Recently I was talking with someone on a mission’s team at a church who was considering a menu of requests for the church’s financial support. As we analyzed the requests we saw two categories: missions and charity.
Of course, technically both of these categories are a form of charity, but in this context the distinction was helpful. Either the funding request was to meet human needs in the context of proclaiming the gospel, discipling believers and developing churches or training Christian leaders OR the request was to meet human needs like any government or non-government organization.
In this case the mission team member said that for our church, we want to contribute to the advance of the gospel. It is better to support ministries that have a holistic approach to ministry and meet human needs in the context of an evangelistic and disciple-making ministry than a stand-alone relief project.