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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...
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.
On staff missiologists
The SMBC missions faculty consists of three full-time missiologists who have a broad range of cross-cultural experience. 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.
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.
The Centre co-ordinates a mentoring program between members of the missions community and students interested in cross-cultural mission. The aim of this mentoring is to assist students in further exploring their role in global missions.
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 2021 we have the privilege of having Phil and Carol Short, with their 47 years of mission experience, as our Missionaries in Residence. Phil and Carol grew up in Victoria and have farming backgrounds. In 1974 they left to serve with SIM in West Africa. Their goal was to share the gospel with an unreached pastoralist people group, living among them, entering into their culture, and learning their language.
In the mid 80s, their horizons were further widened when they moved to take up a six year role as deputy director of three Francophone countries, which included pastoral care and mentoring of colleagues engaged in making disciples among different people groups. During the 12 years they then spent in Australia for their childrens’ education, Phil’s role as SIM’s Victorian director included mobilizing people for missions.
In 2004, they returned to West Africa to continue their focus on making disciples and teaching believers among pastoralists, nomadic and semi-settled people. They have seen God growing and developing leaders who are committed to bringing the gospel to their own people. They also appreciate partnering with leaders in overseeing a Ministry Training Centre and well-digging projects in remote locations.
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.
Biennial Missions Conference
The Centre hosts a Biennial Missions Conference with expert international and local missiologists. The purpose of the conference 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.
As part of our 2018 Biennial Missions Conference we enjoyed the teaching of Tim Chester (author and pastor of Grace Church, Boroughbridge, UK). In this video he chats with Tim Silberman about God's mission and the church.
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.
‘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.
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 course is for those currently serving among people from a different culture than their own, and who are wanting to enhance or sharpen their ministry. They may be serving in cross-cultural ministry overseas, or here in Australia
The MICS was also designed to intentionally develop an inclusive missionary learning community that increases the missiological expertise of the global missionary community without requiring missionaries to leave their place of ministry for extended periods of study. Learn more here
The Angelina Noble Centre
SMBC hosts the Angelina Noble Centre (ANC) which focuses on understanding and addressing the challenges of cross-cultural ministry by doing research. Angelina Noble was an indigenous Christian leader, gifted linguist and cross-cultural missionary who founded churches across northern Australia at the beginning of the last century.
In honour of Angelina Noble and remembering the many women who have worked faithfully to grow the church over the centuries, the research supervisors in this Centre are women with cross-cultural ministry experience and who have also done doctorates. More information about the Centre and its research supervisors can be found here
ANC research supervisors are available to supervise projects in bachelor and masters degrees as well as to supervise doctoral degrees in cross-cultural mission. If you would like to do a research project with an ANC supervisor, email Evelyn Hibbert and explain what you would like to research and she will help you with the next steps.
For further information regarding the SMBC Centre for Cross-Cultural Mission please contact us here