Answering frequently asked questions.

Questions about terms of service, qualifications and costs

What are the qualifications to go to Asia with OMF International?

• Evidence of an active, maturing relationship with Christ.
• Good physical and emotional health.
• Ability to build relationships with people.
• Experience in ministry.
• Prayer and financial support.
• A supportive sending church.
• Sense of God’s direction in ministry (a place, people group and/or mission agency.)
• Depending on the ministry role, there may also be specific requirements surrounding theological and professional training and experience.

How long do you consider “mid-term”?

We consider service of one to three years as mid-term.

How do I serve with OMF International for one to three years?

The first step is to fill out a profile on You will then be connected to a Ministry Coach within the Equipping team. Our Ministry Coaches will do their best to build a relationship with you and help you begin your journey towards long-term missions in East Asia.

How are workers with OMF International funded?

OMF International is a faith-based mission—we depend upon God for financial provision concerning his kingdom work. For nearly 150 years we have seen God provide for us during wars and recessions, as well as in times of abundance. Each field worker builds a financial support team in dependence upon God by sharing the vision for East Asia with our churches, family and friends. As God brings those who are burdened for this ministry to us, we share openly with them about our financial needs. The amount each person raises depends on the country of service, size of family and on-field ministry costs.

How much does it cost to serve with OMF International?

It costs on average $1,600-$3,000 a month depending on factors such as field of service. These figures include member care, language training, travel and ministry expenses, retirement benefits and insurance as well as some administrative fees for check receipting, assistance with taxes, paperwork, prayer letters, training, mobilization and keeping the headquarters operating.

What is the difference between going mid-term (one to three years) and long-term?

The application process for those going less than three years is slightly less extensive with fewer references. Mid-term workers usually raise less support because most of our fields of service offer a subsidized rate. Either way, you are considered field missionaries and are an important part of OMF International’s ministry in East Asia.

If I apply to go with OMF International, how long will it take me to get to Asia?

Most people are able to leave for Asia 18 to 24 months after they begin the application process. The application process followed by partnership development to nurture a prayer and financial team can be a lengthy and time consuming process, so we suggest you start applying about six months before you expect to attend U.S. Orientation Course; although you may start as early as you like.

What is OMF International’s relationship to the sending church?

Missions is the responsibility of the local church and OMF International is committed to serving and equipping the local church to help it fulfill its God-given mission. Members are not sent without the support/endorsement of their local church.

How can I be involved in missions now even though I am not ready to go overseas?

Great ways to prepare for international service include joining a Global Ministry Group, getting involved in an international church, spending time with internationals in your local community, taking language classes, getting further education that may be necessary or mobilizing through our OMF International volunteer ministry. Service here among the people you wish to work with in East Asia is always a great way to prepare.

Preparation and care on the field.

Does OMF International provide medical insurance?

Yes, medical insurance both on and off the field are provided through each missionary’s total support figure (TSF), which has been raised during the partnership development process.

Does OMF International have a retirement plan?

Yes, OMF International has a retirement plan and is committed to facilitating individualized retirement accounts for all its members. Each person, with the help of good counsel which OMF International makes available, is responsible to put away a portion of their support money monthly into a 403b and/or a self-directed IRA (Individual Retirement Account), which can be withdrawn upon retirement age.

What kind of training does OMF International offer?

OMF International requires that every candidate come to a week-long U.S. Orientation Course prior to acceptance and offers a three-week Orientation Course in Singapore. The Singapore Orientation Course provides not only orientation to OMF International as an organization, but cross-cultural and leadership training as well. We also provide training and seminars for our field missionaries while they are on the field. Further language and cultural training will occur on the field after the three-week Orientation Course in Singapore. Language and cultural training can take up to one to two years.

What is OMF International’s approach to member care?

From early in the application process we work to understand each person’s personality, strengths and experiences as well as issues that may need to be addressed to insure his or her long-term growth as a person in Christ and effectiveness in cross-cultural ministry. On the field we have member care personnel who provide resources, training and counseling as needed and we rely on each other as a fellowship for mutual support. Vacations are not just encouraged but required on the field. When we go on home assignment, we have significant time for personal renewal and refreshment. We also attend a week-long seminar designed to address personal and family issues as well as equipping us for home assignment ministry.

Does OMF International work in teams?

Yes, we work in teams. We believe in working together to reach East Asia’s people and we believe that we need each other in order to do so. While some of our teams are close-knit, others are more loosely-defined depending on the ministry situation and political climate of the area. Most importantly, we would never think of sending a new worker into an area where there was not already an existing team.

Potential barriers to service.

Do I need seminary training to be an OMF International missionary?

Seminary training is not necessarily required for field service; however, if the person’s desire is to do church planting or church leadership training, a seminary degree is required. We prefer that at least one person for the family has at least 30 hours of biblical or seminary training before serving overseas. In some creative-access nations, where a person will be serving through their profession, Bible college training is also necessary, but the requirements are less than for those who are church planters.

I have school debt. Can I still serve with OMF International?

One reason Hudson Taylor established the China Inland Mission was because he believed God did not want his workers to accumulate debt for his kingdom work. He believed that for God’s work, God would always supply. We highly encourage the applicant to take care of all financial debts before leaving for the field. However, in some special situations you may be able to pay or defer your educational debt (this does not include credit card debt, vehicle, home mortgage) while serving.

I am divorced. Can I still serve with OMF International?

OMF International affirms the biblical standards of the sanctity of marriage and the biblical principles governing divorce and remarriage.  A divorce is not an automatic bar to joining OMF International. For those who join as members for overseas service factors such as time since the divorce, healing, sensitivity to the people being served and the emotional preparation of each applicant is considered individually. (All positions in the U.S. are open to those who have divorce in their background.)

Can I go with OMF International if I am not a citizen of the sending country?

Yes, you can go with Serve Asia (short term) without being a citizen of the sending country. However, if you are planning to go for longer than one year, you must be a U.S. citizen or have a green card. The reason for this is because by law, we cannot receipt funds on your behalf as an employee of OMF International unless you are a citizen. Check with your OMF International mobilizer more about possible sending countries.

Specific ministry opportunities.

What kinds of degrees are more useful for getting into creative access nations?

For the worker who wishes to minister in a creative access nation, it is usually beneficial to have a secular degree (i.e., business, engineering, medical, educational, technical, administrative, musical etc.), as opposed to a theological degree.

Can I go with OMF International as a tentmaker?

Yes. If God has strategically placed you for a season in Asia, consider linking arms with us and commit to being a Friend of OMF International. As a Friend of OMF International, you will join a local ministry team, minister alongside long-term workers to further the gospel and have long-term impact while still pursuing your current career.

Do I need TEFL/TESOL training to teach English in East Asia?

Many English teaching positions in East Asia only require a bachelor’s degree in order to teach, while some positions may require more training and experience, such as a TEFL/TESOL certificate. It will depend on the specific teaching position for which you are applying. The ones offered by Wheaton College and BIOLA University have a reputation for being especially excellent.

What kinds of opportunities does OMF International have besides church planting and Bible teaching?

As we seek to plant churches and see the local church reproduce all through East Asia, we also work in many non-church planting roles across East Asia. We have medical opportunities in China, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand working in non-hospital settings, clinics, orphanages, medical universities and much more. We have engineers working in universities, doing postdoctoral research and providing computer, technical and building support in East Asia. We have business entrepreneurs start small cafes or restaurants, develop farming and many other missional business strategies in Creative Access Nations.

Is there a way to do ministry with OMF International while working in a secular role in Asia?

Yes. If God has strategically placed you for a season in Asia, consider linking arms with us and commit to being a Friend of OMF International. As a Friend of OMF International, you will join a local ministry team, minister alongside long-term workers to further the gospel and have long-term impact while still pursuing your current career.