FerEsta 99-12-116


A Manual for Programme Developers


Robert W. Ferris, ed.

Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1995, 189 pp.


This manual was prepared under the authorization of the World Evangelical Fellowship Missions Commission as a guide to establishing missionary training centers, particularly in the Two-Thirds world.  I read it from the perspective of developing a training package for ACMC field staff and found it full of helpful principles applicable to a variety of training needs.


Ch. 1. Building consensus on Training Commitments  p. 6 ff.

Six areas to examine assumptions in missionary training:  specific goals, context, structure, the learner, types of training, the ultimate goal (continued growth of the trainee),


Four types of learning (11 ff.):  theory (describing reality), information (content), skills (competence), character qualities (the most fundamental and challenging).


“Trainees typically acquire competence only through repeated practice with expert feedback.”  13


“Training in Christian character must begin with living models.”  13


Ch. 2.  Developing an Outcomes Profile p. 23 ff.

Describes a process for developing a profile of needed qualities.  Fairly complex. 


“Seeing the target is fundamental to hitting it.”  23


“..determine the desired outcomes and then build ‘backwards…”  23


Three areas of training: what the individuals need to KNOW (content), what they ARE (character), and what they CAN DO (skills).  24


Steps in Outcome Profile Workshop (Process):  p. 27 

1.    Orientation to the process. 

2.      Identify the type of missionary to be profiled and create a job description. 

3.      Identify the general areas of character and ministry-skill qualification (typically 8 to 12).  

4.      Identify specific qualities and competencies (stated in terms of observable behaviors). 

5.      Create the profile chart (list skill competencies in sequential order of development).

6.      Review and endorse the profile chart.


Sample Chart for Identifying Qualifications:  29

Should Know   Should be Able To  Should Be

(knowledge)    (skills)                    (character qualities)


“To know” is not the same as “to know how.”  30


For each skill or character area, prioritize the qualifications, mark the minimum required to begin ministry and those to be developed during ministry.  Use these list to make pre-field and in-ministry professional development goals.  39


The profile can be used for evaluation and training both current staff and candidates and for the development of training programs.  “The task is much more complex than it appears at first sight!” 40-41


Ch. 3.  Transforming a Profile into Training Goals


This is best undertaken as a cooperative project using those with training experience, insight and expertise.  43


1. Identify knowledge goals.  2.  Determine who will be responsible for pursuing each of the training goals.  3.  Determine how best to pursue training goals.  44


Develop training goals before proceeding to consider training approaches.  48  For each training goal, determine who will or what organization will accept the responsibility.  49


Six groups that share responsibility for missionary training: 50 ff

The missionary.  The missionary’s home congregation.  Bible schools or seminaries.  Missionary training centers.  The mission agency.  The mission agency on the field in partnership with the receiving church. 


Three approaches to training  53 ff

Formal education – school

Informal education – spontaneous, arising out of life situations.

Nonformal education – intentional, planned, staffed, funded. practical, not organized by grades, often occurs in the field, usually directed toward specific change.


“We must model what we want to produce.”  58


“There also should be planned, on-going training and vision-building activities for staff.”  59


Training may include residential, correspondence, TEE style, long- and short-term.  59


Ch 4. Writing Learning Objectives  65 ff.


Definitions of curriculum.  Several pp. 66-7. 

“Curriculum is the organization of learning activities guided by a teacher with the intent of changing behavior.”  (Pazmino), p. 67   It is an educational plan. 


Three major components of a curriculum: the assumed teaching-learning context, the intended outcomes in the life of the student (the “Profile”), and the intended educational activities.  68


“Training is a science, an art, and a gift.”  “As an art it calls for relational sensitivity, intuition, flexibility in uncertainty, and timing.”  68


Visualize the curriculum planning process as follows:  69

Needs  à  Outcomes or “Profiles”  à  Learning Objectives  à Learning Activities


“Writing [learning] objectives is defining the specific learning steps to bridge the gap between what is and what is not yet.  The statement of an objective answers the question, What does the trainee need to be able to understand (know), to be (character qualifications), or to do (behavior or ministry skill)?  How can the trainee demonstrate that he or she has achieved the learning goals?  Objectives describe a desired state in the trainee.”  73


Instructional objectives are most helpful for lower levels of cognitive learning, but you cannot write specific objectives for every value, behavior or character trait that you want people to develop.  (per Ted Ward).  74-5   These character qualities defy measurement or even definition in behavioral form.  For these, state “faith goals.”  (Plueddemann) 75


Standards for learning objectives:  75

1.      There is no doubt on the part of the trainee about what is required.

2.      Action is the trainee’s, not the trainer’s or anyone else’s.

3.      Performance is unambiguous.  (This is easiest when performance can be measured!)

4.      Clear, precise, action words are used (whenever possible and appropriate).


Ch 5.  Designing Learning Experiences  85 ff.


“The most important things in life and in eternity are not easily measurable….”  Plueddemann  87


Learning proceeds best in community, in life-on-life exposure in familiar, non-threatening settings.  88


“Action is essential to learning.”  “This means that trainees participate in activities – such as role play, discussion, hands-on practice – that help them discover how to be effective in ministry.”  (vs. telling or showing trainees what to do.).  88  “The key to effective instruction is active participation of trainees.”  89


Instructional Planning Sequence:  90ff

1. Review commitments, goals, and objectives, 2. Know your students. 3. Inventory learning resources. 4. Match resources to objectives. 5. Create new resources as needed. 6. Plan unit or lesson. 7. Conduct training. 8. Evaluate.


To know your trainees, assess at application and/or entrance to the training program through review of their experience, transcripts, and testimony.  Assessment by trainers continues throughout the training.  Knowing the learner is important because a. every learner is unique and b. learning is relationally grounded.  92


Make a chart listing in four columns 1. Learning Objectives, 2. Trainee’s Needs, 3. Possible Learning Resources, and 4. Learning Experiences Selected.  Then match learning resources and experiences with objectives. See p. 93-4


See checklist for selecting learning activities, p. 94 ff.


 “Focus on the learner learning rather than on the teacher teaching.”  95


Three-phase lesson model:  100 ff.

Reflect – Begin questions, quotes, stats, 1-page reflection sheets, etc as “warm up” exercises to get the mind going on a topic.

Detect – Help trainees discover new information and meanings for themselves.

Project – Trainees make specific application to their lives from the general kinds of learning gained.  Project how they will apply the learning.  Activities may include buzz groups, brainstorming, Q. and A., discussion, writing action plans, etc.


Evaluation is not assessing trainees, but learning how to be effective in achieving training objectives.  102


Ch 6. Evaluating Training Outcomes  105 ff.


Evaluate training processes, training outcomes, and stewardship of resources.  106


Two types of training outcomes: intended and unintended!  107


Types of evaluation:  tests of knowledge or skills, exhibits (portfolios or products demonstrating trainee skills), direct inquiry (interviews and questionnaires), direct observation.    On-going and periodic.  109-110


Ch. 7.  Starting a Missionary Training Program


“The Great Commission was given to the church.  The task of world evangelization belongs to the church.  Training personnel for the task of world evangelization – missionary training- therefore, also belongs to the church.”  122



If this book interests you, you may also be interested in its companion volume, Preparing to Serve: Training for Cross-Cultural Mission, David Harley, William Carey Library and World Evangelical Fellowship, 1995.