Do you need to be a specific type of person to be involved in cross-cultural kingdom work? Is there a template that candidates must match up against to see if they are missionary material?
The answer to these questions is, “no!” There is only one question that needs to be answered when considering someone for cross-cultural ministry.
“Are you following in obedience to God’s clear leading or calling in your life?”
The “where,” “what,” “when,” and “how” are defined by who you are, but the “why” is not.
Having said that, I want to look at some characteristics that add to the effectiveness of the obedient, cross-cultural worker. These are not requirements, but if you can add them to your skillset, you will find them an advantage in the years ahead.
Be a person of prayer.
All of us can improve our commitment to spending focused time with God in prayer. It is the personal connection to God through the Holy Spirit that makes us more like Jesus. It allows us to talk with him and will enable him to speak with us unhindered by outside noise.
Live your faith.
Nearly all cross-cultural ministries are relational in some way. Lives around you change because of the gospel you are living out. That is true now, right where you are, and abroad. The best way to learn and grow here is to make the fruit of the Spirit a way of life. As you are loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and act out of self-control, you show Jesus to others.
Let your passion become action.
Commit to putting your desire to be like Jesus into acting like Jesus. If the passion displayed during a moving time of worship was taken out of the church building onto the streets, our world would be a different place.
Be willing to sacrifice.
It’s easy to make commitments when they don’t require anything from you. Getting involved in missions will cost you. It will cost you a lot. Making those kinds of sacrifices is more comfortable for some than others, but it is not simple for anyone. Are you willing to give up your freedom, comfort zone, language, money, and more to be obedient? Jesus promises a generous return on your investment, but it never happens right away.
Laugh at yourself.
This path to cross-cultural impact is not one you have done before. You will make mistakes … many mistakes. If you can’t laugh it off, pick yourself up and move forward, you will not survive. Every cross-cultural worker has stories of mistakes they have made, some serious and some trivial. A sense of humor and perseverance will carry you through many a disappointment.
This list could go on, but I hope you can see that these are things that all of us can do, no matter what our personality, enneagram type, strengths or weaknesses, or gifting. If God is leading you clearly toward cross-cultural work, take the first step today. You qualify!