Should I Take My Family to a Dangerous Place? - Radical

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Should I Take My Family to a Dangerous Place?

I tend to be a little extreme. If I start to do something, I want to do it all the way. When I start a new hobby, I want to become an expert on its history and learn everything there is to know about the subject. 

When I first started to seriously consider missions as a young single man, it was not long before I was riding on top of a jeep through a failed state amid a civil war to preach the gospel in remote villages, wondering each day whether it would be my last. The Lord was gracious to protect me through real danger and has been patient with me as I have learned and grown.

Sending Families to the Unreached

I wrote some time back about the great value in sending families to the unreached because of the fully orbed witness they can offer. However, we must also be wise. I would offer a particular exhortation to husbands to lovingly consider their own family: their wives, their children, and their capacities as a family. 

We ought to be passionate about seeing the gospel go to the ends of the earth, but husbands, it is no virtue to lead those whom the Lord has entrusted to you into danger for which they are not prepared. 

Some places may be best served by people other than us. There is no shame in recognizing that. We can often be prone to glorify certain kinds of work or certain ministry roles, but when we consider the needs of the unreached, we should be utterly self-forgetful as we consider what our role should be. Many of the most vital and fruitful missionary roles are carried out by brothers and sisters who labor for years and decades in anonymity.

We are not working for our glory or the approval of men but for the glory of God. The Lord will call some of us to serve in dangerous places, but one evidence of that will be unity and readiness in the whole family. 

The Difficulty of Living Among the Unreached

The most unreached peoples are often still unreached because they live in places difficult to access or that present significant physical, political, or other threats to outsiders who would establish a sustained witness among them. If the Lord is leading you to engage people who live in difficult and dangerous places, he will surely be leading your wife and your family as well. 

When there is a family who is unified and prepared for the difficult work of living in a dangerous place to proclaim the good news of Jesus among the unreached, they constitute a formidable force for the cause of Christ. Getting there takes a lot of wisdom, humility, and self-examination, especially for husbands and fathers.

Start by Leading Your Family

Our care for our families is one of the foundational qualifications for ministry (1 Timothy 3:4–5) If you cannot lead your own family with wisdom and sensitivity, then you aren’t qualified to lead a church. If you have a family, the Lord will not call you to something apart from them. 

Our care for our families is one of the foundational qualifications for ministry.

The Lord will give grace to some to go to extremely dangerous or remote places; others will be called to serve the unreached in more densely populated and developed areas. Some will serve by training and developing local leaders who can go more easily to places we cannot. All are called to pray fervently for the advance of the gospel amongst the unreached and to glorify God in whatever situation we are, whether married, parents, empty-nesters, or single.

Enduring Difficulty on the Mission Field

Finally, while there may be difficulties in moving your family to difficult places and it may feel at times that caring for them is an additional burden, it is also true that the Lord can use them to sustain you when you are weak. We have had intensely difficult seasons of ministry where there has been overwhelming discouragement, attacks from the enemy, and false accusations from those we trusted most. 

I cannot express in a short article the gratitude I have to God for the partner, counselor, and best friend I have in my wife. I surely would have burned out or worse were it not for her love, encouragement, and companionship. 

There have been difficult seasons where it felt like our family was the only bright spot or point of hope in life. It will require additional work to care for and carry your family, but by God’s grace, it will also be true that there are seasons when they carry you.

Clyde and his wife have been serving in church planting and theological education among unreached peoples in South Asia since the beginning of 2015 and are parents to three wonderful boys.


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