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OCMC News - Missions Correspondence Course Syllabus
by Fr. Luke Veronis (Posted 9/11/2008)

The Mission Correspondence Course is divided into five sections. In each section, you will write a 4-6 page paper answering the questions outlined below. Remember, the goal is to explore God?s calling in your life and your own vocation. As mature Orthodox Christians, we should all have a solid foundation in our theology, missiology, and historical tradition, which will enhance our witness and service in the world.

Section One: Foundations of Orthodoxy and Missions
  • Understanding Your Journey in Orthodoxy
    1. Write a 2-3 page personal history of your spiritual journey to help the instructor understand from where you are coming.
  • Understanding Foundations of Orthodox Missions. Read Missionary Quotes
    1. The Biblical Foundation of Missions
           - Read Veronis?Biblical Foundations of Missions
    2. The Theological Foundation of Missions
           - Read Archbishop Anastasios? Thy Will Be Done: Missions in the Footsteps of Christ and Purpose and Motivation of Missions (from the book Missions in the Footsteps of Christ)
    3. The Historical Foundation of Missions
           - Read Archbishop Anastasios? Orthodox Mission: Past, Present, Future (from Missions in the Footsteps of Christ)
  • Write 4-6 page paper for Section 1: Foundations of Orthodox Missions by answering the following questions:
Section One Questions
  • Offer a brief overall summary of the various writings, including what impressed you most. Were your eyes opened to anything that seemed unfamiliar? How can understanding this foundation of mission better help you serve as a missionary?
  • How would you summarize an overall theme from the Old and New Testament passages from your readings? What stood out for you in these passages?
  • In your own life, how can you live out the ?Theological Foundations of Missions,? and how can you transmit this theology in a practical manner to the people around you?
  • From the article Orthodox Missions: Past, Present, Future, what are the main methods of missions used throughout the centuries? How can you incorporate these methods in your particular ministry? How do you see your role in continuing this mission tradition in the 21st century?
Section Two: Understanding The Missionary And His Methods
  • Study of Great Orthodox Missionaries of History
    1. Read Missionaries, Monks, Martyrs: Making Disciples of All Nations
  • Reading Missionary Biographies
    1. Read St. Innocent: Apostle to America
  • Write 4-6 page paper on Understanding the Missionary and His Methods by answering the following questions:
Section Two Questions
  • From the book Missionaries, Monks and Martyrs, what are common themes that come out in the missionary methods of these saints?
  • Which of the saints in this book inspired you most? Why?
  • Offer an overview and summary of the biography of St. Innocent. How were your eyes opened by this book, and what positive lessons did you learn?
Section Three Understanding Culture and Gospel
  • Understanding and Respecting Different Cultures and Faiths
    1. Read Facing the World pp. 79-102, 127-154
  • Understanding Anthropology for Missionaries
    1. Read Anthropological Insights for Missionaries, pp.13-28, 61-110, 227-284
  • Learning from Contemporary Missions
    1. Read The Resurrection of the Church of Albania, pp. 29-42, 53-74, 99-128.
  • Understanding the World Reality and our Responsibility as Christians
    1. Read Veronis? Challenges Facing Modern Missions
  • Write 4-6 page paper on Understanding Culture and Gospel by answering the following questions:
Section Three Questions
  • How can these reading help you prepare for cross-cultural ministry?
  • From Facing the World and Anthropological Insights for Missionaries, what did you learn? How would you summarize their main theses for missionaries?
  • From these readings, you learned the importance of constantly evaluating our own ability to adjust in a proper missiological manner to a new culture. How can one better plan on constantly evaluating their own sensitivities to adjusting to a new culture, as well as evaluating how they can avoid being a missionary of one?s own cultural agenda?
  • What inspired you from the chapters on Archbishop Anastasios and Metropolitan John in Resurrection of the Church of Albania?
  • From the article ?Challenges Facing Modern Missions,? why do so few missionaries enter the World A? What responsibility do we have to the ?unreached peoples? of the world?? What responsibility to the world do we have as Americans when we consider the ?economic reality? of the world?
Section Four Joys and Challenges Facing the Missionary
  • What to expect as a missionary
    1. Read Everything in Love in Road to Emmaus
    2. Read Go Forth: Journal of a Missionary
  • Possible Barriers Hindering One?s Entrance into the Field
    1. Family Issues
           - Spouse Agreement
           - Children Issues
           - Extended Family
           - Marriage/Single Dilemma
    2. Misunderstanding by Others
    3. Fear of Danger/Security Issues
    4. Change of One?s Living Standards/Sacrifice of Leaving America
    5. Fundraising/Money Issues
  • Cultural Challenges Once in the Field
    1. Language Learning
    2. Understanding and Respecting the new Culture
  • Theological Challenges
    1. Sharing and Witnesses Your Faith
    2. Living Your Theology
    3. Understanding the Liturgical Cycle of the Church (American vs. other traditional Orthodox ways of doing things)
  • Practical Challenges
    1. Challenge of living a different standard of life
    2. Balancing your ministry and family
    3. Caring for the well-being of yourself and family
  • Spiritual Challenges
    1. Developing and Cultivating Your Spiritual Life
    2. Greatest Challenges For Missionaries
    3. Getting Beyond Scandalous Behavior
  • Mobilizing the Local Church to Become Partners in Your Ministry
    1. Prayer
    2. Fundraising
    3. Partnership
Section Four Questions
  1. What do you perceive as the greatest challenges facing a missionary from the perspective of the home front (America, extended family, fundraising, etc)? How should missionaries plan on dealing with them?
  2. If you would enter the mission field, what do you perceive as the greatest challenge you would face?
Section Five: Project - Research the Land and People You Think You Could Missionize

Write a 7-10 page paper describing a region you could possibly live in and the people you could possibly serve.
  • Describe the Culture and People of this area.
  • What is the history, politics, and economy of your new country?
  • What are the dominant religions of the area? Do you have a working knowledge of these religions, and if not, how can you develop a working knowledge of these religions?
  • What is the past missionary work done there by Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant missionaries?
  • What have been the successes and failures of other Christian missions?
  • How does your mission assignment fit into the mission strategy of the local Church?
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missions@ocmc.org

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Prayer for Missions

God of truth and love: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Hear our prayer for those who do not know You. That they may come to a saving knowledge of the truth, and that Your Name may be praised among all peoples of the world. Sustain, inspire, and enlighten Your servants who bring them the Gospel. Bring fresh vigor to wavering faith; sustain our faith when it is still fragile. Continually renew missionary zeal in ourselves and in the Church, and raise up new missionaries who will follow You to the ends of the world. Make us witnesses to Your goodness full of love, full of strength, and full of faith for Your glory and the salvation of the entire world. Through the prayers of all the missionary saints, Have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
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