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Reaping the Benefits of Medical Mission Trips
If you’re thinking about a career in medical missions, taking a medical missions trip as part of your professional and spiritual journey makes a lot of sense. You can never underestimate the benefits of a medical mission trip. It’s a great step toward fulfilling God’s call on your life. As you think about the benefits of a medical missions trip, it would help to get a solid handle on what that actually entails. Different people might have different ideas about what medical missions is all about, so doing a little reading and research to establish your own expectations can be valuable.   Understanding Medical Missions In general, medical missions connect healthcare professionals with people who need their unique skills. And the door is wide open to a variety of medical professionals. While we often think about medical doctors and nurses, medical missions work also includes the skills of physical therapists, dentists, optometrists, mental health experts, educators,  physician’s assistants and many more. The opportunities are so broad because the needs are so great. That’s one reason medical mission trips are so important. You get to be a part of something bigger than yourself while fulfilling the Great Commission of Jesus found in Matthew 28:18-20. Below are ten benefits of medical mission trips. Each one will give you a great reason to explore missions and discover ways to touch the lives of individuals as you minister to their deepest needs.   10 Benefits of Medical Mission Trips Medical missionaries reach people at their weakest points. They provide care in ways other missionaries simply can’t, and that makes their lives and their ministries incredibly fulfilling. But while medical missions meet deep physical and spiritual needs, they also provide benefits for the ones doing the work. And, as you take part in a medical mission trip, you can experience those benefits in the following ways:   You’ll gain experience in the field. Whether you’re a pre-med undergraduate or a seasoned medical professional, medical mission trips, offer a taste of what medical missions are all about. Nothing can replace the experience you will get working in clinics or in local hospitals. You will get an honest view of both the blessings of the work and the sacrifices it requires. When it comes to firsthand experience, nothing else compares.   You’ll be ministering to others. In a sense, you’ll get the benefit of ministering to two different groups of people. First, you’ll help the medical professionals on site. The needs are so great that an extra pair of hands willing to do even the smallest tasks can make a huge difference. Of course, you’ll also get to help the local people who need physical and spiritual healing. In terms of being Jesus’s hands and feet in a tangible way, you can’t diminish the impact medical missions have.   You’ll gain a better understanding of the state of global health care. You can read about needs and healthcare gaps around the world. You can even talk to medical missionaries who are working to bridge those gaps. But nothing helps you understand the current state of global health care better than seeing it for yourself. Even more important, medical mission trips allow you to be part of the solution instead of just being a student who studies the problem.   You’ll experience other cultures. Admittedly, the idea of world travel and seeing exotic places can fuel false motives for some. But if God has pointed your heart toward medical missions, getting the chance to leave your comfort zone and see the world through the eyes of Jesus is invaluable. Instead of fostering first-world arrogance, these experiences produce humility and flexibility. It teaches you to grow where you are planted, which will be a necessary character quality as you move forward with God’s plans.   You’ll sharpen the focus of your calling. While you believe God has called you to medical missions, you may not be sure exactly what you should do or where you should do it. One of the benefits of medical mission trips is the exposure you gain to various opportunities and how they might fit into God’s call for your life. And, as you gain a clearer vision of His plans, you will get a better handle on what you need to do to prepare for your next steps. But that all starts with being part of a medical mission trip.   You’ll build relationships and networks. One of the cool things about God is that He often moves people into our lives with an eye toward the future. The relationships you are building now can make a huge difference in where you end up in the years to come. A core benefit of medical mission trips is that you build relationships with a strong network of supporters and encouragers. You also may get the chance to connect with mentors who have the perfect mix of experience and insight and can make your path toward missions smoother.   You’ll improve your skills and training. It’s been said that practice makes perfect. And while a medical missions setting may not always easy, it does provide a perfect place to hone the skills you need to be at your best in the future. Students get the chance to learn new things, and professionals gain the knowledge they can transfer to their domestic practices. In both cases, medical mission team members get better at what they do for God’s glory.   You’ll prepare for what’s next. Of course, you don’t want to approach a medical missions trip simply as something to add to your resume. However, you also shouldn’t discount the impact these experiences can have on things like applications to medical schools or future career positions. This kind of real-life experience is a practical benefit of these kinds of trips that go hand-in-hand with the ministry you get to do.   You’ll get experience with sending organizations. Like other missionaries, many medical missionaries are associated with a sending agency. Working through the process of applying for and participating in a medical missions trip can be your first exposure to the task of researching agencies and finding the right fit for you. Even if you don’t stick with the same agency later in your career, this experience will help you identify what to look for—and what to avoid—when you are ready to embrace your own medical missions adventure.    You’ll see your life transformed. Without a doubt, you can make a tremendous difference in the kingdom of God through a medical mission trip. Even short-term opportunities give you the chance to touch people in ways you could never have if you had stayed home. But one of the greatest benefits of a medical mission trip is the way God can use it to change your life. It’s hard to invest in the lives of others without dying to yourself and becoming a little more like Jesus. And that’s a benefit that resonates into eternity.     Take the Next Step, Become a Medical Missionary Of course, there’s a catch to all of this: you really can’t experience the benefits of medical mission trips unless you go on one for yourself. If you’ve never gone on a trip, now is the perfect time to start planning to take this step of faith. Even if you’ve gone on trips in the past, God may be calling you to travel again. Remember, you don’t have to wait to change the world for God’s kingdom. You can do it right now. So, take some time to pray about what God wants you to do and look for opportunities He might provide. The benefits can change your life—and the lives of so many others. Medical Missions serves to connect your professional skills and biblical calling to the largest database of healthcare mission organizations, professionals, and thought leadership. Join us at the Global Missions Health Conference to find your Medical Missions calling. Or, browse our full list of partner organizations to find the right mission for you.   Discover Medical Missions. Medical Missions serves to connect your professional skills and biblical calling to the largest database of healthcare mission organizations, professionals, and thought leadership. Join us at the Global Missions Health Conference to find your Medical Missions calling. Or, browse our full list of partner organizations to find the right mission for you.
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What are Mission Sending Agencies?
Believers preparing for a career in missions have boxes to check. They need a calling from God and a passion for the world. They need a supportive network of friends and family, not to mention a financial plan for making ends meet on the field. But if you're a missionary in the making, there's another important thing you need to consider: what to do about mission sending agencies.  It's something that some future missionaries might not think about, or they might put it off until it's absolutely necessary. But if you're weighing a call to missions and wondering where to start, deciding whether a mission sending agency is right for you (and how to pick one) represents a huge piece of the puzzle.   What does a Mission Sending Agency Do? In general, mission sending agencies are your lifeline as a missionary serving in another country. These organizations serve as a touchpoint for life back home, along with providing the support you need on the ground. They provide connection instead of isolation and offer the kind of support that no one else can.  One of the primary jobs of a mission sending agency is to determine if you're ready to take the field. Through cultural and language training, spiritual formation exercises, and personal evaluations, an agency can open the door to the greatest experience of your life. But they also can save you from making a drastic mistake if you're not prepared for an overseas assignment. Assuming you are ready to go, a sending agency can help you search for missionary jobs to identify and connect you with opportunities. In addition, your sending agency can offer important logistical support, like travel arrangements, insurance, and visas. Many agencies also manage your finances. They can teach you how to raise support and steward the money that comes into your account.  Perhaps more than anything, mission sending agencies offer accountability. Whether it's ministry, relationships, finances, or spiritual health, the best sending agencies watch out for their people's well-being and intervene during times of crisis.    18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..." Matthew 28:18-19     What to Look for in a Mission Sending Agency Of course, there's no law that says you have to partner with a mission sending agency. Many missionaries "go it alone," or they work with a church or parachurch organization. You will need to do your homework to evaluate various mission sending agencies and to determine which one (if any) is right for you.  As you think about the pros and cons of mission sending agencies, you need to establish some criteria for evaluation, and we've listed some important starting points below. Honestly, these should probably be deal breakers for you because ignoring any of them will likely cause problems for you—and the agency—down the road.   1. Make sure the organization is a theological fit. If a sending agency's theology does not align with your key beliefs, move on to the next option. One way to resolve this issue is to lean into your denomination's agency. But if you choose another route, make sure you agree on non-negotiable theological issues.   2. Make sure the organization is a philosophical fit. If God has called you to the mission field, you have some deeply-held ideas about what missions are all about. You need to make sure your vision for missions aligns with the sending agency's vision. That includes issues like methodology and sustainability. If theology is the "what" in missions, philosophy is the "why" and the "how."   3. Make sure you're comfortable with the organization's care plan. It's not selfish to expect a mission sending agency to have your back. You should absolutely be comfortable with a group's plan for getting you to the field and meeting your emotional, physical, and spiritual needs once you arrive. Not to mention, you'll need a financial plan, so make sure you're aligned on things like travel costs and salary (if applicable). Even the strongest believer following the most passionate call will struggle with adjusting to life overseas. Be sure your agency has a plan to support you.   4. Make sure the organization is committed to proper training. The best mission sending agencies work hard to prepare their missionaries for what's coming their way on the field. That can encompass things like cultural and language training, which are vital. But it also includes spiritual guidance and basic life skills. The value of personal and spiritual preparation can't be overstated, so prioritize agencies that will do their best to set you up for success through training.   5. Make sure the organization's reputation is airtight. Most missionary sending agencies are sincere and committed to their calling, but sketchy operators do exist, so you have to be careful. Look at things like how long an agency has been sponsoring missionaries and how effective their work has been over that time. Of course, you'll want to ensure a group's financial integrity. One great way to do that is by checking their standing with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). A good mission agency will hold you to a high standard, and its leaders won't be offended if you hold them to a high standard as well.   Find a Missionary with Experience Honestly, the number of mission sending agencies continues to grow. As noted, some are affiliated with particular denominations, while others are private organizations. But they're all passionate about fulfilling the Great Commission.  So, you have a lot of options—and that's not a bad thing. It just means you'll need to be intentional in your research.  While internet searches are fine, don't ignore the benefit of talking with actual missionaries who are on the field or have been overseas. It could be an individual on furlough or a veteran who's now retired. Better yet, talk to as many as you can. Missionaries can give you great insight into some best practices for picking a mission sending agency. They also can help you know what to expect once you're in the country. Maybe most important, their stories and wisdom can inspire you in a way nothing else could. Don't miss this opportunity to hear God's voice through someone who's already.      Discover Medical Missions. Medical Missions serves to connect your professional skills and biblical calling to the largest database of healthcare mission organizations, professionals, and thought leadership. Join us at the Global Missions Health Conference to find your Medical Missions calling. Or, browse our full list of partner organizations to find the right mission for you.
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Mission Opportunities for Occupational Therapists
Around the world, people experience physical and emotional trauma that leaves them hurting and helpless. And while doctors and nurses can provide a measure of healing, some patients need more. That’s where occupational therapists come in. And that’s also why occupational therapy mission trips are a growing avenue for providing hope and help across the globe. People need the services and attention only occupational therapists can provide. And many medical mission organizations recognize the importance of providing these resources, especially in areas where they have been lacking in the past.   Occupational Therapy & Medical Missions While it’s easy to lump them together, it’s important to understand the difference between occupational therapy and physical therapy. One helpful way to think about it is the difference between movement and adaptation. In general, physical therapy focuses on helping people move better. Meanwhile, occupational therapy gives individuals the skills to adapt when a health crisis makes what was once normal difficult or impossible. Occupational therapy also focuses on the daily activities of life. Therapists teach patients how to relearn some of the basic skills that many take for granted, such as using a fork or spoon, buttoning a shirt, brushing their teeth, or driving a car. In addition, they can provide mental health services by sharing coping skills with individuals who may suffer from anxiety or disability. Through occupational therapy mission trips, professionals have the opportunity to use their knowledge and skill for a higher purpose. Occupational therapists can be the hands and feet of Jesus uniquely, touching the lives of people who struggle just to make it through each day.    Organizations that Sponsor Occupational Therapy Mission Trips More and more medical mission groups are creating opportunities for short-term occupational therapy mission trips. The list below identifies three agencies that sponsor mission trips for occupational therapists. This is not an exhaustive list; for more great organizations for occupational therapy, check out this organization board.   Christian Physical Rehab Professionals. Part of a larger network called Christian Medical and Dental Associates (CMDA), Christian Physical Rehab Professionals emphasizes the work of occupational and physical therapists who strive to integrate their faith and their calling. Through a short-term mission emphasis called Global Health Outreach, occupational therapists can choose from dozens of opportunities in a variety of locations.    Mission of Hope. Focusing on ministry that touches the whole person, Mission of Hope offers occupational therapy mission trips in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The agency’s mission involves meeting basic human needs, which include medical care and therapy. Occupational therapists work on projects within the organization’s network of local partner churches, so missionaries are supporting ongoing work.   Medical Ministry International. Based in Canada, Medical Ministry International encourages applicants from anywhere. The agency’s trips typically last a week or two and focus on underserved communities. These groups living on the fringe of society struggle with the availability of medical resources, including occupational therapy. What’s more, a lack of education means they may not even understand why such health care attention is important.      Your gifts and God’s glory If you’re an occupational therapist with a heart for missions, you may consider medical missions as a career. If so, a job board with medical missions opportunities would be a great place to start your search. You also may consider a short-term occupational therapy mission trip to better understand what’s available and where God might be moving you. Even if you aren’t looking for a career position, mission trips for occupational therapists can give you the chance to make a massive difference in the lives of so many people in some of the most desperate settings in the world. Even more, it can transform your life forever. Incredible things can happen when you use your gifts for God’s glory. And a short-term occupational therapy mission trip could give you a front-row seat to His work in the world.   Discover Medical Missions. Medical Missions serves to connect your professional skills and biblical calling to the largest database of healthcare mission organizations, professionals, and thought leadership. Join us at the Global Missions Health Conference to find your Medical Missions calling. Or, browse our full list of partner organizations to find the right mission for you.  
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Top 10 Missionary Schools to Attend
When high schoolers are sorting through their college options, they consider a lot of factors. One of the primary selling points is whether or not a school can train them for their chosen career. Without a major or an emphasis on a given vocation, a school gets scratched off the list quickly. What’s true for other careers should also be true for missionaries. Thankfully, folks called to the mission field have some great choices when it comes to missionary schools. Whether they are looking for a four-year degree or a short-term training program, students have options as they pursue God’s call on their lives.   What’s the benefit of a missionary school? Honestly, you might be tempted to wonder if you really need the education and training provided by a school of missions. You might think your passion and calling are enough. But it’s hard to deny the benefit of preparation. One value of missionary schools is the connections you make. Along with the basic theological and cultural knowledge, you can also learn what mistakes to avoid from mentors and leaders who learned the hard way.  Most missionary schools also give you the opportunity for hands-on experience, either here at home or overseas. Those experiences are priceless when it comes to defining God’s call more clearly and understanding your own strengths and weaknesses as a missionary. So, while a missions-related degree may not be required, it certainly can make a difference as you move forward in your ministry.   Interesting in Medical Missions? Use your skills where they're needed most. Learn more.   10 Potential Missionary Schools for You On one end of the missionary training spectrum, the opportunities for professionals interested in sharing their knowledge and experience continue to grow. On the other end, students examining their options for education and training also have plenty of choices. In the list below, we’ve identified 10 trusted missionary schools or organizations. Some of them are colleges that offer undergraduate and even graduate degrees in mission-related fields. Others are missions-related organizations that provide training. Whichever fits your needs best, these missionary schools can give you a great first step toward your future on the mission field.   1. Bethany Global University. The unique feature of Bethany Global is that missions and ministry are its only focus. Located in Bloomington, Minnesota, students work in ministry-related jobs rather than pay tuition (though room and board are still required). The highlight of the school’s program is a “Global Internship” for every student. This internship focuses on language studies, cultural immersion, and practical ministry experience. Students also raise support for the internship, but the school provides resources to assist in that process, including prerequisite classes on strategic planning and raising support.    2. Appalachian Bible College. Located in Hope, West Virginia, Appalachian Bible College has been training ministry leaders for more than seven decades. While the school does charge tuition fees, scholarships and financial aid make the education more reasonable. ABS is an accredited institution and provides cross-cultural experiences. Its foundational degree is in Bible and Theology, but most students actually earn double majors that integrate other ministry areas. The missions major comes with a variety of emphases, including aviation, international studies, and healthcare fields.    3. Grand Canyon University. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, Grand Canyon is one of the larger schools with a missions-related program in the nation. The school has about 70,000 students, including many who study online. GCU offers a bachelor’s degree in Christian Studies with an emphasis on Global Ministry, and this degree is available both on campus or online. The school also has a College of Nursing and Health Care for students looking to integrate missions into a medical career.    4. Liberty University. Founded in 1971 in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University is considered the largest Christian university in the world. And, like Grand Canyon University, LU has significant online opportunities. Liberty currently offers undergraduate and master’s degrees in Global Studies. This degree is available online and on campus and includes a semester-long Global Studies internship, an emphasis on language studies, and missions-based research projects. For those interested in medical missions, Liberty also has an undergraduate pre-med degree and nursing degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.   5. Moody Bible Institute. For more than a century, Moody Bible Institute in Chicago has emphasized training believers to be on mission for God. Similar to Appalachian Bible College, this missionary school does not charge tuition, leaving students to pay for only room and board. Among Moody’s primary missions-related programs is an Intercultural Studies degree, which includes a semester-long immersive experience through a partner school in another nation. In addition, Moody offers a pair of Missional Leadership degrees that emphasize leadership in diverse cultural settings at home and abroad. The school also has a unique missionary aviation program with two concentrations.   6. Columbia International University. This multidenominational and accredited missionary school in Columbia, South Carolina, is regularly listed as one of the most-respected regional universities in the South. While CIU emphasizes the integration of the gospel in every vocation, it offers an Intercultural Studies degree at the bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. levels. Students can also earn an undergraduate degree in International Community Development. In this program, students “live” in a simulated Third World setting and learn to solve problems through doing. Other missions at the master’s level include Disaster Relief Management, Global Migration Studies, Muslim-Christian Relations, and Missiological Studies.   7. Global Frontier Missions. While not one of the traditional missionary schools, Global Frontier Missions does offer a Missionary Training School twice a year. During this five-month program, students gain practical knowledge about missions while also focusing on character development. Perhaps the strength of this training program is the hands-on experience students get by working in the community around the organization’s headquarters in Clarkston, Georgia. The state of Georgia has officially designated Clarkston as a refugee resettlement city. This fits with Global Frontier’s emphasis on ministering to refugees in America while also providing opportunities for Mission Training School participants to interact with dozens of language groups and ethnicities. A limited amount of scholarship money is available, and the organization works to accommodate students with families.   8. University of the Nations. This global missionary training school is affiliated with Youth with a Mission (also known as YWAM). While it’s not accredited like some other missionary schools, University of the Nations still offers undergraduate degrees in a range of vocations. Within the Biblical Studies degree, students can pursue an emphasis in missions or missions/intercultural studies. Nursing and health care degrees are also a possibility. University of the Nations emphasizes hands-on ministry experience, and its relationship with YWAM provide a deep supply of resources and cultural opportunities. Students also get the experience of raising their own support for international trips.   9. Institute for Cross Cultural Training. The Institute for Cross Cultural Training is an academic center affiliated with Wheaton College. Located in Chicago, the center primarily focuses on equipping believers to communicate with other cultures. This includes language learning, as well as training to teach English as a Second Language (ESL). ICCT also provides a fully online course to help individuals planning to live overseas learn how to adapt and thrive in their new settings. While based on Christian principles and dedicated to fulfilling the Great Commission, it lacks biblical and theological training. So, that aspect of missionary education will need to be supplemented elsewhere.   10. Reach. Basically, Reach provides on-the-job training for missionaries. This is a 5 to 6-month program, which is part of Operation Mobilization’s ongoing mission efforts that immerses students in an international culture. Like some other training programs, this missionary education program emphasizes practical experience rather than classroom learning. As a result, the biblical and theological training should be gained in another setting. But Reach could be a good starting point for someone interested in missions, or it could be integrated into a larger education strategy that includes another missionary school.     A few steps that will move you forward As you think about the variety of missionary schools, it’s good to answer some basic questions. For example, what is your budget? You don’t want to go so deep into debt with training that you can’t afford to go where God has called you. Answering that question could help you choose between a college degree or a shorter training program. You also should think about things like a school or organization’s doctrinal stance and philosophy of missions. If an institution’s beliefs don’t align with your convictions, you need to steer clear of that missionary school or program and consider another possibility. As with every mission endeavor, you can never overstate the importance of spiritual disciplines. Through Bible study and prayer, you can hear from God and talk with Him about your thoughts or concerns. Through interaction with wise mentors, you can learn more about yourself and what might be a good fit for you. What’s more, all these help you focus on who you can become as much as who you currently are.  Missionary schools may have their place in God’s plan for you. But don’t ignore the basics as you move toward making your decision.   Discover Medical Missions. Medical Missions serves to connect your professional skills and biblical calling to the largest database of healthcare mission organizations, professionals, and thought leadership. Join us at the Global Missions Health Conference to find your Medical Missions calling. Or, browse our full list of partner organizations to find the right mission for you.
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6 Types of Christian Medical Missions - Serve Your Call
The old cliché reminds us that every journey begins with a single step. If you’re considering the role God has for you in Christian medical missions, that first step could be understanding what’s available. As you consider your calling to medical missions, along with your skills and passions, knowing your options can help you define God’s plans more clearly so you can move in the right direction.   Finding Your Place in Medical Missions The field of Christian medical missions continues to grow. As a result, the opportunities for those interested in pursuing Christian medical missions are expanding as well. Below are six great ways that you can help fulfill the Great Commission by plugging into Christian healthcare ministries.   16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” —Matthew 28:16-20   1. Short-Term Missions The simplest way to become involved in Christian medical missions is through a short-term trip. But don’t let the term “short-term” fool you. Whether you’re on the field for a week or a month, you can still make a long-term impact through the work you do.  To make that happen, keep two important things in mind. First, prepare well for your trip. While a prepared missionary can make a huge difference in people’s lives, an unprepared missionary can do a lot of damage to the ongoing work on the field. So, spiritually and professionally, prepare yourself to be as effective as possible. Second, go with an organization that emphasizes sustainability. In other words, pick a sending agency that has feet on the ground all the time, not just for a week or two every so often. There are mission organizations that serve many purposes, so finding the one that's right for you is important. That allows you to be a part of something bigger and ensures that others will be able to follow up on your efforts after you leave.     2. Long-Term Missions Some refer to this as “all-in” missions because it requires a calling and a commitment that goes beyond short-term experiences. Whether you’re thinking about Christian medical missions as a career or as an extended season of your life, long-term opportunities mean your world is going to change in major ways. As you think about the potential of long-term medical missions, focus on three phrases tied to the Great Commission. The first is God’s call. Make sure He is calling you to share the gospel and make disciples as a medical missionary. Next, lean into God’s power. On your own, you are not enough. But as Christ equips you, His power provides all you need to fulfill His plan for your life. Finally, recognize God’s presence. The truth is, He is always with you—even when you may not feel it. Take comfort in the reality that He will not leave you or forsake you.     3. Domestic Missions Not all the lost and hurting people are overseas. Millions right here at home need the hope and ministry provided by Christian medical missionaries. So, you can put your skills and passions to work without ever leaving the country. Many domestic medical missions organizations focus on helping the poor and marginalized residents of underserved areas. Some of these might live in urban areas, while others could be from rural regions. In every case, they are vulnerable and isolated from a variety of basic health care resources. So, whether you serve in a secular setting or a faith-based organization, domestic missions allow you to be Jesus’s hands and feet in a powerful way.     4. Marketplace Workers The apostle Paul was a religious scholar and a Christian missionary. But he was also a tentmaker who used this unique skill to open doors for ministry. Today, the job descriptions have changed, but the strategy of using “ordinary” careers to share the gospel has not. And, among such marketplace ministries, health care offers one of the widest avenues. That makes sense because people around the world need health care. And, in many nations, the need outpaces the availability of medical professionals. So, health care missionaries can step in the fill some of those gaps. What’s more, because of this great need, Christian medical missionaries can gain access to places traditional missionaries could never reach. So, you don’t necessarily have to choose between work and missions. As a marketplace missionary, you can use your God-given skills and your unique wiring to make a difference in the world.     5. Disaster Relief From the comfort of our homes, natural disasters can produce a mixture of pity and isolation. We feel bad for those who are affected, but the devastation can seem a million miles away. But, in reality, such disasters can provide incredible ministry opportunities for Christian medical missionaries. By their very nature, disasters create medical emergencies. As a result, those in Christian medical missions can be among the first responders on the scene. In addition, people tend to be more open to the gospel in times of crisis. At the very least, you can be the hands and feet of Jesus is an incredibly practical way by ministering to people at the darkest times of their lives.     6. Medical Education The apostle Paul once encouraged his friend Timothy to pass along all the things that he had shared with Timothy to others (2 Timothy 2:2). That way, the gospel would continue to move from generation to generation. While Paul was primarily talking about doctrine and faith issues, the principle of passing knowledge and experience also applies to other areas—including medical missions. Medical missionaries in other nations benefit from the education and experience that Christian medical missionaries can provide. It might be information that sharpens their minds, or it could be a procedure that enhances their skills. Ultimately, medical educators have the chance to connect students to great physicians.  Historically, mission endeavors grow as missionaries train indigenous people how to do the work on their own. Medical educators provide that through their teaching and ministry. It’s an important step toward passing the gospel on to future generations.   The time is now As you can see, you’ve got plenty of options when it comes to finding your fit in Christian medical missions. You have a world of awesome medical mission opportunities at your fingertips. Through spiritual disciplines like Bible study, prayer, and meeting with mentors, you can get a better handle on what God wants you to do and where He wants you to do it. Your journey awaits. It’s time to take the first step.   Discover Medical Missions. Medical Missions serves to connect your professional skills and biblical calling to the largest database of healthcare mission organizations, professionals, and thought leadership. Join us at the Global Missions Health Conference to find your Medical Missions calling. Or, browse our full list of partner organizations to find the right mission for you.  
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How to Become a Missionary
Right before He returned to heaven, Jesus told His disciples that they were responsible for sharing His message around the world (Matthew 28:18-20). He called them to be missionaries, messengers who would spread the gospel locally, regionally, and internationally (Acts 1:8).  If you’ve wondered about how to become a missionary, you’re considering a noble and necessary call. More than 7,000 people groups still need to hear the story of Jesus. Missionaries of all kinds (including medical missionaries) are vital to giving them a chance to respond to God’s offer of salvation through Jesus Christ.   Steps Toward Becoming a Missionary Recognizing the need only answers part of the question about how to become a missionary. Working through His plans and purposes for your life is a process that you need to take seriously.  With that in mind, here are seven steps for becoming a missionary. Some should be done in sequence, while others will happen simultaneously. But each of them can help you identify and refine your God-given direction as a missionary. 1. Consider Your Call. No one should move toward becoming a missionary without a distinct call from God, but understanding your call requires more than responding to a feeling. You need to affirm it through prayer, Bible study, and interaction with mentors and other believers who know you well. That’s the only way to move your internal desire toward a practical reality. You also should involve your local church in this step. In the Bible, Jesus’s command to spread the gospel was directed to churches. And in the book of Acts, churches sent out the first missionaries. Even today, many agencies, especially denominational agencies, require local church involvement.  Finally, working through your call means nurturing the spiritual disciplines and godly qualities that will help you connect with Jesus. Ultimately, becoming a missionary is more about God than about you. He is the One who calls and equips missionaries. So, you need to adopt spiritual practices that will shape you into His image. What’s more, you can never lead anyone where you have not gone, so getting to know Him better will make you more effective once your call is affirmed.   19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” —Matthew 28:19-20   2. Grow Where You’re Planted. As you think about how to become a missionary, don’t miss the opportunities you have now. Becoming a missionary is about obedience and service. One day that might take shape on the mission field, but you also have opportunities to love and serve God and others right where you are.  Of course, one way to serve right now is through short-term mission opportunities. These trips can give you a sense of what life on the field is like and where God might be leading your heart. Plus, they offer the experience you can’t get anywhere else. Or, even online missionary training, you can do it from anywhere.    3. Research Your Options. Another aspect of discovering how to become a missionary involves doing some research. Online tools allow you to dig into missionary needs and opportunities around the world. Likewise, missional job boards provide information on where your skills and passions can intersect with God’s open doors. But you’ll also want to research specific questions related to life on the mission field. For instance, you’ll probably be curious about what kind of salary you could expect as a missionary. You also need to find out what sending agencies require and what skills would help you be effective as a missionary. Research plays a role in both practical learning and personal discipleship.   4. Get Training. In general, training to become a missionary can take two forms: vocational and ministry. For example, the field of medical missions training ffers a wide variety of opportunities: doctors, nurses, therapists, educators, mental health, and so forth. But each of these areas requires special training. At the same time, becoming a missionary is first and foremost, a spiritual calling. That means ministry training is vital. Even as a medical professional, you will need to know how to share the gospel and have a solid background in biblical studies. It could be helpful to develop some pastoral skills and have a foundation in the basics of counseling. This training can take many forms. Most Christian colleges offer some missionary training track, even for those who want to use other skills (like medicine or business) to share the gospel. Other options include specific training programs offered by missions organizations or online training. You can even start your training now by talking to missionaries you might know and by reading books about missions and missionaries.   5. Build a Network. Knowing how to become a missionary includes knowing how to build a team. At first, that team will probably be your prayer network, especially as you seek to find God’s path and purpose for your life. Later, you will also need a financial network to provide resources for your work. Often, these two networks will overlap, so it is wise to start building support as quickly as possible.   6. Get Out of Debt. Many potential missionaries have been derailed by financial debt. The truth is, it’s hard to gain traction on the mission field if you are hounded by things like mortgages or student loans back home. Some mission agencies may even reject you as a candidate if you have outstanding debt. So, as you work toward becoming a missionary, make getting out of debt and staying out of debt part of your program.   7. Find an Agency. The final step in discovering how to become a missionary is to identify the right mission organization for you. Honestly, there are a lot of great options out there. Some represent denominations, and others work independently. But this will be the organization that basically has your back while you are on the mission field, so you have to choose wisely.    Where Will Life as a Missionary Take You? As you read through Scripture, you’ll see God hand-picking individuals for His plans and purposes. For example, Jeremiah was identified as a prophet to the nations before he was even born (Jeremiah 1:5). Likewise, God chose Saul (later known as Paul) to be a missionary before he ever became a Christ follower (Acts 9:15-16). God had a plan for these men. In fact, God had a plan for every person we read about in His Word. What you need to remember as you seek to become a missionary is that God also has a plan for you. He will lead you. He will equip you. He will provide for you as you learn how to become a missionary. If God has called you to become a missionary, He will help you make it happen.       Discover Medical Missions. Medical Missions serves to connect your professional skills and biblical calling to the largest database of healthcare mission organizations, professionals, and thought leadership. Join us at the Global Missions Health Conference to find your Medical Missions calling. Or, browse our full list of partner organizations to find the right mission for you.