by William R. Yount and Mike Barnett
The mission community is indebted to Yount and Barnett for providing such a tool in this transformational book that touches both head and heart with biblical balance.
B&H Academic, 127 Ninth Avenue North, MSN 114, Nashville, TN 37234, 2007, 251 pages, $24.99.
—Reviewed by Grant McClung, professor of world mission and evangelism, Church of God Theological Seminary, Cleveland, Tennessee.
I found it interesting that my review of this excellent new resource was concurrent with my participation in an international evangelical consultation on the future of world evangelization. In that consultation, hundreds of mission leaders and heads of global movements heard from a veteran leader who represents one of the most effective media tools available today for reaching the masses in their own languages. I expected another set of strategies and methods; instead, we heard this respected strategist emphasize the importance of one-on-one personal evangelism and discipling, along with the caution to guard our own inner spiritual growth.
How refreshing to witness a trend toward “keeping the main thing the main thing”: keeping our own spiritual growth and relationship with God and others fresh and active in order to be able to effectively disciple others through personal relationships. That is one of the main contributions of Called to Reach. Yount is professor and assistant dean of the Foundations of Education Division, School of Educational Ministries at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Barnett is the Elmer V. Thompson professor of missionary church planting at Columbia Biblical Seminary and School of Missions in Columbia, South Carolina. Both men are practitioners with wide-ranging experiences in cross-cultural ministry. The book brings an effective balance between the fields of Christian education and missiology.
Today’s new missionary applicants are often at the point of overload in terms of global statistics, anthropological/sociological insights, information on strategies and methods, the latest technological “toys” and techniques, styles of donor relations/marketing, etc. Missionary trainers and personnel directors, however, must not allow new recruits to depart for the uncharted demands and challenges of intercultural service without the tools and models in dealing with the most fundamental of requirements: the development of personal character and a self-directed learning pattern that keeps them on the path of lifelong spiritual growth. The mission community is indebted to Yount and Barnett for providing such a tool in this transformational book that touches both head and heart with biblical balance.
The book is best suited as a textbook in the academy for missionary preparation (it certainly carries a steep textbook-type price); however, it is also readable for other mission activists in the local assembly and in the mission agency. For those on the field, the book would be an excellent refresher course toward personal spiritual growth. For veteran mission leaders prone to overscheduling and overcommitment (mission executives, field directors, professors, pastors) the book would serve as a primer for the rediscovery of biblical character growth toward finishing strong in missionary service and being an example for those who follow.
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