I Feel Called to Missions


A high school student seeks advice on the next steps required to become a missionary.

I'm just starting high school, but I feel a call to ministry. Actually, I've felt a call for over a year. The problem is, I don't know how to get started. Eventually, I want to be a missionary to another country, but I also want to do something now. I think my parents would support me if I had some definite plans, but I don't. What should I do?

I don't think your call is unusual or untimely. In my experience, most missionaries and pastors say they first felt God's tug on their life in their teens or earlier.

Right now, begin to develop a solid relationship with your youth leader, pastor or another full-time Christian worker you respect. Don't wait for this person to come to you—take some initiative and express your interest in a relationship. You'll learn a lot just by sharing your dreams and asking for personal insight.

You've probably got some big plans, but you'll want to start small. Find out how you can get involved in Christian ministry locally, if you aren't involved already. Consider helping out with your youth group, volunteering at a shelter for the homeless, visiting a nursing home once a week, or joining your church's worship team. Take a short-term missions trip; ask your youth leader for suggestions on how to arrange one. Begin corresponding with a couple of missionaries (ask your church office to help you get some addresses), and ask them about life on the mission field. And whenever missionaries visit your church, try to arrange a lunch or other meeting with them just to talk and learn.

To fuel your fire, read missionary stories. I recommend several: Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot, Bruchko by Bruce Olson, Don't Let the Goats Eat the Loquat Trees by Thomas Hale, God's Smuggler by Brother Andrew, and "It's a Jungle Out There!" by Ron Snell. For other recommendations, ask your youth leader or pastor.

God has planted a dream in your heart, and that's wonderful. As time goes on, your family, friends and church will probably also confirm your call. Right now you don't need definite future plans, but simply a faithful and willing heart.

Written by Jim Burns

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