Real-world experience is a crucial piece for many aspects of life such as the business world, athletics and education.
Ministry is no different, and now one Christian institution has been blessed to provide such an opportunity to its students.
Gateway Seminary in Ontario, California, a graduate-level school attached to the Southern Baptist Convention, received an initial grant of $2 million, the largest single monetary gift and the second largest general gift the school has ever received.
Gateway Seminary President Jeff Iorg made the announcement during Gateway's annual missions conference, operated in partnership with the International Mission Board.
"When I first became Gateway's president almost 20 years ago, one of my dreams was for every student to have an international missions experience while they were enrolled at Gateway," Iorg said.
"God has provided a way to give future missionaries, pastors, youth ministers and worship leaders an invaluable experience on the mission field as a part of their education."
As reported by Gateway Seminary, "IMB President Paul Chitwood was present for the event. He shared results from a research project the IMB conducted with Barna Group on the impact of short-term mission trips. The two factors that most influenced an individual's commitment to the Great Commission were participation in a mission trip and a personal relationship with a missionary. Chitwood said the research indicated these factors lead to a 400% increase in likelihood a person will commit to career missions. Additionally, these factors lead to fourfold increases in lifetime giving to missions and commitment to pray for the nations.
"If you are a student at Gateway, do not pass this up—this will potentially forever change your life," Chitwood said.
"It certainly will deepen your heart for the nations and continue to fashion your heart after God's."
No matter how trying the times are becoming in America and around the world, this does not alter the command Jesus gave to His followers in Matthew 29:19-20 saying:
"'Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen."
This blessing allows for Gateway to continue equipping a new generation of Christians to not only go out into the world and obey Jesus' commission to His followers, but they will be equipped and prepared to deal with the enemy's counterattacks that will seek to dissuade them from the path of Christ.
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James Lasher is Staff Writer for Charisma Media.
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