Is the Mission Field For You?
Early in my Christian life I thought I might end up being a foreign missionary.
I was greatly influenced by the ministry of Keith Green and he would say that as long as there were people in this world that had not heard of Jesus once, that we had no business evangelizing people who had already heard more than once.
As I grew in the Lord, I understood that although Keith’s sentiments were heartfelt and had some truth to them, there was more to being a foreign missionary than just the need for people to hear about Jesus.
I support foreign missions and missionary groups.
I believe that we are in the end times and the sooner we spread the gospel to every tribe, tongue and nation the sooner Jesus will return.
Because of that, I wanted to do an article that would both be practical and encourage those of you that are called to be a foreign missionary.
How To Become A Foreign Missionary.
Obviously I cannot tell you how to become a Baptist Missionary or a Methodist Missionary or an Assemblies of God missionary because each denomination is different in their requirements.
Not only that, but each mission field has it’s own special preparation that is needed in order to serve in that area.
There are also non-denominational mission groups that have their own requirements.
So please don’t expect this to be comprehensive list of how to be a missionary but instead use it as a guideline to get your started in your pursuit to serve the Lord overseas.
The Missionary Call
You need to understand that the call to serve Jesus in a foreign field is not as easy or glamorous as it might seem.
You might have heard a dynamic speaker give an impassioned plea for workers in the foreign field, or you might have seen the desperate need of people in an impoverished country and was moved with compassion.
These things are good but they won’t sustain you in the long haul.
You must have a calling on your life by God to serve in a foreign field. It takes a special empowerment by God in order to last.
- You must have an inner desire and even what might be called a need, to serve and be used by God in some capacity.
- You are already seeing spiritual fruit in your life and you are currently being used by God to win souls to Jesus.
- The leadership of your church senses a call of God on your life and are encouraging you to pursue it.
When I was just starting out my Christian life, I had all 3 of these things in my life. It is what led me to start pursuing whether or not I was called to Christian service.
As it turned out, God had different plans for my life but I was willing to go wherever He wanted me to go.
Preparing To Be A Missionary
It takes more than just a call to actually end up being a missionary. There is a time of testing and preparation that happens before you go out on the mission field.
Jesus said more than once that “many are called but few are chosen”.
The time of preparation and testing is the process that weeds out those that think they are called and those that are indeed called.
You will need to get your pastor’s advice concerning your particular denominations requirements for foreign missionaries.
Some require Bible College and seminary training, others do not.
Some use mission organizations that are not directly tied to the denomination. Not all missionary groups require degrees but some do. You will have to find out what their requirements are.
Some churches like the Vineyard send their missionaries out from the local churches themselves.
They either band together with other churches in supporting a missionary or they support them fully from the local church.
They will set up what is the requirements to be sent out from a local church.
Training To Be A Missionary
There is a lot that goes into being a missionary.
You may need to learn a foreign language. You will have to familiarize yourself with the cultural differences.
You might have to obtain a degree in another field of expertise so that the country you will be going to will allow you to come.
All of this is beyond the need to be well versed in the Bible.
There are some organizations like YWAM (youth with a mission) that do a lot of this training on the field. They take raw recruits and turn them into missionaries.
This is the organization that I almost went with early in my life.
Understanding The Realities Of Missionary Life.
Most of us, when we sense the call of God to serve in some capacity, see only the glamour of it. We fail to realize the true realities of what we are taking on.
The same is true for missions work. Most missionaries will tell you that it is not all that glamorous at all.
You need to read the biographies of other missionaries.
Develop relationships with current missionaries.
Maybe take a short term missions trip.
Get your feet wet just a little before making the plunge.
One thing I found out while staying a while in a foreign country is that I am not very tolerant of cultural differences. I tried my best, but in my heart of hearts, I hated that it was different.
You can’t love people if you can’t really love their differences.
That is why God knew that although I was called, He had not enabled me to be a foreign missionary.
Obtaining Financial Support To Be A Missionary
One of the final things that you have to do before you actually become a missionary in a foreign land is to raise financial support.
This assumes you already have the support of your local church, the local leadership, and have many people who are willing to pray for you daily.
Some denominations pay for their foreign missionaries directly. This relieves the missionary of the burden of going around to various churches and soliciting pledges of support. It allows them to focus on the work in the foreign field.
Other denominations believe that if God guides, then God will provide and one of the ways you verify the calling of God on a person’s life is by waiting for God to provide the finances through the pledges by individuals and local churches.
This keeps the missionary connected to their support base.
Either way, you have to be funded as a missionary.
The likelihood that you will be able to support yourself on tithes and offerings from the people you are serving in the foreign country is very small.
Becoming A Missionary Takes Time.
As you can see, becoming a missionary takes time. It is not a calling that can come to fruition in just a matter of days or weeks.
It starts with a call, becomes a test, and only after God prepares the man or woman for the task, does it become a lifestyle.
I truly hope that you will take what you have read, and prayerfully consider it, and if you are feeling the call of God and need to serve Jesus in such a way, that you will go for it with all of your heart!