Question about Professional Skills for missionaries:

"How can God use writing, photography, or journalism in missions?"

"Serve on the communications staff for a mission agency."

Answer from Lane, who has served for eight years with Operation Mobilization.

Mission agencies have a tremendous need for communications staff to serve as "bridges" between the activities on the field and people in "home" countries. Here in the US, we're surrounded by information from secular sources, and have ways of finding Christian and mission-related information as well. For people specifically interested in a mission organization, though, how do they get a broad spectrum of regular news on that organization's work in the field? By receiving communications pieces produced by that organization highlighting what God is going through its ministry.

Right now our office has an urgent need for qualified communications staff to write for our publication, for radio spots, for e-mail news groups, etc. While our purpose is to tell what God is doing, we hope that, as a result, people will pray, give and/or go... and they do. We frequently get feedback saying that people appreciate our news because they had no idea so much is happening out there, or they say they don't get this news elsewhere (outside of missions circles).

Additionally, the mission field offices need communications staff to get news back here to home-country communications staff, so there are opportunities in many countries. Mission agencies also need staff to write for websites, to create brochures and ads, etc. Our problem has been finding enough qualified staff to focus on communications. All this means that there are many opportunities to use communications skills in missions.

"Use your skills to help others gain a vision."

Answer compiled from several sources.

Writing and photojournalism can be strategic for mobilizing interest in mission fields. Some organizations regularly send people to remote areas of the world to do just that. They journey to the nations, then come back and publish materials in print, video and/or online, distributing them far and wide so that Christians all over the world will gain a vision for the ministry and those they serve.

Contact various credible mission agencies to find out how they can use your talents for various projects or in an ongoing way.

"Explore how your gifts can be used best."

Answer from Debra, with BEE World (Biblical Education by Extension).

There are lots of places where your vocational skills can be used in missions, but other things will help you determine where. What are your spiritual gifts and motivations? Those motivations will help you sort out how your gifts and training can apply to a missionary team. Do you sense a calling to a particular people group or geographical place? I would say your first order of business is to gain an education in missions itself to decide where you want to invest your time.

You only have one life, so it is essential to figure out where it is best invested for the Kingdom and what part the Lord has designed you to play.

I am currently a writer working as a missionary teacher and writer helping bring Bible school training to the underground church in Asia and the Middle East. Formerly I was working as a missionary writer/editor for an organization that helped to get mission agencies working together to figure out which areas were not being reached and then develop projects to reach them. Ten years ago I was a freelance Christian writer, stay-at-home mom, and mission committee member.

If you want to write, it is important to have something to say and credentials enough that your audience will listen - and that comes both from life experience and a good education regarding things you will be writing about.

"Sign up at Finishers.org to find a match for skills like these."

Answer from AskaMissionary.com.

A related question came up in some of our AskaMissionary.com correspondence. The inquirer asked:

"What specific agencies are in need of a missionary journalist? Is there a list available with contact names? I am a mature Christian in perfect health, have been a pastor's wife and mission trips participant, a professional ghostwriter, and am in the process of writing my third novel. Specifically, I'm interested in ghostwriting autobiographies of missionaries or of those whom missionaries have helped."

What a tremendous offer. But how to find agencies that might be looking for that kind of help?

Contributor John McVay advised:

"The best way I can suggest for you to connect is to complete a Service Profile for Finishers. Through that, you will be able to find matches. And the agencies will be able to find you, too."

Good advice, John, and probably relevant for others looking at agencies across the board who are seeking those with specific professional skills. Finishers is a ministry that connections Christians with opportunities to serve, short-term or career, in the U.S. or internationally. Complete a service profile to receive a list of mission organizations with opportunities matching your skills, experience, and ministry preferences.

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