Serving God Globally: Finding Your Place in International Development

by Roland Hoksbergen

Baker Academic, P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516, 240 pages, 2012, $21.99.

Reviewed by Seth Barnes, executive director, Adventures In Missions.

Young people are more globally minded now than ever before. But how does a Christian 20-something looking for his or her place in the world actually find it? Serving God Globally is Roland Hoksbergen’s response to the question.

Young people may not see it, but there is a sea change afoot in the missionary labor force. While the number of church-planting missionaries from China, India, and South Korea is skyrocketing, the corresponding number from America is on a downward slope. Of those who do serve in missions, a growing percentage is engaged in international development work.

Hoksbergen’s book is more concerned with helping those American youth who are interested in going to the field understand the path that will get them there. Hoksbergen, a professor at Calvin College, writes from a scholar’s perspective. Serving God Globally is a good survey of the issues that young people needs to understand as they prepare to pursue a possible career in development.

Hoksbergen, however, doesn’t write from an ivory tower. He’s loaded his book with helpful stories of those who have struggled with a discovery process. On almost any page we see examples of people working through the issues he outlines. Moving from an overview of missions and development to basic missiological principles, Serving God Globally helps college students understand where they potentially fit in the world of development.

While the book’s subtitle is “Finding Your Place in International Development,” Hoksbergen is most concerned with the preparatory steps that those exploring international development might take before they actually begin looking for specific opportunities. This is a book for college students thinking about whether or not they should pursue a career in international development. The first two-thirds of the book walks readers through the questions and issues they should be asking.

On the other hand, if readers have already settled on going overseas and are looking for a book explaining how to research opportunities, they may be somewhat disappointed. When at last readers get to the three pages on “Overseas Internships with NGOs,” they find a couple of good examples, but few specifics. At the end of the day, those of us working internationally will tell you, “We need more help.” This book helps those who might provide it prepare themselves to get on the plane and go.


EMQ, Vol. 49, No. 1, pp. 126-127. Copyright  © 2013 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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