In the 21st Century, LCMS's mission is not done in one specific way (this is not unique to the LCMS). The era of pioneer missions has been replaced by LCMS's missionaries being sent out for a specific term which can be renewed. They are not engaged in church planting that much anymore but pursue other equally important duties. In contrast to past pioneer missionaries, these term limited, career missionaries are involved in raising their own financial support, hence they are called Network Supported Missionaries (NSM). In addition to the term-limited career missionaries, the LCMS Office of International Mission (OIM) also identifies and commissions other short term missionaries (GEO) like teachers, doctors and vicars. Furthermore, congregations are also finding more creative ways to obey Christ's Great Commission overseas by sending their own short term volunteer teams for a short stint as one or two weeks. Thus, at a glance these are the levels of LCMS missionaries' involvement today (though not exhaustive):

  1. Level 1: Term limited career missionaries (NSM)
  2. Level 2: Short term missionaries (GEO) and mission teams that support and serve in single or multiple short term projects
  3. Single congregations short term mission team trips running parallel and separate of LCMS's OIM mission.   

However, in this new paradigm there are many good and many wrong ways of doing mission, just as there were good things and mistakes accompanying pioneer missionaries. This module not only looks at some of the changes in mission and its reasons for making them, it also invites the student to consider a particular mission focus, to take a look at the "official" perspective of our LCMS's mission and finally, to encourage him/her to find his/her personal place in it. 

A common saying says: “If you want to see the world, join the mission”. True, as missionaries we are global travellers, sent to many regions of the world. It's exciting work. And yet, not all people accept missions as an important activity of the church. They question its value. Thus, wherever we go, we are confronted not only with numerous cultural, social, political challenges, but above all with peoples' theological, philosophical and ideological opinions. Some challenges already start back home as we prepare for our journey. We are often asked to explain why we are going and then also challenged to give our Scriptural and theological reasons.  In this module, we will look at some mission trends and perceptions about missions that affect our missions both in North America and around the world, and then see how we can respond to some of them by going to Scripture and our theological authorities.

Just like biology is the study of life, or anthropology the study of humans, so missiology is the study of missions. In this module we shall examine what exactly a missiologist does, what place missiology should have in the theological formation of servants of the church, and how missiology interacts with the mission of God and the church and with a particular context (engaging in a Trialogue). By going through this module you will gain some understanding why missiology exists as a discipline, and that every missionary engages in it. Hopefully, you will also become sensitive for the special place you have been given in the mission of God and an understanding of your particular contribution towards it.

This module is a theological introduction into missions. Particular focus will be given to the missio Dei concept which has become a popular term in missiology. It is important that the concept missio Dei is properly used by providing the right content.

This is the final module of five modules. As we work in foreign places, we face many cultural hurdles. Thus, we need to know more about the cross-cultural implications of serving overseas, who we are, our own ethnicity, and our social and cultural antecedents. Also, communicating the Gospel to others is a translation process where we not only have to learn to speak the language and understand the people’s ways, but especially be able to distinguish between the gospel and the culture, between the universal and the particular, so that we do not over- or under contextualize. Finally, what should a church look like in a particular context, and what strategic principles should guide a partnership between churches so as to avoid paternalism and a one-sided benefactor/receiver relationship.