Becoming a missionary is a great way to serve the lord and improve the lives of disadvantaged people in different parts of the world. However, there are a couple of challenges that present themselves in typical missions and so you need to be thoroughly prepared not to give in pressure. As the Bible clearly teaches us in the book of Philippians 4:6-7,
Don’t be anxious for anything, but in everything by prayers and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to the Lord. May the peace of God guard your hearts, souls and minds in Christ Jesus.
Mission-work is a calling
Don’t go for mission trips if you’re not deeply serious about it. Don’t do it because your friends are doing it as well. The work of a missionary requires one to be dedicated to face challenges without giving up. Many people apply to join mission works just because their emotions “push” them to do so. This often happens after listening to moving sermons by dynamic preachers. Unfortunately, emotional feelings can only take you so far through your mission. A true calling by God and dedication are what matter most. As such it is always advisable to seek God’s direction through prayers and fasting before embarking on Christian mission work.
Once you have confirmed that your urge to become a missionary is guided by the lord, the next important step is to prepare for the mission trips. You want to pursue a ministry that meets your expectations. You also need to find out what special training is required to fit into the ministry. You may also want to take some time finding out more about the challenges you are likely to encounter going forward. This is also the ideal time to enroll for mission training to acquire the special skills needed in the ministry of your choice. In general, the main role of this second step is to ensure total preparedness.
Seek the Pastors’ Counsel
The role of a pastor in preparing you for the life of a missionary cannot be overlooked. Therefore one needs to consult their Pastor or the church for assistance on how to get ready for the field work. Your pastor can recommend the right mission agency for you. He may also be in a position to discuss some requirements of the mission agency you’re planning to enroll in. This may require a certain level of Bible knowledge on the type of mission work ahead. Sometimes, it’s quite possible that the pastor advices the candidate not to use a particular mission board due to one reason or another. In fact some pastors could recommend working through the local church instead of an agency. In that cases you need to confirm if the church is ready to handle the financial and tax aspects of your job (as a mission agency would).
Taking the next step
There is a lot of formal preparation that goes into getting for mission work. For instance one needs to have the right training in both basic education and Christian life.
- School training – Most mission agencies will require one to be a college graduate. A Degree in Theology is not mandatory but it definitely is an added advantage. By requiring you to produce your academic documents, the agencies are simply interested in knowing that you have the character to finish advanced training.
- Hands-on training – Someone missions require one to get involved in a variety of roles other than church work, for this reason one may require some specialty training beyond what a Bible school can offer. One may for instance be required to enroll in practical training (medicine, education, construction etc) that is if they are going to be involved in missions that require use of such skills.
- Overcoming language barrier – Most mission activities abroad are done in countries where people don’t speak English. A missionary therefore needs to receive language training to overcome language barriers that may hinder his/her effective on the field level. One however does not have to wait to go to a language class to receive this training. Nowadays there are numerous online tools that can give a head start to language training even before one arrives on the field.
Readying the Spirit
As we told you earlier, deep dedication is the basic requirement for succeeding in mission work. In that regard, you need to get your spirit ready for the task ahead of you.
- Research – Apart from reading the Bible extensively, you need to research on the biographies of some missionaries who served ahead of you. Knowing what challenges they went through and how they overcame them will give you the desire to fight on. Some of the stories you’ll come across will help strengthen your faith as well.
- See for yourself – It is not enough to read stories of past missionaries; you need to visit the field to get a feel of serving as a missionary in a given country. In that case you could arrange for a short missionary trip so you get an opportunity to know how it feels to reside in that particular part of the world. A brief trip will give you an opportunity to interact with the locals, feel the environment and generally get an overview of serving in the field before actually going there as a missionary.
- Join a Christian Community that has like-minded Followers – You need to reach out to like-minded people to succeed in your objective to serve as a missionary. You should get to know other missionaries already serving in other countries and ministries. This will give you an opportunity to build fruitful relationships with people who know all too well how to feels to serve on the field. You may also seek the counsel of veteran missionaries in case you need encouragement.
One Final Thing to Do
Before you pack up your bags ready to leave for your new destination, you need to raise some prayer and financial support. This may require you to visit friends, family, churches and pastors talking to them about your missionary assignment. Remember, becoming a successful missionary is a life-time calling and not an overnight affair as most people think.
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