How To Go?

May 17, 2024 Brian W

How do you train a missionary for a God so awesome, and a mission so vast that it covers the whole world? It is a challenging question! The standard solution is to provide the missionary with basic orientation and tips to learn the rest on the job. This approach often leads to missionaries coping with, instead of adapting to, culture. It leads to programmatic reliance instead of a focus on equipping the believers to use their gifts. In tragic circumstances, it leads to wasted years, failed missions, and even wounded children of God. Agencies need to do better, and MissioSERVE is prepared to do so. We focus our training on the two keys of a successful missionary:
1.) You must develop the character, faith, and mindset to endure the spiritual battles of the mission field, and...
2.) You must acquire the skills to be a missionary.

Our training process is called D3 (Discover, Develop, and Deploy). How does this look in practice? First, we believe missionaries must lead and serve as Jesus commanded (John 13:14-16, Luke 22:24-28, Matthew 20:25-28, Mark 10:42-45). To do that, we prepare our missionaries to equip the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-13). Our training develops our missionary to be people-focused and a living conduit between the sending church and the new saints in the mission field, allowing the ministry to flow in both directions (3 John).

Attempting this type of ministry invites the total opposition of the enemy! If missionaries are to survive on the field, they need to be prepared to face the pressure. First, we help prepare the missionary to deal with the general stress of living on the mission field. According to research done for Heartstream Resources, the average missionary faces yearly stress at three to six times the level needed to cause physical ailments and endanger mental health. All stress has a physical component, so we teach our missionaries and interns how to relieve stress physically and to process stress healthily. The enemy is an even deadlier component of missionary attrition. Our training focuses on how to discern (Romans 12:1-2) and how to fight (Ephesians 4:14-16) spiritual war, all for the praise and glory of Jesus Christ.

Second, we believe missionaries must develop the skills of an effective missionary. The sending church’s mission and cross-cultural encounters of their missionaries with the host people are full of complexities that often make it appear impossible to train missionaries. While there are many variables to deal with, we have found that we can equip missionaries with the right tools to approach any cross-cultural mission. We begin by providing the missionary with the tools to make 1 Corinthians 9:19-27 come alive for them. We equip missionaries to use the tools to understand and incorporate their host culture into their personal and ministry lives. The equipping benefits both the mission and the missionary because when used properly, they make sure the gospel of Jesus Christ is heard and understood culturally. God's message does not change from culture to culture, but the chosen elements of the news that most resonate with a particular culture are different. It is necessary to understand the differences.

It is not just cultural diagnostics and understanding that are important. A missionary must learn to intentionally develop relationships into partnerships of giving and receiving (Philippians 4:14-20). The missionary serves with their sending church, MissioSERVE, and believers in the host culture in partnerships that make the mission possible. The success or failure of these relationships determines the outcome of the mission. We teach our missionaries how to build cross-cultural partnerships, placing them on a firm foundation and maintaining them all for the glory of our Savior. But what is their mission?

The MissioSERVE training process guides the missionary and their sending church to define and design a clear and specific mission (Luke 14:28-33). We learn about the missionary and their sending church through our discovery process while they learn about us. Then together, we learn about the host culture that the mission will serve. As we gain knowledge, we develop the practical skills, language learning, technical skills, etc., needed to prepare for the mission. The church and their missionary participate in this process. Finally, we deploy the missionary to utilize the skills over the first two years of the mission on the field. It involves as much refining, reframing, and retooling as is necessary, all to carry out the mission that God initiates, the church sends, and the missionary answers to the praise and glory of Jesus Christ! How do we go? The answer is to go intentionally trained and well-prepared for strong partnerships in your specific mission. 


Brian W
Brian served 14 years in the Republic of Georgia, where he started a youth ministry, discipled new leaders, and planted over 15 new churches before serving in leadership of another missions organization. Brian is married to Maia and they have two children.