Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question to view the answer.  Click again to close.

What is the concept of 'second wind' all about?

Somewhere in their 40’s or 50’s many people begin to think about what they will do with the rest of their lives and decide that a change is needed – for many different reasons. Maybe their family responsibilities have changed and now they are free to do something they have always dreamed about or maybe they want a change from a career they have worked at for the first part of their adult lives. Often Christians want to be involved in some kind of ministry. They catch their “second wind” and want to do something more significant with the “second half” of their lives. They want to take the talents, skills and resources that God has entrusted them with and lay up treasure in heaven, by investing them directly in the kingdom of God.

You will also hear the following terms used in association with this concept: “second half”, “second career”, “finisher”, “prime timer” and “second wind”.

How old can I be? Am I too old?

While many people start exploring this option as they prepare for early retirement or a career change in their 50s, people in their early 40s make the switch as well. As long as one has good health and the ability to serve, older people also have served God in this form of ministry.

What can I do?

You can serve in short, medium or long term capacities – both in Australia and overseas. You can support from home or you can go. You can use skills honed over years of service in your church and employment or you can take on a completely new role. The main question that should be asked is “What needs to be done?” NOT “What can I do?” It’s amazing what people find they can do when they start thinking “outside the box”.  More …


With whom could I work? And where?

Mission agencies are one possibility and we specialize in helping you match up with them.
Missions have a great need for second wind people, both at home and overseas. While many vocational opportunities exist, the majority are in the support area rather than in the front lines of evangelism, church planting, or Bible translation. However, depending on your background, health, and skill set, sometimes you will match the opportunities that exist even in these areas. Many missions welcome people who can do specific jobs and are prepared to travel to help on the field for a specific time period or to help with a particular need or project – eg: guest home hosts, IT projects, agricultural or business consultation when setting up new projects, short term medical help, relief office admin, etc.

There are other options with NGOs and secular organisations or you could try tentmaking.

How long is a term of service with a mission agency?

You can go on a short term team to evaluate your readiness and the kind of situation in which you are interested. However, in general, a three-month stay is the shortest term that lets you have a meaningful experience and allows the destination organization to maximize your usefulness. As for length of stay, you can serve for as long as you are in good health and able to do a task that needs to be done.

What about the risks?

There are many dangerous and difficult places to live and serve in today’s world, so precautions are taken to ensure acceptable levels of risk and accessibility. This begins with screening candidates for good physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health.

Don’t let a “perceived” risk put you off – do the research and discuss everything thoroughly with any organization you make enquiries of. Often risks are not as great as they seem. Above all, most Christian agencies do continuous “acceptable risk” assessments and will help you put reliable support networks in place. If something should happen, they’ll arrange for your care, rehabilitation, and post-distress counselling. This is one good reason to go with an organisation with experience in the region you are interested in rather than going independently or with an inexperienced organisation.

As a precaution always ensure that you have appropriate travel and medical insurance which is designed for the circumstances of your trip. We recommend that you investigate the MissionCare package available through the Australian Evangelical Alliance Insurance division which was designed in consultation with Australian Mission agencies. Also check with the mission agency you are working with.)

What about finances?

Financial arrangements vary widely, but sources of support generally fall into one of five categories:

  • Some people have sufficient income to travel and support themselves.
  • Others may have some income from pensions or other sources, but not enough to sustain themselves independently. They will need to supplement their income with personal support.
  • A very few are able to earn an income from sending organizations to cover their expenses, but this is an exception. Most mission organizations do not pay a salary or cover expenses.
  • Some go as tentmakers and will earn a salary or income from a local business. Their work in their professions becomes the platform for their ministry.  For more information contact our partner, AZTEM, whose purpose is to encourage and help Christians to become effective tentmakers, providing resources and assistance. Read this article…
  • Many people develop their own financial support from their friends, family, and church connections because volunteer agencies and most mission organizations do not pay a salary or cover expenses.

How hard is it to raise financial support?

If you were brought up to be self-sufficient, raising funds for yourself may seem daunting. But you’d be surprised at the number of people who want to get involved in cross-cultural ministry as “senders.” Mission Agencies will give advice about and help with this.

Even if you are able to be completely self-supporting, many mission agencies require you to raise at least part of your financial support. Why? Because when you raise financial support you also raise prayer support.

There are several good Christian books available. See our resources page for some of these. However, beyond pointing you to the best resources, Second Wind cannot raise funds for you or your ministry.

What about prayer support?

Prayer support is absolutely essential for effective ministry. You will need a team of people committed to pray for you, whatever length of time you go for.

How do I investigate opportunities?

There are lots of opportunities listed by our Partners on our Top Needs page – check them out!

Register your profile with us. Read all about it before you fill in your information so you know what to expect.

Go to the list of our Partner Agencies, read their descriptions, and if you’re interested, follow the links to their websites or send them an email.

Attend a mission event and ask your questions.

Why should I involve my home church?

Most Christian agencies see themselves as facilitators and they regard the home church as the sending base for people in cross-cultural ministry. Most sending agencies require that you are a member in good standing with a local church and that they will work in partnership with your local church in some way. Your pastor needs to be included in your decision making process. Today also many opportunities exist within the framework of local churches themselves.

Is it preferable to go with a mission agency than on my own?

When it comes to serving overseas, many factors make association with a Christian team or mission agency advisable. An experienced organization with long term commitment will know the situation “on the ground” far better than anyone else and will have local contacts and understanding missing elsewhere. They will be able to help you avoid a lot of problems. Being part of a larger team gives you encouragement and perspective. An organization with experience overseas can help you prepare properly by guiding you through the visa application process, making sure you have proper medical coverage and understand life in the new country. If they have systems in place, you’ll find they can make it easier for you to maintain communication and accountability with supporters.

If you are serving in your own community or culture, the local church may well be the best “Christian agency”.

What special training will I need?

Training may vary widely among organizations, particularly if you’re planning to go overseas. Most organizations will discuss your background, ask about prior experience, and help prepare you adequately for the assignment you hope to do. Most require some kind of training eg TESOL, Bible College, in-house agency specific training, language, etc. It is unrealistic to expect that some training will not be required.

What's required to be accepted?

When it comes to placement, organizations will generally take many factors into consideration before they accept and assign you. They’ll look for personal and spiritual maturity, good health, a vocational match with their needs, cross-cultural sensitivity, flexibility, acceptance of their values and policies, and the ability to work under supervision. They’ll interview you, check references, and perhaps ask you to do some testing. They will want you to have financial, prayer, and church support.

Do you have any practical advice about preparing for a mission assignment?

Yes. We’re glad you asked!
For more information download this document Preparing for Mission.

What if I'm not from Australia?

It is often not possible for Australian mission agencies to facilitate people who wish to join them from outside Australia. Only the larger organizations have the capability to have someone contact you AND ONLY if they have a recruiting office in your country. Please, first consult your church and missions leaders in your country for opportunities that best fit you.
For more information see our Not from Australia? page.