Whats your opinion of the ...

James asked:

Whats your opinion of the level of biblical knowledge one must have to become a missionary? Ive been in church my whole life, I read lots of christian mission related books etc... What level of formal education are agencies looking for? I realize these are very broad questions. sorry!!! Thanks for your helpJames Marvin

Jack Answered:

James, a lot depends on what you plan to do as a missionary. Let’s try an illustration. For example, if someone asked you, “What level of education would I need to be a mechanic?” We all know that there are basic skills every mechanic needs. However, you would want to know does this person need to fix washing machines, farm equipment, used cars, or deal with high priced foreign autos like a Rolls Royce or a BMW?

By the same token, every missionary needs basic orientation and skills, including biblical knowledge and experience. I think every missionary needs to know how to lead a person to Christ, how to explain basic Christian concepts, and how to help an individual fit into a church. But if a missionary is going to teach pastors, he or she would need far more extensive biblical and theological preparation than if one is going to help in an orphanage or introduce modern farming methods.

Also, different agencies have differing expectations and requirements. Once you have begun interacting with a mission agency and you and they begin exploring details such as your call to mission, the areas of ministry the agency focuses on, and the specific contribution they would like you to make, the whole subject of your preparation would need to be addressed.

Another factor would be the experience you have on your first term of service. As you learn the language, work in the corporate culture of the agency, get involved in a local situation, and begin to interact with both local people and colleagues, it will become obvious to you what your needs are. It would be very helpful of your agency would allow you then to have a “study furlough” in which you could invest at least a year preparing yourself more adequately for what you are hoping to accomplish.

Blessings on you, James, as you pursue your call.

In His Grace,



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