You have sensed the Lord’s leading in your life to become a missionary and believe that BMW may be the right partner for you. Naturally, you have questions about how to prepare yourself (and your family) for full-time ministry. If you’re like most applicants, you’re probably overwhelmed and wonder just what the next steps on the path to your field might be. At BMW, we’ve been helping people such as you for over a quarter of a century become equipped to serve the Lord as a church-planting missionary.
At BMW, we use the “umbrella” term of Candidate School to describe several phases of the equipping process. More than a series of classes, the process we use is like a series of stepping stones where each step in the path to becoming equipped has been carefully designed to build upon the previous one to provide you with the skills, knowledge, and experience that will be most useful in your ministry. There are six steps as described in the rest of this article.
- Application and Initial Assessment is an evaluation that will be made about your testimony, call by God, educational background, and recommendations by your pastor. This information provides a baseline on which the next steps for equipping build upon.
- Candidate Orientation (CO) is a two-week seminar to acquaint you with BMW, acquaint us with you (your calling and giftedness), and to prepare you for raising your prayer and financial support. Assessment of current skills and abilities relative to your chosen field will be done also. You will be interviewed by the BMW leadership who will make a recommendation to the Board of Directors on your application to become a part of the BMW family. If there is mutual agreement for you to join BMW, you will advance to the next phase as a missionary appointee.
- Pre-Field Development consists of a series of reading and study assignments to prepare you for attending Field Preparation Seminar. Topics relate specifically to church planting, language acquisition, and adapting to a new host culture. Any addtional learning rquirements identified during CO will be included.
- REL8! This is a one week workshop taken one year after CO to teach appointees how to relate to people in a new culture, using a new language, and with different worldview beliefs. It consists of 5 days of action-learning activities in cultural adapation, language acquisition, and worldview-relevant evangelism.
- Field Preparation Seminar (FPS) is a two-week seminar attended by those within one year of leaving for their field. Topics studied during the Pre-Field Development phase are discussed in detail with application on church planting, teamwork with their colleagues, and other topics related to starting a church planting ministry. All sessions are taught by veteran missionaries.
- Linguistic Preparation is for those who will need to learn a new language. There is a variety of options from attending a school or obtaining a local tutor that will be selected based upon your chosen field.
- On-Field Orientation Plan (OOP) is a one-year plan customized for your particular field and is focused on getting you acquainted with living in your new host country.
As you take each step along the path to the field, you will not be alone. Your sending pastor, Area Director, and Director of Mobilization will be your shepherds as you navigate each step in faith.