Thursday, July 17, 2008


The age old question - what would you do with $"fill in the blank" amount of money? We are almost at a very significant milestone for SPACE - our 2008 summer teams are on track to have raised over $100,000 in the next week or so. Yes, you read that right - one hundred thousand dollars.

I have mixed feelings about this amount of money. I'm elated about how much we have raised so far and quite nervous about the rest - we still have a significant amount to go. And I'm so proud of our teams - there has been a small percentage raised from fundraisers, but most of it has been via mission support letters - excited and optimistic predictions about summer experiences that will involve learning, serving and risking.

On the other hand, I know it's a huge amount of money to spend in one summer. I'm almost embarrassed to say that amount out loud. When most of the world lives on far less, when church plants struggle week to week, when long term missionaries scrape by, we will burn through an amazing amount of money in the course of about eight weeks. We knew this summer was our most ambitious yet based on sheer quantity of teams and people and the financial targets. And before we pulled the trigger on any of these teams, I sought significant guidance on whether this was the right thing to do or not.

Within the tension, I know that this money is spent for the future, for those we don't know yet, for those who don't know yet. For those of you on a SPACE team, it isn't necessarily spent on you although you directly benefit from it. It allows you to exercise what you know - that you reaching out to serve someone is a reflection of God reaching out to you. And that your life takes on a different meaning because of what you did this summer. And to those you that gave - your investment isn't all about this summer or next or even 2010. You have sacrificed so that lives awaken and careen into making the future brighter and I'm convinced some of us won't ever see that impact while we are here on planet earth.

Of course, we will certainly be doing a post-summer evaluation. Not necessarily a return-on-investment style critique, but evaluating your investment is a crucial part of how SPACE does things.

Celebrate with us and help us do the right thing.

[Related - a few recent reads:
TallSkinnyKiwi on Are Short Term Missions A Waste of Money
Seth Barnes on Short Term Trips Continue to Boon
WashingtonPost article Churches Retool Mission Trips]

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