By Larry McCrary, Executive Director, from his soon-to-be-released book, The Marketspace: Essential Relationships Between the Sending Church, Marketplace Worker, and Missionary Team
It is not only important that a person find a legitimate reason to serve overseas, but he or she also has to find a way to stay there — a sustainable way for the amount of time he or she will be living abroad.
But this is not just for the potential worker. The church also needs to be involved, because its members are the ones who will shepherd and equip the worker in the best way possible. Who could assess the potential of a person better than the church?
The missions organization and the missionary also need to be involved. It is equally important for the church to send well and the missionary team to receive well, bringing these workers into community and strategic involvement as team members.
At this point, if you are dreaming of working overseas, you’re probably asking, “What is the best pathway for me?” It is a question I often receive from people in the church interested in going overseas to live intentionally. There are multiple pathways to being salt and light in a cross-cultural context.
How do I find a job? Where should I look? We have learned a few things over the last four years regarding landing that job. If you’re currently job searching, this may be just what you need. If you are in the position to help people explore this pathway to missions and they are looking for a job, please pass this along. It can be very helpful in finding work overseas. How can we as pastors, missionaries, or professors help our students prepare for this type of work?
Here are some things to consider: (Miss Part One? Grab it here.)
6 | Accept short work assignments
Quite often in international companies, you may first be asked to go overseas on a one-year assignment, or possibly even a shorter duration. Take it! Prove yourself to be a capable, effective overseas worker. Only then will you get the assignments that allow you to stay overseas, maybe even in the same location, for years at a time.
7 | Join a guild or professional organization
As you focus on a field of study or career path, find out if there are any professional organizations or guilds you can join, such as an artist guild or acting guild. Sometimes these memberships can open doors for interviews and opportunities for visas to work abroad, which is no small feat in most countries.
8 | Look in person
It is a lot easier to find an overseas job if you are, in fact, overseas. The internet is a great tool, but spending some time on the ground and in person is often more effective than emails or phone calls. In most countries, as a North American, you can stay for up to three months on a tourist visa.
9 | Ask for connections
Make the most of international networking opportunities. Who do you know in that country? Who do you know working in that field? Can these people connect you with companies that are hiring? It all starts with asking.
10 | Attend job fairs
Across North America, there are several annual job fairs focused on working abroad. Look online for the one nearest you and make a point to attend, to ask questions and to meet people.
11 | Be open
Sometimes the most obvious option for you may not be what God will use to move you overseas. It’s very easy for a person to get tunnel vision about how they will make something happen, especially something like a move abroad. Being open about job opportunities also means being open about location.
One couple attended an international job fair for teachers and went into the weekend with a big desire to go to one country. They had already met with the administrators of the school in that country and felt like it would be a good fit for them. However, over the course of the weekend, they looked into additional teaching positions at schools located in other countries where their church had more of a strategic focus. They ended up accepting a job offer at a completely different school in order to better facilitate the mission of their sending church.