Discover what it means to be an Elim missionary
Paul Hudson, Elim's Director of Missions, shares how the Elim Missions Academy helps those wanting to discover what it means to be an Elim missionary and how to prepare to serve overseas.
Just over a year ago, the first Elim Missions Academy for would-be missionaries was initiated. It was dedicated to people who were feeling the call of God on their lives to engage in mission outside the UK. Fifteen participated and a number of them are already functioning in their new life of missions abroad. Recently, 22 new members of the second Academy met for an orientation day at Malvern – a time of developing friendships and learning about their journeys ahead.
Who are they?
They’re a mix of ages and personalities with a wide range of aspirations and gifts. Some are married couples, some are single, while others are married with children who will be going with them. Some will go for one year, while others will go for much longer and some may engage in multiple short mission trips throughout the year.
Some know where they’re going, while others are exploring options. Some have already worked abroad, while for others this is to be a new experience. Some are already working as missionaries – some in their own countries. Most are nervous and excited at the same time. We are thrilled!
What lies ahead on the Missions Academy?
The Missions Academy is dedicated to those Christians who know they want to be missionaries, but also to others who are interested in the possibility but are not yet sure. They are provided with a range of options for learning and developing – books to read, mission portfolios to complete, DVDs to watch, booklets to respond to, and monthly Skype discussions with myself and Keith Warrington.
Before they are commissioned in June 2018, they will meet for a residential week when friendships will be renewed, aspirations will be re-considered, progress will be shared, teaching will be offered and prayer will be engaged in. It’s a great way to finish what will be a practical and fulfilling ten months of preparation.
Where will they go and what will they do?
Their destinies are varied. Currently, Elim is working in 76 countries in a variety of mission contexts – and we are actively planning to develop more. God has already been leading the way, bringing revival and establishing many believers who are dedicated to being pro-active and sacrificial followers of Jesus.
Those who plan to be missionaries will be valuable to these indigenous Christians, especially with regard to teaching, training and financial and logistic aid and support. Consequently, some members of the Missions Academy plan to be engaged abroad as school teachers or medical staff; others will be dedicated to infrastructure development and leadership programmes.
Undergirding everything they do is a determination to be involved in initiating and developing churches, sharing the gospel and discipling believers.
Why is their work going to be so important?
There are at least two main reasons. Firstly, some of the governments of countries in which our missionaries are to work have plans to reduce the opportunities for Christian mission, India being a prime example of this. But also, although thousands of people are becoming followers of Jesus, there are far too few leaders who can pastor and disciple them.
The danger is that the faith of the new converts might be compromised by inadequate or false teaching, and their fresh desire to walk with God be undermined by false hopes or inadequate discipleship. The opportunities are substantial, the challenges are many, the potential is momentous, the leaders are few.
As an example of the opportunities, let me tell you about one denomination in Chennai, India’s sixth-largest city with an estimated population of eight million. I have spent a day there with just one denomination which has 750 churches which is a partner with Elim Global, the term we use to define the denominations globally that have a meaningful relationship with Elim. I will be training 50 leaders who – in 2018 – will begin a training programme for 10-15 leaders each – more than 700 leaders in total. Elim Missions and Word and Spirit will provide them with resources for this – and they are keen.
We are privileged to be able to partner with them in the process. This is just one example whereby Elim Missions is making a difference in the world.
What about you?
Maybe, you’re interested in mission abroad. But perhaps you’ve assumed that you don’t have the gifts or talents for such an opportunity.
Before you assume anything, talk to your minister or an experienced Christian you trust and who knows you. If they feel this might be a vocation you should explore, complete a Missionary Academy enquiry form or contact Elim Missions and let’s talk further.