Sequim Gazette staff
A 15-week study of the Christian missionary field returns to Sequim this January.
Sequim Community Church hosts Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, a Christian education 15-week course from the U.S. Center for World Mission, starting Monday, Jan. 6.
The first event is free with dinner at 5:30 p.m. and the lecture, “The Living God Is a Missionary God” led by Shane Bennett of Colorado afterward.
Each week instructors from California, Oregon and Washington lead sessions on topics like church planting and the history of Christian missions.
In 2011, 60 local people participated from five local churches.
The Rev. Rick Dietzman, minister of adult discipleship at Sequim Community Church who and leads one of the final sessions, said participants told him it gave them the opportunity to see the world differently.
“They found a better appreciation for church history and how to put current events into a better context,” he said.
Perspectives does cost participants but church scholarships are available. The course includes two texts in the cost, “The Perspectives Reader” with articles on mission work worldwide and “The Perspectives Study Guide” a workbook on the reading.
There are three levels of weekly reading — a key reading level of 20 pages a week, certificate level of 40 pages a week, and a theological college credit post or undergraduate three-credit course with an additional cost.
The series is split into four areas — biblical, historical, cultural and strategic.
“Some of it is about the history of missions and it deals with the issues of it, like, how do you approach people from a different culture,” Dietzman said. “There’s a lot of different religions in the world and there’s more than ever a need for cultural understanding.”
Event coordinator Joanne Meinzen said she found the more she put into the more she got out of it.
After attending the 2011 class, Meinzen went on a mission in Slovakia and said it “opened her eyes to God’s vision for missions.”
Dietzman said many of the participants aren’t necessarily missions-bound but want a better understanding while others might want to use their retirement years better to serve others.
One result from the 2011 class, Dietzman said, was that members from a handful of local churches started People of Prayer who meet about once a month and pray for Sequim and the world.
“That’s created a lot of good camaraderie among the churches and is focused around doing good things in the community,” he said.
Perspectives runs weekly on Mondays for about three hours with child care available upon request at registration. Those who attend can attend future courses for free as alumni.
The first Perspectives courses were held in 1974 and now take place worldwide.