God calls missionaries to fill different roles in different contexts. Some might be called to medical missions, while others share the gospel through church planting or marketplace ministry. There are many roles of a missionary, some might pursue short-term missions with several trips over a lifetime, while others embrace long-term mission opportunities.
If you feel like God is moving you toward long-term missions, you’ve got a lot to think about and a lot to plan. Short-term missionaries often have the trips planned out for them and follow the agenda for a given adventure. But long-term mission opportunities mean investing large portions of your life in the nation you choose. You also must consider things like finances and insurance.
But the biggest challenge you face is identifying a mission-sending organization that best fits your needs.
Let’s be honest, there is no shortage of sending agencies that provide long-term mission opportunities. And that’s a good thing. God is using many organizations to help individuals realize their calling to missions and to fulfill the Great Commission.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
But the sheer number of agencies does present a challenge as you prayerfully examine your choices. The list of important questions to answer as you look at long-term mission opportunities include things like:
• Does the agency align with your theology and philosophy of missions?
• What training does the agency offer long-term missionaries?
• What role does the agency play in financial support?
• What additional support (financial, insurance, mental health, furloughs, and so forth) does the agency provide?
• What are the expenses you will need to cover?
• What nations does the agency serve?
• What kind of reputation does the agency have in the long-term missions community?
As you can see, finding your best fit for long-term mission opportunities requires a lot of time and a lot of research. But, through some solid research and a lot of prayer, you can find a long-term mission adventure that will place you in the sweet spot of God’s call on your life.
As mentioned, you have a lot of options for long-term missions. To help you get started, we’ve listed 10 agencies that can point you in the right direction. These agencies aren’t the only ones sponsoring long-term missionaries, but they have stood the test of time and are faithfully working to fulfill the Great Commission.
Founded in 1951 as Campus Crusade for Christ, CRU shares the gospel in nearly 200 countries around the world. CRU teams seek to establish common ground with local residents through things like sports, media, humanitarian aid, and more.
Missionaries serving in long-term opportunities have the chance to immerse themselves in the culture, which helps them earn a hearing. Adventures in Missions challenges Christ followers to make those necessary connections on the field as marketplace missionaries. Founded in 1989, Adventures in Missions has placed more than 125,000 missionaries in short-term and long-term opportunities over the years.
Word of Life has been sending missionaries on long-term mission opportunities around the globe for some eight decades. At present, more than 1,500 Word of Life missionaries serve in 70 different countries. The career opportunities are diverse, including Bible clubs, education, and camps.
For more than 130 years, Team has worked to fulfill the Great Commission by offering long-term mission opportunities. Since its inception in 1891, Team has moved from a narrow focus on a couple of areas to an expansion around the world. Today, it’s network includes more than 500 missionaries and some 2,000 churches. Team provides numerous long-term options, including medical and health care missions.
Through its World Medical Mission teams, Samaritan’s Purse has been supporting the work of overseas hospitals and clinics since 1977. In addition to providing supplies and technical support, World Medical Mission also sends missionaries to serve in medical settings around the world.
For more than 50 years, Operation Mobilization (OM) has carried the message of Jesus to men, women, and children across the globe. OM currently sponsors nearly 7,000 individuals in 188 nations. Some serve in remote areas, while others work in large, urban centers. Many even serve on OM ships, stopping at a variety of ports around the world.
Pioneers has been pursuing its passion to plant churches among the least-reached people groups in the world since 1979. These days, Pioneers has more than 2,800 missionaries ministering in many different arenas, including community health. The group’s goal is to use an individual’s personal calling and strengths to determine which long-term mission opportunity best fits their situation.
Founded in 1996, Equip International strives to spread the gospel through community improvement. For example, the organization’s long-term opportunities include medical programs like Community Health Evangelism, Missionary Medicine Intensive, and Missionary Medicine for Physicians. In these settings, a missionary might serve as a medical professional in an underserved area or support a local physician who has limited training and experience. The key is empowering the community, while sharing the gospel and promoting discipleship through everyday interactions.
Frontiers began its work in 1982 and focuses its ministry on training and sending field workers to Muslim nations in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. By meeting the physical and medical needs of individuals, long-term missionaries can speak into their spiritual needs. In addition, such medical missionaries have the potential of reaching nations that are closed to more traditional workers.
Founded in 1893 as Sudan Interior Mission, SIM provides international missions with an international flavor. The roughly 4,000 missionaries now serving with SIM come from more than 70 different nations. In addition, this diverse group of leaders ministers in a wide variety of missions settings.
If you’re still looking for ways to hear God’s voice regarding long-term mission opportunities, we have two more suggestions. First, check out your denomination’s sending organizations. For example, the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board each serve the Southern Baptist Convention. Your denomination may have similar sending agencies.
Also, you can attend mission conferences, such as the Global Health Missions Conference. At these events, you can learn more about what it means to be a missionary, connect with missionary-sending agencies, and network with long-term missionaries already on the field.
If God has called you to embrace long-term mission opportunities, He will guide you and equip you. Prayerfully see where He is leading and follow His directions. Your life will never be the same!
Medical Missions serves to connect your professional skills and biblical calling to the largest database of healthcare mission organizations, professionals, and thought leadership. Join us at the Global Missions Health Conference to find your Medical Missions calling. Or, browse our full list of partner organizations to find the right mission for you.