Deputation-ology (2 of 6) The Formula

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How Long Does it Take? This is one of the key problems with people being for or against deputation. Since there are no written rules and most people don’t understand “deputation talk”, it is hard to really know (1) how long a missionary has been raising money, (2) why he is raising it fast or slow, and (3) what his percentage number really means.

One of the reasons that there is no written standard on how long it should take is because there are so many different factors that have to be accounted for to get an accurate number. Here are a few:

  • Support Levels: Every missionary is raising a different amount of support. Therefore, it should take a guy who is raising $5,000 more time than a guy raising $2,500. This needs to be taken into consideration, especially by pastors, since when two missionaries say they are at 50%, it means two different things.
  • Large Supporters: Some missionaries have home churches that back them up in a large way. If one missionary starts with 20% of his support from his home church, he has a head start in the system.
  • Well Known: If a missionary starting out on deputation is already well known, or he has been a pastor and/or his church is well known among other churches, he might also be able to raise his money quicker than someone who isn’t well connected.
  • Personality: If you have a charismatic personality and/or you are a friendly/people type person, you will also have an easier time on deputation.

Those are some of the positives that will help a person raise their funds quicker on deputation. Some of those are factors that you can’t control. So I am not going to include them in my formula that I share below. The formula that resulted because of my research is based on one thing that can be controlled: hard work!

Deputation is a system that requires hard work. It is a system that will show the results of your hard work to those around you. But, as of now, most people have nothing to compare it to, so they don’t know if someone is working hard or not. That is why I am going to offer a basic standard that people can use to evaluate a missionaries commitment to his future ministry by what he is doing now.

This is not meant to be a standard for judgement. I don’t want to get in the business of judging another man’s servant. But this could serve as a warning for the missionary or church. Warn of what? Warn that life on the mission field is so much more difficult than deputation, if you can’t work hard here and now you are most likely going to fail there.

As I have said before: “The last year of deputation and your first year on the field is like the difference between a playground and a battlefield.” Expressing my concern to a friend recently, I told him that if people aren’t willingly to work hard on deputation how are they going to work hard in learning the language, starting churches, and training men?

So, this standard is presented as a help in the following ways:

  1. For missionaries to count the cost before they start and know that it requires hard work from the beginning.
  2. For a missionary to be accountable and not get comfortable in the life deputation has to offer.
  3. For a missionary to realize that if he doesn’t meet this standard, he will need to calculate how much time he is willing to spend to raise money before he ever gets to do ministry.
  4. For pastors to have something to gage the progress of a missionary’s deputation and make his decisions accordingly.

Formula: Total Support Wanting to be Raised / $280 = Number of Months with 10 Scheduled Meetings (round up).

  • $5,000 / $280 = 18 months with 10 scheduled meetings
  • $6,000 / $280 = 22 months with 10 scheduled meetings
  • $7,000 / $280 = 25 months with 10 scheduled meetings
  • $8,000 / $280 = 29 months with 10 scheduled meetings
  • $9,000 / $280 = 33 months with 10 scheduled meetings
  • $10,000 / $280 = 36 months with 10 scheduled meetings

So according to the formula above we are assuming that out of every 10 scheduled meetings 4 will take him on at an average of $70 per month. With this assumption, we can not only calculate how many months it will take if he has an average of 10 scheduled meetings a month but also how many meetings he needs to be in.

  • $5,000 / $280 = 18 months with 10 scheduled meetings OR 180 scheduled meetings
  • $6,000 / $280 = 22 months with 10 scheduled meetings OR 220 scheduled meetings
  • $7,000 / $280 = 25 months with 10 scheduled meetings OR 250 scheduled meetings
  • $8,000 / $280 = 29 months with 10 scheduled meetings OR 290 scheduled meetings
  • $9,000 / $280 = 33 months with 10 scheduled meetings OR 330 scheduled meetings
  • $10,000 / $280 = 36 months with 10 scheduled meetings OR 360 scheduled meetings

Now I said that my formula was based on hard work and all I have showed is numbers so far. You are right and this is where we translate the numbers into hard work. The missionary has the work to schedule 10 meetings a month. How? Phone calls. A missionary will need to put 8-12 hours of calling in everyday to be able to book the above amount of meetings. He doesn’t stop calling until he is booked. This is hard work. This is boring. But this is what it takes.

Our research has show that it is generally true, the more churches you are in during a shorter amount of time, the quicker you finished deputation. The fewer number of churches you are in over a longer amount of time, the slower you finish deputation.


  • Missionary #1 raised $5,000 by scheduling 180 churches in 18 months.
  • Missionary #2 raised $5,000 by scheduling 180 churches in 29 months.

Missionary #2 raised the same amount of support and was in the same amount of meetings but it took him 11 months longer because he didn’t average 10 meetings a month. Why didn’t he book more meetings per month? Maybe he called 12 hours everyday and just couldn’t find churches to book him or maybe the system is broken. More likely, it would be my guess that he wasn’t working hard. Missionary #1 raised the money quicker because he worked harder.

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4 thoughts on “Deputation-ology (2 of 6) The Formula

  1. Pingback: Deputation-ology (1 of 6) Intro | China Ramblings!

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  4. Pingback: Deputation-ology (4 of 6) Ideas | China Ramblings!

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