A Video on Three Profound Topics: Mission Vacations, The Will of God and Chocolate, by Pr. Rossow

This video was passed on to me by one of our missionaries out in the field. If it moves you to support missions the right way you might think about sending money to Lutherans in Africa, LCMS world missions or the missionary of your choice.

 

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.

Comments

A Video on Three Profound Topics: Mission Vacations, The Will of God and Chocolate, by Pr. Rossow — 49 Comments

  1. Wow. How old are you? And the smiley face doesn’t negate the comment. This is simply not a Christ-like way of addressing an issue that may have some validity. And promoting the video and this young person’s way of behaving is just as wrong.

  2. @Pam #6

    Pam, have you been on these “mission” trips? Do you plan to defend them against the charges raised in the video? One issue is how nice he is. Another is how nice you are. I’d rather focus on the issue of whether or not these so trendy “mission” trips are good stewardship.

  3. I am always amazed at the ignorance of critical comments on sarcasm in light of the fact that Jesus calls the Pharisees “white washed tombs,” Paul calls the Galatians “fools,” he also makes fun of the Corinthians and their “super faith,” when Isaiah calls Israel’s evil works soiled menstrual rags, and of course my favorite bit of Biblical humor is the story in Galatians of how Barnabbas’ gentile nature was spied out which most likely happened in the gymnasium (literally means “naked room”) where the boys were working out and it became clear he was not circumcised.

    People who criticize this sort of sarcasm most likely also complain (like all of us) about the lack of men in church taking the lead that God expects of them in the church and in their families. Not being able to handle good, clever, sarcasm is an example of the woosification of the church. Such woosification will only lead to fewer and fewer men in the church.

    Bawdiness is one thing. There is no excuse for being immoral but biting words – calling a thing what it is, even with sarcasm, is Pauline and even Christ-like.

  4. Or….how about Elijah mocking the prophets of Baal as they tried to light their sacrifices. We dare not say that he was off base. Do we?

    This kid cuts to the core like a prophet. Truth hurts sometimes

    For last fifteen years or so I’ve been wondering why this generation of kids, as opposed to all previous generations, appears to be so altruistic and dedicated to helping others. I kept asking questions and no one seemed to know what was behind it. This video tears away the facade and reveals what’s really going on. Many are simply padding their resume’ and crafting their image like so many pols and movie stars. Welcome to the brave new world of hypocrisy which is fostered in this Warhol world where everyone is famous.

  5. All of the long-term missionaries that I have partnered with have shared that the greatest values of mission trips are: (1) the way they encourage the long-term people, who can often feel marooned and forgotten; (2) the way they encourage local congregations toward greater awareness, support, and involvement in international missions, and (3) the way they raise awareness and interest in the mission among the locals that the mission is trying to reach. The long-term LCMS missionary who is helping to plan our church’s Summer Mission trip repeated each of these things to me in a Skype call just yesterday.

    So, we could listen to our folks who are in the field.

    Or we could listen to the over-caffeinated, neo-Luddite college freshman in the size 4T baseball jersey. (Seriously, dude – at least start shopping in the Teens section!)

    Are there mission trip participants who are trendy, self-aggrandizing, and perhaps wrong? Obviously.

    Are there better ways to make this point? Just as obvious. In fact, isn’t a Youtube rant against vague Christian stereotypes just as trendy, self-aggrandizing, and potentially wrong?

  6. @Rob #12

    He he…. Thank you… your comment really added to my understanding

    Perhaps the answer is to do mission trips, but prepare the kids hearts so that they don’t use the experience for the sinful ends that this fellow describes.

  7. Rob,

    I choose the over-caffinated kid because he is right.

    We don’t need kids (both youth and adults) putting up houses and handing out used glasses. Those are fine things. But that is for the Red Cross to do.

    What Jesus asks us to do is baptize and teach to the ends of the earth. That means sending pastors. They are the ones Jesus authorized to baptize and teach.

    The old mission model is correct. The new mission model wastes money that could be used to support baptizing teachers that actaully add to the kingdom of God.

    Give that kid another cup of coffee.

  8. P.S.

    The best missionaries I know never had a “heart for missions.” They simply gave their lives to the calling of the pastorate, got tapped on the shoulder to do something they never thought of doing (mission work) and ended up as lifetime missionaries. One of the best examples of this is Rev. Simijoki’s father (#13 above). In other words, like the best pastors I have known, they came about it despite their own wishes and were dragged into it by the Holy Spirit.

  9. @Rob #12

    Well said. Complete agreement, even with the comment regarding trendy trips. It’s not un-Christ-like to call a spade a spade. There is a way to do it more like Jesus would, one which would be more loving, and more productive…and would not encourage smart-ass, cocky, judgmental attitudes.

    @Pastor Tim Rossow #15

    I am sad for you.

  10. Pastor Tim Rossow :
    P.S.
    The best missionaries I know never had a “heart for missions.” They simply gave their lives to the calling of the pastorate, got tapped on the shoulder to do something they never thought of doing (mission work) and ended up as lifetime missionaries. One of the best examples of this is Rev. Simijoki’s father (#13 above). In other words, like the best pastors I have known, they came about it despite their own wishes and were dragged into it by the Holy Spirit.

    Thank you Pastor Rossow. Our triune God uses so many people that go “kicking and dragging”. Beware those who perhaps are a little too willingly proclaiming that have a “heart for missions”. Not that we should restrain the Holy Spirit’s work, but that a person’s “zeal” be tested by the Word of God.

  11. @Ted Crandall #8

    Yes, I have been on many trips for many years in support of our Lutheran missionaries and ELCK pastors in Kenya and also to care for the needs of those in their communities. Our wonderful foreign missionaries and local pastors have been more than grateful for our continued support and welcome every opportunity they have for us to come and offer our physical labor and our hands of love. We are living the Great Commission through the Great Commandment. Bishop Obare himself has offered his heartfelt thanks for our listening…yes, listening….and answering God’s call upon our hearts to help.

    This boy’s attitude is over-generalized and more hurtful to the Kingdom than helpful. Find a way to get your point across without tearing down your fellow Christians. All it does is tell the world we can’t even be loving toward one another, and solidifies their opinion that we’re hypocritical, and no reflection of our loving God and Savior.

  12. @Pam #17

    Re: “There is a way to do it more like Jesus would,…”

    Like this?:

    Matt. 7:4, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

    Matt. 15:7-9, “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, 8 ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me.” 9 ‘But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’”

    Matt. 23:13, “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from men; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.”

    Matt. 23:15, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites…”

    Matt. 23:16-17, “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obligated.’ 17 “You fools and blind men; which is more important, the gold, or the temple that sanctified the gold?”

    Matt. 23:23-24, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24 “You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!”

    Matt. 23:25, ““Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!”

    Matt. 23:27-28, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 “Even so you too outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

    Matt. 23:29, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!”

    Matt. 23:33, “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how shall you escape the sentence of hell?”

    Mark 12:38-40, “Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places, 39 and chief seats in the synagogues, and places of honor at banquets, 40 who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation.”

    Luke 11:40, “You foolish ones, did not He who made the outside make the inside also?”

    Luke 11:43-44, “Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the front seats in the synagogues, and the respectful greetings in the market places. 44 “Woe to you! For you are like concealed tombs, and the people who walk over them are unaware of it.”

    Luke 11:52, “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.”

    Luke 12:1, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”

    John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father…”

    John 8:49, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me.”

    John 8:55, “and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I shall be a liar like you, but I do know Him, and keep His word.”

  13. A quarter of a century ago I was a youth minister and the congregation I served in St. Louis had a tradition of mission trips. This mission trips were domestic but we would raise money by selling fruit in order to rent the bus and usually head east. It was fun and exciting. I also had a stint in St. Louis of delivering AV materials to Title 1 classrooms to Roman Catholic schools on the north side of St. Louis. At that time, the north side of St. Louis was not nice. I could not help but thinking, This area could be ripe of a mission ‘trip’ on a much more regular basis. For instance: How about Philadelphia Urban Ministries for youth groups on the east coast? No, not as exciting as going overseas…or even half-way across our nation. Now without a doubt, going overseas for a mission trip is greatly encouraging to the Church there as has been attested. But our young man in the video has tapped into something that I had to laugh at because those were the same attitudes I had with our mission trips of yore. But he also tapped into something that was heard on Ash Wednesday, in regards to alms giving, read: giving to the poor, “don’t let your right hand know that your left hand is doing”. And do not, please do not blow your horn about it (Matthew 6: 2). I am suspicious of the “look at me I/we are fulfilling God’s will”. Then I have my reward.

  14. I have an idea: how about asking a career missionary to comment on the video? How about asking your “Steadfast in the City” blogger to give his comments and critique?

    I think I can predict what they’ll say: short-term teams, badly done, can be all the things the video blogger lampooned. Short-term teams, properly done, can be a great blessing to the missionaries, to the mission work, and to the sending congregation.

    But, don’t take my word for it. All of you (editors and commenters) have the ability to contact a career/long-term missionary – contact them and ask them the value/danger of short-term teams.

    Meantime, we can all agree that Paul and Jesus both had harsh words for those who opposed the giving of the true gospel. Could we also all agree that both Paul and Jesus sent out short-term missionaries (i.e. the sending of the Twelve, the placement of Titus, etc.) and stop trying to paint all efforts with the same brush?

  15. Rob,

    I work in the city. Short term teams require lots of time and effort of which those of us actually doing work in the city do not have.

    You want to help us do mission, do not send in teams, help us get off the ground the calling of a Hmong pastor and a deaconess. We actually have plans for one to be self supportive by year 3 the other, pastor, starting two additional parishes by year six.

    I also know many over seas missionaries besides being a friend of Dr Detlev Schulz at the seminary in Fort Wayne. I am confident, most if not all will say, that financial support is way more helpful than any teams you send. It causes way more time and effort away from their work than it is worth!

    Finally, do support Lutherans In Africa. The Rev James May is doing work that us simply incredible under God’s guidance.

    What do people think of the millions our synod is trying to raise for the LMI project? Where is it possible to pinpoint any Gospel proclamation with that multi million dollars effort (50 or so million)?

  16. Nathan, I see similar effects in the cities in CA where I live and grew up. I remember a “Christ in the City” team coming to our church when I was in high school to run an outreach VBS and do some service work. At the end of the week they had a short program as part of our divine service. They talked about their faith–they had grown up in churches but never caught on or something, and how it had deepened at some point, the effects that that had, and how they had changed. The reason this is so vivid to me is that at least one and maybe several of them talked about having been racist, and how their newfound faith in Christ led them to change that. They sounded so condescending, like now they were able to be kind to their inferiors or something. We were an integrated urban Lutheran church and school, and I was embarrassed for these speakers, especially on behalf of the African American Lutherans in our congregation who had to listen to this that day as part of the worship service, from the chancel of the church.

    Having said that, I think that rather than allowing a turnkey group to just come into a church and do a program, churches in settings that would benefit from a significant service project should think through how they could best host one, describe one, ask for volunteers, and run one in a mutually beneficial manner. I am absolutely certain that there is a good way to do short term mission or service trips.

    Having said that, the video does pretty effectively lampoon the worst possibilities, and it’s very funny. We can laugh at it and still do this well.

    Regarding the LMI project, Bishop Obare has asked us to help with this, so if we can we should. It is one of the most simple, financially efficient mercy programs that we have ever been involved with. I trust the Lutheran synods in Africa to do the Gospel proclamation, and am glad and honored to be able to help on the physical side as well. Let’s not forget what else we do there–we provide professors for their seminary studies, books for their theological libraries, and seminary training here in the US as well for some of their seminary students. We are not doing purely social ministry in that context–far from it.

  17. Regarding the video. Okay fine. It is just a video. My son has a friend who says what other people are thinking but don’t want to say. That is what the man in this video is doing. When I was a teen, I thought the same things, but it would have been disrespectful to say it. Still, the fact that some promoted expensive short term mission trips actually diminished my respect for those leaders. The man in the video seems to have experienced the same thing or similar.

    Really, those promoting mission trips need to ask whether such things really constitute good stewardship of mission directed dollars. I mean if it costs a group of 20 people say, $5k each to go on a mission trip, for two weeks that is $100k. It is $2500 a week x 40 weeks. Surely $2500 a week could supply a pastor missionary to minister to these people.

    “I also know many over seas missionaries besides being a friend of Dr Detlev Schulz at the seminary in Fort Wayne. I am confident, most if not all will say, that financial support is way more helpful than any teams you send. It causes way more time and effort away from their work than it is worth!”

    How about doing the reverse of sending teams. Have the missionary come home to the US once a year for a couple of weeks and go on tour to a bunch of congregations in an area. Then during the year, he could send a video back to the congregations with updates and profiles of his work, services, building, needs etc. People could really get to know him, his work and his congregation. Whatever dollars they sent, they could actually see working and could develop a real long term relationship.

    When someone wants a short term relationship with you, they don’t really want a relationship with you.

  18. @Mrs. Hume #28
    Good question.
    1. To provide intense help or expertise for a specific project. For instance, suppose a church in a setting that is challenging for some reason would like to have a VBS–maybe even an outreach oriented one–but can’t staff it completely. Youth groups, senior groups, Bible studies, or others who can reasonably spend a week or two on in that setting would be tremendously helpful.
    2. To be encouraging and genuinely helpful to those field ministries that are struggling. For instance, suppose a Lutheran school has budget problems and can’t do some required code upgrades to their facilities. Other churches could band together and provide volunteers to work on this to reduce the cost. Maybe they could even ‘raise support’ for the materials.
    3. To help kick off something new. Canvassing a neighborhood with invitations to Easter services at a ‘start up’ church takes a lot of staffing. Youth groups from other churches could be great for this.
    4. To give the volunteers a chance to think through and maybe even talk about their faith and how it moves them to action. If you’re working in a VBS in a strange town, people ask you questions about it. Same for any of these other opportunities. There is nothing like talking about your faith to make you more comfortable, to, well, talk about your faith. A lot of Lutherans never really have an opportunity to start doing this. These projects can help with that.

  19. @Rob #23
    I can respond from knowing people who have been visited by the short term mission trips. I have a few friends who were on some of the poorest reservations in the midwest. They told me once how much they disliked the 15 passenger vans with XXXXXX Church painted on the side. They would welcome the visitors, but NEVER, ever did they feel cared for, but instead figured, in another week a new van will show up with new “missionaries”. They saw right through the pious “we’re here to serve you and minister to you” and saw them as selfish suburbanite kids who were seeking out what I would call “missional righteousness”. I mean, come on, do we take these human beings as not having the intellect enough to understand who these trips are really for? They saw right through it, and even if the short termers didn’t seek to brag about it or whatever to others, that is still how those who were “served” felt about it.

    That is how they felt about short term mission trips onto the reservation.

    I think it is the greatest spiritual abuse to make it sound like you are serving someone else when in fact they are serving you.

  20. Rob :
    Or we could listen to the over-caffeinated, neo-Luddite college freshman in the size 4T baseball jersey. (Seriously, dude – at least start shopping in the Teens section!)

    Pam :
    @Rob #12
    Well said. Complete agreement, even with the comment regarding trendy trips. It’s not un-Christ-like to call a spade a spade. There is a way to do it more like Jesus would, one which would be more loving, and more productive…and would not encourage smart-ass, cocky, judgmental attitudes.

    Pam says, “well said” and is in “complete agreement” with Rob’s assertion. Then there is her statement against “smart-ass, cocky, judgmental attitudes.”

    Interesting. I guess Rob’s statement about this young man is OK with Pam.

    BTW, I liked the video a little. In particular about 1:30 into it when the young man briefly takes a poke at Rob Bell (and Bell clones).

  21. @Pastor Tim Rossow #15

    Pastor Tim Rossow :
    Rob,
    I choose the over-caffinated kid because he is right.
    We don’t need kids (both youth and adults) putting up houses and handing out used glasses. Those are fine things. But that is for the Red Cross to do.
    What Jesus asks us to do is baptize and teach to the ends of the earth. That means sending pastors. They are the ones Jesus authorized to baptize and teach.
    The old mission model is correct. The new mission model wastes money that could be used to support baptizing teachers that actaully add to the kingdom of God.
    Give that kid another cup of coffee.

    I think there is a balance needed. He is right to be critical of kids who say “God spoke to me” and view going on a mission trip as somehow proving their faith. It is also a huge problem when a group goes without really having anything to contribute and ends up painting the church for the 15th time in 3 years. However, there is value and virtue to those that would like to serve their neighbor as part of their trip according to their vocation and ability rather than going to Cabo, getting smashed, and fornicating with someone you’ll never see again. Whether such trips take the form of assisting in the full time missionary’s task of making disciples: baptizing and teaching, or using their vocational skills to help those at that location (nurses/doctors offering medical services, pastors teaching pastors/seminarians, teachers training teachers, and yes those who have the know how to help build needed housing). This isn’t something merely to be left for the Red Cross. The Church does mercy work, and if a mission trip team can attend to the mercy work that needs to be done so that the called missionary can be freed to attend to that baptizing and teaching… all the better.

    In summary: schwarmerei self righteousness = bad, martyria, koinonia, and diaconia=good

  22. @Rev. Matthew Lorfeld #32
    I would agree in general. If there is a special need for specialized labor or skill, I’m all for mission trips (Doctors without borders, skilled emergency response teams, logistical support, etc, all come to mind).

    However, the “general labor” provided by most “mission-minded” teams seems misplaced. Even assuming the church really, really, really needed a paint-job – why would it somehow be better to go through the expense (and pollution!) of flying a group of teens over instead of hiring locals to do the job – in the process, they can learn a bit of a skill. Same with building homes, digging wells, and other such things. There may be a need to send in a special SKILLED team in order to teach the skills necessary so the locals can do these things – but then I would think the locals should take over and the money raised by state-side folks could be funnelled to the full-time missionaries to pay locals to do these things and raise their standard of living in the process.

    My 2 cents… (probably all it’s worth anyway)

  23. OK – I’ll lob the Molotov cocktail into the conversation…

    As one who has built relationships through some short term trips that resulted in the benefits described by Rob at #12 (including the translation of Sunday School materials, and soon orthodox VBS materials in support of a partner church), I can see that there are some benefits to walking together in the same place, but I also concede that wide and easy is the path to squandering the opportunity (as warned about in this video).

    So here comes the incendiary – How do mission trips like those mentioned in this video differ from and contrast to projects like Laborers for Christ?

  24. When I was in seminary at CTSFW, there were many wonderful Christians who supported the poor struggling students. This is extremely needful and extremely appreciated. Some of my classmates left with loans over $100,000 to cover their tuition and living. Training to be a pastor and rightly dividing Law and Gospel is a skill that requires constant study, prayer, and meditation. Wrongly dividing Law and Gospel can destroy faith. He is a doctor of souls. There are several verses that terrify me, including; James 3:1: Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

    Never did I hear those who were donating to the seminary students’ physical needs call it “Mission Work” or “Short Term-Missions” or “Going on a Missions Trip”. Does that mean it is not important? The needs of the students and their families are significant. What those people are doing is a great blessing and needful. Some questions are;

    1. Are those people more spiritual for doing it?
    2. Should they spend MORE money on providing seminary students with food and minimize their need of studies, books, professors, training centers, and tuition?
    3. Can we call it “physical help” or “aid” rather than “missions” since it is not the command given in Matthew 28? Matthew 28:19-20: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

    This problem also appeared in the Early Church.
    Acts 6:1: Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.
    Acts 6:2: And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.
    Acts 6:3: Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.
    Acts 6:4: But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

    I live in Africa and have since 2006. There are physical needs all around. There are also spiritual needs. The vast majority of work done in Africa addresses physical needs and but neglected are BOTH education and spiritual needs. What is the church primarily called to do?

    There is one Lutheran Seminary in West Africa that serves SEVEN (7) French speaking countries. In Guinea there are over 200 congregations and TWO (2) ordained pastors! And not a SINGLE Lutheran book in their local language. The majority of congregations are served by untrained evangelists who have a “heart for missions”. They tend toward pentecostal practices. I do not blame them because they have had no training and no resources. They are asking, begging, pleading, for more teaching and teaching resources. Yet I do visit congregations and see what churches in the USA are doing. They can raise $25,000 for a social need and give $500 for making disciples through teaching and training pastors.

    What comes across in this video is the message that this kid is asking, is there a proper balance? One guess is that either this kid is a Missionary Kid or a friend of an MK because he hits it on the head, albeit with a sarcastic presentation but he seems to have hit a nerve, probably the point.

    Can anyone do a study of how many LCMS missionaries there were in, say, 1960 and what were they doing. How many called and ordained pastors are there today sent by the LCMS to baptize and teach or train others to rightly administer the sacraments and purely preach and teach God’s Word?

    After that discussion, I can add a few comments Africans have said after short term teams have left. You are right, they are very gracious and appreciative people but the long term impact might surprise you.

  25. My first reaction to this histrionic, embarrassing spectacle was to turn off the video about one-fourth of the way through, out of sheer embarrassment at the meta-acting and transparent over self-awareness of this pathetic child.

    My second reaction, after reading the pastors on this thread, was to realize that this kid (whom I now despised) actually had a point. My hope is that I am simply too old to appreciate the style of a barely pubescent, scoffing meta-lifer, and that his medium is not negating his message for the majority who listen to him.

    Personally, I would much rather read articles by Rev. May or Rev. Raddatz similar to the posts they have written on this thread. I am, in any case, grateful to the poster and other pastors who have enlightened us on this topic and warned us of the uselessness and wasted money involved in many of these mission trips.

  26. lol

    After reading all these comments I get the feeling that a lot of people miss the point that the video is supposed to be humor. And, yes, I found much of what he said humorous even if his style was rather irritating.

    Like most humor it makes a point by over emphasizing the subject.

    As to the subject itself – he is certainly correct that mission trips benefit the students who go on them far more than the missionaries or people they “serve.” They have a purpose for the church in general by helping students become more aware of work in the mission field and, perhaps, preparing them to consider real mission work at some point in their lives.

    As someone pointed out, the current generation of young people tends to be more altruistic than previous generations and, as this young man demonstrates, they are quick to pick up on the hypocrisy of being assured they are “serving” when they know very well they are on the receiving end of the benefits.

    If this video has a real point to make it would be this. “Stop lying to us and telling us we are serving when, in fact, what you are offering is an enjoyable educational opportunity. If you wish us to serve then let us really serve. If you want us to learn, then tell us that is what we are doing.”

  27. But we are Lutherans and that’s what we do. Well actually years ago we would just write a check to a real missionary and send it to them. We could at least get back to old ways and contribute to the source. But——- on the other hand isn’t that why all these mission trips came about because there were some of us that felt that “the great commision” meant us also and not just the pastors. Didn’t we sometimes feel it was kinda sleazy just writing a check and putting the mission field out of our minds.

    So what do we do? Do we write a check and then forget about it or do we go on mission trips and feel goood about ourselves?

    Actually I think a few people here have hit it on the head. The mission field is at home. Or do we not worry about it since we are Lutherans and are not “works righteous” people? Confusing.

  28. If older more sober folks were asking these pertinent questions and using resources better, perhaps the over caffeinated youngster wouldn’t have been so driven to exasperation that he felt making this video is the way to get through to people.

  29. Just today my wife and I gave a 50 min power point on a very recent sort term mission
    trip to Guatemala. I have always pondered and prayed about just some the same concerns
    this video brings up. Is it about me or is the Lord actually using us to be witnesses to the Word? Could the mission we support do better if we just sent them our airfare costs and expenses and stay home? I may never know these answers, but I do know that not only would the Mercy (medical supplies, bible study materials, vitamins, healthcare items, etc.) not be affordable or even get to those whom the mission serves, but also the Witness of God’s Word we bring to these Guatemalans is immeasurable. I believe this actually
    epitomizes the “Koinonia” idea of our synod. Witness, Mercy and Life Together.

    We serve the community with the Word through bible studies for adults, children and all ages. Meeting not only their spiritual hunger, but also their physical with medical assistance and comfort. Also by supporting the education of the young so they learn how to read, write and find a vocation to support their families. Teaching them to support their community and eventually (by God’s grace) be faithful witnesses to that community.

    Like all things this side of heaven it is wrought with evil and not perfect, but by God’s grace it is blessed to the elect, no matter how hard we try to muck it up. Let us not toss all the mission efforts into one basket and then toss the basket for a few poorly, if not well intentioned, missions.

    The video is a good reminder though of how we do need to be vigilant in our efforts, to be faithful to Christ’s commands and good stewards of the gifts we receive.

    Let Christ’s grace, mercy and peace abound in all we do. Amen

  30. @Randy Roerig #41

    Is your congregation working through CALMS (Central American Lutheran Mission Society) by any chance??

    I ask because my congregation has partnered with CALMS down in La Avenzada, Guatamala for various long term endeavors. We send several short term mission teams down there throughout the year doing similar work to what you describe.

  31. I am only 22 years old, but I come from a very mission oriented family, and have also been blessed with many stamps in my passport throughout the years. I’ve seen a lot of successful missionaries, and seen the havoc of a few unsuccessful “missionaries” as well. This kid is spot on in criticizing the groups he is going after. He is not targeting anyone who is not living in the mission field, but rather those who travel to mission fields for the short-term, and only provide only temporary or non-essential “help” at best. Many of these mission trips do not provide much teaching, preaching, and from I’ve seen, they rarely focus on baptism, you know, the things that the Great Commission tells us to do. Building houses and providing food is a great thing to do, and very necessary in many places, but don’t masquerade handing out candy, nailing 2x4s, and singing a few Bible songs as a “Mission Trip.” That’s insulting to not only the purpose of the Great Commission, but also to the people in the countries being traveled to. If you were a starving person, would you rather have someone tell you how well they have been fed, and maybe cook you a meal or two, or would you rather have them share their knowledge of how to farm and cook? If you have the desire to go on a mission trip, you should first ask yourself if you will offer any actual help while you are there. Do you have special knowledge or skills that can be shared to help people in the long-term? Do the positive effects outweigh the work and money that goes into planning, feeding, housing, and traveling with a group of short-term workers? Imagine having 15 people come and stay at your house for a week or two. This would require a lot of work and responsibility on your part. Make sure your contributions leave the missionary you are “helping” happy about the effort required, not exhausted and having to work twice as hard to make up for lost time. If these conditions aren’t clearly satisfied, take all that money and put it towards something helpful. Books (translation and printing), paying for pastors or other teachers to go and instruct people, or maybe, just maybe, the tuition for one of the many many young men in one of these foreign fields who could be a pastor to his own people, but can’t afford it. Americans in general have been all about “sustainable” things in the past few years. Things such as recycling, and being “green,” and whatnot are super popular. How about instead of taking 15 teenagers on a metaphorically gas-guzzling “Mission” Trip, we put that hard earned money towards an already established missionary, or the training of a local evangelist. Your money have more “bang for its buck,” and you wont even have to deal with that nasty sunburn or food poisoning. Everybody wins.

  32. While I haven’t shared this video with my congregation, a little too biting with the sarcasm so it would be received worse than how Pam has taken it, I agree with much of what he said.

    Short-term missions are better done locally and in places where the biggest need is spare hands, i.e. disaster relief. Places where it costs thousands of dollars just for travel are better served by long term individuals and groups. And in many cases, it is more helpful to send them money, because they can do additional benefit to their communities by providing much needed jobs.

  33. I posted it on the new thread, but I should post it here, too: my apologies for the unnecessarily snarky comments about the young man in the video. Old Adam is never far from any of us, and I know that’s certainly true of me.

    As to the content of the discussion, take a look again at my comment in 23:
    “I think I can predict what [a long-term missionary] will say: short-term teams, badly done, can be all the things the video blogger lampooned. Short-term teams, properly done, can be a great blessing to the missionaries, to the mission work, and to the sending congregation.”

    Then compare that with what Pr. Gale indeed said.

  34. @Rich #45
    I think I remember reading Jesus said, “Follow me,” not, “just write me a check.”

    There is, as Ecclesiastes says, “a time for everything.”

    And to paraphrase the blind poet, ” they also serve who can only sit… and write checks.”

    We ‘follow’, and serve, as we are given the ability and the means.

  35. @helen #47

    Amen

    @Rob #46

    Amen

    @Rev. James Schulz #21

    Agreed. You’ve only proven my point…truth without a hint of sarcasm.

    Luke 9:49-50

    Anyone Not Against Us Is For Us

    49 John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.”

    I do not concede my opinion that this young man needs mature mentoring rather than encouragement in his current manner of communication. Youtube is a very public place where Christian behavior is viewed by millions. This video, although containing some truth, is damaging to the image of thousands of well-planned short term mission trips…and yes, they can be called mission trips because everyone going should be on a “mission” to show God’s love and mercy to their fellow man. More importantly, the video is publicly damaging to the character of Christ and Christ in us when a topic aimed at fellow Christians is handled with so much sarcasm and no love.

    “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

    @Jim Pierce #31

    Touche’…my agreement was with his other opinions. I also believe there is a kinder more Christ-like way to describe the truth of how the young man presents himself. But I have also since then seen Rob’s apology.

  36. It’s spring break for many middle/high school students right now. I know a number of Lutheran churches in my area (Michigan) who have sent their annual plane loads of students and chaperones to Mexicali, Mexico. I think they are primarily doing VBS and sports type things.

    I wonder why Lutheran churches keeping returning to Mexicali via a program that is run by Azusa Pacific University (an evangelical Christian university)? (mexicooutreach.imodules.com) They live a gigantic tent city — more than 2000 people from a zillion denominations.

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