Does God Really Want Missionaries to Risk Their Lives?

Parsing when doing ministry in the midst of danger is selfish v. selfless.

On Saturday, a gang kidnapped 17 North American missionaries in Haiti as the party returned from an orphanage in a suburb of Port-au-Prince. Since then, the group, known as 400 Mawozo, has demanded a ransom of $17 million for the victims—who include five men, seven women, and five children—and threatened death if the demand is not met. While many locals have been kidnapped in recent years as security on the country’s roads has been increasingly threatened, this incident has drawn significant international attention.

This kidnapping comes roughly two months after US troops withdrew from Afghanistan. America’s departure and the chaos that ensued led many expats, including aid workers and missionaries, to leave the country.

This week on Quick to Listen, we wanted to talk about how Christians in ministry should evaluate risk. What is worth putting our lives on the line for? How do we know when we’re acting selfishly or selflessly?

Anna Hampton is the author of Facing Danger: A Guide Through Risk, which is based on her doctoral dissertation at Trinity Seminary in Newburg. She’s been in full-time ministry for 28 years, more than 17 of those years in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey and other parts of Central Asia and the Middle East. She and her family are now based in the US, but still doing work in Central Asia, so Anna Hampton is a pseudonym.

Hampton joined global media manager Morgan Lee and executive editor Ted Olsen to discuss how the Bible discusses risk, what has shaped Western Christians’ perspectives on this issue, and how saviorism affects how we make these decisions.

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