Although making disciples is a commandment given to all Jesus followers, God does not call everyone to cross-cultural ministry. Many times, the wrong motivations or expectations can damage both missionaries and the people they are trying to serve. In addition, certain life circumstances hinder willing and qualified servants from making the deep, lasting influence they want to for Christ.
In order to see whether you are a good fit for missions and for WorldVenture, here are some questions to ask yourself as you think about these crucial decisions:
1. What does your current relationship with Jesus look like?
It all begins and ends here. The Bible warns against doing great things for Jesus, but never truly knowing Him. At WorldVenture, we want to work with you to ensure that you not only have an intellectual understanding of who Jesus is, but that you have truly surrendered your life to Him.
2. How are you currently involved in a local church?
As uncomfortable as it may sound, this a question of integrity. We cannot invite others around the world into the global community of Christ without participating ourselves. Imagine discipling a new believer in another culture, and when asked to describe what your church is like back home, you answer that while Jesus is your savior, you don’t really think gathering in community is important. If the church truly is the bride of Christ, then our conduct should reflect that reality both here and abroad.
3. Should you go short-term first?
Cross cultural ministry, just like anything else in life, is not for everyone. There are unique challenges that come with attempting to integrate into another world. Committing full time to facing those challenges without any context is not something we advise. Taking the time to engage in quality, short-term learning experiences now will help you to form a framework with which you can assess your fit for cross-cultural ministry. We highly recommend it.
4. What are your motivations for going overseas?
This is not meant to be yet another attempt at instilling guilt in you about some “savior complex” or a badgering of your well-intentioned desire to see change in the lives of people in need. That said, a healthy self examination of why you desire to serve globally is a good thing to do. Often, because of our life experiences, there can be subtle themes in the background leading us abroad and inevitably to unmet expectations. We don’t expect you to be perfect, but this is a key question to ask yourself as you consider global service.
5. What kind of obligations do you have?
It takes an enormous amount of time and energy to learn a new world and redefine what is normal. Because of that, we like to see people be free of distractions that might negatively affect that process. Heavy debt loads, family obligations, and other factors can all be used by the enemy to add stress. We encourage people, knowing that no plan is fool-proof and life is unpredictable, to be free of as many obligations at home as possible so that they can focus on integrating into their new one.
6. Are you good at working on a team?
We don’t want lone rangers. We’re looking for people who believe that more can be accomplished together than apart. That’s not to say all of our teammates are raging extraverts that need people around them 24/7. But we highly value collaboration, especially with our local partners on the ground. Our teams can also be a place of recovery and refreshment away from the daily grind. Without that, it becomes harder and harder to last.
7. Are you willing to raise support?
For many people, this can be the most intimidating aspect of serving with an organization like ours. We’re not going to lie: support raising, or partnership development, as we say, is hard work. It requires discipline, perseverance, and creativity. On the other hand, we have seen it be an experience that grows people in ways they never could have imagined. Raising up a partner team frees up global workers to pursue opportunities and experiment with strategies to a degree that other models do not. Also, the direct connections that are formed between you and your partnership team can be essential to surviving on the field long-term. All that to say, we don’t see this aspect of your ministry as a side note, but as an essential piece. We sincerely believe the benefits far outweigh the costs.