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Can You Be a Missionary Without a Degree? The Full Answer


Written by Avery Rimiller

When God calls us to be a missionary, it’s easy to get worried about the details and want to make sure we’re as prepared as we can be. It’s a. good to want a college education to helps us spread the Gospel, but on the other hand, it’s easy to wonder if getting a degree as a missionary is worth it.

Can you be a missionary without a degree? You can be a missionary without a degree with God’s help and the Holy Spirit’s leading. However, missionaries should have some preparation before going on the field. Missionary degrees or training programs are a wise way to become prepared for the mission field.

I researched how you can become a missionary without a degree and here is what I found.

Ways to Be a Missionary Without a Degree

The first option for missionaries who aren’t seeking a degree is to self fundraise or work alongside a sending agency.

Self fundraising is the primary way missionaries create an income and sustain their ministry. Missionaries can self fundraise with or without a degree.

Gathering funds from friends and family is not always reliable and does not create a steady income in the slightest.

Though, most missionaries would say that God never fails to provide, and so the biggest issue with self fundraising is that it is time consuming and continually draining.

Similarly, missionaries who go through sending agencies that collect their funds from donors must commit a large amount of time to these agencies.

To be accepted by a sending agencies, missionaries must have the same mission and goals as the agency and work alongside them through reports, networking, and act as the agency’s representatives.

This could be great for a missionary, or completely derail them from their original course of action.

Another way to become a missionary without a degree is a missionary training program.

These could be wonderful ways for future missionaries to grow in their spiritual gifts and get a taste for certain types of ministry and even help them learn how to fundraise.

However, without a degree, these training programs rarely help sustain a missionary on a field and are usually short term.

They give the participant just enough information to encourage them at first and give them a small level of training. This training is not sufficent for life on the mission field typically.

The Pros and Cons of Having a Degree as a Missionary

Looking back at history, the most well-known missionaries didn’t go into the field with a mission-related degree. in fact, many of them used their preexisting degrees or no degree at all to share the gospel and make a big deal of Jesus all over the world.

Even the disciples didn’t earn a degree, though they did learn from the greatest teacher in the world: Jesus.

However, there are ways for future missionaries to earn a degree that helps prepare them for the work to come. Affordable degrees can propel a missionary further than they could have ever gone before, and training programs could act in the same way, setting them on a course for successful ministry.

To help you decide what route is best for you, whether that’s a missionary degree, no degree, or a missionary training program, here are some pros and cons to think through first.


The best pro to having a degree as a missionary is that you can use that degree in your ministry as a way to reach people for the gospel.

For example, doctor missionaries and missionaries with degrees in nursing can use their skills to help people in foreign countries improve their health and well being.

Not only can missionaries with this type of degree save people’s actual lives, but also tell them about Jesus’ love and save their spiritual lives too, all with the help of the Holy Spirit.

For other specific fields of ministry, degrees may be necessary, such as counseling, aviation, or business as mission.

The second pro for earning a degree as a missionary is that you get to network with other possible ministry partners and be engaged in a community that will encourage you towards your calling.

Connecting with others at a university or college, especially Christian based institutions, could propel your career on the field by working with others who have the same goals as you and the same desires to see God’s kingdom spread all over the world.

Not to mention, if you pursue a degree at a missions college that specializes in training missionaries, you could learn from experienced professors who were once missionaries themselves.

Once on the mission field, picking your connections brains and communicating with them about how your ministry is doing could be imperative to your missional success.

These networks could also be a great source of support for you, providing both emotional, financial, and prayer support.


Unfortunately, the number one thing pulling future missionaries away from obtaining degrees is the fact that most degrees put their students in a significant amount of debt.

When future missionaries build up debt, how are they to pay it off without an income? This is a huge problem for missionaries hoping to earn a degree.

Another obstacle to earning a degree is the time it takes. No missionary wants to wait four years to start pursuing the call God has put on their heart.

Students who want to be missionaries may also have to take unnecessary classes that prolong their time away from the mission field and distract them from their true purpose.

When looking at all the options, it seems as though a missionary can’t win. However, there is one missionary training university that merges the best options together so that students who want to become missionaries can take the gospel to every tribe, tongue, and nation as soon as possible with an affordable degree.

The Best Option For Missionaries

Bethany Global University (BGU) is the only accredited mission college that equips you to take the church to where it is not through their four-year program.

At BGU, you can spend two years on campus studying either Education in Missions, Transformational Entrepreneurship, or Intercultural Studies while also double majoring in Theology.

Students will continue these studies for 16 months overseas working with real-world missionaries and ministries, all during their junior and senior years.

Students at Bethany Global University get the best of both worlds since they not only get to go on the mission field just after two years but also graduate with little to not debt through the school’s tuition paid model.

This tuition paid model works as donors and grants cover the partial cost of a student’s tuition.

Since BGU is a work college, students get hands-on experience in real jobs on campus that help them pay for their tuition. This leaves the student with only room and board and other minor fees to cover.

To learn more about Bethany Global University and pursue a degree as a missionary, click here.

Missionary Degrees Matter

Missionary degrees matter because they help us learn more about God and how to reach other people with the Gospel.

Even if you don’t pursue a degree in missions, God will still be with you and guide you to whatever training and preparation you may need. Jesus himself promised us that He would be with us wherever we go, even to the ends of the earth.

Because of this, we can be confident when we ask God to guide us that He will, and He will be with us every step of the way as the Holy Spirit helps us to become missionaries and spread the Gospel all across the globe.

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