by Myriah Snyder
RICHMOND, VA – Jim works full time as an accountant in a global city. During his free time, he works with a missionary team to help them reach people with the gospel. He serves with the IMB as a part-time professional.
Olivia attends school at the London School of Economics. When she’s not studying, she spends time sharing the gospel with the students around her. She serves with the IMB as a part-time student.
Nick spends his days evangelizing and discipling his neighbors and friends through his local church. He works with the IMB as a full-time church planter.
For those wondering if the International Mission Board has a place for them to serve into the Revelation 7:9 vision, the answer is probably yes!
If an individual is Southern Baptist and aligned theologically with the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, the IMB wants to help them discover how they can advance the kingdom.
“No matter what their station in life is, no matter what their educational background is, there is a way to go with us to the field,” Scott Ray, IMB’s director of assessment and deployment, said.
Ray said that every month the IMB conducts an interview conference. And at each one, he speaks with people from varied backgrounds – college graduates, seminary students, doctors, businesspeople, counselors, retirees. He said they once sent a rocket scientist overseas.
For those who feel called to serve overseas, there are seven pathways for adults 21 and over who want to go longer than a couple months, many short-term trip opportunities, and a host of student pathways.
Ray suggests asking two questions to find out which of IMB’s pathways might be best:
How long do you want to go?
Who is going to pay for it?
A team associate is not funded through the IMB but works closely with an IMB church planting team. This individual generally uses their trained profession overseas while they support church planting efforts. Team associates serve two-year assignments.
IMB offers a unique, fully funded, two-year missions opportunity for college graduates under age 30. Journeymen are sent by their church through IMB to join an international missionary team to share the gospel, make disciples, and help plant churches. For more information, visit https://www.imb.org/students/go-2-years-journeyman/.
The Macedonia project is for individuals who have a long-term call but no seminary training yet. Those who sign up for this program go to the field, and while they are working on a church planting team, they also take seminary classes. The IMB pays for half of the degree, while one of the six Southern Baptist seminaries covers the other half. While this is a more difficult pathway, one of the many rewards is a debt-free seminary degree. There is no age limit for this pathway. Macedonia project workers serve 3-4 years and are funded through the IMB.
Two + two
The two + two program is another avenue through the seminaries. With this track, the first two years are spent physically at a seminary, and the last two years are spent working with a church planting team on the field. This opportunity, however, isn’t funded through a scholarship like the Macedonia project. The last two years of overseas service are IMB funded.
International Service Corps
International Service Corps is for anyone who wants to go but doesn’t want to go long-term. Through this pathway, an individual can serve for two to three years on missionary church planting teams. No college degree or seminary credits are required. Retirees who want to spend a few years on the field are encouraged to go through this route. This is IMB funded.
The field support role includes professionals who work in logistics, finance, or another role that directly supports church planters and other IMB personnel on the field. While they work overseas and still focus on sharing the gospel, the majority of their time is spent in their professional role. This is a fully funded IMB role.
A career missionary serves as a church planter. They begin their first four-year term as an apprentice missionary, working alongside an established church planting team. The next term they return as a church planter. A church planter’s full-time job is the core missionary task. They are fully funded, and this is a long-term pathway.
A missionary associate does the same work as a church planter, but there is no seminary requirement. This role is ideal for someone who has pastored or worked in ministry for many years but has no seminary degree. The requirement here is a life experience requirement. This is an IMB funded, long-term pathway.
Adults wanting to take the gospel to the nations on a short-term trip, lasting anywhere from a couple weeks to a few months can find a plethora of opportunities at www.imb.org/trips. Here, there are group opportunities as well as individual opportunities.
Medical professionals wondering how they can use their gifts for a short-term assignment can find more information on healthcare-specific short-term missions at www.imb.org/healthcare.
For a student wanting to explore where they may fit in God’s plans to reach the nations, there are many options.
Groups of teenagers age 15 and up can join the long-term, strategic efforts of IMB missionaries already overseas. Trips will last between 8 and 14 days, and projects are available in Argentina, Belgium, Botswana, Chile, Germany, Kosovo, Latvia, Malta, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom and Ukraine. For more information, visit www.imb.org/goimpact.
1-3 week trips
Whether it’s spring, summer, or winter break there are many ways for high school teams and college students to serve for 1-3 weeks around the world with IMB missionary teams. While some of the trips are pre-packaged, IMB student teams are ready to work with churches, campuses or ministries to create a trip that fits specific mission strategies. Whether it’s relief efforts, coffee shop ministries, sports camps or church planting, there are many ways for students to make an impact. To learn more, visit https://www.imb.org/students/one-to-three-week-mission-trips/.
Summer mission trips
Join with thousands of college students using their summer break to reach the lost with missionary teams. IMB has numerous, inexpensive ways to serve for 6-8 weeks each summer in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas, and many other places all over the world. Individual and team projects are available. To find out more information on Nehemiah Teams in Southeast Asia, Summer Sojourners in Central and South America, and Face2Face in South Asia and more options, visit https://www.imb.org/students/summer-mission-trips/.
Hands On is an international semester missions opportunity for students and young adults interested in working alongside a missionary mentor to share the gospel of Jesus with unreached peoples. Members of Southern Baptist Churches can receive funding to cover half the cost to go. For more information, visit https://www.imb.org/students/semester-hands-on/.
IMB President Paul Chitwood shared with Southern Baptist pastors, “The IMB is not in a season of calling missionaries home and downsizing. We’re in a season of growth. Because there are more lost people today than ever before, the needs are greater today than ever before in history.”
Chitwood added, “More lost people will die today than in any day that has ever gone before us. The needs are there. The opportunity is also there to get to them as we work together.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Myriah Snyder is senior writer/editor for the IMB.