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People have a lot of questions about deputation, and about our ministry to Missionary Acres in general. So, we thought it’d be helpful to compile a list of FAQs about deputation and answer them for you here.
Here are the questions we’ll be looking at today:
- What is deputation?
- Why are you on deputation?
- Why aren’t you at Missionary Acres yet?
- Why do missionaries have to raise so much money?
- What are funds used for on deputation?
- What else are funds used for?
- Why don’t you just get a job and move down there now?
- What is a missionary?
- Aren’t missionaries supposed to plant churches?
- Is Missionary Acres a real mission field?
- Can you present in my church?
- What’s your greatest need?
- How can I give?
Ready to learn more about deputation? Let’s get started!
1. What Is Deputation?
Often called pre-field ministry, deputation is the process of raising support in preparation for serving in the field. It is a time when missionaries share their burden with others, seek to grow their support team with prayer and financial partners, and learn the lessons the Lord has for them before they reach their field.
2. Why Are You on Deputation?
We believe the Lord has called our family to serve at Missionary Acres in Silva, Missouri. This unique ministry is in desperate need of more workers, and we have the skills they need.
But, we can’t get to the Acres alone. It will take a team of partners to help us get there and keep us there.
In order to keep the costs as low as possible for the residents, all staff members are supported missionaries or volunteers. We are currently raising support so we can be a blessing to the existing staff and residents without burdening them with our monthly expenses.
3. Why Aren’t You at Missionary Acres Yet?
Deputation takes time. In fact, the average length of deputation in the United States is currently five years.
Because we have not yet reached 100% of our support, we are still on deputation. When we get to 100%, we will move down to the Acres.
When will this happen? In God’s timing. He has already moved mountains for us in just beginning this journey, so we are confident we can trust in His timing for this as well.
4. Why Do Missionaries Have to Raise So Much Money?
This is a common question. People hear how much money we need to raise and are shocked. We’ve been told, “I could live on half of that.”
So could we. In fact, we currently are.
But we aren’t just raising funds for living expenses. In fact, our salary represents less than half of our monthly support estimate.
So, what do the rest of the funds cover?
- Ministry expenses
- Health insurance
- Mission Board expenses (thankfully BMM only requires a flat rate each month, instead of a percentage)
Missionaries are considered self-employed for tax purposes. That means an employer isn’t withholding taxes for us or matching our social security tax. All of that comes from our support, and increases the amount of money we have to raise.
4a. What Do You Use Support for On Deputation?
Until recently, we still had income from both a side hustle and a full-time job. That meant we didn’t use any of our incoming funds for living expenses. But now that Bryan has left his full-time job and we are embarking on full-time deputation, that may change.
Thankfully, the Lord allowed us to use our support dollars to purchase:
- A projector and screen
- Our missionary display and display table to put it on
- A newer computer that is more reliable for presenting
- Connection cables for different types of input
- Missionary prayer cards
And while we were able to cash flow many of our trips on deputation so far, the support dollars helped bridge the gap during months with a lot of extra travel or several hotel rooms.
Many churches and individuals are hesitant to join a support team early on. They want their “missionary dollars” going to missionaries who are nearly on the field.
And while we understand this sentiment, we are so incredibly grateful for everyone and each church that has chosen to support us during this initial first year. We could not have made it this far without you. Thank you so much!
4b. What Else Are Funds Use For?
As part of deputation, we will also be raising funds for outfit and passage. This will cover the expenses of moving to Missionary Acres, and preparing a house there for us.
5. Why Don’t You Just Get a Job and Move to Missouri Now?
Upon hearing about our ministry, many Pastors have asked, “Why don’t you just get a job and move down there now?”
After all, the field is in the United States. We wouldn’t have to deal with any visa restrictions or anything. And there are plenty of bi-vocational pastors making it work…
And honestly, we have contemplated just getting a job and moving down to Missouri. We talked about Lisa returning to teaching and applying for a classroom in the nearby towns.
If one of us is at work all day, the other will be watching our children. That means neither of us will be available to help at the Acres. Even if we stopped homeschooling and put our school-aged kids in school, there are still several that are too young.
It is not feasible for us to have a full-time job and be full-time staff members.
And Missionary Acres desperately needs full-time staff members. They need people on-site who can mow the lawns, help build new houses, service the sewer system, and encourage the residents.
If we just got a job and moved down there, we could help out on the weekends and maybe some evenings. But we would not be available to provide the help they truly need.
So, God has continued to reaffirm that we are to raise support. That way when we arrive at the Acres, we won’t need to be distracted from our work down there with a full-time job.
6. What Is a Missionary?
It used to be that nearly everyone knew what a missionary was. But, the culture in the United States has changed, and that is not the case anymore. Often when talking with unsaved friends, family members, and acquaintances, we get asked what a missionary is.
Simply put, a missionary is someone sent by a church to do God’s work in a different location. Often, people think of foreign missionaries – those going overseas to tell people about Jesus.
But there are also domestic missionaries. Those are missionaries serving in their home country, like we will be.
Missionaries, both foreign and domestic, commit their lives to serving God on a full-time basis.
6a. Aren’t Missionaries Supposed to Plant Churches?
God calls some missionaries into church planting ministries. In these cases, missionaries go somewhere and start a new church, helping to spread the gospel to a different community or country.
But, not all missionaries are church planters.
In fact, missionaries perform a variety of duties for the Lord. Some provide support in the home office, ensuring that the missionaries on the field have the help they need. There are medical missionaries. And missionaries who go teach children or serve on college campuses. There are missionaries fighting against human trafficking and other sinful problems. Others go in after disasters and help rebuild communities.
Though their calling and field may be different, one thing unites missionaries:
They are using the skills and talents God gave them to serve Him.
And that is exactly what we are going to do – serve God in Missouri, at Missionary Acres. He has uniquely equipped our family with the precise skill set needed in this ministry.
7. Is Missionary Acres a Real Mission Field?
We get this one a lot…
And the answer is YES! Yes Missionary Acres is a real mission field. The dear saints who live there devoted their lives to serving God. They are retired missionaries, pastors, and career Christian workers.
They are people who chose to serve God even when they didn’t get a huge paycheck each month. Or a pension plan. They are heroes of the faith who sacrificed to spread the gospel.
And now, they need a little care in their golden years. They need a safe, secure home that doesn’t cost a fortune.
That is exactly what Missionary Acres provides.
And it is a real mission field – they need workers!
8. Can You Present in My Church?
Are you interested in having us present Missionary Acres to your church? We’d love for you to get in touch and see if we can get scheduled.
You can send Bryan an email at tanners2ma (at) gmail (dot) com. Or give him a call – his phone number is in our sidebar.
9. What Is Your Greatest Need?
Currently, our greatest need is for churches and individuals to support us financially and through prayer. We will never get to Missionary Acres if we don’t reach 100% of our support. And we know that won’t happen without prayers.
However, we know that there are people who cannot commit to a monthly donation. They have asked what other needs we have.
Since we were blessed with a 15-passenger van, we are saving up for a travel trailer we can haul with it. This trailer will greatly reduce our travel expenses. Currently, we need at least two hotel rooms each night. If we do not have other arrangements for lodging, this adds a huge expense to each trip we make.
We are praying that we would be able to make this purchase in early spring of 2020. Then, we could begin traveling further and sharing our ministry to Missionary Acres with even more churches. Based on our research, we need approximately $8-10K for a trailer large enough to sleep all of us.
10. How Can I Give?
There are many different ways for you to give to our ministry. You can fill out this form and send your donation directly to Baptist Mid-Missions. Our ministry number is 706472.
BMM accepts checks, ACH withdrawals, and credit/debit card payments. All donations are tax deductible!
Thank you for helping us move one step closer to serving at Missionary Acres.
Do You Have Any Other Questions?
There are many questions about deputation and full-time service to God. Do you have a question we didn’t answer?
Please leave it in the comments below and we will answer it. We may even update this post to reflect the answer.