Dear Jack,I'm a junior in high school and I know that God has called me to be a missionary, but I have no idea on how to go about that. I also love music, and I always thought that I would major in flute or vocal performance. Is there any way that I can incorporate the two? I had wanted to attend Carson-Newman College for music, but now I'm not sure if that's where I'm supposed to be. Can you please start me in the right direction?Hilary
Hilary, it’s a precious experience to know that the Lord has called you to missions. I trust you will never forget this call, whether it one day it results in your serving cross-culturally or being a faithful witness in your own country.
- The very best preparation for missionary service in the future is getting involved in ministry right now! For example, if there are groups of Christians meeting in your High School, get to know them and join the one that will involve you in Bible Study, prayer, and sharing the Gospel. I don't know what your church offers, but it would be good for you also to be involved in some activity where you can not only receive, but also give - such as teaching Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Youth Group, etc. You don't want to get overloaded, but this is the time to learn how to receive from the Lord and grow in leadership opportunities through service.
- I trust you have established a pattern of daily meeting with the Lord. If not, make this a priority, even if it's only 15 to 20 minutes. If this is a new idea to you, ask a mature Christian or two for advice.
- Make sure the pastor of your church knows of your commitment. He will be pleased and will be a great source of guidance as you move along and have to make choices.
- Do the same with the head of the missions committee (if there is one) at your church.
- If you church supports missionaries, read about them, and then choose two or three and begin writing them. Learn about the countries in which they work. Ask to receive their prayer letters and begin praying for them. If you like what they are doing, you might want to begin sending some financial support - as small as it might be - to them. This will help you understand what it's like to be supported financially, when you become a missionary.
- Talk to your pastor or missions committee chairperson about going on a missions trip. It would be particularly significant if you could visit one of the missionaries you are praying for!
- As far as education is concerned, this will depend on your interests, your specific calling, and how the Lord leads you. Musical ability is an important gift. Many missions are looking for dedicated Christians who can teach music appreciation and help churches develop musical programs that truly lead people into the Lord’s presence. More than just learning performance, I would thus encourage you to work in areas like musical education. Sooner or later, you may also want to develop your own “theology of worship,” as you prepare to lead people of another culture into true worship, respecting their own cultural preferences – quite a challenge for a sensitive musician!
- Much will depend on the orientation you receive from the mission agency through which you plan to serve. In addition to music, and depending on your academic interest and ability, in addition to your college degree, I would encourage you to study Bible, theology, and mission in a seminary or graduate school. More and more countries are expecting people who apply for visas to be professionals and have "something to offer" their countries other than just a degree in a religious subject. But all depends on where you feel called to serve and the kind of work you feel called to do. But you have time to think more about this!
I trust that these suggestions will be helpful to you, Hilary.
Keep in touch.