Editor’s note: Go. Serve. Love knows the decision and process for becoming a missionary can very quickly become complicated–even overwhelming. It’s why we’re thrilled to partner with the brand-new Mission App, a 15-20 minute application sent for you to mission agencies who match your chosen criteria!
We’re excited to welcome the Mission App today as they hand you their ultimate preparation checklist for becoming a missionary. Drumroll, please.
One more thing: becoming a missionary is a continual process of being shaped. These are essential areas in which to continue growing even, and especially, once on the field.
Use these to increase self-awareness, not as a signal you’ve arrived.
Read: If you’re checking off these boxes and considering them “done!”–you’re missing the idea. Each of these ideas is a touchstone to highlight areas of strength, weakness–and continued necessary growth either way.
Becoming a Missionary: Questions to consider as you prepare!
We understand that becoming a missionary may seem to be a huge, scary unknown. What if there’s something you haven’t considered… and it’s important?
This Ultimate Checklist is meant to help you think through the questions that matter in becoming a missionary.
Don’t worry – these things will never be checked off as ‘completely accomplished’ for anyone. We just hope you will be encouraged as you see how far God has already brought you.
You might be further along toward becoming a missionary than you think!
And maybe we’ll remind you of something you wish you’d remembered.
Abiding with Jesus – Am I …
- growing since I first met Jesus? Jot down ways God continues to change you.
- feeding myself through study of God’s Word? Write highlights of what God has been impressing upon you in the past month from your time in his Word.
- developing my prayer life? – Jot down how you’ve seen God interact with your prayers this week.
Character / Personal Growth – Am I…
- demonstrating fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22)? List a few ways you’ve seen this fruit in you this week.
- quick to repent? List one thing you’ve repented of this week.
- quick to forgive? Name one thing God’s given you grace to forgive this week.
- full of integrity? Are your external and internal lives congruent?
- living in humility? Name recent times you’ve God’s strength through your weakness.
- learning how to handle conflict well? List one way you hope to grow in your handling of conflict.
- learning how to handle failure? Name a failure Jesus has brought you through this month.
Family – Do I…
- have a healthy marriage (if applicable)? Ask your spouse, your kids, your godly close friends what you do well and what you need to learn.
- need to consider my kids’ readiness to go? Talk with them about the loss of current friends, the making of new ones, & the changing of circumstances (no Wi-Fi maybe?).
- need to consider responsibilities like adult kids or aging parents? Jot down a prayer asking God for wisdom if this applies to you.
- understand schooling options for my kids? Talk through if you and your kids are ready for the possibility of boarding school or homeschooling.
Relationship with others – What…
- characterizes your relationships with those you work with or live near? Write down positive and negative ways you’ve been described, and how you handle conflict.
- is it about your life that draws people to you/renders others cold toward you? Write down what comes to mind.
- shows that you consistently count others as more significant than self? Becoming a missionary means a dedicated life of others-focus–the life of a Christ-follower. Give examples of when you listened well more than you talked of yourself in the last few days.
Church Participation – Am I…
- involved with a local church? Write down ways you have served in your church in the past and currently.
- sent by my church? Write down how your church has supported you and confirmed the leading God has given you to share Jesus in another culture. List those who are praying for you or who are willing to support you financially.
Biblical Formation – Do I…
- understand core biblical doctrine? Describe how God is healing the broken relationships in this world (between people and God and between people and each other) using specific Scriptures. What classes or books have you explored to increase your knowledge of solid doctrine? Write down your understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus from Scripture.
- know how to articulate my faith? Write down your core beliefs and why you believe them.
- need to take formal Bible classes? Check with your sending church or organization to see if these are required.
Professional Training – Am I…
- prepared for a certain job on the field? Write down a life skill you plan to use in your new host country. You might be surprised how you can use your current job overseas without becoming a “missionary” in the traditional sense.
- in need of certification &/or licensing? Consult an agency regarding needed classes, certification, and visas you need to pursue for your intended job.
God’s Leading – Can I…
- put in words how God led me to consider becoming a missionary? Write down how God has led you so far in this journey toward sharing the Good News in another culture.
- name a specific mission agency I feel connected with? Write a list of agencies that you are considering working with if you know of any.
Evangelism & Discipleship Training – Do I…
- have a heart for reaching out beyond my own life? Becoming a missionary isn’t a magic wand to change your outreach habits! How have you demonstrated reaching out in the last month? (Grab ideas to start right where you’re at.)
- know how to share the Good News about Jesus? Write down a brief summary of this Good News.
- have the tools you need, understanding how they might interact with the complex culture to which you hope to go? Jot down questions you may want to pursue answers for.
- continue to train in discipleship making? Write down where you are learning now or where you could learn.
- train others already in following Jesus? Write down ways you are currently training others in following Jesus.
Church Planting Training – Have I…
- thought about planting a church? Write down your thoughts as you pray about this.
- considered being trained to plant a church? Write down where you might get training.
Cross Cultural Preparation – Do I…
- know how to adjust to new cultures? Write down how you handle change or being different. (Don’t miss this series on beginning to navigate cultural differences and “icebergs”.)
- understand the religion in my potential new host country? Do a little research online to start or even better talk to someone.
- understand the culture in my potential new host country? Do some research and talk to someone who has lived there for more than a year.
- plan to learn the language? Research what language is most spoken in your potential host culture. Make a plan of how you will learn; language schools are usually available, or perhaps you’ll employ a tutor. You may want to find some flash cards (online works, too, or an app like Word Climber) and build your vocabulary in your free time.
Becoming a Missionary: Next Steps
If you asked yourself these questions and realized you’re ready to take the next step toward becoming a missionary, here are a few things you may want to do.
Mission Agency Selection
- Research agencies: Go to themissionapp.com to search easily.
- Look for options: Talk to people you know about what is available.
- Find an agency that matches your purpose: Think through how God is leading you in terms of ministry, people group, and location.
Application / Orientation / Training
- Send in The Mission App’s preliminary application. You can choose to fill out our single application, which we route to multiple agencies that fit your purpose.
- Fill out full-time application or interview with your choice of agencies. Call them if they don’t call you.
- Attend mission agency orientation. Your agency provides details of where and when.
- Attend any extra training required. Your agency will send details of what is required.
- Raise up prayer partners (at least 100). Start with your small group, your church, your family, your friends.
- Start communicating to prayer partners. You can use a group email, mass email service (like MailChimp), or a Facebook page or Instagram account. Be consistent in reporting requests and answers. (Remember to consider security if you are moving to a “creative access country”. Seek out your agency’s wisdom and safety guidelines.)
- Determine the model of how you will be supported. Your mission agency will likely have this in place.
- Engage in fundraising training. You don’t have to fly blind–or damage relationships! Learn from organizations who train others in fundraising. (Find out more at Go. Serve. Love’s page on Funding God’s Adventure.)
- Start fundraising. Let people know what it is exactly that you will be doing and what your financial needs are.
See? Not so bad. Now that the adventure of missions is not so unknown, you’ve got a clearer picture of where you stand and what to do next. Grab ahold of God’s hand and go!
Like this post? Don’t miss gO. sERVE. lOVE’S FREE PRINTABLE, FLEXIBLE TIMELINE FOR YOUR JOURNEY OVERSEAs–and our free self-assessment below!