What Missionaries Need to Consider Before Going To The Mission Field
We at Mission Quest care about your success on the mission field. We want to see you run the race and finish well. Our leadership has extensive experience in missionary work in God’s harvest fields and we want to give you some good advice and counsel, that will help you decide whether you are ready and equipped to face the challenges you will encounter as a missionary.
Accepting the call of God to become a full-time missionary is not an easy decision and should not be taken lightly. Leaving the conveniences of life in your home country, uprooting yourself (or you and your whole family) and moving to an entirely different country with its different culture, and oftentimes— different language —has it is tests and trials. Therefore, it is important that each missionary carefully consider several things before deciding to take up this challenge. Yes, the Lord asks us to deny ourselves and carry our cross (Matthew 16:24), but He also instructs us to ‘count the cost’ (Luke 14:28).
Below is a list of the top four things every missionary needs to consider before moving to the mission field:
1. Be sure of your Calling: Pray, pray…then pray some more!
Christians should not take missions work lightly; by any means whatsoever. Moving to the mission field is a serious thing, not just because of the culture shock such a move brings that requires a time of adjustment for you and your family, but also because of the very work you will be doing—preaching the Gospel to lost people—sometimes in places that are hostile to the Gospel and sometimes in an entirely different language! Therefore, you first need to have knees that are used to bowing and praying. A.B. Simpson, the founder of The Christian and Missionary Alliance, said it best; “Prayer is the mighty engine that is to move the missionary work”.
What moves missionaries out into the harvest fields should not be strategies, passions, needs or even compassion. Rather, the main motivation of missions work should be obedience to the call of God on your life, and a biblical understanding of His heart for the nations.
When you start serving in your harvest field, you will face many trials and challenges. Often, the only thing that will carry you through is your absolute belief and trust that God is the one who called you to serve. This assurance can only come through time spent before Him in prayer. Learning how to pray (and praying effectively) before going to the mission field is critical, because once you’re out there in the midst of your work, so many things will try and prevent you from praying.
Your prayers should not focus on whether or not you should be sharing the Gospel message. God has already revealed His will regarding the Great Commission:
- God wants His Gospel to be preached in all the world (Acts 1:8)
- God wants His name to be glorified among the nations (Micah 1:11)
- God wants His people to be able to present a defense for the reason of the Hope in us (1 Peter 3:15)
The goal of your prayers is to ask God whether He has specifically called you out to a nation (or nations), as a full-time missionary. Ask God to move your heart to be in alignment with His will and to direct your steps to follow His plan with regard to His calling for your life. He will hear you. And He will answer you. Wait for His answer before moving out to the mission field.
2. After praying, talk to your pastor(s).
Proverbs 12:15 teaches, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” Similarly, Proverbs 11:14 states, “Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.” God has put the office of Elders (or Pastors) in the church to teach and shepherd the flock. This includes regular teaching and preaching during church services, as well as one-on-one counsel and guidance with those under their care who are in the midst of making big decisions; like moving to the mission field! A pastor’s role is not one of controlling your life, but rather gently and wisely shepherding God’s flock and giving counsel (1 Peter 5:1-4). Therefore, talking with your church’s pastor and/or elders should not be a burden or a stumbling block, but another way of seeking God’s direction in your life and ultimately honoring Him and His ordained order in the life of the church. Keep in mind that consulting with your church pastor or elders should be done with a willingness to embrace and follow their counsel—whether or not it aligns with your desires or preferences. God’s blessings and guidance follow the divine order He has set up in His Church Body. And always keep in mind that the calling for missions is inseparable from the mission of the local church.
3. Consult with other missionaries.
Regardless which country you are being called to—or even if you are planning to serve in the United States—more than likely, you are not the first person called to minister in that location. There are other people who have gone before you in the place you are being called and have either finished their missionary calling or are still in the midst of missions work in this harvest field. Keep in mind, this does not mean you are not needed. On the contrary, the Bible teaches that “the laborers are few” (Matthew 9:37). It is a known fact that the most urgent need in missions is for faithful men and women to carry the Gospel to the whole world. So, not being the first to move to the location where you may be called should be an encouraging thing. There are other people who have been plowing the ground and sowing seeds, and you may very well be one of the people that will harvest the fruits of their labor. Therefore, it is very important that you consult with other missionaries who are serving or have served. Ask them about the challenges they faced and how they were able to overcome them. Ask also what advice, in general, they can share with you and your family. After all, when it comes to missions, we all serve the same God. The success of one is the success of all!
4. Work on the logistics.
This is one of the most important things that a missionary should do, and often it is the most neglected task. When we talk about logistics, we mean the preparations in your home country that must be undertaken as well as in the location you are moving to. This includes all the planning and activities needed to make the move, as well as for settling into your new ‘home’, and everything that needs to happen to help you maintain a consistent and effective presence in the field. First, be sure that whatever organization you join as a missionary is an organization with which you can align with their doctrine and strategy; completely. After moving to the mission field, the last thing you want to deal with is finding out you joined an organization that does not approve of your calling or the way you do ministry. Second, this organization should be flexible in adjusting to how the Lord moves you out in the field. Often after spending a year or two on the mission field, missionaries feel that the Lord is moving them from one type of ministry or place to another. The organization you are aligned with should not try and prevent you from following your calling. Rather, they should be finding ways to support you in this change. Finally, ensure that your organization has systems and policies in place that allow for a streamlined flow of much-needed funds from your donors to your bank account. Missions work in the field requires funding—and readily available funds at that! Be sure the organization you choose to partner with will be reliable and consistent in sending your funds on time, so you can plan when and how to pay your bills.
At Mission Quest, we help more than seventy missionary ‘units’ (one missionary or a whole family) worldwide to preach the Gospel and mobilize the church to carry out the Great Commission. Our missionaries trust us to handle all the logistics related to their donation processing including: communicating with donors, providing real-time reporting on all their donations, and giving their donors the ability to donate simply and quickly—with just 3 clicks! Our state-of-the-art donor management system provides a seamless experience, enabling our missionaries to stay in touch with their donors and easily keep track of their giving. Here at Mission Quest, we fully support the work of our missionaries’ callings by partnering with them and their sending church to help mobilize them to preach the Gospel to the whole world.