VIC Branch


Why cross-cultural training might be for you

This is an excerpt from a talk given by Emma Payne, Mission Engagement Manager at CMS Victoria, at SUTS 2018.


For a while now, I’ve been considering vocational ministry.

But not really knowing what that looked like.

I’ve always had a deep conviction that life is better with Jesus. Not easier, not simpler, but better. And I’ve always wanted to share this good news with people around me.

So I’ve led on beach missions, and thought about how to share the gospel with people who holiday in caravan parks, and practised each summer.

I’ve been part of campus ministry groups, and thought about how to share the gospel with uni students in residential halls, and practised each pub night.

And I’ve done a church planting internship in England on a housing estate, and thought about how to share the gospel with working class British people, and practised each boxing circuit.

All of my experience of sharing the gospel was primarily with people who looked like me, and had a similar story to mine. Sheffield was the first real time I had to consider how to share the good news of Jesus into a culture that was not my own.

And then I moved back to Australia, and had to consider what God might be calling me to next.

I think I do want to be a missionary. (Hi Mum, if that’s the first time you’re hearing that!!)

I have this dream about a hostel… but I won’t bore you with that now.

MENTAC, for me, was the obvious next step.

I’m convicted that people of all cultures and backgrounds need to hear about Jesus.

I want to be someone who can cross barriers and cultures for the sake of the gospel. I’m not very good at it. But I’m willing to learn.

MENTAC is our CMS traineeship – it stands for Mentoring Across Cultures. There are three bits to it:

(1) You get a mentor. Someone who’s been there before you, who’s wiser than you are, who can help you reflect on the ministry you’re involved in, and help you grow in both your love of Jesus and your ability to communicate that to the people around you.

(2) You get some training. We meet regularly as a group throughout the year. We share a meal together (I cook, and it’s delicious), and then hit up a topic like hospitality in honour-shame cultures, or Bible storytelling.

(3) You’re placed in a cross-cultural ministry context. Maybe you come already having friends from other cultures, or maybe you’re formally involved in a cross-cultural ministry with your church or uni group. Or we have placement opportunities where we can help you find somewhere to get involved. There’s lots going on around Melbourne!

MENTAC has been the highlight of 2017 for me (that and Inverloch SUFM!).

So if you would like to find out more, please contact me at CMS.

I still don’t know where God is calling me to, or what that might look like. But MENTAC has been instrumental in helping me think, pray, practise and learn about cross-cultural ministry.

So, is long-term, cross-cultural gospel work for you? Maybe it is. Maybe you won’t know until you try it. Maybe you should dip your toe in the water. Maybe you should try MENTAC!


Emma Payne is the Mission Engagement Manager at CMS Victoria, where she takes care of events, cross-cultural training and volunteers. If you’d like to learn more about MENTAC, please contact Emma at CMS Victoria: