Monday, May 4, 2009

Phase 1: Are you being called into Foreign Missions?

I recently had a long time friend drop me a message on face book.
"Do you have any advice for a guy who thinks he has just recently felt God calling him into missions?"

Yes, I do! Below I have reworded something that I have been working on for people in my own church who are considering taking the plunge into cross-cultural or international ministry.

Phase 1: EXPLORE

Prayer: Begin to seek the Lord and ask if this is a desire that comes from him or just merely something that is a passing whim. First, pray that he will grant you a purity of motives and guide you in all that you do throughout this process. Then, begin to pray for guidance in a particular kind of ministry (ie- refugee ministry, church planting, medical missions) and/or a particular location in the world. For most people who go to the mission field, one of these two areas is very dominant in their mind as they pray.

Affirmation and Confirmation: Start bringing some close Christian friends, family and mentors into the conversation. Begin asking those who know you well, that you trust, and who are walking with Christ to pray with you and give you honest feedback about your strengths and weaknesses and how that may be used on the mission field.

Be a Missionary now: Regardless of whether you will leave for the mission field next week, next year, or ten years from now, don't wait until you go overseas until you become a missionary. Begin to prayerfully seek ways that you can live and act like a missionary in your own neighborhood. How can you serve others in the name of Christ right now where you are?

Exposure: Participate in a short-term mission trip, go to a mission conference or seminar, meet people from a prospective mission destination country and ask them questions, watch films or read up on the location and people that you feel a desire to reach. These kinds of activities may help open and close doors to people, places and areas of ministry.

Next Time we will explore Phase 2: Prepare.

Related L.I.M. Articles
Practical Ways to Support a Missionary
The Mission Field: Coming to a City Near You

Life is Ministry
Cross Cultural (mis)Understanding