What are some of the age and life-skills requirements to becoming a missionary?
Overall, SIM is not characterized by any specific age, demographic or life stage when one is looking to become a missionary. God seems to be calling/leading people in many life stages, including young professionals, families, and those who are looking toward retirement. However, there are a few requirements that need to be met to work with SIM USA.
Requirements for becoming a missionary:
- Short-Term Missions = Assignment of 1 year or less
- 18+ years old
- You must be 18+ to sign some forms and waivers.
- Mid-Term Missions = Assignment of 1-2 years
- Long-Term Missions = Assignment of 2+ years
- 2+ years of independent living managing finances, taking care of one’s health, pursuing a career, and maintaining personal relationships.
Life skills needed to become a missionary.
- Willingness to serve – grow – learn
- Time management
- Emotionally healthy
- Team player
- Profession/degree may or may not be needed, depending on role and placement.
Willingness to become a missionary.
The life skills needed to start the journey to becoming a missionary and serving cross-culturally begin with a willingness to serve and to learn:
A willingness to go through the training process to become a missionary,
a willingness to grow spiritually and emotionally,
and even a willingness to learn a new language!
Through the process of preparing to become a missionary and when serving in your ministry, there is always something new to do and learn.
Flexibility when becoming a missionary.
Missionaries are people who can roll with the punches when your luggage gets lost, there is a language faux pas, or when your ministry role doesn’t look like what you thought it would. This applies to short-term mission trips and long-term mission work. We are looking for people willing to serve cross-culturally, maybe even in areas that you never thought you’d serve in. (No one is going to force you to do something, but we want people who are willing to work within the ministry direction of Field Leadership).
Emotional health is important for missionaries.
Some people want to know if they can still have a professional role while being a missionary. YES! There are many opportunities to go through alternative pathways as you serve cross-culturally and to work as a professional in another country.
Other people want to know if they must have a profession or degree to become a missionary. This largely depends on what area of ministry you are hoping to serve in and where you might be going. Many countries require a college degree to get a long-term visa, and a degree is not always required for a ministry role. (Although if someone is planning to be a doctor, we want them to have completed medical school and to be a competent doctor!)
Being a team player in short-term mission trips and long-term missions work.
We have people serving from everywhere to everywhere at SIM. When you’re on a team with SIM, you are likely serving under a team leader who is from a different nation than you. Your teammates are not all Americans, either! We are looking for people who are flexible, humble, and able to work on a team cross-culturally as they serve in missions.
Theological and seminary training in missions work.
SIM USA does not require you to have a seminary degree or theological education to serve in missions. But we do want you to be prepared to share the gospel and to be doctrinally sound. Our training department also does a great job of making sure everyone is prepared theologically. You can read more about that HERE.
You have what it takes to start the journey of becoming a missionary!
People regularly say that God doesn’t always call the equipped, He equips those He calls to join Him at work. The life skills you already have are a gift that you can bring to the table in a multi-cultural, international team. As for the skills that you don’t have yet, I’m sure that God will continue to equip you as you learn and grow in Him.
Want to talk to someone about next steps? Click here to connect with a coach.
Erica has served with various missions and non-profits in the US, Central Asia, Belize, and Central America. She would tell you that SIM feels like family to her. She was born in Bolivia while her parents were serving as missionaries with SIM. Erica has served as an Applicant Coordinator since August of 2021, walking alongside applicants, and helping them find the right placement. In her spare time, she enjoys training for triathlons.