How to Become a Missionary

A potential missionary sits with his friends to discuss how to become a missionary
Are you interested in becoming a missionary but don't know where to start? Look no further! We broke down the process into 5 main steps most missionaries go through!

The pursuit of becoming a missionary is ambiguous. It starts as a dream, and the process of taking it from a dream to reality includes a lot of little “next steps” that aren’t super clear. 

In my role as a missions coach, that is exactly what I like to help people do. I help people take their best next step as they discern how God wants to use them in cross-cultural ministry. So, here is a simple overview of the main steps toward becoming a missionary.

Talk with Your Church

It’s easy to feel like cross-cultural mission work is an individual calling. But in the Bible, we see that this is actually a calling placed on the Church. Christ’s command to go into all the world was spoken to a body believers who wanted to advance God’s mission. So, as the Church continues to live out that mission, they will be the primary sender of missionaries

For this reason, I always ask hopeful missionaries to talk with their church before applying to become a missionary. This allows the church to be involved on the front end. It brings them into your story, gives them permission to speak in and have the space to support you in every part of the process

Many churches also have their own sending process for those pursuing mission work. So communicate expectations early for the smoothest and healthiest process.

A group of men pray together.

It’s important to have open conversations with your church early in your journey. These conversations should also include group prayer.

Find Your Fit

Missionary life is often romanticized. I’ll hear people say “I just want to go to another country and help people.” While I appreciate the sentiment, I think it’s important to remember the quote “Wherever you go, there you are.” The principal here being that you bring yourself wherever you go
Missionary work is hard. The culture is foreign. The people are new. So, while it’s important to hold plans loosely, it’s good to have clear expectations and boundaries as you pursue this transition
This is where casting vision comes in. Asking the questions: ‘What am I good at? What do I like to do? What country/people group/culture do I sense God calling me to?’ are so valuable as you take next steps in missions. And they’re great questions to have your church, missions coach or friends speak into! 
You may not have all the answers, but you’ll begin to narrow down your focus. That, in turn, helps settle ambiguity and gives more confidence moving forward.

Check out TEAM’s opportunities board to find mission roles that fit your skills and passions. The perfect role for you may be one you’ve never considered!

Select a Missions Agency

As someone who works for a missions agency, I can confidently say that our role in the process is distinct. We are not your church, but we can offer resources in partnership with your local church to send you out well. Things like: health insurance, help with support raising, cross-cultural adaptation training, helping your kids transition, finding schools and apartments in-country, etc
Don’t take these things lightly. You’ll need all the emotional and physical support you can get as you transition to another country. As you research missions agencies, check their theological beliefs against your own. See how they align with your vision for cross-cultural ministry work. Then, press into other questions about long-term care
Need help coming up with questions? Check out this guide from TEAM — or Pioneer’s great list of questions. I also recommend getting to know multiple agencies during your search. This will be a long-term relationship, and you want to make sure that it’s mutually beneficial.

Get Proper Training for Your Role

A woman sits with an open book on her lap.

Getting the right training may seem like a burden now. But once you are on the field, this training will give you a head start in ministry.

At this point in the process, you may just feel like celebrating. And you should! There’s been a lot of discernment and personal growth in this season. 
But now that you’ve answered the questions of where you’re going, what you’re doing and who you’re going to do it with, it’s time for more specific training. At TEAM, we hold two week-long orientations for new missionaries. These orientations introduce missionaries to departments within TEAM. They also help you set a budget, discuss support raising, talk about safety and more. This is the time to really press in! 
Your organization will most likely have trainings for you to attend. However, it may even be worth looking at outside sources, as well. Consider volunteering with a ministry that’s similar to what you’ll be doing abroad. Or take training on how to minister to certain religious groups, such as Muslims. These additional resources will serve you well as you prepare for the next season.

Raise Support

Missionaries most often have to raise their own support, or salary. This process can be daunting. However, there is a lot of biblical support for the value of support raising. And some of the most humbling and inspiring stories come out of people’s fundraising process. 

A man in Guatemala holds Guatemalan cash.

Fundraising may be one of the most intimidating aspects of becoming a missionary. Make to seek out quality resources for success!

While it is an intimidating task, your organization should have support in place to help you. And it’s good to understand that money is one tangible way people can show their care and love for you. If mission work is a calling placed on the church, that means some people will go and some people will support! 
One of those means of support is financial contributions. Giving financial support lets people take part in your work on the field. Plus, it gives them the chance to show their care for you.
There are a lot of great resources out there on this topic. A couple of my favorites areThe God Ask by Steve Shadrach or TEAM’s library of support raising articles. You should also check out this template to manage your growing support network.
Your next steps to becoming a missionary should be clear and fill you with peace instead of anxiety. Know that it’s OK to take these one at a time and go at your own pace. Also know that this calling is bigger than you, and God is faithful to see it through! The world is a better place because people, like you, are saying “yes” to God and letting faith lead them further.

You don’t have to walk through these five steps alone. Talk with a missions coach for help exploring your passions and finding your perfect role on the mission field. If we aren’t the right fit for you, we’ll help you find an organization that is. Wherever you are, wherever you may go, God is calling you to spread the Gospel. We want to help you do it.

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About the author

Jessica Hulbert

Jessica is Michigan girl born and raised. She served with TEAM as a missions coach, helping people pursue their calling as they walk with God to reach people all over the globe. She has been on 10 different mission trips, including London, South Africa and three trips to Guatemala City. She has a passion for learning about and immersing herself in other cultures. She believes by crossing cultures we see such a bigger picture of God.


Leave a comment
  • Hi, I need a missionary opportunity to serve God internationally. I feel that I am ready and I am equipped where ever God will send me. I am a teacher by profession. I am also a local christian musical artist in my country. I composed my own gospel songs. I also trained to be a missionary. I personally feel that I am competent with the abilities I have to utilize for mission purposes. God bless.


    • That’s great Mark! I’m so glad you feel like God has called you to mission work. To start, you can search the opportunities page on our website ( to see what might be a good fit for you!

      • Hi I want to be part of the missionary team i am ready to serve anuwhere across the globe. Iam a pastor and trained in Afro business Pyscho social counseling. I feel i can bless some one through missions and i ready to serve anywhere and share the love of christ. Send the missionary application form

    • Hello thankyou for the article I have always wanted to be a missionary since childhood I have grown around missionary I wish to serve and I pray my dream will come true, last year I heard a dream about the walking bible and it’s pretty cool just wanted to share if any one can be interested.its here you go on any area with the Bible and place on the table for people to read and ask you questions about it and pray over it it can be anywhere this time say say they don’t have time to go to church or prayers what if prayer and bible study followed them so have there Bible’s bit they told read what if we read with them more of attracting them not to be ashamed of Jesus and his word if I can read it in public so they can and if am able to share it with friends so they can,I want to be doing this on weekends maybe just outside my house or church Area an extra mile for Christ just in search of Bibles I was asking if you could help me or list me out to people who can

      Pauline aka Paula chansa from Zambia
      As I await for my missionary dream

  • Hi Jessica! Thanks for taking the time to write this blog. I would love to hear more about your experiences and get some feedback from you on my current season of transition from being a missionary to being called to develop others. Is it possible to schedule a time to talk with you?

  • Thanks for the highlights on this subject,I would love to be an international missionary,I love envagelism,I want to take the gospel round the world,I’m 45 years of age a mother of 4,….how do I achieved this, want to spend the rest of my life close to God in his teacher.

    • Hi Becky,

      That’s awesome that you want to engage in missions! Ultimately, if you want to go with TEAM, you’ll want to talk with a TEAM missions coach. But first, I have a few suggestions to help you figure out if missions is the right next step for you.

      1. I recommend our Missions Readiness Guide. This guide will help you process whether you’re ready spiritually, relationally, mentally, financially, etc. It’s super helpful and includes a lot of the questions our missions coaches ask people to see if they’re qualified. Go through the guide first, and then we suggest talking through it with your pastor or someone from your church missions board.

      2. You mentioned wanting to be close to God, so I wanted to make sure I sent you the link to this other blog post. It was written by one of our spiritual care facilitators about how to pursue ministry without making it the crux of your relationship with God. It’s a super good read for any Christian, but especially important for people pursuing full-time ministry.

      After you take a look those, then I would suggest talking with a TEAM missions coach. They’ll ask you about how you’re actively serving in ministry now, how you’re engaging in your relationship with Jesus, what experience you have making disciples, as well as diving deeper into other questions. And that’s another reason why going through the Readiness Assessment Guide is helpful. If you do that first, the conversations with the missions coach will be easier!

      Best of wishes on your missionary journey!

    • That’s great, Marnie! I have a few suggestions to help you get started.

      1. Check out our GoBe Magazine online. It’s full of missionary stories about their work and their lives on the mission field. We have features about language school, raising kids on the mission field, member care and a ton more. We also just include a lot of basic information about becoming a missionary with TEAM. So, if you’re at the beginning of this journey, it’s a great place to start!

      2. Sign up for our email list. Just go to and fill out the form for TEAM updates and the very bottom. Each month, we send an email newsletter with information on how to become a missionary and openings on the mission field. You’ll also get our monthly prayer guide and a story from the mission field.

      3. We have a whole category on our blog for posts about becoming a missionary. Check it out!

      I hope this is helpful. Let me know if I can help you with anything else!


    • Hi Diane, if you are still on this website, how are you doing? Have you succeeded in your dream? I would like to know if you had any issues with your age from some mission organizations?

  • Hi! I’m Gloria, 16 and I feel like God’s calling me to become a missionary. I really love God and wanna help bring others to Him 🙂

    But I wanna ask, do you have to have a vast knowledge of the Bible and and it’s teachings in order to become a missionary? I’ve been learning a lot about God and His teachings but I don’t think it’s like, enough… Oh and am I too young to start XD?

    • Great question, Gloria! Biblical knowledge and a deep, growing relationship with God are both vital for missionary success. That said, the best time to start learning and growing is right now! Even if you can’t go and live abroad, you’re never too young to pursue God and follow His command to preach the Gospel.

      A couple suggestions:

      1. Make sure you’re deeply investing in a local church. Find older believers who are faithful in ministry to mentor you. Seek out opportunities to serve. Make sure you’re living a missional life here before you go abroad. And make sure there are strong Christians who can speak into your life, encouraging you on the path God has for you. We are strong believers that every missionary should give their church a voice in their calling.

      2. Most of our trips are for people 18 and older. However, we do have a missions internship in La Paz, Mexico, for high school students over 16. Check it out:

      3. If you’re really wanting to dive deeper into missions, we highly, recommend the Perspectives Course. They’re offering online classes right now, and the first class is free! It could be a great opportunity to learn more about missions and how God might use you in the future!

      Thanks for asking!

      Bethany DuVal, TEAM Marketing Manager & Editor

  • I’m 16, I don’t know if God might be calling, maybe, but, I want to help make the world a better place. I don’t think my parents would approve of me being a missionary and leaving into unknown territory, to be frank, I’m also afraid of leaving them and my sister, who I love dearly, she needs me, I feel she would be heart-broken if I left and never forgive me if I left her. I want to make the world a better place, I haven’t been able to go to church for a long time, you know with corona and all.

    I want to be a doctor missionary, I don’t know what you call them, would I need to go to medical school and do all that? Or would the people train me for that or something?

    Maybe God is calling and just wanna make sure I am able to be ready and answer.

    What would I need to do?

    • Those are great questions, Annette! First I encourage you to take time to consider why you want to go. Making the world a better place is great, but our ultimate goal needs to be glorifying Christ. This piece dives into that a little more. I would also invite older, wiser Christians to explore this with you. Talk with your pastor or mission board or other missionaries you know. Here’s a piece on how to get started there.

      As for training, yes, you would need to go to medical school to become a missionary doctor. We hold medical missionaries to the same standards as their non-missionary counterparts. In many ways, missionary doctors have to be even more skilled because they need to be able to innovate in situations where they won’t have the best technology or specialist co-workers. If this is what you feel led to do, you need to be prepared for years of preparation.

  • Hi, I need a missionary opportunity to serve God locally and internationally. I feel that I am ready and fully equipped where ever God will send me. I was train as International under CHRIST GLOBAL REVIVAL MISSION INT’L. obtain Certificate and were commissioned as international Missionaries. I am also a Master Trainer for GLOBAL CHILDREN’S NETWORK LIBERIA (CGNL). I am so passionate for Children Ministry which I am a founder of MALACHI KID’S MINISTRIES. I am seeking partnership for the MKM Ministry. I personally feel that I am competent with the abilities I have to utilize for mission purposes.
    God bless.

    • Hello! Thank you for your interest in TEAM’s work and desire to serve the Lord! Please send your request to so the appropriate person can review it. As you can imagine, we receive many requests for partnership and, while we consider all requests, we are unable to follow up personally with each inquiry. We will be in touch with you if we see an opportunity for fruitful collaboration.

      You will also find out how and where TEAM serves at

      In His Service,

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