We travel a lot, on short trips and long journeys. We inevitably return home transformed by the places we visit and persons we meet, if we pay them loving attention. Our contributors examine the trips we take--for vacation, pilgrimage, retreat, or short-term missions--and consider how we can travel well.
"Vacations can be a corrective to both our overweening busyness and our fear of creaturely dependency," Karl Aho observes. "We can relax and rejoice in the world in general, and in the love of friends and family in particular." Christian George sketches the ancient practice of pilgrimage, and commends its modern revival. Eric Howell agrees, because “the hope of all pilgrimage is realized when we have renewed eyes to be happily surprised by God’s mysterious presence in all times and places, even at home."
Jeanie Miley explores the variety of spiritual retreats, from silent to family-oriented. Cindy Crosby describes hiking in the tallgrass prairie "to pay attention" to the creation and "recalibrate" her relationship with God.
"Carelessly assembled short-term mission trips may jeopardize long-term ministry and create unhealthy dependencies," Curt Kruschwitz admits, but "when framed in the context of joining God’s mission and used to nurture spiritual growth, they can be of immense value to God’s kingdom."
The study guides and lesson plans integrate Bible study, prayer, and worship to examine how we can travel well. The guides can be used in a series or individually. You may download and reproduce them for personal or group use.
- "Why We Need a Vacation," by Karl Aho
- "The Discipline of Christian Pilgrimage," by Christian T. George
- "Divine Hours Spent Hiking with God," by Cindy Crosby
- "Meeting God (Again) in Spiritual Retreat," by Jeanie Miley
- "Planning Mission Trips that Matter," by Curt Kruschwitz
- "The Night Escape," by Heidi J. Hornik, on Henry Ossawa Tanner’s Flight into Egypt
- "An Evening Walk," by Heidi J. Hornik, on Henry Ossawa Tanner’s Jesus and His Disciples on Their Way to Bethany
- "Joined by Jesus on the Path," by Heidi J. Hornik, on Lelio Orsi’s The Walk to Emmaus
Hymn and Worship Service
- "Resources for Short-Term Missions" by Tyler Garrard
- Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, Helping without Hurting in Short-Term Missions: Leader’s Guide
- Brian M. Howell, Short-Term Mission: An Ethnography of Christian Travel Narrative and Experience
- Robert J. Priest, ed., Effective Engagement in Short-Term Missions: Doing It Right!
- Don C. Richter, Mission Trips That Matter: Embodied Faith for the Sake of the World
- "Toward a Theology of Pilgrimage" by John Gatta
- Jim Forest, The Road to Emmaus: Pilgrimage as a Way of Life
- Charles Foster, The Sacred Journey (The Ancient Practices Series)
- N. T. Wright, The Way of the Lord: Christian Pilgrimage Today