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31 Oct '09

It's too dangerous

Posted by T.J. Addington in missions
Recently, a church that had committed to working with ReachGlobal in a specific country pulled out because when they checked the State Department web site they discovered there was a travel advisory discouraging travel there. The comment was, "It's too dangerous."
I was fascinated by that response. Do we only go to places that are completely safe to do missions? If the answer is yes, we rule out most of the world! It is a good thing that Paul did not operate by that set of rules, or missionaries in the past 2,000 years.

Make a mental list of places where there is danger in our world and then ask, what would happen if we chose not to go because of a perceived danger?

In discussing this situation with a pastor recently he told me of a conversation he had with folks in his own church who were resisting a mission emphasis in a place that also had some danger.

He knew that these individuals supported the US intervention in Iraq. He asked if the danger and sacrifice of the war in Iraq was worth it. "Of course" they said, "it keeps America safe." "So," my friend said, "it is worth it to go to war in Iraq but it is not worth the risk to share the Gospel in (and he named the country)?"

What is the Gospel worth? What risk is acceptable or unacceptable in sharing the Gospel? And if the State Department Advisories - they are ubiquitous - determine where we do or don't go, what would Jesus or Paul have to say about that? They irony is that the country in question is actually a very safe place to work.