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

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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