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Should churches send short-term mission groups into dangerous or closed countries?

46% Only under certain conditions

  • Yes, if mission groups meet two conditions: They address local needs and obtain the proper government paperwork. They must be both capable and wanted.
  • Not if it were a dangerously closed society, like Saudi Arabia, and the group would be coming in "cold." Yes, if a group is invited by Christians within, and the government tends to look the other way.
  • Only after: (1) Carefully assessing the mission and its stated out comes; (2) planning and training, with the understanding that those going take personal responsibility for their actions; (3) receiving invitations and having partnership agreements with the receiving Christians; and (4) planning for contingencies.
  • Yes, with a caveat: Prepare to be imprisoned or killed.

27% No

  • Short-term missions do more harm than good. The situation is only compounded in closed or dangerous countries.
  • The risk is too great, not only to the missionaries' lives but to the authenticity of their witness.
  • Short-term missionaries have enough to learn without making unintentional mistakes. The sort of work required to share the gospel in these places is anything but short-term.

27% Yes

  • Christians are to go everywhere (Acts 1:8).
  • The Old Testament prophets and New Testament apostles spread the message of Yahweh and the gospel in places they were not supposed to go.
  • Jesus warned us that bearing witness to the gospel involves danger. Sacrifice will be demanded. Lives will be lost.
  • If we are to take the gospel to the entire world as we're commanded, then these kinds of mission efforts are essential.

When such groups go and suffer persecution, how should their government respond?

43% The church should expect ...

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In the Magazine

November 2007

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