Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A new way to do missions?

I wonder what missions will look like down the road. I now know what it may look like from an interesting concept discovered by Intelligence Group. In their email update they describe TOMS Tours:

"After popularizing the cause-driven, buy-one-give-one consumer product model, TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie's latest endeavor may just do the same for branded volunteer vacations. What started off as an outreach program to help educate and activate consumers (wherein volunteers were invited to help distribute free shoes to children living in some of the world's poorest neighborhoods) has evolved into a full-fledged travel company called TOMS Tours. Due to instantaneous popularity of the "shoe drops", interested parties must fill out an online application to be considered for one of the 15 volunteer positions. Once selected, participants pay $1800 (plus international airfare) for an otherwise all-inclusive trip, to locations such as Argentina, that combines the village visits (where shoes are distributed) with regional group activities such as hiking, wine tasting, and sightseeing."

As I reflect on this newest trend of helping the poorest of the poor. I must analyze the combination of service, regional/cultural connection activities--hiking, food & beverage tasting, and sightseeing. I wonder how we could package ministry trips in the same manner; E.g. an exploratory trip would include regional experiences whereas a ministry trip would not include the activities component. I wonder how the funding would work. I see that people are going to be willing to pay for airfare plus fees for food etc. up to $1800 per person. The organization does not assist the participants for this exploratory trip. I wonder how that would look.