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Questions about Global Missions?

How do I know if I am being called to be a missionary?

By Lauren G.  ·  5 minute read
Learning Center  »  How do I know if I am being called to be a missionary?

Here’s a question I think many working in Christian ministries hear too often:

How do I know if I’m “called to become a missionary?”

The problem? It’s the wrong question!

The truth is: If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ—Congratulations! You have been “called” to become a missionary. He invites all who follow Him to take up His cross and follow Him: To do what He did. He has made you a “fisher of people.”

Importance of the great commission.

The command to go and make disciples, our great commission—is a fundamental part of living as a Christian in this present world. It’s our privilege as God’s children, “born from above,” to now get to be partners with Him in bringing this same spiritual rebirth to the people around us. But, of course, God is not leading every believer in your church to go and disciple others as cross-cultural missions workers.

You may already be preparing to become a missionary.

Most of us disciple others and help them move closer to Jesus right here at home in ways that sound familiar. They include:

  • Being a volunteer youth leader.
  • Intentionally loving your neighbors and building relationships with them.
  • Leading a Bible study in your office.
  • Inviting friends from soccer/knitting club/playgroup to church.
  • Being vulnerable about your spiritual journey with the spiritually sensitive people in your various circles of life.

So, yes. You’re called to replicate your faith and sow into the spiritual growth of others and your local church body as you become a missionary.

Questions about being called to missions.

Suppose you’re questioning whether God might be leading you to live cross-culturally and minister to grow God’s kingdom overseas. In that case, one good question to ask first is: Am I faithfully ministering right now at home?

If you are not intentionally nurturing others in the faith or sowing into your local body here in the United States, you are unlikely to begin doing so after you’ve moved overseas to a new and different cultural context.

But the Lord is not leading us all to leave our lives and careers here in the United States to go and live cross-culturally in another country. That would be impractical!

God calls us all in different ways.

God calls all believers to relationship with Himself, salvation, holiness, spiritual growth, purity, evangelism and disciple-making, to suffer for His name, and to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. He leads us to live out our faith in different places and ways through many seasons of life.

And so, SIM wants to encourage all believers to share the good news and consider a different question than, “Am I called to become a missionary?”

What’s your answer to the question, “Is God leading me to serve and live cross-culturally as a missionary?”

It’s this: IF, at some point in your life, God did tug in your heart and ask you to consider serving Him overseas, would you say yes?

Are you willing to become a missionary and live cross-culturally?

The core of the question is whether or not we’re willing to trust God with our futures. But be warned … if you put your yes on the table, he might ask you to go! Maybe not now, maybe 30 years from now. Would you still go?

Right now, there are many American Christians who are asking themselves that question!

We can help you explore your questions about becoming a missionary and cross-cultural ministry work.

SIM USA has an event, Connect, for those exploring becoming a missionary and using their lives and skills to nurture new believers and the local church where God wants to plant them.

During this three-day event, mission leaders and potential missionaries come to SIM USA to worship and fellowship with others who are like them, to meet and hear from workers who have gone and served abroad before, to talk with our mobilization team about all the different ways and places to go, and pray through additional questions like:

How do I know if I’m in the will of God?
How do I discern where He is leading me?
How can God use all He has given me for His kingdom?
Am I missionary material?

So, how do you know if God might be leading you to serve Him in cross-cultural missions as a missionary?

Understanding God’s leading often comes gradually and through community, and the key is obedience. At SIM USA, it is our pleasure to journey with people living in pursuit of God and trusting Him to reveal the next steps.

For those ready to submit themselves to the Lord’s leading and take the next step of discernment, the next right step might be completing SIM USA’s Application and Assessment.

Are you ready to become a missionary?

What do you do if you want to know if you’re qualified for a job? You put in an application, supply your resume and qualifications, and ask those who are already doing what you propose to do: “What do you think? Am I a good fit? How should I proceed?

As you start the process of becoming a missionary, potential missionary workers who move forward with the SIM USA application undergo a thorough assessment process (theological, medical, psychological, and more). Taking this holistic look at their lives and life-stage realities helps us care well for applicants and, together with their church, discern how God is leading. Inevitably, there comes consensus, a shared sense of direction.

The first step of joining SIM USA—the Application and Assessment process—is designed to lovingly serve and protect those seeking the Lord’s leading for their futures.

  • The Missionary Assessment Process explores where you go.
  • The Missionary Assessment Process explores the best fit for you.
  • The Missionary Assessment Process explores the right timing.
  • The Missionary Assessment Process explores if SIM USA is your best fit.

Learn details about each stage of the Assessment process here. (link to assessment question article)

Becoming a missionary.

Working as a missionary, moving overseas to serve cross-culturally, entering professional ministry, and serving in least-reached contexts come with challenges. Our heart is to send well because we care deeply about the long-term success and growth of those we journey with.

Although this process can be lengthy, it’s a valuable one.

Out of this assessment also comes the information needed to help us better understand what it will take to train, equip, and journey with you well so that you continue to thrive in your new cultural context for as long as God wills.

Read more about how to become a missionary and grow God’s kingdom among the least-reached around the world:

LINK: ARTICLE TITLE (to-do list: preparing to go)
LINK: ARTICLE TITLE (how much do I have to raise?)

Finally, as you explore if the Lord is leading you to become a missionary, talk with missionaries. What was their experience? What can you learn from their journey? Meet some of the American workers recently mobilized through SIM USA and learn more about their experiences:

Meet the Bonners

Helpful steps to discerning if God is calling you to become a missionary.

The first step is prayer as you explore if God is leading you to become a missionary and work in cross-cultural ministry. Then you can examine where you are serving right now, talk with your pastor or missions pastor at your church about becoming a missionary, research mission-sending agencies, speak with individuals currently serving as cross-cultural missionaries and attend a Connect Event. These steps are helpful as you discern if God is calling you to become a missionary.

Lauren G.
Creative Director

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