Strong Foundations: Teaching Spiritual Practices to Undergraduate Pre-field Missionaries

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In this study I consider how and why developing healthy spiritual practices in pre-field missionaries during their time at Lincoln Christian University benefits them during early enculturation. I argue that spiritual practices have significant benefit in helping with early enculturation stressors and that teaching these practices to undergraduate students helps decrease chances of early attrition.

The data was collected from a focus group of professors who teach intercultural studies and spiritual formation along with interviews with mission agency presidents. A survey of 139 current missionaries was also conducted to examine the role that spiritualpractices have in early enculturation and how they could/should be taught at an undergraduate institution.

In Part I, I develop a basic ontology and foundation for understanding what spiritual practices are and the role that people have in their spiritual growth. This argument goes on to consider how people become proficient at spiritual practices and why the late adolescent phase is a strategic time to teach spiritual practices. Part II is a description of the research methodology and a description of the main findings from the research. The process and rationale behind the research is presented and the main findings are also given. The main findings revolve around a clear need to teach the spiritual practices, the roles that spiritual practices play in early enculturation and educational issues for universities. Part III contains a plan to implement changes at Lincoln Christian University based on the findings from the research. I do a contextual study of Lincoln Christian University and then propose a change initiative to the curricular and co-curricular structures. I also outline the political frame and develop a plan to move the structural changes into reality.

Degree Name

Doctor of Missiology

First Advisor

Elizabeth L Glanville

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Document Type



Youth Religious life United States, Missionaries Religious life, Missionaries Training of


Missions and World Christianity


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