Gaining Perspective on Missions

  • December 8, 2016

“When I was a senior in college I took a class called Perspectives, and I had no idea what I was signing myself up for. I took it on the recommendation of a friend,” said Phoebe Thomas. “I went home after [the first] class, and it was like I was reading the Bible for the first time. I had never seen God’s hand throughout all of Scripture in that way.”

Over 15 weeks, God taught Phoebe three life-altering things: His heart is for all nations to know and worship him. He uses his people to accomplish his purposes. “And the last thing that I learned was that I have a role to play in that,” she said.

The Perspectives course encourages followers of Christ to “get threaded into the biggest story of all time”—the story of God’s heart and his purposes. Whatever your current age or walk of life, you’ll discover you have a part to play in God’s unfolding story of drawing people to himself — whether in full-time missions work with an organization like Wycliffe USA, or by serving the Lord within your current or future occupation.

With classes held throughout the U.S. and overseas, Perspectives offers four levels of participation—key reading, certificate, undergraduate credit or master’s credit. Each requires progressively more work and time commitment. “It costs, but it’s worth it,” said Ed Brye, Wycliffe USA Perspectives team leader. “You’ll be glad you did this.”

Man speaking to a class

Perspectives is designed around four themes (or “perspectives”) that highlight God’s purposes during the 15-week semester:

  • Biblical: The story of God unfolds throughout Scripture — from beginning to end — focused on the same purpose, to draw people from every people group and nation into worship.
  • Historical: Down through the centuries, God’s people have participated in fulfilling his purpose by taking the message of Jesus to those who have not yet heard.
  • Cultural: God works within diverse cultures to prepare people to hear his truth and, through culturally sensitive missionaries, is building his church in every people group.
  • Strategic: Opportunities exist for each of us to use our unique giftedness in fulfillment of the Great Commission.

Current and former Wycliffe personnel serve as instructors at many Perspectives course locations. “Our founder, William Cameron Townsend, was a pioneer of the current Protestant missions era,” said Ed Brye, “with the focus on Bibleless people, on translating the Scriptures to ensure that every person can hear the Word of God in his or her language. This area is Wycliffe’s sweet spot.”

Wycliffe USA offers short- and long-term opportunities, both language-specific (linguistics, translation, literacy, survey) and “support” (teaching, IT, management/administration, etc.), throughout the whole world, that enable individuals to live out their faith through using their skills and interests for God’s kingdom.

Perspectives is so valuable for people considering serving with Wycliffe that those who complete the course are offered a $100 discount off the Total It Up experience, which helps prepare participants for service with the organization.

Man teaching a group of people
Linguist and Bible translator Mike Cahill interacts with a speaker whose language is unknown to him during the cultural lesson of the Dallas/Ft. Worth Perspectives class.

“This course totally captured my imagination and totally changed my worldview,” said Sarah, who is now doing language survey with Wycliffe USA. “I started looking into opportunities to volunteer to work overseas in ways that really connected with me. Many of these opportunities were missing the element of bringing God’s Good News to those who had never heard it. Then, I remembered a Wycliffe brochure.”

Join the 130,000 people who have already taken a Perspectives course and discover God’s perspectives on his purpose and your own. Register for a spring Perspectives course in your area today.