Deputation builds character
Deputation is very difficult. The purpose for deputation is usually attributed to one particular goal: raising money to support for missionary while he lives on a foreign field. Herein lies the difficulty: it is not easy to ask people to support you financially. There is a large list of things that must be accomplished in order to be successful at raising support for God’s work. Each of these is difficult in it’s own right.
There are endless calls to make to just try and get a meeting. If you don’t get a meeting, then you have no opportunity to present your work before the people. If you cannot present your work before the people, then you have no chance that the Holy Spirit will move upon their hearts to support you. Probably 1 out of every 30 calls will be successful in getting a meeting; 1 out of 15 will result in getting to talk to the pastor. This plays upon the missionaries emotions which range from frustration to joy. It is difficult to spend an entire day making long distance phone calls and not even get to talk to one pastor. It also cost a lot of money.
There are endless correspondences to make. Missionaries have to make business cards, prayer cards, letter heads, envelopes and brochures. Then all of this needs to be distributed to people he is trying to reach with his message. All of this cost money.
There are travel arrangements to be made. Automobiles, fuel, hotels, plane tickets, food all have to be taken care of. People often think the missionary is blessed because they get to see parts of the country that they can never see. Usually, the reason that they will never be able to see the parts of the country they think the missionary is blessed to see is because of the reasons I just mentioned: Automobiles, fuel, hotels, plane tickets and food. They all cost money, and lots of it. The missionary lives under the pressure of providing all of those things for his family. Think of it like this: If a missionary is blessed, they can get meetings for Sundays and Wednesday nights. If a church takes care of their lodging and meals, then they usually have a place to stay and eat for two days of the week. The other five days the missionary must fend for himself and his family. If a church gives him a two hundred dollar love offering, this basically takes care of two additional days. The other three days, he pays for out of his pocket. All of the time he is living like this, he is trying to save up enough money to get to the field. It is obvious that this is a stressful situation. There have been times when we saw a sign for a McDonalds selling 49 cent cheese burgers. We would pull off the freeway and stop in and order 60 of them and put them in our ice chest. For the rest of the week, our six person family had cheese burgers for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We were happy and blessed because it meant we could afford a hotel to stay in. It takes money.
Yes, deputation is stressful with all of it’s administrative and logistical distractions, but it is much more than that. Deputation is also a time of maturing. In school the missionary was excited for the ministry to get started. He was idealistic and wanted to make things happen. But deputation slows him down. It causes the missionary to think about difficulties that might be involved in the final work. It’s a maturing time for a missionary. Deputation takes a lot of stress, ambition, organization, self motivation and defining of priorities. If they are not good at deputation, the chances are they’ll not be good at being a missionary on the field, or even a pastor at home.
Deputation is a difficult thing because, one day you’re leading a life of structure, and the next your whole life is turned upside-down. Their children are in school, happy and regimented; the wife has her daily routine, and suddenly there is a change. The day comes when they have to go out and travel around to a bunch of different churches, where they don’t know anybody and basically asked them for money and prayer support. This is something that most missionaries have never been prepared to do. In most mission classes, they have been told about life on the field, but the specifics of deputation was never taught to them. So, is totally new to the missionary.
Unfortunately, as I said before, deputation is usually equated to raising money or prayer support to be able to go to the mission field. It takes money! So missionaries have that pressure upon them to raise enough money. This is a very difficult thing to do. It involves every aspect of deputation and therefore makes deputation one of the most difficult things they will have ever done in their life.