PTA Website Logo

So You Want to Be a Missionary

How do I get ready to go? Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel.” Has the Holy Spirit spoken to your heart about ministry, missions? The question you might want to ask yourself is this: “Why should some people hear the Gospel over and over when others have never heard it even once?” Can’t you hear people in far-away places crying “Come and share with me, my children, and my people the Good News of your loving God.” ? They wait for you. But first you must be prepared for this most important call of God. Jesus said, “For which of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?”(Luke 15:28) Let us count the cost. There are three basic things you must do before going to the Mission Field. If you do these well, your service as a Missionary will be fruitful.

PREPARATION (2 Timothy 3:15)
PROVEN (I Timothy 3:10)
PROVISION (I Timothy 5:8)

God is orderly, so we must proceed in a biblical, orderly way to make sure we are a blessing and not a burden. (1 Cor. 14:40)


Before you go, you must know the Word and the teachings of Christianity. You must know how to share Christ with the lost. You must be a man or woman of prayer. You must know how to serve and be a servant. A babe in Christ should never go to the Mission Field. We are called to be Ambassadors for Christ, not “Embarrassers”
on the job training to be prepared in general. None feel they are over-trained for the Mission Field. Most feel the need for more training. To handle the cultural shock help others come to Christ, you need to be a solid, well-balanced believer not a young, struggling believer.
Your preparation must include cross-cultural training. One does not need to even leave our country to be exposed to other cultures. Sign up for a class in cross-cultural ministry and go on a short-term ministry trip to another cultural group (Spanish-speaking, American Native, foreign students, etc.), get some experience.

Read missionary books, attend Missions Conferences, and speak to Missionaries. Start a missions file, filling it with as much information as you can gather. Ask questions and compare the policies of different missions, as there are important differences between missions groups and what they practice. Your preparation is not just knowledge-gathering, but includes character building, physical fitness, and a certain level of spiritual maturity. The one who succeeds on the Mission Field is the one who was first prepared, humble, flexible, teachable, open to understanding other cultures, and ready to be a learner as well as a teacher. Physical fitness is a necessity in third-world countries. Good diet, exercise, self-control, and understanding basic health are all needed if one is to finish victoriously. Spiritual maturity is more than knowing the Bible, and is summed up in 1 Corinthians 13. You must be filled with God’s love. Many have gone to the Mission Field lacking basic Christian maturity, and this has caused many problems. May God help you to prepare properly to be Christ-like and a blessing not a burden.


You need to be active in your local Church. This is your proving ground. Volunteer for as much as you can: Sunday School, janitor, Bible teacher, youth work, outreach, Vacation Bible School, worship team, administration, helper, etc.. The more experience you have the better. Share your missionary hopes with your Pastor and ask for his wisdom and guidance. Pray that God will reveal your gifts and use them. Remember, the greatest in God’s kingdom are those who are servant to all. So be one. Whatever you hope to do in the Mission Field, do it first at home. Develop your skills and exercise your spiritual gifts so that you will be ready for what God has for you.
God will use all your experiences, gifts, and talents as you yield to Him. The Missionary must be strongly connected to the local Church. Before you go, the leadership in your local Church must support your decision. There are very few exceptions. You must be a team player, not a lone ranger. (1 Corinthians 12) How long does it take to be proven? It depends upon you. A person who has fruitfully pastored for several years and decides to go to the Mission Field has already been proven, while another who has little ministry experience may require a few years. You must have the right amount of supervised experience in ministry before you are sent out into another culture.

A novice (1 Timothy 3:6) is not to be allowed a leadership role. If you are a beginner and go into the Mission Field, your pride will be your downfall. If you mislead His sheep, you are in big trouble! Being proven by God is not always exciting. Moses spent 40 years as a shepherd; Joseph was a house servant and prisoner; and many modern Missionaries who have been greatly used were first tempered and purified by humble means. Remember Romans 8:28: God will use it all for good.


Most people will need to raise support. Not only financial support, but prayer support, volunteer support, and Church support will be needed. Depending on your marital status and/or family size, the country you desire to go to and the type of ministry you are called to do will dictate the amount of financial support you will need. For example, a single person compared to a family of six, Europe (high cost of living) compared to the Philippines (low cost of living), and a church planter compared to a support person all require different considerations. God wants you to be wise and plan ahead. Your budget must include travel expenses, ministry expenses, and health care expenses (your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and must NOT be abused or neglected) if you are to go in an orderly way. You will need to be responsible to provide for your needs and the needs of your family. (1 Timothy 5:8) Of course, there is the issue of faith, which you will exercise greatly when you move to another country and start to serve.

Others will need to raise substantial funds for establishing and supporting a National Ministry. For example, Pastoral Training of Asia has a Filipino staff, ministry to the poor (National Pastors and Christian Workers), printing press expenses, outreach expenses, etc., that require support above and beyond the needs of the Missionary. Each one going to the Mission Field will have a unique target amount of support needed.  It is best to start organizing a Support Team made up of friends, family, and the Church to be your liaison between home and field. They will be your vital link concerning prayer needs, financial concerns, etc.. Some members of this Support Team will be good in prayer, others in getting things done, an still others will be your financial supporters. You must develop good communication with your Team. Regular reports, letters, and telephone calls will make them true partners in your ministry and will help them to help you.

A few Missionaries are fully supported by their Home Church, but most will need to raise additional support. This can be a humbling and challenging task as well as a help to your prayer life. Be bold in asking for help; remember, it is not for you but for the fulfillment of the Great Commission of our Lord. (Matthew28:19f) Some will make one-time donations, others will donate for specific projects, and some will give monthly. You will need all kinds of donors. If they give through your Local Church or mission organization, they will receive a tax deduction, which is an added incentive. Some Missionaries will have jobs – Tent Building – which will provide income. In communist countries and Moslem countries, often those going as English teachers, nurses, providers of medical assistance, etc., will not need major funding, as their work will provide for their needs. Unfortunately, many who say they will support you never do. Keep this in mind and set your target of support high, as some will flake out on their commitment, while others who do not make a commitment will make donations. God is good and He will provide for those who love and serve Him! Once you are in the Mission Field, you will need to write a monthly newsletter to all those on your Team (those who pray and those who give). Keep them updated and informed. The saying “Out of sight, out of mind” affects all missionaries.

Prepare, be Proven,
get God’s Provision,
and GO!

Millions need Jesus Christ and have never heard of Him. May God bless you and help you make this most important decision. Be an answer to the prayer request of our Lord Jesus and go into the harvest field.

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” ~ Matthew 9:37-38