be an academic missionary??!!

why THAT”S IT!! If I were asked “what do you want to do?”  That would be it, be an academic missionary!  I think I would love that.  Read on from Dave Black… (posted Sun, Mar 18, 2012)

7:54 AMJohn Stackhouse just posted an excellent piece about the current glut of unemployed PhDs in biblical studies (referring to the “horrifying raw numbers”). The bottom of the bottom line? “If you’ve got what it takes, good colleges and universities will see that and hire you.” I agree. But I would like to take it a step farther. Have you ever considered becoming an academic missionary in a place like China or Lithuania or Hungary or Cambodia? I’m not talking about English teachers. I’m talking about professors of Bible or Old Testament or New Testament. If so, the IICS can help. They have helped placed hundreds of U.S. scholars in international contexts, scholars, in fact, of many different disciplines.

Note: I said “academic missionary.” I personally am a “missionary academic.” The difference is subtle but important. I have a permanent teaching post here in the States but use my vacation time traveling internationally to teach in other countries. I believe that all of us who teach in the field of biblical studies can be a missionary academic. An “academic missionary,” on the other hand, resides permanently abroad and uses his or her classroom as an opportunity to developed relationships with a view toward sharing the love and lordship of Jesus with their students. Whereas we have a glut of teachers here in the States (those “horrifying raw numbers”), teaching posts abroad remain unfilled. My small experience goes to support the claim that once a student begins to become concerned about overseas missions, and starts to pray earnestly for laborers to be thrust forth into the harvest, before long he or she begins asking the Lord, “Is it I?” I believe that all of us who teach in America can do a great deal to encourage this outward look, even in a small way, by spending at least one vacation each year ministering abroad. I believe that this sort of cross-cultural enrichment will strengthen not only the home church but also those believers in foreign lands.

Ph.D. student, will you pray about “moving from here to there” as the Lord guides you? If He says “No” to a teaching post here, then maybe He’s wanting to say “Yes” to one in a foreign nation. The fields are white unto harvest. The laborers are few. God is going to need a lot of help to reach the nations, not least from well-qualified graduates in biblical studies. Maybe that includes you?

So this is definitely something, in my opinion, those who are PhD’s and still looking for work should seriously consider.

3 responses to “be an academic missionary??!!

  1. I enjoyed reading that. I find it interesting that in days of old, many pastors, who didn’t have a formal education, would be considered to have the equivalent knowledge of a Phd today.

      • A friend and previous pastor is the principal of a Bible college in Nigeria. This is his third missionary stint there and he loves it.

        Another friend is in the outback of Australia and translated the Bible into the local Aboriginal language. I love the concept of missionary academics.

        I don’t consider myself an academic, though I enjoy studying. In many ways though, I have immersed myself into another subculture as part of incarnational ministry, and intend to continue to do so, no matter how far my studies take me.

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