"How Do I Become a Missionary?"
Have you felt called by God to go overseas to be a missionary, yet have only a vague idea of the steps it would take for you to get there? You know most missionaries would need to raise funds, and that there would be some sort of training involved, but apart from those things, you might not know for sure what the journey to the missions field would be like. That need not be the case for you! We are here to help you de-mystify the journey.
While each missionary’s experience is unique and every agency’s process is different, here is the step-by-step process candidates generally take when they go on missions with Pioneers inAsia. We hope this gives you the information you need to move forward in your missions call!
1. It begins with God’s leading...and confirmation from others
Has the Lord put a burden on your heart for a specific country or people group? Have you been inspired to missions involvement by a sermon, book, training course, or even the life of a missionary? Determining God’s call is a vital first step to the pursuit of becoming a missionary. We encourage you to spend some focused time in prayer and ask the Lord to give you a peace or confirmation that this is where He is leading you to. Talk to trusted Christian friends, mentor or pastors, explaining your reasons for wanting to get involved in missions and ask for their counsel. If you are single, share with your parents your thoughts. If you are married, talk to your spouse. Scripture tells us that it is good to have “many advisers” (Proverbs 15:22) when it comes to godly decision-making. Therefore, we encourage you to seek out a handful of mature Christian friends, elders or leaders who would affirm your calling. Be warned, however, that they might not do so right away. Pray that the Lord will help you to wisely discern their input.
2. Then you connect with Pioneers inAsia
You can be assured that when you sense that God might be calling you to missions, you do not have to have it “all figured out” before you start the process! Many missionaries come to an agency with a general call to missions but do not know where they want to serve, or what type of ministry they would like to be part of. Some people come to us wanting to do short-term service, while others have a desire for long-term. All you need to do is to contact us! You can send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) regarding your missions interest and we will get back to you within two working days. Once we have gathered sufficient information on you, we will start the process of determining the best fit for you within the opportunities we have available overseas.
3. We get to know YOU!
Once we have a better understanding of your skills, giftings and calling for ministry, we will be able to meet up with you and keep in contact regarding possible opportunities. We will research relevant teams or ministries that could be a good match to the things you want to do or the places you want to be. In this process, we will continue to ask you questions to make sure we understand you, your call and your needs. Your calling is unique and we want to find the best suitable fit for you! During this process, we will also ask for a medical evaluation from a certified doctor to determine that you are fit to live overseas. Additionally, we will ask for recommendations from your church and individuals who can provide us with a reference regarding your character. Partnership with the local church and working in teams are two of our core values - and they begin even before you set foot on the field!
4. Then comes “Candidate Orientation” (the first step in pre-field training)
One of the advantages of going on missions with Pioneers inAsia is that we offer customized training for our candidates. You will not be lost in a sea of other missions candidates nor be just a face in the crowd. At Pioneers inAsia, our experienced staff will come alongside you to get to know your story and your calling in a personalized way. Although you may go through candidate orientation with other people, you can be assured that we keep our groups small so that we can give our candidates a personal, quality experience. During candidate orientation (which is typically a 5-day classroom training), you will learn more about Pioneers inAsia and we will learn more about you. We will provide training sessions that give you a clearer picture of what life looks like on the missions field and what it means to be a missionary. These sessions generally include topics like Raising a Family on the Missions Field (or How to Thrive as a Single Person on the Field), How To Raise Funding For Your Ministry and our Core Values as a missions organization.
During the candidate orientation, we will arrange a session for you to be interviewed by our staff who is qualified to conduct psychometric testings. These are very standard procedures for most missions agencies before sending missionaries long-term to the field. There is no need to be nervous about this process! Our experienced staff conducting the testings will provide you with results that will reflect helpful insights on your readiness to go overseas. Furthermore, a basic Bible knowledge test will help us determine the level of further training you may need. At the end of candidate orientation, after taking all of the above factors into consideration, we will offer you a letter of invitation to membership in Pioneers inAsia if we were to decide that you are a good suitable candidate for overseas service.
5. We help you develop a pre-field plan, unique to your needs
Because everyone’s story is different, everyone’s journey will be different. Some missionary candidates come to an agency with theological degrees or have been involved in full-time ministry for years. Others come to us having just graduated from a University or having worked in the commercial world for decades. Some people have already visited (or even lived in) the country they choose to work in. Others have never even travelled outside their home country! As we develop your pre-field plan, we take all these factors into consideration.
Your pre-field plan will usually address things like Bible knowledge and theological education. There could be a possibility that you may need to take a few Bible courses before or while you are on the field. If you have never been to the location you want to work in, you will most likely need to go on a “Survey Trip” to visit a team (or teams) that you might want to work with. This is an important step to make sure that you are assured that the team is a good fit for you and your calling. This plan also addresses things like support raising, the role of your church in partnering with you and Pioneers inAsia, and any further counselling or mentoring you may need to ensure you are fit mentally, spiritually and emotionally prior to going overseas.
6. You get personally mentored and receive valuable training
Our missions mentors at Pioneers inAsia are here to walk alongside you in your journey. Your character development and service involvement with your church is important to us; so we will walk you through a process to intentionally keep track of those things. Your mentor will be a listening ear to all your questions and concerns about going to the missions field. They will be there to pray with you and offer information and advice when necessary. You might even meet with your mentor regularly to work through a specific book on missions or a book on spiritual disciplines.
In addition to walking through a personal mentoring process, you will also be asked to participate in pre-field training. This training differs from the candidate orientation training, in a manner that it will explore even more missions-related topics and will go far more in-depth. Depending on your prior experience, this training could be anywhere between 1 week and several months. This training is typically run by other like-minded organisations or our local ministry partners who specialize in pre-field missions training. It is helpful to share with your mentor what you are learning/have learned in these trainings.
7. You take the big step to GO!
Once you have successfully completed your training and mentoring process; and have raised your funds, it is time to get on that plane! Your local church will typically have a “Commissioning” ceremony for you - a time of prayer and encouragement as was given to Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13. We will be thrilled to join you and your church in this process! It is such a joy to watch people journey from a first call, all the way to living on the foreign field—and we want to rejoice with you and send you out with prayer.
8. We support you through cultural adjustments and each transition
Be assured that your journey with Pioneers inAsia does not cease when you get on the plane! We will continue to walk alongside you despite the distance, offering “Member Care” (ie, counsel and strategy during difficult times and times of transition while you serve on the field) and keeping your specific needs in prayer during our weekly staff meetings. We will connect with you while you are on Home Assignment (i.e, taking a short break from the field periodically to reconnect with your family, church and/or supporters) and it is likely that a member of our staff will be able to visit you to see your ministry in person on occasion. This visit is not to “test” you but to encourage you in your service and better understand your life and needs on the field. Above all, we want to make sure you are thriving on the field and living God’s calling to the fullest!
We hope this list is helpful for you and that you have a clearer idea of what steps it will take to become a missionary with Pioneers inAsia. We know you might have many other questions and we are happy to answer them!
If you are ready to start the process, contact us! We would love to journey with you and create a customized process, just for you!