What’s the number one question that your pastor, your family, and your teammates will have about you?
Are you ready?
Especially, are you spiritually ready?
Do you have a reputation as a serious believer? Are you living a “missional” lifestyle now? There’s a lot of conversation going on right now about what a missional life looks like. Basically, it’s living as if you were on the mission field right now. It probably means that you don’t get a new car every couple of years, you don’t go out to eat very often, and you don’t indulge in toys!
Where do you currently serve? If you’re not serving now then a change in geography won’t make a difference. However you serve now, that’s probably what how you’ll serve on the mission field. Does your Church leadership see what you think you see? As a Missions Pastor, I want to send out the best we have. If I see that you’re consistently late when you serve on Sundays, there’s very little chance that I’ll feel comfortable sending you out as a missionary to serve with someone else. Honestly, I’ll be afraid that you’ll make me look bad!
Where will you go?
Being unsure is not running away. It’s OK to be unsure. Don’t be afraid of ending up like Jonah. Jonah knew where God wanted him and ran in the opposite direction. Being completely sure of where you should go is great, but most people aren’t sure, at first. Test driving a few places is not a bad idea! First, I felt called to Argentina, then ended up in the Middle East!
If you ask me, I’ll tell you exactly where to go. You should go to the 10/40 window. First, we know we need to go somewhere, because Jesus told us to go. Second, you might as well go to where the biggest need for the Gospel is, that’s the 10/40 window. Unless God has specifically called you somewhere else, that’s where you should go.
What will you do?
Use your skills for God’s glory
Do something big, something creative, something out of the ordinary. Go start a business in Central Asia, start a non-profit in North Africa, move to Latin America and fund-raise to fight poverty.
Are you good at sports? Sports missionaries are extremely effective in sharing the Gospel. I’ve seen many sports missionaries around, especially in hard to reach or “closed” countries.
Language Teachers and teachers in general have tremendous doors open for them. Every school in the world would like an American educated teacher on their staff. Which brings me to my next point.
A college degree opens tremendous doors. I didn’t have a college degree when I was on the mission field and I paid the price for it. I had to pass up many opportunities because I didn’t have the education for it. College isn’t just about a piece of paper, but that’s for another blog post!
Exposure to other cultures.
Taking language or culture classes at your local college is one of the smartest things you can do. Start meeting and interacting with people from the culture that you want to serve. There are countless immigrants here in the US, count them as a resource, not a burden. Most importantly, go on a short term trip to the area you’re praying about. I know of missionaries who never even visited the area where they serve at, but they’re usually the exception, not the rule.
Issues in support raising.
It’s not fundraising, it’s friendraising! Don’t forget that! Your goal is to build a ministry team, not to build a bank account.
Adopt a child/project/event. Very smart way to raise support, people love projects. People love to support projects, not lifestyles. After all, why should I pay you to do ministry, right? Wrong. We know that supporting missions is Biblical but many just don’t get it. It’s not your job to make them get it, just do whatever you can to recruit them to your ministry team. Setting up projects for people to adopt is a great way to do that.
Monthly church support. You can probably expect 40%-60% of your budget to come from your home church. If they’re offering less than that, be thankful and get over it. Don’t just stick with your home Church, you need to cast a wide net. Contact every church in which you know somebody, ask your pastors to help you. Don’t be afraid to set up meetings with missions pastors/directors. Personally, I meet with every single person who calls/emails me.
Monthly personal/family support.
This is where you’re greatest support system will come from. Your financial needs, prayer requests, logistics requests, and visitors will come from your friends and family before anywhere else. Some of you guys may be blessed enough to have investments to help you financially. Still, you need a support structure. It’s almost not fair for many missionaries, if you’re a people person and a natural networker then you’ll do great. Be careful, it’s easy to spend all your time fundraising rather than doing ministry. Be honest, don’t beg and don’t pretend to be poorer or richer than you are. Just be yourself, share your vision, and be sure to keep in contact with everyone you meet.
Any words of advice?