Audio Transcript:

Welcome to Missions on Point, the Propempo perspective on Church and missions. Welcome to episode 85 of Missions on Point. This is the second of a four-part series for sending missionaries from your church. This episode will deal with concepts for missionary training and qualification. I want to start right out with giving you our email address. You can contact us, ask questions, make comments by emailing us at That's The whole idea of missionary training qualification is really deep in our hearts. It is a passion that we are really concerned about for churches and missionaries and mission sending agencies. For too long, we have allowed missionaries to more or less lay hands on themselves and say that they're ready to go to the field and haven't even treated them as if they were leaders in the church or needed to be qualified as leaders in the church.

Pastors and missions pastors kind of panic when someone from the church says, "I think I want to be a missionary. How do I qualify?" Because it seems like it's a completely different animal and it's not. It's just like raising up leaders in your church. If you wanted someone to become a church leader, you would monitor and walk alongside with them and partner with them in developing their ministry skills. You certainly wouldn't hire even an assistant pastor who didn't have any biblical or theological training or experience in ministry and people skills in order to do the job. A missionary needs all of that, and more. So missionaries and churches ought not to think that the pathway from someone saying that they want to be a missionary to actually becoming an effective, fruitful, long-term faithful missionary on the field is a short one. It is not simply an internal passion or compulsion on an individual's part, but it is a group thing to confirm their call and to guide them so that they will be long-term effective on the field.

We have a number of articles on Just use the search mechanism and find articles on missionary training and qualification, and you'll come up with a bunch of relevant information to help you and guide your thinking. We have touched on this from different perspectives, different angles in the Missions on Point podcast, and I just want to refresh your memory of how many times we've talked about this process or the particulars of how to train and qualify as missionary. In episodes 25 through 39, we had a long 15 session keys to effectiveness as a missionary. In episodes 48 and 50, we discovered missions throughout the Bible. Certainly, the missionary ought to be able to see and understand how the mission's story and the trajectory of God's story of salvation to all the nations is woven throughout the Bible. In episodes 51 and 52, we talked about essential missions books.

Certainly a missionary candidate ought to become familiar with those and be helped by those. In episode 63 through 68, we talked about the vision of a sending church and the whole process from the very beginning to the shepherding of a missionary on the field, how to do that and how to think about that as a church. And then finally a very recent series was episode 78 through 83, talking about missiology you need to know. This would be a great primer for those wanting to go to the field and those wanting to be senders of those going to the field. So first concept for today is think of training a missionary in your church similar to raising up a church leader like a ministry leader or a vocational pastor. You want them to have a depth of understanding of biblical truth, how the Bible's story is woven together from Genesis to Revelation, how to use the Bible in practical ways and certainly how to evangelize. If the core ministry of a missionary on the field, regardless of their type of work. Is essentially evangelism, it's proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. They need to understand the gospel really well and have practiced it and been involved in evangelism.

Perhaps by God's grace, seeing people come to saving faith in Christ because of their personal ministry, that's what you want to see in a missionary candidate. Going further than that, they need to dig deep and have a theological framework for understanding the Bible and the truths of the Bible in such a way that they can begin to apply that as they see it from the perspective of a different culture on the field. They need to be able to evaluate what is actually sinful and what is not sinful, what is cultural and what is biblical and what is their own culture. They have to be able to discern what is going on and how to direct people and teach and guide people through biblical truth to understand theological truth, the intangible truths of the gospel of justification, sanctification, Christian living, the church, it's organization, so many practical things.

It seems foolish, to me, to send someone to be a church planter who has never had any experience on the inside of church leadership, perhaps even experience in the beginnings at least of planting a church. To say it a little bit different way, how could you ever expect someone who doesn't qualify to be an elder, according to first Timothy three, to raise up a church and train elders for a church plant. Second major concept is take your time. Don't be in a rush. It's better to have appropriate expectations rather than false expectations of what life is like on the field. It's better for them to take their time and really qualify than to go out unqualified and hit the wall and crash and burn and return after a few months or a few years, never having accomplished what they were sent out to do. That is a very expensive proposition, a very expensive mistake.

Humanly speaking, might I say, I like to use the biblical example of Paul. Paul through supernatural revelation was told by Christ that he would be a missionary, take the gospel to the Gentiles, suffer a lot for it, and even testify of Christ to kings and rulers. How long did it take Paul from that initial clear, special revelation of understanding from Jesus Christ himself that he was going to be a missionary to actually being a missionary? Well, depending on how you define it was about 12 to 14 years for him to gain experience, to study the word, to understand the gospel fully himself, to teach it to others in the context of his local church there in Antioch before the elders, leaders of Antioch recognized him as a missionary and loosed him, sent him out to go representing the church and Jesus Christ as a missionary.

So just think of it, if the Apostle Paul with all of his training before going to the field didn't go out until 12 years later, then there's something to this slow and steady development and ministry skills acquisition before going to the field. Third concept is actually get on the job experience in ministry. On the job experience in ministry, what does that mean? Well, it means that the individual missionary candidate should understand ministry at all levels in the church. They should be involved to some extent in understanding what children's ministry is like, what youth ministry is like, what ministry to the elderly is like, what teaching the Bible is like. Certainly, we already touched on sharing the gospel and having an active evangelistic life. If they intend to be in a church planting, church leadership kind of situation, they need to have experience in teaching and preaching God's word.

In most cases, especially for younger adults, it's going to mean formal training. They're going to go to Bible school, they're going to go to seminary and have a lot of background of training so that they can rightly divine the word of truth in ministry and a cross-cultural situation. The fourth concept is people skills. We refer to this in different ways, but basically a missionary needs to love people. They need to love being around people. They need to love interacting with people. They need to appreciate how the grace of God is ministered relationally through people, both to the unbeliever and to believers, particularly within the local church. Although one and other commands are highly relational and practical in people skills, and the missionary candidate needs to be exercising those, needs to be evaluated and even critiqued on people skills so that they develop the people skills necessary to have confidence as they share the gospel and they relate to people and winsomely demonstrate and proclaim the gospel to real people.

So practically, here is a framework I call the six C's of missionary qualifications. These relate and interconnect in different ways, but here they are. First is calling. How does a missionary candidate actually verify their call? Well, they don't do it themselves. They do it in the context of local church leaders observing and seeing what's going on. It's not a supernatural revelation so much as it is an inner conviction that is confirmed by people who are onlooking and saying, "Yes, it looks like you have the right stuff to be a missionary." Note, it's not just about willingness. The second C is character, and this relates to the character of leadership in general, so the kinds of character qualities that are described in first Timothy three, in Titus chapter one, for elders and deacons, regardless of the type of ministry, a person needs to be moral, upright, have a good reputation, have good relationships and leadership within their family.

They need to be people that are without blame. There are some practical things related to that, like they can't be in great debt. They need to be responsible and take initiative. Those are the kinds of character things that will distinguish a fruitful and effective missionary from one that is not. Thirdly is conviction, and this has to do with basically understanding biblical truth, that they have conviction and passion about the truth of the gospel, about Bible truth and the place and role of the Bible teaching God's laws and God's ways to others. So understanding Bible truth in a practical way. The fourth C is competence. They need to have specific ministry skills, competence in leading, organizing, administrating, in winsomely recruiting people to do the work of service. Those kinds of things are practical and they can be worked out in the local church context.

The fifth C is chemistry. We've touched briefly on that. They need to be people persons. They need to get along with people, work well as a team, not be arrogant and proud and always demanding their way, that kind of thing. Just simple people skills, communicating well with others and resolving conflicts that's extremely important out on the field. The last of the six Cs is cross cultural capacity, and what we mean by this is simply, they need to appreciate and love and embrace things from other cultures. They need to understand that their way is not the only way or the right way. They need to be able to not only be adventuresome in terms of eating and wearing different kinds of clothes and discovering new locations and geography, those kinds of things they actually need to embrace and appreciate and inculcate into their life. A love for the culture of the people, including the food and dress and location and geography and all of that. But it involves those cultural values of family and relationships and neighborhood and how people interact together within the culture.

That's cross-cultural capacity. You don't get that just by visiting Taco Bell and a Chinese restaurant. It means having meaningful relationships with people of other cultures and being eager to learn about their culture and how it operates and being able to then adapt their own lifestyle to that and embrace it in their lives and in their family. Hey, this is a lot in one little episode, and it is a passion of our hearts to see that missionaries are trained well for long-term effectiveness through the local church. We want you to be involved in it as a church leader. We want candidates to understand that this is no simple thing. It's not just hopping on a plane and becoming a missionary. It's actually working hard to gain the qualifications to serve well and serve effectively for the long term. I would encourage you to follow or subscribe to the podcast and get other people to follow and subscribe to it, and then interact with it.

Whether you agree or disagree, interact with it, with each other and figure it out because these are the kinds of conversations that are going to help your church be a sending church. This series is sending missionaries from your church. We want you to learn how to do that, to aspire to do that, and to see God actually answer those prayers and send your own people out to the mission field.

Thanks for joining us today on Missions on Point, the Propempo perspective on church and missions. I trust that you'll find more help and resources on the website, Please preferably consider supporting this ministry. Now to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever. Amen.

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