“Life with God is an adventure, and do you trust Him enough to say 'Yes!' to that adventure?” When Jenna Montgomery heard a conference speaker say that, it was the final confirmation that she needed to step out. “God wanted me to use my professional skills to invest in something eternal,” she said in an interview with OM Journalist Nicky Andrews.
Nicky Andrews (NA): You left a permanent HR job in the UK to join OM in Spain, and you’re now their Personnel Officer. How did that come about?
Jenna Montgomery (JM): I received a final confirmation that I needed to use my skills for God abroad through a conference speaker in 2018. At the time I’d spent 10 years doing work in Human Resources (HR) for my local city council in Aberdeen and serving in my home church. I joined OM in Spain in January 2019 for a two year commitment, focusing on outreach and discipling. Then the director invited me to stay longer and become Personnel Officer. OM in Spain currently has around 18 workers so I’m able to do HR part time and continue serving in some of my previous ministries too. So I get to combine all my passions – meeting new people, sharing about Jesus, speaking Spanish, and Human Resources!
NA: Do you have a strong sense that God gives and uses our professional skills for His glory?
JM: Absolutely, I feel God gave me a heart for people and enables me to do HR well. Doing my previous job in the UK to the best of my ability, with God’s help, glorified Him. However, whilst you don’t have to go abroad to use your God-given skills, I can see how mine are making a difference to the OM team in Spain. The first thing was releasing the director from doing personnel duties herself – it’s an essential function but wasn’t her role. Now she can focus fully on her true gifting in leadership and that benefits everybody’s ministry.
NA: How do your professional skills contribute to the ministry of OM in Spain?
JM: In Aberdeen I’d been in a team of about 60 people supporting 7000 council staff, but the aims of HR are the same everywhere – right people, right place, right time! I hope my colleagues here feel well-supported, and in a good place to fulfil their potential. Providing an efficient HR function, and using ‘soft skills’ in interviewing and active listening, can make a big difference to someone’s experience of an organisation, especially in the process of joining and settling in to a new country, or needing some member care later. This applies whether people join us long term, or come on a short term mission. And it’s great to recruit and support Spaniards to serve the least-reached in Spain or other countries. The evangelical church here is small but it’s exciting to see people with a vision for sharing the gospel in and beyond Spain.
NA: What would you say to someone wondering if God can use their skills in missions?
JM: It’s wise to explore the future impact on your professional development, pensions etc. However in my own profession, I don’t foresee huge issues with those if I return to the UK. I’ve gained new transferable skills in Spain, such as living and working in a different language and culture, which I can bring to any future role. But there’s the bigger picture. So many people in the world have never heard the gospel. Telling them is the responsibility of all believers, you don’t need a special calling for that. But if you are abroad you need a network of people around you, doing finance, HR, IT etc. These professions help others to ‘go’, so you’re using your professional skills to invest in something eternal, and that’s exciting!