Character Development

The Radius curriculum was designed in terms of what long-term, incarnational, cross-cultural church planters need by way of knowledge (know), skills (do) and character (be). This section summarizes what Radius is trying to build into our trainees by way of character…the “be” component.

As long-term missions practitioners and observers of the missions scene, one of our observations is that though “success” on the field is often tied to the learning of the necessary cross-cultural skills, “survival” on the field is usually a factor of character. Do you have what it takes, or can you develop what it takes, to maintain the long-term, nose-to-the-grindstone, come-what-may attitude necessary to survive in a dangerous, difficult, often hostile, stressful, resistant, high-risk part of the world where the remaining Unreached Peoples live? Radius accepts the responsibility to both assess whether you have those qualities (by replicating, to the extent possible, some of the stresses of field living), and to shoring up those qualities where they are lacking.

“Worldview assumptions are taken for granted and hardly ever examined; they are “fundamental givens” with which people think, not what they think about.”
Paul Hiebert

Daily Physical Exercise

Emotional and spiritual stamina are very closely tied to physical stamina. Radius will help you recognize that connection and develop a habit of physical exercise. Recognizing that those who quit easily will not withstand the rigors of cross-cultural living and church planting, we want you to develop a toughness and a willingness to push through difficulty.

Daily Prayer For The Nations

As mentioned in the Character Development section, we pray daily for unreached people groups and for the workers that are doing ministry among them. We hope you’ll take this godly practice with you, whereve the Lord leads!

Single-Mindedness & Focus

You will be tested to see if you have the undistracted focus necessary to learn language and culture, and to see a reproducing church planted in a difficult environment. You will learn to make decisions based on how they contribute to the accomplishing of the end goal, of how they contribute to the Big Picture. You will also learn to adopt a long-haul mentality that continues to press on until the job is done.

Work Ethic

You will be taught the importance of, as well as tested in your ability to, put your nose to the grindstone and do the work that needs to be done in a disciplined way. In learning language and culture there is simply no substitute for disciplined, focused, monotonous, hard work.

Sportsmanship

How do you handle victory? How do you handle defeat? This simple process of the exposure of those character issues and developing the practice of winning well and losing well have huge ramifications for long-term success on the field.

“Thick-Skinned” Living

How sensitive are you? How often do you get your feelings hurt? Can you have the direct, grown-up discussions that are necessary between team members discussing life and death issues (as well as mundane matters) in stressful contexts? Or do your team members always have to put on kid gloves whenever you are part of the discussions? Learning to be thick-skinned is essential not only for your survival, but for the effectiveness of your team.

Stress Preparedness

Radius will help you assess your ability to live in a high-stress environment. You will be asked to live with strategically designed stress that is intended to approximate real-field situations. Some of those will be:

  • Loss of personal “rights” (privacy, space, etc.)
  • Going “off the grid” and allowing very limited “virtual” relationships or on-line interaction
  • Providing few conveniences or luxuries, including no vehicle
  • Requiring bare-bones living conditions
  • Putting you in an environment of 24/7 access to one another’s lives and time

Marriage & Parenting On The Field

Marriages and families are exceptionally vulnerable on the field. The enemy knows that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so he goes after the weakest link in the family to break the whole chain. Though “risks” are real, it is much more often the day-to-day grind that becomes the point of contention that discourages individuals, that divides family focus and that undermines ministry success. This will be addressed by:

  • Defining biblical expectations for our marriages, our families, our parenting, etc.
  • Developing strategies for dealing with the day-to-day grind as an entire family

Singleness On The Field

Close to one third of the global missions force is single, and most of these are women. Some of the concerns for singles and some of the skills you will learn at Radius are:

  • How to “protect” single women and give them proper “coverage” in a team setting
  • The importance of “living above reproach” for singles and how to always maintain that and avoid inappropriate communication or relationships in your cultural setting
  • The importance of “contentment” for singles and how to recognize and deal with the signs of discontent

Literacy Program Development

You will learn how to teach illiterate and marginally literate people to read and write their own language. Having access to God’s Word in written form is a critical element in the survival and growth of a local church.

  • Team decision-making. You will learn to make plans, implement them and carry them to their conclusion as part of a team. This will include working with personality types that significantly differ from yours.
  • Conflict resolution. You will learn biblical strategies for resolving conflict and for making decisions when there are serious disagreements.
  • Shared responsibilities. There will be routine chores assigned to the student body, and those will be managed by dividing up the responsibilities among you.

Spiritual Disciplines

For both your emotional and your spiritual well-being you will be introduced to the practice of some of the classic spiritual disciplines. This is a key component in surviving spiritual hostilities in territory that the enemy thinks is his.