Sunday, May 01, 2005

Giving - missions and mission

Tim writes a great post about how much money is really given (or in this case, not given) to missions. I get embarassed reading statistics like this. And it reminds me of the first time I heard the statistic during Perspectives that there are 800 churches in America for every 1 unreached people group. I'm sometimes honestly ashamed to be a part of 'Western Christianity.'

A few quotes from some research in his post:
- Globally, one-tenth of one percent (ten cents per hundred dollars) of all Christian income went to global foreign missions
- Though Christians number only 33% of the world population, they receive 53% of the entire world’s annual income—and spend 98% of it on themselves.
- In light of the neglect of the church's core mission, as judged by percentage of giving to missions, it's time to call Christian stewardship to new standards.

Granted, we can certainly be too focused on the cause of global missions. In far too many cases, communities of faith have focused solely on overseas missions and neglected the lost in their own communities, disengaging from the context and culture they inhabit daily. But I think some of these ideas can help frame the concept of a group of people on mission, bonded together by (as one of the quotes says) "the Church's core mission."

I totally agree with what Tim says and his references to the email he got. There is something wrong with our concept of stewardship. I would go further and state that it's not only limited with our investment in overseas missions. Our idea of stewardship is lost because in many circumstances, we have forgotten what it is to be the Church of Jesus Christ and that we exist for God who has an epic mission.

Whether it's overseas or Hollywood or our own backyard, all these localities of investment, stewarding and engagment should be redefined for the Church of 2005. Because the God of mission has a church in the world. Because we are told that we are blessed to bless others. Because we are promised that those who lose thier lives will find them.

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