Five Tips for Choosing a Mission Organisation
You’ve felt the call of God to serve in missions, but what do you do next? Maybe you’ve recently returned from a short-term mission trip. Maybe you’ve taken the Perspectives course on world missions. Or maybe you are simply responding to the still, small voice of Jesus beckoning you to serve Him cross culturally.
But what do you do next? How do you know what organisation is right for you? How do you discern where the Lord is calling you to go?
The overwhelming swath of mission agencies around the world can be both encouraging and stressful. God is mobilising people into mission, yet the challenge is finding the right one for you.
At Greater Europe Mission, we recognise that not every organisation is right for every person. There is no one-size-fits-all match. Choosing the right agency that fits your calling, church background, and gifting is important. And we want to help guide you in discerning God’s will for your life.
When looking to go into missions, here are areas of exploration to help you choose a mission (and five reasons why GEM might be the right one for you).
The first thing to consider is what ministry opportunities the organisation offers. If you have a specific gifting or calling upon your life, make sure the agency has established ministries and systems in place to help you thrive in ministry.
Some organisations specialise in specific areas of ministry—whether it’s church planting, justice ministries, or teaching English. Do your homework by scouring websites or talking to mobilisers to see if the organisation focuses on the ministry you are seeking.
At GEM, we believe all aspects of life and vocation can be used for mission. From “spiritual” jobs like church planting or pastoring, to “normal” jobs like IT or workplace ministry, there is no sacred/secular divide in the kingdom of God. God has uniquely gifted every person and equipped them to use these gifts to further His Kingdom. For example, we have people running coffee shops in Spain, planting churches in England, coaching sports in Czech Republic, and creating cell-phone apps in Germany.
Reach out to one of our mobilisers to see if GEM might have a ministry in line with your calling.
Location is crucial in determining God’s call on your life. Some organisations are trans-global; others focus on one region or country of the world.
While each type has its advantages and disadvantages, at Greater Europe Mission we believe that by focusing on less, we can equip for more.
We recognize the great need to send missionaries to Africa, Asia, and South America, yet know we can better equip global workers to reach Europe by narrowing our focus to just this content.
If you know where––or to whom––God is calling you to serve, choose an agency focused on that region of the world.
If you sense God calling you to serve in Europe, why don’t you explore with us if GEM might have a ministry location for you?
Denomination & Values
Some organisations are denominationally affiliated. These are wonderful for those who seek to remain in the denomination they currently attend in their home culture. Others are intentionally non-denomination or even inter-denominational.
At Greater Europe Mission, we honour the breadth of the Body of Christ by intentionally being an inter-denominational organisation. While GEM holds to historic Christian convictions with fervor, we welcome and are home to a wide-range of Christian expressions—from charismatics to Calvinists, Mennonites to Anglicans.
As GEM continues to grow into an international organisation, sending people from all over the world to Europe, we want to see the global body of Christ represented in our fields of service. We believe it takes diverse teams with diverse church backgrounds to reach diverse places like Europe.
Training & Resources
Many people overlook organisational training, Member Care, or resources for missionaries by settling for the cheapest option (or even one with the best website). But when it comes to missions, cheaper is not always better. And social aesthetics do not always reflect an organisation’s health and resources.
Ask mobilisers tough questions to learn what resources are offered to global workers. If they don’t offer training, counseling, Member Care, and other essential components to the life of a missionary, take your search elsewhere.
At Greater Europe Mission, we value the health of our missionaries. From pre-field training before you leave for Europe and country-specific onboarding once you get to Europe, we are committed to preparing our workers to best serve in the context God calls them to.
Further, GEM has a Spiritual Life and Wellness team to look after your spiritual, physical, and emotional health while you are on the field. These top-of-the-line services of counseling, spiritual direction, and retreats are provided at little or no additional cost.
A Spirit of Joy
At the end of the day, an organisation may have a great website, a swath of ministry opportunities, and appealing locations, but if they don’t reflect simple, essential Christian virtues like love and joy, they are not worth your investment.
In 2018, as I attended GEM’s welcome week (a sort of first stop for new missionary appointees), the first thing that caught my attention was the joy I saw on GEM staff members’ face. The smiles were contagious and the laughter infectious. Before I knew about the vision of the mission and the heart of its ministries, I was compelled by the spirit of joy that permeated the people.
Joy and a deep sense of community in the work you do is vital for longevity on the mission field. Don’t miss making it a key factor in determining if an organisation is right for you.
Finding a mission organisation can be difficult. Let us help make it easier and see if GEM is the right fit for you.
About the author: Grant Klinefelter is a Storyteller with Greater Europe Mission and serves with his wife Naomi in Birmingham, England.