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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 – certificate, diploma, bachelor, graduate 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 2017 we have the privilege of having Jono and Amy Vink (plus Lili, Isaac, Brie and Abe) living amongst us as Missionaries in Residence. They have just returned from over 12 years in Tanzania. Jono worked in a rural Bible College teaching pastors and evangelists as well as organised pastors groups and preaching conferences for the diocese. Amy homeschooled their four children, and together with Jono set up an income generation project and discipleship program to help desperately needy women and children.
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, providing an environment for the broader missions community to explore and discuss current issues in global missions.
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.
Director of the Centre for Cross-Cultural Mission, Dr Richard Hibbert, along with his wife Evelyn, have published several articles and books in the field of missionary training, including: Leading Multicultural Teams and Training Missionaries - Principles & Possibilities