Category Archives: Pre & Post Field Ministry

Deputation-ology (Bonus) A Plea

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I didn’t intend on writing this last post when I originally thought about this series. If you have been a reader of my blog for any length of time, you should have noticed I strongly encourage people to give their lives to take the gospel to the foreign mission field. Today, I am doing the opposite.

I want to talk missionary-to-missionary with those on deputation.

I want to ask you to consider resigning as a missionary; to voluntarily leave your job. Or I want to ask you to work harder than you have ever worked in your life, and become consumed with the task of world missions.

Here is why I am pleading with you to reconsider:

Deputation is hard, but the mission field is harder. A lot of deputation is accomplished through organized, consistent hard work. If you find yourself struggling to make phone calls to book meetings with churches and preach or present 3+ times a week then maybe the mission field isn’t for you.

Life on the mission field is considerably harder than deputation. If you are not a hard-worker now, don’t expect to be on the mission field. Learning a second language is not an easy task. Learning a second culture is even hard.

As a missionary you have to be your own boss. Deputation is the first step of being your own boss. If you can’t manage yourself on deputation, get out of bed and get to work without someone else telling you what to do, then resign today.

Don’t waste your life for money. I presented a formula in this series that sets a reasonable amount of time for raising the financial support that one needs to leave for the field. If you find yourself looking at my formula and saying, *“That is impossible, “I can’t schedule that many meetings, and make that many phone calls,” “There is no way I can raise that amount of money in that time frame,” then consider a new occupation. My formula is not perfect. But there are only two options, you can beat it or go slower than it. If you do your own math and think that it is going to take years longer than what I proposed (5-6 years of deputation), then consider doing something else. Your life is more precious than money. Money will not make you happy. It makes life more comfortable, but it doesn’t bring joy.

Deputation is a transitional phase from training to the field. It is never meant to be a way of life. It is meant to be a short transition. Therefore, the deputation environment is good for two things: raising awareness and financial support. It is not the best environment for your kids to be raised up in or to be schooled in. If you aren’t working hard to accomplish deputation in a reasonable time frame, then find a job that can give your family more stability. Your family is precious. Your time is precious. Your money is not. (For some, they go slow because they are guarding their families time etc., but this turns into years of wasted missions money.)

Let me note, this doesn’t mean you should just go under-supported. It means raise a reasonable amount of money in a reasonable amount of time.

A person who isn’t a hard worker, but has a lot of money is recipe for disaster.

I know what I am asking is almost impossible. The hardest thing is to look at yourself and say, “I have a problem with working hard,” or “I’m lazy and it’s a problem.” But it is a plea, from me to you.

Like many, I deal with laziness and it is a battle of every man. But some of us give into it more often then others.

I didn’t want to write this post. I know it is mean and sounds self-righteous. Who am I? Just a guy with a  blog who writes about missions. I have a million short-comings, so I am not writing this thinking I am something or that God can’t use those who take longer on deputation. That is not my intent at all. My plea is simply: If you want to be in the ministry, work hard, otherwise do something else.

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Deputation-ology (6 of 6) How to start

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Everyone’s situation going into deputation is different and many times the factors leading up to starting it are out of your control. But if you are able to control some of these factors, here are some suggestions to help you get started…

Start Part-time Deputation Six Months Before You Go Full-Time. If you know around the time that you want to start deputation full-time, start planning for it six months before you actually quit your job and go full-time. This will give you a proper amount of time to accomplish all the logistical side of things and book enough meetings to have a strong start. I fear that many people who do minimal planning before they start full-time end up wasting their first few months doing things that could have already been done.

Here is a suggested time line:

6 Months Before: Talk with your pastor and make sure he agrees with you starting deputation on such and such date. Then talk about which mission board you would like to go with and start the application process.

5 Months Before: Start working on all of your needed material, such as: information packet, prayer cards, website, blog, video presentation, display, etc. Collecting and writing all of this information for the first time can be time-consuming. Also, if you don’t know how to do design, websites videos, then you will need to recruit someone to help you. Again, this takes time and money. When you start calling, pastors are going to ask you for information and if you don’t have anything ready, it will just be that much longer before you can book a meeting.

4 Months Before: Finish the application process with the mission board and, Lord willing, you will be accepted. Have all of your material finished and proof read. Start raising funds to print the material that you need for meetings, such as, prayer cards and display. Put the last touches on your video presentation.

3-1 Month Before: Start calling. If you can work in the evenings and call during the day, everyday, you should be able to book a good majority of your meetings for the first year of deputation. If your pastor approves, you could start traveling to some meetings to get experience on how to conduct yourself at meetings. These would obviously be meetings nearby. The majority of meetings you are booking are for when you go full-time.

A key to booking meetings is getting your information out there to pastors, meaning when you first start calling you won’t book a lot of meetings right away; but after you have sent your information to several hundred pastors and call them back after they have received it, you will start booking the meetings.

Calling Suggestion: When I called churches, I would started calling all new churches. Then I would send a packet of information. After the pastor received the packet I would put them on a call back list. Every morning, I would start with this call back list. When I called through it, I would then call new churches. Sometimes I would mix this up, to call the “call back list” in the afternoon etc.

Calling is still the foundational step to book all your meetings. It is often the hardest because it is monotonous work. But if you spend the 3 months calling before you quit your job and go full-time, you should have several months filled with meetings, including your first month.

(If you can’t do part-time before, then I suggest calling in the daytime and doing the other things, like design prayer cards in the evening once you are full-time.)

Once you go full-time, go all in. Don’t work another job, mow grass or anything else. Give it all you got and don’t look back.

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Deputation-ology (5 of 6) Setup Fund

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Another reason that deputation is a good process for missionaries to go through is because it gives them the time needed to save enough money to properly setup once they arrive on the field. But as with most things, if there is no plan set in place, rarely does a missionary raise adequate funds to buy the things they needed to make life easier to adjust to when on the field.

For example, during language school when we lived in a city father north than we do now, the winters were brutal. We lived on the edge of town, about a 15-20 minute taxi ride away from the church where we attended and went every day for language school. In the coldest of months, waiting outside for a taxi was hard. Just to go from one place to another took everything out of you. We found ourselves struggling to do just the daily things. When we went to the grocery store, we would be waiting outside in subzero weather holding bags of food and a two-year-old trying to wave down a taxi. There would also be several others trying to get taxis. Life in this sense was hard and extremely inconvenient. After a few months of living like this, we finally had enough money to purchase a car and our lives changed drastically over night. We could leave our house and get in our car that was parked in a heated garage and drive to the store. Once we were done shopping we could put the groceries in the car and drive home. It really was amazing how much more stress free (and warmer) our lives were after we purchased the car.

So it is a good idea for a missionary to find out what he needs to purchase when he arrives on the field to start living a normal, convenient life that will help him and his family to thrive and be more productive in the ministry by not getting sidetracked by the inconvenient ways of living. He needs to find out what appliances and furniture cost, what kind of down payments need to be paid upfront, what do vehicles cost, the cost of plane tickets for the entire family, and any other major expenses that one will be confronted with in the first few months. Once a missionary has a total cost, he needs to make a plan to save that amount of money in the recommended amount of time he will be on deputation.

A good thing for a missionary to do is to get a total number he needs in his setup fund and divide it by the months he will be on deputation to see how much he needs to be saving each month to meet his goal (total cost / X number of months of deputation = monthly savings). This number should constantly be a reminder to him of how much he needs to be saving and look at this money as money already spent. It is ministry money that will be used as soon as he gets to the field.

I was blessed in so many ways on deputation. I tried to be a big giver on deputation because of it. Also, I started raising money for our setup fund after we took our survey trip in the fourth month of deputation. People gave generously to our setup fund and we were also able to save some. I didn’t put as much though into saving for it as I should have. As I have been thinking through it recently to help some friends who are trying to save for their setup fund, I have thought of two main steps to help raise/save money and not be wasteful with the abundance given to many missionaries.

First, write a letter explaining the setup fund and ask people to give to it specifically.

I found that people are looking for ways to help missionaries if they knew what their needs are. Sometimes it is easier for people to give to something specifically than to give to something “in general”.

Here is the setup fund letter that we used: Setup Fund Letter.

It is important to note at this point that your setup fund money should not be used for just anything. If you asked someone to give to something specifically, then you should use the money for that specifically. I said the following: “Our Church has put a policy into place that will allow all money designated for the “Mark-China Set-Up Fund” to be placed into our escrow account through Vision Baptist Missions and will be set aside to be used for the reason it was given. If for any reason, we do not make it to the field, you will be notified and returned any money given towards this fund by Vision Baptist Missions.” I would also caution givers to be careful about giving if a missionary doesn’t have a policy like this in place.

I also sent out a letter explaining more about the setup fund in a “frequently asked questions” format. I think it is worth quoting a revised version of it below:

What is a setup Fund?
A Setup Fund includes all the things we would need to get started in China including expenses that come with moving to another country and setting up our home. We had to take into account that we will not be shipping a lot of our things from home or borrow items from our friends and family close by.

How did we estimate the cost?
Expenses vary from country to country. As a result, one of the purposes of our survey trip was to find out all the different expenses that come with moving to China so we would be able to create a more accurate “Setup Fund.”

When are you raising these funds?
In preparation for our departure, we will be raising these funds at this current time. This will allow us to raise the funds in a proper amount of time and be ready to leave when the time comes.

When do you plan on leaving?
Lord willing, we will leave for China on August 10, 2010.

What if you donʼt make it to China?
Our church has put a policy into place that will allow all money designated for the “Tolson Set- Up Fund” to be placed into our escrow account through Vision Baptist Missions. If for any reason we do not make it to the field and the money was not used, you will be notified and any money given towards this fund will be returned by Vision Baptist Missions.

What are some specific items you need?
Several items and expenses are listed below and on our website, www.chinaramblings.com. Feel free to give for these specifically or just a general gift of any amount.

1. Four Airplane Tickets (Price).
2. Rent for a Year (Price).
3. Hotel Cost (Price).
4. Visas (Price).
5. Customs (Price).
6. Basic Furniture (Price).
7. Shipping Expense (Price).
8. Washer/Dryer (Price).
9. Refrigerator (Price).
10.Stove (Price).

How will the gifts be used properly?
All gifts will be used properly. The prices for a specific item are estimates and the real cost might be higher or lower than stated (once it is purchased). For example: If you gave towards an item and it was purchased at a lower price than stated, the extra will be used towards another item and/or in the ministry of Project China.

How do I give?
Send all gifts to Vision Baptist Missions, P.O. Box 442, Alpharetta, GA 30009 with “Tolson Setup Fund” as the subject. Also, please note if you are giving for a specific item. All gifts are tax-deductible.

How can I stay updated with this fund?
Visit our website, www.chinaramblings.com, to stay updated. We will list items as they are provided and add new items as time goes by.

Second, I would give myself a fixed income and save everything else.

When a missionary first starts deputation he lives off of his love offerings because he doesn’t have any concrete monthly support coming in. He is force to live a budgeted life. Then as monthly support comes in + love offerings, he has money to live comfortably. It is at this point that a missionary could start saving money very easily, but there is a problem: as his income goes up, so does his quality of life. This is something we are all guilty of. We live on the amount that comes it, no matter if it is high or low, but we never have any left over. This is a problem.

A missionary is usually raising personal support and ministry support, plus he brings in love offerings. If you understand math and some common sense, you know that after he hits a certain amount in his support level, there should be a large surplus of income. But because many don’t live budgeted lives and are often unknowingly in the battle of materialism, they struggle to save money for a setup fund. This shouldn’t be so.

Yes, a missionary on deputation has traveling expenses, but it no where adds up to the amount of money he brings in between personal support, ministry support and love offerings. So I suggest that a missionary set a budget to live on during deputation and save the surplus in a setup fund.

Love Offerings Only – Some people have had success in living only off of their love offerings. They save all the money that comes in for monthly support. This plan is a good motivator to constantly be in churches. I would say most people who are able to do this are young couples without any kids.

A more practical plan for families is the “$2,000 of Monthly Support + Love Offerings Plan.”

Once a missionary reaches $2,230 in monthly support they will follow the following formula:

  1. Take out 10% for escrow.
  2. Deposit $2,000 for salary.
  3. Deposit everything else in a setup fund.

Explanation: This plan is to set your monthly personal income at a max of $2,000 taken out of your monthly support (whatever is sent in to your mission board) plus love offerings. Your income then is the $2,000 plus whatever you need taken out of your love offerings. Anything over $2,000 that comes into your account at the mission board will be moved into your setup fund. Also, any surplus in love offerings at the end of the month can be put into your setup fund. If you do this and raise your support based on the recommended time (post 2 in this series), you should have enough money saved by the time you leave for the field. You savings grows as your support grows. (Note: the mission board shouldn’t be paying any bills out of this money or it doesn’t work. You will pay your bills out of the $2,000 or love offerings.)

The majority of your personal support would come from love offerings encouraging you to schedule meetings and not rely on monthly support. If you aren’t scheduling the recommend amount of meetings per month, you will also struggle. So this plan relies on the fact that you are doing everything you can to be in as many churches as possible.

If you need more money in your setup fund than you will be able to save in this plan, then you can raise it in special offerings through the setup fund letter in step one.

I hope these ideas will encourage missionaries on deputation to live a budgeted life, not waste their money on nonessentials, and save their surplus in their setup fund to help them be ready to leave for the field by saving properly.

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Deputation-ology (4 of 6) Ideas

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The formula I presented may or may not be encouraging depending on how you look at it. In this post I want to present some ideas on how to beat the formula.

How to Beat the Formula

A missionary can beat this formula if he has: (1) high take on rate, (2) gets into more churches quicker, or (3) has a higher support amount per church.

How Can Pastors Help Change the Formula

Pastors and churches can help change the formula by changing the way they currently support missionaries. This takes investing time, work (research), and money into your missions program but hopefully would result in a more practical and efficient way to support missions. What are ways that you can change the way you do missions to help beat this formula?

One idea to help change this formula is: supporting less missionaries for higher amounts.

Having a high amount of missionaries usually means that a church invest little into each missionary. The mindset behind this is to send a little everywhere instead of a lot to a few places. I understand this mindset in wanting to do something in as many places as possible, but I don’t think it is the best. It becomes a problem when we dilute our finances so thin that it barely makes a difference in the budget of a missionary. Therefore, I would adopt the idea that says, “support less for more.”

Start Making Practical Changes

We can’t just ask churches to drop missionaries to raise the support levels for others, but they can have a plan to start increasing support. I would suggest the following:

  • The new normal support level should be $100.
  • Churches should start increasing support as they have it available.
  • Increase in $25 increments ($50 – $75 – $100).
  • Increments should be made per missionary and not spread out over everyone. If you have 5 missionaries you support at $50 each and you have $25 more available, pick one to increase to $75 instead of giving everyone $5 more.

Note: These are just opinions.

Ideal Changes

Deputation is a great way to get a salary because there is a built-in safety net: your income comes from multiple churches. This is helpful because if one group of churches is hurting financially and another group of churches is flourishing, they often balance themselves out.

I have had a church drop my support since being on the field because they closed their doors. If they were giving me all my support, I would have been in major trouble. But since I have multiple churches supporting me, it was only a matter of time until a church increased their support and covered the loss.

Also, missionary budgets can be high, especially if you are going to live in Japan, and one church is not able to give the missionary all his salary. This network of support breaks up the financial responsibility between several churches and allows all to have a mission work in the foreign field.

The downside to this kind of support is you have so many churches supporting you that you don’t have a close relationship with most of them. And often times you can’t. (Some churches and missionaries only want a “working relationship” and that’s it, and that is okay.)

So with this being said, here is what I would suggest as a good balance and ratio between “safety-net factor” and “close-relationship factor”:

  • Churches should support for $300-$500 per missionary family.

A missionary raising $5,000 would only need 17 supporting churches at $300. This would enable him to have a relationship with each church and they could get to know him better. (If he lost one or two churches while on the field, yes that would be $300-$600, but technically he would only need one or two churches to take him on for support to make up for the loss. This idea works best when the majority of churches are willingly to support at this amount.)

OR

  • Split your support budget in half. Example: $50,000 a year / 2
  • Less for More: $25,000 = Support 4 missionaries for $500 and have a closer relationship with them.
  • More for Less: $25,000 = Support 20 missionaries for $100 and have a normal relationship with them.

I think this is a natural balance between the two options. If may feel like you have to be “selective” in this option, but I think this already happens in many churches and think it is okay. The same way a home church feels closer to their missionary and desire to support him for more. Think about it, which missionaries does your church feel close to? Why?

What other ideas do you have?

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Deputation-ology (3 of 6) Definitions & Other Factors

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10 Scheduled Meetings Per Month: There is an average of 13 meeting times available each month: Sunday AM, Sunday PM and Wednesday. Every missionary knows that doesn’t necessary mean 13 meetings a month because of multi-service conferences that take more than one of the available slots (Missions Conferences or Missions Sundays. But there are midweek missions conference services, Thursday midweek services, and other special services that churches have that can help a missionary make up for those taken from multi-service meetings. If he makes enough phone calls he could actually book more than 13 meetings in a month. Also, note that this goal of 10 schedule meetings a month is an average, so you may be lower than 10 one month and higher than 10 the next, just try to keep the goal at 10 or more.

Clarification: Among missionaries there is a lot of deputation talk and using different terms to be vague, so I want to clarify the terms that I am using, so there isn’t any confusion.

  • # Churches – This is the number of all the churches you have been in since you have been a missionary, scheduled meetings or not.
  • # Scheduled Meetings – This is only the number of the churches that you had a scheduled meeting at.
  • # Meetings – This is the number of meetings that you had and can included a church more than once if you had two separate meetings there. For example, you went to a church at the beginning of deputation and then they invited you back a year later and took you on for support at that time. (Sometimes this number and scheduled meetings are used interchangeably).
  • # Services – This is the number of services you attend; so a Wednesday through Sunday missions conference with services every day and two on Sunday would count as 6.
  • # Drop Ins – This is the number of the churches that you dropped into because you didn’t have a scheduled meeting.
  • # Part-time Deputation – You start the process of deputation but are still working a full-time job and can’t travel much.
  • # Full-time Deputation – You have quit all other employment and deputation is your only source of income.

Exception: Of course this formula isn’t perfect and there are tons of other factors involve in deputation that can’t be charted, as some friends have pointed out. But most of the time, these are the exception. And that is just what it is an exception. There also is a chance that someone works hard and the formula didn’t work out for him. The formula doesn’t mean a person isn’t a hard worker if they filled the requirements, but that there are other factors why his support isn’t coming in and should consult with his missions director and pastor.

Other Meetings, Activities, Holidays, Home Church: How can one be expected to book so many meetings with so much already going on… such as special holiday services, survey trips, homecoming, camps in the summer and other conferences? Yes, many churches are busy with activities all year-long but the key is to: make more phone calls (and book more meetings). Hard work. I took a 10 day survey trip to China during our fourth month of full-time deputation and was still able to be in 11 churches that month and 3 of those eventually took us on for support.

Holidays: I remember booking a meeting with a pastor on Easter Sunday. I was surprised he booked it on that day but was glad he did. When we showed up for the meeting you could tell he didn’t remember we had the meeting. He was a good sport and still gave me time during the service. We enjoyed the Easter service with the church family and went on. Later he called me to let me know that a woman visiting that day from another church would like to support us through his church. She still supports us to this day through his church.

Home Church: Once you start full-time deputation, you should never go back to your home church! I know that sounds harsh, but if you are really on deputation then do deputation. You now have a new ministry, stop all other ministry at your home church. You can attend their missions conference, but if you are on deputation for more than one year, don’t attend the conference every year. Don’t go to all the special meetings and homecomings. Book meetings and go to them. (The exception here being that the special service is a midweek day where you can’t normally book meetings, such as a Friday night prayer meeting.)  Imagine if you were already on the field and separated from them… you should feel that separation on deputation.

There are some sacrifices that you are going to have to make. Our thought was, let us sacrifice for a short-time on deputation, to get it done and start living life like we want to, on the field. Otherwise, you will have to drag out the deputation life and the longer you are living in that way, the harder it is to keep on and not get burnt out. There will be birthday parties, weddings, and other things you miss to accomplish this goal.

Drop-ins: Drop-ins are also not in the equation because I realized that to many people see them as a primary way of doing deputation instead of a supplemental way of doing deputation. When I was counting on deputation, I included drop-ins with my count of scheduled meetings because I was simply trying to hit “x#” of churches a month. I tried to use drop-ins strategically, but I never thought I didn’t need to book meetings because I could just drop in somewhere. Many today have this mindset, so I have avoided using drop-ins. They will be a natural result and sometimes are very smart. You should definitely drop in if you don’t have a scheduled meeting (don’t go back to your home church).

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Deputation-ology (2 of 6) The Formula

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How Long Does it Take? This is one of the key problems with people being for or against deputation. Since there are no written rules and most people don’t understand “deputation talk”, it is hard to really know (1) how long a missionary has been raising money, (2) why he is raising it fast or slow, and (3) what his percentage number really means.

One of the reasons that there is no written standard on how long it should take is because there are so many different factors that have to be accounted for to get an accurate number. Here are a few:

  • Support Levels: Every missionary is raising a different amount of support. Therefore, it should take a guy who is raising $5,000 more time than a guy raising $2,500. This needs to be taken into consideration, especially by pastors, since when two missionaries say they are at 50%, it means two different things.
  • Large Supporters: Some missionaries have home churches that back them up in a large way. If one missionary starts with 20% of his support from his home church, he has a head start in the system.
  • Well Known: If a missionary starting out on deputation is already well known, or he has been a pastor and/or his church is well known among other churches, he might also be able to raise his money quicker than someone who isn’t well connected.
  • Personality: If you have a charismatic personality and/or you are a friendly/people type person, you will also have an easier time on deputation.

Those are some of the positives that will help a person raise their funds quicker on deputation. Some of those are factors that you can’t control. So I am not going to include them in my formula that I share below. The formula that resulted because of my research is based on one thing that can be controlled: hard work!

Deputation is a system that requires hard work. It is a system that will show the results of your hard work to those around you. But, as of now, most people have nothing to compare it to, so they don’t know if someone is working hard or not. That is why I am going to offer a basic standard that people can use to evaluate a missionaries commitment to his future ministry by what he is doing now.

This is not meant to be a standard for judgement. I don’t want to get in the business of judging another man’s servant. But this could serve as a warning for the missionary or church. Warn of what? Warn that life on the mission field is so much more difficult than deputation, if you can’t work hard here and now you are most likely going to fail there.

As I have said before: “The last year of deputation and your first year on the field is like the difference between a playground and a battlefield.” Expressing my concern to a friend recently, I told him that if people aren’t willingly to work hard on deputation how are they going to work hard in learning the language, starting churches, and training men?

So, this standard is presented as a help in the following ways:

  1. For missionaries to count the cost before they start and know that it requires hard work from the beginning.
  2. For a missionary to be accountable and not get comfortable in the life deputation has to offer.
  3. For a missionary to realize that if he doesn’t meet this standard, he will need to calculate how much time he is willing to spend to raise money before he ever gets to do ministry.
  4. For pastors to have something to gage the progress of a missionary’s deputation and make his decisions accordingly.

Formula: Total Support Wanting to be Raised / $280 = Number of Months with 10 Scheduled Meetings (round up).

  • $5,000 / $280 = 18 months with 10 scheduled meetings
  • $6,000 / $280 = 22 months with 10 scheduled meetings
  • $7,000 / $280 = 25 months with 10 scheduled meetings
  • $8,000 / $280 = 29 months with 10 scheduled meetings
  • $9,000 / $280 = 33 months with 10 scheduled meetings
  • $10,000 / $280 = 36 months with 10 scheduled meetings

So according to the formula above we are assuming that out of every 10 scheduled meetings 4 will take him on at an average of $70 per month. With this assumption, we can not only calculate how many months it will take if he has an average of 10 scheduled meetings a month but also how many meetings he needs to be in.

  • $5,000 / $280 = 18 months with 10 scheduled meetings OR 180 scheduled meetings
  • $6,000 / $280 = 22 months with 10 scheduled meetings OR 220 scheduled meetings
  • $7,000 / $280 = 25 months with 10 scheduled meetings OR 250 scheduled meetings
  • $8,000 / $280 = 29 months with 10 scheduled meetings OR 290 scheduled meetings
  • $9,000 / $280 = 33 months with 10 scheduled meetings OR 330 scheduled meetings
  • $10,000 / $280 = 36 months with 10 scheduled meetings OR 360 scheduled meetings

Now I said that my formula was based on hard work and all I have showed is numbers so far. You are right and this is where we translate the numbers into hard work. The missionary has the work to schedule 10 meetings a month. How? Phone calls. A missionary will need to put 8-12 hours of calling in everyday to be able to book the above amount of meetings. He doesn’t stop calling until he is booked. This is hard work. This is boring. But this is what it takes.

Our research has show that it is generally true, the more churches you are in during a shorter amount of time, the quicker you finished deputation. The fewer number of churches you are in over a longer amount of time, the slower you finish deputation.

Example:

  • Missionary #1 raised $5,000 by scheduling 180 churches in 18 months.
  • Missionary #2 raised $5,000 by scheduling 180 churches in 29 months.

Missionary #2 raised the same amount of support and was in the same amount of meetings but it took him 11 months longer because he didn’t average 10 meetings a month. Why didn’t he book more meetings per month? Maybe he called 12 hours everyday and just couldn’t find churches to book him or maybe the system is broken. More likely, it would be my guess that he wasn’t working hard. Missionary #1 raised the money quicker because he worked harder.

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Deputation-ology (1 of 6) Intro

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Aahhh… Deputation. It is one of those words that gets many reactions from those who have gone through it. Within the small circle of people who actually do deputation, there are varying opinions on it’s effectiveness. Those who do it well say it works great. Those who don’t do so well say that it is broken and we should be looking for something new to replace it. Some people have great stories of blessings and others have stories that… aren’t… so… great.

I have written about deputation before on this blog. I have written about why I think deputation is good: “Blessings of Deputation” and have written a few blogs giving practical advice: “Deputation Tips: Die“, “Deputation Tips: Presentation“, “Deputation Tips: Random Advice“.

So why write about deputation again? This time I want to write about deputation from the point of view of seeing deputation for what it really is and to set what I think is a good standard to follow that will help prospective missionaries count the cost before jumping into deputation full-time.

What is deputation? Deputation, as we are using it in this blog, is a system of money-raising. More specifically, it is the process of a missionary to raise money from local churches.

There are no “set rules” for deputation but there are “unsaid rules” that a missionary must do to succeed at raising the funds needed. You have to learn the “deputation culture” so you know the do’s and don’ts. For most of this information, you can read: The Deputation Manual for Missionaries.

Who is raising money? A missionary. A missionary, as I would define it, is someone who is going to live in a foreign country, learn the local language, actively disciple believers, plant multiple local churches and train men. Therefore, this blog is written to help them (and to help pastors better understand, so stick around).

Why is a missionary raising money? A missionary needs to raise money so he can accomplish the goals he has set out to do (mentioned above). He desires to live of the gospel and since he is starting churches, there is no full-time salary from the church because it has yet to be started. Once he starts the church he will be training men to take over the church and will be working to start more churches and train men to start more churches. Therefore, a missionary raises his personal salary plus a ministry fund that will accelerate his work on the field since he doesn’t have to find other employment but will be free to work 60-80 hours a week for the Lord.

Note: Most of this is based on my opinion, research and experience… so if this series doesn’t help you, leave it and find something else that does.

Now that we have stated the basics of what deputation is, we are going to tackle the hard question…

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About Blogging (4 of 4) Encouraging Thoughts

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After writing for a while more ideas start to come. As I practice a lifestyle of writing down my thoughts and working through them, it has become more natural to do so.

It should be enjoyable. Sometimes it seems like work. But you might need to take a break or post less and enjoy it. Starting something and being faithful at it is always tough. You might have to push yourself

It is a commitment. Make it fun. See the impact.

Great missionaries of the past wrote stuff down. They shared their thoughts, struggles, life and journey. Some of it was exciting, some of it boring and some of it life-changing. Maybe we can encourage others through our writing.

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About Blogging (3 of 4) How to Blog

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Now, lets look at the practical side.

First, you need a blogging platform. I use WordPress and recommend it. You can get a free blog and start there. Eventually you want to move that to your own domain and get a proper website address to go with it for easy reference. If you are not tech savvy, like me, then you can ask someone to help or pay someone to do this part. Also, you will need to mess around with it for a while, until you learn how to use it. Watch some intro videos and you should be good to go.

Second, you need an easy way for people to subscribe. I use MailChimp for email and Feedburner for the RSS feed. Both of these can track how many subscribers you have. Again, if you are not tech savvy, you can have someone else help you get this part setup.

Third, you need to write! This is the hard part that no one else can do for you. Write down your thoughts as you are thinking them. Take notes throughout the week on things you are learning or things you could blog about. Keep a long list of ideas. Jot down ideas like crazy. It might be a year before you even use some of the ideas. Then pick a time each week where you can come back and develop those thoughts. Maybe you will need to do more study on the subject, but spend time developing it into a blog post.

Fourth, you should have a blogging frequency. Try to figure out how often you want to blog and stay faithful at it. This will help keep you accountable and make blogging more enjoyable. You can actually prepare several blog post in advance so you don’t have to write at the last-minute. I try to post about 3 times a week (Mon. Wed. Fri.) and may alter the schedule if there is a special event going on that I want to report on. Of course, you don’t have to be as organized as this and can post randomly and still have success but I would image most people “under-blog” or “over-blog” when they don’t have a plan.

Fifth, have a blogging formula that is easy to follow. My first post of the week is a “mind dump” that includes 10 random thoughts, no more no less. If I have more thoughts than 10, I save them for the next week. The other two post are usually pre-written and fall within one of the predefined categories of things I like to write about. I have a small “posting formula” based on how long the series, when my prayer letter needs to go out and mixing up the categories. I plugged this formula into my calendar and it tells me when to post what.

Sixth, start blogging! If you have everything in place, then it is time to start. You probably won’t see hundreds flock to your blog right away. You will have to prove you are more than a one-month blogger. You might have to work at it to get subscribers like pushing your post on social media etc. But more than the number of subscribers you will get, realize the discipline of writing is a great addition to your life! Just write!

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About Blogging (2 of 4) Why Blog?

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I started blogging at the recommendation of my mentor. When blogging started to get popular, he encouraged me to blog and allow people to keep up with our lives and ministry. And that is exactly one of the things I have been able to accomplish through maintaining this blog.

So if you are a missionary and considering blogging, consider the following:

(1) Keep pastors, partners, and praying friends up-to-date with your life in ministry. Blogging is a great way to write about your life and ministry as it is happening. People can subscribe for free and have the updates as so as you post them.

(2) Raise awareness, support, and laborers. I have been amazed at the different people who have followed my blog. People who wouldn’t normally know anything about this side of the world are now aware that this place exist and is in need of the gospel. As needs arise and as people follow your ministry and want to get involved, they will know how to invest.

(3) Teach others what you are learning. I am constantly learning new things. It could be from a book I read, an experience I went through, or a conversation with another. Blogging helps you take those things you are learning and giving it to others to learn as well. It challenges you to be a constant learner and think things through.

(4) Learn the discipline of writing. The discipline of writing has been a great addition to my life. Thinking things through and having a platform that encourages me to write down my thoughts with some feedback has been very helpful for me in learning how to write. This discipline has helped me learn in many ways.

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