SERVE

“If you think you have come to the mission field because you are a little better than others, or as the cream of your church, or because of your medical degree, or for the service you can render the African church, or even for the souls you may see saved, you will fail. Remember, the Lord has only one purpose ultimately for each one of us, to make us more like Jesus. He is interested in your relationship with Himself. Let Him take you and mould you as He will; all the rest will take its rightful place.”

Helen Roseveare

Are You Ready?

Whether your future is in cross-cultural missions or something else, what really matters is that you are following God’s leading.

Perhaps you’re thinking about a future in missions. Many questions come to mind. Would I make a good missionary? Are there qualifications I need? What’s the application process? Or perhaps you’re interested, but don’t even know where to begin to find out if this is right for you?

There are two separate issues here. The first is whether heading down the path towards cross-cultural missions is what God wants you to do. For some people, there are issues that make it clearly the wrong choice. But even for those ideally suited and situated for the task, it may still not be what God has for you now.

Faith

At any point in any of our lives there will always be a mixture of zeal and indifference, love and uncaring.  One of the key things about a living faith is that it is growing.

You can’t share what you don’t have.

You can’t share what you don’t have.
First and foremost a missionary must have a living faith in Christ. Whether it’s like an oak tree or a little sapling, the important thing is that it is alive. To test the state of your heart, here are some of the signs of a living faith:

A delight in the things of God.

A delight in the things of God. A heart that is alive loves to meditate on and savour the great truths of the faith, drawing deep joy and sustenance from them. The Gospel, the great message of God’s love and forgiveness for the wretched and undeserving, is something sweet to the senses. Though we feed our delight in different ways, there should be some things – Bible reading, Christian books, sermons, worship, Christian music – that regularly awaken our hearts to the greatness of God, and that are done not merely out of duty, but with true relish.

An active life of prayer and trust in God

A true child of God naturally talks often with his or her heavenly Father, and learns to trust him for more and more things. There should be evidence of the “peace that passes understanding” as burdens are taken off our shoulders and put into our Father’s hands. Recognizing his or her own inadequacy to accomplish anything of lasting spiritual significance, a true child of God is constantly calling on God to guide, and bring forth fruit that will last.

A life of love and obedience.

When our hearts have been truly touched by the love of God, there is a newfound care and compassion for those around us. Knowing the depths of our own sinfulness, we can look more forgivingly on the sinfulness of others. Knowing how much God cares for us, unworthy as we are, we look upon those around us, especially the outcasts, the rejected, those deemed worthless in the world, as people of eternal value in God’s sight. Over time, more and more of our greedy, grasping, me-me-me nature gives way, and we draw more and more pleasure in living in close fellowship with Jesus and fellow believers, and in seeing others’ lives blessed.

A burden for souls.

Having been so blessed by the grace of God so as to be brought from death to life, a living heart can’t help but be weighed down by the lostness of those around who have not yet come to faith. And in thinking about the countless millions around the world who having never had a chance to hear, his or her heart cannot but be deeply convinced that great effort and sacrifice is necessary to bring the message to them. Whether in one’s own family, in one’s workplace, in one’s city, or across the world, no other issue is as important as this one of salvation. At any point in any of our lives there will always be a mixture of zeal and indifference, love and uncaring. One of the key things about a living faith is that it is growing. As we live and relate to the world on the one hand, and learn more about and interact with God on the other, we cannot help but to learn and to change. Are you a different person now than a year ago? Can you see a deepening of love, wisdom, and obedience in your life?

Not perfect.

To be a missionary does not demand perfection. Growth, and the willingness to grow further, however, is essential

Resilience
Adaptability

One of the most desirable traits for overseas living is adaptability. One gets on a plane, and in less than a day one is suddenly immersed in a place where everything is strange and new. And instead of being the capable, dependable person that could actually do things, one now can’t even do something as basic as ask where the bathroom is. Even worse, if you find it, it might either be so strange that you’re not quite sure how to use it, or so off-putting that you start wondering if you can’t just hold it until your next home leave!

Culture Shock

The initial culture shock is just the beginning. God looks to us to be faithful sowers of the seed. He’s the one who determines whether one heart will be rocky soil and another fertile. A missionary may face many years with no visible success. Apart from ministry is the rest of life. There’s a reason why so many millions try to leave their home countries for the West. Poverty, disease, injustice, endemic corruption, persecution, violence, spiritual darkness, hopelessness -many of the neediest places of the world are trying places to live.

Language

Language learning is a long, hard slog, and it takes most people a couple of years of very hard work to get to the point where they can have anything approaching a deep conversation about things that really matter. But language is just a doorway into culture, and it can take many years to really understand what makes people tick. And even after all that investment there is no guarantee that a missionary will see lasting fruit.

Romantic Dreams

Romantic dreams of exotic missionary life usually last a matter of days, if not hours, after one’s arrival on the field. For most of us, the initial upheaval and long process of adaptation to a foreign culture will be the most difficult, laborious, stressful thing we will ever do. Such trying, testing conditions highlight any weaknesses we carry with us. Our bodies are tested. Our relationships are tested. Our walk with God is tested. Cracks in marriages can break wide open. Sins thought conquered reappear with new strength. “Why am I tired all the time?” “Why am I so irritable, so unloving, so discouraged?”

Tower of Strength

We are not looking for towering rocks who never get knocked over. We are looking for those who, once they get knocked over, have what it takes to get back up and keep going. If we’re having a bad day and blow up at someone, do we quickly apologize and make things right? If our expectations are disappointed, do we sulk, grumble, or threaten to take our ball and go home? Or do we take our hurts to God, and, putting outcomes in his hands, move forward with peace, revising our expectations? Resilience is what is desired.

Sensitivity

Some people are innately more sensitive than others; little things affect them much more deeply. Others are far more easy-going. Which end of the continuum you are closer to is largely a matter of temperament – and so is a relatively stable part of who you are. However, it seems that God has designed the missionary life so that no one, easy-going or not, is able to pass through without struggles, failures, disappointments of such a magnitude as to be unendurable without the ability to cast it all on Him. We all must learn to follow David’s example at Ziklag (1 Samuel 30): “he found strength in the LORD his God”.

Burnout

A missionary “crashing and burning” overseas is a painful, tragic experience for everyone. Reaching the point of no longer being able to cope can be devastating to one’s emotional, physical, and spiritual health. One’s family, friends, team – all whose lives are connected to that missionary – are affected. Some crack, suffering a breakdown; others burn out, getting bitter, cynical, or just not caring anymore. No one wants that to happen. That’s part of why we have missionary candidates come and live for four months in community at our headquarters. Before we send someone through such a trying experience we want to see some evidence that they will be able to not only cope, but thrive overseas.

Testing

Is your physical health weak? Are you easily upset, angered, discouraged, made fearful or anxious? Does your joy and trust in God falter easily? Are interpersonal relationships a continuing source of pain to you? Fragile people need to think carefully before going overseas. However, most any weakness can be overcome if there is a close walk with God. Inner, spiritual resilience is an absolute necessity – our purely human resources will too soon be found wanting.

Trust/Support

For every missionary in service there needs to be a team of people on the home front praying, communicating, supporting and caring

Missionaries are called by God, but they are sent by fellowships of believers. Even the Apostle Paul was commissioned by the believers in Antioch.

This all makes good sense. A WEC missionary is sustained in ministry by what God provides through the direct giving of churches and individual believers to that particular missionary. A fervent Christian who is living a life of service within his or her church fellowship and beyond it, will naturally win the trust of others. Fellow believers want to pray for and get behind the ministry of someone they see using their gifts to the glory of God, Of course, having the confidence of others is no guarantee of ministry success. However, lack of that trust is fatal. WEC doesn’t send missionaries who lack the confidence of their home church.

Naturally, an important part of the application process is finding out what a person’s home fellowship says about them. What do the people who see you day in and day out say about your suitability for ministry?

Missions is a team effort. For every missionary in service there needs to be a team of people on the home front praying, communicating, supporting and caring. And such teams are built by others seeing God at work in you and through you.

Do others have confidence in you and your ministry? If you are serious about going overseas, ask mature Christians who know you what they think about your suitability.

A call

Often the only thing that keeps one going is the sense of calling, the knowledge that, whatever the circumstances may appear, one is doing what God has called one to do.

You might be full of joy and strength in Christ, and be held in awe by all who know you for the way God uses you in ministry. You may have a cast-iron constitution, boundless energy, a deep, experiential knowledge of the faith, and you may be a whiz at languages and have an innate, intuitive feeling for culture. Everyone who knows you may tell you you’re a born missionary, and you may desire nothing more in the whole world. However, if God has called you to something else, then going overseas is nothing less than sinful rebellion against Him.

Knowing what God’s will is for you in this regard is not always easy. Some people have a powerful, road-to-Damascus experience, and they know without a doubt what they need to do. Others have known since childhood that they would be missionaries. However, God often chooses to lead us only a step at a time. We might hear a missionary presentation, and feel a burden to begin praying for them, and for the work in a certain country. And as we follow God’s leading, He might begin to put cross-cultural ministry opportunities in our path. And perhaps there might be a team making a short-term trip somewhere, and you know that you should be on it. And, as we feel our way ahead in the dark, God, in His timing, keeps making the next step clear. A call – the deep conviction of God’s will for one’s future, and the peace that accompanies it – is often found somewhere along such a path of asking, seeking, and knocking.

Missions is a life of spiritual battle. Satan throws all sorts of opposition in our way, looking to make us pull back in fear and discouragement. He probes our armour constantly, looking for weaknesses to exploit. There are times on the field where, humanly speaking, all one’s efforts seem utterly pointless, and the question arises, “What on earth am I doing here?” Often the only thing that keeps one going is the sense of calling, the knowledge that, whatever the circumstances may appear, one is doing what God has called one to do. There is a mighty peace that comes from knowing that one is exactly where God wants one to be. And, if there is real doubt about whose will it was going overseas, Satan knows from experience that there is nothing like a little flat-on-your-face failure to give such a person the conviction that it was all a terrible mistake. So, don’t be discouraged if you’re still in the feeling-things-out stage. But know that at some point before departure there needs to be a rock-solid conviction that going overseas is God’s will, and not your own.

There are some other things that one needs to hear from God about. WEC has some distinctive convictions and ways of doing things. Those convictions need to be your own: you don’t join an animal rights association if you work in a slaughterhouse! One of the functions of our application process and four-month candidate orientation is to see if God confirms not only one’s call to missions, but one’s call to WEC. You may be surprised by the amount to which you bond with and depend upon others in the organization. It’s something like a family, so you need to be sure it’s the right one for you.

Finally, WEC isn’t the US Marine Corps. We don’t decide where you are to go and then send you there whether you like it or not. We believe that just as God calls someone overseas, he gives them direction about where they are to go. Remember, you need to be sure it’s God who put you where you are to serve. Some people join WEC knowing they are called overseas, and that WEC is the one for them, but aren’t sure about where exactly. As they learn about all the various WEC fields and ministries, and pray earnestly for direction, most come quickly to know what the next step is.

While it is so important to know what God’s will is for you, it needs to be stressed that not knowing is no reason to sit back and do nothing. God can’t steer your ship if it’s always anchored in the harbour. If God is stirring your heart about going overseas, then start praying, learning, talking to people, etc. Call or write us! We can help you think through some of the issues, and give some advice about how to proceed. Our headquarters staff have decades and decades worth of experience overseas, and are happy to help.

Gifting

One may think that all missionaries are evangelists. However, once an evangelist has successfully done his or her job, and faith has taken hold in someone’s heart, what then? How will that new believer be nurtured along?

Surely, just as necessary are missionaries who can disciple, others who can teach, and others who have a pastoral touch to strengthen and encourage. (Super-missionaries, who can do it all, are very rare.) Sometimes the most powerful and effective witness is done by people who say little but serve with love and compassion, who are there to give practical help when others need it most. A gift for hospitality, or for making friends – there are times when such things are exactly what God wants to use in someone else’s life. And the greatest contributions are sometimes made by those who take the grungy, practical work upon themselves so as to free up other missionaries for ministry.

The point is that missions is a large team effort, and there is a need somewhere for just about any kind of giftedness. Often we don’t know beforehand, or are outright mistaken, about how God will use us. So, if you look in the mirror and think, “How could I possibly be of use to God overseas?”, don’t give up hope. There is an even more important question here.

Heart

Far more important than the particular gifting is the heart that goes with it. When God’s love changes our hearts, and we begin to look around us through His eyes, there naturally arises within us a heart to bless and serve others.

We see needs and what we can do to meet them, and we step forward and are used by God to bring blessing. The real question to be asking is, “How am I being used by God to bless others?” That is often the best indication of both the type of gifting one has, and the state of one’s heart in service.

A servant’s heart doesn’t magically arise when one is plunked down overseas. The degree to which you are pouring yourself out for others now is probably the best indication of how you would be elsewhere. And, in considering fitness for missionary life, it probably doesn’t matter so much whether one is doing this versus that, so much as whether one is doing it serving the Lord and others.

Service

Are you serving in your home church? At work or school? In your family? Among your friends? A missionary’s life should have a strong pattern of working so as to bless others.

Is WEC Right for You?

“God isn’t looking for people of great faith, but for individuals ready to follow Him.”

Hudson Taylor

Even if everything is “go” to becoming a missionary, there remains the issue of which group to go with. Each agency has its own style, flavour, way of doing things. If you have significantly different convictions than the group you’re with, the extra stress and friction will hamper both your ministry, and that of your team. Doing your homework now can save a lot of grief later.

In the menu above are some links intended to help you sort things out. We can’t provide the answers, but we can help by making sure the important questions get asked. Whether your future is in cross-cultural missions or something else, what really matters is that you are following God’s leading. May He grant you wisdom and an open heart.

WEC?

If you’ve arrived at this point we are assuming you’ve come through the gauntlet of probing questions unscathed, and you are still thinking about a future in missions. We also assume that you’ve checked out our organizational philosophy in the About WEC section, and don’t see anything that makes you cross us immediately off your list. How do you decide whether you should throw your hat in with us, or with some other group?

Calling

The first big issue has to do with the fit of your gifting and calling within any particular mission. If you already know you are called to a specific kind of ministry, for example, working with the deaf, then finding a mission with people actually doing that can be a great help. WEC is primarily a church-planting mission, but we do a lot of other things. And if you want a cushy experience without doing a whole lot, then you definitely want to go with… oh, wait! Never mind.

Location

The same holds true for type of ministry as for location. If God has called you to Tahiti (don’t you wish!), you had better make sure that any mission you are thinking about actually works in Tahiti. If God has called you to a place where there is nobody working, then you need to find a mission that is willing to support you in that. WEC is very open to working in new places, but generally we want to see a team of people going, with enough experience on board to keep the ship steered in the right direction.

How to find the right agency

So you are feeling called to missions and looking to join a mission agency…where do you start? There are many agencies. They take various approaches they each fill a unique niche. There are many variables to consider when looking for the mission agency that suits you best. Here are a few questions to consider:

1. Location

There is no mission that works in every country and people group in the world. If you have a particular people group in mind, the prospective mission agency must have work, or at least an interest in working there.

2. Ministry

Some missions carry on a very specific ministry, others are involved in many kinds of ministry. Often you will need to ask specifically if the mission is involved in a particular kind of ministry. For example WEC International is involved in radio work but it doesn’t have a prominent place in their literature. Also WEC does work in many restricted access nations but they seldom mention this in the literature available to the general public.

3. Theology

There is actually a wide spectrum of theological beliefs within the sphere of Christianity called “evangelical”. Many missions have a distinctive theological blend from within these various areas. It is vitally important that you find a mission where you are comfortable with their theological stand, both what they believe and do NOT believe. Look at their views on: baptism, gifts, salvation, spiritual gifts, speaking in tongues, the lost.

4. Structure

The subject of mission structure sounds rather dreary, but is important. Is there a board or hierarchy that gives total direction? Are people assigned duties or are they encouraged to seek God’s direction for themselves? Does the mission work with autonomous teams? Are decisions in the hands of a few or is there equal voice from the various team workers? Do they practice democracy, servant leadership, or patriarchal leadership? When a vote is taken, who votes? How long must you be on the field to vote? What percentage of votes is taken as a decision? How are leaders chosen and who can lead?

5. Finances

What are the mission’s financial principles and practice? Will you be expected to raise money for yourself and home office administration and other overheads? How much of the money that comes in for your support actually gets out to you? Is the organization cost effective? What about debt? What is their policy?

6. Prayer

Does the mission have a structured prayer support system? Will you be able be able to speak at supporting prayer groups? Does the mission have a network of prayer warriors backing those on the field?

7. Member Care

What pastoral support is there on the field? Who will counsel and guide you? Who will introduce you to the new culture? Who will help when relationship problems develop? Who will help when you have trouble with your team or team leaders?

Does the mission relinquish all responsibility for the missionary if something goes wrong? Have a look at those who are retiring or resigning, are they happy? What problems did they face? Usually those who resign have had problems. What sort of problems were they? Will you have the same problems? What plan and support is there for furlough breaks? Is there assistance in re-entering the home culture? Is there someone who will debrief you? Is there help if you desire counseling? Will someone help you with preparing audio/visuals, displays, etc? Will someone help you arrange tours, and encourage you in your deputation?

8. Education

What kinds of training does the organization offer before and after you leave for the field? Is there support for your children and their education? Are there flexible options for educating children? Do you feel the mission is interested in your children’s well being?

9. Goals

Do you embrace the purpose, direction and vision of the mission? Is the mission all talk and no action? Does the mission spend more money on advertising than it does on ministry? How honest is the mission advertising and recruitment? Is the mission stuck on an outdated vision or are new ministries being started and new areas being targeted?

10. Screening

How does the mission screen its applicants? Are all conforming to one mold? Do all require the same educational standards? Remember that if you have been screened poorly, so will your team mates have been.

11. Witness Type

Does the mission emphasize incarnational life style? Do they practice it? Do you agree with their approach to evangelism? This is important as it will affect your life and ministry on the field in many ways.

12. Benefits

What sort of benefits does the mission offer? Is there a retirement plan? A health plan? A savings plan?

13. Relationships

If you are in a relationship, how does this affect you joining that mission? Eg: dating/ engagement/ marriage

Each organization is structured to deal with issues differently based on what is important to them. When you choose an organization, you choose a particular way of approaching issues, and you should be comfortable with their approach.

Steps to Joining

“Our Goal is to help you get where God wants you to be.”

Talk to us!

You don’t have to be sure about missions, sure about WEC, sure about anything to start talking to us. Helping people sort through their future is part of what we do. Our goal is to help you get where God wants you to be, whether that’s in missions or elsewhere, within WEC or elsewhere. Feel free to contact us just to explore possibilities, or to talk things through with someone who has years of firsthand missionary experience. If you are looking to do an internship, we might be able to help.

Contacting us starts a dialogue. We start to learn something about you, your background, your interests, and you learn more about us. You are in complete control of the process and can walk away at any time and never hear from us again. No pressure.

Applying

If, as we talk, you find a growing sense that going overseas with WEC is what God wants for you, then you’ll want to begin the application process. You still won’t have committed to anything, but it’s an important step along the way. In filling out the forms you’ll be telling us about your life experience, your beliefs, your gifts. And you’ll need to give us references that we can contact about you.

Something should be said about timing. A short-term worker should contact us at least 6 months before the planned departure date. We need time on our side to process things and make arrangements. You’ll need time to read the books we’ll assign you to read, to get the necessary vaccinations, etc. The 6-month deadline is not written in stone, but reducing the lead-time increases the likelihood that something won’t be in place in time for departure. Long-term workers should contact us by March if they wish to be part of the Fall orientation (starting in August each year), and by July if they wish to be in the Winter orientation (starting in January each year).

Nobody likes filling out forms, drumming up references, updating a CV, etc., but it really is important. We want your overseas experience to be a positive one, for you personally, for your team, and especially for those to whom you will be ministering. We need to make sure the foundations are there for successful service overseas. We are also looking to see what particular gifts, skills, or experience you have. The more we know about you, the better we will be able to help you get to a place and a role that suits you, where you can blossom in ministry.

Training

For short-term workers, once through the application process you’ll be invited to attend a brief orientation time at our headquarters. Then, if everything is in order, you’ll leave for your destination.

For long-term workers, passing the application process means you are accepted as a candidate, and invited to attend Candidate Orientation. What this means is that you will live at our headquarters for 4 months of training and living in community. We know that 4 months seems like a crazy long time, but our experience has taught us the wisdom of an extensive orientation period. First, we have a rich program of instruction that covers all the important issues of life and ministry overseas. Most people find it very helpful. Just as important, there is time to bond with WEC, with our way of doing things, and with our headquarters staff. We finish our orientation with a strong sense of what it is to be a WEC missionary, an identity that is now part of us. Though we are thrown together with a group of strangers, we discover after a while a deep sense of kinship, so much so that many of us find it natural to speak of our “WEC family.”

Living, praying, and working together in community for that length of time, helps us see how your adjustment to missionary life, and to WEC, is going. How do you get along with others? How do you deal with stress? After seeing more of us from the inside, do you still want to join WEC? These questions are far from academic, for the moment of decision is not until the end of orientation. Then the headquarters staff will have a formal meeting with you, and, at the end, two things need to be clear. First, you must believe that God has called you to be a missionary with WEC; secondly, the staff must also believe the same thing. If that’s the case, then you’re in, and ready to move on to the next step.

WEC also has missions and Bible training centers in different parts of the world. Click here for links to their websites.

Rallying

Once accepted to WEC, you may spend some months in pre-field ministry, sharing about your future work, seeking to raise awareness of the needs overseas, and looking to rally together churches and individuals who will commit to pray for you. When God has brought together all that is needed, you’ll head off overseas to join your team.

If God is moving your heart in the direction of service with WEC, talk to us. It only takes a few minutes to start a dialogue. Contact us.

Opportunities

“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

There are such a variety in so many places and we cannot list most of them. For instance, the unreached people groups of the world all need people that will humbly go there, get to know the people, share the gospel and disciple new believers. If that is your calling we can suggest places and if you have a place in mind, we can let you know if we have people there. We also have other more specific needs, short and long term. In Canada we have specific needs at headquarters.

Whatever your calling job/location is, contact us to see if we can work with you, if we can’t we’ll try to find another agency for you to talk to.

We make every effort to accommodate disabilities. If needed, we will provide customized workplace emergency information and procedures and in performance management, career development and redeployment processes, we take into account accessibility needs.

Long Term

WEC has many opportunities for those who want to serve long term. If you have specific areas you are interested in hearing more about or are wondering how you can use your skills, please contact us. You can also look on our opportunities database. The database is not exhaustive but lists some of the roles that we are actively looking to fill.

For some opportunities in more accessible countries, follow this link. If you want to work in less open countries, contact us!

Short Term (Anything up to 2 years)

You may be wanting to see what missions is about, or to spend a gap year in missions, etc. Many places in WEC will take people for a short term placement. Short term missions looks a bit different than long term and you will often be placed into one ministry or project. We will look at your interests, skills and hobbies and see if we can find a good fit for you. If you are interested in a particular area of the world we will try to match you with a team that is working there.

Volunteer

If you cannot go overseas but still want to be involved in more ways we are often looking for people who can volunteer some time in Canada. Can you take or edit videos, do web design, cook, mow lawns or paint? There may be very practical ways you can help us. Please contact us if you would like to volunteer and we will work together to find out how you can help.

Opportunities

For opportunities in more accessible countries, click here. If you want to work in less open countries, contact us!

Scroll to Top