Deputation is not broken. It works. I know it works. God has used deputation to build our support in two years and one week. Deputation is the process of selecting missionaries who will be sent as their substitute or agent to preach the Gospel on the foreign field. It is the process in which independent Baptist Churches send missionaries to the nations around the world. To a family sent out from their church, it is the process in which they travel to like-minded churches to share what God has called them to do, to raise support in order to reach the people God has put on their heart. Deputation seems to be something of a sore subject for some. I have heard from some men who say things like, “Deputation is broken”, “Deputation doesn’t work”, or “There has to be a better way to get missionaries to the mission field.” I disagree with these statements. The truth is that deputation works as hard as the missionary does. I have a friend who is a missionary to Peru. He said the only people who complain about deputation are the ones who are not doing the work. Deputation not only works, it is also beneficial. Here are a few of the benefits I see in the deputation process that supports my proposal (deputation works).
- Deputation gets missionaries to the field. This is proven. We have Baptist missionaries in countries around the world that are proclaiming the Gospel, planting churches, and training men. Many of them got to the field through the deputation process.
- Deputation emphasizes the need around the world in local churches. There are churches in other denominations who do not have missionaries in. I have spoken to some Christians who say that they have never had a missionary in their church. They have never even seen a missionary before! This is tragic, because having missionaries in local churches allows followers of Jesus to see the need, it also gives them an opportunity to answer the missionaries plea, in helping get the Gospel to all people! I cannot state that only churches that have missionaries in on a regular basis send out their own missionaries, but I do believe a church that is consistently exposed to missionaries, world evangelism, and the need around the world as a whole and in specific places, will more likely see their own men called to the field.
- Deputation builds the missionary. On deputation, the missionary will be in some 250-300 churches. He and his family will see God move in wonderful ways. God’s moving and providing will build the missionary family’s faith. They will see God move in many churches. The missionary family will build up a network of praying brothers and sisters in Christ from churches around the country. The missionary will see God work in the hearts of believers who respond to God’s call to the mission field. This is no substitution for experience in serving in their own local church, but I do believe it helps the missionary family.
Please understand that I am not saying that deputation is the only way for missionaries to get to the mission field. I do believe deputation to be best way for missionaries to build their support and to effectively reach people, plant churches, and train men.
In the coming weeks, I will be posting on the subject of deputation. It is going to be a “How to” series. In the meantime, I recommend that you read “The Deputation Manual” by Austin Gardner and Tony Howeth. Here is a link.