As part of our vision to see churches deeply engaged in cross-cultural mission, CMS offers apprenticeships to train and mentor Australian Christians in cross-cultural ministry.
Mentac is currently running in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, through CMS NSW & ACT, CMS Victoria, and CMS QNNSW. Mentac seeks to help people explore whether to continue on the path to long-term cross-cultural ministry through one-on-one mentoring and weekly meetings to share, pray and learn. Some ‘Mentacers’ go overseas to study language and culture for a few years, and be involved in ministry there.
R, a former CMS missionary and one of the program coordinators in Victoria, describes Mentac as an “active apprenticeship program, where trainees learn cross-cultural ministry through doing it”. Trainees in Victoria are reaching out to neighbours of other faith backgrounds, students on campuses, or migrant and refugee populations through local churches.
CMS QNNSW has also started to do the groundwork to offer Mentac apprenticeships. Richard Shumack, who has extensive experience in ministry among Muslims in Australia, is working with the branch to help train and mentor churches and individuals involved in outreach to Muslims. This year he ran a series of coaching sessions for people already involved in ministry to Muslims. About 20 people attended, including some students from Queensland Theological College. They shared about their ministries, discussed strategies and issues, and prayed for each other. From these humble beginnings, we hope to see people equipped for long-term cross-cultural ministry and reaching out locally to people from other cultures.
CMS is seeking to work with churches to see this ministry continue to grow. We are currently working on offering training and mentoring for those interested in ministry to Buddhist as well as Muslim people. We are also developing plans to offer Mentac apprenticeships overseas, such as in Indonesia, where we are hoping to start a Mentac program that combines language and culture learning whilst exploring existing Muslim outreach ministries.