Over the past few decades, short-term mission trips have exploded in popularity. With easy access to affordable air travel, millions of American Christians have journeyed internationally for ministry, service and evangelism. Short-term trips are praised for involving many in global...
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Over the past few decades, short-term mission trips have exploded in popularity. With easy access to affordable air travel, millions of American Christians have journeyed internationally for ministry, service and evangelism. Short-term trips are praised for involving many in global mission but also critiqued for their limitations. Despite the diversity of destinations, certain universal commonalities emerge in how mission trip participants describe their experiences: "My eyes were opened to the world's needs." "They ministered to us more than we ministered to them." "It changed my life." Anthropologist Brian Howell explores the narrative shape of short-term mission (STM). Drawing on the anthropology of tourism and pilgrimage, he shows how STM combines these elements with Christian purposes of mission to create its own distinct narrative. He provides a careful historical survey of the development of STM and then offers an in-depth ethnographic study of a particular mission trip to the Dominican Republic. He explores how participants remember and interpret their experiences, and he unpacks the implications for how North American churches understand mission, grapple with poverty and relate to the larger global church. A groundbreaking book for all who want to understand how and why American Christians undertake short-term mission.
Brian M. Howell (Ph.D., Washington University, Missouri) is associate professor of anthropology at Wheaton College. He regularly teaches introductory anthropology courses.
He is the author of Power and Identity in the Global Church: Six Case Studies, (Pasadena: William Carey Library Press; 2009); Christianity in the Local Context: Southern Baptists in the Philippines (series on Contemporary Anthropology of Religion) edited by Robert Hefner (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) and Introducing Cultural Anthropology: A Christian Perspective (Bakerbooks, 2010) with Jenell Williams Paris
Koorong - Editorial Review.
- Preface And Acknowledgments
- Part I: Introducing Narratives
- 1. "it Changed My Life": Short-term Missions And Christian Narratives Of Travel
- 2. "are You For Them, Or Against Them"? Defining Short Term Missions
- Part Ii: The History Of A Narrative
- 3. "that's No Missionary!":redefining Missions And The Missionary Establishment
- 4. "youth Try The Impossible!": Youth Movements And Short Term Missions
- 5. "it Will Change Your Life": Short Term Missions And Central Wheaton Church
- Part Iii: Traveling Narratives
- 6. "remember, These Are Real Missions": Embodying A Missionary Narrative At Central Wheaton Church
- 7. "pour Out Your Soul":living The Narrative Of Short Term Missions
- 8. "of Course You Always Grow Close To God On A Missions Trip": (re)narrating Short-term Missions
- Part Iv: The Future Of A Narrative
- 9. "just Bring Greetings": Creating A New Narrative For Short-term Missions
- 10. "and What Does The Lord Require Of You?": Suggestions And An Encouraging Postscript
- Appendix Of Stm Resources