Prepare your heart
Working in cross-cultural ministry requires godly character. In preparing your heart, devote yourself to prayer. Allow God to change you and uncover areas in your life in which He may want you to grow.
- Live in a personal relationship with Jesus.
- Become involved in a ministry in your church.
- Get to know your own strengths and weaknesses.
- Practice team work and conflict resolution skills.
- Submit to others .
- Bring your relationships in order.
Struggles you face in your home country will only exacerbate after moving to a new culture and when working – as is often the case – as part of a multi-cultural team. Living in a new cultural environment under strenuous circumstances will inevitably affect your marriage and family. This is one reason why it is crucial that you learn how to handle challenges and conflicts early on.
Find someone – a church leader or experienced missionary – who will accompany you on your journey toward becoming a missionary, who will lend a helping hand as well as offer sound advice.
Start collecting information
You should gather all the information you can. Read and learn as much as possible about missions in general and about missionary strategies. This will keep your vision alive and encourage you towards your goal. (Browse a list of books that can help as you prepare for cross-cultural ministry.)
- Missionary biographies
- Working with the poor
- Church planting
- Motivating books on missions
If God has called you to go to a certain country or people group, collect information about the country that God has put on your heart. Find out about missionaries or missions organizations that are already working in this country. You may want to contact them in advance.
Find out information about the geographic and cultural settings, the political situation, religion and people groups of the country as well as entry and departure requirements. You can find good resources on the internet, movies and a variety of books that provide a deeper understanding of the culture. Find out whether there are already missionaries or Christian ministries based in this country?
Even a ministry among internationals in your country can help you to get to know other cultures and mentalities before you leave for the mission field. If feasible, go on a short-term trip to experience another culture first-hand.
Support world missions and missionaries
Start supporting a missionary or a ministry in the country that God has spoken to you about. If you want to become a missionary, it is important to have a heart for world missions in general and to support other missionaries financially.
- Pray for countries, people groups and missionaries.
- Maintain relationships and friendships with missionaries.
- Give towards missions.
Communicate with missionaries on the mission field (inform yourself about their ministry, offer them encouragement, remember to send birthday greetings etc.) and maintain a heart connection with the people in the country.
In many countries, missions work is not possible unless it is connected with practical work (technical, educational or medical). As a result, a completed education or – in some cases – work experience are crucial for many missionary careers.
Attending Bible school is not necessarily required for every kind of missionary work; however, you should consider it (our recommendation is to discuss this with your pastor). We can recommend Focus M School of Missions at the Bible school Glaubenszentrum Bad Gandersheim. Our Globe Candidate School (a two-week missions school) is an intensive training course that addresses some of the real-life challenges of serving on the mission field, but it does not substitute Bible school training.
Learning the national language is essential – and in some cases local languages or dialects. As a beginner, you could attend an evening language course or correspondence course. Once you have arrived on the mission field make sure to dedicate your time in a focused way to the study of the respective language.