Ghana (MNN) – Christians in Ghana are scrutinizing their church security plans in light of the recent terror attacks on Burkina Faso’s Christian community.
In the last four weeks, Islamic extremists targeted four churches and killed four church leaders, among other Christians. Burkina Faso’s government blames cells connected to the al Qaeda insurgency coming in from neighboring Niger and Mali.
Burkina Faso’s problem could quickly become Ghana’s problem. Voice of the Martyrs USA spokesman Todd Nettleton explains, “We’re seeing the attacks in Burkina Faso, and again, specifically targeting Christian churches or Christian gatherings in Burkina Faso. Ghana is just to the south of Burkina Faso and they look at that and say, ‘Could that happen here?'”
The idea that Ghana could face this kind of terrorism bumps up against the idea that the country has been a haven for hundreds of Christian ministries. Nettleton agrees. In the scope of persecution, “It’s not a place that we typically talk about. In fact, according to the CIA, it’s 71 percent Christian, so it’s not a place where the majority is Muslim or anything like that. It’s a majority Christian nation.”
Open Doors USA noted in the most recent coverage of the May 26 attack in Burkina Faso that the Body of Christ is in a state of panic over the violence. However, Nettleton says, “Christians in Ghana, especially in the northern part of the country, are already thinking about, ‘How do we protect our churches? How do we protect our services? What do we need to do to be ready if radical Islamic terrorist groups cross the border from Burkina Faso and come into our country?'”
Evaluating security and suspicion
An article by Quartz Africa states that Ghana is in a state of alert over security concerns. Nettleton says it’s not quite to the point of urgent action, but, “They’re thinking about it. They’re talking about it. They’re looking, physically, at their church buildings. ‘How do we protect this? How do we be more aware of who’s coming and going from our services? What do [we do] when someone we don’t know brings a backpack to church on Sunday? How are we going to respond to that?'”
Praying for wisdom
Specifically, Nettleton says the response is in a planning and assessment stage. Ghana also stepped up border patrols and entered into security discussions with a council of Christians to discuss terrorism.
As far as the churches go, “So far, we have not seen an attack there, but they are certainly aware of the possibility, and they’re beginning to prepare themselves from both a spiritual standpoint and a security standpoint.”
The danger, he adds, is that fear can also breed suspicion. “We can pray for that spiritual openness to see the needs of the people who are coming in the door and not see through the eyes of suspicion, but see through the eyes of Christ that says, ‘I love this person, I died for this person.'”
Nettleton shares one last piece of advice on how to interact with this unfolding scenario. “We’ve seen these attacks in Burkina Faso that really sprung up very quickly. Let’s be aware of what’s going on in Mali, what’s going on in Niger, and be in prayer for the Church there. Let’s not wait until there are attacks to pay attention to what’s going on in Ghana. Let’s pray now. Let’s pay attention now.”
Header image/screen grab courtesy of Prayercast.