In a comment on my previous article, Brother Mike said "There seems to be a lack of "go do" in our churches today. At least there is on the local front.
Now if you call for a 'mission trip' to some country whose name is difficult to pronounce everyone seems to jump on board. Why? Because it's the trendy and popular thing to do."
This is an excellent example of the mind-set I am at war with. We have church members allowed to "fall through the cracks" right in front of our eyes because we can not or will not expend the effort because it's laborious, mundane, and (publicly) unrewarding. Fact is: our hearts simply are not in it.
But let come the announcement of that "mission trip" to Mexico, Costa Rica, Alaska, etc, and it's "Sign me up, brother! I want to reach people for the Lord!" (I know in advance that this is a real "rant arena" for me and I'm trying to stifle myself....a bit) Maybe some good comes of these things; I'll allow that I am probably not 100% right on this.......however, I am probably never going to be convinced that in most cases these things are not simply glorified vacations which serve further to assuage the consciences of church members who have never lifted a finger on the home front. Their neighbors are untold; their family is untold; their work associates are untold.....but they want to spend $6000. to go to Timbuktu for a week and "win souls"
And this can be extrapolated (with some loss of accuracy, I'm sure) to entire congregations which "Go For The Glory" They have elaborate, well-promoted, well-funded foreign missions programs. Most all this involves supporting financially men and women already on the field, around the world. The maps are up in the hallway and reports are received regularly. Missionaries on leave come by the "supporting church" and do the slide show....."We're a Missionary Church!"
This same church, it might be noted, has no prison or jail ministry; they have no nursing home ministry; they have no food pantry, kitchen, clothing supply, disaster work crews, homeless care ministry, etc, etc, and ETC. None! Fact is, they have no local outreach at all. This "Missionary Church" says to the community where it lives: "We don't have time or patience to deal with you; we're involved in the Lord's work all over the world."
Please correct me here.....but it looks to me like it boils down to this: "We're a Missionary Church" ain't hittin' a lick except to write the check once a month to fund someone else to do the dirty work....and that does not translate into anything local. I mean, it's hard to send out a missionary to your own town, right? So, we can have this big budget, big annual meeting, and big map on the wall, and we can look really good! The idea of actually gettin' off the pew and out into the streets and talking to real people, even dirty, uneducated, uncouth, people not of "our kind"......now that's a bit much. Don't even talk about going into a nursing home to those smelly, pathetic, mindless old people....or a jail or prison and associating with those people!
"We're a Missionary Church" all right.....just so we can keep it convenient, clean, with lots of acclaim, and maybe even get some time on the beach, huh?