Typically, the deputation process requires an active missionary website that can provide supporters and candidate churches with updates while also acting as an information lifeline between you and your supporters.
Once in the field, your website needs may actually slow down except for updates and posts about your experiences.
For sure, your website will serve as a newsletter archive, a photo gallery of your surroundings and the people you’re ministering to, and a repository for a healthy supply of prayer requests.
Here are some in-depth functions for consideration when setting up your missionary website.
Does Your Website Need to Rank During Deputation?
Why is this important? If you need to be found in search results, such as when people are searching for your name (and they don’t know your website address), you’ll need a 30-120 day window from when your website goes live with its content.
Granted, your site can still be found long before then if people know your exact web address. Your web address shows your content the minute it’s on a web server.
Website Updates and Maintenance
Will you be updating the website yourself?
Faith Builders provides two powerful missionary website options: Our first option provides webinar training in 3 sessions totaling under an hour, for those who want to take the reins and update at their convenience.
We also offer an option where we provide all updates and maintenance based on content you provide.
Considerations: access to wi-fi / cellular service while on the road or in the field. Faith Builders’ website training is provided using video webinars and is accessible online 7/24/365 days a year, and is available with both options.
Is your support level something you wish to share? You can illustrate this with a simple horizontal graph. This kind of transparency will help your presentations as candidate churches follow up with you by checking with your website. As your numbers grow, your support and buy-in will grow! Nothing accrues success like seeing others are supporting your cause; you’re validated by the support of others who see your cause as a worthy investment toward fulfilling the Great Commission.
Travel Itinerary Posted
Additionally, your travel circuit can help churches along the way see your schedule and itinerary. Sharing a tour map will help candidate churches schedule you in for presentations.
Your vision for your missionary effort is perhaps your main talking point whenever you’re soliciting supporting churches, and your missionary website should clearly emphasize a real need for what you’re attempting.
Getting your foot in the door to present at churches will be a frequent challenge, so this Mission Statement may need to be condensed to an elevator pitch that you can use to lead the church’s gate keeper (read: pastor) to your website for further clarification.
Bonus points if you can include your mission statement in any video content on your website.
Whether you’re publishing these on your website or keeping them more personally tuned to your mailing list, your prayer requests need to be shared. Sharing your burdens is part of the support contract, and you’ll have needs along the way that may require numerous prayer links and followups.
Those prayers are precious, and our God has provision for even the biggest, most urgent requests. Prayer support is a vital link between missionaries and their supporting churches — your blog, newsletter and emails help keep that network open and alive.
Deputation can place serious demands on your time, but you’ll want to be consistent with your communication schedule nonetheless.
Depending on where you are in your journey to the field, establishing a regular dispatch schedule can create a personal bond between you and your supporters and followers. The earlier you set this schedule and follow through on it, the more you and your supporters will benefit.
They’ll expect updates on your deputation progress, scheduled time of arrival at your ultimate destination, prayer requests along the way, and other information that keeps them abreast of your whereabouts.
Having a scheduled communication process reinforces your connection with home base.
A primary tool for growing your subscription list and sending regular dispatches is MailChimp.
Including an email signup form on your missionary website will help you promote your cause.
Posting your sending church on your missionary website gives instant credibility to your efforts, showing not only your backing but also your previous work experience, faithfulness and testimony.
Your sending church is your main supporter and prayer lifeline, and sharing them with your candidate churches is a great start in communicating your missionary efforts.
Your home base fellow believers are your prayer friends who support you daily.
Regardless of whether your ultimate destination is international or domestic, your ministry affiliation will help open doors.
The umbrella organization responsible for directing your missionary efforts is usually an entity separate from your sending church(es), one with multinational access networks and greater resources.
Your credibility will be much more substantial and transparent when your website shows that you’re operating under the auspices of a credible domestic, international or multinational ministerial agency.
In your pursuit of like-minded supporters, you’ll need to post a thorough Belief Statement on your website. This will be a clearly written, organized group of scripturally-supported beliefs that will ultimately play a major role in opening the door for presentations at churches you’re soliciting for support.
The template can be based on your sending church’s doctrinal statement, with added clarification in any obscure areas.
Letters of Endorsement / Recommendation
Posting letters of endorsement help pave the way for conversations candidate churches may have with your supporters, while also providing a clear picture of the endorser’s statement in advance of any personal communication.
This lays the groundwork for the scope of any discussions, and assures candidate churches that you have legitimate recommendations supporting your efforts. Your endorsers also make their statements public, which promotes transparency in assessing your qualifications and validates your requests for support.
Contact Information and Response Times
If there is a schedule where you’re booked solid or in a foreign land with limited communication, you’ll want to share that with your site visitors who may be trying to contact you or are awaiting a response from you. If there is a lag between email and response or voicemail and response, you’ll want to indicate waiting times.
Donation Functions and Instructions
Explicit payment instructions are necessary for a number of reasons, especially when ministerial organizations are involved across borders, and should be posted clearly on your missionary website.
With global access to your website, international visitors may require special donation links and/or mail addresses to ensure proper transmission, documenting and appropriating of gifted funds.
Your ministerial agency can help with these specifics.
Video Presentations and Testimonials
Your video testimonial is one of the highest engagement pieces you can provide for your online audience, and especially for your prospective supporting churches.
The content of your video can be anything from personal testimony to strategic plan for your mission to presentation on the purposes behind your request for support.
What’s important is that your audience sees you and your mission as genuine, accountable and capable of achieving such a goal.
Having video content on your website will increase your audience’s time on your site — which helps improve your ranking in search engine results — while also making you accessible to your online audience.
Destination Geography and Background
Let’s say you’re landing in Greenland. Your supporters will want to know about the language spoken, they’ll want photos and background information about the culture, maybe even history about previous missionary efforts in the area.
Missionary JR Wright’s Facts page does a great job of summarizing Greenland’s local geography and climate.
Same with population, dialects, religious data, natural resources, wildlife and scenery. Your audience back home will appreciate you sharing your new world with them!
Calls to Action Increase Website Engagement
Calls to Action allow your online audience to increase their engagement with your website. This also increases your audience’s on-site time which can positively influence your search rankings.
Here are some common calls to action:
A donation button on various pages which takes supporters to the proper donation page with explicit payment instructions — very important. Having your donation page as part of your navigation also helps.
Newsletter signup form. If you plan to send out regular communications, a newsletter signup form will help grow your audience while encouraging buy-in from your site’s visitors and supporters. (You can use MailChimp to manage your subscription list and dispatches.)
Prayer support system: when you build your newsletter, try including a link to your prayer requests page. Same goes for any emails you send on a regular basis. Your Prayer Requests page should be highly trafficked and updated frequently.