OZARK – Untrained eyes might see a small farm here, but many around the world know this 30-acre plot as a launching pad for the gospel. The School to the Nations, founded by Randy and Maureen Copeland in 2000, is a missionary training facility fully equipped with an African training village, a jungle training village, and a professional ropes course, all designed to help churches prepare teams for the mission field. According to Randy, the ministry exists to equip local churches to take the gospel to the unreached peoples of the world.
“My heartbeat is for local churches,” Copeland said. “We believe that missions should be integrated into the life of the church, from the pulpit to the pew, so that it takes root in the hearts of people.”
Copeland, who also serves as the Missions Mobilization Pastor at Ridgecrest Baptist Church, recognized the need for churches to have hands-on training. Many churches desire to expand their missions ministry, but don’t know how to prepare or where to begin. The School to the Nations provides practical training in environments designed to simulate the mission field.
“We want people to adopt and apply indigenous learning methods. We believe this is a key to effectiveness when on the field,” Copeland said.
“To achieve this, we have two training villages. One simulates an African village, the other a jungle village. These two environments, along with the training we offer, help to provide a cross-cultural experience that will prepare folks for what they can expect to see on the field.”
The School to the Nations also helps churches establish relationships with missionaries on the field. The School partners with many IMB missionaries in places ranging from Africa to East Asia, from Central America to Europe. The School currently engages with over 25 unreached people groups, and they are continuing to make in-roads with more. The School has prepared and sent dozens of groups over the years.
Not only does the School take the gospel to the nations, but it sees the nations come to the campus for its annual International Day. During International Day, which is subsidized by Cooperative Program dollars, the campus welcomes international students from Springfield-area universities, many of whom are freshman. The School invites campus ministries and local churches with strong international ministries to set up booths and introduce themselves to the new students. The event welcomes students to the United States for their studies and helps create valuable relationships.
“This last year, we welcomed 300-400 students from 42 different countries,” Copeland said. “This gives us a great opportunity to make a relational connection. The MBC has supported us financially to sow into this event which has opened so many doors.”
Rick Hedger, the Multiplying Churches Catalyst for the MBC, spoke about the partnership that Missouri Baptists have had with the School to the Nations.
“We have been partnering with School to the Nations for nearly nine years in some aspect,” Hedger said.
This partnership included partial financing of the African tribal village, as well as continued support for the International Day. Hedger sees the work as a vital part of Missouri Baptists continuing to reach the world for Christ.
“The better prepared our teams are when they go to the different countries of the world, the more effective they will be in reaching the unreached of the world. That is what I hope to see accomplished in partnering with them.”
Copeland invites churches to learn more about the services the School to the Nations offers as they follow God’s heart to the nations.
“We can give you the tools. Get in the game and bring the gospel to these unreached people groups,” Copeland encouraged.
If you are interested in contacting Randy, you can email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.