Guest / Limited Access /

In 2007 the Christian Vision Project asked, What must we learn, and unlearn, to be agents of God's mission in the world? CVP editorial director Andy Crouch has been exploring this question with mission leaders not just in the pages of Christianity Today and its sister magazines, but with the help of a documentary film crew, producing a curriculum on short-term missions that will be released in October 2008. Here he describes what some churches are learning, and unlearning, as they rethink the meaning of mission trips.

A few years ago I was in a church service where a team of energetic young adults was reporting on their short-term international mission trip. Like most such groups, this one had plenty of cross-cultural experiences to report. "The food was so spicy," one wide-eyed young woman said, drawing laughter from the congregation. "It was terribly hot and humid—we had such a hard time getting to sleep," another team member said. Amid much hilarity, the team leader described their consternation when they arrived at a remote village only to discover that the Christians there were expecting them to lead a worship service—on the spot.

They had been stretched, they said, way beyond their "comfort zones." They had also returned full of praise for God and love for one another and their new brothers and sisters. "We received so much more than we gave," one team member said. All wonderful, true sentiments that I had heard dozens of times from returning short-term missionaries.

The only difference was that I was in Nairobi, Kenya, every member of the team had been born and raised in Africa, and they had just returned from India.

That morning I had to unlearn several of my ideas about global mission. That this short-term ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only The Invasion of God
The so-called Christmas wars are much larger than we imagine.
Current IssueWhen God’s Mercy Sounds Like Bad News
Subscriber Access Only
When God’s Mercy Sounds Like Bad News
The patience of the Lord can be a heavy burden.
RecommendedA Timeline of Black Christianity Before the Civil War
Subscriber Access Only A Timeline of Black Christianity Before the Civil War
The first black pastor to lead a white congregation, the start of the AME, and slavery splits American denominations.
TrendingAll 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
All 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
More than 3,000 employees in 36 states will be laid off in the liquidation of one of the world’s largest Christian retailers.
Editor's PickMy Missionary Great-Grandfather Led Me to Christ
My Missionary Great-Grandfather Led Me to Christ
But only after I went to Japan in search of his life story.
Christianity Today
Unexpected Global Lessons
hide thisDecember December

In the Magazine

December 2007

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.