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Encountering Missionary Life and Work: Preparing for Intercultural Ministry

by Tom Steffen and Lois McKinney Douglas

A much-needed textbook to prepare missionaries.

Baker Academic, P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516, 2008, 416 pages, $24.99.

Reviewed by J. Ronald Blue, adjunct professor, World Missions & Intercultural Studies, and coordinator, Spanish Doctor of Ministry, Dallas Theological Seminary.

This is a day of rejoicing. A much-needed textbook to prepare missionaries is here! For years, two classic texts have served the mission community: Arthur J. Brown’s Foreign Missionary (1950) and J. Herbert Kane’s Life and Work on the Mission Field (1980). Now Tom Steffen and Lois McKinney Douglas draw from their vast experience to provide what will inevitably be the new standard textbook. For today’s dynamic generation, Encountering Missionary Life and Work provides inspirational and practical training to those who anticipate ministry in this rapidly changing world.

With amazing skill, the authors carefully address challenges and delights in the missionary journey from God’s initial direction to serve cross-culturally to the day of homeland reentry. Strong biblical foundations and essential spiritual issues are combined with basic realities of life and intensely practical considerations.

The opening chapters provide a sweep of mission history focused on key individuals who have set the course followed by a very discerning presentation of incredible change evident in the world today. Then, in an orderly and understandable way, the steps of missionary preparation and service are clearly outlined. God’s calling, spiritual formation, academic preparation, agencies, support, culture, language, and strategy are but some of the areas examined. Helpful discussions on the role of women, missionary families, and recent crises of natural disasters, pandemics, violence, and terrorism bring added relevance. This inclusive volume provides sensible answers to a myriad of questions.

Multiple sidebars provide added information and living illustrations of issues covered in the text. Timely references and examples, a list of multiple websites, and an extensive bibliography are added evidence that this volume is truly contemporary. Encountering Missionary Life and Work is invaluable not only to those who are preparing for missions. Veteran missionaries and all those who have a vital interest in world outreach will profit greatly from the wise counsel and helpful insights this superb text provides.

Check these titles:
Lingenfelter, Sherwood T. 1996. Agents of Transformation: A Guide for Effective Cross-cultural Ministry. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic.

Moreau, A. Scott, Gary Corwin, and Gary McGee. 2004. Introducing World Missions. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic.

Pocock, Michael, Gailyn Van Rheenen, and Douglas McConnell. 2005. The Changing Face of World Missions: Engaging Contemporary Issues and Trends. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic.

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Copyright © 2008 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS.

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