You’ve prayed. You’ve sought wise counsel. Your pastor and church leaders are on board with your intention to pursue missions. It was a big decision which leads to another choice you must now make: With whom?
Along with prayer, knowledge about a missions agency is vital in making a good decision. If God has led you to a specific “who,” “how” or “where” to serve, look for an organization whose areas of ministry fit with God’s leading in your life.
To assist you in the process, here are points you should think through as you consider a partnership with an agency:
Beliefs: Find an organization that matches your theological beliefs. Since cross-cultural workers usually serve in teams, doctrinal disagreements can cause conflict. Examine the organization’s doctrine closely to be sure it is biblical and clear. This can prevent tension on the field.
Focus: Know the focus of the agency. Look for an organization whose goals are similar to the focus God is giving you. It’s also wise to look back at their history and see how they’ve adapted to new ideas, changing needs, obstacles and ministry trends.
Finances: Understand the financial model of the organization. Speak with the treasurer and look at their financial statements to determine how funds are handled within the agency. Ask questions!
Leadership: Consider the organization’s approach to leadership. Every board approaches leadership differently. Find out how they make decisions and handle accountability.
Training: Investigate how the organization prepares workers for effective ministry. Do they require an orientation and training period? This time of preparation may enable you to become familiar with the mission’s history, its emphasis, its members and its fields. Candidates often use this information, coupled with prayer and counsel, to reach a decision about where they will serve.
Priorities: Discover what the organization looks for in potential members; this will tell you a lot about the agency’s priorities and focus. Many organizations require various types of training or experience, including formal biblical training, technical training and experience in the local church. However, qualifications for cross-cultural ministry run much deeper than classroom training or experience, and it’s important to learn how much an organization stresses the value of individual prayer, Bible study and service.
Personnel: Learn about the people who minister with organizations you’re considering. Find out why they chose their particular agency and about their goals. Are they in agreement with the mission and each other? Learning about the people behind the policies is vital to understanding an organization.
Relationships with Other Organizations: Research how the organization relates to other like-minded agencies. Are they willing to cooperate and share efforts with other organizations to further the spread of the gospel? Is there a spirit of teamwork or competition toward other agencies? Since your local sending church will likely be your strongest prayer and financial supporter, a good relationship between them and your future organization is also important.
Placement Decisions: Find out who would be involved in deciding where and how you will serve. How will your gifts and abilities be assessed and considered? What assistance and information would they give to help you decide? How would you be placed on a team?
Don’t feel overwhelmed by this process! It doesn’t happen in a day. Take it one step at a time. Our mobilization mentors are here to help you. It’s our passion to see Christ glorified—in the nations and in your life. We are committed to helping you make the decision that will bring God the most glory and grow you to be a stronger follower of Jesus in the process.