Hi Jack,My wife and I are exploring the possibility of doing some sort of tent making ministry. We are in the exploratory stages right now and do not know if this is something God wants or not. I've spoke with one missions agency, and they seem interested only in people who are raising support. Personally, I tend to lean towards doing tent making, as both my wife and I have marketable skills that are in demand in many locations. I also know what types of ministries that would suite me well (teaching at a bible institute or seminary). Are there agencies that will pair skilled professionals with ministry opportunities? If so, could you put me in contact with some?ThanksNathan Gau
Thanks, Nathan, for your question. I applaud you and your wife for your desire to serve the Lord with your skills, training, and experience.
Here are two web sites that could be of help.
" Global Opportunities (http://www.globalopps.org/) Founded by Pioneer Ruth Siemens, this ministry has long years of experience, and offers training.
" You can also look up “Tentmaking” on Google and find other sites.
A experienced friend shared the following comments with me, which I support: “Tentmakers need a specific, marketable skill. They should learn a language well before they go (unless they're English teachers or plan to work in a country where the trade language is English). They may need academic credentials (an MBA or Engineering degree, a teacher’s certificate or PhD in their field if they plan to teach.) They should try to attend a secular university or college for their training program, and also get involved with a ministry which trains them in evangelism, Bible study, prayer and mission in the secular context. This will be important preparation for their experience overseas, which is much more isolating than ordinary missionaries.”
If your “marketable skill” is teaching in a Bible institute or seminary, you will find it difficult to receive remuneration for your services. In my experience, foreigners are expected to teach free of charge, which would imply raising support, as you have discovered through your experience with the mission agency you contacted.
My own experience is a case in point. My wife and I have been professors for 20 years in a theological seminary in Colombia, South America. We both have graduate degrees and speak the language acceptably well. Although the seminary pays Colombian teachers, we expatriates are expected to not only teach without charge but also pay rent for seminary housing. In addition, most of us make generous contributions to the institution, as well as occasionally attempting to raise money for it in times of economic crisis.
If you are expecting financial remuneration as a way of supporting yourself (true “tentmaking”) you and your wife would probably have to offer services in some secular field, where the above quote would apply. The organization “Global Opportunities” can give you current details in this regard. Perhaps the most common “secular service” these days is teaching English in a place like China. Though it would not be necessary to learn the local language to teach, one would be more attractive with formal training in “Teaching English as a Foreign Language.”
May the Lord guide you and your wife in the precise place of service.
In His Grace,