Preparing for the Field: Deputation, What is it?

Whatever you are going to attempt to do for Jesus, you should be prepared, or at least as prepared as you possibly can be. Being a missionary isn’t just a “go forward at the altar call and surrender to be a missionary” and jump on a plane. Preparation is very necessary. This post is about raising funds to minister on the mission field. That process is called “deputation”. I can remember missionaries coming to our church for years. They would come through, share there burden and plan, and sometimes preach. We would have a mission conference, something I also did not know anything about. These would include several missionaries over a 3-4 day conference. What I did not know then was that they were on deputation. 

I used to think that there must be a better way. I had a friend (who is not a missionary) tell me that deputation is “broken”. I guess I thought the same thing. That being said, I was very hesitant before we started deputation. I was wrong. Here are some things to consider about deputation…

  • Deputation is not broken. Deputation is the best way for missionaries to raise funds for ministering on the mission field. 
  • Deputation is work. Deputation is thousands and thousands of calls
  • Deputation is driving thousands and thousands of miles. 
  • Deputation is late night drive-thru’s and driving through the night to be able to sleep in your own bed. 
  • Deputation is attending hundreds of churches. 
  • Deputation is staying in prophet chambers and hotels across the country.
  • Deputation is leaving voicemail, after voicemail, after voicemail.
  • Deputation is prayer cards, missionary display boards, mission packets, and postcards. 
  • Deputation is making more calls.
  • Deputation is sending weekly updates to all who are interested. 
  • Deputation is your kids asking when they will sleep in their own bed again.
  • Deputation is having the opportunity to meet some of the most wonderful people in the world (and perhaps a few strange ones as well). 
  • Deputation is stepping out by faith and believing God and seeing God bless and take care of you and your family.
  • Deputation is seeing different parts of the country.
  • Deputation is going into cities and towns you that you did not know ever existed. 
  • Deputation is eating amazing food…and unfortunately gaining weight, a lot of weight!
  • Deputation is oil changes, tire replacements, and car repairs. 
  • Deputation is making friends all over the States. 
  • Deputation is setting a departure date, not knowing if you will have raised enough support but trusting God through it and watching Him show Himself strong!
  • Deputation is making more calls. 
  • Deputation is learning that your support comes from God and not just from churches.
  • Deputation is believing God.
  • Deputation is preaching, teaching, and sharing the desire that God has placed in your heart. 
  • Deputation is sitting in a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts for hours in between Sunday morning and Sunday evening services. 
  • Deputation is sad goodbyes at the end of each service. This was also hard for our kids as they made friends across the country and had to say goodbye way too soon. 
  • Deputation is hours and hours in the car. 
  • Deputation is way too much coffee (especially on those “drive through the night to get home” trips). 
  • Deputation is some of the greatest memories of your life!
  • Deputation is watching God use you in the lives of others. 
  • Deputation is raising support and ends in leaving for the field.

A few more thoughts on deputation. I remember talking to missionaries before we ever started deputation. Some were positive and some were negative, one couple (who are no longer missionaries) looked at it as a necessary evil. That being so, we loved deputation. There were hard times, but the good times outweighed the hard times. My children to this day talk about deputation with fondness. They loved it! We still talk about the people, the cities and towns, the sites, the food, the special fellowships, the prophets chambers, and the things God did in our lives. It doesn’t have to be a dread. It does have to be work. Deputation is not broken, nor is it a “necessary evil”. It works and it is an amazing opportunity to build the missionary and his family. How to do deputation is another topic, one that will be addressed very soon.

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