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Round Trip Documentary Follows Missions Teams

DVD & Curriculum from Christianity Today International Helps Churches Build Lasting Partnerships on Short-Term Missions Trips

Contact: Kelly Hughes, 312-280-8126, kelly@dechanthughes.com

CAROL STREAM, Ill., Feb. 12 /Christian Newswire/ -- Almost two million Americans go on short-term missions trips each year, sponsored by the more than 40,000 American churches, schools, and other organizations that send teams around the world. Round Trip, a documentary-style DVD and curriculum produced by Christianity Today International, aims to help these travelers embark on global missions trips better prepared, more culturally aware, and equipped to build lasting change and relationships.

In a twist on the expected scenario of Americans going out into the world to help people in need elsewhere, Round Trip emphasizes the increasingly reciprocal nature of missions efforts. Today, a missions team may be Africans serving in India, or, as the documentary shows, in the U.S.

The film follows teams from two churches that have pioneered this new kind of short-term missions: one group travels from Chapel Hill Bible Church in North Carolina to Nairobi, Kenya; and a team from Mavuno Church in Nairobi arrives to do their missions work in North Carolina. The two churches have built the kind of deep and lasting relationship that Round Trip advocates.

"The future of missions is multi-directional," says Andy Crouch, executive producer. "Many short-term mission trips are undertaken with outmoded assumptions about developing-world needs, and without enough genuine partnership with those who will 'receive' Westerners' help. Especially lacking is awareness that the church in the global South is just as committed to, and capable of, engaging in mission around the world as the churches of the North and West."

Oscar Muriu, senior pastor of Nairobi Chapel, adds in an interview for the film: "We can not afford as the African church to only receive, receive, receive. The African church can give back."

The film follows the two teams as they prepare for their trips, at work in the U.S. and Africa, and afterwards as they process the experience.

Both teams express a mixture of excitement and anxiety about going, but are passionate about their desire to serve. Members of the African team worry that they may experience racism in the U.S., and are eager to change perceptions about Africans. "It is our turn to come and be missionaries to the rest of the world," one says. Members of the American team voice their wish to respond to the call to serve the needy and express their trepidation about seeing the slums of Nairobi. They are warned by their team director that when they get back to the U.S., "the abundance can be disturbing."

The DVD and the accompanying curriculum walk teams through the major stages of preparation and planning for a short-term missions trip, a process that takes about 3-4 months. It includes direction on practical and spiritual preparation, and includes commentary from experts on missions and cross-cultural relationships.

The program is founded on key values of partnership, learning, and sparking lasting change. The hoped-for result, as reflected by the two teams featured in Round Trip, is that Christians will begin living with a broader perspective, asking themselves, "how should we live at home in light of what we saw over there?"

"Short-term missions teams now have a resource to prepare for an effective, life-changing trip," says project director, Nate Clarke. "They can watch how the churches in the documentary prepared for their trips, how they served while overseas, and how they return home: how the trip changed, and didn’t change, their perspective on themselves, the global church, and God's mission in the world."

"The new round-trip missions are as much about receiving as giving," says Andy Crouch. "They are as much about learning as teaching. They are as much about what happens after we get home as what happens during the time we are there, and as much about lasting friendships as snapshots of brief meetings."

To watch the trailer or purchase Round Trip, visit http://www.RoundTripMissions.com

Christianity Today International, located in Carol Stream, Illinois, is a not-for-profit communications ministry with 11 magazines and print newsletters, over 40 e-newsletters, and a website -- www.ChristianityToday.com -- visited monthly by over 2.5 million men, women, and teens.

About the Round Trip team:
Andy Crouch, executive producer, is senior editor at Christianity Today International. He is the author of Culture Making, which was named one of the best religion books of 2008 by Publishers Weekly, and won a Christianity Today Book Award in the Christianity & Culture category. Crouch sits on the editorial board of Books & Culture and has been a columnist for Christianity Today. He was editor-in-chief of re:generation quarterly and for ten years served as a campus minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Harvard University. He is a coauthor of The Church in Emerging Culture and a contributor to the Worship Team Handbook. Andy and his wife Catherine live in Swarthmore, PA, with their two children.

Nathan Clarke, project director, is a filmmaker and consultant. He is the principal at Fourth Line Films and works for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's twentyonehundred productions. His primary interest is in creating documentary films about what happens when faith and culture collide. His work includes Round Trip Missions, Where Faith and Culture Meet, and countless videos for the Urbana Missions Convention. He can be reached at nclarke@fourthlinefilms.com or through www.fourthlinefilms.com.

For more information, or to arrange interviews with Andy Crouch or Nathan Clarke, please contact Kelly Hughes, (312) 280-8126 or kelly@dechanthughes.com.