Editor’s Note: This post was adapted from an upcoming Free Download that will be available on our website soon. Check out our other free downloads here.
Do you have members of your congregation who are exploring alternative pathways to mission? If so, do you know how to assess these workers to see if they are ready to go?
Here are some of the typical alternative pathways sent ones may choose:
• Finding a job overseas or getting a transfer from their company • Creating a job or company overseas • Studying overseas (college or masters level) • Retiring overseas • Finding ways to do contract or remote work abroad
As a pastor, it is wise to assess members of your church who want to live and work overseas with intentionality. In most cases, their full-time workday will be in the marketplace. The work itself can create a great access point to the people.
We also like to see a person link up with a national church, international church, or a missionary team to provide accountability, community, and strategic engagement.
Usually, they will not be able to be devoted to the church or missionary team full time, so they rarely run point in a church or missionary team setting. But, they can play an important role in engagement and support.
In the book, The MarketSpace: Essential Relationships between the Sending Church, Marketplace Worker and Missionary Team, we provide a list of qualities you want to see in your marketplace sent out ones. When the church sends people overseas as vocational missionaries, you normally ask them to fill out an application that gives you a good amount of information about their character, theological formation, and mission skills. Sending churches do this to help them develop as they prepare to go.
We find that these elements are also important in a marketplace worker’s preparation. However, we also feel there are some common themes that we want to see currently demonstrated in their lives. When you sit down to assess your marketplace workers, you want to ask questions that give you a good picture of their lives.
You need to ask open-ended questions that dive into what they are already doing or have done in the past. We believe past behavior is a good predictor of their future success.
After the assessment we recommend that you put together a Personal Development Plan (PDP) for them that helps them prepare for cross-cultural work. They should work on their PDP as they prepare for their move overseas. They often do not have the lead time to prepare as vocational missionaries do. Their job or studies often require them to move within a few months instead of the typical 12-18 months for vocational missionaries.
Below you will find a set of questions that you should consider asking before they go:
Alternative Pathway Worker Assessment
Spiritual Maturity: Do they demonstrate a passion and love for Jesus Christ?
Discipleship: Are they discipling anyone? If so, what does this look like?
Calling: Do they sense they are in obedience to God’s direction for their lives? If they married, do they have a sense of calling together for this type of life and work?
Relationships: If they are married, do they have a strong bond of love for one another?
Parenting: If they are parents, do they have a commitment to love and nurture their children?
Adaptability: Have they demonstrated the ability to adapt to a variety of settings?
Flexibility: Are they flexible? How do they handle change?
Humility: How do they demonstrate humility in the way they live their lives and relate with others?
Teachability: Are they natural learners? Do they like to explore new hobbies? Do they like to read?
Servant spirit: Are they active servers in their community and the church?
Team players: How do they serve with others in a team setting? Do they demonstrate working alongside others and being able to follow the lead of another person?
Spiritual Gifts: Do they know their spiritual gifts and are they currently using those gifts to build up the church? Do they have clarity on how they could see themselves serving overseas?