So in that spirit, I have stolen another Len post in its entirety. Let me show you it.
Short term mission tends have very limited effect, and while it helps us feel better about ourselves, it does not take us closer to justice. At SHIFT Kara Powell spoke about moving from shallow service to “deep justice.”
“After tracing the importance of justice as a theme in the Old and New Testaments she laid out the difference between serving the poor and seeking justice. “Service is giving someone a glass of cold water who needs it. Justice is asking why the person needs a glass of cold water.” Service is good, she says, because it addresses real needs. But seeking justice means fixing the system that created the problem in the first place.
“Our churches tend to approach service as an event—buying gifts for poor kids at Christmas, feeding the homeless, going to Mexico to build a house. Again, these are worthwhile things. But justice isn’t an event, it’s a lifestyle. She defined justice as simply “righting wrongs.” Toward this end students at her church are engaging issues like sex trafficking, HIV/Aids, and modern-day slavery.
“Powell’s talk was very piercing. Is your church forming people to merely serve, or to be a people of justice?”
More at Out of Ur
The purpose of church (for the churched) is to utterly transform life as we know it, for every single person who gets on this path and sets out to follow Jesus...to form us into a people of justice. Every day. In our "regular" lives. (Really, this is the purpose for everybody, but folks need to "opt in" to the whole Jesus-following thing to get the full benefit, IMHO.)
God help us if we settle for less.