The Third World Missions Association (TWMA), now changed to World Link Missions Association(WLMA) composed of mission agencies from non-Western nations, founded World Link University in 1991 in response to the urgent need in their countries to improve the quality of cross-cultural missionary training. With the rapid growth in the number of missionaries coming from the Third World, the leaders of WLMA have given priority to proper training and preparation of personnel in order to increase effectiveness on the field and to reduce the number of casualties due to a lack of adequate training.

While applauding and cooperating with existing international efforts, the WLMA members cited a number of concerns not adequately addressed by most traditional and Western-dominated training programs:

1. Maintenance of the spiritual dynamics characteristic of many emerging missionary movements.
2. The necessity of perspectives sensitive to Third World leadership in mission.
3. Appropriate curricula which can respond to local needs and demands.
4. High educational standards, yet with freedom for content adaptability to different cultures.
5. Model curricula incorporating wider knowledge and experience, yet with a focus on local cultural issues.
6. A true international partnership in mission which avoids economic or cultural dominance.
7. International and intercultural student and faculty exchanges within a coordinated program.
8. Integration of sound theoretical instruction with field experience and spiritual maturity.
9. Development of educational and administrative expertise among gifted Third World personnel.

Initially, eight mission training centers already in operation, in Africa, Asia and Latin America, "linked" to share information and resources. Current programs at the centers continued, but available resources in the area of intercultural studies and missiology were augmented. Experienced instructors in intercultural communication and missiology are being made available to the centers to act as trainers, to aid i
n staff development, and to consult on the contextualization of resource materials.

World Link affiliated centers become participants in the overall development of the institution through using and contributing to several services:
1. A model intercultural missionary training curriculum consisting of core syllabi with guidelines for contextualization.
2. An international network of intercultural trainers, missiologists and master teachers.
3. Library resources available on microfiche, CD-ROM, and through Internet links.
4. Standards and reviews applied internally for the accreditation of qualified centers and programs.
5. Exchanges of human and material resources, research information, subject or area specialists and field experience.


 

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