When you’re faced with the whole of what it is to have global impact for the kingdom, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the scope of it all. Relax. Take a deep breath. It’s a big pill, but you don’t have to swallow it all at once! Global kingdom work, or missions, like most things in life, is approached one step at a time and each step should be appreciated as a valuable one in the course of your journey.
What are some entry-level steps that you can consider? You know, the ones that don’t require an advanced degree or a decade of experience to take, that represent opportunities for impact?
Unless noted, all of the opportunities below normally require an acceptance process, training and at least some financial support development. The extent of time and effort needed to accomplish those three things will vary from agency to agency.
Learn a language
Some agencies see this as a way to engage a “limited access” culture, no matter what credentials you bring to the effort. In a world where getting a visa to remain in a country for more than 90 days is more and more difficult, often the visa given for learning the local language is a good option. It naturally creates opportunities for growing personal relationships from which kingdom growth can also happen, while at the same time improving your ability to impact the culture at a greater level.
If you have flown internationally recently you know that English is the global language. It may not always remain so, but for now, most airport signage is in English, announcements on the airplane are made in the local language and then also in English, etc. People in nearly every country want to improve their English skills, so English schools are cropping up everywhere. Even some governments are sponsoring English learning. Many of these opportunities are paid jobs, so being involved with an agency would not be required. We would recommend considering being somehow connected with one anyway to provide spiritual and emotional support and accountability. Opportunities often require a TESOL certificate of some kind (especially if they are going to pay you), but some do not. Even if they do, there are many simple options for getting a usable certificate that can be discovered by a simple online search.
Teaching at International or Missionary Kid (MK) schools
The need for teachers in international contexts is staggering, though paid positions are harder to come by, usually require a teaching certificate, and sometimes value two years of experience. We have seen teachers graduate in May and be onsite at an international school by late July. Here are four of the most common teaching opportunities:
- MK Schools are specifically established for educating MKs but also service other believers (and sometimes “not yet believers”) in an overseas country (not called MK schools in “limited access” countries). Support raising and agency connection are often required.
- International Schools are normally established to service embassy core and business families in major cities. These are usually paid jobs with benefits that vary from school to school.
- Department of Defense Schools are part of larger military bases to provide education for the children of deployed families. These are paid positions by the US government.
- National (local) Christian schools (who have an English program) are often related to a local church and desire native English speakers for their English speaking classes. These positions may be paid but salary levels are not usually high enough to support a worker from the US. Some financial support development would be required.
Working in an orphanage or in some other relief capacity often does not require much more than a willing, servant’s heart. Many agencies have such opportunities around the world and would prefer that workers commit to stay for at least a year or more.
Sports is a global language of its own, and opportunities to get involved cross-culturally in the area of sports ministry are abundant in both easy-access and limited-access cultures. Not all agencies have sports ministry opportunities, so some research is needed.
International job opportunities
Many companies have job opportunities in other countries which open up doors for cross-cultural experience, as well as opportunities for kingdom growth as relationships develop. As you look for jobs in your area of education or expertise, focus on companies that have an international presence and are open to sending US-based workers to other countries. We would recommend also connecting with a mission agency that you feel fit with and that works in that area, to provide spiritual support and kingdom opportunities beyond what may be available through your job.
Many agencies have internships or opportunities to apprentice lasting from months to years in various countries. These opportunities both give you a chance to get cross-cultural experience and learn what it is like to work for a particular agency in real time. Here are just a few of the options:
- One Challenge Field Experience Internships
- Cafe 1040 Mentorship
- YWAM (Youth With a Mission) DTS
- AIM (Africa Inland Mission) TIMO
- IMB (Southern Baptist International Mission Board) Journeyman Program
If God is leading you to get involved NOW, there is only one thing standing in your way – YOU. A world of opportunity is waiting, and you can take the first step right now. We leave you with a warning:
the one you take now…
will change your life…
the one you know now…
so take it prayerfully!