The missionary organization Cru has suspended all international travel through July 31.2 The International Mission Board has also recommended the suspension of all volunteer mission trips through the month of June.3 Lifeway Christian Resources is cancelling mission projects for the Summer of 2020.4
Many are wondering what effect COVID-19 will have on volunteer rates for missions moving forward.1 Will the financial toll of the global pandemic cripple the work of missions? Will Christians be comfortable traveling to other countries to proclaim the gospel?
One of ICR’s core principles is a commitment to the great commission. In fact, the work of creation science is crucial for this work:
“Each believer should participate in the “ministry of reconciliation” by seeking both to bring individuals back to God in Christ (the Great Commission)”5
Christians can be assured that God is capable of overcoming such adversity. Two points are instructive in this regard. First, missionaries both domestically and internationally are still having an impact for the cause of Christ. Recently, the Southern Baptist organization Send Relief has completed projects in over 40 nations.6
Christians across the nation are no doubt ministering to their neighbors. Though we may not hear each individual story, God often works through the humble and faithful witness of His people.
Second, God often uses providential circumstances to refine and reposition his people. When Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, they had no idea the ways in which God would bless them through Joseph’s presence in Egypt. What man meant for evil, God meant for good.7 Hundreds of years later, the Israelite exodus from Egypt would serve as a critical story of God’s saving love and deliverance.
Likewise, the Apostle Paul’s series of imprisonments were used by God to proclaim the gospel. With this in mind, could it be that the temporary hindrance of missions will be used by God in ways that we cannot imagine? Is it possible that what looks like chaos to the world will truly be used for good?
Christians should be encouraged to ponder the ways in which God providentially orders His world in order to further the proclamation of the Son of God. The story of redemption teaches us to trust that God is faithful even in the midst of tribulations.8
1. Roach, D. Canceled Mission Trips Expected to Have Long-Term Fallout. Christianity Today. Posted on christianitytoday.com March 22, 2020, accessed May 19, 2020.
2. About page. Cru. Posted on cru.org, accessed May 19, 2020.
3. McGowan, J. IMB postpones volunteer trips through June 30, personal ‘shelter in place.’ IMB. Posted on imb.org March 25, 2020, accessed May 19, 2020.
4. Pipes, C. LifeWay to discontinue World Changers projects amid COVID-19. Baptist Press. Posted on bpnews.net May 1, 2020, accessed May 19, 2020.
5. Tenets page. Institute for Creation Research. Posted on ICR.org, accessed May 19, 2020.
6. Elrod, B. Send Relief global COVID-19 response reaches 45 nations. IMB. Posted on imb.org April 30, 2020, accessed May 19, 2020.
7. Genesis 50:20.
8. 1 Peter 4:19.