Many of you may be looking at meeting the need for teachers at missionary kid (MK) schools around the world. If this is you, here are some initial steps to consider.
1) Is this really what God wants you to do? I know you may read this question and wonder how you can know that. It isn’t easy but I would recommend a short study of the book of Nehemiah. God wanted him to move from Susa, in Persia to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. So how did God go about getting him from one place to another? He had a successful “job.” But God got his attention through a report from his “brothers.” Then he prayed…hard and long…for like 3 months. During that time God solidified in his mind what he wanted him to do, so much so that when the King asked him what was wrong he took the risk of sharing from his heart, even though it may have cost him his life. So, that is step one. You have to know this is the thing God wants from you for now. The path is not easy and if you get into it just because there aren’t any jobs available where you are, you may be sorry. I don’t mean to criticize if this is your thinking here, at all. I just want to be open with you about what I know to be true from experience.
2) Assuming that this is God’s will for your next phase of life and ministry, begin to bring your “network” into your thinking. I would categorize your “team” into three groups. Your core will be the people who are with you in everything. They are the ones that you are connected with on FB on a daily basis…or close family and friends who you know will pray for you, at least, on a daily basis. Your second level group is made up of friends that you respect who will want to know what is going on with you and who will pray and most likely support you financially but who are more distant. They love you but don’t necessarily care what movie you saw last night. The third group is made up of all your other acquaintances. Start with your FB friends and then add anyone else you can think of that may want to know what you are doing; for example, connections you have through church, school, at work or whatever.
3) Meet with the mission’s leadership at your home church. This is critical. You want them behind you, for sure. They may have some requirements for their missionaries that you need to consider…like a program you need to complete, or service in the church first. They may also have some agencies they feel good about and some they don’t like. They may be your largest prayer and financial supporter; so again, it is good to know what they think and require.
4) Pursue an agency. Your first question should be, “Do you send MK teachers?” Your second should relate to doctrine, if you have some specific beliefs that are really important to you. Those deep issues get big in a cross-cultural setting. Your third question should be about the agency’s “Philosophy and Strategy.” Do you agree with what they do and how they do it? Your fourth consideration should be the agency values, their heart. Do you resonate with who they are on the inside? If you are single, your fifth question should relate to how they view singles in roles of ministry on their teams. Will you be an equal? Are there limits to what you can do? Your sixth question should be about membercare. Do they have a membercare department? What does membercare involve for them? How will you experience their care for you? Your seventh question should be about locations available (unless you have one in mind – then that should be your second question). In what countries and in what schools are there opportunities for me to minister? Where are the greatest needs? Finally, I would ask about money. Will you be an employee or self-employed? How much money goes to overhead and how is it used? What percentage of support will I need before I can leave? (If they say anything less than 100%, I would look elsewhere – really! – but then that is just me). Will the agency help you in the support raising process and what will that help look like? If you find an agency that fits you, begin a conversation with them about joining. Remember, MK teaching will probably also require an application to the school as well as to the agency, so don’t procrastinate!!
One more note: Commitments to the school should be at least a year in length though I would recommend at least two years. If you have school loans, they can usually be deferred for this period of time by one means or another. The funds you may need to raise can usually be kept to a minimum for a two year time commitment.
Many steps will obviously follow the above four but they should give you a start. If you have questions, comment on this blog post or send us an email at Mobilization@oci.org.
-Jeff Boesel, Director of Mobilization