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4 Steps to Becoming
a Missionary

Once a follower of Christ seriously engages with the topic of the Great Commission, the question may quickly arise,

“How can I get involved?”

Have you ever asked yourself that same question? Perhaps your gifts and personal strengths seem at odds those of the “classic  missionary” – yet you know you want to serve God in another country, ministering to people of another culture. Perhaps God has given you a burden for a particular people group, and you’ve found yourself asking,

“How do I Become a Missionary?”

We’ve put together some introductory pointers on what to consider if you’re thinking about investing your life on the mission field.

Enjoy the read and let us know where your plans take you!

Step 1: Calling

Step 2: Preparation

Step 3: Friend Raising

Step 4: Consultation

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Step 1:

Know your calling!

While most professions can be chosen for a host of personal reasons, such as tastes and preferences, good salary prospects, or travel opportunities, becoming a missionary requires a “vocation” or calling.

It is vital to discern and respond to God’s calling!

In order to discern God’s calling, it is necessary to spend time with God in daily prayer and Bible study, in fellowship and working with other Christians, as well as in talking to your pastor or youth leader. It is important to decide whether what you’re interested in is primarily long- or short-term missions. (For short-term projects lasting from several weeks to a year, you’d be working in a supportive capacity for an existing ministry.)

How God calls

God can speak to you at any time, in any place, and through any means He chooses! God calls people into missions in different ways. In some cases a person receives a clear, one-time calling. Often, however, a ministry calling is more of a process.

Biographies of missionaries often give inspiring accounts of individual missionary callings. Some examples are the gripping journey of the China missionary Gladys Aylward, the writings of the evangelist and orphanage director Georg Müller, or the fascinating story of the theologian and missionary pioneer Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf. There are many other accounts – such as books written by Loren Cunningham  or the narratives of contemporary Christian aid workers – which show what a missionary calling might look like today…

Consider this: When God speaks, he makes no mistakes! Don’t ever think of yourself as “too young” or “too old” – make a decision to answer God’s call!

Speak to your pastor

If you believe God is calling you to missions, speak to your pastor.

As a missionary’s sending church is generally the home church, it is important that your church be involved in the process of your preparing for the mission field from the very beginning.

The length of time between receiving God’s call and being sent out as a missionary can vary. You should make good use of this time!

If you’d like to read accounts written by missionaries who received a personal call to missions, you can browse testimonies by Globe missionaries here!

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Step 2:

Get ready!

Good preparation is vital. In order to gear up for the tasks and challenges of missionary life, it is important that you begin early in seriously tackling different aspects in your personal walk with God that need to be addressed.

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.

Seek training

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.

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Step 3:

Build your support base!

If you know that you are called to world missions  and have perhaps already begun preparing for cross-cultural ministry, you need to consider how your ministry will be supported with prayer and finances. Before packing up and leaving your home country to take up residence abroad, you need to establish a financial support base as well as find trusted prayer partners who are willing to stand with you.

As you prepare to leave for the field, it is important that you have friends and a spiritual family at your side, people you trust to share in the joys and difficulties of your ministry abroad, who will pray for you and your family and commit to supporting you financially.

Allow your supporters to be part of what God is doing through you on the field. Inform your sending church about the steps you are taking even before you set out. Let people know that their prayers are a valuable investment both in your life and in the lives of the people you want to serve on the mission field.

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Step 4:

Seek advice and guidance!

Find the right organization – or missions agency – that will help you be prepared in all practical and official-administrative matters.

With regard to many practical details, a professional team can make your transition to the mission field a lot smoother than if you set out on your own. As you prepare for departure, a missions agency can aid sending churches on the organizational front so that churches can focus on the actual  task of sending out missionaries.

Missions agencies are invaluable supporters of cross-cultural ministries. They offer a network with access to experience, knowledge and contacts you would otherwise have to accumulate yourself . In addition, the supply a legal framework for your ministry and take care of a number of administrative tasks for you.

Our team at Globe Mission is happy to answer any questions you might have regarding the specific tasks and functions of a missions agency.

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