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7 Ways to Explore a Call to Missions

By Chelsea Rollman, Feb 6, 2024

How do you know if God is calling you to become a full-time missionary?

This is one of the most common questions people have when considering a call to global missions. While there is no specified discernment process, there are some steps you can take that can lead to confirmation about your call.

If you feel a tug to global missions, here are seven ways you can explore your call.

1. Learn from other missionaries.

When considering becoming a missionary, a great place to start is to learn from current and former missionaries. Ask missionaries at your church about their journey to the mission field. Ask them how God addressed their questions, concerns, and anxieties.

Talk to them about your own uncertainties and fears. It is likely that they have already wrestled with some of the same things. They are able to give practical advice and encouragement because they have walked the road to global missions.

Reading missionary biographies is another way to learn about how God convicts and guides ordinary, sinful people to advance His extraordinary mission.

2. Explore different cultures.

Do you have an unexplained love for a particular country? Are there any languages you know or would like to learn? Do you feel burdened for an unreached people group?

Or do you have a natural affinity for languages and cultures different from your own?

Take some time to consider what kinds of cultures interest you. Then explore them closer through books, movies, music videos, podcasts, interviews, and foods. Make connections with internationals in your city. Enroll in language study programs at nearby universities or community centers.

Many missionaries’ journeys, like MTW Japan missionaries Debbie Pixley and Alana Essex, began because God placed a certain country, culture, or people group on their heart. As they explored that culture more, their compassion and love for that people grew until they realized God was calling them to serve among them.

3. Make use of resources from missions organizations.

Missions organizations like MTW offer numerous materials specifically for potential missionaries. These resources include Bible studies, blog posts, podcasts, magazines, courses, conferences, videos, and more. Additionally, many organizations have mobilizers ready to walk with you as you explore your call.

Taking advantage of these resources can help you discover what missionary life would look like for you. They can equip you with the knowledge and tools needed to make an informed decision about whether or not to pursue missions full time.

4. Talk to your pastor and church leaders.

Talking to your pastor and church leaders is an integral part of exploring a call to missions. Your church leaders have valuable advice for people seeking God’s plan for their lives and insight into your ministry gifts and strengths. Reaching out for their guidance, direction, and prayer can help you feel less alone when considering this major decision.

Remember that the church is the sending body and your main ministry partner if you become a missionary. Therefore, it is important to involve them in the decision process as soon as possible. Missions organizations often rely on their recommendation and assessment of potential missionary candidates.

5. Visit the mission field.

A recent survey of MTW’s Japan team found that 98% of our Japan missionaries did some sort of site visit before serving longer. This number is similar for missions teams in other countries.

Participating in a vision trip, mission trip, or internship is a way to dip your toe in the water without making any long-term commitments. You will meet other missionaries, interact with local believers, and observe how God is at work around the world. A site visit is one of the best ways to get a taste of missionary life and your fit for the field.

MTW offers trips and internships all over the world for people of all ages and backgrounds.

6. Pray and pray some more.

Even more helpful than a field visit is prayer. Pray for clarity. Pray for the right people to guide you and for wisdom in discerning the signs God has provided. Pray for courage to follow where God leads you. Then ask others to pray these things with and for you.

Finally, be sure to spend time giving God thanks for all the ways He has already been at work in your life: the gifts He has given you; the experiences He has allowed you to have; how far He has brought you already in your walk with Him. Reflecting on these things will help keep perspective when making this big decision about missions work.

7. Don’t look for 100% certainty.

Even if you do all or some of these things, it is unlikely all your doubt will go away. Don’t look for clearer answers than the ones God is providing.

God can and does provide people with real peace and certainty about going to the field for those who wisely consider His call in their lives. However, there is a point where every missionary decides to trust the Spirit’s leading and go in faith. Eventually, God will lead you to the same decision point.

Remember, you are called.

One final but important note—remember that you, and every other Christian, have already been called to participate in God’s mission. Jesus tasked the whole Church to continue His work in making disciples of all nations. It is a question of figuring out whether you are someone God has called to financially and prayerfully support missionaries or someone God has called to go and be a missionary.

Interested in talking to an MTW mobilizer? Fill out the Get Started form and a mobilizer will reach out to you. 

Originally published May 2023.

Chelsea Rollman

Chelsea Rollman is a marketing specialist and staff writer at MTW. She formerly served as the girls’ discipleship coordinator at Village Seven in Colorado Springs, and as a marketing assistant at The White Horse Inn. Chelsea graduated from Covenant College in 2016 with her B.A. in English. She and her husband, Hudson, live in Jacksonville, Florida, and attend Christ Church Presbyterian where Hudson serves as the youth director.

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