About the author


Ben Kwok

Ben is part of a church plant team establishing the Rouse Hill Church. He holds a Master of Divinity degree. Ben and his wife Diahanna live in Sydney, Australia with their four young children.


  1. avatar

    Robert Apps

    KJV one week, Calvinism the next, and then the real controversy…deputation! :)

    seriously, I agree that deputation serves a good vetting process these days.

    But what about all the time, travel costs involved with deputation? Are there any ways of letting our technology assist with defraying some of these things to get missionaries out faster on the field?

  2. avatar

    Ben Kwok

    Perhaps if the missionary candidate and his sending church can present a strong case for the mission via DVD or internet, then a like-minded church could provide support without needing a visit.

    In my agency, we’re currently looking at ways to reduce time in deputation. There are quite a few factors, with opportunities to be innovative.

  3. avatar


    There certainly is a way for missionaries to get to the field more efficiently Robert. Churches could take on far less missionaries for far more support. That has the added benefit of churches owning their missionaries (as in “they are our missionaries to care for, this church is responsible for them”), and hopefully a resultant increase in the level of care in the many other facets of support. Also, the missionary wouldn’t have to travel as far or as long on furlough.

    Neal Pirolo’s book “Serving as senders” has some excellent thoughts on the whole process.

  4. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Wow Ben. You have hit on a controversial one.

    Personally, I feel that modern “deputation” is a scourge on the mission movement. If a missionary spends two years on pre-field service, four years on the field, a year on furlough, followed by another four year term and one year furlough, we find that before his third term of ministry begins, he will have spent fully 33% of his time doing something besides the work he is being paid to do.

    If he has a salary of US$70,000 (including averages of special offerings for tickets, setup, etc.), then before he sets out on his third term, the Church of Jesus Christ will have spent more than a quarter million dollars paying a man to do something besides what they sent him to do. And the worst part is, he wants to be doing the work he was sent to do.

    Multiply this by 5,000 missionaries and divide it by the 12 years in the scenario and you see that the Church spends easily over 100 million dollars every year on pre-field and mid-field ministry. Of course many missionaries spend far longer than this on pre-field service and many earn more money.

    I don’t know the best solution. I think lumpy’s solution is the best that has been put forward so far. But I don’t think we can afford to keep doing what we’re doing. I would think 3-6 months of post-preparation (education, internships, etc.) and pre-field service would be more than adequate to gain the benefits you mention without wasting valuable time and resources.

    I suspect Hudson Taylor would have agreed.

  5. avatar


    I wonder if simply having one local church commit to supporting one family to plant a church somewhere might avoid much the problems raised in the article and discussion.

    In the same way that a local church might financially support an assistant pastor – why not support a church-planting pastor?

    (Also, a $70,000 salary for a missionary!? You’ve got to be kidding! I reckon that would be nearly twice what a pastor in independant circles earns!)

  6. avatar

    Jason Harris

    PJ, There are many factors.

    Currency conversion, medical insurance, travel expenses, airline tickets, love offerings, special offerings, passport/visa fees, container expenses, mission projects, set-up expenses, gifts in kind, mission agency fees, etc.

    While I agree that the average missionary might live on something closer to US$35,000, the combined average of all investment in that missionary is probably not as far from $70,000 as some might think.

    Perhaps others have insights on this…

  7. avatar


    I don’t know anyone who thinks deputation today is ideal, but in the meantime, candidates will still need to raise at least some funds. I’m simply describing the reality within independent churches. This is unavoidable but God is still faithful.

    The missionaries themselves are the ones most aware of the problems with deputation. Sometimes they meet churches who understand the issue and will support them properly. But not all churches have a solid grasp of missiology (or ecclesiology!), and many churches are not financially able to contribute substantially to mission work after meeting their own expenses. Again, God is still faithful.

    I want to encourage potential mission workers to trust God to provide, through whatever means He uses. Raising support is one way. Both candidates and churches can improve in this area.

    I think prospective missionaries should understand the challenges of raising support, yet we should also recognise God’s ability to provide, despite the shortcomings in the process.


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