Finding the Right Missions Service Opportunity
by A. Scott Moreau and Mike O’Rear
This edition of Missions on the Web looks at sites that offer matching services and online listings of many opportunities with multiple organizations.
The Web can help connect people who desire to serve God in international missions with organizations that have matching service opportunities. For the individual, it’s a good starting place to explore the range of available openings, and to even be surprised at how well God has prepared his or her heart, skills, vision, and training to meet a particular need. For the agency needing more workers, the Web can lead to the beginning of more focused conversations with people God has uniquely prepared to serve with them.
Many mission agencies post their current needs and opportunities on their own websites (with the caveat that many service opportunities in sensitive contexts around the world will not be listed publicly online). We encourage those who are seeking mission involvement to begin by visiting the websites of several of their favorite agencies. Ask your friends, pastor, and other missionaries you know for recommendations of agencies to explore. You can find online directories of mission agencies on MisLinks (www.mislinks.org/practical/agencies. htm1).
This edition of Missions on the Web looks at sites that offer matching services and online listings of many opportunities with multiple organizations. (While we’re speaking here primarily to opportunity seekers, mission recruiters will want to explore these sites for ideas regarding where to list their agency’s needs.) We’ll start with sites that focus on international evangelical mission opportunities and short-term missions, move to sites with a broader scope of Christian ministry, and finally mention a few secular sites. Links to all the sites referred to here, and more, can be found in our corresponding page on MisLinks (www.mislinks.org/practical/opportunities.htm).
Mission Finder (www.missionfinder.org) offers thousands of mission opportunities, both long and short term. The site provides pages dedicated to specialties such as Christian orphanages, medical trips and health care professions, teaching English as a second language, trades workers, professionals, and retirees.
RightNow (www.rightnow.org/ServeNow) partners with seventy-five international evangelical ministries to connect twenty and thirty-somethings to over three thousand opportunities to use their God-given passions and skills to make a difference in the world. You can search by location, skill set, organization, timeframe, and keywords. When you create a free account and fill in a brief profile, RightNow will assign a coach “to walk with you through the process of connecting to an opportunity.” The site also offers a wealth of other resources—books, videos, blogs, podcasts, and curriculum.
Urbana provides MSearch (www.urbana.org/msearch), “a place to connect with people and organizations for service opportunities and training in cross-cultural ministry.” You’ll first need to create a free account; then you can complete a personal profile, specify areas of ministry you are interested in, and submit your resume online. You can view and link to a list of agencies that participated in Urbana 2009, view job openings, search for opportunities of interest, and have the system recommend opportunities based upon your interests, skills, and calling.
CrossGlobal Link (www.crossgloballink.org/Opportunities) offers an extensive listing of service opportunities with member missions. Search by type of opportunity, or for opportunities with a particular agency. If you start by selecting an agency, the list will show only those opportunities available with that agency. If you start by selecting a type of opportunity, the system will display a list of the agencies offering that opportunity. You can then select any missions of interest and submit a form that will be sent automatically to those agencies, inviting them to contact you directly.
Finishers Project (finishers.org) is a matching service that helps you connect with mission organizations to find assignments in missions—short term, long term, in the U.S., or abroad. Complete a Service Profile to receive a list of mission organizations with opportunities matching your skills, experience, and ministry preferences. Opportunity seekers use the service at no cost. Finishers Project provides three levels of partnership, with varying membership fees, “to help ministry organizations connect with Christian adults—especially those at mid-life who are wondering how they could better utilize their talents and career experience in service to the Lord.”
Similar ministries exist in other countries: Finishers Canada (finisherscanada.ca) focuses on connecting mid-life Canadians with mission opportunities; Second Wind Network (www.secondwind.net.au) is “a network of mission agencies, churches, and individuals keen to see a movement of Australian Christians in the ‘second half’ of their productive adult life actively engaged in fulfilling the Great Commission”; and Missions Interlink (www.missions.org.nz/content/world/world_connections.php) connects New Zealand Christians with agencies and opportunities.
MissionNext (www.missionnext.com), a subsidiary of Finishers Project, offers an online matching service and search features to help connect North Americans with over eighty mission agencies that have over twenty thousand opportunities. The vision of MissionNext is “to see a bold increase in cross-cultural mission workers among those twenty-three to forty years old (Gen X) in North America.” You begin the process by completing a three-part Ministry Preferences Form. An online search page connects you with “the immediate openings and most urgent needs of our partner organizations.”
ESL-JOBS.com (www.esl-jobs.com), another ministry of Finishers Project, connects you with international ministry jobs (both salaried positions and non-salaried missionary opportunities) teaching English as a second or foreign language. Search all recent job offerings at www.esljobs.com/esl-tefl-jobs or search by country at www.esljobs.com/categories. We recommend training of some kind before simply jumping into ESL teaching. Many good Christian programs exist from certificate to M.A. level (for a list of TESOL training programs, see www.missionfinder.org/tesol.html#Learn).
OSCAR, “the U.K. information service for world mission,” offers an online job search engine (www.oscar.org.uk/vacanciesindex.php) featuring short, medium, and long-term opportunities within the U.K. and around the world. Search for opportunities by type of ministry activity, location, age, and keyword. U.K.-based agencies can choose from three levels of service; the basic listing in the OSCAR organizational directory is free.
ChristianConnector.com (www.christianconnector.com/Christian-missions-form.cfm) provides a free information service about mission opportunities for students. Applicants fill out and submit an online form, then browse mission agencies that ChristianConnector partners with. Agencies the applicant selects are sent an email so they can follow up with the applicant. The site also has a page of links and contact information for dozens of mission agencies.
See the Business as Mission page on Mislinks (www.mislinks.org/practical/bam.htm) for valuable tentmaking and BAM resources, organizations, and opportunities. In particular, check out the Helping Overseas Directory (www.helpingoverseasdirectory.org) for links to many agencies working in the developing world; the directory has a strong emphasis on medical missions work. The MisLinks page on Christian Relief and Development Organizations (www.mislinks.org/practical/rdorgs.htm) provides links to additional organizations and resources to guide you in seeking God’s place of service for you.
Short-term Mission Sites
We have room here to highlight only a few of the leading sites offering short-term mission opportunities. ShortTermMissions.com (www.shorttermmissions.com) gives access to over 1,300 trips from over one hundred agencies, opportunities that range in length from one week to three years. The highly sophisticated advanced search engine and directory let you specify a wealth of options to filter your choices: length of trip, start year and month, ministry type, region and country, cost, participant type (individual, married couple, family, group), participant age, organization name, organizational affiliations, and keywords. The site also offers an extensive discussion forum; helpful articles; and links to related books, organizations, and other resources.
Missions-Trip.com (www.missions-trip.com) lets you browse information on nearly six hundred trips to dozens of countries, gives you links to over three hundred agencies, and provides dozens of online articles.
Mission Network News has an online Short-Term Missions Database (mnnonline.org/stmdb) where you can find “hundreds of trips available for you to go almost anywhere in the world.” Search by type of ministry, country, date, duration, cost, and mission agency.
ChristianVolunteering.org has a Short Term Missions Search feature (www.christianvolunteering.org/shorttermmissions.jsp) where you can search for short-term mission opportunities, summer ministry internships in the U.S., and one to three-year ministry internships around the world.
Mission Finder.org has a Short Term Mission Trips Search Engine (www.missionfinder.org/summer.htm) where you can search for and browse opportunities around the world. Finishers Project has pages devoted to short-term opportunities (finishers.org/index.php?id=234) and vision trips (finishers.org/index.php?id=233).
Christian Ministry Sites
You will also find international service opportunities on several sites that offer a wide variety of both paid and volunteer positions within churches and Christian ministries.
ChristianVolunteering.org (www.christianvolunteering.org), a TechMission program, is a huge site with over 6,700 volunteer opportunities around the world. It “matches volunteers to volunteer opportunities and helps organizations recruit volunteers through online volunteer matching.” There are sections for professionals, for families (Family.ChristianVolunteering.org), for internships, for short-term missions, and for virtual volunteering (“volunteer in your pajamas!”). Search by country or region, by service area and skills, by denomination or organizational affiliation, and by organization name and type of program. The site also has a strong emphasis on urban ministry job postings around the world, most of which are in China. (Agencies, you can create an account and post opportunities for free.)
Christian Career Center (www.christiancareercenter.com) offers “Christian jobs, employment, job search help, and career testing/counseling.” Employers can post job offerings and search resumes. Job seekers can post their resume, search for jobs, read career planning articles, and take advantage of career testing and coaching. The online job bank includes about 470 jobs. Search by job title, job type (full-time/part-time), job category, state, and country. Selecting “Not in the United States” under the State option results in about sixty offerings; selecting the job category of “Ministry-Missions” results in about fifty jobs.
World Wide Open offers a variety of types of opportunities for engaging in God’s mission in the world. This includes a few hundred service opportunities, mostly with Christian ministries both domestic and overseas (www.worldwideopen.org/opportunities/browse/type/749). While viewing the detailed description of any particular opportunity, notice the “One Click To Action” options on the right-hand side of your screen connecting you to other people who share an interest in this opportunity, related resources, and related opportunities.
Christian Employment (www.christianemployment.com) offers just over two hundred opportunities with churches and Christian ministries, most of which are located in the U.S. The site includes a few home office opportunities with international mission organizations. In addition, the site has a variety of helpful articles related to searching for jobs in Christian ministry.
ChristianJobs.com (www.christianjobs.com), a subsidiary of Salem Communications Corporation, “serves the entire United States and Canada as a leading source of information for Christian employers and job seekers in the area of personnel and staff relations.” (Intercristo merged with ChristianJobs.com in early 2009.2) The site currently has about 130 active job postings; selecting the Missions/International category results in only a couple of jobs. It provides a wealth of other resources and tools for the evangelical job seeker and a weekly newsletter with hiring and management resources for employers.
Ministry Employment (www.ministryemployment.com) offers “Christian jobs and employee recruitment tools for Christian ministries. Serving business, ministries, schools, churches, non-profit organizations, and job seekers.” The site boasts a “hiring community of over eight hundred Christian employers and 5,300 job seekers.” Doing an online job search shows about one hundred opportunities on the site, plus links to a few hundred additional opportunities on other websites; most of the jobs are in the U.S.
Halftime Network (halftime.org/opportunities.aspx) focuses on serving financially independent business professionals, helping them to use their corporate experience and expertise in new areas of ministry. The network is dedicated to “helping successful people pursue significance. The Halftime Network is our way of getting to know you, and connecting you with a wider selection of resources, serving opportunities that match you, and a network of peers.” A one-time $150 membership fee is required.
In your search for the right place to serve Christ, don’t overlook large sites that offer job listings for the general public; we’ll highlight three of the more popular ones. Indeed (www.indeed.com) compiles information from many other websites to give “job seekers free access—instantly, in a single search—to millions of jobs from thousands of company websites and job boards.” Entering “christian” as a keyword in the search returns nearly four thousand jobs; adding other keywords such as international, evangelical. or ministry gives more targeted results.
Monster (www.monster.com) has opportunities exclusively within the U.S. Entering your desired job title and/or skills into its search engine will present opportunities to serve Christ in commercial companies, and may result in a few opportunities with domestic Christian ministries or the home office of international missions. Alternatively, entering words such as “christian” and/or “mission” as keywords in your search shows results for explicitly Christian organizations.
For those seeking higher-end professional positions, sites such as The Ladders (www.theladders.com) offers both domestic and international jobs, a few of which are with Christian ministries. To search for jobs outside the U.S., click on “Advanced Search” and then check “Only show international jobs.” Do you know of other online resources to help connect Christians with international ministry and missions opportunities? Send us an email describing the sites so we can consider adding them to the MisLinks page.
1. All websites begin with http:// unless otherwise noted.
2. Published March 18, 2009 in the InterCristo blog (intercristo.wordpress.com): “Intercristo.com Merges with ChristianJobs.com!”
A. Scott Moreau is editor of EMQ and a professor in the Intercultural Studies department at Wheaton College Graduate School (Wheaton, Ill.). His email address is A.S.Moreau@wheaton.edu, and the Wheaton Missions Department web address is www.wheaton.edu/intr.
Mike O’Rear is the president of Global Mapping International (Colorado Springs, Colo.), which is dedicated to providing access to information for church and mission leaders, especially in the Two-thirds World. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and the GMI web address is www.gmi.org.
EMQ, Vol. 46, No. 3, pp. 356-361. Copyright © 2010 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS.