So how do you become a CMS missionary?
1. Get to know us
It’s great news that you are thinking about serving the Lord Jesus in cross-cultural mission. CMS is one of a number of organisations in Australia which enable local churches to set apart people for mission. Each organisation has different areas of ministry and expertise, so it is important that you think carefully about which is right for you.
We’d love for you to find out more about CMS, who we are, our vision and what we stand for. Contact your state branch to hear what work our current missionaries are doing and receive more information about our vision and values, or you can find out more on this website.
You can also come and chat with one of the CMS staff members in your local branch. We’d love to get to know you and it is never too early to have a preliminary chat with us. It is best to make initial contact three years before you could expect to depart for location. Selection, training and raising support takes around 18 months, so thinking ahead is vital. CMS staff can help you to think through a number of important areas, including:
- Your professional qualifications and work experience
- Options for Bible training or theological college
- Specific opportunities for service with CMS
If you decide that, under God, it may be right for you to serve with CMS, the next step is to make a formal application to become a missionary. You will meet with the General Secretary or State Director from your branch, who will explain the CMS selection process to you.
CMS takes selection very seriously. We believe in sending godly, growing, mission-minded Christians who will serve in long term mission service. At the heart of our selection process is a series of interviews that happen first at your local branch level and then with representatives of CMS Australia (CMS-A). The interviews with your branch aim to explore if it is right for you (and your family) to serve in mission with CMS. The interviews with CMS-A seek to confirm this and to explore specific ministry options and locations for you. There are a number of different components to the interviews, including medical and psychological assessments, which your branch will explain to you.
The process generally takes at least six months and the aim is to discern with you whether God is calling you to mission service in partnership with CMS.
Specific cross-cultural training enables missionaries to survive and thrive in long-term service. CMS equips its missionaries through a five-month residential course that takes place at the CMS training college, St Andrew’s Hall, in Melbourne. Courses are designed for each missionary’s needs and include:
- Orientation to cross-cultural life and work in your expected location
- Thinking through key cultural and missiological issues
- Preparing for language learning
- Strengthening your spiritual life
- Equipping you for the demands of missionary service
- Orientation to CMS
4. Building partnerships
After St Andrew’s Hall training, you return to your branch to spend several months building your support base with your link churches and with your friends and family. We call this initial Home Assignment. Your CMS branch will already have started working with you to develop a strong network of supporters who will commit to praying, financially supporting and caring for you in mission.
During initial Home Assignment you will be involved in:
- Encouraging others to share God’s heart for the world
- Strengthening relationships with link churches and personal partners
- Representing CMS at summer conferences, camps and other meetings
- Getting ready for your departure
5. Serving with CMS
You now go to serve in cross-cultural mission with a local ministry partner, supported through CMS by your link churches and supporters. Tours of service are usually about three years, followed by six months on Home Assignment in Australia. Much of your first term of service will probably be focused on language learning, understanding the culture and building relationships.
With this thorough investment in selection, training, support and pastoral care, under God, you can anticipate a long-term cross-cultural ministry where people’s lives will be transformed by Christ.