by Jason Mandryk
Biblica Publishing, 1820 Jet Stream Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80921, 992 pages, 2010, $24.99 (paperback).
—Reviewed by A. Scott Moreau, chair, Intercultural Studies department, Wheaton College Graduate School; board member, Global Mapping International.
How do you revise a bestseller that has energized the Church to pray for the unreached world for more than three decades? The quick answer is that you ensure the statistics and prayer information is accurate and up to date, but you also include additional information and enhance the print volume through media—from videos to the use of social media. The newest version of Operation World does all of these.
The book itself maintains the high standards set since the initial 1974 publication. Information on each country includes geography, peoples, economy, politics, religions, and information on missionaries from that country. Of course, the “Answers to Prayer” and “Challenges for Prayer” sections focus on specific issues not always seen in the statistics. These provide Christians with concrete prayer points for every nation and region of today’s world.
For those who want a more portable form, the CD version ($24.99) is essentially the book in .pdf format. Fortunately, the .pdf file is unlocked, so that legitimate owners can cut, paste, and print information for use in non-profit organizations and institutions, provided it is offered free of charge (and with generous restrictions on the amount of content one can provide). Thus, the material from the book can be included in church bulletins, course handouts, sermon points, and PowerPoint shows.
As a teacher, I found the DVD Professional Version ($34.99) offers the best value. In addition to the text, there are numerous resources on every region and country. These include the country profile, data sets for the country, a PowerPoint show, and maps, graphs, diagrams, and charts (four for every country, double the number in the print version). Extended lists of agencies (and URLs) and sources round out the materials.
While an Operation World website (www.operationworld.org) has been available for years, revisions on the site make it easier to navigate and find information. Restrictions on viewing pages for countries were loosened as well, and the publishers wisely posted substantive information on regions and countries, but did not place all the information available in the book online. This version of OW also takes advantage of social media, with options to follow OW through Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Taking advantage of social media is a critical step for informing and energizing younger Christians who have access to them.
In sum, the newest Operation World is a massive, yet accessible reference, focusing our prayer through providing significant information on every country and region of the world. Jason Mandryk is to be congratulated for continuing—indeed, expanding—the legacy of Patrick Johnstone.
EMQ, Vol. 47, No. 4, pp. 500-501. Copyright © 2011 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS.