Don’t let deputation discourage you.
When I say that you need to know how to do it, I mean to keep from getting discouraged and giving up. I am not talking about how to learn any number of “marketing angles” to make yourself stand out above the crowd. I believe that sincerity and hard, steady work shines through in the end.
Scheduling and keeping meetings is a make it or break it issue for a missionary. I don’t know what the real statistics are, but I can guess that out of every ten calls, the missionary will only get to talk to a pastor once. Then, probably only two of ten pastors spoken to will offer them a meeting. This is a formula for discouragement. As the missionary sees his dollars being spend on fruitless callings, he can get discouraged. It is quite difficult to schedule meetings.
It has taken me awhile to come to this conclusion, but I think a long deputation is crucial to becoming a missionary. I know that many missionaries reading this will disagree or lose heart, but that doesn’t change my opinion. I believe a long deputation is crucial because it allows the missionary time to develop character before getting on the field. In short, I would say that if a missionary can survive deputation, then he most likely will have the intestinal fortitude to be faithful when he gets on the field.
I don’t believe it should be regulated, for example: After 24 months he can go to the field no matter what. I believe it is different for each person and God should have the necessary time to work on him. Jesus spent time in the desert. Paul spent time in the desert. Moses spent time in the desert. A missionary should spend some time in the “deputation” desert. This way he can be alone and with God.
Deputation is a very stressful time. Rarely will the missionary have more stress on them outside of calling, and keeping meetings. Refer to “Deputation is Hard“ in the article 10 things your Missionaries wish you knew but were afraid to tell you. It can cause problems in the missionaries family if he doesn’t watch out. He needs to know how to live with adversity, and so does his family as well. It is difficult to live from hotel room to hotel room, or be a guest in a strangers house all of the time, especially if he has small children with him. It is stressful trying to arrange their schooling. It is difficult for his wife. Perhaps she never had him home all day, every day because he went to work before, but now he is constantly around.
Stress certainly is a test of a persons breaking point. We stress beams to see how much load they will hold and still be safe. In a similar way, deputation does the same thing for the missionary. It gives him confidence about how much load he will be able to bear.
Most missionaries don’t know how to get meetings. They get some advice from pastors and other missionaries, but it takes time to become experienced at deputation. He should not feel bad if he doesn’t know what to do. Most other missionaries don’t know what to do either. In fact, most pastors don’t know what to do.
What the missionary needs to know is this: Persistence. Don’t give up. Keep at it. Read books about it. Ask pastors about it. Talk to other missionaries. He will be a veteran at scheduling and keeping meetings if he keeps at it. When he doesn’t feel like making any calls, God always slips in a victory when he get discouraged if he keeps at it.