Recognizing God’s call
Do you struggle to know God’s will for your life? Do you want confirmation that you are doing what He wants? There is no magic formula for knowing God’s will for you, but these questions may help you on the journey.
The Bible is full of verses about God’s will for every Christian. God’s will is our salvation in John 6:40 and 2 Peter 3:9. God’s will is our sanctification and thankfulness in I Thess. 4:3; 5:18.
The Bible teaches that every believer’s life-purpose is to obey and glorify God. Cross-cultural ministry is closely tied to this purpose. “Missions exists because worship doesn’t,” says John Piper in “Let the Nations Be Glad,” (Baker Book House 1993.)
The Great Commission starts in Matthew 28:19: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.” Although it doesn’t say, “This is God’s will for YOU,” it is a general command to all believers to have some involvement in reaching the world through prayer, giving, or going.
Which part should you play? Knowing if God is calling you cross-culturally is both objective and subjective.
Objective questions to ask yourself:
• Are you aware of world needs?
• Have you identified your spiritual gifts and abilities?
• How consistent is your walk with God?
• What is your track record and experience in ministry?
• Do you have the necessary interpersonal skills for cross-cultural ministry?
• Do you have adequate training, especially in Bible?
• How is your physical health and energy level?
Subjective questions to ask yourself:
• Do you sense God is leading you into cross-cultural missions?
• How do you support this biblically?
• Have you prayed consistently about this?
• Has God given you circumstantial evidence?
• Do you have peace of mind about this?
• Do others confirm your interests when you share your burden for the lost?
• Does your church affirm your call?
God speaks in a many ways. Instead of waiting for a dramatic call, commit yourself to seek God’s leading and guidance and trust Him to lead! God doesn’t give maps, but He does give you a compass. You may feel stepping out in faith is too risky, so ask mature believers and spiritual mentors for their guidance. God’s Word and the church will help you make decisions.
If you are ready to move ahead and take the next step, it is time to talk with several people: your pastor, a mission representative, missionaries you know, and other mature Christians. Want to know more? Contact us with your questions.
Choosing a mission
How do you choose one mission to join when there are many great agencies? Start by figuring out who you are. What are you passionate about — a particular kind of ministry, a country, a people group? Think about your gifting and what interests you. Your unique experiences may also affect your decision. Now that you have narrowed down the options, recognize that mission agencies also have distinct personalities. Here are some questions to ask:
- What is the leadership and organizational structure of the organization?
- What is the mission’s stated purpose?
- Is it accomplishing that? How? Do these goals excite you?
- Is the mission growing?
- How does the mission relate to the churches at home? Does it serve and support the local church?
- How does the mission relate to the churches overseas? How do the missionaries relate to the local believers and leaders? Are they servants or rulers?
- How are finances and support handled?
- How are support requirements determined?
- Will they train you to raise support?
- Is the mission a good steward of funds? Does the mission publish annual audits?
- For married couples, are both spouses accepted? How does the mission handle families?
- What roles are open for women, married or single?
- How does the mission care for its missionaries? What initial and continuing training is offered?
- Does the mission have a good reputation? (Ask other mission leaders.)
To learn more about our mission click here.
Staying financially fit
Sizable debt may hinder your journey into missions. Careful planning could reduce your time to deployment by years!
Start by creating a modest budget:
- Calculate your income including your savings, contributions from your family, and earnings from work.
- Next, calculate your expenses including school tuition, room and board, books and supplies, as well as insurance, phone, car loan, entertainment, etc.
- Now subtract your income from your expenses to see the difference you must make up.
Is the expense column too long? Then cut out the fat!
- Choose a good college near home and commute.
- Take some basic courses at a community college where the tuition is less expensive and you can live at home, or take some courses online.
- Look for free/cheaper room and board options.
- Figure out the cheapest way to eat well — it may be the school cafeteria.
- Trim your coffee/pizza craving.
- Avoid all credit card debt.
- Skip having a car.
- Before taking student loans, go for the free money. Get online and explore academic scholarships, foundation grants, church or employee scholarships, civic group scholarships (scouts, Rotary, etc.), and state, county and local government scholarships/grants.
If your income is still short of expenses, plan your loans carefully. Remember, loans are easy to get and hard to pay off. You are responsible to pay back everything you owe, even if the loan is in your parent’s name.
- Set realistic debt limits by calculating all you owe.
- Compare your debt to your potential earnings.
- Don’t borrow extra money just because you are eligible.
- Keep close track of your loans as you go through school.
- Consider taking a year off of school to work and save.
- Make paying back loans a priority; get a first job that pays well, even if it is boring.