A Word From Our Missionaries On Deputation
By James Bigelow
As your foreign missions director, I sometimes ask missionaries to express their ideas and suggestions as to how our churches can help them. The following is a profile of what they told me.
Keep talking about Foreign Missions on a regular basis, stressing the need of every individual to fulfill the Great Commission. In advance of a scheduled service, display the poster; ask radio stations to air a public service announcement; submit a brief “Church News” article to your local newspaper, etc.
As far as lodging is concerned, the pastor’s home or evangelist’s quarters are fine. If you provide a motel room, try to ensure it is clean and in a decent area. (That is a voice of experience!)
It is always nice to eat at least one meal with the Pastor at his home or in a restaurant to be better acquainted and to enjoy the fellow-ship of another minister.
When missionaries have a day or two free, most prefer to be on their own. They may have laundry and dry cleaning to do; some-times they need to have time for home schooling their children; at other times, they simply want to rest. If there is something unusual to see or do locally that the Pastor or saints could show them to greater advantage, that is usually acceptable.
During Sunday School sessions, the Pastor will often have the older children stay in the main service and the younger children go to class. The missionary is fine with any arrangement the Pastor makes. If the church has no problem with video, sometimes they will have all the classes come to the main service for the video presentation.
Sometimes the spouse is highly qualified and willing to speak to ladies. When young people travel on deputation, they want to help in some way, preferably with advance notice.
Since they desire to visit as many different churches as possible, most missionaries prefer to have only one service in each church. Although some are evangelistic, that is not their main calling; they prefer to stay focused on foreign missions. Al-though they should not be expected to “fix problems” in a local church, they will certainly accommodate whatever situation they find ourselves in, and trust the Lord to make them a blessing.
Churches should be aware that it is extremely difficult for most district foreign missions directors to get more than four services a week for a missionary. This is one reason why it takes so long on deputation to raise the necessary budget. A commitment to enroll a missionary as a Partner in Missions is a spiritual investment that will reap eternal dividends. For every $25.00 given to foreign missions, someone is born again of water and Spirit.
Missionaries often have difficulty trying to reach the Pastor by phone. It is so nice when he returns their calls within a reasonable period. It is disheartening to have a service cancelled, especially when it is at the last moment and the director has no time to schedule a replacement service.
And now, on behalf of our wonderful missionary families, let me say a big “Thank you” to every pastor and saint for your commitment to further the gospel around the world through faithful praying and giving. I enjoy facilitating the itineraries of those on deputation in the Oregon district.
This article “A Word From Our Missionaries On Deputation” written by James Bigelow is excerpted from Apostolic Accent.