With all that is happening in the world as of late, I am reminded of the three “cries” often heard in Great Commission security management.
With all that is happening in the Middle East, there is much talk between security managers about relocation, evacuation, and hibernation. Taking prudent steps now toward resilience (go bags, updating contingency plans, communication redundancy, personal tracking, varying patterns and routines, relocation options, etc.) is certainly wise. Honesty, it can be hard work to keep you, your family, and your team safe resilient enough to THRIVE in in these complex security environments.
The question that has to be answered for a Gospel missionary is, will the implementation of new security protocols have significant impact or consequences on ministry? Whether its changing up patterns and routines, canceling regularly scheduled meetings, relocating or evacuating, all of these steps have a tangible impact on ministry. That said, the worst time (or worst way) to make decisions in these situations is in the heat of the moment, driven by emotion that is raw and even twisted by lack of sleep, adrenaline, confusion, or even anger.
Let me be clear: 20+ years of youth and student ministry have taught me that emotions are GOOD! I don’t want to come off as being against emotions. Emotions are tied to repentance and to calling; they drive us to our knees–they get us on our feet. They push us on. But I have seen more than once how emotions can cloud judgement and lead individuals to take risks that lead to tragedy and a loss of hope; in a mission, in a calling, and even in Jesus Himself.
The challenge is helping faith based workers find the balance in their “cries.” I like to boil this down to three distinct cries when it comes to security management and the Great Commission.
The first cry is cry of Isaiah 6:8 “Here am I Lord, send me!” EVERY missionary should be able to resonate with this cry. It’s the call to go; to risk. It’s tied to our desire to stay when things get tough. It is an Ebenezer to harken back to when times get tough. It’s a GREAT battle cry.
But what happens when the situation changes? What happens when the situation changes drastically, and a the same person who cried the call of Isaiah is not prepared physically/spiritually for a significant threat or tragedy? Sadly, more than once I have heard this person’s cry of disillusionment sound like Jesus’ flesh crying out on the cross: “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me???” This is a terrible place to be. Its a place beyond desperation; its a place of disillusionment and disengagement from the mission and even from the Gospel itself. I have seen this happen far too many times–usually after a missionary has stayed somewhere too long and something catastrophic happens. It is a place i don’t wish for any Christian to find themselves.
With the issues in the Middle East as they are today, it’s times like these I pray for missionary security managers to have the opportunity to initiate their own “cry.” I pray for them to cry out with the “voice of wisdom” found in Proverbs 1:20-21. That is to say, I pray that each if us can speak with the authority into the lives of our field workers. It is now that our wisdom and guidance must meet people where they are at. It the kind wisdom Proverbs says “cries aloud in the street, and raises its voice in the markets.” Wisdom that often confronts our field workers is it “cries out at the head of the noisy streets speaks at the entrance of the city gates…” This is the kind of wisdom, spoken to missionaries in the midst of their emotions, that helps level-headed decision making prevail. Its the kind of wisdom that speaks pragmatically to a missionary “time to go,” or even reinforces the need to stay.
This is my prayer for each with responsibilities in security management during this time. I pray that the “wisdom’s cry” would be heard above all the noise as that seems to rise up in times like these.
BUT IF NOT