“Deputation is an unknown period of time for calling, writing, and visiting an unknown number of pastors one does not know, driving on unfamiliar roads in unbelievable conditions at unearthly hours, staying with people you have never met, and eating food you do not recognize, in order to convince unfamiliar churches to support a missionary that they do not know to go to a field where he has not been, to do a work he has not done in a language he does not know, with funds he does not have.” (Author Unknown…no pun intended!)
Minding Your P’s for a Successful Deputation
I. Purpose of Deputation
Deputation is to . . . .
- Secure financial support
- Solicit prayer support
- Promote world-wide missions
- Edify the believers at the churches
- Recruit other missionaries
1. The ministry of deputation should begin, continue, and end in PRAYER.
2. Many times God uses deputation to break us and get us ready for the field. Allow yourself to be broken – do not get bitter because God is sending hard times.
3. Be careful not to get cold and carnal while on deputation. Always watch your attitude about the field, the churches, the love offering, and your support level.
4. Be attentive to the needs of your family. They can help or hinder your getting support. Your family should always be with you at every meeting, unless providentially hindered.
5. Deputation can be hard for kids. Make deputation a fun time for you and your family. Visit different areas of the States and make memories everywhere you go. We buy either an annual zoo pass or museum pass when we are in the States in order to make traveling fun and educational.
6. Make friends in every church. You may not remember all of them, but they will remember you. Technological tools like e-mail and Facebook are great ways to keep in touch with those you meet and keep missions before them.
7. Keep in mind that you have an opportunity to be an influence for missions. Someday church members may come and help you in your country – on a missions trip or as a co-worker. The children you minister to today may be your co-workers in 20 years!
8. Spiritual drainage can happen easily on deputation. Take time out for rest and prayer.
9. The main problem that deputation missionaries have is laziness and a lack of discipline. Have long and short term goals and work toward them day by day.
10. Use manners and don’t talk about debatable issues.
11. It is not wise to go to the field under supported, so don’t even consider it as an option!
12. Learn all you can while you are on deputation. You have the privilege of observing all kinds of churches, pastors, and staff. Ask questions!
13. Make everything that you do on deputation top quality – prayer letters, prayer cards, dress, and manners. You are representing God, your church, your mission board, your college, and yourself.
14. Be free from financial burdens. If you can start deputation debt-free, you save yourself and your family a lot of headache!
15. Plan financially – you will need extra money once you get ready to leave for the field and when you arrive. Once you reach 60%, start saving for your outfit and passage expenses (airline tickets, shipping, customs, vehicle, house, church). Your faithfulness and sacrifice in this area will be rewarded.
1. Prayer card – Look at other prayer cards for ideas. You can put a verse on it, statistics, and other things, but the most important is your name, mission board, and field of service. Include a picture, your sending church information, your goals, your phone number and e-mail address. Have at least 2,000 to start with.
2. Brochure – Can be printed at home on pre-folded 8½ by 11” glossy paper or you can have it printed professionally. The front should have your name, your field, and a photo. You can include your testimony, call to the field, experience, goals, and letter of recommendation from your pastor.
3. Letterhead – Make sure it is well-printed and well-planned. It should contain the name of your mission board, your return address and give your field of service.
4. Display board – professionalism is the key!
5. Information packet
6. Website and/or blog.
III. Presenting Yourself in the Church
- Arrive well ahead of time (at least one hour) when you have a meeting. Have your car washed and your family looking like they haven’t been traveling for hours.
- Learn to tell time – when the pastor tells you to take 2 minutes, show character and only take 1 minute and 50 seconds.
- Pass out your prayer cards like they’re candy or as if you were a politician running for election. Better yet, allow your adorable children to pass out the cards!
- Send a hand-written letter of thanks whenever you leave a church. Always express gratitude.
- Go above and beyond to serve; do not be the average missionary.
- Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression!
- Make the best of your abilities – preaching, singing – Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God. Don’t cut corners.
- Do not try to correct churches; it is none of your business. God did not call you to be an evangelist, or meddler; just share your burden for missions, preach the Word, and leave the rest in God’s hands.
- Everyone is watching you and your family. You are under the microscope!
- Don’t complain about the love offering, the support, etc. Remember Luke 6:38-39 – God will give through men. Be a giver not a taker.
- Be careful what you say in churches. Don’t write or talk about poverty. Be careful not to scare others away from going to the mission field.
- Be ready to tell the churches what you plan to do on the field that you are going to, what type of ministry, goals, needs, etc.
- Remember the more people are exposed to the field the greater burden they will have.
- A few weeks after the meeting, follow-up with a phone call to the pastor. Ask how the faith promise commitment went or whatever may be pertinent. He will probably then bring up the subject of support.
1. Prepare several messages beforehand. Thank the pastor for allowing you to be there. Have enthusiasm. Share a verse, goals, your burden, and a challenge for the people to take home.
2. Prepare messages of various lengths (5, 15, or 30 minutes) because whatever the pastor tells you to do is exactly what you must do.
3. Preach messages that will challenge the people giving what the Lord has laid on your heart. Help the church with a message that will change their lives.
4. Have a purpose, speak with a voice of authority, and make it personal.
5. Preach challenging, surrendering messages. Ask yourself, “Did the message help me or him?” The pastor wants to hear you helping them.
6. Spend time working on your message. You probably only have one chance.
7. Preach with authority and enthusiasm to allow others catch your burden. More than anything, your ministry must be bathed in prayer.
8. Remember that you are in another man’s pulpit so you must respect that fact. You cannot say, “Here are my standards. If you don’t agree with me you must be wrong.” Use discretion. Would you want someone come to your pulpit and say or do something you don’t agree with?
9. Do not get discouraged if the members do not yet seem to have the same burden.
V. Prior to the Meeting
1. Calling Pastors – Have a good list of churches. You can get lists from many sources: the internet, other pastors, or from missionary friends. The best contacts are those you know!
2. Start by calling your friends, then your pastor’s friends, then supporting pastor’s friends, then call cold from every reliable list you can get.
3. Borrow lists from your missionary friends. Talk with the guys who are getting it done quickly. Ask about churches that will and won’t support.
4. Book solid. Take every meeting you can get, but have enough driving time in between.
5. It is better to spend an entire Sunday in one church so they can get to know you better. Of course, missions conferences are the best time to get support. Those are usually in the fall and spring.
6. Try calling and getting your meetings within a 6-hour radius of your home.
7. Call in an organized method and area but if it is possible to get to a meeting, go, even if it means driving 6 hours before or after.
8. Book until you have at least 6 churches a month.
9. Take every open door even if the pastor tells you that he will not be able to support you. Many times your burden carries over to the church. It is churches that support, not pastors.
10. Begin each time of calling with your personal devotions, Bible reading and prayer.
11. Discipline yourself to call 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.
12. Don’t leave a message on the answering machine. Talk to people personally.
13. Meetings are usually booked 6 months to 2 years in advance, so you need to start calling that far ahead of time.
14. Keep detailed records of every phone call.
15. Make sure you get the pastor’s name, address, time and date of the meeting, and special requests he may have concerning the meeting.
16. Get directions and keep them in your planner, which you take along everywhere you go.
17. When the pastor says, “Send a package”, send it. Follow up.
18. Always send an information packet and confirmation letter as soon as you schedule the meeting.
19. Package Ideas – cover letter to let them know that you had called and they asked for information, prayer card, brochure or folder with information about yourself – testimonies, past ministry experience, future ministry goals.
20. After 3 unsuccessful attempts, move on to other contacts. You may try again down the road.
21. Have something to say when you call the pastors. “Hello, may I speak to Pastor _______?” “Hello, Pastor _________, my name is _________. I am a church-planting missionary with Baptist World Mission on the way to _________. I sent you a brochure about a week ago. Did you receive it? ”
22. Major Key – Baptist World Mission. The board has recognition.
23. On your desk you should have:
a. Two-year calendar
b. Notebook and pen
c. Laptop to keep all your records
d. Cell phone with voice mail
e. Contact list of pastors
24. One week before, contact the pastor and reconfirm the meeting.
25. Give your estimated time of arrival.
26. Inform him how many will be with you and any special needs (i.e. food allergies).
27. Let him know your departure time and date.
1. Very few people are interested in seeing the poor living conditions or the beautiful scenery. You are not a tour guide! Show the people.
2. Communicate your vision and what you want to accomplish.
3. Always prepare the narration first and then arrange your slides.
4. You should begin with who you are, then where you are going and what you will be doing. Never jump around from one subject to the next.
5. Keep presentations short.
6. It should not last more than 12 minutes (about 150 slides).
7. One single slide should not be on the screen for more than 14 seconds, but do not flash from one picture to the next so fast that no one has a chance to even see it.
8. Transitions should be smooth and clean. Keep it simple and the same throughout. Just because your computer program offers hundreds of transitions does not mean your audience wants to see them all!
9. Music must be God honoring. Do not choose selections that are debatable as to their place in the church service. Give credit for the music.
10. Be careful not to say, “This is… and this is… and this is…”
11. Start by dividing the presentation into categories on paper. Use a list such as this:
a. Introduction to the missionary family, the church and pastor which are sending you, your mission board.
b. Introduce the country, its physical location (map), living conditions of the people, etc.
c. Spiritual condition and needs of the people – the religion, the practice of religion such as praying to idols, kissing statues, etc., any hindrances you will face.
d. Future plans and goals for reaching the people – evangelism, discipleship, teaching, Bible institute, etc.
e. Close with a challenge – show the people, you may want a challenging song at the end.
VII. Prayer Letters
1. Write positive prayer letters, no one wants to hear a whiner.
2. People jump on successful bandwagons, so when you write a letter, be a winner!
3. Be careful what you say in your prayer letters and how you say it. Don’t dramatize hardships.
4. Send prayer letters by e-mail. Announce opportunity to sign up from the pulpit during deputation meetings.
5. Send a prayer letter to every church you go to and are planning on going to even if they don’t support you (yet).
6. Send a prayer letter to all your relatives.
7. Do not send songs or long verses in your letters.
8. Write no less than once every three months and always say, “thank you.” Remember – “Out of sight, out of mind.” This is your only means of support – financially and prayerfully.
9. Make it so it would be interesting to you if you were the recipient.
10. Do not write long letters. Two pages are too long.
11. While on deputation:
a. Tell of meetings you have had (any saved, called to the mission field).
b. Mention and thank any church that has taken you on for support since your last prayer letter.
c. List your next month’s itinerary (just to let your supporting pastors know you are keeping busy).
d. List prayer requests, but do not beg. The Lord will do the work.
e. Include your goals and plans for the future. Thank them for their prayers, concern, and financial support.
IIX. Prayer Cards
1. Use a professional printer – glossy and full color.
2. Separate the name so it stands out. Make the most important things biggest – your name, the country.
3. If you use statistics about your field, put them on the back.
4. Printing Shop for Prayer Cards: www.4over4.com.
IX. Presentation Board
1. The Key Word is PROFESSIONALISM.
2. The board needs to include: facts about you (family, sending church, mission board), your field (maps, brief statistics, sports), and your ministry (goals) there.
3. Spell things correctly.
4. Make sure maps and pictures are not too light or crooked.
5. Make it sharp with clean lines, not cluttered.
6. Be sure each picture has a caption. Why did you bother putting it up there if people don’t even know why it’s there?
7. It is not wise to have testimonies on your board. No one is going to stop and take the time to read it. Put it in a pamphlet.
8. The titles should represent what is being portrayed.
9. Choose 3 complementing colors and keep it uniform throughout.
10. Use 2 different fonts – one for titles and one for captions.
11. Display Don’ts:
a. Don’t put offensive things on the board like dead animals or naked people.
b. Don’t write on the board with a pen.
c. Don’t put prayer letters on it.
d. If you use a quote on your board, don’t use the names of people of questionable character or doctrine.
Thank you to Baptist World Mission, our mission board, and Jeff Bush, former missionary in Argentina, for many of these ideas.