by Will Rogers
If you are interested in full-time missionary jobs, you have come to the right place. There are many ways to do missionary work full time. In this post, I want to cover some types of work you can do full time, some priorities for you to consider, some challenges, how to connect with other missionaries and offer you some additional resources as you consider full-time missionary work.
Here are just a few examples of full-time missions work you can do:
Medical missions: You can go as a general practitioner, as a specialist, as a nurse, or as a therapist. There are hundreds of ways to engage in healthcare missions. You may also want to focus on medical education and training for indigenous workers
Business as mission: Taking your current job and doing it in an underserved or unreached area
Teaching overseas: Many people choose to teach overseas as a way to be in community with people that don’t know Jesus
Church planting: Traditional missionary work that focuses on planting a church in an unreached area and discipling community members in the life of Christ
The first thing to do is to find a sending agency that does this professionally. Be sure to ask lots of questions and do lots of research. Prepare yourself by looking into some kind of training - possibly start with the Blueprint e-course on mission preparation.
Watch out for these common challenges when it comes to full-time missionary jobs. How can a missionary best prepare for these challenges? These are a few of the common challenges I’ve seen over the years in working with missionaries and sending organizations. The challenges are great—from isolation to learning languages. We’ll talk about a few of the challenges below. But, understand, while the challenges are great, we serve a great God.
Burnout: we’ve written about spiritual burnout in detail before. It’s important you understand what it is, how to know if you’re experiencing it, and what you can do to overcome it.
Spiritual warfare: We are often unaware or reluctant to realize that some events are beyond our control and there is a spiritual battle taking place. Often, when you are doing God’s work and serving Him, you will face difficulties. Sadly, some of the most difficult problems you will see come from fellow missionaries and not from the people we are sent to care for. This will be tough on you in every way.
Children in Missions: It’s important to educate children while also seeking to involve children. While it can be a challenge, there are some vital ways you can involve children in missions. For example, you can teach children about missions. Make it fun. Tell stories of missionaries and how God used them. Pray for other missionaries. God can create a heart of missions and missionaries through your kids learning to pray for others. Have your kids be around other missionaries. Maybe it’s as simple as sharing a meal together with other missionaries.
The point is to have your children be exposed to others and their hearts and struggles. The more children see God work in other’s lives, the more they will be likely to see God at work in their own lives. Lastly, model with your kids how to love God and serve others. My guess is, you’re already doing this. But, just in case, it’s worth noting, be sure to explain to children why you’re doing what you are doing. Lead by example and by word.
There are many other challenges, from marriage in missions to the missing family "back home" and caring for elderly parents. There’s the feeling of being “between” and not “belonging anywhere” or not knowing international guidelines and standards for things such as relief, development, and clinical care. Maybe you have student debt and are wondering how you will ever pay it off. There are so many challenges, it’s tough to talk about them all here.
Remember it is the Father’s world and the Father’s job, not ours. We are just the physical expression of what God is doing in the areas we serve. Yes, there will be challenges. But, God has overcome all of these challenges—and so can you—with His help.
It will prove important for you to connect with other full-time missionaries over time. You will need mentors who have gone before you—who are steps ahead of you.
Ideas to help think through these challenges: Make an appointment to meet with a veteran missionary. Write out several questions beforehand (that deal with the issues we described above) and make note of their answers on this worksheet
When it comes to resources related to full-time missionary jobs, there are several options for finding help. I suggest starting with the following resources for tried and true help and encouragement:
Mission Training International (MTI): MTI’s vision is to see cross-cultural messengers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ experience effectiveness, endurance, and personal vitality.
Christian Health Service Corps: Christian Health Service Corps is a ministry of Christian doctors, health professionals, and health educators serving the poor in places that have little or no access to healthcare. Each year, we bring compassionate, life-saving health services to hundreds of thousands of families around the world. Our doctors and health professionals are often the only access to care for young families in poor communities. https://www.healthservicecorps.org/training/
On Being a Missionary by Tom Hale
Beyond Medicine: What else you need to know to be a healthcare missionary by Dave Stevens
Looming Transitions by Amy Young
Cultural Intelligence: Read this article for understanding cultural intelligence