Answering the call to missionary work: steps to take
By Sherise Henry
If you’re a believer who has a fire in their belly for doing the Lord’s work, congratulations you have the first tool in serving the Lord as a missionary. Missionaries have long been a blessing and an example to the church of how a selfless act of service can inspire faith and spread love to those who receive it. Serving the Lord however doesn’t automatically mean you need a suitcase and a passport. There are service opportunities both locally and abroad that can serve a believer and a community well in living out the Great Commission.
WHERE DO I START?
OneChallenge.com encourages aspiring missionaries to pray diligently about this choice of ministry. In the article “If God wants me to be a missionary, where do I start?” author Jeff Boesel says pray for peace of mind, "The path from here to there in missions is not usually an easy one. There will be many opportunities to question if you are truly on the right path both before you get on an airplane and after you arrive in a country of service. To the extent possible, you need to be at peace that this is, indeed, what God has planned for you next” says Boesel.
If you are uncertain whether or not you are ready for overseas travel you may focus on a global need rather than a location across the globe to focus your attention on and aid your local community. AdventuresinMissions.com offers advice to persons who want to stay home and still do missionary work. In the article “Becoming a missionary in your own community” Mike Nagel recommends making relationships. “Missions is all about one-on-one relationships (unless you’re preaching in stadiums like Billy Graham). If you’re going to show love and serve your community, you have to open up and start getting to know people. For me, this will start with slowing down my day. When I’m with people, I want to be with people. I want to ask questions, remember names, check my iPhone less, and listen to stories more,” says Nagel.
TALK TO YOUR HOME FELLOWSHIP (CHURCH) LEADERSHIP
One Challenge recommends speaking to your local church leader before spending hours on the internet searching out destinations where you may be of service. Your church or denomination may be linked to an international mission that meets your interest. If you want to work locally the church may also be a starting point to find what area of the community has a particular need. Were there families helped during Thanksgiving or Christmas who could use your help. Is there an elderly citizen on your church’s prayer list that needs some company or an errand ran?
Your church can also build you up spiritually for the task ahead giving you the encouragement you need to stay the course on this path of serving.
COMMUNICATE WITH CURRENT MISSIONARIES YOU KNOW
There may be some persons in your community who have just completed a short term mission trip or a local prayer warrior who gives encouragement while working for meals on wheels. Talk to those who are already on the battlefield winning souls for Christ. Their stories will provide the insight you need on how to be effective. OneChallenge.com suggests asking the following questions...How did they get their start? What do they wish they had known when they were where you are? and How would they recommend that you prepare?
ENGAGE THE CULTURES AT YOUR DOORSTEP
One alternative that OneChallenge.com suggests to traveling around the world as a missionary is to embrace the minority cultures that are present in your neighborhood. Persons from out of the country may group together and fellowship. The article suggests maybe offering food as a way to break the ice and show love to the persons in that group as a doorway to witness.
Whether at home or abroad a heart to serve Christ and a method of carrying it out can be a deeply rewarding experience in your Christian journey. May God bless your efforts to increase his kingdom.
ATTEND A MISSIONS TRAINING SCHOOL
Enrolling in a mission training school like Ethnos School of Missions is another way to get connected with other like minded believers working to complete the Great Commission. With practical training, ministry application, and a short term missions trip, this might be the perfect next step in your journey. Ethnos offers three training tracks: media, marketplace, and missions. Once you complete the training, you are invited to join staff and work with the ministry in either longer term overseas missions, or media based outreaches.