God has called every Christian to play a part in his global mission. But how are you supposed to know if overseas ministry is for you?
Parts of life overseas are tough so you’ll need to genuinely want to go. There will be pulls in both directions so don’t get put off by doubts, but be encouraged by thoughts of enjoying the experience! Think of the Apostle Paul before his missionary journey to Rome: ‘I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.’ (Romans 1:15) If you’re seeking the Lord’s kingdom and will then you can be confident that your desire is God-given.
You’re more likely to know if long-term service is for you if you’ve given it a go short-term. Crosslinks mission partners serve for a minimum of three years and many go for a decade or more. Short-term trips (from two weeks to two years) are a great way to find out if long-term is for you – or if a particular ministry is for you. You might find you adapt well to the overseas life but the work you’re involved with isn’t one to commit to long-term: come back, re-group and go again!
If doors keep getting closed, perhaps this is God directing you to a different area of service? The Apostle Paul was often stopped from going where he wanted to go – he didn’t resist but followed God’s lead to put his ministry efforts into the place God put him. This might be a different overseas location or it may be ministry right where you are now.
Not all ministries can be replicated like-for-like in other cultures and contexts so find out if your gifts will be helpful. Perhaps there’s a need for what you can offer but you’ll have to reconsider the location. In some countries, unbelievers will be more receptive to the gospel if a local tells them about it – but there may be a huge shortage of people able to train nationals in bible colleges. Or the reverse may be the case – plenty of bible colleges but no church planters! Do some research and find out where your skills are most needed.
Consider what might make a move impractical right now – a medical condition, family responsibilities, current work or church commitments. It may be more feasible to wait a few years or focus on long-term ministry at home. Also, most mission partners have some theological or ministry training, to make them most useful to the people they are going to serve. It might be appropriate to invest in being trained first, before setting your sights on overseas service.
If you answered mostly yes, get in touch with us! We’d love to have a chat about how we can help you. A good first step is to fill out an enquiry form or read more about the process.
On the Crosslinks Inside Mission podcast, we speak to Harriet Algeo. She shares what was running through her mind when she was weighing up whether to move her young family to The Gambia. She tells us what her day-to-day school run looks like, how she's benefitted from knowing Gambian mothers and much more.
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