Why join Interserve?

If you want to go fast,
go alone.
If you want to go far,
go with others.
–African Proverb–

People go overseas to work all the time. Why should you consider joining an organization rather than just going out by yourself or be sent by your church? There is no overarching rule as to what is the best thing to do. Each person’s circumstances are different. Yet, as people who have worked overseas for many years, these are the reasons why we think joining a sending agency is a very good idea. We naturally prefer Interserve as an organization, so we will first talk about why Interserve is a good organization to choose. However, we suggest you prayerfully consider other organizations too.

WHY INTERSERVE?

1. Living and working overseas is an exciting thing to do, yet it can be challenging. Culture shock eventually hits everyone. Since this is the case, who will help you navigate your transition into another culture so that you am able to not only adjust but also thrive? We in Interserve are a community. So, when you arrive in another country and a different culture, a community already exists to help you enter the country and transition well.

2. Being a community, the Interservers in country can help speed up your learning as to how people think in your host culture. This assistance is so valuable as it will help you learn how to effectively communicate the hope that is within you to your friends and neighbors.

3. Since you are joining a community of workers, they will help you adapt to the culture and give you the assistance and encouragement you will likely need as you learn a new language.

4. Since you are joining a community, other Interservers will be there for you in case of an emergency.

5. Since you are joining a community, they will also will provide practical help and pastoral care.

6. Being part of a community helps you have the peer relationships we all need to help us with accountability. Few of us do well without some relational accountability.

7. Since you will be a part of a community, the IS community will help you with getting medical insurance, tax returns, communication needs, visa issues, and the thousand and one other issues that arise when you are overseas.

CHOOSING THE “RIGHT ORGANIZATION”

There are many different organizations sending people overseas. How does one choose the “right” one? This is a difficult question to answer. There are never any guarantees that the organization you choose will do everything right. However, it is possible to determine if an organization is a good fit for your needs. We suggest you follow this advice in your search for the right organization:

1. Look for the best fit- not the one that is just in front of you.

2. Ask God to help you with this task as a part of your regular prayer life. Also, seek advice from people who have experience with sending organizations and who have your best interest at heart.

3. Understand your own strengths and weaknesses and to what extent you want to use your skills or your work for God’s global purposes.

4. Find out if the organization’s goals, strategy, places of service, theology, ethos, view of women in leadership. Are these a good fit for you?

5. Understand that Interserve (and any organization) will assist your church, not take its place, as Interserve becomes your sending organization.

6. Make sure the financial arrangements, that is, salary, benefits, fund raising policies, etc., fit your needs.

7. Make sure that appropriate training, orientation, and preparation for going overseas is required.

8. Consider joining an organization that includes people from other nations and cultures as equal partners and is not dominated by North Americans.

9. Make sure the organization provides effective member care. Good organizations can easily explain their member care policies, structure, and system. Member care is vital for those who are serving long term in these hard places.