What if there’s something in your heart that nudges you toward missions?
How do you know if God is calling you? Where do you start?
1) Get involved in your local church. Your church is a wonderful place to volunteer and try out different serving opportunities. You may find that others can confirm where you are gifted or what aspects of ministry are more difficult for you. You will also have the opportunity to work with different types of people and grow your relational skills. Here, too, is where you may find your support – those who will challenge you, pray for you and cheer you on.
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The Ultimate Preparation Checklist for a Life in Missions
2) Reach out to a mentor. Likely, you know someone who is a missionary now or who was a missionary recently. Take some time to ask a mentor some of the questions you might have. Perhaps your Pastor is the one you’d like to sit and talk with about your faith and your new steps into missions. Be honest about why you feel nudged by God to go into missions and what concerns or worries you might have.
3) Find your fit. While it may be true that you simply want to tell people about Jesus in a different context, it’s important to realize that mission work can be hard. You are most often in a country with a culture and language completely unfamiliar to you. Take some time to find out:
- what type of ministry would you like to be involved in?
- where do you think your country of landing might be?
- how long do you think you would be able to serve?
The truth is you always take yourself with you wherever you go. Recognize that you will bring both your weaknesses and strengths with you. [click here to use our search criteria] Who you are and how God has already pointed your heart will affect what you may choose to do, and where you may choose to go.
4) Fill out an application. Before you head overseas, you’ll need to apply to a sending organization. There are many different agencies to choose from. You will likely want to take some time before God in prayer. Journal why you believe God has nudged you to take this step and what you discovered about yourself and your faith as you volunteered at church and researched your fit. Then, you’re ready to fill out your application.
5) Complete the interview process. Once you have been accepted by an agency, you will likely be invited for an interview and/or a training program. Bring your journals and reference letters to your interview. Be ready for questions about finances, personal relationships, health and faith. A background check will likely also be requested. As part of your preparation process, you may be required to volunteer in a cross-cultural serving opportunity or take some Bible classes. It may surprise you how God uses these as part of your journey.
6) Develop healthy habits before you go. Find some time for exercise. Choose vegetables and fruit instead of junk food or sweets. Get into a good sleeping pattern. Check into any immunizations you might need for your new host country. Your physical health will affect you so start these habits now. Don’t assume you will automatically begin healthy habits in your new place of residence.
7) There’s no such thing as a big enough prayer base. Find people that you KNOW will consistently pray for you. What you know and what you do are nothing unless God is in it. Prayer is powerful and effective – this is NOT a small portion of your preparation. Grow your prayer base and update them frequently.
8) Build financial support. Clear any debt that you might have. If you have student loans, you could look into deferment options. You may also want to see if a friend or relative might be willing to pay the interest for you or give you a loan so you can pay them back without interest. Your sending agency will have direction in terms of raising finances. Realize that this is not a bad thing. Every ‘sent person’ needs to, by definition, have a ‘sending person’. There are those who will delight in being the ‘sending people’ for you.
9) Pack light. Start early and find out what others in your host country recommend that you bring. For example: what medications might you need that aren’t available in your host country? But, in general, don’t try to take your home country with you – instead look for opportunities to use items that are available in your new country. Quick tip: Different countries have different outlets and different amperages. You may need to purchase some adapters.
10) Find your fun friends. Once you arrive in country, realize that learning the language, sharing your faith, and doing the work you’re assigned to are important. But ALSO important is finding fun friends from your new country. Go have coffee. Go to the gym. Go on walks. Go to work. Go into homes. Each of these ‘Go’s’ will help fulfill your call to ‘Go and make disciples.’