So you feel called to missions work? That’s amazing! The world is in desperate need of people willing to bring the gospel to the unreached. But what does that look like? Where do you begin? How does one go about becoming a missionary?
First of all, it’s important to note that there are many avenues to being a missionary. If you gathered a handful of missionaries and asked about their pathways to mission work, you would hear a number of inspiring stories.
If your church is part of a denomination or affiliation, that’s one of the best places to start. Most denominations have a pathway for missions and they’d be more than happy to help you find the right track. If you’re not part of a denomination, that’s OK, too. Here are some tips to help you blaze that trail.
1. Pray for guidance and wisdom
It all starts with prayer. If you feel called to pursue missions as a vocation, staying connected to the Lord is a must. Feeling the Holy Spirit’s guidance and empowerment will be critical to you on the mission field, so you want to forge strong spiritual disciplines early and become reliant upon God throughout the process.
It’s also helpful to encourage others to pray for you, too!
2. Get as much experience as possible
There’s no substitute for real-life experience, and there are plenty of opportunities for someone interested in global missions to gain first-hand knowledge.
Short-term missions are a great way to get your feet wet. It’s a good way to familiarize yourself with different kinds of mission work, and a helpful way to get to know people from various organizations and churches who are invested in the Great Commission.
Internships are another way to build up experience. Internships are a strong middle ground between actually working as a missionary and serving on a short-term mission. You typically develop more specific leadership, ministry and administrative skills than you would with a short-term trip, and they can even lead to opportunities for full-time mission work.
Check out Jesus Film Project’s internship opportunities.
3. Check out missionary training programs
While there are many people on the mission field who have bypassed missionary training schools and programs, it can still be a vital way to learn about and experience missions, network with other missionaries and sending organizations, and develop vital skills.
You might want to check out the Christian resources and training offered by these organizations:
- International Mission Board (IMB)
- Youth With a Mission (YWAM)
- Global Frontier Missions
- Ethnos 360 Bible Institute
What if you can’t physically go?
Maybe you have a passion for missions but for some reason, you can’t physically go. Don’t let your limitations impact your ability to serve Jesus in the areas where He has called you. There are still many ways you can help fulfill the Great Commission. Warren and Brenda Pfohl learned that first hand.