11.06.2006

He Got Me Thinking...

Yesterday morning at the convention, I had an 8:30 coffee chat planned with Marko. I got to the Hilton about a half hour early because I wanted to hear a few minutes of Eric Iverson's workshop titled 'Missions Without Pimping The Poor'. I was interested in his workshop for two reasons: First, we are in the process of changing how we go about missions in our junior high ministry. I'm not sure, yet, if we will only tweak things a bit or if we will go for a more complete re-build. Second, any workshop with the word 'pimping' in it has to be checked out! I could only stay for about 15 minutes and was only able to hear his basic premise, not his recommendations for a solution. However, his premise really got me thinking.

Eric works for a para-church missions agency that last year brought in close to nine million dollars. Thousands and thousands of kids paying around 300 bucks a pop to spend a week helping the poor. His question to himself and to us was this: Do organizations like his actually NEED the poor to continue to exist so they can continue to make income as an organization? In other words: Are the poor simply beeing used, or pimped, by organizations as a source of income? Could we not come up with other ways to expose students to the needs of the world while actually solving some of them at the same time? That's when I had to slip out to meet Ostreicher...I never heard the rest of the workshop and will certainly purchase the recording. But, before I hear his answers and suggestions, I'm going to wrestle through the question a bit on my own.

5 comments:

Dustin said...

I think we've got to hit what someone smart called the "proximate poor." Find the poor and needy in your city and find a way to serve them. Start a homeless shelter, a feeding ministry, a ride ministry, or even plant a church in an poor area of your city or area. We totally don't have to shell out hundreds of dollars to contact the poor. I think those types of programs are awesome for people who have no clue where to start or who needs to start over again...I guess kinda like paying a consultant on missions.

I would love to hear thoughts on the seminar when you listen to the whole thing...don't know if I should buy it or not.

BTW...Kurt, great Q&A on JH ministry Saturday night!

Losey said...

I know in our annual trips to Mexico, we have run across certain organizations that want to be seen with or attached to our church (Saddleback). Our kids don't see it, but as an Adult going on this trip for 8 years I have seen it almost every year.

I just spoke with a friend returning from a pleasure trip to souteast asia, he was shocked at the level of poverty. He was more shocked at the tourism industry actually taking groups through these areas on tours to view camps of homeless. He ask his tour guide if any of the tour proceeds go to the help the poor they are "pimping", the response was no. The guide told him that he brings groups through just to raise awarness.

I know our group is looking in to going to the Phillipines in 07'. We have made contact with a local missionary that will help coordinate the trip. I feel strongly in working with the local missionaries, becasue they are there daily and see what needs to be done to help the local communites, rather that just being a tour group that might jump in a help by handing our candy or holding a VBS for an hour or so and leaving with no followup.

Just my 2 cents worth......

paul said...

man those are some great thoughts...i should get that tape too and wrestle with this issue more.

i've been wrestling with the idea of spending so much money for a week of serving the poor...

is there another way? great questions...i'd love to hear more of your thoughts on this as you process

Eric said...

Hey Brother,

first, it's pimpin' not pimping. Just messing. thanks for stoppin' by. i am not saying that we should not do mission or service. We have to. I am only asking that we also concider the poverty that brings us in to serve. If STM folks aren't also looking at issues of poverty, or acting as if the are concerned about it, there might be some issues. I worry that the business of missions makes it easy to for get the real propblems, not to say that people not knowing Christ is not a problem, but Knowing christ won't make a person not poor. I don't want us to, as STM, say to folks that let our youth come and "serve", "thanks for letting us come and minister to you this summer, hope you are poor again next year so we can sell a trip."

Just stuff I am thinking about.

Eric said...

Hey Brother,

first, it's pimpin' not pimping. Just messing. thanks for stoppin' by. i am not saying that we should not do mission or service. We have to. I am only asking that we also concider the poverty that brings us in to serve. If STM folks aren't also looking at issues of poverty, or acting as if the are concerned about it, there might be some issues. I worry that the business of missions makes it easy to for get the real propblems, not to say that people not knowing Christ is not a problem, but Knowing christ won't make a person not poor. I don't want us to, as STM, say to folks that let our youth come and "serve", "thanks for letting us come and minister to you this summer, hope you are poor again next year so we can sell a trip."

Just stuff I am thinking about.