ACU plans to prepare 200 missionaries this decade

For immediate release
Oct. 26, 2001

Abilene Christian University's Institute for Missions and Evangelism set a goal of preparing 200 missionaries by the year 2010.

The institute's vision is to "prepare 200 men and women to be used by God to establish and nurture at least four church planting movements on each continent."

"The vision of the church must go beyond the walls of her buildings and the culture of her members," said Dr. Sonny Guild, director of the institute. "As a missionary training institution, ACU wants to fill a significant, needed role in preparing the people that local churches will send out as missionaries."

ACU's four missions faculty, nine missions coordinators and five other missions staff members, as well as colleagues across campus, will work toward this vision by recruiting, mentoring and teaching ACU students to serve in God's kingdom as evangelists, translators, health care workers, community development specialists, support personnel or any other role consistent with a person's spiritual gifts and talents.

At the same time students are training for their individual roles, they will also learn teamwork skills, and missions personnel will guide new teams in targeting and researching new sites for potential mission work.

"Some students will earn degrees in missions while others will major in a field such as business or agriculture and minor in missions," Guild said. "Regardless of which route students take, their academic preparation will work in tandem with hands-on training they will receive through summer internships and longer-term apprenticeships.

A student with a bachelor's degree in any field may also seek a Master of Arts degree in Missions or a Master of Divinity degree with a missions emphasis. Some graduate students in missions at ACU come directly from undergraduate work while others are making career changes. Missions certificates with 18 credit hours of training are also available at the graduate level.

"Missions is receiving greater emphasis than ever at ACU," said Dr. Jack Reese, dean of ACU's College of Biblical Studies. "We have taken steps to integrate missions faculty, students, courses and principles throughout the curriculum and co-curriculum. We are increasing our emphasis on cross-cultural internships and apprenticeships through a program we call Worldwide Witness. Our hope is that more and more Christians will consider joining ACU and other missionary training institutions in the crucial task of world missions, either by going or by sending."

Currently, fewer than 900 missionaries are working in the world through Churches of Christ. Attrition notwithstanding, fulfillment of ACU's vision could mean at least a 20 percent increase in the number of missionaries on the field among Churches of Christ.

Christians interested in receiving missionary training at the graduate or undergraduate level or churches interested in increasing their involvement in missions should contact Sonny Guild at the ACU Institute for Missions and Evangelism by calling 915-674-3711 or emailing


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Last update: Oct. 26, 2001

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