As churches everywhere struggle over how to maintain ministry (either by firing staff or by cutting programs), the global Church as Peacemaker needs to realize a sobering statistic that may call for further sacrifice on our parts: missions to third-world countries
The scariest statistic to come down the economic pike in recent months? Not the ILO’s prediction of 51 million unemployed worldwide in 2009. Not China’s estimate of 20 million migrant workers in that country having lost their jobs. Not the projections of first quarter U.S. economic contraction passing the Fourth Quarter’s 3.8 percent contraction at a trot. It’s the Institute for International Finance’s estimate that net private sector capital flows into the emerging world will fall in 2009 to one fifth their 2007 levels. That’s, right, an 80 percent reduction in private sector cash into a group of fragile countries for whom such cash is the peace-keeper, the hope-giver.
Oh my. Often it is the financial incentives that businesses offer that keep nations from fighting. Without this capital, violence is surely to increase.
Can the Church’s missions and money possibly fill this gap and save thousands (if not millions) of lives? If so, why aren’t we doing it? Suddenly my church budget seems petty in the face of such a giant problem.