Due to the nature of the work, long-term missions involves incredibly sophisticated and advanced ministry skills. Missionaries must be men and women who possess proven character, a strong marriage, and expertise in cross-cultural ministry, among many other requirements (1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9). Only those who successfully serve Christ at home, proving to be effective leaders, church planters, and disciple-makers, will be able to make a positive, lasting impact abroad. Missionary work is, therefore, not for everyone and at Xenos, we go to great lengths to ensure the quality of the workers that we send. The missions division and elders consider the following areas when determining the accreditation status of a potential missionary.
- Character Qualifications – The missionary meets the character qualifications of elders and deacons as described in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, along with the fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5. Both the commissioned and strategic partner accreditation categories require servant team membership. We do not require servant team membership for well-wishers. However, it is highly preferred.
- Vibrant Inner Life – An intimate walk with Christ is a crucial qualification for missionaries. Missionaries spend regular time with God in both prayer and studying His word. They have a firm understanding of their new identity in Christ. They seek to be led by and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
- Flexibility & Humility – Given the unpredictable nature of cross-cultural work, missionaries must be prepared to be flexible and adjust to complex situations. For the missionary, learning is an ever-present element of their work, which is why a teachable spirit and a humble heart are vital ingredients for success in the field.
- Strong Marriage – A common cause of failure on the mission field is due to marriage issues. Potential missionaries should have a strong track record of faithfulness, sacrificial love, the ability to forgive and resolve conflict with their spouse. If the marriage relationship is in weak standing, all other areas will suffer.
- Emotional Maturity – The strain of being overseas in a new cultural context, separated from family and close friends for an extended period, and engaged in challenging spiritual work and warfare can test the emotional stability of the toughest among us. Prospective missionaries must demonstrate emotional stability in their spiritual life and relationships in their cultural context. Otherwise, they will find it extremely difficult to weather the challenges of cross-cultural ministry.
- Respectable Lifestyle – Missionaries must lead upright lives since they will be in a position to represent Christ overseas. Missionaries should be hardworking people who have maintained a solid track record of employment. It also means missionaries are overall free from crippling entanglements and manage their finances generously and diligently as stewards of God's resources.
- Wisdom in Decision-Making – The missionary must have a strong conviction God is calling them to long-term missions. A subjective sense of calling is not sufficient for such a high stakes decision. God uses His word, the Body of Christ and the leadership of the church to affirm an individual’s call to the field. Consequently, prospective missionaries must have prayed, sought mature counsel, consulted the leadership of the church and missions representative before deciding to dedicate their life to long-term missions. It is necessary to consider the needs of the potential field as part of the process as well.
- Bible Knowledge – The missionary is responsible for teaching, evaluating and applying Biblical principles to complex ministry situations. Therefore, a sophisticated knowledge of the Bible is necessary. At Xenos, missionaries at a minimum should have completed our core, missions, and leadership training courses. Although not required, formal theological education is a plus.
- Church Planting Experience – Having a proven record of church planting experience at home is a prerequisite to church planting overseas. Facilitating indigenously led church planting movements is the primary task of the missionary. Therefore, they must demonstrate the ability to disciple others, develop leaders, and multiply home churches.
- Leadership Skills – Missionaries are in a position where they can offer guidance, consultation, and leadership to others. Therefore, it is crucial missionaries demonstrate an ability to motivate and lead others effectively in a way that brings glory to God. Missionaries sent by Xenos must be committed to promoting, coaching, and training indigenous leaders.
- Ability to Work on a Team – It is essential the missionary can demonstrate the ability to work well on a team. Foreign missions are challenging and can put relationships to the test. The missionary needs to be diligent to preserve the unity, to work towards a common purpose and to value the role each team member plays. The ability to forgive, resolve conflict, encourage, speak the truth, and practice the "one another" principles in scripture are necessary for a team to function effectively. In turn, this models healthy team dynamics to our indigenous partners.
- Cross-Cultural Experience – Knowledge, training, and expertise in cross-cultural work are necessary for anyone pursuing missions. Missionaries must develop the skills to handle complex cultural issues, a working knowledge of the local language, and adjust to cultural norms and customs. The missionary must build and maintain a learner’s posture.