A Hazardous Journey

CCC is a church-plant in one of the most economically and spiritually depressed regions in America: the Detroit Metro Area of Southeast Michigan. Specifically, we are working to establish a multi-racial church in Dearborn, a city in Michigan’s most politically liberal county, bordered by Detroit on three sides and yet plagued by a history of open racism; a city deeply entrenched in traditional religiosity including the most densely populated Muslim communities in the USA. Dearborn is a city in great need of the gospel.

Perhaps you know the story of Ernest Shackleton’s recruitment ad for his Antarctic expedition (1914-1916). Many biographers of Shackleton have highlighted this ad as a fragment of history. Others debunk it as myth.[1] The earliest record of the Shackleton ad appears in Carl Hopkins Elmore’s 1944 book, Quit You like Men. Elmore recounts that

Sir Ernest Shackleton when he was about to set out on one of his expeditions, printed a statement in the papers, to this effect: “Men wanted for hazardous journey to the South Pole. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success.” In speaking of it afterward he said that so overwhelming was the response to his appeal that it seemed as though all the men of Great Britain were determined to accompany him.[2]

True or not, one thing is not debated: that Shackleton led 28 men through a test of endurance and survival, facing life and death circumstances daily, in one of the most savage regions of the world, without losing a single soul. Two Thousand years earlier, Jesus called his disciples to a life of personal sacrifice, circumstantial difficulty, and even the potential of danger for the sake of the gospel and his Father’s Kingdom - an eternally more valuable and certain reward than “honor and recognition in case of success.” Jesus also promised not to lose a single soul.

And he called to him the crowd with his disciples and said to them, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life? (Mark 8:34-37)

In the style of the Shackleton ad legend, but for the greater glory of God in obedience to Jesus Christ, I submit to you my own ad:

Men, women, and families of all races and all ages wanted for hazardous ministry in Dearborn, Michigan. Must raise support or find a job, long winters of bitter cold, neighborhoods of complete spiritual darkness, frequent danger. Christ’s return hopeful. Honor and glory to God certain with ultimate eternal success.

Followers of Jesus, would you pray about joining us in this hazardous journey? Call: Jonathan Swift at 313-720-3031 or email: jonathantswift@gmail.com . Serious inquiries only.

[1] See “Discerning History” at http://discerninghistory.com/2013/05/shackletons-ad-men-wanted-for-hazerdous-journey/

[2] Carl Hopkins Elmore, Quit You like Men, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1944) 53.