Sending and Training
Who’s sending you?
Most Churches are more than pleased to send out missionaries. However, most will still want you to partner with a missions organization. Talk to your Missions Pastor/Director! Sending out a missionary is a costly and time consuming endeavor. There are few churches uniquely equipped and called to fully support missionaries. Most Churches will require some kind of training before being comfortable enough to send you out. This training could be done in house or they may accept training received at seminaries, Bible colleges, or missions organizations. Most Churches will also require some kind of Biblical academic component. Even if you happen to be at one of those uniquely equipped churches, it does not mean that they will fully financially support you. You will still need to build a broad base of financial, emotional, and logistical support, among many other types of support!
What if your Pastor is refusing to send you?
This is a really difficult situation. You have the responsibility to submit to the authority placed over you by God, but at the same time you must obey God. There are many people that I would love to send out as a missionary, and many that I wouldn’t. It has more to do with how serious they take ministry and their walk with the Lord than with anything else. If your Pastor initially refuses, win him over. Serve in any capacity needed for as long as is needed. At the end of the day, if you’re not significantly serving at home, a change in geography won’t change a thing.
There are many good missions agencies around like Shep Staff, YWAM, Frontiers, etc. Some of them are purely administrative and some are more all inclusive. Meaning that the administrative ones will only accept and process payments on your behalf (for a charge, of course) and the others will provide training, pastoral support, and they will even send you somewhere and hook you up with a team. Bible college or seminary is usually not needed although it’s always welcomed!
Personally, I believe a full service missions agency is the way to go for most people. Working within the structure of a team provides accountability and support, two things that you can’t get enough of on the mission field.
However, there are cons to a missions agency. There are controls that they sometimes set, there can be difficulty in dealing with people from other church backgrounds, and the fees they take to process your financial support.
Being an independent missionary is hardly ever a good idea, even the Apostle Paul had the Church at Antioch supporting him! I know many who have gone this route, most don’t last very long. With the exception of two missionaries that I know, independent missionaries often don’t do much and find themselves coming home in shame!
Some people try to do missions through an NGO. NGOs are Non-Governmental Organization. These can be large ones like World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse, or much small, local ones. I think this is a great way to go, they provide training, support, and funds. Especially if you work for a Christian NGO, you can serve the Lord, preach the Gospel, and advance the Kingdom without having to think about putting together a team, fundraising, or logistical support. However there’s one huge caveat, you’ll be on their agenda. You will be an employee of that organization and be subject to their wishes! For example, if you feel called to Sudan, you can work at an NGO there, but if they shut down operations there, you’re welcomed to move, or to quit. Frequently, there are high academic requirements for going this route and highly technical skills needed. Bible college and seminary won’t be enough.
If God has called you to be a missionary, and you’re currently not serving at your home church, I would question your calling. Therefore, remove all doubt by serving your church with everything you’ve got! Wholly submit yourself to your pastors and you’ll get the go ahead from them. As far as sending organizations, a combination of a sending church and a missions organization is the best way to go.
Which missions organizations do you have experience in?