Mission Immersion Experience
BTSR’s Mission Immersion Experience (MIE) is a significant, life changing, required component of the Master of Divinity Degree (M.Div.). We know of no other seminary that requires such an experience – BTSR does so because we believe strongly that God is at work throughout the world and in all cultures. We have much to learn from each other, especially from those that are different.
For a full semester, students study the culture and history of the country they will visit and delve deeply into challenging topics related to mission work. BTSR’s intention is to enhance students’ global view of the Church during their formative years for Christian ministry and to strengthen their cross-cultural perspectives. Students are well-prepared, taught to understand and interpret their experiences and trained to develop skills and perceptions that will shape their future ministries and leadership roles in the world.
The MIE program goals are:
- To experience the shared love of God in settings new to the student
- To gain a better understanding and appreciation for different people and their culture
- To have opportunities to share one’s faith and to exhibit a servant attitude
- To make discoveries about one’s identity through encounters with persons of another culture
- To interact with professionals and church leaders in an effort to engage in dialogue, noting points of intersection and mutual learning
- To develop experience, leadership skills, and principles for future ministry
The MIE Program has visited South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, India, Argentina, Malaysia, Costa Rica, China, and many other countries.
Dr. Oladipo, the Duke K. McCall Professor of Christian Mission and World Christianity, is the director of MIE and has developed the program with a unique understanding of world mission. Thanks to this understanding, he has created a program in which students learn to respect the people and cultures they visit, learn how God is already acting in the world, and apply a long-term vision to mission work when they enter into their own ministries. Speaking about a recent MIE trip to South Africa, Dr. Oladipo said, “Our group’s diversification included a range of age and ethnic backgrounds. Our hosts were not accustomed to this kind of diversity within a visiting group, yet they sensed the love we share for one another. Our new friends and mission partners were able to witness the love of Christ through the way we love one another and the way we loved those whom we met in south Africa. I have experienced this phenomenon each time we travel to a new place. We were changed, and they are changed. This mutual transformation is one of the true gifts of God in Jesus Christ.”
Dr. O considers himself, “a product of Baptist mission in Nigeria.” Dr. O shares wonderful stories with students and friends about his family coming to faith in Christ, their interaction with missionaries and churches, even profound miracles they experienced.
Impact of MIE
President Ron Crawford has said of the MIE, “If you are lucky you will go to Kenya, stay in a manure-covered hut, and learn from a person who lives on a dollar a day or less, what it means to have the love of Jesus in your heart.” Indeed, students who have participated in MIE programs at BTSR have developed a cross-cultural Christian character that continues to enrich their lives far beyond graduation.
A recent survey of alumni affirmed that MIE is indeed a key formative, influential, and critical part of ministry preparation.
BTSR is thrilled to learn when alumni extend their mission and MIE learning into their current ministry. A featured story in BTSR’s quarterly newsletter, The Window, highlights the continuing ministry story of two alumni, Dane Jackson and Craig Maddox. The two men travelled to Romania in March 2014 as part of a Virginia Baptist Mission Board long-term effort. Click here to access the digital version of our current edition to learn more.
Interested in sharing your story about MIE and how it has prepared you for your ministry? Contact Brandon Lowe (804-204-1235).