BECOME A MISSIONARY
God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things
Learn About Becoming a Wycliffe Missionary
Is this God's call for me? How do I know?
A: You probably have so many questions! What does it take to be a Wycliffe missionary? Would I be any good at it? Do I have to be “called” to serve? Will I have to learn another language? Can I choose where I want to go? Am I qualified? Are there other jobs besides Bible translator?
The Apostle Paul explained to the believers at Corinth, “It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualifications come from God” (2 Cor. 3:5). Wycliffe missionaries are simply passionate followers of Jesus who treasure God’s Word. They have caught a vision of heaven presented in the book of Revelation—where one day people from every nation, tribe, people, and language will stand before the throne, praising God. If that vision stirs something in you, God may well be speaking to you about being part of this life-changing ministry.
Here are some considerations as you think about applying to become a member of Wycliffe Bible Translators.
What motivates you?
Wycliffe members are convinced that God speaks through His Word, and that His Word has the power to transform lives and defeat evil. They are willing to invest their lives in furthering Bible translation, either directly serving minority language communities overseas or serving at home in support roles. Does this describe you?
Let’s begin with the obvious: Wycliffe is looking for people who demonstrate academic excellence in translation and linguistics. A knowledge of biblical languages is also important. However, we also need a broad range of people with professional, practical and leadership skills who now want to use them in ministry (see the opportunities listed below).
How’s your spiritual life?
Wycliffe members need to have a well-established and growing relationship with Jesus. You should be engaged in a local church or community of believers where you can be nourished spiritually and participate in ministry. You will be asked to affirm you agreement with Wycliffe’s doctrinal statement.
You’re expected to maintain high moral and ethical standards, and the fruits of the Spirit should be evident in your life. Wycliffe members need to be able to sustain their own spiritual vitality, especially when living and working in places with few other believers or resources to encourage them.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Rome that “suffering produces perseverance, and perseverance, character; character, hope; and hope does not disappoint us” (Rom. 5: 3-5). Some character traits are particularly valuable, both in cross-cultural ministry and in domestic assignments with Wycliffe:
- Be teachable
- Be flexible
- Respect authority
- Invest in healthy family relationships
- Enjoy multicultural friendships
- Be a person of integrity
What could hinder me from serving with Wycliffe?
A: Wycliffe Canada wants our members not just to survive in their ministry assignments, but to thrive. Along with the factors outlined above, it’s wise to identify obstacles—both to joining Wycliffe Canada and to serving effectively for the long haul.
Mission work can involve isolation, insecurity, or encountering resistance to God’s Word. During the application process, you will be asked in confidence about experiences in your life that are known to be reliable predictors of future behavior in a cross-cultural context. Some of the things that could hold you back are:
- Lack of a church community to affirm, support, encourage and pray for you as a missionary
- Not being legally employable in Canada. This often comes up with cross-border marriages, where one spouse is a Canadian and the other spouse does not have either permanent resident status or Canadian citizenship.
- A recent divorce.
- Physical or mental health conditions which cannot be adequately treated in another culture.
- Addictions (substance or other).
- A criminal record.
Many of these issues can be addressed in practical ways, but this typically takes some time. In some cases, it may not be possible to find a suitable overseas assignment.
Student loans and other debt
Lack of sufficient income to cover living costs, ministry expenses and other personal obligations produces stress for missionaries. Family relationships, workplace effectiveness and ultimately faith in God all suffer.
Wycliffe Canada does not have a set limit on the permissible amount of debt for individuals applying for membership. Instead, we consider every case separately to ensure that a reasonable repayment schedule is possible.
The following questions may be helpful as you assess your financial readiness to serve with Wycliffe:
- Will I be able to pay off my debt within a few years, with payments not exceeding 15 percent of my income?
- Is my accumulated debt the result of undisciplined use of credit cards?
- If I own property, will I have reliable rental income sufficient to cover the mortgage payments while I serve elsewhere?
- Am I still able to save for retirement while paying down debt?
That’s a lot to consider before you move ahead in the application process. A Wycliffe applications adviser will be happy to talk with you.
I have a family. How will Wycliffe address their needs?
Service looks different for married couples and families than it does for singles. You’ll want to know how that impacts the choices you make (including what role you will serve in, the length of service, etc.). Spouses and children, of course, need to be part of those decisions.
Whether you’re single or a family, choices range from healthcare to housing and medical considerations. If you’re considering missions and have children, you probably also have questions about how they’ll be educated overseas. Each country is different, and Wycliffe will work with you to determine the best fit for you and your family.
What can I expect during the application process?
A: The process is extensive, but that’s on purpose. You need to be sure that service with Wycliffe is God’s intended fit for you. And Wycliffe needs to get the right people in the right places at the right times. We will walk with you through the screening process, to possible acceptance as a member of Wycliffe Canada, and then through orientation and preparation for your assignment.
First things first
- You’ll be asked to fill out and submit a preliminary questionnaire and personal testimony of faith.
- An applications adviser will contact your pastor to affirm their approval and support of you for cross-cultural ministry with Wycliffe.
- Background check: Your applications adviser will review your references and self-evaluation and also your police record check report.
- You’ll write your personal statement of beliefs and Bible knowledge assessment.
- We’ll do a technical evaluation for teachers, pilots, etc.
- You’ll complete an online assessment of physical and psycho-social health (through the Missionary Health Institute).
- You’ll do a personal interview with your applications adviser.
- You’ll submit signatory documents (doctrinal statement, conflict of interest, membership agreement, authorization statement, standard of conduct); and also read Wycliffe Canada’s by-laws.
Acceptance as a Member of Wycliffe Canada
Your application is processed by our Canada Personnel Action Committee (CPAC). It meets monthly to consider applicants for membership and ultimately to release them to their assignments.
Orientation and Building a Partnership Team
- You’ll participate in a “Discover Wycliffe” weekend for an introduction to Wycliffe Canada’s history, vision and strategies; to handling finances; and to cross-cultural communication and living.
- Your applications adviser will help you find and confirm an assignment, then establish a field ministry budget.
- Partnership Development (PD): a PD coach will assist you in building a team of prayer/ financial partners (see below).
- Pre-field orientation: you will participate in “IMPACT” and a PD workshop; Bible studies on a theology of suffering and a theology of risk; training in contingency planning/crisis management, child safeguarding, and accessibility.
- You will complete final paperwork and purchase tickets; CPAC will release you to your assignment.
Depart to Your Field Assignment (or begin your Canada-based assignment)!
How does self-funding work?
A: Wycliffe Canada is a faith-based organization. Members look to God to supply their material needs, including all work expenses. The normal channels through which God supplies these needs are churches and individuals.
We’ll establish an initial budget for you to cover expenses related to partnership development, pre-field training, airline tickets and initial field costs including a field orientation course. Once a field assignment has been confirmed, another ministry budget will be established. This “field budget” will cover salary, foreign medical insurance and ministry costs in the assignment, as well as airfare to return to Canada following a term of service overseas (if you serve overseas). Field budgets vary; they are tailored to individual living and ministry needs.
As a new member, you will need to attend a partnership development (PD) workshop to learn how to interact with potential donors and build your partnership team. Participants will be introduced to TntConnect software, which may be used for planning, donor database records and tracking PD progress. Your PD coach will provide encouragement and guidance. It will be both humbling and exhilarating to watch how the Lord leads you to partner with the people to whom He has entrusted financial resources for your needs.
When your support reaches 100 percent of the field budget, you will be released to your assignment.
How do I decide between long-term and short-term service?
A: You could check out missions in a field location before making a commitment to long-term service. Or you may already know that you have a limited amount of time available. Let’s talk! We can probably accommodate you.
Wycliffe Canada welcomes people into three unique opportunities for short-term, cross-cultural experience:
Field visits are encouraged for you to see first-hand what is involved in Bible translation and related tasks. You need a taste of the climate and culture in an area where you’re interested in serving. These visits also let you get acquainted with field, and discern together whether you’ll be a good fit with the team working there. Field visits usually last two to eight weeks.
Short-term assignments are for those whose skills enable them to step into a role with minimal on-the-job orientation. Sometimes people fill in for someone who is spending time in their home country. In other situations, they will take on projects that require special skills, or that resident missionaries don’t have time for. Short-term assignments normally last from three months to two years.
Internships are almost always for academic credit. They require considerably more supervision on the field, and much more structure and reporting before, during, and after the assignment. Learn more
Where Do I Fit?
You can play a part in providing the life-giving Word of God to those who still need it. Use the “Explore Opportunities” button below to explore a long list of job summaries and the skill sets needed to advance the work of Bible translation worldwide.
Whether God leads you to serve overseas or somewhere in Canada, there’s a place for you in the global Bible translation movement.
Connect with a Mobilizer –
Start the Conversation
Thinking about serving with Wycliffe? Tell us how to reach you and we’ll be in touch within two business days to start the conversation.
A life on mission is marked by joyful relationships, sacrificial service and a deep sense of God’s calling on your life. Most people feel inadequate for missionary service. So has just about every missionary who ever lived. But as they stepped out in obedience to God, they saw Him work in amazing ways.
He’s still doing it today.
Pastor Rick helps you understand the barriers that keep you from hearing from God, and the changes that will help you know and do His will.
“The vision for this book is not to help more people read the Bible,” Murray writes. “The fact that only two out of 10 Christians will read the Bible from cover to cover isn’t really the problem. The real problem is relational—people aren’t connecting with Jesus. That’s why this book’s about learning how to engage with the Bible in order to meet with Jesus and live in harmony with His Story.”
Helpful resources for managing your money, eliminating debt, planning and more
Developing your partnership team isn’t about asking people to give money. It’s about looking to God to provide for you. He has given you a vision for ministry, and now you get to invite others into that vision. Your job is to pray and work hard to discover those whom the Lord has already prepared to invest in you and your ministry.