Missionaries working in closed countries have become one of today’s most influential forces of causing Christians to fear and lack the boldness they need to preach the Gospel. It is a great controversy in missions on how “open” a preacher of the Gospel should be based on actually or possible danger or rebuff. Missionaries are surrendering their lives to take the Gospel to the least reach people groups in the world and once they do, a wave of ungodly fear sweeps over them from other missionaries and mission organizations. Their vision of doing great things for God is parlayed by fear whether the threat is real or imagined and they live being afraid (even while they are in America raising their funds and then it intensifies once they hit the field).
Once missionaries fall into this trap of living a life of fear, they start believing lies that keep them from wholly following the Lord. Here are a few lies they start believing:
- You can’t really start a local church. That many people gathering together would draw too much attention and therefore church-planting is impossible in my country.
- Preaching the Gospel is a great idea but what if I talk to the wrong person and they find out we are the “M” word. Then we are doomed.
- We can’t do ministry because if we do then we will be kicked out of the country and if we are kicked out then we can’t do ministry in the country God has called us to.
Here are a few other things missionaries do out of fear:
- Use code words instead of Bible words.
- Use a false names for the entire family.
- Will not put their picture on a prayer card.
- Ask churches to not post their prayer letters or cards in their church.
- Not associate with a missionary that is too “open.”
- Write coded letters and emails.
- Freak out about their name, picture, etc. on the internet.
- Won’t tell people (even Americans) what country they serve in.
Missionaries become unknown representatives for the Lord Jesus Christ. I am not speaking as unknown in the sense of being a humble servant of the Lord but unknown by the people whom they have given their lives to reach (because of fear).
But where did all of this come from? The Bible? Is this right? Is this what we see in the book of Acts? No, it is not! We see Paul who after being stoned and left for dead, get up and continue preaching the Gospel (Acts 14:19-21). We see the apostles beaten and commanded not to speak in the name of Jesus and yet daily in the temple and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ (Acts 5:40-42).
In the midst of adversity, be BOLD! This is a plea to stand up and be the man of God. Trust in the Lord. Don’t fall into the trap of fear but do what the Lord has called you to do. If not, then we are just taking steps backwards in evangelizing the world and reaching the unreached!
Let me end with this quote:
“Six Exhortations for ‘Green’ Missionaries:
1. Fear God and you need not fear man.
2. Never lose your confidence in the Gospel.
3. Believe God.
4. Be ready to preach, pray, or die at a moment’s notice.
5. It is an honor to suffer dishonor, disgrace, or discomfort for His sake.
6. Learn to look at each situation from God’s perspective.”