This is an article from the January - February 1997 issue: Dependency

Students: Duck out of missions by digging into debt! Or, read on for two solutions to avoid debt

Students: Duck out of missions by digging into debt! Or, read on for two solutions to avoid debt

"Attention Urbana exhibitors: Students have complained that mission agencies lose interest in them when they reveal their student debt..."

This announcement came minutes before the delegate deluge on day two of Urbana '96, an especially busy afternoon since many students were fasting during the lunch hour, thus coming to the exhibit halls earlier.

Perhaps these delegates needed to be fasting from student loans.

Why? Because student debt probably deters more people from going to the mission field than any other factor. The repayment of this debt is a deterrent because it:

  1. Forces graduates into higher paying careers (away from missions).
  2. Elongates the time to arrive on the field (the longer it takes, the less likely of arrival).
  3. Increases the amount of financial support to be raised (inadequate support keeps people from the field).

In other words, if a student wants to conspire a legitimate reason for ducking out of missions, they just need to dig into debt.

And Christian colleges are willing co-conspirators with their students. Most of these schools are enrollment- driven, so they are financially dependent on student loans. It's ironic that some of these institutions, advertising themselves as "Great Commission" colleges, help prohibit the very thing they promote.

Completing the missionary task-a church for every people-requires coming to grips with student debt. ,Simply put, we need to help students find ways to avoid debt by reducing educational costs and/or increasing their income. And, if we can better prepare them for missionary service, that would be an added benefit. Here are two solutions:

Solution #1

World Christian Foundations

Finish a degree where you live (and avoid debt)

It's easier to avoid debt by studying where one lives. Going to a residential campus is more expensive, the educational structure limits work options, and the relocation takes a person away from a home church (support base for future missionaries) or place of ministry (for current missionaries).

For the first time in history it's now possible to earn a first class, accredited American B.A. or M.A. degree living anywhere in the world, employing modern "Distance Learning" techniques.

Furthermore, this opportunity utilizes the dramatically new "World Christian Foundations" curriculum, which is comprehensively designed (but without separated "courses") to cover the content of Seminary as well as college or Bible college, and does so with an ever present global, Biblical, mission perspective.

Accredited colleges and seminaries in America are using it already. For more information, contact the USCWM on the outer cover response form or email [email protected]. Or contact one of these regionally accredited Christian colleges who are employing this new curriculum.

M.A. Level: Steve Burris at Pacific Christian College, 2500 Nutwood Ave, Fullerton CA 92631, 1-800-762-1294, ext 620.

B.A. Level: Tim Tomlinson at Northwestern College, 3003 Snelling Ave, St. Paul MN 55113-1598, 1-800-308-5495, or

Duane Christensen at Patten College, 2433 Coolidge Ave, Oakland CA 94601, 510-533-8300, ext 259.

Solution #2

Frontier Service Corps

Finish a degree, experience missions(and avoid debt)

Building on Wycliffe Bible Translators willingness to appoint "field surveyors" who can finish their B.A. degree on the field (using World Christian Foundations), the USCWM will launch FRONTIER SERVICE CORPS (FSC) in Fall 1997. It's designed to be a model for mission agencies.

The FSC allows people to: - fulfill agencies' Year of Bible goal - gather information for the next step - build a Christian world view - work with experienced missionaries - discover one's role in missions - gain cross-cultural experience - learn cutting edge mission strategy


Students spend the morning studying, utilizing the World Christian Foundations program which leads to a B.A. or M.A. degree from an accredited college. WCF is available at one-third to one-half the cost.


Students spend the afternoon serving the frontier mission cause by working in one of the USCWM offices. This staff role, often behind- the-scenes, is devoted to helping mission agencies reach the remaining unreached people groups.

The tuition reduction along with the work being used to defray the costs of room and board on the Center's campus, and the ability to raise some financial support as a USCWM missionary marveously helps to avoid debt.

Contact: Gary Gates at 626-398-2107 or email at [email protected] for more information.


There are no comments for this entry yet.

Leave A Comment

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.