I became a missionary 11 years ago; I learned a lot along the way. Here are the steps I recommend taking to become a Christian missionary.
Seek counsel and pray about becoming a missionary
The first step to becoming a missionary is to get guidance from those who have more experience and have done it before you.
To find a missionary mentor first ask your local church for a recommendation. If you can’t find a mentor at your church, then I recommend attending mission conferences. It’s a funny thing, but there are lots of mission-minded people at missionary conferences!
Meet with your mentor or mentors regularly about your missionary plans. Remember to pray as well!
Learn About Mission Work
Perspectives on the World Christian Movement is my personal favorite course about missionary work. It is a well-balanced course that teaches the history and philosophy of mission work. It also covers practical things like language learning and cultural understanding.
Learn about perspectives here https://www.perspectives.org/
There are also many other good mission training courses and schools.
Just remember to ask lots of questions and be open to getting advice.
Read Missionary Biographies
I really recommend reading some missionary biographies. They provide great encouragement to those seeking to become a missionary.
Some missionary biographies that I recommend are:
- “To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson” by Courtney Anderson
- “The Autobiography of George Müller” by George Müller
- “The Autobiography of Hudson Taylor” by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor
- “Adventures in Faith and Freedom” by William Carey – Compiled by J.H. Broughton.
- “John G. Paton: Missionary to the New Hebrides” – By James Paton
Get involved in Local outreach
Start getting involved with local outreach at your church or international student ministries at a nearby university.
By getting involved with your community, you will gain experience sharing the gospel, serving others, and building relationships.
Go on a Vision Trip
Once you are pretty sure that you want to become a missionary I recommend that you go on a vision to the country/region that you are interested in.
Look up mission agencies that work in that part of the world and ask them if there are any short-term opportunities or if you could just go on a trip to visit the missionaries as a “vision trip”
I have found that missionaries are very open to visitors, especially if you have the same heart to reach the people they are also reaching.
Build an Email List of Supporters
Becoming a missionary can be an overwhelming process, so it’s essential to develop a support network. This can include family, friends, pastors, and other missionaries.
Seek out individuals who can encourage you, provide wise counsel, and pray for you regularly.
Keep this group of people updated regularly with email updates. If you become a missionary these people will be your first supporters.
We’ve created a guide to missionary support raising. Read it to get more ideas.
Join a Mission Agency
Sending agencies serve as the primary support system for missionaries. They provide training, guidance, and resources to help you fulfill your mission call.
I’ve made a list of 12 mission agencies here. Take a look to find the one that is the best fit for your vision and ministry.
Research different organizations and their requirements, and pray for God’s guidance as you discern which agency to join. Once you have applied and been accepted, the organization will guide you through the application process, including interviews, background checks, and training. Once you are appointed, you can begin raising support for your mission work.
Raise Financial Support
Raising financial support is often a necessary part of becoming a missionary. This time of fundraising can be enjoyable if you have the right perspective.
I highly recommend reading The God Ask by Steve Shadrach. You can read more about support-raising books here.
Leave for The Mission Field
After you raise your financial support you should be ready to buy your tickets and leave for the field!
How long will it take to become a missionary?
It usually takes anywhere from 9 months to 3 years. This depends on the pre-field requirements of your mission agency, how much money you have to raise, and other factors.
What are the financial requirements to become a missionary?
This depends on your mission agencies, some agencies don’t set an amount that you have to raise, but other agencies set an amount that you much raise before you can buy your ticket to leave for the field. This also depends on the cost of living on the mission field. Single people can expect to raise from $1,200 a month to $4,000 a month. Families usually must raise from $2,500 a month to $6,000 a month.
What do missionaries do?
Here is a list of some of the things that missionaries do.
Evangelism and sharing the Gospel with others
Discipleship and teaching new believers
Community development and social outreach
Providing medical care or other types of assistance to those in need
Teaching English or other skills to help individuals improve their lives
Church planting and ministry development