One of the unintended consequences of churches "selling" their congregation on a charity is that some people get tunnel vision. They feel that they can ONLY give to the rescue mission, the African project, the church in Indonesia, the orphanage in Haiti, etc. They so "buy into" the cause that they forget the mission field is the planet earth. While it's great to get church peeps on board with a cause, and focused resources can truly make a difference, this type of rallying can make people myopic.
I witnessed this firsthand when I was working for a national blood bank.
We were having a blood drive right after the Haiti earthquake and we were pleading with people to donate blood because the need for blood was great. What we couldn't say was that our Florida banks were shipping their blood to Haiti and we were shipping our extra blood to FL to help them out, and in turn some of that blood, too, was going to Haiti. I could only tell people that because we were helping out Haiti we were in dire need for blood. Period.
I was manning a church table signing up congregants for the blood drive. I actually had a confrontation with this man who said that I had to prove to him that his blood was going to Haiti or else he wouldn't donate. Whaat?! I mean, who says such a ridiculous thing?
He only wanted his blood to go to Haiti. Not to a dying patient in NC or FL or wherever his blood ended up? Like the American kid with cancer doesn't deserve his blood, only a Haitian kid? So, he keeps his blood rather than give it to someone who isn't Haitian. Or, maybe his blood would have gone to Haiti. You know it just might have, but since he didn't sign up and didn't donate he never gave it a chance.
I think that when churches rally their peeps around a cause (which is a very good thing, btw!!) they should perhaps couch their battle cry with also remembering WHY we help out others. Not to hold one group above others, but because God wants us to help out our fellow man...everywhere.
Our mission field is the planet earth. Yes, combined, focused resources on one cause can make a great difference, but we can't say, I only give my money to Haiti, or Africa, or India. We have to put some change in the Salvation Army bucket, too.