Degree Name

MA in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations

First Advisor

Janaki Natarajan


Each year an average 1.5 million Americans invest billions of dollars into the ever growing, relatively new phenomenon of short term missions. Pulpits cry out the message of life changing experiences for those "served" and those "serving", as millions of youth and young adults travel world to take part in global Church. The face of missions has changed dramatically since its inception in 1808. Without overlooking the history of Church missions, today's Christians have begun to reexamine the ways in which the Church must live out the message of Christ.

This research seeks to explore the relationship between social action and faith formation amongst American university students actively involved in campus ministry. It will examine a revisioning of short term missions and its inclusion in a larger, longer term faith exploration. Through the use of qualitative analysis, pre and post mission surveys, and literature review covering topics on missions, social justice theory, and cultural theology - I will examine the ways in which social action and faith exploration were used to juxtapose as well as deepen the contemplative process of self-awareness as I led a group of college student on a missions trip to Kenya with the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. In a research process that seeks to find the intersection between social action and faith exploration, the theoretical foundation of Freirean popular education is a great starting point for comparison to biblical teachings that speak of the Church as the “body of Christ”.

As Sulak Sivaraksa once said, “Religion is at the heart of social change, and social change is the essence of religion.” This research seeks to prove the symbiotic relationship social action and church ministry can play with one another.


Politics and Social Change | Religion


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