Can I Be A Missionary If _________?

Questions people ask us about becoming a missionary



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September 19, 2018


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Check out this article, Can I Be A Missionary If _________?: Mission mentors talk, text or exchange emails with more than 2,000 people a year. Recently we picked their brains about the questions people ask.


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If you reach out to Pioneers about serving in missions, a mission mentor like Kim may be the first person you have a real conversation with. Each year our mission mentors talk, text or exchange email with more than 2,000 people interested in missions. So, recently we picked their brains about questions people ask and other topics that come up in those conversations.

This is part of a series about overcoming obstacles to serving in missions.

Q: What do people bring up that they are afraid might be obstacles to joining a mission agency?

There are a lot of different things. They are looking for confirmation that they are really called to missions, especially if they don’t have specific direction from the Lord about how, where and when to go.

They may feel led into missions but want to get married first. Or maybe they are married but their spouse isn’t ready for this. Some have been divorced or have student debt or health issues and wonder if those things disqualify them from missions. They aren’t sure about leaving their families or getting their kids’ needs met overseas.

Some are concerned about raising support. Others are discouraged that the process can take so long.

Q: What do you tell them?

We talk through their fears and obstacles. We let them know that they are not alone; others are in the same boat. We tell them our own stories about raising support. Stories seem to help. We provide articles or resources about their specific obstacles, and, of course, we pray with them about these things.

Even if they aren’t ready to go, we encourage them to talk and pray about their plans with others. We suggest they talk to their church leaders and look for short-term mission trips, especially if they can go with their church.

Q: What misconceptions do people have about what “qualifies” someone to serve in mission?

Some think you need to be a Bible teacher or “super Christian.” They may think they need to have a seminary degree. Others know they are going to need Bible training but don’t realize they can apply and even join an agency first. People wonder if they can go if they have young kids or several kids. They don’t realize all the ways their kids can open doors.

Those who have struggled with past sins or addictions need to know those things don’t automatically disqualify them. Often people put missionaries on a pedestal and have a hard time seeing themselves achieving that status. Some don’t understand that God uses ordinary people who love Him and are completely surrendered to His will.

Often people put missionaries on a pedestal and have a hard time seeing themselves achieving that status. Some don’t understand that God uses ordinary people who love Him and are completely surrendered to His will.

Q: How would you describe a good candidate for Pioneers? What are you looking for? What questions do you ask them?

Do they have a heart for God, not just missions? Are they open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, flexible, humble and ready to learn? Are they passionate about taking Christ’s name to those who have not heard? Do they have a heart for church planting and the unreached? Do their values fit with the core values of Pioneers? Those people are the ones we’re looking for. Those who are ready to learn and grow.

Q: Can you tell us about someone you’ve seen overcome obstacles and grow?

When Sarah showed up at orientation for Edge, our summer missions program, she was fearful and filled with self-doubt. She had never been overseas before, and Satan was working hard to discourage her.

Over the course of the orientation, Jada, a mission mentor, met with Sarah and prayed with her, watching God work in her team to humble them and draw them together. Sarah asked Jada to pray that she would have boldness and continue to walk in her identity in Christ as she spent the summer in Southeast Asia.

When she returned for debriefing, her countenance and confidence in Jesus and His Word was astounding. She couldn’t stop talking about how God had equipped her with Himself. She had all she needed. The Holy Spirit had given wisdom, guidance, peace and calm for every situation she had faced. She told Jada story after story of ways He showed up—and showed off—in and through her and her team. Wow. Praise the Lord.

Talk to one of our mission mentors. Their heart is to listen to your story, help you discern where God is leading you and pray with you in your next steps.

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Thinking about missions, but anxious about raising support? You’re not alone. In What About Raising Support? a Pioneer named Ethan shares how he’s come to appreciate the privilege.

Check out A Long-Term Pursuit for more on the process of joining Pioneers.

Think Pioneers could be a fit? Come find out. Explore Serving With Pioneers describes a five-day event where you can get to know us and we can get to know you.

Read an interview with one of our candidate coaches, So You Think You Want to Be a Pioneer.

A conversation with Kim, a Latina, who thought God would send her to a Spanish-speaking context.