Wednesday, April 8, 2015

What is Deputation? Part 1: A Definition

I have been posting a lot about our deputation travels and progress.  It recently occurred to me that I probably have quite a few followers who don’t really know what I’m talking about.  So I wanted to write a good, detailed explanation.  It will probably take several posts to give you a realistic idea about what deputation involves.
Deputation: noun – a group of people appointed to undertake a mission or take part in a formal process on behalf of a larger group.
That’s the dictionary definition.  We are essentially being “deputized” by our mission board and churches around the country to represent them in a particular field of service.  This phase of deputation comes prior to field ministry, and could also be called “pre-field” ministry.
We are independent Baptists by denomination.  However, as independent Baptists we believe that each church is autonomous, {you know - independent}.  Therefore we do not have a convention, board of directors, or hierarchy appointing missionaries and making these decisions for us.  
During deputation, we seek out churches of like faith and practice (other independent Baptist churches), and we ask them to partner with us, both in prayer and financially, to help us get to (and serve on) our field of service.  That sounds pretty easy, but it is actually an involved process. 
It involves many phone calls, detailed scheduling, and personally presenting our ministry and burden for NYC in other churches around the country.  We ask them to pray for us.  We ask them to consider financially supporting our ministry (thus investing more of themselves in reaching our particular field for Christ).  This process of deputation takes a while - 2-4 years for most missionaries that I know. That's a long time to be on the road - especially with children!
But, because all of the churches in our denomination are autonomous, they each have their own set of practices and procedures for things like appointing and supporting missionaries.  The pastor and the congregation choose the manner in which their church will operate.  So for each church we contact, we go through a different (yet very similar) procedure in order to be approved, to be invited to present our ministry, and {hopefully} to be supported by that church. 
Some churches have a questionnaire they want us to fill out.  Some churches only accept missionaries from certain colleges or mission board (in order to aid in vetting a candidate which is otherwise unknown to them).  Some churches only invite missionaries in for an annual mission’s conference.  Some churches have one missionary per month/quarter.  Some churches vote in the service whether or not to take you on for support; some churches only vote on missionaries with their annual budget.  And then of course, each church has their own policy for how much monthly support they commit to each missionary.  This makes a lot of variables that we are working with!
Next time I will take you through the process of scheduling churches.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you wrote this. Some of my friends follow your blog and they too have not heard of "deputation" before!


Please leave your email address if you need a response to your comment, or check back here to see my reply in the comments section.