Monday, May 4, 2009

Phase 2: 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?"

Go here to read about Phase 1: Explore

Phase 2: PREPARE

Community- Unfortunately in today's world many people attempt to do “lone ranger” ministry. Since most healthy missionary situations need a healthy connection with their home church you should begin meeting with, discussing and praying about your growing desire to do missions with your church leaders and pastors. Begin discussing with them why you may or may not be ready for this work and ask them to pray with you and give you honest feedback of both your strengths and weaknesses in ministry. At this point you should also be able to demonstrate ways that you are living for Christ now in your current situation. This may be a challenging process, but it is better to find out things you need to work on within the context of a healthy community than in a foreign land where you may or may not find the kind of support that you need.

Study- As you grow more and more serious try to learn all that you can about the language (take a class), culture, current events and ministry needs of the location that you feel called to. If you feel called to a specific kind of ministry then prayerfully begin to look at places around the world that that need the kind of work that you desire to do. Become the expert, so that you can demonstrate clearly why God is calling you to this particular ministry, at this particular place, at this particular moment in history.

Sending Agency- Looking for an agency can be a daunting process because there literally thousands of them around the world. However, this may be one of the most important decisions you make apart from deciding on a field or ministry. They will be the ones giving you the most on-site support, ministry guidelines, handling your funding, etc... It is very important that you find an agency that both shares your ministry philosophy and has a good track record with its ministries and missionaries. It is a good idea to come up with a list of evaluation questions to assist you interviewing different mission agencies. Your evaluation question should cover topics such as: their purpose and mission, the structure and on-field experience of administrative personnel, team life, family life and requirements, finances, and their theological positions.

Next time we will look at Phase 3: Go

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