From my time with Faith Works and Fusion, to Concilium today, I have spent more than 20 years teaching, training, and mentoring biblically based safety and security to Christian missionaries and humanitarian workers of all ages. I do not teach these brothers and sisters to wield the sword. Rather through Security In the Context of Ministry (SICM) I teach them to sharpen their minds through biblical safety and security principles that are found in God’s word.
In my training ethos, I hold the Gospel as the highest value; not safety. To do otherwise would, at minimum, be a stumbling block to gospel ministry. Worse, it could become sin as it is easy to root security training in fear and engrain that fear in those I train. It is very hard to share the Gospel with those you fear; and to make the called fearful of those they are called to reach, well, I don’t want to answer to the Lord for how I made people fearful in their obedience….
Instead, I have endeavored to make my training a discipleship tool. The Christian workers I train are daily confronted with the reality of evil, the consequences for foolish actions, and the need for wisdom as they go. Training of this nature helps them to build security into their culture, ethos, and worldview by seeing security as a form of biblical stewardship, and biblical stewardship as a form of worship. This kind of training allows students to better count the cost of obedience to the Great Commission.
I am often asked: “Do you use weapons in Concilium’s training?” Yes I do. These weapons are teaching aids, part of a stress inoculation training process that prepares Christian workers to deal with the potential evils they may face while they walk with the Lord along a dangerous road. Some of the brothers and sisters I train have never seen a real gun outside of movies and TV, and many (MANY…) have misconceptions about firearms that need to be addressed to help them become better and safer workers on the foreign field.
Most of all, I encourage my students to consider what God has been saying to them throughout the course. This is critical because the same Holy Spirit who is with them in the training will also be with them during a critical incident. It is one thing to read the the Lord will never “leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5), but it is an entirely different matter to trust in God’s sovereignty and lovingkindness when facing violence.
I put it in perspective of Romans 12:2 that, through the training, they might no longer be conformed to the pattern of the world when it comes to thinking about safety and security. Rather, I want them to be transformed by the renewing of their minds when it comes to their understanding of personal security and the Gospel. That way they can rightly prove what God’s will is in a crisis; a will that is good for them, acceptable in that situation, and perfect in God’s sovereignty.
Finally, at the end of Stateside courses and those courses consisting of “Western Christian Expatriates” (WCEs), I encourage them, if they get nothing else out of the training, perhaps through their experiences in the course they can better understand how Christians around the world are suffering for the sake of the Gospel. If they can better understand what other believers are facing, perhaps they will be enlightened in their prayer life as they pray and intercede for the those who are persecuted in the church.
As a matter of fact, when I train local believers facing persecution, I don’t ask this question because they are quite often living this experience. Quite often, local believers approach our trainers with gratitude in the form of tears of thanksgiving and deep appreciation for the course – and the fact that we can likely run these courses with materials in their heart language makes it all the more special.
Yes, security training can be a discipleship tool!
Part 3 is coming soon and will cover the need for a comprehensive theology of risk and suffering in SICM.