by Will Rogers
We all know that the types of missionary work you do can look very different depending on what your profession and skill set is. For all of you who are in the healthcare field, missionary work will take you on a journey of using your medical skills in an area of the world that needs our particular love, care, and expertise.
Quick reminder: missionary work is for all branches of the healthcare profession! What I want to do in this post is to review several types of missionary work. My hope is that this will serve a couple of purposes. Number one, encourage you to consider new ways you might be called to serve others. Number two, for those who aren’t using your skills in a missionary setting, to remind you of your original calling to point others to God through your expertise, skills, gifting, and your role as a believer.
These are professions like family medicine, infectious disease, and mental health. General practice isn’t the only thing that is relevant or needed on the mission field. Often there are indigenous GP’s that could use other skills to buoy the work they are already doing. Whether you’re interested in short-term or long-term mission trip opportunities, there are so many ways you can serve.
Surgical involves anesthesia, obstetrics, ophthalmology, and cardiac surgery. Like medical missionaries, surgical missionaries use their skills and expertise to serve God and love others with their unique skill set that might not be readily available in under-resourced areas. You’ll want to consider if you’re interested in short-term or long-term mission trip opportunities, there are so many ways you can serve.
We posted about nursing and ways to serve recently. These professionals provide the glue that holds it all together:
Optometry - there are many locations around the world that lack optometry services
Dentistry - healthy teeth may not seem like a big deal, but we know that many other serious conditions can be linked to oral health.
This type of work can mean a lot of things. For example, this could mean serving in areas like sanitation/water, environmental health, epidemiology.
Public health might be one of the more overlooked areas of need, but in reality, public health is concerned with protecting the health of entire populations. These populations can be as small as a local neighborhood, or as big as an entire country or region of the world.
As we’ve all seen in the Covid-19 pandemic, public health officials are often on the front lines of keeping people safe, informed, and aware of best practices
As we’ve discussed before, one of the best ways to make sure that you are serving people well is to teach them the medical skills that they need in order to run a clinic/hospital on their own. Train the trainer to multiply the effort.
All of these professions can be vital and necessary in the mission field. To look further into this, check out our resource page, which allows you to dig deeper into all of these areas of serving in missions.
When you are forming a team to serve together in an area of the world that needs your medical expertise, you will also need to consider other areas of need that your team will have.
Are there children on your team? Will they go to a local school or will someone need to be designated as the homeschool teacher?
Will any part of your service to the people you are living with involve teaching of any kind? You will need to make sure that someone on your team is a capable teacher. If teaching is your gifting, please consider how you can serve God and love others in various settings globally.
Who will be in charge of communicating with supporters? Keeping the budget? Making sure that local fees, taxes, and other expenses are taken care of? This is a vital role that is often overlooked when it comes to missionary work. This type of work is extremely necessary and helps all of the other missionaries get out of the office and use their skills for other things.
If one or more of the types of missionary work we’ve covered fit you, you may wish to consider how your current role or position can be done in a different setting.
Many things are shifting in the world of missions today. One of these major shifts is a movement of Christian professionals taking their jobs overseas and being a light in the world through their job. And while these individuals may not be raising funds, this is missions. Healthcare is one of the greatest avenues of need globally which makes your skills an excellent avenue to take a job somewhere in the world.
We’ve partnered with many networks—like Scatter Global, CRU, Pioneers, and many others in order to create a collective movement of individuals and agencies who are moving the vision of missions forward and equipping healthcare providers to use their skills in unique new ways. Take a look at the options for taking your job overseas.
Find out how you can take your job overseas, find ministry partners, get great examples of people already serving in this way, and the resources you need for marketplace missionary work.
Explore additional mission opportunities and upcoming trips with many different partners—from the Christian Academy of African Physicians to many other international trips.