1. Jesus did not tell us to go only to places where we knew we would be welcome. The Luke 10 model is to go to a place and seek out the person of peace in that place. If there is no person of peace in the place, at all, then leave and move on (shaking the dust off). But one doesn’t want to start with the idea that there’s not even 10.
2. There is a train of thought that says Americans shouldn’t go—we’re not welcome—we should just send money. I resist that train of thought. I think it’s too easy to buy our way out of risk. The Great Commission says nothing about sending money in lieu of going. (I know all about their being senders and goers—I simply say that the default position should not be “send money”).
3. Marti’s absolutely right in saying that many places say don’t start new churches because they’d prefer not to upset the apple cart. Just because the Gospel is disruptive or isn’t immediately welcome is no excuse. Jesus was the rock over which men would stumble and fall. I don’t advocate being purposely divisive or stirring up trouble—but neither should we avoid evangelism if it might be offensive to some.
4. Marti is also right in this: no one is ideal for church planting. Not you, not me, not Americans, not Russians, not Brits, not Chinese, not Koreans, not Somalis. We are all broken, fallen, and there is no “perfect” group for church planting. Some may be better in some situations than others but there will always be challenges.
If no one is going, someone should. It doesn’t matter if they are ideal or not.
Once people are in a place—once they are incarnating the Gospel and being a blessing—they may discover they are more welcome than they ever thought they would be.