The Random Thoughts of a Lutheran Parish Pastor
Thanks for this. I have felt this way since I was in high school and they tried to get me to go. I agree. Just raise the money and send it to the synod's real missionaries. If we want to be more engaged in the ministry, we can now subscribe to missionaries' blogs and learn more about what they are doing etc. That is if we really are interested in knowing what is going on at a particular mission somewhere.
Just raising money and sending it sounds good on paper, but people often aren't going to work so hard for something that is less tangible. I agree though that some mission trips are mainly a vacation. It's a good opportunity to teach about vocation. The video is an overreaction though. Our daughter taught English as a second language on a mission trip in Hong Kong. She now uses that skill to teach ESL classes at her church in Milwaukee to International students from the nearby university. Several of these people have become Christians through this ministry. God can use people in ways we may not anticipate - even people on a mission trip. I would say the video is somewhat uncharitable, and that one should examine the benefits of mission trips as well. Not all mission trips are created equal.
Maybe it is not true of all mission trips but to invest thousands in each youth's "spiritual" rebirth so that they go back home to the same old way of life is not cost effective. There are mission trips and there are missications in which we vacation and make like we are doing great things for God's kingdom at the same time -- and all on someone else's dime.
Well if you're going on a mission trip for a spiritual rebirth, you'd be way better off going to the Divine Service! I would think a mission trip should be primarily about those you're going there to serve.
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