exploring cross-cultural ministry
Short-term assignments with SIM are typically longer than two months but less than a year and are designed with two primary purposes in mind. The first is to maximize the impact of current ministry going on in a given location, and the second is to provide the short-term missionary with an opportunity to experience what God is doing in and through SIM in that place. We don’t do “mission trips” because it’s popular; we provide opportunities for people to take steps toward a lifetime of being on mission with God, whether or not that means continuing in overseas ministry with SIM.
It is the goal of the Short Term Department of SIM USA to offer visitors/volunteers ministry opportunities as they consider their place in God’s global work. We believe that, as the Lord leads, team members will develop a lifetime commitment to pray, give, or go for a longer time. We desire to see open doors for churches, schools, colleges, institutions, organizations, and other groups and individuals to develop an ongoing relationship and to partner with mission fields and SIM-related ministries.
SIM USA envisions teams, visitors and volunteers who are resourceful, well-prepared people who are ready to make a contribution to the ministry of field missionaries; willing to expose their hearts and minds to the needs and challenges of our fields; and are open to learning and growing from their contact with missionaries and local people.
If you are interested in exploring opportunities for a short term team to contribute God’s long term work of bring good news to hard places, email SIMUSA.ShortTermTeams@sim.org.
the journey to a short-term assignment
Begin the application process by completing a brief online inquiry form. A member of the Recruitment Team will contact you to hear your story, share some of ours, and explore possible next steps with you. As the Lord continues to open doors, we will personally guide you through the rest of the application process, which includes the completion of a preapplication and a formal application. The PreApp asks basic questions looking for big picture responses, and the info it gathers becomes the basis for the formal application.
When the formal application is complete, your Recruitment Coordinator will connect you with an Applicant Coordinator, who will walk the next leg of the journey with you. From this point on, you’ll be able to track your progress online through our Application Dashboard.
We are unable to approve an application until we have received some key pieces of information, namely, until all your references complete the short questionnaire we send them, and until we receive your completed medical history form. The information we gather is handled confidentially and in compliance with the Authorization for Release of Information, which your Applicant Coordinator will send when he or she connects with you.
Please keep these important dates in mind if you are planning to serve in the summer:
- January 15 – Deadline for completing application for a departure in May
- February 1 – Deadline for completing application for a departure in June or July
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Preparing for Your Journey
Relationship Development Ministry (RDM)
RDM is the acronym we’ve given to the process of building a support team for ministry with SIM. You’ve probably already begun the process by talking with your family and friends about your interest in going overseas. We will provide tools and coaching that will help you prepare to communicate your prayer and financial support needs.
We will provide you with the listing of required vaccinations for your area of service after your placement has been confirmed.
We will also set up your travel itinerary during your time with SIM. This includes domestic travel to our office in Charlotte, NC for orientation, as well as the international travel to your place of ministry.
Before leaving for your assignment, you will visit our campus for a few days of basic orientation with veteran missionaries. Some of the topics covered include:
• An introduction to SIM’s history and core values.
• An overview of the religious systems likely to be encountered and how to respond to them.
• Discussions on the joys and challenges of cross-cultural living and serving as part of a multicultural team.
• Maintaining your own personal spiritual development while serving others.
Arrival and Ministry
When you arrive in your country of service, SIM personnel will orient you to your new surroundings and ministry. While in the host culture, you’ll work alongside people from numerous other sending countries, providing you with all of the joys and challenges of serving in an international community. Get ready to be stretched!
You’ll have an end-of-term interview as you close your time of overseas service. Before returning to your hometown, you’ll spend a couple days at the U.S. Office in Charlotte. During your visit, you’ll participate in a reentry interview, giving you the opportunity to begin to unpack your experience on the field. You’ll also meet with people in various departments to review your accounts, discuss possible personnel needs, and to prepare for what comes next. Coming home can be more difficult than leaving home was, so we’ll talk about those dynamics and help you make the adjustment well.
As part of the reentry process you will be given a chance to meet with our medical staff to discuss your physical health over the last term and to receive information you may need for follow up.
Continuing in Mission
Concluding your short-term assignment doesn’t mean an end to your involvement in mission! Our prayer is that your experience will fuel your engagement in God’s mission, whether that means returning to serve overseas, becoming a financial partner, or recruiting others to go and serve like you did. We’re here to assist you as you explore next steps in pursuing what God has for you. We want to help keep you connected God’s work around the world.