Mission Year Frequently Asked Questions
- Heart for UCO Mission:
- A desire to support and live out UCO’s mission, core values, and four charisms (discipleship, charismatic renewal, community and ecumenism).
- Strive to uphold UCO’s mission of being a community of disciples on mission on college campuses.
- Relational Evangelist:
- Develop relationships to lead others into maturity of faith.
- Team Player:
- Cooperate with co-workers to effectively achieve the goals of the staff team.
- Be willing to receive feedback and be teachable. Perform well under supervision.
- Proactive and Flexible:
- Puts effort into adapting to changing priorities, producing quality work with limited resources and time restraints, handling frequent interruptions, working on multiple tasks, etc.
- Can work independently, practice good judgment, and give attention to detail.
- Diligent and reliable.
- Willing to try new things.
- Prioritize work based on importance and urgency.
- Has a desire to be a radical disciple of Jesus who’s rooted in daily prayer and scripture
- Has a heart for evangelism
- Desires to be a bold witness led by the Holy Spirit, and ready to share his/her faith with friends and strangers.
- Joyful servant leader who’s filled with the Holy Spirit and willing to do whatever it takes to bring the Gospel to college students.
- Community builder: foster men’s and women’s environments that are rooted in God’s love.
- Guide others toward deep, sincere, trusting relationships with Christ.
Completed an associates degree at minimum, but preference is given to candidates with a bachelor’s degree. Experience as a student in UCO is desirable, but not required.
While most of our staff team has been a part of our UCO chapters around the country and world, there are some who have not. New members to the UCO staff team bring fresh perspectives and exciting ideas to the table. If you’re new to UCO, we do our part to ensure you receive instruction, training, and an introduction to our community-oriented way of life.
Yes, UCO asks all first-year Mission Leaders who are not married to participate in a yearlong dating fast. The primary reason for this dating fast is based on the all-consuming relational nature of mission work with college students.
The dating fast for first year Mission Leaders means…
- If you’re single (not married) and not in a relationship, UCO asks that you refrain from any romantic pursuits for the duration of your first year on staff. It’s strongly recommended that Mission Year applicants wait to pursue any romantic relationships until they’ve received an acceptance decision.
- If you’re single (not married) and in a romantic relationship, UCO asks that you take a significant step back from pursuing that relationship during your first year on staff. This doesn’t necessarily mean ending the relationship (though it might), but your missionary work with UCO should be the priority for the first year. You and your supervisor will talk to make sure you have good balance between your relationship and your UCO work.
Dating fasts or stepping back from an existing relationship can be quite challenging for many people. It requires honesty, accountability and support, but the Lord blesses such full devotion to the service of Him and building His kingdom.
No, you don’t need to be extroverted to do a UCO Mission Year. There’re many people currently on staff who are dominantly introverted, which just requires them to find spaces to reenergize after long spurts of social interactions. First and foremost, the job a Mission Leader is relational. This requires staffers to be conversationalists, initiate relationships and social events, interact with strangers, frequently speak in front of large groups, and take the lead in facilitating energetic group environments.
At times this relational load can be overwhelming for people who lean more towards introversion, but it’s doesn’t mean introverts are unfit for the job. If you’re an introvert, you’ll need to be willing to extend yourself and get outside of your comfort zone for the sake of mission, relationships and evangelism. You’d also need to actively find time and space to recharge from this highly social lifestyle.
A full-time Mission Leader would have a hard time balancing UCO mission work with school or a part-time job. However, part-time Mission Leader positions are available; these positions require the staffer to have a non-UCO part-time job or to purse a graduate degree.
If there is a part-time Mission Leader position available in one of our chapters, and if you’re a good fit for that chapter, then a position as a part-time Mission Leader is possible. However, these positions are limited, especially for first-year staff. Being full-time for the first year of staff work is encouraged.
On average, Mission Leaders serve for two years, but others go on to do five or more years. Some even choose to serving with UCO as a long-term career. The Mission Year commitment is for one year of service (from August 1 to July 31).
The Mission Year program is a commitment to spend the summer doing personal support raising (PSR). PSR should take precedence over a summer job, internship or service opportunity. Mission Leaders should strive to be 100% supported before the official start of the staff year on August 1, so they should treat PSR as a full-time or part-time job (depending on how much they need to raise).
How God Guides Us (Excerpts from Brian Laba’s talk on discernment)
We know His Voice:
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me – John 10:27 RSVA
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10 RSVA
We are not alone, God can and will guide us.
What are the ways that God uses to guide us?:
1. The Word of God
All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness – 2 Timothy 3:16 RSVA
In some ways this is the primary or most important way that God uses to guide us.
To grow we need to search the word, study the word, dwell in the word. When our lives are formed by the scripture many of the decisions we face are much simplified – the bible speaks directly about how we should live, priorities, approaching relationships, basic morality. I don’t have to decide whether I should steal (even for a very good reason). It can also help guide our steps (example of Kramer’s inspiration from 1 Cor 6 verse)
2. The Work of the Holy Spirit
And when they had come opposite My’sia, they attempted to go into Bithyn’ia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them – Acts 16:7 RSVA
Previous to this verse we see Paul forbidden to enter Asia, and immediately following the dream with a man from Macedonia which he interprets as the Lord’s direction to go and preach there. Its not clear exactly how the spirit accomplished this guidance (was it a strong sense, circumstances, or a supernatural direction) but its clear that the Spirit was doing the guiding.
When we yield our lives to Christ this exciting possibility of being directed by the spirit is opened up. We need to grow in confidence and sensitivity to this. Sometimes this is very dramatic. More often its more subtle, the Spirit regularly will prompt us, encourage us, and steer us, but if we rely on the dramatic we’ll miss much of what’s available.
This is not a trump card, but unfortunately its easy to yield to the temptation to use it as such, to be able to speak the right holy things about how God is guiding us to simply justify what we want to do
Prayer is the main way this comes, and we really need to listen – it’s a two way communication. We don’t want to negotiate with God, but we want to yield to his will.
3. Common Sense
I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not keep with you. – Psalms 32:8-9 RSV
This is practical, but also spiritual wisdom that we’re talking about. In some ways this is the antidote to and hedge against a super spiritualism that can be a problem for us charismatics. We should simply do the thing that we know is right and don’t always need spiritual confirmation for everything – I don’t ask the Lord if I should put on pants in the morning. John’s story of the brother in the Philippine’s who needed to take care of his family, and other choices needed to yield to that is an example of this wisdom at work.
This means being actively received would save much grief. This can also help us more clearly define whether I’m in a place/ready to make a particular decision.
Common sense should help us understand ourselves better, and learn for instance that I do much better with good consistent sleep, and therefore should only compromise that for a good and compelling reason (not because I really want to watch the movie the guys are pulling out).
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. – Proverbs 12:15 RSVA
Also Pr 15:22 “plans fail for lack of counsel but with many advisors they succeed” and 20:18 “make plans by seeking advice.”
Look at story of Rehoboam in 1 Kings 12. Its always possible to find someone to tell us what we want to hear, the difficult thing is to find trustworthy counsel that can help us hear what God wants to say to us.
The final responsibility is always ours – counsel is not doing what someone wants, but rather listening to wisdom and advice and deciding for ourselves. This takes real humility to do well to recognize someone elses wisdom, but there’s great strength when we do.
We can both get counsel on specific decisions, but also more broadly “What do you see in me?” “What can I learn from you?” Personally it was counsel that was the leading prompter in several of the midterm decisions I’ve made.
A man’s mind plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps. – Proverbs 16:9 RSVA
We believe that God is in control, and in his sovereignty and power arranges the circumstances of our lives. The subtle part is that we don’t know the reason for any particular circumstances. For instance is the obstacle we experience because God is teaching us and calling us to perseverance, or is it because he has another path for us. We need other means to truly understand how God’s hand is at work through various circumstances.
God is at Work:
We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28 RSVA
In this verse we see an immense and significant encouragement and comfort. God is at work. We also see a response demanded. God can do this for those who love him (because those who don’t put themselves by their free choice outside of his offered grace). Love is active, not a feeling, but and act of the will.
When we pursue this path of love we actually have a greater freedom, we don’t need to worry so much about wrong decisions, because we can trust that when we make a decision as a deliberate expression of love for God and increasing his glory he will bring about good from it.
Mission Leaders serve as Christ’s hands and feet on college campuses across North America. They reach out to students on campus at random or in connection with a student already in UCO. Mission Leaders need to initiative in forming strong, trusting relationships with the students in their UCO chapter. These relationships are the foundation of the work of a Mission Leader, since the goal is to support students in their journey to mature discipleship.
There are five key areas of UCO staff work: a) building relationships with students and pursuing opportunities for relational evangelism, b) planning outreach and social events, c) maintaining your Support Team (individuals who’re funding your mission work), and d) participating in the Sword of the Spirit community that supports your UCO chapter, attending Staff Training days, and staying in frequent and honest communication with your supervisor.
Each new day holds an array of possibilities, so there isn’t a set day-to-day routine for our Mission Leaders. Outside of your chapter’s weekly/monthly events and meetings, Mission Leaders are expected to craft their schedule according to their job description. Each Mission Leader is given an individualized job description, which is written with his/her supervisor and can be adjusted throughout the year.
Major responsibilities include meeting up with students for one-on-one pastoral care, leading a men’s or women’s group, leading or supervising a household, giving a talk, executing a major event, planning a retreat, participating in staff meetings and supervision meetings, and maintaining PSR donor relationships, among many other possible tasks.
Yes! If you’re asked to lead a UCO Household or Summer Household, we will give you training and support to help you have a great experience!
We’ve each been created with unique talents and abilities, and the Lord desires us to use those talents for his glory. As UCO discerns chapter placements during the hiring process, they assess the specific needs of UCO chapters. This assessment is meant to accurately match up the potential Mission Leaders with chapters that will stretch them and utilize their talents and abilities.
Each day is different from chapter to chapter and from Mission Leader to Mission Leader. Here’s an example of a typical Tuesday from a first year Mission Leader (not leading a household):
- 8am – wake up and conquer the world with cup of water and get ready for the day
- 8:30am – spend time with the Lord in personal prayer time. Spend time in the Word, prayer, meditation, and intercessions for the mission
- 9:30am – make your way to campus for coffee meeting with new student in UCO
- 11am – walk to UCO office for a staff meeting with other UCO Mission Leaders and Directors
- 1230pm – grab lunch with a student in my men’s/women’s group
- 1pm – meet with group of UCO students spearheading initiative for regular service projects
- 2pm – respond to emails and plan for upcoming UCO event
- 4pm – play 5 on 5 basketball with students at the university recreation building
- 6pm – take time to relax and read
- 7pm – dinner with housemates
- 8pm – attend prayer meeting and worship the Lord with brothers and sisters!
- 10pm – time of fellowship with students after the prayer meeting
- 11pm – end of the day
Each day is different from chapter to chapter and from Mission Leader to Mission Leader. Here’s an example of a typical Tuesday from a Mission Leader in who’s leading a Women’s Household:
- 5:30 a.m. Wake up and consecrate the day to Jesus Christ. Caffeinate.
- 5:55 a.m. Make sure everyone’s awake and sufficiently alert for morning prayer.
- 5:59 a.m. No, really, ladies. You have one minute to get to the living room.
- 6 a.m. Give the Lord the glory and honor he is due. Worship. Lift up intercessions for our household, UCO chapter, city and world.
- 6:30 a.m. Personal prayer time.
- 7 or 7:30 a.m. Workout.
- 8:30 a.m. Go grocery shopping for this week’s food.
- 9:30 a.m. Balance the household budget.
- 10:30 a.m. Meet up with a woman in UCO for coffee. Do more listening than talking. Show her Christ’s love. Ask how I can be praying for her.
- 11:45 a.m. Take notes about the one-on-one I just had so I can remember important information next time I see her. Actually remember to keep her in my prayers.
- 12 p.m. Eat lunch at home. Chat it up with whoever else is home.
- 1 p.m. Walk to the office. Plan the practical details for an upcoming UCO women’s event.
- 2 p.m. UCO staff meeting with all the Mission Leaders and Mission Directors in my chapter.
- 4 p.m. Write an agenda for the women’s group I lead every other week. Come up with discussion questions incase conversation is lacking this week. Send a reminder email to the women detailing the time, location, and basic agenda for our meeting later this week.
- 5:30 p.m. Take a walk. Relax. Recharge.
- 6:30 p.m. Dinner with my household. Hear about everyone’s day. Three of us help do the dishes when we’re done eating.
- 7:30 p.m. Women’s Group that I’m a participant of with women from the Sword of the Spirit Community that supports the UCO chapter I serve with.
- 9:30 p.m. Thank God for the day and all that came with it. Go to sleep.
The year is roughly modeled after the American school year. Summer is time for training and personal support raising. Check out our PSR Info page to learn more about UCO’s approach to personal support raising. Fall semester is a time to be sent out to campus and reach new students. Winter semester is continual investment towards evangelism and discipleship of students in our community.
Yes and no, to both those questions. You’re certainly not left to fend for yourself. Staff teams attend regular meetings to plans events, discuss how things are going, pray for students and outreach opportunities, etc. Many responsibilities a Mission Leader has require independent work, but they are just as much part of a team. Mission Leaders are just as much working with staffers from their own chapter as well as with staffers from other chapters. The team unity is strengthen through regional staff training days throughout the year and collaboration on major retreats and events.
Yes, UCO has a need for people who have unique gifts and talents. There are opportunities to work or volunteer for UCO as part-time or full-time in different capacities from graphic design to administrative to fundraising. Please fill out the Mission Year Application and contact Clara Schwartz (firstname.lastname@example.org) to indicate your interest in non-mission leader positions.
UCO does not offer benefits such as health insurance to Mission Leaders.
Please complete the Mission Year Initial Questionnaire by February 8. After your questionnaire is reviewed you will receive an application for the Mission Year program.
February 15, 2015
See “Mission Year Application Process” for a detailed overview of the UCO hiring process.
Yes, anyone is welcome to apply.
You will receive a salary based on what you fundraise for UCO from your friends, family and other contacts. This amount will also depend on whether you’re a part- or full-time staffer.
Each UCO chapter has different requirements about how much staffers can be paid, and the staffer will set their fundraising goal in proportion with those requirements. Typically staffers are paid an amount equal to what they fundraise minus a small percentage retained by UCO to cover administrative processing costs and program fees. Full-time salary for a first year Mission Year Staff is about $22,943, which is subject to cost of living adjustments.
There are UCO Chapters of various sizes and unique characteristics across North America. Any of the major UCO chapters (Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Maryland, Vancouver, or Jacksonville) are placement possibilities.
Possibly, but it depends on the needs of the local chapter and on what the Placement Team thinks would be the best fit for you.
We ask that you keep an open mind to serving as a Mission Leader in whichever chapter you’re placed in – even if it’s not a place you expected to or wanted to serve in. The Placement Team is consists of wise individuals who’re filled with the Holy Spirit and attentive to God’s will for the direction of UCO in the coming year. Much discernment, thought, and discussion goes into the placement process.
Mission Leaders are given several options for living arrangements. However, some chapters offer fewer options based on what’s available. Some of the living options include staying with a family in the Sword of the Spirit Community that supports your UCO, living in and/or leading a Household, finding your own living accommodations, and, for men only, living with the Servants of the Word. The available living options depend on what’s available in the area you’re living.
Mission Leaders are required to make some form of commitment to a Sword of the Spirit community and they must attend a Formation course during their year of service. The level of commitment can be as temporary as a UCO Affiliate commitment or as permanent as a Lifelong commitment. Either way, Mission Leaders are asked to be open to regularly attending and participating in the events of the Community that supports their UCO chapter.
If PSR is the only thing holding you back from considering a UCO Mission Year (or any other mission work, for that matter), don’t let it scare you. The Lord equips those whom are serving his Kingdom. The training that all our Mission Leaders receive is based on a book called The God Ask by Steve Shadrach. This training is rooted in biblical principals and reasons for personal support raising for missionaries.
Those who work for a company deserve to be paid. Likewise, Those who work for Jesus Christ are just as worthy of their wages. Jesus actually taught his disciples to rely on the generosity of others for their needs. They would go from city to city preaching the gospel, and then go from house to house seeking food, shelter, clothing, and whatever else they needed. Luke 10:5-7 says, “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages.” Support raising has revolutionized the faith of many missionaries, leading them to put their trust in the Lord in a more vulnerable and complete way than ever before. Last year in UCO, there were Mission Leaders who initially thought they were too timid or lacking a large enough social network who reached their PSR goal before the end of the summer.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
Full-time, first year Mission Leaders are asked to raise about $23,000. This number varies depending on the cost of living for the city in which the Mission Leader will be living.
A steering committee looks through all the Mission Year applications and takes time to discern which chapter each candidate should serve with. This committee seeks wisdom from the Lord, assess how the candidate would fulfill the needs of specific chapters, and discusses where they believe the candidate would most grow and thrive. This process is done with much care, discernment, thought and discussion.