Centre for Cross-Cultural Mission
SMBC was established in 1916 by Charles Benson Barnett, a returned missionary of the China Inland Mission. His heart was to train people for Christian service in Australia and overseas. Cross-cultural mission has been in the very DNA of SMBC ever since.
Today the College has a strong reputation for mission expertise and experience. SMBC graduates are serving in countries across the globe in a vast variety of ministries and with a wide range of mission organisations.
The SMBC Centre for Cross-Cultural Mission strengthens the global focus of the training offered at SMBC and responds to the increasingly multicultural context of ministry in Australia.
At the core of the Centre is the belief that it is God’s mission to reach every tribe, nation and language with his gospel – and his people are called and privileged to participate in it.
The SMBC Centre for Cross-Cultural Mission includes the following...
On staff missiologists
The SMBC missions faculty consists of three full-time missiologists who have a broad range of cross-cultural experience – Dr Ed Grudier, Dr Tim Silberman and Jonathan James. However, it’s not just the missions lecturers that bring cross-cultural experience to SMBC – many of the other lecturers and staff have also served across the world in missions. Consequently, a conviction and passion for mission is inherent in all aspects of the College’s curriculum.
Mission units in all courses
SMBC offers mission units in all courses and at all levels – undergraduate and postgraduate. These units address the practical challenges of cross-cultural ministry in the light of the Bible and missions theory. Our two-year full-time Associate Degree in Ministry is especially designed to maximise the combination of Bible and missions content.
‘In Context’ Cross-Cultural Ministry Exposure
This program offers full-time students the option of living among people from very different cultures than their own. Groups of students are offered accommodation in various highly multicultural suburbs surrounding the college where they learn how to work as a team in getting to know people and sharing their lives and the gospel with them. The questions and issues that emerge from their interactions with neighbours helps to drive their learning in missions classes where they can reflect on them in the light of the Scriptures and input from lecturers.
College mission teams
All full-time students at SMBC become part of an annual College mission team, led by a member of faculty. Mission teams travel to different parts of Australia as well as overseas – for example, India, Nepal, Greece, Fiji, the Middle East and South East Asian countries.
Weekly missions sessions
All full-time students attend weekly sessions where missionaries present workshops, run discussion groups and explore a range of current missions topics. This also gives opportunity for them to enjoy informal interaction with students over morning tea and lunch.
Mission Spots in Principal's Hour
During each semester, at Principal's Hour, several Mission Spots are presented to highlight the mission needs of the world. Here's an example:
Missionary in Residence
Every year a missionary (single, couple or family) on home assignment serves as the full-time Missionary in Residence. They mentor and guide students working through the process of investigating and moving towards cross-cultural missionary service.
In 2023 we have the privilege of having David and Jenny and their family living and ministering amongst us. David and Jenny (who graduated from SMBC in 2014) and their children, Nathan, Abby, Issy and Evie, have been ministering in West Africa for the last six years with Pioneers Australia. They’ve been involved in a range of ministries including: studying the Scriptures with local believers and seekers, Bible translation, social media, and community projects, such as teaching English. The whole family has especially valued spending time with local friends and the opportunities this has provided to serve and share the good news about Jesus.
In these videos some of our previous Missionaries in Residence reflect on their year at SMBC...
Current missionaries from a range of agencies are invited to live on campus for a week at a time. This happens most weeks of the academic year, thus enabling our students to learn ‘first hand’ about the variety of missionary service, the needs of the world and the challenges of cross-cultural ministry. These visiting missionaries are also encouraged to take part in our community life.
Global Missions Week
Every second year the Centre hosts a Global Missions Week with expert international and local missiologists. The aim is to impart, or strengthen, a passion for world mission, plus provide practical insights concerning how to do the work of mission, both as senders and goers.
Strong relationships are maintained between SMBC and a wide range of mission agencies and ministries. These relationships are encouraged in a number of ways, including a regular breakfast together to discuss further opportunities for partnership between the College and the missions community, and to collect feedback on the effectiveness of cross-cultural preparation of SMBC’s students.
SMBC Master of Intercultural Studies
New to SMBC (from 2019) is the Master of Intercultural Studies (MICS). This postgraduate course is a unique and completely online offering with a focus on the specialised knowledge and research skills needed for expert intercultural ministry practice.
This postgraduate course is unique with the ability to take units either fully online, in Hybrid mode (joining an on-campus unit via Zoom), or on-campus. The fully online units provide a focus on the specialised knowledge and research skills needed for expert intercultural ministry practice.
The MICS was also designed to facilitate missionaries to increase their missiological expertise without requiring them to leave their place of ministry for extended periods of study and to be able to study while on home assignment. Learn more here
The Angelina Noble Centre
SMBC recognises the value of high quality missiological research in our commitment to understanding and addressing the challenges of cross-cultural ministry in and beyond Australia. The Angelina Noble Centre (ANC) is a much-valued partner in this task as they bring together women scholar practitioners in cross-cultural missions from all over the world.
SMBC and the ANC have many shared goals and work together to provide a supportive environment for the next generation of women missions’ scholars to flourish. A number of the SMBC faculty and adjunct faculty involved in the delivery of master’s level units are members of the ANC. ANC mentors are also available to supervise masters and doctoral research through SMBC and ANC members are valued members of the SMBC research community.
Visit the ANC website to learn more
If you are interested in pursuing research with ANC mentors through SMBC, contact SMBC’s Director of Research, Geoff Harper here
For further information regarding the SMBC Centre for Cross-Cultural Mission please contact us here