3 Things to do Before Heading for the Mission Field
1. Set up a Solid Support Structure
This is not just your financial supporters. These are the people who have your back. In fact it is not just one group of people but different groups of people. The more the better!
- Your sending church. Do you have a church sending you out? You are really just an extension of your local church so make sure that you are on the same page with them. If you have been away at Bible College or elsewhere for a while make time to have a season back serving with you home church and building up relationships. This is imperative for longevity on the field and will serve you well once you are ready to launch out. As a friend once said to me "Sow into your church and the will sow into you."
- A Sending agency. Some churches and denominations are so well set up for sending missionaries that you won't need a separate sending agency. However if you do need one some you may want to try are. You can have both a sending church and a sending agency. Again. the more the merrier.
Wycliffe Bible Translators (They don't only do Bible Translation. There are lots of other support roles that they need filling)
- A Sending Team. This is a specific group of people that will surround you in prayer and practical helps as you are preparing to go, while you are on the field and when you return for furlough, home assignment or re-entry. A great book about how to do this is Serving as Senders by Neil Pirolo. However this is not just for you to read but for your sending team members to read as well.
- Supporters. Well, duh. Let's just be honest of course in order to get out there you need money. However as I myself have found people support you not necessarily your mission. So that means relationships need to be built. However know what your financial need is and what kind of monthly donations you need so you can clearly communicate that. A great resource is www.peopleraising.com Bill Dillon has a lot of great tips as well as a good book on the subject.
- Prayer Supporters. Even though this is listed last it should really be your first priority. We do not war against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers. Because of that you NEED warriors backing you in the spiritual realm. There have been so many times when I know that a victory has come ONLY because of these warriors backing me in prayer. A great way to mobilize prayer warriors is to set up a private prayer group on facebook and post weekly requests and praise reports there.
2. Get some Training
These training are some that I have found helpful. They are not an either or thing as much as they are attend as many as you can get to thing!
- Kairos Condensed World Missions Course (Similar to Perspectives but shorter and in my opinion better. However I may be slightly biased because I took both but became a trainer for Kairos)
- Dynamic Church Planting International
- Community Health Evangelism (Especially if you will be working in community development)
- Calvary Chapel Bible College (Or other ministry training school. The CCBC campus in Hungary has more of an emphasis on missions as well as a separate School of Missions Program)
- Ministry Resource International is an amazing counseling center that serves people in ministry overseas and in the US. Myself and others have only found out about it when we came off the field burnt out. However they have resources to help you get on the field in a healthy way to avoid burn out. I would HIGHLY recommend them.
3. Educate Yourself
- Language Learning. Start with surrounding yourself with music and movies in the language that you will be learning. Most language learning happens by hearing first. Make sure that you make learning the local language a priority. Nothing speaks to the heart of a people like you being able to speak their heart language. You make also look into learning about language acquisition techniques by taking a class at the Wycliff training center in Dallas. You can also possible find an online tutor who will help you with some basics before you go.
- Read! Read! Read! Find missionary blogs. Research about the country that you are going to. Here is a list of great general missions books. If you read nothing else at least read From Foreign to Familiar by Sarah A. Lanier. I have a running list of recommended Missions reading on Amazon here.
- Find Missionaries to Stalk Weather in your target area or other areas find them, follow them, learn from them, stalk them! Get on their newsletter lists. Invite them to coffee when they are home on furlough and pick their brains. Read missionary biographies or watch movies about missionaries. So often the most encouraging people on the field to me have been other missionaries. You may even want to arrange a summer internship with a missionary to get some field experience.