Deputation really works. As a missionary friend said, “Deputation works as hard as the missionary works.” I agree with that statement. Deputation is not broken, but it does take a lot of work. What does this work entail? Making calls…all day…every day! Well, maybe not every day, you get to be in church on Sundays, but you can call between services.
I know it is monotonous, but it is absolutely necessary. Churches will normally not partner with a missionary if they don’t have them in, and they normally don’t have missionaries in if they have not ever heard of them. Therefore a missionary must call church, after church, after church, after church. Call for 10-12 hours a day (Sundays won’t be 10 hour call days). Call every like-minded church you can find. You must take good records (this deserves more attention, but it will have to be another post). Call the churches that you may know. Call the churches you may have family and friends in. Call churches that may have a relationship with your home church. All of those will run out quick. Very soon, you will be calling churches you are not familiar with, churches that you do not have some sort of “in” with. Call, call, call, and then call some more. The goal of calling churches is to fill you calendar with churches to present you missionary burden in. You should have scheduled meetings for every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening. You can also shoot to have some meetings on other nights (for mission conferences, etc.). The goal to calling is sharing your burden with as many churches as you possibly can. Once you have filled your calendar totally full for at least 2 years, then you are done, you don’t have to make any more calls, unless your deputation takes longer than 2 years.
Here are a few questions and answers about calling on deputation…
- Why call churches? To set up meetings where you can share your heart with like-minded churches. To build your support to get to the mission field.
- How many calls should I make? As many as you can within the 10-12 hour span every day. Some churches will not be able to have you in. Some churches will be closed down. Some churches will be endless voicemails. Still make the calls.
- How many meetings should I work toward each day? As many as possible, but 3 meetings a day is a good goal. That being said, if you get 3, don’t quit for the day, shoot for 4, then 5, then 6, and so on.
- What if I have days where I don’t schedule any meetings? First, you will have those days. I have. You most likely will to. The answer is to keep calling. Don’t quit. Be faithful at calling. My mentor consistently reminds me to focus on the process, not the product. In other words, you may have days where you call 12 hours and you don’t schedule one meeting. Focus on making 10-12 hours of calls, not on how many meetings you make. It will all work out.
- What if it seems like every Pastor I talk to is telling me they cannot have me in? Keep calling, churches will schedule you.
Different missionaries on deputation do things differently. The calls must be made, but there are different thoughts as to the “secondary issues” of making calls. Here is my advice for calling.
- Find somewhere away from home (if possible) where you can go to call every day. Make it your job. Most men have jobs they go to, it is good for you and your family to see you go to work too. If your Pastor allows, you can go to your home church and use an empty office or Sunday School room. There is something about going to work and working.
- Have a mentor or friend help keep you accountable. It can be your pastor or another missionary. There is something about having to report to someone that may keep you calling when you really would like to stop.
- Eliminate as many distractions as possible. If you use social network platforms, turn it off and keep it off (maybe use it at lunch and dinner). Help those around you understand that you are working. Try to be somewhere quiet (in my opinion, Starbucks is not the best place to call. Even when you get a Pastor on the phone, it can be hard to hear you over the customers and the baristas. Also Starbucks may be distracting you from making the calls).
- Keep a good attitude. It is really your choice whether you enjoy making calls. I know it is not fun, but the truth is, other people are working 40-60 hour weeks outside in the freezing cold or the 90 degree heat. I often told myself that while I am inside a room making calls other people are outside digging holes (something I have done and hated). I’ve got a friend who has encouraged me to “enjoy the process”. Making calls is monotonous but it is your choice as to what attitude you have.
- Don’t lose sight of the goal. The goal is getting to the mission field, to proclaim the Gospel, plant churches, and train men. Deputation is a step toward that goal. You will still have more to do (like learning the language and cultural acquisition).
Many “professions” come with work that must be done before being able to actually do the work of the profession. Doctors and lawyers must go to years of school before they are ever able to perform a surgery or work a case. Policeman must go through training. Truck drivers must first obtain their CDL license before they can get behind the wheel of an 18 wheeler. Teachers must go through years of schooling. Many of these jobs and others require certification in addition to schooling. Most “professions” come with preparatory work. A missionary is much more than a “profession”, it is a calling from the Almighty God. Make your calls all day, every day. Be faithful at it. God will give you the meetings He wants you to have. God will build your support.
Making calls is only one part of deputation. It is really the easiest part of deputation. More posts on deputation how to’s are coming. Check back soon for more.
For more information on deputation, buy the Deputation Manual by Austin Gardner and Tony Howeth. It is the greatest book I know of.