As a field of study, missiology focuses on the message and mission of Christian teachings, particularly as it applies to the work of missionaries. It is a multidisciplinary field, incorporating elements of history, geography, theology, and anthropology. It is through this last component that a great deal of understanding can be achieved, both about the purpose and practical role of faith, but also about the impact it has on peoples throughout the world.
Missiological anthropology focuses on human interactions in various societies, and how these interactions relate to the practice and teachings of the Christian faith. Because people relate to one another in a vast array of manners, it is important to consider the various components of these relationships; the result is the creation of such fields as social anthropology and linguistic anthropology. However, when looking at these relationships through the lens of the Christian faith, new understandings can emerge.
Missiological anthropology might consider, for example, the ways that missionaries can help people at risk for any number of social problems, such as starvation or homelessness in war-torn areas or drug-related violence in densely packed urban areas. Missiological anthropology might also consider how missionaries go about addressing these problems, taking into consideration the teachings of the church and the reception of these teachings by those in need. The best of intentions can be lost if those receiving care feel as though their choices are demeaned by those serving them through their Christian mission, for example. Understanding these various factors and how they relate to one another is at the core of missiological anthropology.