Sunday, January 20, 2008

Why I like our deputation system

The following is a post I made on another forum (jackhammer), concerning the deputation side of missions. I have edited the post so it flows here.

When I was preparing for deputation, I was not at all for it. I felt this way even before the Lord called me to the mission field. However, shortly after deputation began, my mind was changed. I am all for deputation now, and I do believe it is much more scriptural that the cooperative program the SBC uses. Even though I can not stand the calling part, the calling part does have some benefits. It is very humbling. My family and I truly enjoyed deputation.

Let me give some reasons why I am for our current system, and what changes I would like to see.

Why I like the current system.
1) I believe it is scriptural. I do believe the Apostle Paul was supported by several churches, from his sending church in Antioch, to his most faithful supporting church in Philippi. (Acts 13:3, II Cor 8,9, Philippians 4:17) (The apostle Paul might not have had monthly support, but the local churches were the source of support for the Apostle Paul. He also used his tent making as well.)

2) The missionary gains much needed PRAYER support by virtue of all the people he is meeting. I can not tell you how often I received an email or letter from a church member from a supporting church letting me they have been praying for me and my family. Many times I would receive their correspondence during very difficult times and it really helped. How many times did the Apostle Paul say, “Brethren pray for us”?

3) Helps keep missions on the mind in the local churches. I believe the Lord can use the missionary to help assist the local churches in stirring their people about the importance of missions. Many companions of the Apostle Paul were from a variety of churches not just Antioch, and were stirred when they met the Apostle Paul and thus traveled with him. Consider Silas, (Acts 15:40) I believe Silas’s home church was Jerusalem.

4) The missionary’s eggs are not all in one basket. If only one church was supporting and they have trouble, it is very likely the missionary will be off the field for at least for at least one year.

5) It allows for churches to accomplish the great commission and gives fruit to their account. (Philippians 4:14-18)

6) The local church being able to give unto missions is well pleasing unto God. (Phil 4:18) Keep in mind the church at Philippi was not the Apostle Paul’s sending church, Antioch was.

What I would like to see changed or more common. (These are just ideas I believe would assist in the deputation stage of the missionary's life.)

1) I would like to see sending churches try to support for 1/6 to 1/5 of the total support needed. This would help greatly in the beginning stages, and cut down on the length of time of deputation. Of course, this would only be if the Lord enabled the sending church and it did not put them in a financial strain. (Many sending churches could not do this. I speak only of churches that are in a position to do something like this.)

2) I would like to see an average of $100 monthly and $70 at the very least. I still have several churches that support for $25 a month. Could you imagine if all churches supported for $25 of month! Deputation would take seven years! (I appreciate all of my supporting churches regardless of how much they support.) If churches took on fewer missionaries at greater amounts, it would cut down on deputation time.

3) I would like for all church secretaries to resign immediately. (Just kidding.)

4) If a pastor had a missionary in and the church really liked him and was behind what the Lord called him to, for the pastor to call other pastor friends and recommend him. This would assist the missionary getting meetings. The pastor getting the call would be less nervous about having a missionary in, if a fellow pastor recommended him.


Bill Hardecker said...

I like your ideas Bro. Terry.

Steve said...

If deputation is scriptural then

#1 - Why do we not see the apostle Paul spending 2 to 5 years raising support before he went on his missionary journeys? The Holy Spirit called and he immediately went.

#2 - Why do we not see the apostle Paul asking churches for financial support? His financial support came after he was already on the field.

In reference to your missions philosophy:

#1 - Where in the scriptures do we find the giving of money equated with fulfilling the great commission?

#2 - Where in the scriptures do we find the giving of money a requirement to fulfill the great commision?

#3 - Why is sacrificial giving in the scriptures equated with faith promise missions giving?

#4 - Where in the scriptures do you find the apostle Paul telling the churches that they need to give monthly to missions in order to receive God's blessing?

Terry McGovern said...


You clearly have made up your mind that using money to support missions is unscriptural. I find this amazing and scary!!! After reading your comment, I sense there is nothing I will be able to say or point in the scripture to change your mind. I will answer your post and we will leave it at that.

The apostle Paul had support BEFORE he left for the field. His home church of Antioch “sent” him. This not only implies authority but also need. He clearly did not have enough support because he used tent making for income. This “tent making” is still a option for today. (However God enables us we should follow.) For most foreign missionaries, in the day we live, tent making is NOT an option, In Papua New Guinea, I would be removed for “tent making” because I am not allowed to work in the country.

Also, when I came to the field I did not spend 2 to 5 years on deputation. I did do deputation fulltime and finished in 18 months. I know of many others who raised support well under 12 months. If someone has been on deputation for five years they need to examine themselves to make sure God has called them. If God does call, the support is there! When I was in Alaska, I used tent making to accomplish the great commission, as I assume you are as well right now.

Tent making, however, is NOT the best option according to the Bible. In the Bible, we do find the giving of money equated with the Great commission, and that this should be done through the local church. (1Co 9:14) “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” (The preaching of the gospel is a major part of the great commission, as I am sure you would agree.)

Notice in the verse the LORD ordained this. Also since the local church is the institute God is using today, I believe this giving should be done through the church. The offerings given to Paul were through the local church. The apostle Paul did receive support from several local churches although it was not consistent, with the possible exception of the church at Philippi.

Keep in mind the Apostle Paul was the first missionary (sent one) to the Gentiles. There was not 4,000 local churches already established when he left. There were a few churches established at this time. Had there been 4000 churches within traveling distance of his home church, he would have received more support. (I think you would agree with the assumption I just made.) Did he receive support monthly? No. But he did receive support from local churches, just like I do. Today though, it is much easier, logistically, to get support to me, and there are more churches established to support the great commission through missions.

By the way, the Lord said, giving to missions is well pleasing unto God. (Php 4:18) “But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God.” This offering was given to the missionary Paul while he was in prison at Rome. The church at Philippi frequently gave to the apostle Paul so he could accomplish the great commission.
It is also clear in scripture the Apostle Paul did report to churches (including the church at Jerusalem) so they could see what God was doing. (Act 15:3) “And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. (Act 15:4) And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.” It would have also been during these times, they would have provided financial support for the work God was doing. They had no way to “mail a check.” The churches either gave it to him directly or sent someone to him. The only time the latter was probable though was when the apostle Paul was in prison.

The giving of money is not a “requirement” to fulfill the great commission, and I never said it was. Keep in mind though even Jesus during his ministry received offerings. The love of money is the sin, not money itself. Also, all the fullness of this earth is the Lord’s and we are just stewards. It is not my money or your money in our wallets. It is God’s! If local churches decide to support missions with God’s money, I believe that is a wise use of their funds. I believe it is one of the best ways to use the Lord’s money, and they are being wise stewards. Thus so would the member of the church who decided to give to missions above his tithe, provided he was taking care of his family and used faith and wisdom.

For many who decide to give to faith promise they are sacrificially giving. It is something above their tithe. My guess is you have never given to missions believing the Bible does not endorse this; therefore, you have never sacrificed financially for the cause of missions. (I do not say that being mean.) Also the Lord referred to it as a sacrifice in Phil 4:18. (See verse above)

I do not believe our current system is perfect. However, it most certainly is scriptural to give to the cause of the great commission as even the early churches did.

Thanks for coming by and reading. I hope you come by again and read.

Elsie Gibbs said...

I'm glad you wrote this Bro. McGovern. I'm going to share it with my husband. He and I have always had the thought that if he were ever called to a mission field, that we'd want to be as a missionary of old (I'm sorry that I don't remember the missionary's name) who left to the field as he was called without deputation. But there are some very important things you mention here. I appreciate the mention of keeping missions at the fore-front of the church. That's so true. I am always moved when we get missionaries visiting while on deputation, and sharing their burden.
Well, this is getting too long. I was just trying to do some catch up on your blog.
I just met your wife and enjoyed her visit to our church.
Lord bless you all, and we're praying for your son's education. He preached at our church, and I appreciate the Hand of God being on him. I enjoyed him mentioning how being a missionary has given him a more realization that his only home is Heaven.
Please tell Ms. MarieAnn hello for me.
Ms. Elsie @ IBCA, AK