Cross-cultural Missionary Training (CCMT). In July of 1995, a large house was acquired near the center of the city that provides administrative and teaching space as well as living quarters for the residential program. The first group of candidates arrived in August. Since inception, over 100 missionary candidates have gone through the training and many hundreds have been served through extension and Internet programs. In 1998, the program was moved to a 5 hectare property on the outskirts of the city. This has enhanced the community aspect of the training as well as allowing for infrastructure growth.
Right from the start, it was very apparent from the Argentine missionary training profile that candidates needed much more than lectures to equip them for the field. A whole person training approach was needed—something that would address the very character of the candidates and help them develop much needed skills. Another lesson learned early on was that field internship could not be offered simply as an option. Both the residential program and a guided internship were found to be essential to form necessary attitudes and equip candidates with the skills they needed to succeed after the training was finished.
The use of non-formal and informal elements in training
The curriculum was developed based on the characteristics described in the missionary training profile. As with any program, improvements have been made both to the design of the training and methods utilized. The ten-month training currently includes a five-month residential program and a five-month internship among a Northern Argentine tribal group. A week-long debriefing session is always held after the internship period.
The residential program is organized around modules that cover the basic areas described in the training profile. These vary in length from one-day workshops to a six-week English immersion program. Besides the coursework, informal learning is emphasized through the community experience. Facilities are limited and often cramped providing ample opportunity to refine interpersonal skills. Students prepare meals and participate in maintenance activities. Full-time staff members live with the students and act as mentors. During this time, trainees are also involved on weekends in church-planting efforts nearby.
The period of cross-cultural immersion has historically been done as a group in the north of Argentina in native villages. This has facilitated periodic visits by staff members. Recently, students have gone to different groups in different locations, including one couple who realized their internship in Spain among Arab immigrants. This has limited staff visits. The immersion experience is the heart of the program and where the teaching of the previous five months has an opportunity to become “learning.” Students follow a prescribed course of language learning, ethnographic study, and identification witht he people they are living with. These are testing grounds that have allowed most of the trainees to mature their skills, understanding and commitment to cross-cultural ministry. The occasional candidate also comes away with the understanding that they are not cut-out for this kind experience or that they really need further training before heading to the field.
The debriefing session is critical. Trainees are given tasks that help them sort through their issues and find a way to communicate what they’ve experienced to their churches and supporters. Trainees work on the final version of a paper they have been working on during their cross-cultural internship. Staff members meet at length with candidates and they are given ample opportunity to talk about their experiences with empathic listeners. This time also helps candidates sharpen their plans for their next steps. The staff also prepares a personal report for the sponsoring church or agency.
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