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What kind of work skills are needed to become a missionary?

By Sandy R.  ·  3 minute read
Learning Center  »  What kind of work skills are needed to become a missionary?

What kind of work skills are needed to become a missionary?

As you prepare for missions and discern if the Lord is leading you to cross-cultural ministry, you may ask yourself, “What skills are needed to become a missionary?” The first step is exploring all your options for missionary service and learning more about what it takes to serve cross-culturally.

Any work skill can be used in cross-cultural ministry settings. Work skills that are the most helpful as you work in missions are:

  • Work skills that open doors to building relationships with the local people.
  • Work skills that are culturally appropriate and will benefit the country of service.
  • Work skills that are team-oriented. Your skills will contribute to the overall vision and strategy of the leadership and team in your country of service.

Any skill you need for your current workplace/role could be useful in cross-cultural work and ministry settings. God has created each of us with a unique personality and gifts and skills that we use daily in our homes, community and workplaces. When you consider serving in cross-cultural ministry as a missionary worker with SIM, these skills are needed to make the gospel known and as a useful part of the team to which you are going. As part of a cross-cultural ministry team, we need each other, and our skills will complement each other as we all do our part in reaching those who need the gospel.

SIM’s ultimate purpose is to reach those who have not heard of Jesus Christ. This is done through many different avenues, and we need people with various work skills in missions work.

Work skills and jobs for cross-cultural missionaries.

As you consider becoming a missionary, there are many avenues to serving cross-culturally with your work skills and education.

  • Medical (surgery, nursing, pharmacy, dental, PT, OT, and so much more).
  • Trauma healing therapy and counseling.
  • Teachers, educators, curriculum developers, and administrators that will be useful in local schools, schools for missionary and ex-pat children, Bible Schools, Seminaries or Training Centers for local church leaders.
  • Church leadership and church planting skills; people who are gifted in evangelism, teaching, training, discipleship, and mentoring.
  • Business and entrepreneurial skills and experience. To work in an existing business or start a business in countries where this will open doors for the gospel and benefit the local people.
  • Leadership and administrative skills. The key to our workers’ fulfilling their roles and being focused and fruitful in their specific ministry means that other workers are in much-needed support roles on their team. These skills include management, IT, finance/accounting, hospitality, member care, coaching and mentoring.
  • Skills classified as technical, such as construction and maintenance, engineers, technicians, pilots, and mechanics.
  • Creative arts, media/communication skills.

Using your skills and work experience in cross-cultural missions.

In my experience in the overseas receiving field as a Personnel Coordinator and more recently working with our missions organization on the sending-side of missionary work, I have seen various skills being used in traditional and creative ways. It is important to remember that whatever work skills you have must fit in with the culture you will serve as a missionary. You must also be part of the vision and strategy of the overseas receiving administration. Your work as a missionary will complement the whole team. Talk to a missions coach about how you can start your journey to becoming a missionary.

Is there an educational skill or requirement to become a missionary?

The short answer is no. There is no education skills or requirement to become a missionary. SIM does not necessarily require a college degree, seminary degree, master’s degree, or Ph.D. for you to be accepted as a missionary. Not everyone in SIM has a degree, but many do. There are a few reasons why a degree may be necessary to become a missionary:

  • Working in any professional capacity (i.e., medical, financial business) will require a college degree and experience. Diplomas, certificates etc., are required by many countries for work permits.
  • Many countries will require a degree just for entry visa purposes.

One of SIM’s values is to encourage life-long learning for the missionaries we work with. For some, that will require keeping up their professional licenses; for others, it means ongoing learning that will contribute to their cross-cultural work and roles in their country of service.

As you can see, there are no hard and fast rules about what skills and education are needed to become a missionary. Interested in learning more? Contact us today to start your exploration of how to become a missionary.

Sandy R.
Applicant Coordinator

My husband Jim and I served in Niger for many years; he was a pilot/mechanic for SIMAIR and I was the Personnel Coordinator, along with the responsibilities for my family.  My role at SIM USA involves walking with long term applicants through our screening process, finding a good placement fit for them, and through the final membership approval process.

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