Missions 101: Part 2 – How does a missionary raise support and get to the field that he believes God has directed him to?
First, we need to understand that where God guides, He provides.
God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s support. When God told Noah to build an ark, he provided for him to build it. When God told Moses to build a tabernacle, he provided everything and more than they needed for the tabernacle (Exodus 36:6-7). When God told Solomon to build the temple, he had already provided much of what he would need through the diligent preparation of David. When God told the disciples go to out, he told them that God would provide for their support (Acts 10:5-10)
Paul taught that a man does not go to warfare at his own expense and neither should a preacher be expected to pay his own way, though he should be willing to work if necessary and never be greedy of money (1 Corinthians 9:6-11) God enabled Paul to do all things and he was content, but the church at Philippi did well in how they were used by God to help him (Philippians 4:10-20) The Philippian Christians were great givers because they loved the Lord and wanted to be involved (2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
Second, all through the Bible, we see the principles of goers and senders.
When Ezra went back to rebuilt the temple, some went and some sent (Ezra 1:3-4). When David and the men went after the Amalekites and some of the men could not go on, the men who stayed with the stuff and the men who pursued on all got the same portion (1 Samuel 30:21-25). When Paul and Barnabas were sent out, the church sent them out and they came back and gave a report (Acts 14:27).
Third, the most common way that missionaries get to the field is through the deputation process.
What is deputation?
- The dictionary defines it as: “the process of being appointed as one’s substitute or agent.”
- To independent Baptist churches, deputation is the process of selecting missionaries who will be sent as their “substitutes or agents” to preach the gospel on the foreign field.
- During the deputation process, each autonomous local church will decide which missionary it wishes to send as its representative to reach the world with the gospel. For most missionaries, the total amount of their personal and ministry support will come from the giving of local churches.
What is involved in deputation?
- Must gather certain materials to help him – prayer card, display, brochure, etc.
- Make thousands of phone calls – talk to 1000 pastors to get 300-350 meetings to get 100 supporters.
- Drive 100,000 to 130,000 miles over the course of about 2 years if he has 13 meetings per month.
- Be on the phone 8 hours per day, getting maybe 3 meetings per day on average, so will call for 100 8-hour days.
What are the advantages of deputation?
- Raising prayer support
- Raising awareness of the need for missionaries.
- Raising awareness of the respective field you’re going to.
- Meeting people that you can impact in the future for missions.
- Meeting other missionaries and reaping from their experiences.
- Seeing churches and getting a wider perspective of administration, etc.
- Learning from pastors as well as encourage pastors
- Teaching your kids how to worship, minister and relate with strangers.
- Ministering possibilities (I preached 3 non-missions revivals on deputation.)
- Learning to live by faith and trust God
- Weaning your family off of the normal life and normal schedule
- Building a base of supporters for future needs
- Meeting some of the most precious people that become lifelong friends.
- Time to mature as a person (many missionaries are in their 20’s)
- Time to develop as a preacher (fresh out of Bible college with no experience)
- Time for the family to be drawn closer and learn to exist alone.
- Opportunities for the children to see God work in personal way.
- Deputation will many times weed out those that are not called or committed.
- The length of deputation will reflect that missionaries drive, zeal and ambition.
- Deputation time will heighten the desire to get there and get busy.
- Gives a missionary time to decide just where and how he’s going to work.