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This past week I had the opportunity to visit a Christian college and and sit on (and mainly listen to) a panel of missionaries from multiple organizations. It was encouraging to hear their testimonies of what motivated them and what challenged them while they were serving the Lord overseas. It reminded me of expectations I, and others I know, have had when thinking of becoming a missionary. Here’s what I remembered so far in regards to reasons why not to be a missionary.

1. Don’t become a missionary if you think it’s going to make you a better Christian.

If anything, being a missionary will probably reveal all the things you need to become more Christ-like in! It doesn’t improve your standing before God, nor should it elevate you above other believers. God still views you as His child whether you are a missionary or a lay worker. Are you willing to reveal your weaknesses and be a humble servant of God?

2. Don’t become a missionary if you are expecting to see fruit.

Do you think you have the perfect strategy or know the right words to say to get people saved? Are you expecting to be the next William Carey? I personally know missionaries who have waited 12 years before seeing the first tribal person place their faith in Christ! Are you ready to be patient or willing for someone else to come along and see the fruit of your labor?

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3. Don’t become a missionary if you think you can do it alone or that it is a one-man job.

It takes a team! Not just a team of church planters, but a network of believers who all share the vision of seeing a mature church. Some of those men and women will work hard giving their money to support the church planters. Others will devote their time to take care of the missionary kids, write letters of encouragement, repair and maintain airplanes and helicopters, or manage the donations and finances for the other missionaries. It takes everyone working together to plant a church in an unreached people group. Are you willing to be part of a team?

4. Don’t become a missionary if you are expecting it to be like an Indiana Jones adventure.

There will be times where missions is fun and exciting; hiking through rivers, flying in Kodiak airplanes, hunting for wild pigs with the your new neighbours, or talking with the local witchdoctor, but being a missionary takes commitment, especially during times of difficulty or discomfort. Are you committed to seeing a people group come to know Christ?

5. Don’t become a missionary if you aren’t willing to become.

Are you willing to become whatever you need to get the gospel to the people you are ministering to? Are you willing to leave behind your North American culture and thinking to adapt and learn to love a new culture? Are you willing to wake up early to go with the women to work in the gardens, or with the men to go fishing?

Are you up for a challenge, willing to be part of a team, eager to become more like Christ, and to make a commitment to take the gospel to those who have not yet heard? If so, then maybe you are ready to be a missionary.

Don’t worry, though, even if you are struggling with the things listed above, God is able to work in you and provide you with everything you need spiritually to be an effective overseas missionary.

Are you willing?

We’d love to talk with you about how God can use you to reach the unreached! E-mail us at admissions@canada.ntm.org or call us at 519-369-2622.