The relationship between your sending church and the mission agency you choose to go with is very important. It needs to be a real partnership and a committed relationship with responsibilities and expectations on both sides. Your home church has a key role in sending you and is the place to begin - agencies exist to help churches fulfill God’s mandate for world mission, not the other way round. It is also important that you are already active in a local church in the UK if you wish to be considered for overseas mission. Talk with your church leaders and others in the church who know you best and use their wisdom to help you in the decision-making process. Your church can help in discerning your call, give ongoing pastoral care, pray for you and support you practically and financially. The mission agency will help equip you for service, care for and support you overseas, resource, inform and journey with you.
Your church also needs to help you look for a ‘fit’ with any mission agency you are thinking you might go with. Do you and your church share their vision and values? Check out their mission statement. If possible, go along to one of their events in the UK to meet some of the team and learn more.
The other area your church and mission agencies can help you with is in determining where there is most need in the world. Think and pray about your involvement in those areas and places where people are most unreached. Be prepared to be challenged or re-directed. Perhaps there is more need for you in places or projects which you haven’t yet considered?
Most importantly, pray and talk with your church leaders right from the start, and look for an opportunity with the attitude that it’s a chance for you to serve God and his church throughout the world, rather than focussing solely on what you initially think is best for you – you might be amazed at how God could use you.