Frequently Asked Questions?
Every mission organisation is different, and no one organisation is necessarily better than another. It’s more about finding an organisation that’s a good fit for you, where your calling and the organisation’s calling and values are a good match. AIM’s emphasis is on reaching those who have yet to hear the gospel, and all our ministry - long and short term - is designed to see Christ-centred churches among all African peoples. Regardless of how long you serve for and the different gifts, skills and experience you bring with you, your ministry will be part of that bigger goal. That may mean going to difficult or hard to reach places to share the gospel. Working in partnership with the local church in Africa, we labour for the over 300 million people living in Africa who have little opportunity to hear the gospel, and even less to be discipled as a follower of Jesus. Is God calling you to go to them?
Listen to Tim Matthews, one of our Mission Advisors, explaining why we’re passionate about reaching those who have yet to hear the gospel:
Absolutely! We love to talk to you if you are interested in serving in Africa, to help you access information, match your skills and interest to opportunities and encourage you as you journey into whatever God has for you. We'd love to support you in whatever ways possible so do get in touch!
It's really encouraging for us when people come with specific country or ministry interests - it shows that you are already aware of mission in Africa. That's great! We will talk to you, listen to your story and work with you and your church to discern how the Lord is leading you. Often it is a process and can take a while - but that's ok. We are not in a rush and would prefer to take a bit longer to ensure you go where God is leading you.
Listen to Paul, one of our current missionaries, sharing about why he went:
Currently we have around 250 open opportunities to serve in Africa, both in team settings and individual placements. You can find out more by visiting the ‘Get Involved’ section of our website, and searching by country or ministry areas.
Our priority is to go to those who are waiting to hear the gospel. Listen here for an example of a people group who are waiting to hear more about Jesus.
Where you will serve and what your ministry will be are often two of the biggest issues that people think about. We will work with you and your church to ascertain the direction the Lord is leading. At the same time, you need to carefully consider AIM as an organisation and whether you and your church would be happy to partner with us.
You must be a born-again Christian with an active and growing relationship with Jesus Christ and in agreement with AIM’s statement of faith; you must be at least 18 years of age; you must be able to legally work in the UK; you cannot have been divorced multiple times or within the last five years.
Listen to a retired missionary talking about the priority that prayer must play in a missionaries life:
The easiest way is to fill out the contact us form on our website. Once we receive that form, we’ll be in touch to arrange a time to discuss together how the Lord is leading you.
Yes. The Bible makes it clear that the church sends missionaries (e.g. Acts 13) and has an ongoing pastoral responsibility for them. As much as AIM is a key partner in the process and facilitates ministry in Africa, we will not accept into membership anyone who does not have a positive recommendation and support from their church. AIM will discuss your application with your church leaders – after all they know you better than we do – as together we seek to discern that this is God’s calling for you.
Listen to Tim Matthews, one of our Mission Advisors, talking about the churches role in sending missionaries:
A number of pastors also share their thoughts in these clips:
AIM’s policy is to appoint both spouses as a couple for service in Africa.
No. We have a strict relationship policy that means we don’t allow boyfriends and girlfriends to go on the same placement together. This is mainly due to cultural differences on how relationships are viewed in Africa. If you would like to know more as to why this is the case then please contact us.
That depends upon your profession and where you go. If there is a need and it is appropriate then the likelihood is yes. If your professional skills are not needed or appropriate then that is not to say that you are not needed, as we would hope that you’d still have skills that are transferable.
Listen to a doctor talking about how healthcare compliments the gospel:
A teacher sharing why their role is vital:
And a pilot talking about using their talents:
We ask that all of our applicants undergo a health clearance by an external company recommended by AIM. We ask this because, although we do not anticipate there being any problems, we do not want to put your health at risk. Our health clearance providers will send an email to you once you are provisionally accepted and your full acceptance will be contingent upon a health clearance.
We ensure that all individuals are insured before they leave for Africa. This insurance covers all things from accidents to injuries, to medical evacuations and war. AIM also has a Crisis Consultant who ensures that there are contingency plans in place in the unlikely event that a crisis does evolve in your location.
However, while we take our duty of care seriously, we are also aware that living and working in Africa, especially in remote and difficult places, comes with considerable risk. AIM recognises the Christlike characteristics of service, suffering and sacrifice. There will be times when, in serving the Lord, we must be prepared for difficult and painful situations.
Different countries in Africa require different injections. Some injections will be advised rather than required, so our advice is always to contact your local doctor's surgery to find out what injections you will need. You can do your own research on the internet to get a feel for what’s best (traveldoctor.co.uk, travelhealthpro.org.uk), but please always seek professional advice.
Yes, you must be a born-again Christian with an active and growing relationship with Jesus Christ and agree with AIM's statement of faith. AIM is an evangelical Christian mission agency. We work in partnership with the African church to reach Africa's unreached peoples with the good news of Jesus Christ, and to develop leaders for the fast-growing church.
Short Term FAQs
If you are 18 or above then you can serve as a short term missionary. You will need to sign AIM’s statement of faith, pass standard health checks and have no previous criminal convictions.
In most cases, as a short term missionary, you will receive both a European based orientation before departure as well as a country-specific orientation upon arrival in the country of service.
During this orientation, you will cover topics like AIM’s history and vision, the culture and worldview of where you are going, health, safety, maintaining spiritual vitality while serving, communication, and travel.
The orientation in Africa at the start of your assignment will range in length from 1-5 days depending on your assignment type. It generally includes a mini language acquisition course called LAMP-lite. This field-based orientation will also equip you in practical matters such as navigating public transportation, cultural sensitivity, setting up housekeeping, operating in a new currency, AIM policies in the specific country, as well as safety plans.
Team assignments generally last between one and three months, whereas individual placements last from three months to one year.
The main qualification that we seek is that you are a dedicated follower of Jesus Christ, know him as your Lord and Saviour, and are proactive in sharing your faith with others.
Yes. Whether you go on a team assignment with other short termers, or an individual assignment, you will be part of a team once out on the field. Both teams and individuals will be placed within teams of long term workers and you will be a part of supporting their ongoing ministries.
Listen to one of our missionaries sharing about being a part of a team:
Yes. We do offer opportunities for church and college teams to go out to Africa. Numbers and locations for teams can be wide ranging, so talk to us to find out more!
Usually we will only facilitate opportunities for someone to repeatedly go on short term placements if there is a genuine desire to serve long term and the repeated placements are seen as preparation for longer term service. However there are some specialist opportunities that would be suitable for someone to go and serve in more regularly. Please get in touch to find out more.
The approximate cost of a placement is £600-£1,800 for 1-4 weeks, £3,000 for 3 months, £4,500 for 6 months, and £7,000 for 12 months (though this will vary depending on the country and type of placement).
Don’t forget to ask your church about ways they can help you to raise support. You can also earn the money, apply for grants, organise a sponsored event or hold an information evening about what you will be involved in. Further guidance on raising support will be given once you have been accepted onto the short term programme.
The short term application process normally takes six months.
Normally we have worked with you to find a suitable placement before you are accepted as a member. So once you are accepted, we can get to work on the practical and administrative tasks of your placement. This will involve looking at flights, insurance, visas, budgets, invoices, health checks, background checks and orientation. We try to make things easier for you, and ensure that you are as prepared as you can be to go to Africa.
It is highly recommended that you present yourself as neat and tidy as possible at all times, whether working or relaxing. Remember, in general, Africans are typically more conservative and modest than we are. So sorry - no bikinis! When you become a member, either short or long term, we’ll give you a more detailed packing list.
It depends on your placement and country - it may be very basic or have all modern amenities. We will ensure that your accommodation will be secure. It will either be living with a local family, a missionary family or in your own accommodation - sometimes with another short termer.
It will depend on how urban your placement is as to whether you are able to access Wi-Fi or not. Many African cities do have the capacity for Wi-Fi, but outside of big cities you can often access the internet through your mobile phone network.
The chances are that yes, you will be able to speak to friends and family in one form or another. This may be on the phone or via What’s App, text or Skype, but the likelihood is that there will be some form of communication that you will be able to use.
Despite what many people think, and what the media portrays, the chances of ever seeing a snake whilst in Africa is surprisingly rare. However, if you are in a very rural situation then there might be slightly more of a chance of seeing one.
Yes! We have a programme called TIMO Quest. You will spend 30 days living and serving among an unreached people group while being mentored by long term AIM missionaries. Language-learning, simple living, cultural relevance, relationship-building, and discussions about missional topics are all emphasised. You can participate in a TIMO Quest on your own or as a married couple. Please get in touch to find out when the next TIMO Quest team will be running.
Long Term FAQs
The main qualification that we seek is that you are a dedicated follower of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour and that you desire to share your faith and are proactive in doing so. We do have a minimum standard of biblical competency and, alongside your church, we will assist you in training where it is needed. Where formal and professional qualifications are concerned, this will vary from assignment to assignment and country to country. Many countries in Africa today require a university degree, or equivalent, for the purposes of obtaining a work permit.
On almost every assignment you will need to learn another language and sometimes we recommend some language training before you leave. We recognise the value of building relationships and making disciples by communicating with people in their own language. This is especially true for those applying long term. Language learning is part of the TIMO programme, and when necessary, language school (in the UK, Africa, or elsewhere) is an option. In some positions and areas English might be enough to get by, but we strongly emphasise local language learning as a way to engage and reach local people with the gospel.
The long term application process normally takes between six to twelve months, with at least another six months following acceptance into AIM to raise support before going out to the field.
Our aim is to be thorough and diligent and we want to make sure, so far as we are able, that our missionaries are of a suitable calibre, have an assignment which is appropriate to their skills and giftings, and that they are adequately trained and equipped in order to be able to thrive and be effective in the ministry that they are called to.
Listen to missionaries talking about their preparation:
We will work with you and your sending church to identify an assignment for you. We’ll then work with you to prepare a budget and assist with prayer and financial support raising, as well as provide orientation and equip you, and your children if you have any, for life and ministry in Africa.
Costs vary from country to country and depending on your personal circumstances. The costs of living across the continent vary greatly, and of course the variables of family size and age of children and their education needs will have an effect too.
One of our retired missionaries, Peter Maclure, shares about counting the cost:
We believe that God will provide for those he is leading into cross-cultural mission with AIM. The first step is to be praying, and to share your needs with your church and supporters, so that they can be praying with you that your needs would be met. Once your assignment is agreed and confirmed, a detailed budget is prepared for you which outlines the overall amount needed to be raised or pledged for your first term (2-3 years depending on location). You will need to have 100% of this amount pledged before you can travel.
The budget is shared with your sending church and we will work with you and your church to help you think about this further. Our European Based Orientation programme provides some training on partnership development, and we will provide other resources for you to share with potential supporters too, such as a prayer card, a page on our website with an online giving form and a standing order form (if needed).
Listen to a pastor talking about offering support:
AIM’s priority is to reach the unreached. Many unreached peoples are unreached because they live in places that are difficult, and therefore expensive, to get to. But your costs are more than a salary. When we prepare a budget for you, we try and anticipate every possible cost. We include allowances for each member of the family, travel and insurance costs, pension and national insurance contributions, the purchase and running costs of a vehicle (if needed in your location), medical and work-related expenses, as well as some contribution to administration and oversight costs in the UK and to our International Office and, a contribution to the costs of providing housing in Africa.
Yes, TIMO is open to singles, couples and families.
We’ll work with you to explore the best education options available for your children. Some families homeschool their children, some enrol their children at one of AIM’s schools as boarders or day students (Rift Valley Academy in Kenya, Wellspring Academy in Chad or Haven of Peace Academy in Tanzania), and some enrol their children in a national school.
Hannah who now works at Wellspring Academy talks about the role of missionary teachers:
In most cases, short term and long term missionaries receive both a European Based Orientation prior to departure as well as a country-specific orientation immediately upon arrival in the country of service.
Our approach to mission though is all about learning. We seek to learn about local culture and language to be effective in sharing the gospel. Different team programmes cover different levels of training through the ministry period, with TIMO (Training in Ministry Outreach) teams offering the most comprehensive curriculum.