Thank you, Jesus! The mid-term elections are over. No more suffering through campaign commercials! Our yards – sign-free! Our highway’s billboards – pure again! Time to start yapping about 2020.
But let’s talk about something fun: generosity.
The Barna Group just came out with a research study* that reveals:
The more you’re generous, the more generous you become…especially if you’ve been on a service/mission trip to another country.
Most of us know about the dark side of service/mission trips. Just Google “the downside of mission trips” and thousand of articles pop up. Missionary “helpers” can be patronizing, dis-empowering, and sometimes downright clueless. Trips are expensive. Cultural competency is sometimes completely absent. The criticisms are just and need to be addressed. Here are two which do just that: “Why Most Mission Trips are a Waste of Time (and How to Make Sure Yours Isn’t)” and “Things No One Tells You About Going on Short-Term Mission Trips: A Few Ways to Make Sure Yours is Effective.”
However, there’s some good long-term news about service and mission trips straight from the Barna report –
Service trips and volunteering are correlated with high concern for poverty and confidence in one’s personal influence.
95% of those who traveled outside the United States to serve the poor and
89% of those who have spent time volunteering for global poverty
Donated to address child poverty.
1 in 5 of those who place global poverty in their top three social concerns and
3 in 10 of those who believe they can have a major influence on global poverty
Have done anti-poverty work abroad.
Experience beyond our borders can make a difference – particularly for the person who is doing the serving. It expands understanding. It helps us see people not as “others” but as brothers and sisters in the human family. It can open our eyes and hearts in ways that watching a documentary can't. It can make us more generous.
As the Barna report states: “Whether concern begets action, or action begets concern, the data suggests an encouraging cycle of engagement and compassion.” Now that’s something we can all get behind and support...especially after the mid-terms.
*Thanks to Greg Nelson (UMOI Communications Director) for forwarding this article to me.
P.S. Last week’s blog post, “Two Signs of Love in a Dark Week” seemed to resonate with many of you. Here’s a follow-up on the Jewish nurse, Ari Mahler, who cared for the Tree of Life shooter. He said in a Facebook post:
“Love as an action is more powerful than words, and love in the face of evil gives others hope. It demonstrates humanity. It reaffirms why we’re all here. … I could care less what Robert Bowers thinks, but you, the person reading this, love is the only message I wish to instill in you.”