6 Types of Christian Medical Missions - Serve Your Call
The old cliché reminds us that every journey begins with a single step. If you’re considering the role God has for you in Christian medical missions, that first step could be understanding what’s available. As you consider your calling to medical missions, along with your skills and passions, knowing your options can help you define God’s plans more clearly so you can move in the right direction.
Finding Your Place in Medical Missions
The field of Christian medical missions continues to grow. As a result, the opportunities for those interested in pursuing Christian medical missions are expanding as well. Below are six great ways that you can help fulfill the Great Commission by plugging into Christian healthcare ministries.
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
1. Short-Term Missions
The simplest way to become involved in Christian medical missions is through a short-term trip. But don’t let the term “short-term” fool you. Whether you’re on the field for a week or a month, you can still make a long-term impact through the work you do.
To make that happen, keep two important things in mind. First, prepare well for your trip. While a prepared missionary can make a huge difference in people’s lives, an unprepared missionary can do a lot of damage to the ongoing work on the field. So, spiritually and professionally, prepare yourself to be as effective as possible.
Second, go with an organization that emphasizes sustainability. In other words, pick a sending agency that has feet on the ground all the time, not just for a week or two every so often. There are mission organizations that serve many purposes, so finding the one that's right for you is important. That allows you to be a part of something bigger and ensures that others will be able to follow up on your efforts after you leave.
2. Long-Term Missions
Some refer to this as “all-in” missions because it requires a calling and a commitment that goes beyond short-term experiences. Whether you’re thinking about Christian medical missions as a career or as an extended season of your life, long-term opportunities mean your world is going to change in major ways.
As you think about the potential of long-term medical missions, focus on three phrases tied to the Great Commission. The first is God’s call. Make sure He is calling you to share the gospel and make disciples as a medical missionary. Next, lean into God’s power. On your own, you are not enough. But as Christ equips you, His power provides all you need to fulfill His plan for your life. Finally, recognize God’s presence. The truth is, He is always with you—even when you may not feel it. Take comfort in the reality that He will not leave you or forsake you.
3. Domestic Missions
Not all the lost and hurting people are overseas. Millions right here at home need the hope and ministry provided by Christian medical missionaries. So, you can put your skills and passions to work without ever leaving the country.
Many domestic medical missions organizations focus on helping the poor and marginalized residents of underserved areas. Some of these might live in urban areas, while others could be from rural regions. In every case, they are vulnerable and isolated from a variety of basic health care resources. So, whether you serve in a secular setting or a faith-based organization, domestic missions allow you to be Jesus’s hands and feet in a powerful way.
4. Marketplace Workers
The apostle Paul was a religious scholar and a Christian missionary. But he was also a tentmaker who used this unique skill to open doors for ministry. Today, the job descriptions have changed, but the strategy of using “ordinary” careers to share the gospel has not. And, among such marketplace ministries, health care offers one of the widest avenues.
That makes sense because people around the world need health care. And, in many nations, the need outpaces the availability of medical professionals. So, health care missionaries can step in the fill some of those gaps. What’s more, because of this great need, Christian medical missionaries can gain access to places traditional missionaries could never reach.
So, you don’t necessarily have to choose between work and missions. As a marketplace missionary, you can use your God-given skills and your unique wiring to make a difference in the world.
5. Disaster Relief
From the comfort of our homes, natural disasters can produce a mixture of pity and isolation. We feel bad for those who are affected, but the devastation can seem a million miles away. But, in reality, such disasters can provide incredible ministry opportunities for Christian medical missionaries.
By their very nature, disasters create medical emergencies. As a result, those in Christian medical missions can be among the first responders on the scene. In addition, people tend to be more open to the gospel in times of crisis. At the very least, you can be the hands and feet of Jesus is an incredibly practical way by ministering to people at the darkest times of their lives.
6. Medical Education
The apostle Paul once encouraged his friend Timothy to pass along all the things that he had shared with Timothy to others (2 Timothy 2:2). That way, the gospel would continue to move from generation to generation. While Paul was primarily talking about doctrine and faith issues, the principle of passing knowledge and experience also applies to other areas—including medical missions.
Medical missionaries in other nations benefit from the education and experience that Christian medical missionaries can provide. It might be information that sharpens their minds, or it could be a procedure that enhances their skills. Ultimately, medical educators have the chance to connect students to the Great Physician.
Historically, mission endeavors grow as missionaries train indigenous people how to do the work on their own. Medical educators provide that through their teaching and ministry. It’s an important step toward passing the gospel on to future generations.
The time is now
As you can see, you’ve got plenty of options when it comes to finding your fit in Christian medical missions. You have a world of awesome medical missions opportunities at your fingertips. Through spiritual disciplines like Bible study, prayer, and meeting with mentors, you can get a better handle on what God wants you to do and where He wants you to do it.
Your journey awaits. It’s time to take the first step.
Discover Christian Medical Missions
We help connect your professional skills and biblical calling to the largest database of healthcare mission organizations, professionals, and thought leadership. Join us at the Global Missions Health Conference to find your Medical Missions calling. Or, browse our full list of partner organizations to find the right mission for you.