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.

Mentoring program

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 2019 we have the privilege of having Chandra Smith living with us as Missionary in Residence. Chandra has been a missionary in Ecuador for approximately 13 years working with SIM. Originally she went to work with women and be involved in healthcare work, but over time she was also involved in church planting plus training and equiping local believers to teach the Bible, disciple new believers and evangelise their communities. Chandra used various different ministries to open doors into communities such as a Craft Club, a Diet Club, cooking classes, first aid training and a medical project. Other ways she served her missionary team were through being the personnel coordinator and medical coordinator. This developed her passion to help missionaries to not only survive on the mission field, but to thrive. During her time at SMBC she wants to be able to help students seek out where God wants them in this world and to think about the different aspects of mission life they may encounter on the mission field.

In these videos some of our previous Missionaries in Residence reflect on their year at SMBC...

David & Georgina
Ian & Dorcas
Ross & Lyndal

Visiting missionaries

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.

Mission organisations

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


Director of the Centre for Cross-Cultural Mission, Dr Richard Hibbert, along with his wife, Dr Evelyn Hibbert, have published several articles and books in the field of missionary training, including: Leading Multicultural TeamsTraining Missionaries - Principles & Possibilities and Walking Together on the Jesus Road:Discipling in Intercultural Contexts.

For further information regarding the SMBC Centre for Cross-Cultural Mission please contact us here

SMBC, PO Box 83
43 Badminton Road, Croydon NSW 2132
T +61 2 9747 4780
E admin@smbc.edu.au
Sydney Missionary and Bible College is an affiliated college with the Australian College of Theology
ACT Cricos Code Provider: 02650E
ABN: 11 000 047 950