I have years of schooling left. How do I prepare and persevere?

“See how two mission mobilizers and a former missionary answer this question and several others about what you can do now.”

The GOer Group videos are a free seven-lesson series addressing the major questions and barriers many encounter as they pursue cross-cultural ministry. Each video features insights and advice from experienced people who have either spent time on the mission field or have helped many people to get there. Though speaking to college students, many issues come up for those of all ages.In this video, mission mobilizers Todd and Andy and former missionary Matt address the following questions:

1. How can students get involved in missions now? 
2. What does it mean to be a goer? 
3. How can students pray for the world? 
4. What does it mean to be a sender? 
5. What does it mean to be a welcomer? 
6. What does it mean to be a mobilizer? 
7. What kinds of training can students get while still in school?


GOer Groups, Lesson 5: What To Do Now.

Another video, the final video in this series, unpacks these themes more. See GOer Groups, Lesson 7: Continuing On, which addresses the following questions:

1. What advice would you give to students who are mission minded?
2. How can students encourage one another while still in school? 

These videos were produced by the Center for Mission Mobilization.

“Learn about missions, and participate in mission-related ministries now.”

I was in my mid-teens when I felt God leading me into missions, so as a teenager I took short-term mission trips. I also became involved in church work with an ethnic group (Hispanic) different from my own. This gave me more insight into other cultures, helped to solidify my direction, and equipped me for the future. 

Take every opportunity you can to find out more about missions. Read mission magazines to learn about current mission activities around the world. Read biographies about missionaries. Talk to missionaries when you can. Find out more about missions by attending a Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course. Continue to take any step you believe will help your goal to become a missionary. Avoid choices that might prevent you from going to the mission field, such as incurring large debt or marrying someone not interested in missions.

If possible, find someone to mentor you and pray for you during the years of preparation to become a missionary. There may be many years before you move overseas, but God is faithful to help you get there, if you persevere.

Answer from Mike, who served for ten years in West Africa and North Africa on a Bible translation team with WEC International.

“Go, learn, befriend, read, and serve.”

Go on as many different short-term trips as you can, preferably those that bring you into contact with long-term missionaries. There is no better way to learn than to sit at their feet. 

Learn a second language. Learn Spanish if you have a heart for Latin America, French if you have a heart for Africa, and so on. If there is a community college in your area that offers a course in a different language family than your mother tongue, take classes to try it out and hone your language-learning ability. 
Make friends with international students in your school and community. 

Read, read, read. There is much to be learned from reading missionary biographies. Be inspired by their perseverance through every kind of trial, despite seeing little fruit for many years. Check out Mary Slessor, Hudson Taylor, Jim Elliot, William Carey, St. Patrick, and Adoniram Judson. Use the missionary biography series by Janet and Geoff Benge, Christian Heroes: Then and Now.

Stay in the Word and prayer and look for an opportunity to minister in your own church. It doesn’t have to be related to missions. Just start trying things and thereby discover and confirm your spiritual gifts. Get experience in loving the unlovable and reaching those who don’t know they need to be reached. 

Answer from Keri, who served in China for four years.

“Volunteer, integrate faith into your studies, and seek direction.”

Here are three ways to prepare and train for missionary service in the meantime:

1. Volunteer: Take advantage of different opportunities to work with others in order to learn more about your gifts and interests as well as to practice what you’re learning. This may include involvement in a church’s Sunday school class or youth group. Participate in a campus Christian fellowship. Look for options to work with inner-city kids, whether with a Christian organization or not. Be willing to push beyond your comfort zone.

2. Integrate: At the end of every preparatory course you take, write a page or two on “What did I learn in this course that will help me serve later?” Then apply the basic principles to the needs of others. 

Also, work on integrating the scientific principles you’re learning with the spiritual principles the Lord is teaching you through your Bible reading, sermons you hear, conversations with mature Christians, and books you read. This will be a challenge. Look for appropriate opportunities to work Christian principles into your academic papers, even though your professors may question you. Make sure you quote respected Christian sources. Don’t be discouraged if you’re criticized or even ridiculed. Be willing to be stretched, but don’t be obnoxious. 

3. Seek: Ask the Lord to lay a country or a mission on your heart through reading, meeting a missionary, or attending a missionary conference. Get to know one or two missionaries who impress you, ask to receive their prayer letters, and intercede for them faithfully. Go on mission trips. Bombard visiting missionaries you respect with questions; the harder the questions the better. The time will come when you begin receiving from the Lord a specific focus, a burden, and a desire.

Answer from Jack Voelkel, former missionary-in-residence with the Urbana Student Mission Convention; originally published on the Urbana website. Previously, Jack served thirty years with Latin America Mission in Peru and Colombia.

Scroll to Top