Short-term mission trips are commonplace in American church life. Yet their growth and practice has largely been divorced from theological education, seminary training, and mission studies. Consuming Mission takes important steps in offering a theological assessment of the practice of STM and tools for subsequent mission training. Using relevant academic studies and original focus-group interviews, Haynes offers important insights into this ubiquitous practice. While carefully examining the biblical and historical foundations for mission, Consuming Mission engages more contemporary movements like the Missio Dei, Fresh Expressions, the Emergent Church, and Third-Wave Mission movements that have helped shape mission. The unique role of United Methodist mission is illustrated through its historical roots and contemporary expression in the ubiquitous STM movement in the United States. Haynes uses original field research data to gather the implicit and explicit theologies of lay and clergy participants. Cultural influences are significantly influencing STM participants as they use their time, money, sacrifice, and service, applied in the name of mission, to purchase a personal growth experience commonly sought by pilgrims. The resulting tensions that mixing mission, pilgrimage, and tourism creates are explored. Haynes offers important steps to move the practice away from using mission for personal edification.
Consuming Mission is getting attention from
mission leaders and scholars:
“At last, a scholarly work that lays bare the realities of the mission trip industry—both the benefits and blemishes. Haynes leads us toward a much-needed foundation of mature theology to undergird this third wave of global missions. Excellent.”
—Robert Lupton, author of Toxic Charity
“Combining rich theological reflection along with empirical, ethnographic data, Haynes offers a critical look at how the church can develop and engage short term mission as part of the missio dei. There is no other work currently available that does more to bring together the growing research on short term mission with theological resources at the service of the church than Robert Haynes’ work.”
—Brian Howell, Wheaton College