Tent Making 3

Tent-making seems to be the thing now. People are afraid of deputation. I remember that same feeling when I was praying about missions in 1985. I looked for every way possible to get out of deputation. I thought it would be horrible to have to go and beg for funds. I thought the system was broken. I tried to come up with every way possible to avoid deputation.

But then I realized that deputation wasn’t broken but my pride needed to be broken. There may some day be a better way but deputation actually works very well. When I went on deputation they were saying it would take up to 4 and 5 years. I knew that I didn’t want to do that. I got to work and finished in 13 months.

By the way, I loved deputation. I never enjoyed calling pastors hour after hour but getting to preach and present world evangelism all over was great. The pastors treated me well. The churches became our friends and faithfully supported us for 20 years. You can’t beat that.

Now as to the tent-makers. They are looking for a way to be missionaries without having to do deputation. Deputation is old fashioned, hard, and broken they say!

A friend of mine, Brendon, says that this generation, his by the way, is very good at adapting and are open to change and new ideas. But they are sometimes tempted to avoid difficulties, responsibility, and commitment.

“Tent-making” can be a creative and catchy way to avoid hard work, he says.

We are not against people being tent-makers if that is what they are and feel called to do but the majority really want to be missionaries and are simply afraid of deputation.

I want to challenge you to be “real, live, full time, church planting, leader training missionaries.”

Let the businessmen be businessmen and let the preachers be preachers! God ordained that they that preach the gospel should live of the gospel! I Corinthians 9:14.

If you really want to be full time in the ministry, go over seas, plant churches, disciple people, and train leaders then let us help you know how instead of running from deputation.

There is a book you can get on how to do deputation. Many people are out on deputation right now and doing very well at it.

There will be more to come so prepare your questions and comments!

About the author

Austin Gardner is pastor of Vision Baptist Church in Alpharetta, GA. Previously he was church planting missionary in Peru for 20 years.

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