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Questions about Global Missions?

What are the lengths of service options for cross-cultural missionary work?

By Mike K.  ·  3 minute read
Learning Center  »  What are the lengths of service options for cross-cultural missionary work?

If you reach out to SIM about serving in cross-cultural ministry, fairly quickly you’re likely to be asked:

“How long do you see yourself serving in cross-cultural missionary work?”

While SIM is committed to partnering with churches that send people in a long-term capacity, we recognize that other lengths of service may make sense as a starting point. As you’re reading through these options, start asking God how He may be leading you. Check out the Skills & Interests page here.

Short-term Missionary Work - Term of up to a year

Most short-term missions assignments range from two months up to a year. If you’d like to get some cross-cultural ministry experience under your belt, be a part of how God is at work around the world and see how you can be part of God’s mission for a lifetime, this could be a great option for you. It takes roughly four-to-five months in preparation, moving from the initial inquiry through our application process, completing your training and support raising, then heading out to your chosen location for ministry. Check out the short-term missions information here.

Mid-term Missionary Work - Term of 1-2 years

Maybe you’re in a stage of life where it might not be clear that committing to two-plus years of missionary service makes sense. Choosing this path will give you more pre-field cross-cultural and theological training than a short-term assignment. You can complete the remaining training on the field, which would prepare you for a long-term assignment, if the Lord has that for you. As you serve this mid-term length of service, you may decide you’d like to serve in a long-term capacity. If so, there would be a few additional steps to check off to return to your cross-cultural ministry work abroad. This process is similar to our long-term process in how long it takes to go from inquiry to your chosen location, about two years from inquiry to serving cross-culturally. It may be a bit shorter because there are fewer pre-field training requirements. Check out the Mid-Term missions page here.

Long-term Missionary Work - Term of 2+ years

A person seeking out a long-term missions assignment is not only looking at a multiple year term, but also likely thinking about serving multiple terms. This person is committed to learning the language and culture that will allow them to build relationships in their place of ministry and the community. On average, it takes about two years to go from inquiry to serving in your chosen location of ministry. Check out the long-term missions page here.

Mission Trip Internships

If you’re looking for mission trips for college students and wanting to explore what long-term ministry could look like, check out our Embark internship program. You’ll serve in a role tailored to your skills and interests while learning from veteran missionaries who can speak to what it’s like to serve in a long-term capacity. Internships are available for the fall and spring semesters, 15 weeks, and over the summer for nine-week terms.

Team Mission Trips

Perhaps you and a few others from your school, church, family, or community have a skill set that could benefit missionaries and projects in a certain location. These trips often span 10 days to a couple of weeks and give the team a chance to learn from long-term missionaries and gain exposure to the needs of other cultures. On average, it takes a few weeks to a couple of months to complete the process and prepare to head out to the missionary work.

Contact us today!

Want to talk to someone about your options for cross-cultural ministry? Looking at short-term missions, long-term missions or missions trips for college students? Fill out our inquiry form and our First Contact Coordinator will be in touch to talk about your options and suggest next steps.

Mike K.
Mobilization Coordinator

Mike enjoys journeying with people who are exploring how God may be calling them into cross-cultural ministry. He’s been in this role with SIM since the fall of 2021 and prior to that worked in campus ministry, coaching students to develop movements of evangelism and discipleship on their campuses.

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