6) What Do You Look For In A Missions Agency?

That’s Steve’s question. He’s setting up a website to allow people “to easily compare the distinctives of missions sending organisations on about 20 dimensions including funding model, attitude to local church, denomination, team approach, member care policy, preferred length of service etc.” So the questions are: “What ‘dimensions’ do people care about when selecting an agency? How do agencies distinguish themselves? Are there already web sites that already describe these factors? If so, please give him guidance by writing your response at brigada.org. Just find this item in the list and click “Comment” under it. You can even write anonymously if you desire.

6 Responses to 6) What Do You Look For In A Missions Agency?
  1. ArcticEric Reply

    Hi Steve, you refer to sending agencies but what about service agencies, are they included or excluded in your survey? BLSSNS, ArcticEric/e

  2. Muhammad Reply

    What do you look for in a mission agency? This depends on where you are coming from. If I am from the developing world, which is currently sending the largest number of missionaries, then I would look for an agency that:
    1) Allows me to live at a reasonable financial level, similar to what I am used to in my home country. Around $200 – 400 a month for my family. This would put me on an equal financial level with those I am ministering to. The agency would not put unrealistic financial expectations on me, or view me as a fundraiser for the agency. I want to trust the Lord that my own churches will support me. But they shouldn’t be expected to support some expensive western agency as well as me.
    2) Allows me to work in a multi-cultural team. The gospel is for all people so my team should reflect this. It should reflect the normal proportions of the world, about 1/3 being from the more western developed world, and 2/3rd from my part of the world.
    3) Provides lots of training, both before I arrive on the field, and once I am in the ministry. Any agency that isn’t big on training isn’t worth my while.
    4) Has a worldwide focus on unreached people, and is constantly entering into new areas and challenges. Organizations can grow stagnant within a couple of years if they are not constantly facing new challenges. I want an agency that is constantly opening new ministries and entering new countries. This is the kind of agency that will be fresh for a long time in the future.
    5) Is run by the people in the ministry, not by boards and governors in another country. It should not have a North American or European business ethos but a kingdom ethos that focuses on faith, willing to take on whatever opportunities God opens, without talking about finances, resources and abilities.
    6) An organization that appreciates the cultural, spiritual and technical prowess of the developing world. This means that it is not dominated by American or European technology, theology, or worldview. It should embrace a kingdom worldview, willing to admit that all nations and cultures fall short of the glory of God and no country or political system is more blessed by God than others.

    Of course, if I am coming from the wealthy west, then I would probably look for an agency that would provide me with comfort and security, so I don’t need to trust the Lord when the going gets rough. All the insurances and funds that I raised money for would kick in and help the Lord ease my load. Sorry if I’m so sarcastic. I don’t think I would ever fit into a typical western agency. Blessings

  3. Doug Lucas Reply

    “Muhammad”, thanks for taking time to think through a fairly detailed response! Bravo! Anyone else want to weigh in?

  4. Rob Reply

    I came to my organization after one visit. I quit my job the next morning (I had been there 25 years) so it was not a rational decision, but God didn’t ask me to analyze it just to respond to His call. Now, 12 years later I think that some of the questions that could have been asked are…
    1. What is your statement of faith?
    2. Where do you serve?
    3. What are the proportions of westerners vs. non-westerners in your organization?
    4. How much support does one have to raise (as a single, a couple or a family)?
    5. What is the agency’s administrative fee on support gifts?
    6. Do you provide training for support team building?
    7. What jobs/roles are available in the different fields that you serve in?
    8. Is the organization financially accountable?
    9. How long has the agency been around?

    You may be able to tell that I work in financial/resource development at my agency so the money questions do pop up for me.

  5. Chuck Reply

    Hey Steve, With Wycliffe, here is what we look for in a person who is considering service with Wycliffe.


    Chuck Micheals – VP for Recruitment Ministries, Wycliffe Bible Translators, USA

  6. Russellovich Reply

    1. Is the agency true to its stated mission statement?
    2. What type of training do they provide or require? see http://www.cit-online.org for training that will make a long term difference.
    3. What do they mean by teams? Is it “togetherness” or is it actually mission-focused where the team is formed around the mission statement?
    4. How are decisions made? Is it by the team leader or is it based on the mission statement?
    5. What type of professional or personal development do they provide?
    6. In order not to reinvent the wheel, please check http://www.uwm.org for a detailed list of questions to be asked in choosing an organization. Not everyone fits in every agency. Find a good fit.

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