Since the organization that I went with is distinctively missional, I cannot give specific details about it here. The prohibition by many local governments against evangelism makes it difficult for sending agencies to be transparent about what they do (which creates an ethical dilemma for many cross-cultural workers). However, if you want to find a sending agency and you Google “Teach overseas” (or “teach English overseas” if English is your field) your surfing will be off to a busy beginning. And if you do it prayerfully, persistently, and critically, you can probably find an organization that will suit you well. Many teachers choose to go without an organization (as my husband and I did when we moved to the Middle East). There are advantages to both the freedom and independence of being without an agency and the support, encouragement, and help of a good sending team.
Some of the top, teacher-sending agencies (some of which have no religious or faith affiliation) include:
- Teach Beyond
- The Peace Corps
- The Council on International Education Exchange
- English Language Institute
- Christian TEFL
- English First
It will help if you look carefully into the beliefs, values, and expectations of any organization you consider. You might want to ask:
- What motivates this organization? (Do they work to spread the Gospel? Are they primarily peace-makers? Do they see English teaching as social work? Do they want to increase mobility for national students? Do they want to give US college graduates an overseas adventure? What is their primary mission?)
- How does the agency present itself?
- How is this organization funded? (Through a government? Which one(s)? By donations? From whom? Are they financially self-sustaining? How so?)
- How does this organization spend its money? (On training and development? On advertising and promotion? On local teachers?)
- What does this organization provide to its associates? (Professional development? Contract negotiation/job placement? Transportation? Team support? International Health insurance? Spiritual support?)
- What will the organization expect me to bring to it?
- Can I find any personal testimonies about this organization?
The primary mission of an agency will permeate your contact with that agency; it helps if your own goals, expectations, and allegiances align with theirs.
If you are considering going overseas to teach (or to engage in other missional activity), be sure you are closely supported by and connected to your local church. I highly recommend the book Friend Raising by Betty Barnett.