Posted on Apr 17, 2015 by Jim Blake | Comments (0)
1184 page visits since it was published 3 years, 11 months ago
WARNING: This message challenges conventional thinking on short term mission trips so if you don't believe in being challenged, please ignore this message and read no further
Now that we are done with the disclaimers, I will go forward on the assumption that since you are still reading, you are open to being challenged, and willing to rethink the issue of short term mission trips.
Personally, I have been involved with and around churches and various para-church organizations and spoken to thousands of people regarding faith and values, over the years, both locally and overseas. I was raised in the church from birth and have been involved with and around many denominations during that time (I am now 43 years old). So mission funds, trips, and church programs are something I am quite acquainted with.
Concerned Christians Canada has been regularly involved in overseas missions work through helping indigenous ministers with desperately needed resources, like basic necessities, we as North Americans take for granted (for example food, shelter, clothing, Bibles, transportation, education, land for ministry work, etc).
Now that you know a little about me and about CCC, in relation to this topic, I would like to submit a little food for thought. At CCC, we get ongoing requests from Christians, all around the world, for desperately needed help. Many are in areas that have been heavily impacted either by natural calamities or due to life threatening persecutions for living their faith. We get far more requests than we can afford to service (and that's an understatement).
In North America, there is a kind of mentality relating to short term mission trips that seems more like mission flavored tourism and children's "growth" trips than a dedication to sincerely use God's resources to the greatest advantage to the people who need them the most. Can we take a minute to sincerely, as Jesus said, count the costs?
To fly round trip to Africa, India, South America, etc, to pay for your other travel expenses and your mouth to feed for the time that you are there, not to mention travel insurance and any other costs, tallies up to thousands of Canadian dollars, and that's just the getting there and living there during the trip. So without accomplishing a single thing, for the Kingdom of God, thousands are spent. These are all funds not going toward provide even basic necessities to the impoverished who will literally die without them.
May I submit, that if you need an opportunity to serve the less fortunate, look around your own city and go and serve and preach the gospel to the lost and spiritually destitute that surround you in your lives every day (your non-believing relatives, your co-workers, your neighbors, your boss, your cashier at the store, etc). Show your nobility, by saving the money, you would spend on a mission trip and directly fund indigenous ministers and ministries overseas that are begging for resources all the time due to lack of supply. To be sure, these ministries have a record of being very efficient with funds, since the people running them have had to live with almost nothing for so long, they know how to make a dollar stretch and don't need the pampering North Americans are accustomed to.
Day in and day out, they pray for supply and provision and ask us why we can't provide them more help (not because they are greedy but because there is such a desperate need for resources, with so many poor and impoverished people coming to them all the time). Do you have any idea how disheartening that is for us who are doing all we can to help? Our family literally sacrifices entertainments, trips, and luxuries to help them and others and wish we could do more, but lack the funds to do it.
One ministry, we are working with, recently had all of their volunteers and homeless people fast for 10 days from their rice diets so that they could afford to have a "feast" (one meal with some more healthy food, like fruit and vegetables, to help them get stronger - many struggling due to only having enough rice for one meal a day and no other food to accompany it).
Here are a couple of examples of ministries we work with. One of them, (an evangelist and helps minister) can feed a family for $50 CAD (not an amazing diet but it keeps them from starving, which is what they do otherwise). Another indigenous ministry (an orphanage) we work with in another country can feed all of their volunteers and people they serve (about thirty people) for three weeks on $100 CAD. You see how lean they can run things? (and of course the currency exchange helps)
Now, let's go back to the cost for one person to go on a mission trip, and ask, "is this really the best use of resources?" Let's set the price of a mission trip at $2000 CAD per person, for the sake of a round number for our calculation (for travel, food, and accommodation, etc expenses). Let's figure out how many people won't get fed, clothed, cared for, housed, etc because you or your child had that luxury?
Let me do the math with the numbers from the orphanage mentioned above. If 30 people can be kept from starving 3 weeks on $100 CAD, in that country:
$2000 divided by $100 = 20
20 x 30 people
600 people fed for 3 weeks
Did you see the math? 600 people could have been kept from starving for three weeks just by you staying home and ministering to people in your own city. Let's do a little more math...
52 weeks divided by 3 weeks = 17.3
So, the simple math is that if 18 people would give up their overseas mission trip and would minister locally, over 600 people could be saved from starvation for a year. What could be accomplished if the body of Christ would get serious personally about local ministry and overseas support? I tell you, our country would look very different than we have today and just like the apostles overturned the world, so could thousands of dedicated Christians across Canada change our world.
Some more number calculations...
18 people ministering locally and donating their mission trip money times $2000 = $36,000
That's half of what one of our connected ministries needs to finish their refuge, for persecuted Christians to run to. They saved up funds and bought land that God opened a door for, now they need buildings to house people, to provide for medical needs, to store supplies, etc.
Just 36 people willing to selflessly donate the very same amount they would have spent on an overseas mission trip could provide the resources to finish the Christian refuge and provide safety for families running from persecution. On top of that, these ministries preach the gospel, day in and day out, despite facing extreme muslim persecutions, in many countries, for doing so. Will you do that on your mission trip? Will your child do that, if they were the one going on the mission trip? Even if the answer, truthfully, is yes, that you would preach the gospel without compromise, there are still many people who will quite simply die because you "had to go" yourself to do what people on the ground in these countries are already sacrificially doing day after day.
Question: Are we willing to give our finances without expectation of any entertainment, any experience, any personal benefit, but purely sacrifice the same amount we would have spent on a short term missions trip and give it directly to the ministers, the doctors, the nurses, the well builders, the people running shelters and orphanages, for the resources they need to run their operation? Or, do we just want another, pardon me for saying so, self indulgent experience that makes us feel like we are making a huge impact rather than freely giving sacrificially to aide our brothers and sisters who literally have nothing?
To wrap this up. Please pray and reflect on what I just brought before you. If you are interested in getting involved with directly funding overseas ministries, let us know. CCC is trying to put together an indigenous ministries registry geared at connecting supporters with truly hard working ministers that are doing great work who are lacking resources to do the job God has called them to.
Also, If you are willing to support the establishment of the registry and the accountability mechanisms we want to put in place, please click donate on the button below and help us out. CCC is stretched very thin financially and we ourselves could use help, but will continue the work even if we don't get it. God will make a way one way or the other. Either way, please consider direct funding overseas ministers and ministries and dedicate your ministry efforts locally so that God's funds can be put to maximum effect.
Donate to the Indigenous Ministries Registry Project:Concerned Christians Canada is not able to give charitable receipts, but your donation will go exclusively to creating the Indigenous Ministries Online Registry allowing Christian ministries and those who want to donate directly to them to get connected together and work together for the Kingdom of God. There are people all over the world doing good work for God's Kingdom and His glory who need financial and prayer support and connecting you with them removes the middle man and ensures that as much as it is possible funds donated help the people in need without extra overhead.Business Owners
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