Get Ready, Get Set, Go! Preparing to Serve on the Field

Five questions applicants ask about joining Pioneers


Joe Henry


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December 18, 2020


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Check out this article, Get Ready, Get Set, Go! Preparing to Serve on the Field: Got questions? Here’s how Pioneers answers five commonly asked questions about preparing for effective cross-cultural ministry.


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Pioneers serve in diverse locations and unique roles, and each person who joins Pioneers comes with distinct skills, education and background. With that in mind, we do not take a “cookie-cutter” approach to pre-field preparation. Instead, our goal is to connect qualified people with global opportunities—and to make sure that everyone going to the field is prepared for effective ministry.

Pioneers does not take a “cookie-cutter” approach to pre-field preparation.

1. What does that preparation plan look like for me?

Because of our creative approach, there isn’t a definitive answer. However, we do have some basics that we believe are critical not just to your preparation but also to your fruitfulness and longevity in cross-cultural ministry.

2. Do I need a college degree, and, in particular, a Bible college or seminary degree?

Those are not mandatory. But we do require you to complete a series of six Bible courses before you go. These include an Old Testament survey, New Testament survey, hermeneutics and basic theology. See Required Bible Courses for more detail.

You may also find training in missiology and ministry skills helpful and these may be required before you can serve in certain roles. We highly recommend Perspectives on the World Christian Movement as part of your preparation.

3. How involved is my home church?

We take the local church partnership very seriously and require each member to have a sending church. We ask the church to embrace its primary role of spiritual authority as it strives to be a catalyst in the training, care and funding of its worker.

See also: Going to the Ends of the Earth? Bring Your Church Along!

4. What kind of references do I need?

Most importantly, we obtain a reference from your sending church’s pastor/leader. We also ask for six general references from friends, employers, co-workers, spiritual mentors and/or missionaries who know you well. We desire to get a deeper look at a broad cross-section of your life.

5. What other issues do you consider?

During our application process, we also seek to discern an applicant’s spiritual maturity, gifts and service, emotional and physical health, missiological understanding, relational skills, cross-cultural experience, language and cultural acumen, calling and vision. We might ask you to pursue further development in one or several of those areas. Our goal is to better equip you to thrive on an overseas ministry team.

The application process includes a short Start form to be followed by an interview and a longer application, references, and, finally, an assessment of your doctrinal beliefs as well as a short series of psychological tests. Then, when you attend one of our Explore sessions, a candidate committee and a licensed counselor will work together to determine whether to offer you appointment as a missionary and, if so, to formulate a unique list of pre-field requirements for you.

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Take the next step

More on preparing for the field

See how Pioneers answers 21 questions about what it looks like to go with Pioneers.

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

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