Training and support for missionaries learning languages

Catherine Bow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cross-cultural missionaries face huge challenges when beginning work in a new context. The need to learn a new language is a crucial part of understanding the people and culture and as a key to ministry. However, language learning is also one of the most difficult and challenging features of a missionary’s activity. Because of this combination of importance and difficulty, it is crucial that missionaries be trained and supported in learning a new language. Such training needs to be focused on language as a tool for building relationships, rather than academic activity.

This paper presents two programs which provide training and support for cross-cultural missionaries in new language contexts, either at home or abroad. The first is a pre-field preparation course for language learning (MILL) which aims to equip learners with the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to successfully learn their target language. The second is a program of ongoing support for missionaries learning language in their first years on the field. This program offers significant potential to both agencies and missionaries as a means of aiding retention and effectiveness for on-field workers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-82
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Journal of Mission Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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