I’ve gone to Mexico, Ethiopia, China, Nicaragua, South Africa, Lebanon, and Thailand for trips of a few days to a few years. I’ve tried a lot of different approaches, but here’s what I now bring when I’m crossing an ocean.
Over a hundred years ago, George Pentecost said, “To the pastor belongs the privilege and responsibility of the missionary problem.” It is the responsibility and privilege of pastors to feel the weight of the nations and to fan a flame for the global glory of God in every local church.
I’ve been able to make photographs on the streets of Hong Kong, Dubai, Thailand, and Lebanon this year. I am a photographer, and I love it. But I know all too often the process of taking pictures can inhibit communication and relationships (and thus ministry). Here are some things to think about as you enter another culture and want to take photographs.
Evangelism is much more important than working for justice. Souls are eternal. There’s no hope for change without Christ. This world is going to burn. Justice work trumps evangelism. Hungry people can’t hear the gospel. Christ fought against oppression. Evangelism is a form of cultural neocolonialism. What if it’s both?
Before the beginning, God wrote a story—a story that flowed out of God’s very essence. It’s a story that has involved the generations before us and will weave its way through all the generations to come.