Pathways » IMB is a cooperative equipping cohort facilitated by churches in the Union Baptist Association in partnership with the International Mission Board (IMB). Our hope is to streamline the process of onboarding new missionaries and simplify the application process for those wanting to go. The IMB has worked hard with our association to create a process that both meets their requirements and allows us the freedom to design a system that meets the unique needs of our churches.
The goal of this cohort is twofold. By combining a robust equipping process for missionary preparation with guided oversight in completing the IMB application, cohort members will both receive necessary training in order to succeed and the missionary task and have accomplished all the steps necessary for full application to the IMB. In other words, when someone completes this cohort, our hope is that they are both a well-trained missionary and have a completed application packet ready for trustee approval with the IMB.
Equipped to be a Missionary
Missionary sending starts inside the local church. Instead of looking outside of our churches for people to go on our behalf, we want UBA churches to raise up missionaries right from their pews. This is how we multiply gospel laborers, by identifying our own members to send to the nations. Pathways » IMB will provide a path for your church members from pew to plane in the missionary journey.
Character, Calling, and Competencies
Cross-cultural disciple-making is a challenging task, and it requires a clear sense of calling, a character that is above reproach, and a specific set of competencies in order to engage in gospel witness across culture and worldview. Over the course of an intense eight months, this cohort will work to develop these three characteristics in the life of the potential sent out one.
Equipping that transforms a person requires more than a book study or a classroom lecture. Transformation engages the head, heart, and hands. Participants will be engaged in both classroom time and cross-cultural missions locally. Cohort members will work together to implement cross-cultural disciple-making among the many unreached peoples here in Houston. Furthermore, students will develop their own sending support network in their local church to serve as an advocacy and support team for them while they serve overseas.
The cohort will focus equipping on the core missionary task as outlined by the IMB in their Foundations document. You can read more about cohort content and resources here: Pathways » IMB Instructional Guide.
Applied to the IMB
The International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention is one of the largest missions sending agencies in the world. For more than a 175 years, the IMB has worked with Baptist churches across the United States and Canada to send thousands of missionaries and families to the nations for the spread of the gospel. Over the course of their tenure, the IMB has developed a robust assessment and application process for the good of the missionary and the wise stewardship of cooperative resources.
The application process considers each of the above mentioned qualifications: calling, character, and competencies. In addition to these qualifications, the application process examines physical, mental, and emotional health of the potential sent out one. The application process is extensive, and it can take over a year to complete. However, by participating in a Pathways » IMB cohort, a potential missionary from your church can start the process of application alongside their equipping, streamlining the process and ensuring a completed application process. By the end of the cohort, a participant who is applying for the IMB will have completed all of the necessary application steps in order to receive trustee approval for being commissioned through the IMB to the nations.
If you have additional questions concerning the Pathways » IMB cohorts, application to the IMB through this model, or how you or your church can participate in this initiative, you can find answers to those questions on the Pathways » IMB FAQs page.