This coming spring, UTS is excited to be offering its first class that will be held in Buurbonnais, IL. Dr. Mike McQueen explains what the class is and why it is so important:
When I did my M.Div. back in the late 70’s, missions was not on my radar at all. My seminary course work with missions was required or I would have skipped it. And when did take it, it was like taking medicine, or eating vegetables – I did it because I was told it was good for me. And like my undergraduate experience with physics and calculus, I promptly forgot it when I finished the class. In the late 1990’s I was asked to teach a lesson for the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course locally, a program with which I was not previously acquainted. Launched in the summer of 1974 by the US Center for World Missions in Pasadena, CA, it was designed to make an understanding of missions accessible to all Christians. (By 2013 more than 80,000 people had gone through the program!) I was intrigued and ended up taking the course the next year myself. By the time I finished the course I was so pumped that I was convinced this material should be part of basic discipleship for every Christian. And from that point on I decided that Perspectives would become the foundation for missions at Urbana Seminary.
PM 554, The World Christian Movement is not just an introduction to missions though. Yes, it’s a survey of the global cause of Christ. Yes, we do some academic study, exploring the biblical, theological and historical foundations for missions. But our approach is to first seek to understand God’s heart for the nations from the very beginning. We seek to comprehend our faith as a manifestation of the Kingdom of God and how that should provide the impetus for the expansion of Christianity. We look at how the church has both succeeded and failed throughout history. We study how the Gospel takes root in culture. We examine the spiritual and cultural forces arrayed against it. We are presented with the global needs and challenges that face the extension of God’s rule and reign. And we seek to help students recognize that global issues have local applications, and prayerfully prepare them for life-long radical discipleship that may be in their hometown, or anywhere around the world in which the Lord may lead.
The class includes lecture, but because Socrates was my teacher, we do a lot of learning by discussion. We spend time in worship and prayer. We’ll see a Star Trek episode, and watch how a missionary leads an entire Iryan Jayan village to Jesus. We’ll use an occasional guest speaker to provide a different perspective on missions. I try to keep the work-load in the realm of the sane so the class does not become a burden. But it does require you to come prepared. This is one of my two favorite classes to teach, so come and join us!