Qualifications for Cross-Cultural Ministry
Interested in missions? Wondering if you really have what it takes? Several concepts will help you start the process of confirming that you are qualified.
Spiritual and personal growth are the core qualifications
How are you doing in your spiritual life? Are you growing in how you respond to life and to others? A vibrant, authentic walk with Christ that shapes the realities in our hearts, the choices we make, and how we react to others is the foundation for all that really matters. Education and experience are good and can sharpen your skills, but God will only work through a person whose heart is committed to Him.
God calls all of us to be involved. Our gifts determine the role for which we are qualified.
The Great Commission in each of its forms (Mat. 28:19, 20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8) was given to all believers. Rom. 10:12-15 makes it clear that we all have a role to play. So which role is right for you? Rom. 12: 3-8 says that your primary qualifications are the gifts God has given you to fulfil a unique role in Christ’s Body. How do you know what your gifts are? First Timothy 3:1-13 implies that the desire for a ministry is a good start, but it is a person’s track record that really confirms the match of gifts and ministry.
Use all the opportunities you have now to confirm your basic qualifications.
Look around you. There are many ways you can get into cross-cultural ministry right where you are. You can seek to learn more about missions as well. We have a list of starter ideas to help you think through options you have to develop a track record. As you get involved, God will reveal your qualifications and help you grow.
Start taking specific steps towards missions.
Short term teams and internships are great steps towards ministry. At the end of each step, ask for feedback. What has your experience taught you about your giftedness?
Evaluate yourself to see if you are developing these qualities and abilities.
- Spiritual life and worldview – evidence of genuine spiritual life, communicates an understanding of spiritual identity, perception of spiritual realities, practices disciplines in light of these realities and knows how to respond to them
- Life balance – currently have healthy relationships, growing self-understanding and awareness, personal security in Christ, growing ability to organize and prioritize relationships, family, finances, work, and ministry so you can sustain personal vitality and influence in the spheres of family and ministry
- Teamwork – self motivation, relational ability, appreciation of diversity and spiritual gifting under recognized leadership, organization of work and time, sound financial management, evidence of conflict resolution and restoration of relationship.
- Contact-making / evangelism – demonstrate an evangelistic lifestyle using culturally-appropriate forms of contact-making and evangelism
- Discipleship / spiritual reproduction – demonstrating spiritual disciplines and reproduction in others (who will reproduce in others)
- Understand and live the essence of church – commitment to the church, growing ability to differentiate between the essence and expression of the church, with participation in a local spiritual family; developing skills critical to creating and fostering new spiritual families
- Handling Scripture – growth in knowledge, application and teaching of the Bible in culturally-appropriate ways
- Cultural competence – flexibility, sensitivity to people and surroundings, delineate the differences between the beliefs, values & behaviours of the sending and receiving culture, able to change cultural patterns
No one is perfect but everyone can grow.
Don’t be overwhelmed. If you don’t see yourself as excelling in all these, don’t assume you’re disqualified. We are not looking for perfect people, but for those who are growing and have sufficient strength in Christ to continue to grow without their support network around them. Find a mentor, an older believer who can help you see yourself more clearly and help you map out a plan for growth.
Our opportunities database lists the many types of strategic ministry needs Encompass has. These may give you some ideas about ministry that could match your giftedness. We will listen to what God is doing in your life and help you investigate which of the many options may be best for you and your circumstances. We’ll work with you and your church to confirm God's leading and enable you to move into the ministry role right for you.
Questions? About your role? About how to take steps in your situation? We’d be glad to spend time with you as you seek God’s leading. Together, let’s express God’s passion for the nations in our actions!
Are you ready to begin your journey in cross-cultural ministry?