Considering going from the UK overseas?
If you are someone who is excited about the challenge of taking the gospel to all nations, and considering overseas or cross-cultural ministry in the future, then a short-term overseas trainee opportunity might be the right next step for you. These overseas experiences are often similar to a UK ministry apprenticeship, with the same core elements (Bible ministry training, gospel ministry experience, practical service and mentoring) but with the crucial difference that they happen in an overseas cross-cultural context. There are a number of benefits:
- Entering any kind of full-time, long-term ministry is a big undertaking that deserves careful consideration. Ministry is wonderful, and also hard. How much more so when also dealing with the challenge of working in a different country, in a different culture and quite possibly in a different language. Testing the water of this kind of mission work through an overseas apprenticeship (perhaps for one year) can be hugely valuable in helping you work out whether this is the right long term plan.
- An overseas apprenticeship can also be very formative experience, developing the kind of character, posture, wisdom and skills needed for future cross-cultural ministry whether overseas or in amid the great ethnic diversity of the UK.
- And at the same time there can be a blessing for the host church and community. As in the UK, all around the world the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. As well as learning, ministry trainees can offer valuable assistance in the overseas harvest fields. There is a desperate need for faithful Bible teachers all around the world, and sensitive trainees can have a substantial impact in the churches and communities where they serve.
The ideal candidate for an overseas training position is someone who:
- Has an active interest in world mission
- Is already seeking to share the gospel with friends, family, neighbours and strangers
- Is considering some sort of overseas or cross-cultural gospel work in the future
- May have already done one year of a UK apprenticeship / had some hands on experience of Bible teaching work
- Is humble, flexible, willing to learn, adapt and throw themselves into new experiences
- Is reasonably robust, physically, emotionally and spiritually
There are a number of excellent organisations providing overseas placements:
- UFM iWitness cross-cultural traineeship (iWitness PDF)
- Crosslinks Short-Term Mission Placements
- IFES Interaction
- SIM Immerse: mission internship
- AIM Short term teams (1 year) and TIMO (2 year Training in Mission Outreach)
- If you are already in partnership with some overseas gospel workers, also consider whether you might be able to be apprenticed to them. Mission agencies will be able to help you make this idea practically possible if this is the route you want to follow.
The first step (as with pursuing a UK apprenticeship) is to talk through the possibilities with your local church leader. Then take a look at the organisations listed above and see if there is one that you would be interested in doing and contact the agency. They'll take it from there. You can also check if there are specific overseas roles being advertised on our vacancies search page.
Based outside the UK and looking for a ministry apprenticeship?
9:38 is friends with a number of wonderful organisations in different parts of the world which are equipping people in gospel ministry, often through ministry apprenticeships. There may be one near you!
- Ministry Training Strategy (Australia)
- Project Timothy (Singapore)
- iServe Africa (Kenya) – founded by former 9:38 trainee Harrison Mungai
- Living Word Uganda
- Samurai Project (Japan)
Considering coming from overseas to the UK?
The world has never been more mobile. And the dynamics of mission are changing too. Global Christianity in the twenty-first century is heavily weighted to the non-Western majority world. Countries like Brazil, South Korea, India, China and Nigeria are now major senders of missionaries. Whereas mission in the nineteenth and twentieth century was often ‘West to the rest’, mission is now ‘from everywhere to everywhere'.
The UK has become a largely post-Christian country but it is also a place of great mission opportunity with a rich diversity of cultures and ethnicities, both British and recent immigrants, some from countries where it would have been very difficult for them to have heard the gospel. We need many more workers for this harvest field and the Lord may well raise up many of these workers from other countries to come over and help us. The UK church has strengths and weakness and so does the church in other parts of the world. Together we can partner together, learn from one another and reach the UK harvest field.
- If you’re coming to the UK to study then get in touch with Friends International. They have really useful practical information on living in the UK, training courses in leadership and an excellent training programme in faithful Bible teaching called the Philip Project.
- If you’re interested in serving as a missionary, helping a UK church reach the diverse harvest field around them, either as an apprentice receiving on-going training or as a more experienced gospel worker, then consider the SIM Engage programme. Once again, the first step would be to talk this through with your local church in your country and seek their wisdom and support.