Rethinking the $3,000 Missions Trip | This Is Our City | Christianity Today

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In some ways, however, what is happening with our urban swim team is more the exception than the rule in our city. Some well-meaning Christians have a theology of mission that seeks to alleviate the spiritual and physical suffering of people far away, but pays little attention to needs here at home.

I believe in missions. I also believe in short-term mission trips. Yet the longer I work in the resource-poor inner city, the more frustrated I become with the amount of money God’s people spend on these brief trips. We seem so eager to spend thousands of dollars sending our people overseas for one week without stopping to ask, “Would some of this money be better invested in my own community?”

Every time I hear of another $3,000 short-term mission trip, I think about Dan and Mary, whose ministry to Knoxville’s refugee community is chronically underfunded. I think about the 1,600 meals that the same sum would pay for at our rescue mission. I think about the inner city schoolteacher who dips into her $34,000 salary to pay for pencils and treats. I think of the 83-year-old widow with the $700 winter heating bill, waiting for a new roof she can’t afford. I think about the 50 children of prisoners on the waiting list for the underfunded Amachi mentoring program. I think about the 30 children who have never seen a deer who could go to a Bible camp in the mountains for the same amount of money it takes to send one person overseas for a week. And I think about the starving boy on my swim team.

via Rethinking the $3,000 Missions Trip | This Is Our City | Christianity Today.

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  • I really appreciated this article. I never was able to put it into words, but I always felt odd about the expensive mission trips. In some way, I feel some people go on them more to visit other places of the world and be able to tell people they went on some mission trip. I think there is a time and a place to help others on a completely different continent, but we should not neglect those around us. And don’t let a lack of money prevent you from serving.

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  • Excellent article and painfully true! In addition to the comments already made, I think many people associate mission work in distant places with Mark 16:15 which commands us to go into all the world and preach the gospel; however, I think we can agree that God desires that we do both – minister or in some way care for people both locally and internationally.

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