Adventures In Missions (Texas)
Adventures In Missions (AIM) is a Christian apprentice missions program for college-age young people. The program is a part of Sunset International Bible Institute (SIBI) in Lubbock, Texas. Those accepted into the program spend eight months in studying and training at SIBI before being sent to mission fields around the world for a period of 14 to 22 months.
In October 1973, sixteen young people came to Sunset International Bible Institute, which was called "Sunset School of Preaching" at the time, to be trained in Christian evangelism and mission work. These first students went as a team to Dublin, Ireland for their field service time.
Adventures In Missions operates on a schedule in which one new class of students is accepted and begins training each year. Young people interested in joining the AIM program must apply in advance. Applications are normally accepted starting in January for the class that begins in August of each year.
Students accepted move to Lubbock in August, where they are given an orientation and begin classes at SIBI. In addition to classroom study, the eight months of training in Lubbock also includes mentoring by AIM staff, opportunities for practical application outside of the classroom, weekly experience serving among area congregations, and occasional class trips for recruiting, equipping, and mission evangelism.
Starting about a month after classes begin each year, students are given presentations by visiting missionaries who desire to recruit teams from the class of students. The number of missionaries who recruit from a given class varies from year to year, but is typically between fifteen and twenty. Missionaries on fields both outside of and within the United States recruit from each year's AIM class. Following a time of prayer and reflection, each student is asked to submit his or her preferences about both the fields he or she would like to work on, as well as classmates that he or she would like to work on a team with. AIM staff members gather these preferences together and then spend over a month in prayer and collaboration forming the class into teams for specific mission fields.
In April, after the eight months of classes and training in Lubbock, the students are sent out as teams to their designated mission points around the world. During this field service time, AIM students work with experienced missionaries to spread the message of Christianity, teach children's classes, organize youth activities, serve the church, and work in humanitarian efforts. To fulfill graduation requirements, AIM requires that each student have a minimum stay of 14 months on his or her field, though many students choose to stay longer—up to 22 months or more, depending on their individual preferences.
AIM has trained over 1600 students, over 1000 of whom have been sent to the mission field. To date, AIM has sent teams to a total of 170 mission points (100 mission points in 46 foreign countries and 70 mission points in 29 states). The average number of students accepted per year from 1973 through 2006 is 49, though in the last four years (2003-2006) the average number of students has been 59. The 2006 class began with 62 young adults.
In 2009, former AIM students started the AIM Alumni Association on Facebook. Shortly after, the AIM Alumni Association began weekly blogging as a way to encourage and challenge their peers.