Luke and Anna Tanis are a good example of a couple who have faced deputation head on. As you’ll see in the video below, their positive attitude is contagious. Deputation plays out differently for everyone, but I hope this interview will give you a good look into the life of a family on deputation.
First of all we see that your church and missions agency can help you prepare for deputation. This is why, as I discussed in the last article, it is so important to set your direction before starting deputation. You, your home church, and your missions agency should be a team working together on deputation. It didn’t make the final edit, but Luke said that being with their missions agency has opened doors into churches they otherwise had no connection with. Your pastor(s) can be key connectors as well. When you embrace deputation and let people help you, it’s not so bad.
Notice Luke and Anna kept their jobs for the first six months of deputation. They focused on churches in their region on the weekends while maintaining their jobs during the week. This can be a great way to build an initial support base before launching into deputation full-time. Students can also do this by visiting churches while they finish their degree. Missionaries today rarely raise completely regional support. You’ll probably need to travel further afield eventually, but support from churches in your region can help you build momentum before you start traveling full-time.
You, your home church, and your missions agency should be a team working together on deputation.
The Tanis were transparent about some of the challenges of raising a family on the road or being turned down by a church, but ultimately they’ve placed their hope in God. I challenge you with the same. Just like college, just like marriage, just like having kids, deputation is one more way that we are forced to acknowledge our inability to control a situation, and one more way that we must demonstrate our trust in God. The person who will succeed at deputation isn’t the most gifted speaker, the well-networked socialite, or the person going to the most exotic field. The person who will succeed at deputation is the person who is surrendered to God and trusting in His daily provision. The person who joyfully embraces the road ahead, and can’t wait to see what God will do.
Below is a checklist for this stage of deputation:
1. Secure a dependable vehicle that meets your family’s needs
2. Create a system for organizing your contacts
3. Build your network
4. Prepare your presentation
5. Prepare several sermons
6. Schedule meetings
7. Hit the road!
This list is far from exhaustive, but hopefully it gives you an idea of where to start. We will dig into the nuts and bolts of each of these and much more at my workshop.