Question about Mission Agencies for missionaries:

"What questions should I ask a mission organization I am considering joining?"

"Five questions about ministry, five questions about family."

Answer from David, who served with OC International for twenty years, including 15 in Colombia and Guatemala, and now serves with Mission Data International.

Five questions to ask about ministry:

1. How do your teams or fields make decisions? Majority vote? Consensus? Team leader or field leader decides after getting input from missionaries?
2. How does a team or field resolve their differences and make a decision about a course of action?
3. How many nationalities are present on a field or team? How have nationalities and cultures affected the style of team leadership and decision making?
4. Are ministry funds pooled together into a team or field budget or does each missionary have a separate ministry budget?
5. How are evaluations performed? How often? By whom?

Five questions to ask about family:

1. Are the wives expected to be part of the ministry team? Are they considered employees? What expectations does the mission have for wives?
2. Schooling for kids: What options are available for the schooling of our children? Do we need to raise extra funds to cover those costs? Is home schooling an option?
3. Is it possible to raise funds for our kids' college costs?
4. How often do missionaries return to their passport country for furlough/home assignment?
5. How many families on our proposed field have children near the ages of ours?

"Five questions to ask if you are single."

Answer from Elizabeth, who has served in multiple countries with SEND International for thirty-seven years.

1. How are singles, especially single women, viewed in your organization? Can they hold ministry leadership positions?
2. If singles are part of a team, is there a good balance of singles and married couples?
3. How is the support structured for singles? Is it assumed they will live with another single or do they have the freedom to live alone?
4. What are your policies for a single marrying someone from their country of ministry?
5. Is a single woman treated at all differently than a single man? What is the difference?

"Five questions to ask yourself, too."

Answer from Marti, who has served in missions for twenty years and currently serves with Pioneers.

As a student, I was active in campus ministry and learned to love leading Bible studies, planning events, and emceeing meetings. So when I got involved in missions, I already knew I wanted an environment where someone like me would have the chance to coordinate projects, do some public speaking, and train others. I looked for a ministry that was growing, not very hierarchical, and included and empowered young people in leadership roles. A good friend of mine who had a greater need for structure and supervision found the same environment a little dangerous and unstable; our agency was not the best fit for her, long-term.

What about you? How well do you know yourself, your values, and the kind of work environment in which you are most likely to thrive (especially at your current stage of life?) As you talk to mission agencies, spend some time reflecting on the work and ministry environments in which you have served thus far - even if you are young.

Also ask yourself:

1. How would I describe the kind of sending organization I am looking for? Is this picture realistic?
2. What are my assumptions about how mission agencies work and what they do for their field workers?
3. What areas are most important to me? List a few things that could be "deal breakers."
4. What areas are less important to me?
5. In what kind of agencies or roles are other people with similar backgrounds, gifts, interests, and requirements serving? Look for people you can identify with.

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