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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.
The course is designed to help Christian workers who are currently engaged in cross-cultural ministry to reflect on their ministry in the light of biblical and missiological perspectives. For participants who do a major research project, the course will be a pathway to doctoral studies.
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.
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 will be available through online study only. By offering the degree online, we are able to draw on the expertise of missionary academics who are working in the missions community around the world and engage with current global standards of best practice in missions.
A Bachelor of Theology (BTh) or Master of Divinity (MDiv), or three years of full-time study (or the part-time equivalent) in Ministry or Theology equivalent.
Assessment in the MICS is by assignments , not exams. *To successfully complete the assignments, students will need to have sustained engagement with, and ministry among, people from a culture other than their own. This would usually mean being able to communicate with them in their heart language.* Assignments will focus on application of unit content to the student's current cross-cultural ministry practice.
Assignment format will be varied. Examples of the types of assignments are: ministry plans, portfolios of ministry resources, research reports, personal reflections on ministry in relation to readings, essays, audio or video presentations, and participation in varied interactive activities online. Preparation for the assignments will be integrated into the way the unit is taught and will often involve peer review as a collaborative activity online. There will be two or three assignments spread evenly over the semester.
The MICS is designed at AQF Level 9. The course consists of 8 units: 4 core units, 1-3 electives, and a project or capstone.
1. Core Units
- Contextualisation of Theology and Ministry Practice (EM780) – Evelyn and Richard Hibbert
- The Gospel, Anthropology, and Ethnographic Research Methods (EM705) – Cathy Hine
- Making Disciples across Cultures (EM709) – Evelyn Hibbert
- Developing Resilience and Spiritual Maturity in Intercultural Ministry (EM708) – Jonathan James and Richard Hibbert
One to three units from:
- Developing leaders across cultures (EM703) – Rob Brynjolfson
- Ministry in culturally diverse teams (EM752) – Richard Hibbert
- Church planting across cultures (EM712) – Ed Grudier
- Effective Christian Education across Cultures (EM706) – Moyra Dale
- Christian ministry in Islamic contexts (EM707) – Richard Shumack
- Transformational development (EM711) – David Williams
3. Project or Capstone
Either: a minor project (one unit) focusing on an area of their choice and that is related to their current ministry;
Or: a specially designed integrative capstone experience unit focused on intercultural studies (one unit);
Or: Research Methods (one unit) and a major project (two units) (which can also provide a pathway to doctoral studies).
For more detailed information on this course see the Standard Pathway ACT course overview or Accelerated Pathway ACT course overview on the ACT website. (SMBC is an affiliated college with the Australian College of Theology (ACT))
Contextualisation of Theology and Ministry Practice (EM780)
This unit will enable participants to understand the principles of contextualisation in order to construct a framework for approaching contextualisation in any specific cultural context. It will help participants to develop contextualised ways to communicate the gospel in their context as well as contribute to the development of the church. For more detailed information on this unit see the ACT overviews: EM780-4 EM780-6
The Gospel, Cultural Anthropology and Ethnographic Research Methods (EM705)
This unit will provide participants with an understanding of anthropological concepts and insights as tools for contemporary ministry, especially cross-cultural ministry. In the light of this understanding, it will enable participants to exegete the cultural context in which they are serving. For more detailed information on this unit see the ACT overviews: EM705-4 EM705-6
Making Disciples across Cultures (EM709)
This unit will enable participants to understand patterns and principles of disciple making and mentoring in the Scriptures and the ways these principles are expressed in various cultures. Building on this understanding, participants will be helped to develop contextually appropriate ways of discipling people in their particular ministry setting. For more detailed information on this unit see the ACT overviews: EM709-4 EM709-6
Developing Resilience and Spiritual Maturity in Cross-Cultural Ministry (EM708)
This unit will enable participants who are engaged in cross-cultural ministry to understand, reflect on, and think through the personal issues and challenges involved in this ministry. Building on these insights, it will explore principles and resources for responding to these issues and challenges in ways that nurture spiritual, emotional, psychological, and physical wellbeing in themselves, their families and their co-workers. For more detailed information on this unit see the ACT overviews: EM708-4 EM708-6
Developing Leaders across Cultures (EM703)
This unit will help participants investigate the theological, philosophical, anthropological, educational and developmental foundations of leadership and leadership development in order to enable participants to engage in the practical challenge of developing leaders in cultures that have different assumptions and worldviews. Models of education and curriculum design for leadership development will also be explored. For more detailed information on this unit see the ACT overviews: EM703-4 EM703-6
Ministry in Culturally Diverse Teams (EM752)
This unit will enable participants to investigate the principles of healthy multicultural teamwork, to reflect on their own and others’ experiences of serving in multicultural teams, and to more effectively work as part of a team composed of people from diverse cultural backgrounds. For more detailed information on this unit see the ACT overviews: EM752-4 EM752-6
Church Planting across Cultures ( EM712)
This unit will enable participants to discover a framework of biblical principles that can help guide the practice of church planting in any cultural context. A variety of models of and approaches to church planting will be evaluated for their appropriateness to specific contexts and cultural settings. Stages of pioneer church planting in cross-cultural contexts and ways to address challenges arising in each stage will be explored. For more detailed information on this unit see the ACT overviews: EM712-4 EM712-6
Effective Christian Education across Cultures (EM706)
This unit will enable participants to research local cultural values and approaches to learning, plan responses, and develop curriculum to empathically serve the educational needs of various receptor cultures in which they are situated. The unit introduces postgraduate students to the current approaches to education across boundaries of culture and worldview difference. Students will critically reflect on various approaches and devise strategies that are appropriate to the design and delivery of educational materials allied to their ministry specialisation in cross-cultural contexts. For more detailed information on this unit see the ACT overviews: EM706-4 EM706-6
Christian Ministry in Islamic Contexts (EM707)
This unit will enable participants to enhance their ability to relate well to Muslims, to communicate the gospel and to help the church grow among them in ways that are biblically faithful and culturally relevant. It will do this by deepening participants’ understanding of key themes in Islam, Islamic attitudes towards Christianity, and approaches to evangelism, discipling and church planting among Muslims. For more detailed information on this unit see the ACT overviews: EM707-4 EM707-6
Transformational Development (EM711)
This unit will explore the Bible’s teaching on the nature of poverty and the way that God’s people are called to love the poor. We will consider models of engagement and assess their appropriateness for a range of contexts. For more detailed information on this unit see the ACT overviews: EM711-4 EM711-6