Why Experiential Learning Is Essential In Missions
“The sun is always shining, it’s just above the clouds sometimes.” This thought struck home after five days of backpacking through miserable, stormy, overcast weather. The life lessons abounded – no matter how stormy or dark things look, the Son of God is still there, even when we can’t see or feel Him.
What is Experiential Learning?
My background and training in guiding wilderness trips has made me a firm believer in the value of experiential learning. One of my favorite examples of life lessons was gained from experiential learning: walking through an experience, and then reflecting on it to gain truth that is applicable in any context. People discover truths and make them their own because they discovered them. Growth and awareness increases as people have a better understanding of who God is, who they are, and how they relate to others in light of that. It has both impacted my life greatly, as well as group after group that I’ve led and with whom I’ve interacted.
Over the years, God has developed a deep desire within me to use experiential learning to mentor and disciple others toward missions. Having previous theories on the need for this and how it should work, God led me to go overseas. I had the privilege of connecting with several missionaries, and we questioned each other often. What causes missionaries to stay on the mission field long-term? What causes them to leave before they intended? Is there a step we are missing?
What causes missionaries to stay on the mission field long-term? What causes them to leave before they intended? Is there a step we are missing?
As I heard answer after answer, both confirming and refining my thoughts, I continued to develop ideas about how experiential learning and missions could be an incredible connection. Missionaries, who had been on the field for years, saw a huge need for millennials to be mentored before joining long-term teams. Experiential learning provided the missing step. In fact, a regional leader of a large sending agency was actively searching for organizations that would provide experiential learning.
Driven by this knowledge and six years of God laying this vision on my heart, I continued searching for places that mentored and discipled through experiential education toward missions. This led me to Cafe 1040, an organization designed to do exactly that. It is a joy to work for a ministry that so clearly meets a need in the missions world.
WRITTEN BY A CAFE 1040 STAFF