Maybe unlike many missionaries, I think deputation is an unbelievable opportunity that Independent Baptist have. I think most bad attitudes about it come mainly from:
- those who don’t know how it works and/or have a lack of training.
- those that have pride issues and are unwilling to do something so humbling.
- those that are lazy and not worthy of support in the first place.
- those that have had a bad experience along the way.
- those that have convinced themselves that deputation is “broken.”
There may be reasonable objections to it, such as, the amount of time and money that it takes for a missionary to get to full support. But I think if you look at the big picture and weigh out the pros and the cons, it definitely leans towards the pros.
Deputation can be taxing on the family at times. Driving thousands of miles and spending endless hours on the phone may not seem like the most fun things in the world. But after finishing our deputation, I believe it is a tremendous blessing that many don’t get to participate in unless you are headed to the mission field.
Here are some of the pros or blessings of deputation:
Prayer Support – And I don’t mean this in a cliche way. I was humbled and still am by all the people who let us know that they are praying for us. People who I would of otherwise never met, except for traveling on deputation, are now interceding for my family. In church culture people always “say” they will be praying for you, but when you meet real prayer warriors your opinion changes, at least mine did.
Financial Support – Like all ministries, money is involved. Missions takes money. It is a heavy load for a church to fully support a missionary in most cases. A lot of churches struggle with supporting their pastor. Deputation is an opportunity for missionaries to receive support from multiple churches allowing them (the churches) to financially support a missionary by doing their part, whether big or small, they can be involved. We never charge for anything, but people want to support missions and this is a way for them to see your mission.
Preaching – If you like to preach then you will love deputation. I was able to preach in churches of all types and sizes. No only did this help my preaching ability but we saw the Lord use the messages in the lives of many. The Word is preached, people are helped, and God is glorified!
Fellowship – I love meeting other believers! All over the country we were able to meet believers who had the same love for the Savior that we have. There were many that we were able to fellowship with, worship with, and enjoy one another in the Lord. Memories and friends were made.
Partnership – Along the way, people that become familiar with our work chose to partner with us. They partnered through prayer, financial support, or just by staying in contact and encouraging us. It is a partnership that seems a little more personal than just feeling like a number.
Ministry – Deputation is sometimes referred to as pre-field ministry. And it very much is ministry if you go about it with the right heart and attitude. You can be a blessing to churches just as much as they can be a blessing to you. What a privilege we have to be doing the work of the ministry and be receiving by the work of the ministry.
After you wade through the politics and weed out all the crazy stories and experiences, deputation for a missionary really is a blessing.
Every day I am excited to wake up and do what I get to do. To me, deputation is fun and exciting.
Yesterday I think I talked to 5 different missionaries, and at some point they all shared their opinion of deputation. So, I thought I would share mine, except I woke up today and found that a very good friend of mine wrote it for me, so I am just going to quote it, because I agree whole-heartedly.