What practical matters do I need to consider?
There are many practical matters to consider when thinking about getting involved in mission long-term. This section aims to help you to begin to address these - and other - issues as you consider your involvement in world mission:
How do I deal with the concerns that my family are raising? How should I involve my church in this process? What training might I need? How should I go about raising personal support?
The relationship between your sending church and the organisation you choose to work 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 - mission agencies and organisations 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 long-term mission work in the UK or overseas. 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 (and others) can help in discerning your 'call', giving ongoing pastoral care, praying for you and supporting you practically and financially. The mission agency / organisation will help equip you for service, care for and support you, resource, inform and journey with you.
- Your church also needs to help you look for a ‘fit’ with any organisation 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 organisations 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 yourself – you might be amazed at how God could use you.
Follow this link for further information about organisations and mission agencies you might wish to consider.
Raising financial support for world mission can be one of the most positive and faith-building aspects of someone’s ministry.
However, it is also hard work and can be daunting and might even put some people off considering long-term mission work. But it doesn’t need to.
- Support-raising is about a lot more than money; it's about building a team around you who bring their financial support, prayers and encouragement. They, together with you, will enable someone somewhere to experience God’s love through your ministry. You just need the tools for the job of building the team.
- Each ministry has its own unique challenges and each individual's requirements will be different. Your mission agency / organisation and your church may have lots of helpful advice in this area.
- A strong support base needs a solid grounding - both in the biblical principles that underpin it and the practical steps that make it a reality. Stewardship run regular Support Raising training, and also provide a wealth of Resources for Christian Workers with helpful tips and guidance around support raising.
It is perfectly natural for other family members to be concerned about you if you are about to take off somewhere they know little or nothing about with a bunch of strangers.
But first, you need to establish what is behind their objections.
- If their concern is for your protection and safety, then do what you can to address their concerns. Get the mission agency / organisation you’ll be serving with to talk to them and give them every possible reassurance. Involve your church leaders if necessary. Talking to others who have had similar concerns may also help them.
- If your family members are not Christians then you need to be sensitive in how you handle the situation. But if this is the case then they may never agree with any Christian activity you engage in or understand why you would want to be involved in world mission. Even if your family members are Christians they still might not understand why you are taking this step.
- If at the end of this they still object (for instance, because they think you are giving up a good career or moving the grandchildren too far away) then you need to ask yourself questions about what’s most important. If God is clearly guiding you into Christian service - and your church endorses this - then you may need to just go ahead and pray that your family come round to the idea in time. However, God asks us to respect and honour our families, and so you should also do what you can to protect your relationship with them whilst explaining why you feel it is right to go ahead.
- At the same time, keep seeking advice from people you respect, or others who have gone before you – they may help you to find a way through the difficulty, or to resolve some of the objections your family are raising.