Some People are More Equal Than Others

richObviously, the last few weeks have been new and scary for everyone. The lock-downs, the businesses closing, and the quarantining are where everyone is focused (from a safe distance). One of the countless reactions has been anger at all of the celebrities and professional athletes that could get tested for COVID-19 while so many others couldn’t. They’re connected and have the resources most of us can only look at from afar. We sit and imagine what it would be like to live like them. They are the powerful 1% everyone talks about. While you might not think about it, if you’re reading this, you’re probably in the 1%. Continue reading

How To Respond to a Canceled Mission Trip

givingI’ve spent much of my adult life promoting short-term missions. Understandably, for the foreseeable future, short-term missions around the world are on hold. This does not mean the needs have ended, now more than ever, churches need to step up and serve. Continue reading

American Exceptionalism and Mission Trips

sunset-flag-america-fieldsAfter living outside the US for a while, I thought I had the whole “America is better” thing sorted out. I was wrong. It’s one thing to realize that America doesn’t have it all figured out, it becomes very real when you travel to other countries. When you carefully observe your surroundings while traveling, you realize that America doesn’t have all the answers. It’s healthy to experience this. Humility is good. Continue reading

Short-term Missions is Money Well Spent

hiker-travel-trip-wander-163688

Short-term missions are a very big deal in the American church. One out of three churches will send a team internationally this year. Tens of thousands of people and many millions of dollars will be dedicated to these efforts. Why? Why do we as individuals, or a church body, put all of these resources into these trips? Sometimes it’s good to step back and just ask the simple, but important, question: Are short-term missions worth all the funds and resources dedicated to them? Continue reading

“Short-term Missions Are Horrible!”

missionphotoOK, it’s a clickbait title, but a lot of people do believe that short-term missions are horrible. Many others believe short-term missions are a huge blessing. Like so many topics, the truth is somewhere in the fuzzy middle. When done correctly, short-term missions can change lives for the better, if done poorly, they can do a lot of damage. It’s good to take a balanced look at both sides and move forward wisely. Continue reading

A Different Gift

79802997_10157823661083698_7172175744540344320_nThis time of year, so much of our time and energy is focused on finding the “right” gift. Currently, countless websites list “The best gifts under $20”, “The most popular gifts on Amazon”, “Top toys of the year”, etc. All these lists have one thing in common; we spend money to buy something for someone else. Retailers are trying to get you to spend money on gifts in their store or on their website. Let’s talk for a minute about a different kind of gift. Continue reading

Embrace the Mess That is Short-Term Missions

Screen Shot 2019-12-08 at 1.22.04 PM

Most people are a complicated jumble of conflicting priorities, values, and reactions. Anyone who has worked with a homeless outreach, done marriage counseling, or worked with teenagers will tell you that the vast majority of people are messy. In a perfect world, things wouldn’t be so difficult. It’s not a perfect world. Not even close. Until we embrace the “messy,” ministry will be an unending exercise in frustration. Continue reading