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What should your goals be while you are on deputation? By Austin Gardner

  1. Try to get 13 meetings a month and do not be satisfied until you do.
  2. Since it is difficult to impossible to get 13 meetings or churches per month then when you do not have a meeting just drop in to new churches or churches where you have already been. Try to develop a friendship with different pastors and cultivate future opportunities to get support.  While dropping in be sure to shake hands, wear your Macedonia pin, and give out prayer cards like candy.  Then send a letter thanking the pastor for his kindness in allowing you to drop in to his service.  Of course you are going to send an information sheet about yourself and your ministry.  Always have your calendar handy and ask for a meeting if given the chance.
  3. Send out a monthly newsletter, prayer letter. The more you get your name and information out there the more they will know who you are and have interest in you.  Be very positive in your prayer letter.
  4. I send out my prayer letter in bulk with an address correction on it. That way I know if it is getting to them or not.  I do not drop names from my list.  Send your information.  You never know when God may touch someone’s heart to take you on.
  5. Be careful to send out very positive confirmation and thank you letters. Always include information about the country where you are going and the need.  Be sure to have a good information sheet about yourself to send out along with your confirmation letter.
  6. Make phone calls every day even if you spend more than $300 per month on the phone. You want to book as many meetings as you can.  Book for the next 2 or 3 years.  You can always cancel if you get your support and have to go to the field.
  7. Always look for new names. Ask every missionary you see.  Ask your pastor and pastor friends.  Get names and use them.
  8. Be careful to work at least 8 hours a day 5 or 6 days a week. Being a missionary ought not take less time a week than your secular job did.  If you gave 40 or 50 hours a week to the world how much more should you give to God.
  9. More important than all the secular, carnal things that you do will be your walk with God. After all it is God who gives us our support.  Be sure to pray each day.  Get in the Word.  Ask God to open doors.  Look to Him and not to methods etc.
  10. Be careful to keep a good attitude about your work, calling, support, love offerings, pastors etc. God is watching your attitude.  Often times deputation is a time when God molds a man.  Don’t do anything to hinder what God wants to do in your life.

If you think it will take 3 years and plan and work that way it just may take 4 years.  Why not set goals that are higher than that.  Shoot for 1 year.  If you can’t get it in 1 then go for 2 but don’t drag your feet and don’t waste time.  Don’t make excuses.  It would be better to try and fail than not to try at all.  Work like you would have to to make it in 1 year and you will still get there quicker than if you work like it might take 2 or 3.

Basically you need to get in around 200 churches and drive over 100,000 miles to get to the field.  How long you drag it out is up to you.

I found a list of the following qualifications for missionaries that I thought you might like to consider.  We may not agree with everyone but it would do us well to consider each of these and make sure we are ready for the mission field.

Relationships with the Nationals

Maybe the most important aspect of our work as missionaries outside of the strictly spiritual realm is that of our relationship with nationals.  So many good men and women go to the field and do not accomplish what they could even though they are very well trained and prepared for the work.  It is not enough to have a good education or to be a spiritual man of God.  You must also know how to relate to people.  You are the visitor to their country.  You must learn to think in terms of how they view things and not what you like or want.

Below you will find the counsel given by Emilio A. Núñez C. and a group of his former students at the Central American Theological Seminary in Guatemala.  I do not necessarily agree with everyone but since they were each stated by nationals I believe that they deserve your careful consideration.


  1. Remove from your head your great American ideas of how things should be done here.
  2. Do not think you have come to work with uncivilized people.
  3. Do not teach so much theory, but practice your teaching in your life. Show us how it works in
    real life as you model the truth.
  4. Read about Latin America and my country. Find out who our best authors are.
  5. Have more contact with the people, not only in the churches but in your social life.
  6. Live at an adequate level, neither too high above us nor too low below us. Adapt your life-style to the people with whom you work.
  7. Do not talk in English when there are people present who do not understand it. This is rude on your part, and we tend to suspect that you are talking about us.
  8. Do not impose your American customs on us or belittle ours. Do not try to make us into little North Americans.
  9. Do something to meet the social needs of our people, whether it be literacy, relief, or development projects.
  10. Do not feel that you are superior to me. We can sense pride even in small amounts.  You came to serve in humility, and it is best that you not compare cultures, trying to prove yours is better.
  11. Show love to people as you do in your country, and then learn how we do it here.
  12. Learn our language well: our sayings and proverbs, our youth slang if appropriate, our subjunctive, our regional and national accents.
  13. Try to learn our language so well that you speak without a foreign accent.
  14. Read about our continental and national heroes: Bolivar, Miranda, Juárez, San Martín, and others.
  15. Be willing to accept our suggestions. That may hurt, but we want to help.  You have to accept them with humility.  Learn the meaning of Proverbs 27:6 and 17.

Proverbs 27:6 Faithful [are] the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy [are]deceitful.

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

  1. Watch the way you speak to us. We are very sensitive to the tone of voice and the choice of words.  We are touchy people.
  2. Be more diplomatic in your relationships with us. Do not greet us as you gringos greet each other.  You seem too cold and distant.  Ask about our families and our personal lives.
  3. Learn to touch us appropriately. You people seem very cold in human relations.  There is noting like a great abrazo.
  4. See yourself as a co-equal with us, neither higher nor lower.
  5. Develop serious and deep friends from among us, people with whom you can be transparent and vulnerable. This will take time and is costly.  But you can ask them about the intimate things, about ideas and other topics.,  This step is risky, for the  closer you get to us the more unhappy you might make your missionary colleagues.
  6. Love without talking about it. Just show it.
  7. Show that you lovingly expect much from us with coming across as a paternalistic chief.
  8. Make disciples among us leaving a human and reproducible legacy when you leave.
  9. Eat and like our food, not just Pizza Hut and McDonald’s. We also like to know what you eat
    at home as a family.
  10. Learn to dress like Latins, using our styles and fabrics.
  11. Be more flexible in terms of time., Slow down!  Why are you always in a hurry,  looking at your watch?  There is more to life than time.
  12. Learn and appreciate our music and instruments, both folk and classical.
  13. Drop the terms pounds and miles, and then learn to give weights and distances in kilos and kilometers.
  14. Struggle honestly with our struggles: social, historical, cultural, church, and Christian life.  Do not just give us capitalistic answers, and do not reduce societal problems to simplistic spiritual solutions.
  15. Learn to read the Bible from our perspective and culture. You will have to work at this, but it is worth it.  Note how much of the Bible was written to people who lived in
    violence, injustice, and political uncertainty.
  16. Remember that we think differently from the way you do, and our problem-solving is different from yours. Learn how we do it.
  17. Come and stay with us for a long time. Short terms are shortcuts many times.
  18. At the same time, be bold enough to examine whether or not you should stay in Latin America as a missionary. Perhaps some of you should return home, particularly if you cannot adjust here, or do not know why you came, or are having serious family problems, or cannot work with us.

missionary’s equipment

Hudson Taylor, the great man of God and missionary statesman, lists the following as the missionary’s equipment:

From the book A Biblical Theology of Missions by Peters — page 297-298

  1. A life yielded to God, controlled by His Spirit.
  2. A restful trust in God for the supply of all needs.
  3. A sympathetic spirit and willingness to take a lowly place.
  4. Tact in dealing with men and adaptability toward circumstances.
  5. Zeal in service and steadfastness in discouragements.
  6. Love for communion with God and for the study of His Word.
  7. Some experience and blessing in the Lord’s work at home.
  8. A healthy body and a vigorous mind.

Importance of Language Learning By Georgia Webb, Mexico

A missionary candidate once asked me, “Do you know of any successful missionary who did not have much language aptitude?” My answer was “Yes, I have known some, but all of them had done their best to learn the language.” I have never known one successful missionary who did not work at learning the language.

Another missionary candidate told me frankly that he had no intention of learning the language, that he planned to use an interpreter. He soon went back to the United States.

It is possible to be fluent in the language and to fail as a missionary, or to be deficient in the language and succeed in the work, but I do not believe the latter will be true if the missionary does not do all he can since acquiring the language is of paramount importance!

It is my opinion, based on 61 years of observation, that failure to acquire a working knowledge of the language is the number one cause of missionary casualties. This is sometimes true even when it is not the expressed cause. It may be the underlying cause even when the missionary says, and most likely sincerely believes, that he is leaving the field for other reasons.

The real reason may simply be that this missionary is unhappy. Without the language, there can be no cultural adaptation. Once a new missionary gets over the excitement of being where the Lord has called him to minister and a certain fascination with all that is new and different, a sense of loneliness and homesickness sets in. This is natural and will go away as the missionary learns enough of the new language to be able to participate in the life of the country. But if there is no language learning, there is no cultural adaptation, and the missionary has no life outside of his family and other English-speaking foreigners. He then becomes unhappy and leaves the field.

Then too, not knowing the language results in much frustration in the ministry. How can you lead someone to the Lord if you can’t speak his or her language? How can you counsel effectively through an interpreter? I was told of a missionary who in a large evangelistic meeting told the audience through an interpreter that if anyone would like to know more to call and talk to him. Someone in the audience responded, “How can we? You can’t understand us.”

Preaching or teaching through an interpreter is usually very unsatisfying, no matter how good the interpreter is. In the early days of the work in Mexico, G. Beauchamp Vick, who was noted for his very eloquent messages, came to Mexico and preached in our churches. His interpreter, missionary ‘Big Jim’ Smith, told him, “Keep it simple, Dr. Vick, because no matter how much steak you put into it, when I finish with it, it will be hamburger meat!”

In these days of a global economy, English is spoken in many parts of the world. It becomes a temptation to some missionaries not to bother to learn the native language of their people, but the hearts of people can rarely be reached except through their heart language, their mother tongue. It takes a great deal of effort and prayer to learn a new language, but it is worth it.

Learning the language requires a willingness to make mistakes, be corrected, and even be laughed at. When I first got to Mexico, I worked with a national pastor who was always getting up in front of the congregation and saying, “Have you heard the latest of Luisa’s jokes?” It wasn’t fun to be laughed at, but at least I learned not to say that again. Eventually I realized they weren’t laughing at me, they were laughing at the hilarious things I said.

Languages vary in their degree of difficulty for English-speaking people. Some use that fact as an excuse not to bother with language learning. But the fact that the language of one’s people group is harder than some others just means it will take longer to learn. But no language is unlearnable. To a child, one language is as easy to learn as another.

Now for some recommendations.

  1. To future missionaries:

Expose yourself to foreign languages as much as possible now. Study one if possible. Make the acquaintance of people who speak another language. Listen to recordings of other languages. Listening is the first step in language learning, so listen, listen, listen.

I do not recommend trying to learn a language on your own. I tried to do that with German. When I finally found a German lady to help me, I realized it hadn’t worked. You will need correction.

Learning all you can in advance pays off. I had two years of Latin in high school. Then I had 10 semester hours of Spanish in college, and later took private classes at a Berlitz language school. The result? I started teaching in Spanish three weeks after I got to Mexico. However, this will not be true in all cases. Remember, I had a national pastor who always corrected any mistake I made and told everybody about all the funny ones!

Back then, in 1948, we knew nothing about language school. But we do now. I highly recommend that new missionaries enroll in the very best language school they can find, preferably on their field of service. Most will need the organization and discipline of a school. If none are available, by all means find a good tutor, one who will correct you… and maybe laugh at you!

  1. To pastors and churches:

Encourage new missionaries to make language learning their priority. You want them to reach people for the Lord and build indigenous churches on the field. Help them see that this can only be accomplished if they take the time to learn the language and the culture. Your missionaries appreciate and respect you. You will be a blessing to them and to their work if you influence them to make language learning their priority.

Why don’t we have enough laborers?

Matthew 9:38, John 4:35

  • Untold millions remain untold
  • Why should anyone hear twice when so many have never heard?

  • Spiritual Condition of the world today
    • Only 33% of the world claims to be Christian
    • That includes Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and other cults
    • If the ratio of Christian workers to total population that exists in North Africa were applied to the U.S. and Canada, those two countries would have about 120 full-time Christian workers living in them. Also, there would be only 7 small churches in the entirety of those two countries.
    • 865 million unreached Muslims
    • 550 million unreached Hindus
    • 275 million unreached Buddhists
  • Fully 90% of the world is un-evangelized
  • No need to ask me where in the world missionaries are needed
  • No need to ask where the final frontier is
  1. Watered down church and Christianity
    • Many believers simply haven’t understood it is our duty as the church to carry the gospel to the world Matthew 28:19-20
    • Church is not asking God to send out laborers Matthew 9:38
    • Not experiencing God work in our lives where we currently are Colossians 1:29
    • Not maturing as a believer Colossians 1:28
    • Church and God have become about you and your needs and comforts and not about Him being your Lord and Master
    • Christianity is your will not His will, Him blessing you and not you blessing Him
  1. Fears
    • Maybe God will not meet our needs or protect us I Peter 5:7
    • Fear of the unknown I John 4:8
    • We are not to fear what man can do to us Hebrews 13:6
    • Fear is a trap for you Proverbs 29:25
    • He will never leave you or forsake you Hebrews 13:5
  1. Wrong goals
    • The love of money chokes out God’s work in our hearts I Timothy 6:10
    • A desire for things is destroying many believers I Timothy 6:9
    • We as believers are to flee these desires and seek godly goals  I Timothy 6:11-12
    • You have to hate one and love the other and you may have fallen into the trap of hating God and His will Matthew 6:24
    • Family unity and peace Matthew 10:37
    • Personal goals and ambitions Matthew 10:38-39
  1. Lack of love for God
    • The greatest commandment is to love God and then to love people Matthew 22:36-40
    • God’s love should be shed abroad in our hearts Romans 5:5
    • The fact that Jesus loved us so much that He died for us compels us to live for Him instead of ourselves II Corinthians 5:15
    • It is the love of Christ for us that compels us to go to others II Corinthians 5:14
  1. Help me by giving me the excuses you are using!
    • If you are not called to go then you are called to stay
    • You should be as involved in getting the gospel to the world as the missionaries
    • How are you serving God where you are?
    • Are you just warming a seat or are you making a difference?
    • Is your income so that you can live it up or did God give it to you because you are responsible enough to use what you have for His purposes I Timothy 6:17-18

Which Of These Churches Will Our Church Be?

Prevailing Attitude in Church “A”:

  1. Our blessings outweigh our responsibilities.
  2. Missions is that annual weekend event for taking Faith Promise pledges.
  3. Only those who are super spiritual or those who are “called” get involved in missions.
  4. Other than during the Faith Promise weekend, missions is rarely mentioned.
  5. Adults decide on their own if God is “calling” them into missions.
  6. It’s O.K. if you insist on going on a short-term missions trip for a week or two.
  7. The average attendee in this church can only name 2-3 Scripture verses that deal with missions.
  8. In a financial pinch, the first thing that reduces is missions giving.
  9. Most members don’t know who their adopted missionaries are or where they are serving.
  10. Meetings focusing on missions aren’t held very often and are poorly attended.
  11. World Missions gets the minimum funding suggested. (10% or less of the church’s income)
  12. Missions is a “necessary evil” that occasionally intrudes on the real ministry of the church.

Prevailing Attitude of Church “B”:

  1. Our blessings bring equal responsibilities.
  2. World evangelization permeates church life throughout the year.
  3. Every member expects to have some role in the global harvest.
  4. God’s heart for the nations is heard in almost every service.
  5. Church leadership continually challenges couples and singles to consider going overseas.
  6. Going on short-term or missions trips is the expected norm.
  7. The average lay member of this congregation can name several verses, knowing God’s heart for all nations is the theme of the Bible.
  8. Missions needs are met even before the electric bill is paid.
  9. Most know who the church’s adopted missionaries are, where they serve, and what their needs are.
  10. Mission information and prayer times are mainstream.
  11. The church has a goal of giving no less than 25% of its income to world missions.
  12. World evangelization is seen as half the reason the church exists.

“The mission of the Church is missions.”– Unknown

Wanted, World Christians by J Herbert Kane (page 187-188)

If I were an artist I would paint a picture in two parts.  On the right I would have a large round table with three place settings–one for the father and one each for a son and a daughter.  On this table I would place all kinds of good things to eat–meat, fish, fowl, cabbage, beans, broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower.  I would have various kinds of potato–fried, baked, and mashed.  For dessert I would have a choice of pastry, pie or ice cream or an assortment of fruit–peaches, pears, oranges, and bananas.  For a beverage the two children would have Coke, Sprite, Orange Crush, or Mountain Dew; the father would have tea, coffee or cocoa.

On the other side of my picture I would have another table, with nine place settings, one for the mother and one for each of the eight children.  At each place setting I would have a glass of water, a bowl of soup, and a crust of bread.

And I would call my work of art, “The American Family at Dinner.”  You would come along and inspect my picture and read the caption and shake your head saying, “No! No! That’s a lie.  From Maine to California there isn’t a single family in which that kind of wealth and that kind of poverty can be found.  We have rich families and they share their riches.  We have poor families and they share their poverty; but no matter where you look you won’t find a single family that combines that kind of wealth and that kind of poverty.  That picture is a lie.”

And you would be right!  The picture is a lie.  But suppose I were to change the title and call my work of art, “The Human Family at Dinner.”  I should be precisely on the mark.  That is how the human family lives–part in poverty that beggars description and part in wealth that borders on the obscene.

Prepare for God to call us

How do we prepare for God to call us? We must thus prepare our hearts for the call of God. For this we make several suggestions:

From the book A Biblical Theology of Missions by Peters — page 278-279

  1. Make sure your body has become a living and sanctified sacrifice unto the Lord (Ro 12:1–2).
  2. Make sure there is no conscious sin dulling your spiritual ear and spiritual sight (Eph 1:18; Col 1:9).
  3. Make sure there are no preconceived personal plans and preferences (Ps. 25:9).
  4. Make sure you obey God daily and gladly in the little things of everyday life. Practice obedience to God and man (Lk 19:17; 1 Sa 15:22).
  5. Make sure you are willing to go and to be used anywhere (Jn 7:17).
  6. Form the habit of daily prayer, Bible study, and private meditations before the Lord (Josh 1:8; Ps 77:12; 119:15, 25, 45).
  7. Form the habit of waiting patiently upon the Lord and expect Him to direct every step of your everyday life and doing (Pr 3:6; Ps 23:3).
  8. Study carefully the Word of God relative to the purposes of God for the Christian life and the Christian church. Get saturated with the Word of God (Ps.119:11, 104–5).
  9. Study carefully the great spiritual needs of our day and prepare to meet them. Get a world vision and a world burden (Jn 4:35).
  10. Spend much time in intercessory prayer for the cause and ministry of Christ at home and abroad (Mt 9:37–38).
  11. Pray regularly and earnestly that God will make His will and call definite to you (Ps 25:4; 27:11; 143:8).
  12. Rest assuredly in the promises of God and expect Him to meet you according to your need. He will make His will and calling sure (Ps 37:5, 7a; 32:8). The clarity, depth and definiteness of the call of God will depend to a great extent upon the quality of the heart, the intensity of our fellowship with the Lord, and the degree of our willingness to obey the Master in His command and commission.