It is amazing that people will go on a “missions trip” at great expense but have never reached out to the immigrant next door. People will dig a ditch, paint a wall or hand out a track if they are 2500 miles away from home but they won’t come to the church work day or evangelize their neighbor.
Acts 1:8 gives the template for how the gospel spread throughout the book of Acts. It can also provide a strategy for the Great Commission. Using this model we would start at Jerusalem, our immediate neighborhood. Then we would reach out to our region, state, province or country… our Judea. Then we would look for Samaritans… immigrants. Lastly, we head to the “ends of the earth.” There is a tendency to jump over the first three steps and go on a “mission trip.”
At last count, American churches spend $2 Billion a year on these excursions. We would do well to ask if these missions trips are good stewardship and good strategy or possibly out of sequence. It would make more sense to train people here first to do what they are going to do there. It would certainly be better stewardship and it is a great training ground.
Before crossing an ocean, try crossing your street.