If Wayne in his feature article has convinced you that missionaries are still needed today, you may be asking, “Well, what type of missionaries does WEC need?” The short answer is: “Many types”. There is no one-size-fits-all missionary.

In the past most missionaries went to places where they could openly share the gospel, disciple believers and help plant churches. We thank God that there are still places where this happens. So traditional-type, visible missionaries are still needed. But in many countries, particularly among unreached people groups, religious worker visas are not possible or even desirable; there are other and sometimes more effective means of entry, using an individual person’s skills, trade or secular occupation.

Using your training

There are many different ways you can use your skills and training in mission. A tentmaking role involves employment in a secular job. It’s amazing how many jobs there are in countries where you can’t openly share the gospel.

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Trained people are needed – health workers, engineers, teachers, accountants, veterinarians, hairdressers and IT workers, to name a few. In this situation, you are a Christian presence working alongside local workers in a secular environment, much like in Australia. The difference is that you are working in a country where, unlike Australia, people have little access to the gospel.

In some places you can use your training within a Christian context. You could be a teacher in a Christian school for missionaries’ children for example, a medical professional in a Christian hospital or clinic, an accountant helping one of WEC’s branches keep its books, or even training locals in vocational skills.

BAM

Business as Mission or BAM has become more popular in recent years and is ideal if you have experience running a business. BAM is authentic business; it is not an ‘after hours’ activity.

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‘Business as Mission is about real, viable, sustainable and profitable businesses; with a Kingdom of God purpose, perspective and impact; leading to the transformation of people and societies spiritually, economically and socially – to the greater glory of God.”

(http://www.businessasmission.com/fileadmin/user_upload/Documents/Business_as_Mission_Holistic_Transformation_-_MT.pdf)

While self-sustainability and profitability are important business objectives, these are not the reasons for the existence of the business. The purpose of Business as Mission is to glorify God.

There is no difference between what locals perceive the identity of a missional business worker to be and what he or she really is, which demonstrates integrity. Running a missional business means having opportunities to build relationships with staff, customers, suppliers and local authorities, and gives opportunity for evangelism and discipleship. Such businesses model kingdom living and ethical business practices in environments that may be characterised by corruption. They can bring transformation to communities through providing skills, training and the dignity of employment, and provide a pathway to a new life for those trapped in trafficking, exploitation, addiction and poverty. There are so many ways your skills can be used in missions.

The challenge of reaching the unreached is as great as ever. For the sake of the more than three billion people who have never heard the good news of Jesus Christ, missionaries are needed just as much today as in the past. What has changed is that there are so many more ways and channels through which people can get involved in missions. What is your fit?

Denise Rhodes was a missionary with WEC in Côte d’Ivoire and now works with WEC Australia as a mission mentor. One of her roles is writing for and editing Imagine.

Who You Are

But missions is not just about doing a job or running a business. What type of people is WEC looking for? Perfect saints would be nice, but we haven’t found any of those yet. However, there are some personal qualities that WEC considers important.

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But missions is not just about doing a job or running a business. What type of people is WEC looking for? Perfect saints would be nice, but we haven’t found any of those yet. However, there are some personal qualities that WEC considers important.

Our vision is “to see Christ known, loved and worshipped by the unreached peoples of the world”. We want people who can embrace that vision and make the most of opportunities to share Christ and disciple those they engage with, no matter what “type” of missionary they are.

In an ever-changing world people who can be flexible make good workers. When I worked overseas I found my daily routine was often anything but routine. I needed to adapt to whatever came along. For example, turning up to run a workshop only to find it cancelled because a village chief had died and everyone was in mourning; or having people come to my gate at all hours, without warning, wanting financial help.

Other qualities are resilience and the ability to persevere. There are challenges on the mission field you don’t find in Australia. Being able to ride them out can be the difference between staying healthy on the field and leaving.

WEC teams are multi-cultural, multi-generational and made up of people with different theological beliefs and varied skill-sets. The ability to work with people from backgrounds, beliefs and age groups different from yours is vital. This is both challenging and enriching. The wonderful thing is that these differences don’t really matter when everyone is working together to fulfil God’s vision for WEC.

Denise Rhodes was a missionary with WEC in Côte d’Ivoire and now works with WEC Australia as a mission mentor. One of her roles is writing for and editing Imagine.