In the New Testament, one command, “…rather, train yourself to be godly” by Paul in 1 Timothy 4:7 (NIV), brings the focus squarely on the goal of training. Have you made this your primary goal?
There are many ways of training. Jesus trained his disciples by example, instruction and participation. Knowledge gained from written sources can be helpful and may be important. However this needs be accompanied by a world view founded in God’s Word, driven by our desire to live out our calling as Jesus followers.
How do we measure our progress in the four key qualities listed above? A good mentor for the area in which you seek to grow is one obvious way. Feedback is the most powerful tool for learning, and a mentor provides that. Involvement in a ministry team in your local church or outreach group is an amazing training ground for prospective missionaries and tentmakers, in particular in learning how to effectively communicate across cultures.
Talk to two or three mission or tentmaker agencies to gain a clear understanding of the opportunities, needs, training requirements, etc. All agencies will want to see that you are involved in ministry here in Australia, and (later on) require references from your church or ministry group leader. Remember that if you do serve overseas in whatever capacity, you will also need a group of prayer supporters. They can be praying with you from early on, as you start to look at where God is leading you.
Formal training is usually required in order to be a missionary candidate, knowing the Bible and some practical ministry training as starting blocks. Mission orientation courses often focus on cross-cultural communications, now often referred to as cultural intelligence, and on approaches to mission. To be well equipped as a tentmaker, investing in training in these areas will never be wasted.
“Cross-cultural training helps you know how other people hear what you say” – Ros , mission trainer.
In many cases our tentmakers find a work opportunity which needs to be filled “now” or in a short time frame. So startingtraining early is a wise move. Reading widely (see Resources page) will help you understand much more of the scope and potential for tentmaking.
Missions Interlink run focussed training courses, link here, in particular their short term training course (MIST) and the 10-day residential Transition Training which functions as an orientation course to many aspects of mission service. MILL is their excellent course to develop skills and attitudes to assist in language learning.
Remember to seek the Lord in prayer and trust in his promises. Now may the God of peace … equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ Hebrews 13.20-21.