How To Become A Missionary

How To Become A True Missionary

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How To Become A Missionary

How To Become A MissionaryAre you feeling called to become a Missionary and wondering how to become one? If you ask around on how to become a missionary, the answers typically deal with how to raise support, contact mission boards, learn the language, what to pack, immunizations, etc.

But before researching how to become a missionary, it is imperative - since about half of all missionaries don't last beyond their first term and many return without completing it (see Missionaries) - for you to make sure that becoming a missionary is truly your calling. The questions below should help.

1.  Are you saved?

The knee-jerk reaction is "of course," but many missionaries aren't. Some get saved on the mission field but others return unsaved after hurting themselves, the locals and the Lord's honor. Honestly re-examine yourself, including any secret sins, to make sure that you truly have been born again. Seek candid opinions from mature Christians who know you well and have the courage to share any doubts.

2.  Will you be carrying forth the true Gospel?

Will the message you carry abroad be about sin, hell, repentance, Christ's atoning death, resurrection, salvation and sanctification? Or will it be about health, wealth, prosperity, the Four Spiritual Laws, Bible-contradicting wonders or your personal tales? Hell-bound souls need Jesus and His salvation, not tales, emotionalism or how to live their best life now. Too many "missionaries" already preach the latter to lead the sheep astray and inoculate them against the true Gospel.

3.  Can you exegete the Bible?

Missionaries are spiritual warriors wielding the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. The mission field is rife with demonic religions, pseudo-Christian cults and heresies. If you do not carry a sharp sword of the Spirit into the spiritual battlefield, you will be unable to defend yourself or your flock, let alone attack the enemy to expand the Lord's kingdom.

4.  Have you been faithful in little?

"And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities'" (Luke 19:17). Is sharing the Gospel already your daily priority? Do you regularly share the Gospel with your family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, classmates and strangers? Do you witness to the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Mormon missionaries and the Muslims in your town? If not, why would God send you afar to do what you don't do at home?

5.  Are you already a missionary to foreigners?

Over a million foreign students from over 200 countries, including over 300,000 from China alone (see China Outreach Ministries), study at American colleges. Ninety percent of them will return home without having heard the Gospel and 80% without having been invited into an American home. They understand English, and Christians cannot enter as missionaries to a quarter of their countries, where sharing the Gospel risks deportation, imprisonment or execution. If you haven't shared the Gospel with the foreigners at a nearby college campus in English and with freedom, why would God send you afar to do it in a foreign language and under persecution?

6.  Do you want to become a missionary or a humanitarian?

Providing medical services, distributing food and relief supplies, building buildings, caring for orphans, teaching the poor, etc., are good activities that help the locals but still leave them hell-bound. Christians who do the above but not share the Gospel are humanitarians, not missionaries. Governments and religions beholden to Satan welcome humanitarians but persecute missionaries. Which will you be?

7.  Are you leaving to serve or to escape?

God can use tragedy to time a called missionary's departure abroad, but a divorce, broken engagement, loved one's death, business failure or job loss do not by themselves constitute the call to become a missionary. Has God truly called you to become a missionary or are you just seeking to escape and/or start over?

8.  Are you leaving to achieve great things for God?

God doesn't need you. He is God and will be fine without you. That He chooses to use the unworthy for His worthy work is an undeserved privilege for us. If you become a missionary to achieve great things for God, He will grind you into powder on the mission field. When the clay realizes that he is nothing and becomes fine in the hands of the Potter, He starts to spin it into a vessel for His glory.

9.  Are you leaving for adventure or to live on support?

Novelty wears off quickly and living on donations is humbling and challenging. If you want rugged international adventure, go on a backpacking trip. If you are seeking to escape poverty, you will make more money working at home than begging for it abroad.

10.  Can you live like the locals?

Can you live where the locals live, eat what they eat, drink what they drink and breathe what they breathe? Can you sleep on box springs, cots, mud floor, straw or hammocks, and eat chicken feet, rats, monkeys and snakes? Or do you need a pillowtop, Starbucks, Western food, hygiene and comforts? China's air pollution causes hair loss, acne, lung diseases and kills an estimated 4,000 per day. India's air is even worse. Can you live in that? Be sure to count your costs before, not after, you leave.

11.  Are you in bondage to sin?

Are you hiding an addiction to pornography, drugs, alcohol or some other secret sin? A problem at home becomes a disaster on the mission field, where white skin can be fawned over and a Western drug misdemeanor can be a capital offense. Gain victory over your addiction before you head abroad, lest it follow and destroy you, and tarnish Jesus' honor.

12.  Are you hoping to find a Christian warrior husband or wife?

See Missionary Men and Women Missionaries.

13.  Can you be alone?

Before you leave for the mission field, multitudes will promise to keep in touch with you and keep you in their prayers. Sooner than you expect, almost all of them will forget you, and those not born again in your family will resent your absence. Locally, you will become popular if you preach the prosperity false "gospel" or some other fleshly heresy. The more you preach the true Gospel, the more you will be rejected, including by Western missionaries who preach heresies, while those who become converted by the true Gospel will remain people to whom you minister. If being alone with just Jesus isn't more than sufficient for you, stay home and focus on your relationship with Him until it is.

14.  Have you died to yourself?

When Jesus told us to "take up the cross, and follow Me" (Mark 10:21), He was telling us to die to ourselves so that we may produce: "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain" (John 12:24).

To become a missionary and serve as Jesus' ambassador, you need to crucify your desires for earthly possessions, positions and passions. If you haven't crucified them, you may fall while trying to fulfill them abroad, especially if you feel that Jesus owes you something for your 'sacrifice' of serving Him as a missionary.

If instead you are convinced that His cross is already far more than you deserve and that the rest of your life is to be a living sacrifice for Him (see John Allen Chau), you will be better prepared to resist the temptations, walk your talk, and produce much grain for Christ.