The Tentmaker’s Preperation Checklist
Preparation Needed and How To Get It
- Choose a vocation considering your aptitudes, gifts, interests, what is helpful in a needy world, what skills are marketable and what will support a family.
- Vocations needed most are education (math, science, teacher education, and curriculum development), media technology, library science, health care, engineering, agriculture, business and finance, and computer science.
- Degrees needed Most positions require at least a bachelors degree or more. Sometimes experience counts more than a degree.
- Terms of Employment Usually include round trip travel for the family, good salaries, health insurance, and sometimes housing and schooling for the children.
- Work experience Besides a few entry level jobs, you generally need one to three years experience. Use work study programs, internships abroad, multinational organizations, Peace Corps, the Mennonite Central Committee, etc
- Language learning Many positions abroad are in English, yet learning a local language will enhance your cultural adjustment, gain the confidence of local people, and help to sensitively share the gospel.
- Finding employment Consult your own college department, professional journals, newspapers, magazines, the Internet, the Global Opportunities web site, networking, and befriending international students.
- Starting your own business can demonstrate Christian values and give needy people jobs. But you usually need experience, capital, and far more hours than a salaried position. Red tape and excessive taxation are problems too.
- More practical skills such as cooking, sewing, homemaking, home maintenance and auto repair enhance daily living. Practical skills can help you make friends in another culture and earn the right to talk about the Lord.
- Recreational skills Sports and hobbies are also valuable bridges for friendship and sharing the good news.
Spiritual preparation to live out & share the gospel.
Finding a job is not the biggest challenge. Being effective when you arrive overseas is the biggest challenge. We see and hear this over and over. And the biggest predictor of ministry effectiveness overseas is ministry effectiveness here before you go. Personal godliness, witness, discipling, and building of leaders are much more important than running programs. So make this your highest priority —to grow in personal godliness and ministry skills. One of the most helpful things you can do is to take Global Opportunities’ GO Equipped! tentmaking course as soon as possible. (See below.)
- Relationship with God. Everything flows from the quality of your relationship with God; be filled and renewed daily through time alone with God in devotional reading and prayer.
- Relationship with family. You will face great stress in a new culture. Work proactively on your family life: read, attend seminars, and seek counsel from sharp, godly couples.
- Relationships with others. Team building and conflict resolution skills help work together, overcome disunity, and put common goals first.
- Bible knowledge.How would you summarize the whole Bible in a few sentences? How many books of the Bible can you summarize? What O.T. prophecies about Jesus were fulfilled in the N.T.?
- Bible knowledge. How would you summarize the whole Bible in a few sentences? How many books of the Bible can you summarize? What O.T. prophecies about Jesus were fulfilled in the N.T.?
- Bible memorization is a good way to have your sword always ready. Then the Holy Spirit can help you recall them at crucial moments and locate them in your foreign language Bible.
- Inductive Bible study skills observe what the passage really says and interpret what the writer meant with application for today.
- Leading Bible study discussions inductively, whether evangelistic or for discipling and fellowship. Ask questions to help participants discover and draw conclusions from the details. Adapt your leadership to nonbelievers.
- Investigative Bible studies for nonbelievers aare discussions of Gospel narratives. Participants answer questions about the text. They discover who Jesus really is and commit themselves to him.
- Christian doctrine. Learn the main Christian doctrines as propositions with supporting passages. What would you include in a half-hour talk about God? Or justification by faith? Or the incarnation of Jesus?
- Defending the faith when your Christian beliefs are challenged. How do you answer that there is no God? Or there are 33 million of them? That all religions are basically the same? That the Bible is not true?
- Evangelism–learn to fish. Tentmakers answer questions about God from seekers made hungry for God by observing Christians around them, their integrity, quality work, caring relationships and words about God.
- Church-planting and other ministries. Self-reproducing, indigenous churches are the ultimate goal. What do you know about baptism, communion, church leadership? Can you preach, teach children, or sing?
- Spiritual warfare. Sin and temptation assault us also through the evil world system and our own sinful vulnerability. We must put on the full armor of God.
- Missions training including the biblical basis of missions, its history, geography, growth, trends, issues, strategies, mistakes to avoid, current ideas, cross-cultural living and witness. Perspectives on the World Christian Movement is the single best course on missions available and is offered nationwide in the evening. See perspectives.org.
Where to Prepare
- The GO Equipped! tentmaking course provides the most focused training in Biblical tentmaking principles and in ministry skills which are essential for effective tentmaking. Alumni report over and over how on target and helpful the training is as they have followed through on it. For info, click on “Course” on the left nav bar at www.globalopps.org.
- Secular universities/colleges have better name recognition overseas and offer a whole range of careers. The secular campus is one of the best training grounds for missions. Commit to your campus Christian fellowship and its training. You are already on your first mission field.
- Christian institutions offer science and philosophy, etc., from a Christian viewpoint and a wide variety of Bible, theology and missions courses.
- Secular universities/colleges have better name recognition overseas and offer a whole range of careers. The secular campus is one of the best training grounds in the world. Throw yourself into the campus Christian fellowship and it’s training. You are already on your first mission field.
- Why not combine schools? Toffer science and philosophy, etc., from a Christian viewpoint and a wide variety of Bible, theology and missions courses.
- Financing your education. For ways to avoid being burdened with debts, see our GO Paper, Students and Graduates: Financing an Education.
- How long will it take? All of the pieces mentioned above can be fit into four or five years, if you take advantage of all the learning opportunities
Jesus has already won the decisive battle! We are making great progress in occupying the countries of his world. We can see the finish line! This is not the time to hold back, but to press ahead with all our might! Be ready to go where God calls!
– Ruth E Siemens
© 1997 Ruth E Siemens | © 2010 Global Opportunities