The following are questions that I sent in to Austin Gardner to be answered on his “Leadership with Vision” podcast. He answers these questions in the podcast below:
Answers Podcast #1: Persecution
Answers Podcast #2: Missions In Creative Access Countries
Answers Podcast #3: The 007 Missionary And Tent Making Ministry
Answers Podcast #4: Boldness In The Mission Field
Thank you for taking the time to answer all the questions that I send you. Your answers are always a tremendous help to me as I try to think things through. This time I want to ask you questions concerning the topics of persecution, fear, and boldness. I think this is an appropriate topic at this time since two of our friends were recently deported from a closed country. I think their example can help me, and others think through how missions in closed countries can be done.
What is bible persecution? What is not considered persecution? Is persecution only real if it includes violence? Should we avoid persecution? Should we seek persecution? What are reasons that people will suffer persecution?
Should missionaries work in closed countries? What are some respectable ways for missionaries to enter closed countries?
What about tent-making in a closed country?
Sometimes working in a closed country is financially advantageous and easy way to obtain a visa but takes up a lot of your time, whereas, going in as a tourist (or a non-working visa) cost lots of money, visas are harder to get, and usually multiple border runs are required but you have more free time, which do you think is best? Why?
What caution needs to be taken into consideration when going to a closed country as a missionary? I know that you and I have both heard and experienced many things concerning the caution one should take, what areas do you think there needs to be caution and what areas are overemphasized or wrong?
What do you think about a missionary to closed countries use of media (prayer letters, prayer cards, internet, email, social media, etc.)?
How can one be cautious and yet wise? How can he be cautious yet bold? How can he be cautious yet obedient?
Should one speak in code? Should one say, “J” instead of Jesus so people do not know whom he is talking about? Should one shy away from using “Bible Words” so that people will not discover that he is a Christian?
Should one encourage national believers to just “believe in their hearts” but conform to the world on the outside so people won’t persecute them? Should believers hide that they are Christians? Should one deny Christ to avoid persecution? How much can one deny before crossing the line of denying the faith?
Should we not tell people we are ministers of the gospel, pastors, missionaries, etc.?
How afraid should a missionary be to go to a closed country? Is fear a biblical concept? How do we keep fear out of out lives? What causes people to fear? How does people’s “concerns” often cause fear in missionaries?
Fear is usually a battle of the mind and heart, what can we do to overcome fear? What if I live in a scary place? What if all the other missionaries I am around are scared and it rubs off on me, what should I do?
What is biblical boldness? What does it mean to be bold with the gospel? What does boldness in a closed country look like? What are bible examples of boldness that are instructive to us today?
When ministering in the country, what are nonnegotiable? What are things we should do no matter the cost? What things are just methods that can change from country to country?
Serpents and Doves
Many people justify the way they do things using Matthew 10:16, can you give your thoughts about what you think this verse means? What is the context? What does it mean to be wise as a serpent? What does it mean to be harmless as a dove? What would the disciples of thought after hearing Jesus say this to them?
What are ways to encourage those going to closed countries and not discourage them? What are ways to encourage those going through persecution? What are ways to encourage your church if they were being persecuted? What are ways to encourage missionary wives?
Once a person is deported from the country for preaching the gospel, what should he do next? Should he stop being in the ministry? Should he look for opportunities in the States? Should he find a group of people who speak the same language as his previous country and try to reach them? Should he choose a new country and learn a new language? Should he find a country that speaks the same language? Should he try to find alternative ways to re-enter the country he was deported from? Should he try to establish a border ministry so the people he was training can come there and get more training?