In Matthew 28, Jesus calls all Christians to go and make disciples of every nation. Later, He promises in Revelation 9 that every tribe, tongue, and nation will hear the gospel and there will be representatives from each of those ethnic groups with us in heaven.
Right now, there are still over 7,000 unreached people groups who have yet to hear the good news about Jesus, which is why there is a huge need for missionaries to take the gospel to where it is not and help others do the same.
How can I become a missionary? To help you become a missionary, here are the 9 steps you can take to follow God’s call on your life:
- Pray & Ask God For Direction
- Do The Research
- Develop A Skill
- Get Proper Missionary Training
- Get Experience
- Build A Support Team
- Partner With A Sending Agency
- Count The Cost
- Develop Godly Characteristics Now
Becoming a missionary is a challenging task, and being on the field won’t be easy. But take heart, because missionary work will impact eternity and our world, and Jesus has conquered the world. He is with us always, even to the ends of the earth.
1. Pray & Ask God For Direction
Without Jesus, we can do nothing. Without God’s direction, we have no where to go. That’s why it’s essential to seek God’s will and righteousness before anything, and then He will provide everything we need.
The best place to start to seek God’s direction and will are in His word. The gospels and the book of Acts are especially great for getting the right picture of what mission work, church planting, and evangelism look like.
Ultimately though, missions work is making disciples of Jesus who make disciples.
The only way we can know when, where, and how to do this is to ask God for His direction and for His Holy Spirit.
Any missionary will tell you that prayer is the most important thing you can do. If you already know what country or people group you’re called to then start to pray scripture over them and for them.
Pray, pray, pray. Ask others for prayer, and pray through God’s word. You can start by implementing short times of prayer throughout your day and know that the Holy Spirit will lead you.
2. Do The Research
It’s easy to believe that God will drop all the answers we need in our laps. Although that can happen, it’s always smart to do the research on the culture, the spiritual climate, and the problems of those people so that you can know how to approach these areas with the gospel.
You can start this research here, at The Joshua Project.
Another way to prepare for the mission field is by reading books by missionaries or on missionary work to learn and grow. Study what God’s word says so that you’ll discover what the place, problem, or people group God is calling you to is.
Learn as much as you can about what country you want to go to and find where the greatest needs meet God’s call on your life.
3. Develop A Skill
Becoming a missionary is a noble job, but just as the apostle Paul was a tentmaker in the Bible, most missionaries also need to develop other skills to add value to the communities they’re in and build a good representation of the gospel in their lives.
Whether that skill is in Agriculture, Business as Mission, Education, Medicine, Law, the Arts, or something else, you’ll be able to use it in a way that serves the people group you’re ministering to.
Just as Jesus was a carpenter, teacher, great Physician, and speaker, you can also develop a skill that you’re passionate about as a way to bless others.
With these different skills, you’ll be able to reach people who you would’ve otherwise never been able to reach.
To develop a skill, or multiple, without piling on debt that will keep you from the mission field, you’ll need an affordable education and training. T
hat’s why I’ve included the best missionary training schools where you can develop the skills you need to be an effective missionary:
4. Get Proper Missionary Training
Getting proper missionary training is essential for believers who want to start disciple-making movements.
Of course, God can move through anyone at any time, but with training in theology, discipleship, and other skills, God is sure to bless those efforts and your heart to impact the nations.
The Best Missionary Training Schools You Can Attend To Become A Missionary:
To get you to where you need to be as a missionary, here’s a list of the best missionary schools you can attend:
Bethany Global University
Bethany Global University is the only accredited missionary school in the United States, where you can earn an affordable degree in missions while also reaching the unreached with the gospel.
This BA degree consists of a double major, where you can major in Theology and choose between Transformational Entrepreneurship, Education In Missions, or Intercultural Studies.
The average cost of this education annually per student is $9,500.
Each degree is designed for the sole purpose of preparing you to become a missionary and couples this with a 13-month global internship overseas during your junior and senior year.
This internship is transformative and holistic, focusing on teaching you how to build relationships and add value to the community you’re in, all while spreading the gospel.
You can learn more about their internship, degrees, and other programs at Bethany Global University here.
Bethlehem College and Seminary (BCS) is located in Minneapolis and was founded by world-renowned pastor and author John Piper. The BCS faculty includes some of the world’s premiere theology and missiology scholars. The school is also laser-focused on discipleship.
Also, the total tuition and fees at BCS is less than $7,000/year.
The BCS Global Studies degree program provides excellent training for those seeking to serve as missionaries or for anyone seeking to be a missions-minded leader. The BCS Global Studies major invites students to examine carefully the historical and contemporary issues affecting cross-cultural ministry endeavors. This major also engages students in close examination of biblical texts, equipping students to study the Word accurately and to teach others from it.
Students who complete their fourth year in this program will then have the option to continue for a fifth year to obtain an accelerated Masters degree.
Word Of Life Bible Institute
Word of Life Bible Institute in New York educates students in their God-given gifts and callings.
At this school, you’ll be able to get hands on experience in ministry work and learn how to share the gospel with their intensive biblical studies program.
To learn more about Word of Life Bible Institute, click here.
Ethnos 360 Bible Institute
Ethnos 360 Bible Institute is a school that focuses on training its students for cross-cultural ministry and reaching the unreached.
Each year at Ethnos 360 costs only $9,086 and is full of discipleship, Bible training, and community.
You can learn more about Ethnos 360 Bible Institute here.
University Of The Nations
Started by YWAM, University of the Nations is a flexible program for those who have done or are doing a YWAM Discipleship Training School.
University of the Nations partners with the student and connects them to the degree they want to pursue while they’re on the field so that they can learn how to do missions alongside real-time missionaries.
UotN’s degrees include Associates, Bachelors, and Masters, and cover anything from Christian Counseling and Communications to Education and Science and Technology.
With the University of the Nations, you’ll be equipped to make disciples of Jesus effectively and see God’s word applied to everyday life on the field.
To learn more about the degrees and programs with the University of the Nations, you can click here.
The Best Missionary Training Programs You Can Attend To Become A Missionary:
If you’re not sure whether you’re called to go to school or not to become a missionary, you can try out these programs that are designed to help you hear from the Lord and discover where He is calling you to:
Youth With a Mission, or YWAM, is a mission agency that’s desire is to train up young adults to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.
Follow your God-given calling by serving, reaching unreached people groups, and learning about God’s word with a YWAM DTS.
A DTS is a Discipleship Training School where students can learn for three months about missions and discipleship from practically anywhere in the world. The next three months are spent overseas and give you real-world experience in the things you’re passionate about.
With YWAM, you can grow in community, worship God, and learn how to cultivate a lifestyle of missions wherever you’re at.
To learn more about YWAM and their DTSs, click here.
Adventures In Missions – The World Race
Adventures in Missions or AIM is a great organization that puts on multiple different mission trips but specifically organizes The World Race, an 11-month mission trip to 11 different countries.
The World Race has many different routes and an endless number of ministries you could work with.
They also host a 9 World Race America route and a 9 month gap year program for students who want to learn more about how to share their faith and build relationships.
The World Race with Adventures in Missions is a great opportunity to experience different cultures and ministries, especially if you don’t know yet where and what God is calling you to.
To find out more about the World Race and if it’s right for you, click here.
Global Frontier Missions
Global Frontier Missions is a missionary training program that offers 5 months of extensive, holistic training that prepares you for cross-cultural mission work.
Alongside this training, GFM also offers online courses and 6 month-2 year internships that you can take to deepen your faith and knowledge of how to share your faith.
To learn more about how you can train for mission work with Global Frontier Missions, click here.
If you want to look into more missionary training schools, I’ve put together a list of the best blogs to help you make your decision on where to go and how to get there:
- The Top 13 Missionary Training Schools
- The Ultimate Guide To Missionary College Programs
- The Ultimate Guide To Missionary Colleges: Schools, Scholarships, & More
5. Get Experience
If you’re wanting to become a missionary, you’ll want to get real-world experience in the mission field.
Whether locally, domestically, or internationally, you can seek out opportunities to serve and get experience in sharing your faith.
You can start by do this by serving your local church and looking up ways to get involved within the community around you. Or, you could take your lifestyle of mission to a whole different country.
Remember, however, that if you love the idea of going overseas to experience a new culture, different scenery, and cool food but aren’t willing to love the people around you then what does it matter?
More than anything, missionaries are willing to sacrifice their own comfort zones to enter into someone else’s uncomfortable zone to help and love them.
And that’s what you’ll want to get experience in, whether at your local church, on a short-term trip, or on an internship.
Short Term Trips
Short-term mission trips can be extremely beneficial to your own and others’ spiritual growth.
On short-term trips, you can pick up skills that will help you as a missionary, and you can discover different ministries and people groups that God may be calling you to, all while spreading the gospel to those who need it.
Short term trips can be within the United States or overseas, and can open your eyes to things you may have never realized before.
If your next step to becoming a missionary is to go on a short-term mission trip, I’ve put together this list of resources to help you find the trip that’s right for you:
- Mission Trips: Top 50 Trips, Organizations, Destinations, Activities, and Ages
- The Best Individual Mission Trips & Where To Find Them
- Missionary Work in the USA: Trips, Organizations, and Opportunities
- The Best Mission Trips In The US: Updated Complete List
Internships are another great way to get experience in missions work.
Internships can help you develop the skills you’ll need as a missionary as well as help and serve the organization you’re working with, and that’s why I’ve made a list of resources where you can find the best internship for you:
- 10 Missionary Internships Around the World & At Home
- Mission Internships with ABWE
- Summer Internships with Mission to the World
- Missionary Internships with Greater Europe Mission
- Paid Summer Missions Internship with Experience Mission
Becoming a missionary means becoming obsessed with loving God and serving others. There are a million different ways you can do this, so be sure to pray through all your options and ask God to show you His plans in getting you to experience what a missionary’s life is all about.
6. Build A Support Team
One thing that’s true about missionary work is that it is never done alone. God designed us to be in community, with fellow believers, both in person and in spirit.
That’s why it’s important to raise up a team that will support you financially and prayerfully.
Some ways to build a community that will partner with you is to serve and get involved in your home church. Also consider finding a mentor, possibly a retired missionary who’s willing to coach you through the process of getting on the field.
Alongside this, you’ll need to find the team that you’ll be doing ministry with on-site. And that’s where sending agencies come into the picture.
7. Partner With A Sending Agency
Sending agencies are missionary sending organizations that are committed to fulfilling the Great Commission by sending and partnering with you.
Sending agencies usually have you go through a training program to prep you for the field. They also guide you in fundraising and building a support team, so if you’re serious about becoming a part of world evangelization, partnering with a sending agency could be the next right step for you.
If you’re interested in learning more about sending agencies, you can read What is a Missions Agency and Why Should You Use One?
Another important question to ask is: where can you find these sending agencies? Glad you asked.
Here are the top three missionary sending agencies and more recourses to help you get where you need to be:
Bethany Gateways is a missions agency that has missionaries stationed in 20+ countries, included restricted access countries located within the 10/40 window.
Their mission is to take the church to where it is not and help others do the same, and they are dedicated to seeing the Lord’s glory cover the earth like the waters cover the sea.
If you are passionate about reaching unreached people groups and spreading the gospel, be sure to get involved long-term with Bethany Gateways.
TEAM, a global alliance of churches and missionaries, exists to help you become a missionary and be an effective disciple of Jesus cross-culturally.
At TEAM, you’ll have a personal missionary coach who will help you develop the skills you’re passionate about in order to serve others.
TEAM also emphasizes the importance of using whatever gifts and practical skills you have to further the kingdom of God, whether that be through business, pastoral ministry, art, education, and more.
To start your missionary adventure with God and with TEAM, click here.
GEM (Greater Europe Mission)
If you’re specifically called to Europe and the people groups from all over the world that reside there, GEM is a great organization to get involved with.
Personally, one of my missionary mentors worked with GEM for over 10 years and would say any day that GEM’s mission and purpose is perfect for any believer who wants to bring the gospel to the spiritually dead areas of Europe.
You can learn more about GEM here.
Here’s another blog you can read if you want to work with the best missionary sending agency that’s right for you: Where to Apply For a Missionary Job (21 Options)
If you’re still wanting to research different agencies, be sure to check out MissionNext, an organization that networks and connects missionaries with the perfect missions agency for them.
8. Count The Cost
And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’Luke 9:23 (ESV)
Being a disciple of Jesus is hard work. Just because we’re Christians doesn’t mean we’ll have it easy. Jesus said that we’ll face challenges in the world, yet we can take heart because He has overcome the world.
The Bible even tells us to expect persecution and hardships, but with Jesus, these hardships are nothing compared to the glory we will experience in heaven.
Even now our greatest blessing is to be in a relationship with Jesus, experience His presence every day, and invite others into that. At the same time, Jesus also calls us to deny ourselves and take up our cross.
Taking up our cross is living worthy of the call God has given to us, and it means to obey God’s will for our lives daily, not our own.
This can be hard and may seem impossible, but God has given us His promised Holy Spirit to help us and show us the way we should go.
As believers, the Holy Spirit also blesses us with joy in every circumstance and gives us opportunities to become missionaries and share the gospel with others.
The gospel is the good news that Jesus lived as a human, was crucified for our sins, and rose again so that we could have eternal life with Him starting right now.
With this in mind, we need to count the cost of the gospel. The message of the gospel and a relationship with Jesus may cost us our time, comfort, families, and even lives.
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.Matthew 10:37 ESV
Jesus said that anyone who follows Him should love Him even more than they love their family. But, God wouldn’t ask us to do something that He Himself wouldn’t do.
Jesus left His perfect relationship with the Father to bear our sin so that we could become a part of His family, and that’s what we’re called to model as missionaries.
This selfless life may cost us a lot, but it will be worth it because nothing matters more than loving God, being loved by Him, and showing others that love that will last for eternity.
Counting the cost is an important thing to do as a missionary, but you can also look forward to counting the fruit that God will bring through your obedience and faithfulness to Him.
9. Develop Godly Characteristics Now
You’ve probably heard the saying “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called”. While that is true, we can’t use this statement to make excuses about our spiritual growth.
God is in the business of using the weak things to display His strength, and even in our strongest moments, God is still stronger.
In the midst of this truth, God still wants us to develop our spiritual disciplines and godly characteristics now so that we’ll have them at the ready when challenges arise on the mission field.
When we learn how to be good stewards of what we have now, God will know we will steward the job of missionary well.
One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.Luke 16:10
Being a missionary requires being faithful with what we have, even if all we have now to grow is our spiritual maturity, knowledge of God’s word, and a healthy prayer life.
There are endless ways to grow these godly characteristics, but the best way to do this is to spend as much time as possible in God’s word, seeking out what He says about you and others and learning how to apply that to your life.
The Holy Spirit will also lead you and show you where you need to grow.
Here are some other tips on how to grow your godly characteristics:
- Find a mature Christian and ask them to be your mentor
- Schedule a regular time of prayer during your week
- Read What Are Christian Qualities? The Biblical Answer
- Read 10 Christian Disciplines Books Everyone Should Read
Becoming A Missionary Matters
Missionaries make an impact because they are messengers of the greatest message of all time. They impact eternity and through the power of the Holy Spirit, make it possible for people to accept a relationship with Jesus.
There is no greater joy than experiencing God’s love and seeing others experience that same love.
What’s more than this, Jesus also promised that our efforts wouldn’t be wasted. He has promised us that He is coming again, and there will be people from every tribe, tongue, and nation in heaven worshipping Him with us.
But, Jesus also told us that this won’t happen until those tribes, tongues, and nations hear the gospel.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.Matthew 24:14 ESV
Being a missionary is more than just relieving poverty, helping people, and doing good things, though those things are great. It’s about spreading the gospel so that all the nations will be saved and worship Jesus.
It’s all about Jesus, and it always will be, and that’s why becoming a missionary matters.