Oh, what a privilege it is to be able to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world! But, wait a minute...why should you be excited about taking the Gospel to the other side of THE world if you are not taking the Gospel to YOUR world?
I have always found this amazing, especially with youth groups who begin fund-raising drives to "take the Gospel around the world". The irony here is that those youth are not actively sharing the Gospel with anyone around them or are not making an active effort to be a witness wherever they go. Yet, strangely enough, they are all of the sudden ready to go on "mission" for Jesus. Something's wrong with this picture.
A couple of years ago a relative of mine went on a missions trip to another country. They were telling me about the beautiful scenery and how unique the customs and food of the country were. They mentioned how they were talking with the children and the interaction that they had. I then proceeded to ask them how many people they shared the Gospel with while they were on "mission". The sheepish response was, "well, no one really." Huh?!? The reality? Thousands of dollars was raised, financial sacrifices were made to send this person on a pseudo-vacation.
Now is this true for every person that goes on a mission trip? Of course not! However, I see many, many Christians who don't share their faith regularly and most couldn't Biblically share the Gospel if they had to. No one's ever trained them or they've never taken the time to get equipped.
Regardless, the letters are sent out, the monies are raised and they are eventually sent over to a country and linked up with an organization that is actually doing missionary work. They might hand out some clothes, crayons and cupie dolls and be forced out of their "lifestyle comfort zone" for a period of time.
At the end of the day, the American youth group member got a chance to go to an exotic destination, experience the culture and say that they went on "mission". Unfortunately, if you asked that same person to go on "mission" to the streets of their local city to share the Gospel in their "Jerusalem", they would probably look at you like you were crazy for even asking.
Hey, Jerusalem first, then branch out to Judea, then Samaria, then to the ends of the earth. Go into strict training, get equipped, share your faith where you live and THEN take the Gospel to the other side of the world.
Visit IAmNotATourist.org for more information.