Partnership: Matchmaking for Missionary Training

Partnership: Matchmaking for Missionary Training

Written by Mark Morgenstern

Mark is one of our fourteen Mission Advisors focused on assisting the Missio Nexus association with key insights and wisdom on specific topics and areas of interest.  You can learn more about our Mission Advisors and their areas of focus by click here:  Mission Advisors

Almost at the same time yet independently of each other, individuals from the training departments of SEND International and World Team approached me to express interest in developing some professional development training for on-field missionaries on the topic of culture study skills (ethnography). An interesting symmetry was that both agencies had recruited a professor of intercultural studies to serve as subject matter expert for their respective projects. Part of what had elevated the interest for SEND and World Team was a short online course that I had recently launched through my role in the ongoing learning department at Center for Intercultural Training (CIT). Imagine my joy when I could play matchmaker and bring the three of us together for partnership.

Over the last couple of months, our four-person project team has been collaborating, and by the end of the year, we’re hoping to provide a series of four integrated online courses that will unpack a strong introduction to the perspectives, commitments, and skills of doing ethnography well in the context of cross-cultural Gospel ministries. Our team starts with two teachers, one from SEND and one from World Team. They regularly teach at Cedarville and Multnomah, respectively. The next member, also from SEND, brings his skills in project management and adult-learning to the table. And, lastly, I am able to provide online instructional design and unique missionary learner insights into the mix, drawing on my experience in these areas over the past 12 years.

I’m excited about the product we’re producing. We hope that everyday field missionaries from many organizations, not just SEND, World Team, and CIT, will benefit from the online courses. We’ll open the doors as widely as we can!

But I’m also excited about the process. I believe that we’re acting out of good stewardship and a spirit of unity as we work together to add a little piece that will aid in the accomplishment of the Great Commission.

This is not the first time I’ve worked on a collaborative project with SEND International and World Team. In my former job with ReachGlobal, our three organizations collaborated on the production of an online course entitled “Multiply,” which focuses on helping missionaries step up and effectively play roles in helping church multiplication happen. The more I work in partnership with other organizations, the more I want to multiply those experiences for myself!

Missio Nexus is the perfect environment for making the connections that can lead to this kind of partnership. Over the last eight years, I’ve enjoyed dozens of opportunities to learn with and from others, to mutually encourage each other, and to share resources and collaboratively build new ones.

The next project out of the gate is the Missio Nexus Training cohort working together to finalize some next-generation best practices for cross-cultural worker training. In a few weeks, a group of over 30 individuals will be gathering for a project kick-off meeting as a pre-event for the MLC conference in September. I’m looking forward to it. We would love to have you join us!

Mark Morgenstern is one of the newest members of the Missio Nexus Mission Advisor team. He’s passionate about providing training for cross-cultural workers, and in this area, he’s been bringing individuals and organizations together over the last 8 years of his active participation with the Mission Nexus community. Mark is the Senior Director of Grow2Serve ( and is also responsible for developing ongoing learning opportunities for on-field missionaries through his role as the director of CIT Next, Center for Intercultural Training’s ongoing learning department. The Morgenstern family has lived in Minnesota for the last 12 years, after having spent 13 years serving in disciple-making and church-planting in Russia and Ukraine.

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