April 21, 2014

Ruin the Ski Retreat for Jesus

churchindia.jpgI’m looking at a promotional flyer for a typical American youth ministry ski retreat. I used to get these all the time when I was in the youth ministry biz at large Southern Baptist Churches. I don’t get this much anymore, which probably counts for how I started looking at this one with a different perspective.

It looks cool. Snowboards. Happy kids. Fireplaces. Fun. Food. Worship. Speakers.

Someone is going to pay about $300 a person for their young people to go for a skiing weekend. If the youth group has 30 kids, it’s 9k. Add in some the incidentals for the church (gas, leaders, insurance, etc.), it’s a $10,000 investment for the weekend. Lots of churches pay this kind of money all the time for their big-time youth ministry.

This youth event is a Christian event with a purpose. The themes for this ski retreat are all about radical discipleship. Extreme commitment. Change the world. Be the generation that God uses. Getting serious for God. Stop the Silence. Confront the Culture. Finish the Work. Good titles.

Maybe there are some young people, youth ministers, parents of youth or parents who might read this post sometime. If so, I want to give you a challenge. Stay with me here.

I want you to ruin the ski retreat for Jesus. I think some of you already suspect that you don’t need another ski retreat to have a cool youth ministry. You know that you need to do something that puts you right in the place of a Jesus-follower. Not on the ski slopes, but in the place of risky obedience, shaking up the ordinary and accepted way of thinking.

I want to challenge you to make the words “extreme discipleship” look good somewhere besides a t-shirt. I’m going to suggest a way to be radical, to actually change the world, to move past the rhetoric of what this generation is going to do for God and to do it.

I want you to go home after this experience, lay down in your bed, and feel the feeling you won’t get from the ski retreat, the testimony service or the big cry. I want you to lay down and say you loved, sacrificed and did a Jesus thing.

Take your $300 a piece and give it away to missions. Get your friends in on the same thing. Start a counter-culture there in your nice air-conditioned American church. Turn the tables signing up the ski retreat upside down.

Specifically, give your money away to the church in the third world. Instead of skiing away the money, hearing music and staying in comfort, give up your ski trip and make something happen that will bring you joy for the rest of your life.

My suggestion is that you go to the Gospel of Asia web site, go to the information on building a church building, and send all your money to build a church building for a church in India.

Here’s a K.P. Yohannon quote from the site:

All of us rejoice and praise God when a new church is born in an unreached area. We pray that the number of believers will multiply and the church will become that “city set on a hill”? Jesus talked about in Matthew 5:14. And indeed, it is only a matter of time before such a new fellowship of believers becomes clearly visible to the community – and to their enemies. That is when they must move from a home into a larger, rented facility to accommodate all the church members and visitors.

Though a joyous occasion, it is often also the beginning of serious problems and persecution. Angered by the presence and activities of the church, anti-Christian individuals and groups will persecute the believers and threaten all those who associate with them such as visitors and seekers. In addition, they will put serious pressure on any present or future landlord until he cancels the lease.

This forces the church to move from one place to another until they run out of options.

For a pastor, building a solid work under such adverse circumstances is very difficult. Even if his congregation stays faithful, the situation is less than inviting for any potential visitors.

The greatest need for such a harassed church is to have a place of its own where believers can worship Jesus in peace and grow in their faith without constant interference. The very best thing is if growing congregations such as Brother Sugard’s can build their own church homes and not have to rent at all.

Right now we have well over 1,000 churches that have reached this crossroad and are in desperate need of a building.

The average cost of a simple concrete and brick building that reflects the local culture and seats 300 people is $11,000 [Australia $15,000, Canada $13,200, New Zealand $18,000, United Kingdom 6,400 pounds].

This sounds more than reasonable to us, but for many of these young churches on the Indian subcontinent it is a huge amount that goes far beyond their ability to raise on their own.

There is a solution to this problem, which our churches embrace with enthusiasm and eagerness: The believers donate materials and labor and go as far as they possibly can with the construction of their church home. At the same time they pray and believe that God will provide the funds for the land and the building’s completion through their brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ.

I know this kind of thing can get a big discussion started. You aren’t a bad person to go on the ski trip. Your church isn’t bad for sponsoring it.

Here’s the thing: your church thinks that ski trip is what you want. They believe that you want the kind of youth or college group that goes skiing, has a huge “spiritual” experience, then comes back and schedules a mission trip for next year.

But you and I know that there are millions of young Christians who don’t need the ski trip or the concert or the entertainment. They don’t even need the once a year week on the mission field. They need to live the life. They need a passionate vision and opportunity to give till it hurts, to sacrifice, to connect with the cause of Christ. They want the church in America to stop being a joke and to become the asset to world missions and church planting movements that it can be.

You can start that. Start it with Gospel for Asia or another ministry that is there on the ground with the real needs. You don’t need to ship your youth group overseas to build the building. You need to give the money and make the thing happen. And then you need to do it again, and again, and again. Till the youth minister gets saved, the pastor starts preaching on missions and the parents are afraid you’ll spend your college money starting churches in Mongolia or building clinics in Appalachia or tutoring in the inner city.

Ruin your ski retreat for Jesus. And have fun doing it.

Comments

  1. I wonder what the ski retreat is a retreat from. From some affluent white suburb? Well, from what I’ve ever observed, the ski resort is just conspicuous consumption…on skis.

    At least you won’t run into any of those yucky poor people, or sick people, or people in prison there.

    That wouldn’t be cool at all.

  2. Oh, you are so busted. You start messing with Big Business AND our right to have a good time and we’ll all know that you’ve gone off the rails. It almost sounds like you believe that being a Christian is all about following a Person rather than developing a lifestyle…

  3. AMEN Michael.

    For the record, my youth group never went on a ski retreat. We spent the year raising money to go build homes in Appalachia or send to mission workers in Haiti. We spent weekends in spring and fall doing yard work and simple house maintenance for shut-ins. That’s perhaps why I was so dissatisfied with most of the churches I found when I moved away. Too much fellowship masquerading as discipleship.

    Now I’m in a little ECUSA church where we certainly do some nice fellowship – chili cook offs and the occasional family outing to an amusement park – but we don’t pretend it’s discipleship. What we do for Jesus is caring for those who need help and there are a lot of avenues there for everyone from those whose time commitments allow them little left for anything but ‘checkbook’ contribution to those who practically live in their ministries.

    Now, let me suggest just one thing I think is wrong with your modest proposal. While raising money for a good cause is good, my experience is that, especially for youth, there is need for direct connection and hands-on work. So maybe

    - Instead of the ski retreat, the church could sponsor a small group of Sudanese refugees and the youth (as our youth did) could help raise the money for their housing, tutor them in English and help the children cover the gaps in the their schooling, help them find jobs and make the adjustment to American life.

    - Instead of the ski retreat, the youth could adopt several children through Compassion or through a sister parish program. This is primarily sending money, but their is also a personal relationship and connection through correspondence. Or if they send the money to Asia, there should be something in place to allow correspondence, so that it’s not just sending money, but building a relationship with those churches – and one of mutual support (we have such programs with sister parishes in Guatemala and Kenya and have hosted priests from each recently. We exchanged photo albums and sent them back home with extra suitcases full of clothes and books for the children. But what they give us in their prayers and witness is much more valuable).

    - If they still really want a ski retreat, raise the money to bring along kids from an inner city school or impoverished rural area. Go skiing, but also give the experience to kids who would never have it otherwise. (In Philly there are programs to send kids from the inner city to camps and retreats in the Poconos. That change in environment and culture can make a world of difference in a child’s outlook and expectations.) And it can forge bonds between the ‘haves’ in the youth group and the ‘have nots’ that go way beyond charity or witnessing. Of course then you have to also risk the youth group kids being exposed to the other kids’ world and their views. It is potentially a big risk, but that is what ‘extreme discipleship’ ought to mean.

  4. I appreciate the root behind your message BUT while there are millions of church kids that don’t need the ski trip, there are millions of church kids friend’s whose experience within the community of Christian fellowship is limited to ski trips and camping retreats and those many other once a year church activities. Ski retreats and the such, when the intent is focused on fellowship and outreach, play a very influentual role in giving kids a friendly way to bring their friends into their church community. Honestly, many of our churches don’t reach beyond their front doors besides through kids bringing other kids to activities far away from the actual church building and church service. So while I appreciate your message, I’ll continue to promote my church ski trip and pray that I’ll have the opportunity to foster ‘huge spiritual experiences’ the rest of the year with those who experienced the warmth and safety of the church community through our little ski trip.

  5. THANK YOU.

    I have problems with this also. I get all these glossy adverts pushing “experiences” for my group. And these “experiences” can be had for “only” $250 per student.

    In my youth group, we have several kids from families-of-divorce, several kids who have been through a foster system, kids who aren’t that well off.

    Heck, my congregation itself isn’t that well off – but I know if I asked for the money I’d probably get it. But I don’t want to.

    We have a program where we go out and do yardwork for congregants (and others) on a donation basis – this is how we raise money for the summer camp (which I do think is a good and worthwhile program even if it bugs me immensely that they charge upwards of $200 for a week).

    I try as hard as I can to do things on a “shoestring” – partly so there isn’t any have vs. have not thing going on in the group. But also because it makes me feel a little bit sad to think that that $1000+ that would send my kids for a weekend of skiing could be put to so much more meaningful use.

    We DO take field trips – we’ve gone to state parks and to a recreation area that offers lots of “swimming holes.” None of these outings cost more than the gas, and the picnic lunch, and maybe the ice cream afterwards. But it does my heart good to see how, even in a technological, slick-glossy-ad age, a group of kids can go absolutely crazy with joy in an old-fashioned “swimmin’ hole”

    And isn’t that maybe part of our mission, too? To show people that joy doesn’t come from having something fancy and cool and expensive – it comes from, well, being joyful in our journey with Him and in appreciating that the good things in life CAN be a swimming hole and a simple ham sandwich, instead of a $300 ski retreat….

  6. Trade your ski retreat for world missions. Priceless. Keep on preaching, Michael.

  7. djdolsky,

    For 13+ years of my life I was paid full time by large churches to do this suburban white fun approach to youth ministry. I used all the reasons you have described. I went to other churches and taught them. They are pragmatically defensible.

    What they aren’t is Biblically defensible. The economics of Jesus and inclusive evangelism are not on two different planets. An inner city black congregation can’t do this kind of event. Should they do it? Is it better if they can? Is God pleased if I choose a $10k event over giving away food to the poor in the neighborhood?

    Servant evangelism has just as much evangelism potential. We are spending tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars on events tailored around suburban white people who don’t want out of that box but want their Christianity in that box. e don’t need that box.

    Anything can be construed with evangelistic value. I could bring in a band for $20,000 and do a community wide event. Is that the Great Commission? Or is that suburban white people’s idea of ouitreach + entertainment?

    Just trying to rattle the cage. Forgive me if I sound self-righteous or snarky.

  8. Brian Pendell says:

    Weelll, I dunno … retreats DO have value. I know I hardly know anyone at my church. Our last retreat (paintball instead of skiing) helped me to actually get to know the people I’d been seeing in service every day for almost a year.

    You don’t really bond much during service. Small group is great, but it’s a limited number of people. A retreat is just right.

    It helped that the retreat lodging was free … the owner agreed to let us use the place in exchange for A) repairs around the building and B) leave the place spic and span when we left. No maid service here! We did it all ourselves.

    Can’t argue, though, that you don’t have a point. At one particular church there’s an advertisement every year for a pilgrimmage to Isreal. If the money used to send 30-40 Americans off to “Christian Disneyland” for a week were used to care for Palestinian and Isreali people instead … who knows?

    Throw in the money spent on building funds, and we might not only be able to finish evangelizing this planet, but we could build radio dishes a la SETI to evangelize our stellar neighborhood as well.

    Hmmm … I think you may have an idea here! Not to do away with retreats and building programs, but maybe once in awhile do something INSTEAD of one of the above. A “mission retreat” or whatever. Or maybe once every seven years use the money normally used in an expensive program on missions instead.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.

  9. $300? Try $750 for ours this year (Colorado, flying, ski-in/ski-out. But only if they raise $25000 for missions, memorize 20 passages of scripture, read and write papers on 5 books, spend 3 hours a month with an approved mentor, serve in one ministry of the church, and more.

    When you take a position as a youth minister in the second wealthiest zip-code in the state, you don’t come in and cancel rich-white-kid traditions “in the name of Jesus.” You ween them off and lead them towards a better way that you write about. I understand your desire to do something radical and right, but it’s hardly feasible to tell everybody what they’ve been doing for years is dead wrong …. even SINFUL … and give all their money away. It’s misleading, poor leadership, and is a sure-fire way to breed distrust between oneself and the congregation.

    I get your point, but one step at a time.

  10. Robert, your misrepresentation of my post and my point is severe, but your comment stands as presented. I’ll simply say that the point of the post isn’t to deny any of a hundreds possible ways to find some good in this.

    I will say this: if you think America’s evangelical culture is weaning the masses off of this materialisstic addiction and into responsible stewardship and partnership with the third world, then you need to start a blog and tell us all about it. I was in the middle of this throughout the late 70′s all the 80′s and the early 90′s. It’s a 100 times worse now than then. The prosperity gospel is all most suburban white Americans know.

    Today I am at a ministry now where I’d be greeted as a whack job I said I wanted to take Christian students on an expensive vacation. I wasn’t weaned. I was confronted and changed. The “weaning” was the weaning of my own heart from a sinful addiction to money and the American “Dream” of the “good life.”

  11. I did not intend to miss your point or misrepresent your post. If your point is “They need a passionate vision and opportunity to give till it hurts, to sacrifice, to connect with the cause of Christ. They want the church in America to stop being a joke and to become the asset to world missions and church planting movements that it can be,” then I completely agree.

    I disagree that the way to convince a family that makes tens of millions of dollars a year is to change everything without proper teaching, explanation, communication, conversation, etc. That takes time (weaning). In two years, we’ll have a youth ministry that looks like what you’ve described.

    When I got here, the church had $7000 a year budgeted for KRISPY KREME DONUTS every Sunday for students. Talk about materialistic addiction and white suburban “Christianity.” Two years later, they finally understand what a gross, sinful use of funds that is. It took time. I tried to knock it off the first 3 months I was there, and they looked at me like I was the whack job.

    In my previous churches (2), ministry was with the poor and to the poor. We were running 100 kids on $3000 a year. At first, they longed for the suburban white christianity you have described. As they grew spiritually, they understood the advantage they had not being as “well off” as they thought they wanted, and embraced a ministry that gave and sacrificed for others constantly.

    My point is your idea is a grand one that takes time to implement because the love of money is stronger than saying, “we’re not going skiing this year – instead give $300 to build a church in India.” You just can’t ramrod these kinds of ideas when habits …. especially habits of the wealthy …. are institutionally ingrained in people.

    Sorry if my first comment misrepresented your thoughts. Not my intent.

  12. Brian said:

    You don’t really bond much during service. Small group is great, but it’s a limited number of people. A retreat is just right.

    Isn’t this part of the problem? If we properly related to one another regularly we wouldn’t have this fellowship problem. As it is we have to get away from real life to relate in some small way to our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is wrong. The church isn’t being the church. God’s people don’t even know each other because we are tied down to an unnatural spectator’s event called officially/unofficially “the church service.”

    The church in the USA is broken and not the good kind of broken. An unwavering return to personal holiness, true fellowship, and sacrifice is the only way.

    Michael, you hit a home run with this one.

  13. Brian Pendell says:

    Rusty says:

    “If we properly related to one another regularly we wouldn’t have this fellowship problem.”

    How do we do this?

    I, like most of the congregation, work a full-time job. Not very long ago, I was also going to night school part-time. This is not unusual. Many of us also have families involving offspring and spouses that are very close to a top priority. In addition to this, there are a number of totally ordinary chores (balancing checkbook, lawn mowing, laundry, doing the dishes, cleaning gutters, fixing the $%$%$ sink for the fifth time). We haven’t discussed “quiet time”, Bible study, or any other church activities.

    This is assuming you’re a white-collar guy like I am and can work a 40-hour week and go home. I know blue-collar guys who work two jobs or more just to stay afloat, and their spouses do the same.

    When you add all this together that the congregation is scattered over a fifty- to several-hundred mile area, thanks to the Miracle of the Automobile, getting together with ANYONE to do anything outside of formal church is very, very hard. We already have small group, as mentioned. And we have church service itself, which requires no small amount of work. And for the heroes among us, there are many additional ministries to fill up your time.

    But as Michael said, if you’re going to church more than about twice a week you’re going to kill yourself for no good reason. And these are formal events, remember, not “fellowship” in any meaningful sense of the word.

    I do not see how fellowship — as you describe it — is a practical possibility in a suburban American church.

    It would be possible if we abolished TV, radio, internet, and automobiles and lived within walking distance of each other. We could visit each other every day on foot and do everything as a community and not worry about, e.g, driving the kids to five different schools and four different soccer practices, not to mention our own jobs.

    That might be nice. It might be ideal. It’s also not going to happen. Not on any large scale.

    If it did, I’m not sure it would be wise from a standpoint of reaching the culture. Something very like this is done by many Amish communities today. They don’t seem to have much missional impact.

    Regardless: This is not first-century Greece. This is twenty-first century America. We have to deal with our surroundings as they are, not as we wish them to be. And the reality is vast distances, busy lives, and a mass of entertainment choices.

    Which means that we church people have to make extraordinary effort if we’re have to have fellowship with each other over these barriers.

    Which means church retreats, pizza parties, and other things like that. The formal functions are necessary to encourage informal relationships during the week.

    Traditional services used to fill that role, where all the neighbors could get together. Now, the people in service aren’t “neighbors” — probably not within a hundred miles of you — and one finds oneself worshipping among strangers. If you’re attending a mega-church with a few thousand other people in the sanctuary … possibly even with a televised pastor speaking live from somewhere else in the US … you’re not experiencing “fellowship” in any real sense. It’s more like going to a baseball game.

    When I hear someone say “an unwavering return to X…” it reminds me of some Muslims I have heard who answer every question with “Islam is the solution.” In fact, there’s a whole lot of pragmatic wisdom to sort out those details … simply having a commitment to a concept doesn’t mean much.

    I’m not saying you don’t have some good ideas. You do. I’m just at a loss how to apply them any differently than they already are.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.

  14. I think part of the problem comes in confusing fellowship with evangelism/mission. To be sure, one can form strong bonds with others during missional programs (and my experience has been that youth bond better during this sort of thing than during an entertainment outing), but there’s nothing wrong with having fellowship events. What is wrong is spending huge $$ on them, esp. when not spending $$ on real mission.

    My church is small and not wealthy. I don’t think we’ve ever had a fellowship event that cost participants more than $40 each. Our usual fellowship events are pot-lucks type things. And there’s are a couple circles where 5 or 6 families get together once a month for a meal and conversation and rotate among them as to who is hosting (and then switch between groups for the next season so everyone eventually gets to know everyone else). Very warm and friendly, builds close friendships, and costs very little. Youth have overnight pizza parties at the church – costs little and allows the same opportunity for bonding as any other retreat. And then there’s a lot of informal fellowship (for instance, one of our congregants manages a local bookstore and and a lot of us tend to turn up for events there).

    Otoh, we give nearly 10% of our budget to our sister parishes overseas. And we can do this in part because a good deal of fellowship is also had in work days to repair and maintain the church property so we don’t have to spend so much $$ to hire others to do it.

  15. I linked to this over at my own blog. My brother, this post punched me in the conscience and has got me thinking, “what do I need to be doing about this?” “where does my mind and heart need to be about this?” Keep rearranging the furniture and rattling the cage, sir.

  16. And then there are the “ski trips” disguised as missions trips.

    When I was in high school, we went every year to Mexico to participate in Azusa Pacific University’s Mexicali outreach mission. We’d pack up all the kids from our Evangelical Free Church, plus a few kids from the Assemblies church across the street, and go to Mexico.

    Supposedly we were going to tell the Mexicans about Jesus. What we actually did was spend an hour each morning making VBS crafts with the local kids, an hour each afternoon playing soccer with the same kids, and evenings sitting on our behinds watching Spanish-language revival service that we had no part of putting together. The rest of the time was spent hanging out with one another, being the Christians-in-name-only that we were. There were some exceptions, but very few.

    Once or twice, on the way back, we stopped at Disneyland.

    Did we make an impact in anyone’s lives? It’s entirely possible; God is after all in the redeeming business, and He likely did something positive with someone in spite of our sloppy, barely obedient witness. But honestly, few of us went because we gave a rip for the Mexicans. We went because it was a week in Mexico during Spring Break, where we could get away from the parents and hang out with our buds. We slapped a thin Christian veneer on it with some spiritual songs and pep rallies and prayer, and when the youth pastor’s back was turned we bought beer and enough Chiclets to hide the beer breath.

    A ski trip might have been better for us, spiritually. Maybe not. I dunno.

  17. Michael Rohall says:

    Right on Michael. When I read Brother KP ‘s book Revolution in World Missions a couple of years ago, I gave it away. The young man who received it viewed the book as confirmation on his call. For our evangelistic sibs out there, it is a must read. A real eye opener.

    For Brian, to borrow a popular advertising phrase… just do it. It does take discipline… but how can we be disciples with out it? We find ourselves distracted by too much. The early church met together daily for study, prayer and fellowship. The church is not just the congregation of one building. Look at your sphere of influence. Where are the believers? Are there co-workers who share common issues that can pray together during a lunch hour? Have you scheduled a family night to allow your inner circle to pray and study together? (The kids are never too old to start) Are there little league Dad’s (Soccer Mom’s) who can meet together to disciple one another? I would love to tell you about our cell (accountability) group, but won’t take up valuable space here. Let it suffice to say that Solomon said it best in Ecclesiastes 4: A cord of three strands is not easily broken.
    PEACE!
    MR

  18. using our money for something unselfish? bah! unheard of!

  19. As I read your posts it is obvious that many of you come from wealthy environments….but the exception does not make the rule. There are hundreds of youth groups that do not take expensive weekend retreats. Is it possible for a wealthy family to send their kid on a ski vacation and give thousands of dollars to missions/the poor. I also find it interesting how some of you youth pastors refer to yourselves as whack jobs. Interesting as as much as my HS students (nonChristian) use that term for the self sexual stimulation.

  20. So how many of you buy Christmas gifts for you kids? Stop it!! How many of you send your kids on school fieldtrips? What a waste of money!! Do you buy videos, Christian CDs, go to movies? How can you spend money on entertainment when their are people dying? Have you taken your wife or husband out to a nice restaurant lately where the food cost more 10 a plate? You should buy a box of macaroni and cheese and give the difference to missions. (Notice the similarities to the above posts? )

    Yes there are wealthy churches out there. The exceptions do not make the rule. They can send their kids to a retreat and still give thousands of dollars to missions, support the local food pantry, donate the crisis pregnancy center and still send their kids and others on a retreat. Personally our church only has 5 jr high students and we are from a small poor rural area. Every christian needs to make decisions on how money is spent, and careful consideration has to be made on decisions. Some of you do sound snarky. (Notice the emphasis on “rich suburban white kids”.)

    On a different tack, when has “whack job” been considered polite language? As a HS teacher in a secular school whack job is sexual self stimulation

  21. I hear your missional heart in your blog on the ski-trip and radical missions is a huge purpose of the Church, HOWEVER, so is Fellowship and Discipleship. In Matt 11:19, Jesus was accused of being a glutton and drunkard because he came “eating and drinking” with his surrounding community. Jesus regularly withdrew for times of refreshment with his inner group of disciples (I count 9 times in the gospels). The N.T. Church was accused by their surrounding Roman culture for being hedonists because of their love feasts.

    While we must guard against materialism, I don’t see the guilt in enjoying the bounty of God’s blessings, building relationships, and nurturing and discipling each other in the context of a ski trip. Are you sure that the youth group in question doesn’t have one or more mission opportunities woven into their schedule as well as a ski trip and discipleship time?

  22. I definitely understand your perspective on the ski trip.

    But is your point to cancel a youth even because it cost to much or youth events altogether?

    I do not think it is a “ski trip” that is the problem or issue. It is the heart and lifestyle of the people behind the ski trip.

    I do not think that it is the cost “$300″ that is the issue. It is the heart and lifestyle of the people behind the cost or use of the money.

    The Lord has created this world for us to give Him glory, praise, and thankfulness because of it. It pleases Him when we do enjoy it.

    BUT, if we are enjoying it selfishly or treating it like an idol…this becomes the issue.

    Because, when you speak of certain events and cost only as the target for criticism, then we need to look at each of our lifestyle’s throughout the year.

    We can be materialistic even if we do not go on a ski trip. We can be materialistic even if I am poor.

    Materialism is not the possession of the wealth, but the wealth is in possession of you and I. It is when it becomes a god. When we pursue it, rather than God.

    You may personally by a cup of coffee, soda, or even bottled water throughout the year and that could easily come out to be well over $1,000.

  23. David Haile says:

    I’ve been backed into this conviction by pure economics but I definitely agree. I’ve spoken to our new youth pastor about it a couple of times. With 4 kids remaining to put through the youth group, my kids will come to expect that they won’t be going on the expensive events like their first brother did. We’ve learned something since then. The change that I need to make to your idea is I still don’t have $300 to send to India!

    I agree with some of the comments, especially the last one, that it is the heart and lifestyle that is important. I live in Colorado. I can’t morally support the me-me-me hedonistic lifestyle of the skiing industry! That view is spreading to include summer Adventure Camps.