Mission without a mission agency?
It can seem like the easier way to go initially, but there is so much expertise that an agency's team of professionals can provide to support you and make your ministry more effective, that in the end, it really is the best way to go.
- Within Australia our network of experienced missionaries and support
staff prepare and equip you for service other
- The team of mission workers where you will serve will provide you with support, experience, guidance, mentoring and fellowship
- You'll get the language and cultural study that will help you get up and running
- On the ground
our networks will help open doors that are not always easy to open
- Because of our partnerships
with local people we have a sustained presence through successive
- Our partnerships with the local church are the key to really good mission work. Interserve works only by invitation of the local church and under the local church's leadership
- If there is a medical emergency or other troubles on the field we'll do our best to get you the right and timely care
- What happens when you leave? Hopefully when you have to leave someone else will take on and sustain the ministry you have started, either a local or another mission member
- When you return from the field the transition back to Australia can be a rough one. Our debriefing, counselling and financial support will help you as you settle back into life and work.
How to choose a mission agency?
There are a lot of mission
agencies so how do you choose who to serve through? We’d recommend that
you chat to a few agencies to begin the process of finding out which
one is good fit for you. If you have an idea of where you want to serve
this will help narrow your selection. With Interserve it is important
that you have skills and experience to offer, that wholistic mission is
they way you want to serve (whole life ministry, your words and
actions) and that your heart is for the poor and needy of Asia and the
Arab World. There is more to selecting an agency than these points but
they will help narrow down your list! In considering Interserve we hope
that our web site is helpful, particularly have a look at our operating principles
Checkpoint (CMS) asked David Crowe (the ex-State Director of Interserve NSW), how someone thinking about missionary service should go about choosing a mission agency.
“I say to people thinking about mission that the first decision is not “where do I go?” or “what will I do?”, but “who will I trust my future to?”
. In other words, they need to choose an agency. The aunty of one of our long-term missionaries said to her, “You find the organisation and let God find the place.”
I think that is very sound.
Another early question is: “who is on this journey with you? Do you have a team of pray-ers?” I want you to have a sense that your local church is standing with you, that they are the ones who will be releasing them for overseas service.
When choosing an agency, narrow your choice down to about three and then give yourself a time frame – maybe six months – to find out about them. Of course, you need to see if there are any doctrinal issues that would rule out an agency. But let’s say the three are standing alongside each other in terms of doctrine. How do you narrow it down?Mission agencies are a people business
and you need to find out about their values – what is important to them - and how they manage their people. These are not necessarily areas you will find out about on their website. I give people a list of questions and suggest they go and meet with a representative from each agency, a mobiliser or recruiter, and ask the questions that are most important to you. You could ask about:
- The structure, history and strategy of the organisation
- Training requirements
- Who decides what a missionary will do, where they will go and if they get called home?
- Can a ministry change when a missionary is on location and who decides that?
- How is conflict resolved?
- How are finances raised?
- How does the agency handle scenarios like: pregnancy, cancer, mental breakdown, ministry not going anywhere, family members dying?
- What are the arrangements for Home Assignment, children’s education, pastoral care, further study, holidays, superannuation and insurance?
As well as asking the rep your questions, get involved in the agency. Get their publications and literature. Go to functions and conferences and hear their missionaries speak. Meet the people who are on the field and ask them what it has been like. Why did they choose this particular agency? Ask them if there are things about the agency they have found uncomfortable or awkward. How have they adjusted their expectations of the agency?
I also ask people early on – “who is a missionary that you are praying for now?” Build a relationship with them. Begin with a missionary supported by your church. As you start receiving their prayer letters you get a sense of what the agency is like.
Agencies will also want to know about you. I ask “what is motivating you towards global missions? What involvement do you presently have with missions?” You can have a strategic role right now as a sender or equipper. Whether we find that God leads you overseas as a go-er or you stay as a sender or equipper are you involved now in The Great Commission? I want to know how you think about other cultures. Some people think that the world view of other cultures is not as well developed as theirs, a sort of paternalism. You will need to be able to work in partnership with the local church, serving and building local believers to become a missionary church. Are you comfortable with them like this?
I would ask – “have you talked to your minister or youth leader about going?” Your local church should be involved from the start. Are you discipling people now, because the ministry you do when God takes you across cultures will come out of the ministry you have had here. When we next talk I will ask how your ministry has been going since our last conversation – not to discourage you but to nourish you and keep you moving forward. Interserve is looking for people who are willing to journey.
The role of a mission agency is to journey with you over the six-eight-ten years it sometimes takes to get there, to help you find God’s leading and help keep your heart beating strongly for world mission on the way.”