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Originally written by Marina Bromley

A few times a year, our church hosts a class they call “Crossing Cultures 101.” It’s a required course for anyone that wants to go on a church led mission trip, and a good idea for the church body, in general, to take to get a good foundation in East/West culture differences and God’s plan for missions.

One of the features of this class, is that there are several “teachers” or “facilitators” that speak on different facets of missions and their personal experiences over the 1/2 day course. This past time, Mark Whited, Campus Minister with SCF at UE (Evansville, IN) spoke, and it really impacted me and my realization to the part that FEAR is playing in our church(es) in America.

One statement in particular went something like this; “Fear is becoming an idol in the American church.”

“What?? How can this be?? Especially in relationship with missions??” were things that went through my mind. Being involved as a parent in Team Expansion’s “Tapestry” ministry (for parents and family members of Team Expansion’s workers), I frequently saw FEAR play a part when adult children expressed a desire to go into missions. Parents, grandparents, and even aunts and uncles, are not afraid to voice their “concerns” over their child/grandchild/neice/nephew going to a “dangerous” part of the world. We don’t mince words AT ALL when it involves taking our younger grandchildren along for the ride! It seems we’ll stop at nothing to try to persuade them from “robbing us of this joyful time in life” – getting to see their grandchildren raised within the presumed safety of our U.S. borders. I understand their concerns, but I don’t agree with them. I KNOW that if God brings us TO it, He will bring us THROUGH it!

But as a church, the body of Christ, how have we bowed down to this idol??

I believe that we (collectively, as “the church”) often react to workers’ call to a foreign land with too much concern, and not enough faith. We question motives, we selfishly hold back funding, and often try to talk people out of what God has ordained.

And how can it be that we are willing to PRAY for the unreached people groups of the world, and yet NOT willing to SEND or, if God leads US, not willing to GO?? Is it FEAR that is keeping us from doing what God is leading?

Oh Lord,  may we be willing to sit in Your presence and discern Your voice, to know what Your will is, and to know words of wisdom and encouragement for others in their calling….help us as we practice NO FEAR in our lives, as You lead us, placing people in our paths, show us how to pray, encourage, equip and to walk in faith – no matter where You lead!! (amen)

Linda Epeards

Author Linda Epeards

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