How To Become A Missionary
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How To Become A Missionary

Is the Mission Field For You?

Early in my Christian life, I thought I might be a foreign missionary.

The ministry of Keith Green greatly influenced me, and he would say that as long as there were people in this world who had not heard of Jesus, we had no business evangelizing people who had already heard more than once.

As I grew in the Lord, I understood that although Keith’s sentiments were heartfelt and had some truth, there was more to being a foreign missionary than just the need for people to hear about Jesus.

I support foreign missions and missionary groups.

I believe that we are in the end times, and the sooner we spread the gospel to every tribe, tongue, and nation, the sooner Jesus will return.

Because of that, I wanted to do an article that would both be practical and encourage those of you who are called to be foreign missionaries.

woman holding black Mission book

How To Become A Foreign Missionary.

I cannot tell you how to become a Baptist, Methodist, or Assemblies of God missionary because each denomination has different requirements.

Not only that, but each mission field has its unique preparation needed to serve in that area.

There are also non-denominational mission groups that have their requirements.

So please don’t expect this to be a comprehensive list of how to be a missionary; instead, use it as a guideline to get you started in your pursuit to serve the Lord overseas.

The Missionary Call

The call to serve Jesus in a foreign field is not as easy or glamorous as it might seem. You must understand that many factors are involved with this lifestyle, such as the language barrier and cultural differences, which make this decision difficult for some people.

There can be challenges associated with living abroad: you may have difficulty communicating due to different languages and customs; changes in family dynamics when children grow up without much parental guidance from their parents who live overseas; the inability of those at home to take care of elderly relatives because they cannot travel easily themselves – these are all things one should consider before making the important decision about whether or not he/she wants to move abroad.”

You might have heard a dynamic speaker give an impassioned plea for workers in a foreign field, or you might have seen the desperate need of people in an impoverished country and been moved with compassion.

These things are good but won’t sustain you in the long haul.

You must have a calling from God to serve in a foreign field. It takes special empowerment from God to last.

  1. You must have an inner desire and even what might be called a need to serve and be used by God in some capacity.
  2. You already see spiritual fruit in your life, and God uses you to win souls to Jesus.
  3. The leadership of your church senses a call of God on your life and is encouraging you to pursue it.

When I started my Christian life, I had all 3 of these things. It led me to pursue whether or not I was called to Christian service.

As it turned out, God had different plans for my life, but I was willing to go wherever He wanted me.

Preparing To Be A Missionary

Missions are not for the faint of heart. There is a rigorous process that all prospective missionaries must go through before they’re allowed to set foot on foreign soil, but those who do well in their tests and training will be rewarded with God’s guidance when it matters most.

Jesus said more than once, “many are called, but few are chosen.”

The time of preparation and testing is the process that weeds out those that think they are called and those that are indeed called.

You will need your pastor’s advice concerning your particular denomination’s requirements for foreign missionaries.

Some require Bible College and seminary training, while others do not.

Some use mission organizations that are not directly tied to the denomination.  Not all missionary groups require degrees, but some do. You will have to find out what their requirements are.

Some churches, like the Vineyard, send their missionaries from the local churches.

They either band together with other churches in supporting a missionary, or they support them entirely from the local church.

They will set up the requirements to be sent out from a local church.

Training To Be A Missionary

There is a lot that goes into being a missionary.

You may need to learn a foreign language. You will have to familiarize yourself with the cultural differences.

You might have to obtain a degree in another field of expertise so that the country you will go to will allow you to come.

This is beyond the need to be well-versed in the Bible.

Some organizations like YWAM (Youth with a mission) do a lot of this training on the field. They take raw recruits and turn them into missionaries.

This is the organization that I almost went with early in my life.

Understanding The Realities Of Missionary Life.

When we sense the call of God to serve in some capacity, most of us see only the glamour of it. We fail to realize the actual realities of what we are taking on.

The same is valid for mission work. Most missionaries will tell you that it is not all that glamorous.

You need to read the biographies of other missionaries.

Develop relationships with current missionaries.

Maybe take a short-term mission trip.

Get your feet wet just a little before taking the plunge.

One thing I found out while staying a while in a foreign country is that I am not very tolerant of cultural differences. I tried my best, but in my heart, I hated that it was different.

You can’t love people if you can’t love their differences.

That is why God knew that although I was called, He had not enabled me to be a foreign missionary.

Obtaining Financial Support To Be A Missionary

To become a missionary in a foreign land, it is critical that you first raise financial support. This can be done by submitting an application and then sending out letters requesting donations from people who know your cause well enough to give their money to the cause.

Becoming a missionary requires more than just prayerful intention – one must also take care not to overlook the need to raise funds!

This assumes you already have the support of your local church, and the local leadership, and have many people who are willing to pray for you daily.

Some denominations pay for their foreign missionaries directly. This relieves the missionary of going around to various churches and soliciting pledges of support. It allows them to focus on work in a foreign field.

Other denominations believe that if God guides, then God will provide, and one of the ways you verify the calling of God on a person’s life is by waiting for God to provide the finances through the pledges by individuals and local churches.

This keeps the missionary connected to their support base. Either way, you have to be funded as a missionary.

The likelihood that you will be able to support yourself on tithes and offerings from the people you are serving in the foreign country is very small.

Becoming A Missionary Takes Time.

As you can see, becoming a missionary takes time. It is not a calling that can come to fruition in days or weeks.

It starts with a call, becomes a test, and only after God prepares the man or woman for the task does it become a lifestyle.

I genuinely hope that you will take what you have read and prayerfully consider it, and if you feel the call of God and need to serve Jesus in such a way, you will go for it with all of your heart!

called to be a missionary


Pastor Duke

Pastor Duke Taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.