Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Only to Safe Places?

In the face of the kidnapping of twenty-three hostages, Korean Christians are re-evaluating whether to take such risks as traveling to places like Afghanistan in the name of Christ. Concerns that evangelical groups are not careful enough in planning such ministry trips, take unnecessary risks, should not send groups to such dangerous areas and are culturally insensitive have been expressed. There is no evidence that the Saemmul Church group was guilty of such behaviour, but South Korean Christians are known for the zeal of their missionaries, as well as the number of people they send overseas on mission trips.

I agree that ministering in dangerous areas like Afghanistan is not something that should be done without due consideration, preparation and planning. This is true of all short term ministry teams but especially in places where the rule of law has a tenuous hold on society or where Christians are viewed with hostility.

However, I would be disappointed if, at the end of the day, South Korean Christians (and others) would conclude that they will only send people to places where it is "safe". It is never safe to follow Jesus and if the world is to be reconciled to God, we need men and women who are prepared to sacrifice life and limb in order to accomplish the purposes of God. Not foolishly, of course, or because of lack of wisdom. But make no mistake; the path of Jesus is the path of the cross. If you only want to minister where it is safe, you cannot follow Jesus and do that.

2 comments:

Michelle said...

Amen!

Adele Konyndyk said...

On a related note - Christianity Today's online poll is asking "Are missions to dangerous places irresponsible?"

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/features/poll.html