Do you have your sights set on exploring that missionary calling you’ve been feeling? Do you want to start talking with some missions agencies and take the first steps toward missionary service? Or maybe you’ve just resolved to be a more globally-minded Christian?
At TEAM, we meet a lot of people interested in missions. A lot. Some of them are truly prepared for overseas service. Others think they are but haven’t quite gotten there yet, And still others just want to know how they can best get involved in missions without leaving their “day jobs” as students, professionals, or stay-at-home parents.
While seminary or language study may spring to mind when you think about becoming a missionary, some of the best ways to prepare for missionary service are a lot more accessible than you may think. Here are a few simple things you can do that will take you a long, long way.
1. Pray Through Operation World.
If you’re unfamiliar with Operation World, head over to Amazon and buy yourself a copy (or order it directly from InterVarsity Press). It may be the best $27 you’ve ever spent. This gem of a book is the definitive global missions prayer guide. As you pray through this book, you’ll learn about peoples and places you’ve never heard of, and your worldview will expand like you wouldn’t believe.
Buy it. Pray through it. This alone will change your life. If you can’t splurge on the book right now, you’ll still find lots of content and ways to pray on the Operation World website.
2. Engage someone in your community from another culture.
You may not be aware of the cultural diversity that surrounds you, but if you live in North America, there is no denying the fact that it does, in fact, surround you. With a few exceptions, there is no city on this continent lacking an impressive array of cultures within easy reach. And for the Christian who wants to prepare for missionary service, this is a huge blessing.
You no longer have to be content to simply read about other cultures. Now you can experience them for yourself without having to sail halfway around the world. Of course, this accessibility also brings its own set of challenges, which is why you should also…
3. Spend some time learning from a missionary.
At the risk of taking some flak for this, I’m going to use a flexible definition of “missionary” here. I believe that missionaries are defined by their calling, goals and heart, rather than by their job titles. You can (and should) learn lots from the traditional missionaries most of us are familiar with, because their experiences are unmatched. But the best missionary for you to talk with might not fit your mental image of someone who works with a missions agency like TEAM.
They might, instead, work for GE in India, or be part of a refugee resettlement agency in North America. Any of these people could potentially be missionaries, and any of them would have stories and experiences worth your time. If they’re effectively crossing cultural boundaries to see God’s kingdom expanded, buy them a cup of coffee and get them talking. And don’t forget to bring a notebook.
Are YOU ready to take your next step toward becoming a missionary? Check out this free guide to prayerfully evaluate your health in eight key areas before you serve overseas.