by Steve Hoke and Bill Taylor
In this book, Steve Hoke and Bill Taylor have made a commendable attempt to include the voices of people from within the global missionary movement. It covers practical challenges, from getting ready to knowing when to quit.
InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515, 303 pages, 2009, $19.00.
—Reviewed by Douglas McConnell, School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California.
This book is as messy as missions. It is a little disorganized, varies from weighty concepts to the blatantly obvious, and in the end is a thoroughly worthwhile read. Steve Hoke and Bill Taylor are old pros—my contemporaries I might add—so if they haven’t seen it, chances are it hasn’t been invented. They made a commendable attempt to include the voices of people from within the global missionary movement. It covers practical challenges, from getting ready to knowing when to quit. It never exhausts what we have learned, but at the same time doesn’t shy from raising the issues. All in all, they have improved on their early work (Send Me! Your journey to the Nations, 1999) and given us a very useful tool.
Hoke and Taylor put their minds around the range of issues in three phases: “Getting Ready,” “Getting There,” and “Getting Established.” Naturally, the first phase covers spiritual maturity, ministry calling, other cultures, and preparation—including schooling and raising support. The various contributors have actually been through the stages. Each section has a Global Perspectives article by world leaders in missions that help to keep a broad view. For personal use, each section has a Journal Worksheet, providing concrete suggestions for reflection and accountability.
The second phase works through the dizzying maze of questions facing anyone who moves beyond a simple agreement to go. Insightful authors interact with the issues of churches, mission agencies, and a few of the thorny challenges. The problems of what the ministry role can entail and how to find an appropriate assignment receive strong attention from people I look to for insights on the issues. The last contributors in this phase focus on training, both pre-field content and important roles of the missionary.
The third phase is devoted to working under supervision, keeping a learner’s posture, and finishing well. If it is important to begin with the end in mind, then this phase will help you understand the practical issues involved in being a missionary. They even manage to add an entry to the children who inevitably come along during the journey. This book is designed for those who are inquisitive about the gritty business of serving God across cultures. It is not meant to replace the more robust books on missiology. Still, it would have been helpful to read this thirty years ago, but at least I have something for my students for whom all this is new.
Check these titles:
Borthwick, Paul. 2009. How to Be a World-Class Christian (Revised Edition): Becoming Part of God’s Global Kingdom, rev. ed. Milton Keynes, U.K.: Authentic Press.
Elmer, Duane. 2006. Cross-cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.
Meyers, Marvin and Sherwood Lingenfelter. 2003. Ministering Cross-Culturally: An Incarnational Model for Personal Relationships, 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.
EMQ, Vol. 46, No. 3, pp. 374, 376. Copyright © 2010 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS.