Posted on

Review of Robert D. Lupton, Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It)

Robert D. Lupton. Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (and How to Reverse It). New York: HarperOne, 2011. 191 pp. Hardcover. $7.90.

This book has grown out of the author’s forty-plus years of experience in Christian-based community development in inner-city Atlanta. In response to a call that he first felt while serving in Vietnam, he left a budding business career to work with delinquent urban youth. Robert (Bob), his wife, and their two sons sold their suburban home and moved into the inner city where they have lived and served as neighbors among those in need. Their life’s work has been the rebuilding of urban neighborhoods where families can flourish and children can grow into healthy adults.

In the author’s words, the “book explores . . . principles [for compassionate service] and practical case studies to examine how we practice charity. It takes a candid and sometimes critical look behind the scenes at the unintended harm inflicted by our kindness” (9).

Lupton spends the first two chapters of the book explaining the problems created by unwise and undisciplined charity: unsolved problems, wasted resources, dependency, and disempowerment. These are illustrated by stories of his experiences working in inner-city Atlanta, along with statistics provided by experts, and the testimonies of others who have experienced the negative effect of “unexamined generosity.” For me, toxic charity was poignantly illustrated by the story of Juan, a microloan director-minister in Nicaragua, whose greatest challenge lay with native churches who had US partners providing money and free resources. Juan says, “They destroy the initiative of my people. . . . They are making my people into beggars” (20–21).

In the next four chapters, Lupton dissects charity and explores what healthy generosity involves. In chapter three, Lupton examines giving, illustrating again how it can be destructive if it is “doing for” rather than “doing with” (35). He examines biblical giving through the lens of Micah 6:8 (“to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God”):

Justice is “fairness or reasonableness, especially in the way people are treated or decisions are made.” Mercy is “compassion, kindness, or forgiveness shown especially to someone over whom a person has power.” Twinned together, these commands lead us to holistic involvement. Divorced, they become deformed. Mercy without justice degenerates into dependency and entitlement, preserving the power of the giver over the recipient. Justice without mercy is cold and impersonal, more concerned about rights than relationship. (41)

In chapter four, Lupton begins to lay down his case that effective charity can only be done in relationship. “Relationships built on need are seldom healthy” (60) and “do not reduce the need” (61). In this chapter he hints that these relationships take place within community, a theme that he carries throughout the book. “Learning to trust one another, to be trustworthy in our relationships, is the foundation upon which such community flourishes” (61).

In chapter five, Lupton asks the question and examines who is really benefitting from giving—the receiver or the giver. In chapter six, he gives us the realities: top-down charity seldom works, and effective charity takes time. Lots of time!

Having built the case that charity can be toxic, the rest of the book deals with the second part of the book’s subtitle, And How to Reverse It. These chapters are full of practical lists and helpful illustrations. But rather than being a list of to-dos, Lupton focuses on foundational principles. In chapter seven, he addresses the need to apply wise business practices, explains the importance of engaging the entire community, and touches on the application of micro-lending, community development, and economic development. In chapter eight, he unwraps his “Oath for Compassionate Service” and then shows how these six elements can be applied in community development. Lupton’s “Oath” is the boiled-down essence of the book:

  • Never do for the poor what they have (or could have) the capacity to do for themselves.
  • Limit one-way giving to emergency situations.
  • Strive to empower the poor through employment, lending, and investing, using grants sparingly to reinforce achievements.
  • Subordinate self-interests to the needs of those being served.
  • Listen closely to those you seek to help, especially to what is not being said—unspoken feelings may contain essential clues of effective service.
  • Above all, do no harm. (8–9, 128–32)

Chapter nine explores how “attentive listening,” “legitimate employment,” and life in “community” enhance human dignity and are essential for non-toxic service. The final chapter gives some practical lists for how to move from “betterment” to “development.” Finding where God is already working is a starting point. A clear vision and a visionary are essentials. Both geographic focus and activity focus, clearly defined, are also key.

Toxic Charity is an easy read and entertaining. Yet, it is frank in its exposure of the problem and practical in its recommendations. The volume is neither a book on charity theology nor community development theory. It focuses on principles. Nor is it a how-to manual on community development, but it is full of illustrations of case studies. Finally, though it is not merely a book of wisdom, its chapters are rich in what I call “Bob-isms”: pithy statements that get at the heart of the matter, rooted in forty-plus years of listening, learning, and living responsible charity. If Lupton intends to challenge faulty assumptions that are doing more harm than good, to inspire those who seek a better charity paradigm, and to provide enough principles, practices, and illustrations to help them get started, then he has met his goals.

Greg Williams

Facilitator for Sustainable Missions

Missions Resource Network

Bedford, Texas, USA

Posted on

Review of Evelyn Hibbert and Richard Hibbert, Leading Multicultural Teams

Evelyn Hibbert and Richard Hibbert. Leading Multicultural Teams. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2014. 249 pp. Paperback. $17.99.

Evelyn and Richard Hibbert team up to write a how-to manual on Leading Multicultural Teams. They bring to the table over twenty-five years of working with ministry teams, both monocultural and multicultural, as well as specific research they conducted for this book. The authors prize team synergy and emphasize that multicultural teams are worth the extra effort, even though they are more difficult to maintain. The book’s aim is to help leaders and organizations, both secular and Christian, help their teams sustain a high level of efficiency. While the material is neither comprehensive nor groundbreaking, the book is a helpful presentation of the broad challenges facing multicultural teams and general best practices.

After a brief preface and list of acknowledgements, ten chapters make up the book. There is no distinguishable flow to the argument. Three appendices follow the closing chapter, the first with leadership discussion questions, another with a tool to parse team expectations, and the last with an inventory for multicultural team leaders. The book ends with an extensive bibliography that spans the last four decades of work on the subject.

The first chapter introduces the challenge of managing multicultural teams. The authors rightly acknowledge that there is potential for conflict when any group of people comes together for a specific task. They argue that this conflict potential is amplified on a multicultural team. The goal of every team is to achieve synergy, a dynamic in which the team accomplishes more than the sum of its individual parts. The authors begin to present their vision of healthy teams but wait until the third chapter to complete the picture. Chapter two is dedicated to how cultural differences affect teams, especially when it comes to personal values. An effective leader will help the team’s members understand each other’s value systems, which should, in turn, enable better communication.

In the third chapter the authors struggle to articulate a biblical foundation for their vision of multicultural teams. They start with the Tower of Babel and trace the theme of multiple cultures through Israel’s story and into the ministry of Jesus and the early church. While Revelation could have been the climax to the biblical thread of cultural diversity, it only gets a hat tip from the authors. They fail to make a connection between their biblical vision for diversity and why multiple cultures should be represented on an individual ministry team.

Chapter four focuses on building good team relationships. The authors highlight conflict as a potential catalyst for establishing trust. The fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters address clarifying a team’s purpose, appreciating various personalities and gifts, and managing team conflict. This material applies to monocultural teams as much as it does to multicultural teams, so the authors provide brief examples of cross-cultural application for each section.

Chapters eight and nine are the book’s best. Here the reader benefits from the research the Hibberts conducted specifically for the book. They present character qualities and skills that team leaders must develop to be effective. Since the skills and character traits apply broadly, each is illustrated with an anecdote from a multicultural setting. The book’s final chapter is an apology for intentional team development, urging organizations not to cut the process short.

The book’s main strength is found in the wealth of examples and anecdotes from multicultural situations that span the entire globe. There is naturally some overlap between discussing healthy teamwork generally and multicultural teamwork specifically. The authors are at their best when they take a concept from team collaboration theory and amplify it through the lens of multicultural teams. A secondary strength is the notes section at the end of each chapter, which often provides links to online resources. In the Kindle edition, these are hyperlinked and just a click away. In the paper version, each link must be typed in separately.

The book has several weaknesses. First, it fails to inspire. In a century thus far marked by globalization and a heightened sense of cultural diversity, the authors fail to make a case for the timeliness of the subject. Next, the book’s working definition of culture is Paul Hiebert’s. This would usually be a great starting point but in this case is unnecessarily narrow. The authors miss an opportunity to broaden the discussion to include multigenerational teams as well as teams with members from varying personalities, socioeconomic classes, and ethnicities. In addition, the book takes for granted that a sending organization will assemble a team and appoint a team leader. Members of teams that have come together more naturally and lack a singular leader must adapt the material to fit their situation.

The failure to examine an attitude of learning is a glaring omission. While the authors mention the need to learn (chapter two) and learning as a shared value (chapter four), nowhere do they treat the subject with any depth. This seems odd, given that all multicultural relationships, both short term and long term, will be marked by learning and will require a learner’s attitude to be successful. One final weakness is the book’s use of the Bible. While there are many references to Scripture throughout, they are often cursory examples and thus give the appearance of being tacked on.

Despite its drawbacks, Leading Multicultural Teams provides a helpful framework for team leaders and organizations to navigate the complexities of multicultural teams. Even if a team only benefits from pieces of the book, the authors will have accomplished their goal.

Jeremy Daggett


Arequipa, Peru

Posted on

Review of Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself, 2nd ed.

Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert. When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself. 2nd ed. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2014. 288 pp. Paperback. $12.91.

[The first edition of When Helping Hurts was reviewed in the February 2011 edition of Missio Dei by Monty Lynn, Professor of Management at Abilene Christian University.1]

When Helping Hurts has become a mainstay on the bookshelves of many who are interested in addressing poverty with a biblical approach over the past six years. This is the book’s third printing and an extended second edition. The first edition has received very positive responses and challenged many to rethink the ways in which they interact with and attempt to empower those who are poor. However, it has also caused some readers to feel paralyzed and unsure how to move forward in their interactions with the poor. In this edition, authors Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert have sought to address the question: What do I do next? Corbett and Fikkert write, “Because our desire is to unleash and to equip and not to paralyze, we have written this second edition, adding part four to enable you to get started in more effective approaches to poverty alleviation” (16).

In part four, Corbett and Fikkert address the question, What do I do next?, in a practical manner. They recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all formula that applies to all development work. However, they provide five core principles that they believe can help churches or ministries get started with using the asset-based, participatory processes that were introduced earlier in the book. They describe these principles in an accessible manner by illustrating them in the narrative of a fictional church (Jerry and Parkview Fellowship). Throughout part four, Corbett and Fikkert describe how Jerry and Parkview implement the five principles in their development ministries. This is really helpful, as the reader can grasp the concepts and principles described throughout the book in a formulated way. The authors succeed in communicating how one might implement truly helpful development principles, even though the difficulty of diverse contexts is always in view.

In the second half of part four, Corbett and Fikkert outline different paths that Jerry and Parkview might take in their pursuit of a more asset-based, participatory approach to development work. While the first half of part four describes concrete principles, the second half outlines four steps that will help the church move along in the process of development work. Rather than placing the burdens (e.g., time commitment and money) solely on Parkview and its ministers, Corbett and Fikkert describe different methods of involving church members and the community. This approach involves assessing the gifts of church members and providing church members with opportunities to use their gifts well. It also involves the community by connecting people with services they may be unaware of (e.g., Department of Social Services, Salvation Army, or other church ministries). part four concludes with a description of a number of ways the Parkview example could play out.

Corbett and Fikkert conclude the book with the final and most important step in the process of development work: repentance. This repentance is an integral part of overcoming our own poverty. Development workers must take this step at the very beginning and continually repeat it throughout the process of poverty alleviation and development work. Without this step, our efforts will most likely continue to do harm to both them and us. Repentance enables the reader to walk with the poor rather than provide resources to the poor and addresses the root causes of the poverty of both the materially poor and the relationally poor.

In his review of the first edition, Monty Lynn identified the absence of an in-depth case study. In the second edition, Corbett and Fikkert offer the fictional narrative of Jerry and the Parkview Fellowship as a case study illustrating one way to implement the approaches to poverty-alleviation and development described in the first three parts of the book. This provides the reader with a way to better visualize the methods and principles described throughout the book and how they can play out in a real-life setting. Corbett and Fikkert recognize that “it is impossible to provide a ‘one-size-fits-all’ pathway to success” (16). However, with the addition of the case study, they provide a real-life example of practical and concrete steps for confidently moving forward in the work of poverty-alleviation and development.

Brady Kal Cox

Graduate Student

Graduate School of Theology

Abilene Christian University

Abilene, Texas, USA

1 Monty Lynn, review of When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself, by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, Missio Dei: A Journal of Missional Theology and Praxis 2, no. 1 (February 2011): 124–25,

Posted on

Review of Clint Archer, Holding the Rope: Short-Term Missions, Long-Term Impact

Clint Archer. Holding the Rope: Short-Term Missions, Long-Term Impact. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2014. 140 pp. Paperback. $10.57.

In response to the missionary call, William Carey told a colleague, “I will go down, but remember that you must hold the rope.”

This concept of “holding the rope” for long-term missionaries encapsulates the message of this brief but engaging book by Clint Archer. Archer’s service as an STM director, STM recipient in South Africa, and church pastor gives him a broad perspective on the use—and abuse—of short-term missions.

Though the author gives practical information for short-term mission planning and execution, he never loses focus on his core premise that short-term missions should be primarily focused upon assisting the long-term missionary. Chapters three and four are the heart of the book and weave this principle throughout:

  • “The first change I made . . . was to shift the crosshairs of our efforts over to the correct target: the missionary.” (23)
  • “The core philosophy of STM . . . revolves around the axis of the missionary, his family, his ministry, and his strategy.” (29)
  • “Our missionaries are our mission!” (33)
  • “The STM is one of the best ways of meeting the missionary’s needs.” (35)

So consistently does the author make this point that part of the book is as much a manuscript on missionary care as it is short-term missions. As a former missionary and current missionary trainer, I laud the author’s sensitivity to the impact—often unrecognized and underappreciated—that STM has on the missionary. While many books on STM focus upon the benefit to the participant and local church, this one questions whether those benefits should be the reason for the trip or simply the reward.

The book begins with the author’s personal story of STM participation as a student. His honesty and self-effacement are refreshing and often humorous. The book then moves into a brief biblical review of the missions in the book of Acts. This chapter could easily have been more developed but its brevity was in keeping with the tone of the book.

After establishing the basic thesis of the book in chapters three and four, the author shifts into a more how-to approach to short-term missions. Major topics addressed include types of STM, leadership, selection and screening, fundraising, travel advice, and follow through. For those not experienced in conducting short-term trips, the chapters contain broad concepts for consideration and practical steps for implementation.

For those experienced in conducting STM, the material might seem elementary at times. However, the author laces the chapters with sage nuggets of advice that make it worth the read.

While I praise the book for placing long-term missionary presence and practice back in the center of missions, I felt it fell short in some places.

First, the book has a gap in addressing STM preparation. It jumps from team selection and fund-raising directly into travel and cultural advice. Only one page is dedicated to the spiritual preparation needed before travel. The needs of cultural understanding and team dynamics are ignored. Since these two factors often have major impact on the success of STM, I found their absence surprising.

Second, the two pages dedicated to debriefing focused almost exclusively upon logistics such as communication to supporters, receipts, photo sharing, and so on. The author mentioned that most participants experience spiritual growth but did not include material to debrief or encourage this growth. The book also lacked information regarding the need to process emotional experiences.

Lastly, chapter seven (“The Bottom Line: Is It Worth the Money?”) seems a little out of place. The book flows from STM types to selection to finances. I anticipate that the author placed the chapter where he did in order to introduce fundraising. However, its more theoretical content interrupts the flow of practical steps and might be better served as a summary chapter.

With those three caveats in mind, this small book has a lot to offer. For those inexperienced with planning STM, the book offers many practical steps. For those experienced in STM, there is a healthy dose of rethinking motivations as well as wise suggestions. For all, it is a well written, often humorous work that can be easily read in less than two hours.

Gary L. Green

Associate Director of Missional Formation

Halbert Institute for Missions

Abilene Christian University

Abilene, Texas, USA

Posted on

Review of Lowell Bliss, Environmental Missions: Planting Churches and Trees

Lowell Bliss. Environmental Missions: Planting Churches and Trees. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2013. 346 pp. Paperback. $9.06.

In answer to the question, “Who created the world?” young children across Sunday school classes may joyfully exclaim, “God did!” Many Christian environmentalists affirm the same, and the creation mandate of stewardship compels their work. However, the gift of Lowell Bliss’s Environmental Missions is an expanded view of the work of Christ in the world and the good news for all creation. Bliss’s Environmental Missions elaborates on and popularizes the ongoing conversation of the Lausanne Movement around the scope of international evangelism.

Bliss’s biblical foundation is Jesus the Reconciler. Father and Son are co-creators of the world, Jesus is Lord of all the earth, and Christ works to sustain all life, including the natural processes upon which life depends. Jesus is active on behalf of his creation, which includes but is mercifully not limited to humans. “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Heb 1:3). Christians, therefore, may rejoice in the fact that, as Bliss concludes, “There is no greater environmentalist at work in the world today than Jesus Christ himself”(85). In this way, he offers a third option to Christian environmentalists who previously chose only between two secular environmental ethics: anthropocentric (i.e., a conservation or wise-use ethic) and bio-centric (i.e,. a preservation ethic, viewing nature as valuable in its own right). As a Christian environmentalist, I now have the language and theology to confidently claim a christocentric view. He similarly expands the understanding of the relationships Christ redeemed: through Christ, relationships are redeemed with God, with self, with other people, and with creation. His thoughtful narration of personal interactions with Christians in India illustrates this multidimensional redemption by vividly connecting environmental issues with human suffering.

Though complete with an extensive bibliography, this text is accessible to readers without a background in environmental science, theology, or missions. Chapters or excerpts from this text would be appropriate for missions classes, whether at the university or congregational level. In addition to the chapters that relate to the biblical basis for environmental missions, he addresses the urgency of the need for environmental missions. In particular, he clearly develops the opportunity to infuse evangelism with refugee populations with engagement around environmental issues.

The author’s concern is largely the popularization of environmental missions as an area of missional focus, building on the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization’s Cape Town Commitment, the Call to Action put forth at the 2012 Lausanne Global Consultation on Creation Care and the Gospel in Jamaica, and the ideas of Calvin DeWitt and Peter Harris of A Rocha. For missionaries, teachers of missions, or church members active in supporting missionaries, Bliss offers a well-developed understanding of the theology and missional implications and applications of environmental science and management. If you find yourself defending agriculture, forestry, or land management activities as appropriate for missions, Bliss offers strong biblical affirmation.

However, if you find yourself struggling to defend the species selection of your reforestation efforts, you will not find those answers here. In fact, Bliss misses a huge opportunity by failing to point readers to technical resources that are crucial for doing good environmental management and community development. He could have pointed readers first (and always) to the local communities of practice. Cooperative Extension (public and private), local environmental NGOs, and government environmental professionals are charged with providing research- and evidence-based information and technical assistance. Additionally, many well-funded organizations with long histories of environmental work around the globe offer their informational resources online for free. Consider the libraries of the United Nations Environment Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the UK’s Department for International Development, the United States Agency for International Development, and Heifer International. For domestic environmental work, local Cooperative Extension offices and affiliated state land grant universities are important resources.

Furthermore, while Bliss focuses on evangelistic practice in environmental missions, and this certainly reflects his identity as a church planter who is interested in environmental missions, there were a few cases in which I was disappointed that he missed opportunities to use key environmental science concepts, which would have enhanced his credibility and the reader’s learning. For example, in chapter twelve, “Topics in Environmental Missions,” he dedicated pages to explaining his views of the roles of population growth and consumption of resources but neglected the canonical explanations. His argument would have been strengthened and this section condensed had he simply referenced and elaborated on the I=PAT formula, where environmental Impact equals Population times Affluence times Technology.

Missiologists, those interested in the history of missions, and community developers alike will find engaging the chapters on the historical treatment of William Carey and on sin as unfaithful stewardship. Bliss also recounts the history of African missionaries Robert Moffat (“God’s Gardner”) and Dr. John Croumbie Brown, a missionary, botanist, university professor, state scientist, and conservationist (142). These missionaries linked the periodic droughts that plagued South Africa from the 1820s to the 1860s with environmental degradation, identifying sin as the common cause. “Drought (a judgment) is a natural result of cutting the forests and burning the veldt. By claiming that devegetation is a sin that contributes to judgment, Moffat introduces a middle term and embraces a theology of natural consequences” (145). With only a small nod to the colonialistic mentality evidenced in these missionaries’ writings, Bliss falls dangerously short of adequately addressing the paternalistic, colonial, and oppressive nature of these early environmental missionaries or, more importantly, the implications in theory and practice for environmental missions of today.

Two major blind spots in this work relate to the role of women in environmental management and postcolonial power dynamics as they relate to natural resources. Postcolonial and eco-feminist themes would be relevant and practical to this text. Wangari Maathai, nobel laureate and founder of the Green Belt Movement in Kenya, encapsulates the interconnected goals of environmental conservation, democracy, peace, and women’s empowerment. Globally, women’s hands are in daily contact with the lion’s share of privately held soil and water resources; thus, they represent the bulk of local Christians or community members potentially involved in environmental missions. In many contexts, women environmental missionaries may be positioned to work productively alongside women of local churches with fewer cultural barriers than men may encounter. The other side of this arrangement is that women with environmental backgrounds may likely find roles as environmental missionaries, first, when their gifts align with environmental stewardship and, second, when their sending church traditions do not offer an opportunity to go as preaching missionaries, similar to the way that many young women find opportunities in roles as teachers or medical missionaries. Frustratingly, Bliss only mentions the role of women’s empowerment (e.g., health care and education for girls) in addressing environmental issues in an indirect way, when he is discussing the topic of population growth. This limits his view of the topics and people who are most crucial to the success of environmental missions and to whom environmental missions may be most relevant.

Since gender, race, and class are intertwined, it is unsurprising that the second blind spot I note relates to another power dimension. The history of colonialism is one of natural resource extraction and environmental degradation. The question of how to do environmental missions in a way that acknowledges past power abuses and, by the power of God and the work of his people, works to reconcile indigenous people to their homelands deserves to be both a common thread throughout an environmental missions text and a well-researched chapter. Bliss sadly neglects to address how environmental missions offers white, Christian, Western men another banner under which to tell brown, pagan, non-Western women what to do with their land.

Emily Stutzman Jones

Institute for Sustainable Practice

Lipscomb University

Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Posted on

Review of Craig Ott and J. D. Payne, eds., Missionary Methods: Research, Reflections, and Realities

Craig Ott and J. D. Payne, eds. Missionary Methods: Research, Reflections, and Realities. Evangelical Missiological Society 21. Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2013. 256 pp. Paperback. $13.48.

This volume, edited by Ott and Payne, is number twenty-one in the Evangelical Missiological Society Series. It is divided into two parts: “Biblical Understandings of Missionary Methods” and “Praxis and Case Studies of Missionary Methods.” The editors provide an introduction and conclusion while ten distinct scholars supply the chapters of the book written and compiled in honor of the centennial of the publication of Roland Allen’s Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours?

With a book written on missionary methods, one would expect to find an emphasis on praxis. It would be surprising to find anyone reading this review who would disagree that praxis must be grounded in thoughtfully developed “Biblical Understandings.” The three contributors to part one were challenged by the twin objectives of elucidating a theology for missionary methods while also critiquing the relevance of Roland Allen’s landmark book for current mission realities. As a result, the title for part one could just have easily been “Innovations in Missiological Understandings since Roland Allen.”

In chapter one, Robert Gallagher views the theology of Roland Allen through the lens of spiritual warfare, power encounters, exorcisms, and satanic activity. He concludes that Allen manifested “an exegetical praxis hindered by [his] theological convention” (20). Gallagher’s thesis is that Allen had an underdeveloped pneumatology (demonology?) vis-à-vis the Luke-Acts narrative. In fairness to Allen, we should note that the American Christian interest in spiritual warfare has been contained within limited circles originating at about the time of the publication of Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours? and only popularized much more recently.

Rob Hughes surveys “Roland Allen’s Understanding of the Spirit’s Centrality in Mission” and notes Allen’s concern, expressed in his book Missionary Principles (1926), about missionary activity obscuring the role and work of the Holy Spirit. A related concern was “the failure of the command to preach the Gospel to all nations” (30). Allen concludes that the Holy Spirit is the author of missionary zeal but that the Spirit has been obscured by the prominence of missionary “activity” (i.e., “schools for the education of people, clubs for the welfare of young men and women, institutions for the improvement of social conditions, . . . hospitals, . . . improvement of agriculture;” 27). Holistic missions is, of course, the “innovation” that drives this particular mining of Allen’s body of work.

The third and final chapter in part one deals with the discussion on the incarnational model of missions. John Cheong ably lays out views from John Stott, David Hesselgrave, and Andreas Köstenberger, with the bulk of the chapter outlining Köstenberger’s understandings of the continuities and discontinuities of Jesus’ mission and our own.

While the efforts to provide both a link to Allen’s landmark book and the theological underpinnings that inform praxis should be lauded, part one of the book is eclipsed by the following chapters comprising part two, which are more to the point of “Missionary Methods.”

Chapter four: “From Roland Allen to Rick Warren: Sources of Inspiration Guiding North American Evangelical Missions Methodology 1912–2012.” Gary Corwin provides an extremely helpful schema for understanding the “inspirational paradigm streams” that have influenced missions from North America over the last century.

Chapter five: “A Prolegomena to Contextualized Preaching concerning the Wrath of God and the Judgment of Man: What Did Roland Allen Know that We Sometimes Forget and at Other Times Never Learn?” A review of Allen’s critique of Pauline preaching results in David Hesselgrave’s lament over the demise of “stern doctrines” and “dire warnings” of judgment in modern pulpits.

Chapter six: “The Rise of Orality in Modern Mission Practice,” by Anthony Casey. Here are the facts: Two-thirds of the world’s population are oral communicators currently. Ninety percent of missionaries still present the gospel using a highly literate communication style. Casey provides practical ways to address the need in a must-read chapter!

Chapter seven: “Missionaries in Our Own Backyard: The Canadian Context,” by Joel Thiessen, describes a situation that, while it may differ from the US context by some degree, is essentially of the same kind.

Chapter eight: “Islands of the Gods: Productive and Unproductive Missionary Methods in Animistic Societies—Roland Allen’s Examination of Saint Paul’s Use of Miracles.” The “islands” in question are Haiti and Madagascar. Here Robert Bennett provides a touch point to the earlier discussion on spiritual warfare and exorcism and reminds us of Paul Hiebert’s “Flaw of the Excluded Middle.” He notes: “While denial of the spiritual world leads to syncretism, acceptance of the spiritual world on its own terms leads to despair and bondage” (146).

Chapter nine: “Leaders Reproducing Churches: Research from Japan,” by John Mehn. This is a fascinating study of a Western ecclesiology that refuses to adapt to cultural realities. The ordained pastor-centered model has hindered the growth of the church in Japan, considered the world’s second largest unreached population by the Joshua Project. A new generation of leaders provide cautious optimism as Roland Allen’s principles are applied.

Chapter ten: “Paul’s or Theirs?—A Case Analysis of Missionary Methods among Muslims of the Philippines.” Mark Williams provides important background history of Muslim-Christian relations in the Philippines. Efforts to evangelize Muslims provide an interesting case study of the C1–C6 Spectrum as the old question is posed once more: how far is too far? Roland Allen had much to say about Paul’s resistance to syncretism while making every effort to contextualize.

The conclusion provided by co-editor Craig Ott addresses the “Questions that Still Dog Us,” including that of pragmatism in our methods, the use of the social sciences in the theory and practice of missions, and that of New Testament precedence in describing and authorizing the norms for missionary practice.

In sum, the book provides a helpful and interesting review of Roland Allen’s century-old thinking that engages our modern realities in surprisingly relevant ways.

Bill Richardson

Professor of Bible and Missions

Harding University

Searcy, Arkansas, USA

Posted on

Review of Jim Raymo and Judy Raymo, Millennials and Mission: A Generation Faces A Global Challenge

Jim Raymo and Judy Raymo. Millennials and Mission: A Generation Faces a Global Challenge. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2014. 136 pp. Paperback. $12.48.

Jim and Judy Raymo end Millennials and Mission by rehearsing a variety of questions raised throughout the preceding seven chapters. Then they conclude, “These questions and others remain unanswered at present” (108). The authors do not intend the statement to be a commentary on their own work, yet it has the ring of an admission, since the slender volume begins and ends with questions while providing few answers in between. Indeed, the judicious reader may wonder whether the book is asking the right questions in the first place. Nonetheless, the Raymos write from significant experience and offer a perspective worthy of consideration.

The book is an adaptation of material from Jim’s doctoral dissertation, written primarily in his voice but made more accessible with Judy’s help. Though there is some ambiguity regarding the intended audience, the bulk of the book seems to be directed at missions organization recruiters, particularly Baby Boomers prone to misunderstand generational differences with Millennials. One finds in chapter four what appears to be the book’s occasion: the decline of North American evangelical missions organizations and, therefore, the need to connect with “the ministry aspirations of potential new workers” (39). This sheds light on the aim Jim states in chapter one, to explain what he has learned about generational differences in the process of training and working with Millennials (1). Unfortunately, this intention does not provide the focus that a thesis would, and as a result the reader is left with a more or less organized compilation of questions, observations, and suggestions.

The first three chapters introduce Millennial generation characteristics. Chapter four pivots to “consider how these directly connect in regard to missions/ministry” (38), specifically considering their general fit for missions, the role of fear in their decision to serve cross-culturally, their preference for holistic ministries, and their potential relationship with established missions organizations. The final chapter briefly recapitulates various concerns and questions from the preceding chapters.

Two issues dominate the authors’ understanding of Millennials: self-interest and fear. The former appears to be a riff on Jim’s 1996 book, Marching to a Different Drummer: Rediscovering Missions in an Age of Affluence and Self-Interest. The reader may suspect that the authors would identify self-interest as an abiding concern regardless of the particular generation in view. Millennials have been characterized as entitled, certainly, but the authors do not parse the conflicting data with new insight. At one point they quote a source labeling Millennials as “narcissistic” followed immediately by another that describes them as “generally very self-critical” (10)—with no hint that these are contradictory by definition. The authors’ solution to this and other interpretive dilemmas is to identify paradoxical as the one word they would choose to describe the generation (16). Millennials are, for the Raymos, “self-absorbed, but generous” (16). What is most peculiar about their insistence that Millennials are characteristically self-interested is that many of the blog excerpts from Millennials sprinkled throughout the book clearly suggest otherwise.

The book’s most inconsistent argument, however, is that fear is a major concern for Millennials considering mission work. Chapter five, the longest of the book, is dedicated to this idea. Despite citing surveys that indicate Millennials are not prone to the prejudicial fears that characterize older generations, and despite quoting Millennials who state they are willing to live with the consequences of potentially dangerous foreign work, the Raymos insist that fear is a major concern for motivating and recruiting Millennial missionaries. At times, it seems as though they can’t decide which case they want to make: Millennials are fearful, or Millennials are naive about how costly and difficult cross-cultural work can be. Ultimately, it is difficult to see how the authors reach their conclusion that “fear is indeed a factor, especially in regard to comfort, security, and family” (76). Yet, given how closely this description of fear resembles self-interest, it is perhaps not a conclusion for the authors but a presupposition.

The book’s seventh chapter is its strongest, as it settles squarely into coaching older missions organizations how to adapt for Millennial workers. Though the authors have not presented an especially convincing portrayal of Millennials, they do a better job identifying issues for established organizational leadership that must deal with Millennials’ unique expectations. The authors give an interesting overview of what Millennials are looking for in a ministry context, which manages not to focus on self-interest. They chart both points of fit and potential difficulties with typical missions organizations. The chapter is unfortunately marred by redundancy, as the next section, on Millennials’ ideal missions agency, rehashes much of the first part of the chapter, and the following section deals with “ministry deal breakers” that are essentially the inverse of the same material. The chapter’s final section offers recommendations for integrating Millennials, which is again repetitive, though it also pulls a couple of points from previous chapters. Despite its redundancy, the chapter still lands nearest the book’s purpose. The Raymos’ experience in the organizational context is evident, and they share practical insights that leave the reader with the impression of legitimacy.

Millennials and Mission advances a conversation the church needs to have. The need, however, is not to prop up organizations that have failed to appeal to the next generation of workers. It is rather to understand how to adapt for the next phase of global mission, as God sends natively postmodern, thoroughly globalized Christians for his purposes. The Raymos’ basic impulse, to convince existing organizations and older generations that they should adapt rather than insisting that Millennials conform, is wise. Because the question is not whether Millennials can fit into such structures but who will be the next generation of courageous, self-sacrificial Western missionaries regardless of whether they fit into old molds.

Greg McKinzie

Doctoral Student

Fuller Theological Seminary

Pasadena, California, USA

Posted on

Self-Imposed Strictures and the Role of Western Missionaries in Cross-Cultural Mission to Africa

The author advocates the voluntary self-imposition of strictures in some Westerners’ cross-cultural mission work, especially on the use of outside languages and resources. In a world that increasingly esteems material success, voluntary poverty of Western missionaries working in Africa and elsewhere amongst the poor is easily misunderstood. Yet, understanding vulnerable missionaries’ reasons for a self-restricted ministry style, trail blazed by Jesus, is vital for preventing their persecution or derision. Once other missionaries understand these reasons, good relationships between those whose approaches to ministry vary can combine deep impact with a testimony of godly love.


A Western missionary will instinctively respond to African1 contexts on the basis of prior experience. Such a missionary, if conscientious, will endeavour to initiate in their new context some of the good things that they have come to value at home. For many Christians in the West, such “good things” are likely to originate from the material world of science and technology. A Western missionary may not be aware of the ways in which their orientation to the material has arisen from a peculiar dualistic worldview which distinguishes material from spiritual and real from unreal. Many African people are not dualists but monists. They do not draw a clear distinction between material and spiritual or real and unreal spheres. As a result, they do not see things in the same way as the typical Western missionary.2 Monistic people, certainly many in parts of Africa, invariably understand causation differently than do true dualists. For example, negative occurrences are in Africa typically blamed on witchcraft or evil spirits, while in the West they are more likely to be seen as the result of “chance.”3

Fearing “the nightmare of the ideologies and categories of racism,”4 Western governments and other bodies these days insist on treating everyone within their shores essentially equally, even sometimes ensuring by artificial means (i.e., positive discrimination) that people of a particular ethnicity do not dominate jobs and leadership positions. Fear of racism can cause Westerners to confuse equal opportunity with sameness. Their desire to treat everyone equally can blind them to worldview differences: for example, the difference in approach to life taken by people who are monistic in their outlook as against those who are dualistic.

This article suggests that some Western missionaries should self-impose strictures on how they do ministry for two reasons. First, missionaries should avoid misrepresenting the gospel by spreading Western dualistic thinking in its place. Because Western missionaries who do not consciously avoid spreading Western materialism can easily acquire a reputation for being preoccupied with it, “American missionaries in Africa almost automatically seem to be preaching a prosperity gospel even if this is not their intention.”5 All too often the inadvertent but powerful received message in Africa from Western missionaries is one of materialism, interpreted by monistic people as the prosperity gospel or as a cargo cult.6 Second, Jesus’ vulnerable way is a model missionaries should imitate. Therefore, some missionaries should consciously choose to confine their interactions with locals, at least in certain ministries, to local languages and resources, a practice known as vulnerable mission.7 Such “strictures” apply to the use of foreign languages and outside resources, thereby emphasizing the importance of indigenous languages and resources, though other self-imposed strictures may also be significant.

Voluntary Poverty in Ministry

Should you offer a lift to someone who has decided not to own a vehicle? If you know the person has the money for a vehicle and the ability to drive it, but they decided to do without it, their predicament is their own doing. Why should you be troubled to help them?

It would be different if the person walking could not afford to buy a vehicle. Then our charitable hearts would want to help the poor and disadvantaged. We might feel convicted to help a deserving poor person whose poverty has arisen through no fault of their own. The justification for being charitable to such a person might be relatively clear.

The idea that a person who needs help as a result of voluntary self-denial is less deserving than the one who has no apparent means to escape their poverty has not always been widespread. Giving alms to beggars was once a process valued by Christians and others.8 Historically, some people’s orientation to prayer instead of to business or employment made them dependent on the charity of others. It seems that the value once perceived to have been implicit in asceticism, meditation, and prayer resulting in poverty that requires “voluntary begging” is less appreciated in the contemporary world.9 Those who prefer priestly duties such as prayer, preaching, arranging sacrifices (or reminders of sacrifices) even if their dedication results in a reduced level of material well-being, seem to be diminishing in number in the Western world. At least their decline is evident in the Catholic Church.10

Voluntary poverty could be especially frowned upon in parts of the world where poverty is severe, where life is the hardest, where infant mortality is high, where diseases such as malaria are widespread. It is as if these parts of the world are constantly in crisis. Many people evidently believe that in these parts of the world the application of material insights, including salvific medical and other technologies, must have overwhelming priority. It is as if emphasis on the spiritual side of life should be suspended for these people. Even people who may have a wide variety of interests when in the West typically find that “poverty alleviation” becomes a dominant agenda for them when they reach Africa. I have found from personal experience that those who have been pastors in the West can, when they reach the developing world, end up functioning as administrators and project managers. To live amongst the poor and not to be preoccupied with trying to save them from material poverty can be seen as sacrilege or hypocrisy.

As things stand, it is very difficult for the West to “allow” their people to engage with developing-world populations other than from a benevolent position of providing material assistance. When working with other Catholic missionaries in East Africa, Joseph Healey noted that “many visitors challenged us for living the ordinary life of the local people without encouraging the villagers to improve their standard of living.”11 Many African people have the deeply ingrained expectation that Westerners who come to them will be preoccupied with saving lives, resolving crises, or enabling technology, typically by handing out funds. So then, pressure to do development work by providing aid comes from two directions. On the one hand, Westerners demand that missionaries do aid work. On the other, Africans now expect missionaries to do aid work.

The West’s concern for inter-racial (and other) equalities, which “forces” them to be preoccupied in raising the economic level of non-Western people they meet, is invariably on the West’s own terms. That is to say, others are expected to level with the West, and not the West with others. The desirable way forward is to become more Western. Westerners rarely advocate becoming more like other people. If the way forward is for all people to be the same, and the standard is the West, then any compromise with another people’s standards is, developmentally speaking, like turning the clock back.

Therefore, any Westerner who wants to stop implicitly telling African nationals that “we are better” with every other breath faces many barriers.12 A Westerner who wants to say to people in Africa, “Can I come to where you are?” can be seen as anathema. A Westerner who wants to relate to local people in Africa in at least a particular ministry using local language and local resources can have a battle on their hands.13

Being preoccupied with pulling people out of poverty can make it hard for Westerners to identify closely with locals, and, if not identifying closely curtails understanding, this can preclude Westerners’ being a part of alleviation or change of complex cultural issues. Furthermore, Westerners who behave as saviors of poor developing world nationals ultimately perpetuate racial stereotypes. It is very serious for future generations of our planet to be permanently divided between races of people who are providers or receivers. Unhealthy dependency and evils such as imperialism are perpetuated in this way.14 Finally, the implicit assumption that the value of a Westerner is in their ability to provide materially can be dehumanising to them.

Some prefer wisdom in the use of resources over the non-use of resources.15 Unfortunately this easily results in paying insufficient attention to questions of power. A free choice to use or not use power is power. A missionary who works under self-imposed strictures would be a poor example if, unlike a truly powerless person, they retained the privilege of putting aside those strictures in cases of needs that they happen to consider serious. Leaving a missionary free to decide when to impose strictures and when not to will also encourage local people to look for the story or scenario that frees up the flow of funds. It becomes a kind of insurance policy. For example, should a missionary only provide help to those injured in a road traffic accident, nationals could see them as an insurance against road traffic accidents. Stories about road traffic accidents could be invented as a means to loosening purse strings. Victims of road-traffic accidents would be taken to that particular missionary, and so forth.

Being under self-imposed strictures does not prevent generosity. For example, if the strictures refer to language and material resources, a missionary can still be generous in the time and emotional or spiritual help they offer. They can share things that do not depend on Western financing. For example, teaching people to play a keyboard easily brings dependency on Western money for purchase of the instrument. Teaching people to sing will not result in such dependency. Missionaries can also be generous in ways that do not directly pertain to their ministry. Many charitable organizations are happy to receive donations. A vulnerable missionary could donate anonymously to a cause that is not local to their area of operation. Doing such does not contradict their vulnerability to their local community.

I suggest, therefore, that some Westerners will be best equipped to “help” Africa and the Majority World by seeing issues from a local point of view. The best, or at least a possible, means of doing this is for some Westerners to engage in ministry in Africa (or elsewhere in the developing world) from a position of self-imposed strictures, such as those of the use of languages and resources that come from local people.

Self-Imposed Strictures in Jesus’ Ministry

Our primary example in self-imposed strictures in mission is Christ’s incarnation. Jesus voluntarily relinquished divine power (Phil 2:6–7). In the interests of establishing the kingdom of God he commonly chose not to provide people with immediate material benefits.

The Gospels portray Jesus as making claims to divine status (for example, John 10:30). Christians understand Jesus through his incarnation as having been a man who, although he was also God, did not actualize the great power to which he had access (Phil 2:6). There is much evidence for this: Jesus refused to turn stones into bread, to throw himself from the temple, or to use the means of the devil in establishing his kingdom (Luke 4:1–13). He walked away when people wanted to make him king (John 6:15). Although Jesus evidently healed many people, he did not heal them all—such as the cripple at the gate of the temple who had been there for up to forty years (Acts 4:22) when healed by Peter and John (Acts 3:1–12). People’s expectations as to what Jesus would do (for example, their rejoicing at the time of his triumphal entry into Jerusalem; Luke 19:37) were not fulfilled. Instead of accepting political office and clearing Israel of Roman domination, Jesus allowed himself to be crucified. Although one problem of Jesus’ claiming to be divine might to some have been that it appeared blasphemous, another was more pragmatic: It was wrong in the eyes of many people that Jesus claimed to be divine but did not confirm his might through more sufficient displays of power.16 One important reason some people despised Jesus was because his life did not seem to justify his overt declarations regarding his divinity.17

We are told time and time again that African and Majority World people value Western missionaries at work amongst them according to the wealth that they bring.18 Why after all should one pay great respect to missionaries, if they do not have the wherewithal to back up their claims of access to the divine? A claim to represent God that is not backed up by demonstrations of evident power can be treated as a false claim, especially by those who are jealous of the attention that the person making the claim is getting.19 This basis of evaluation is very logical. One could even say it is very natural or innate to human society. It is the basis on which we would evaluate almost any other claim: we want to see actions that prove the authenticity of what is being asserted. Jesus, on the other hand, chose not to satisfy people’s requirements in this way. This may well be why he ended up with relatively few, only 120 believers, even following his resurrection and ascension (Acts 1:15).

The hero of the Gospel accounts was not the kind of hero found in contemporary historiography, whose life invariably ended in triumph or honour.20 M. T. Speckman tells us that “healing miracle stories authenticated the hero or performer of the miracle.”21 Yet despite his aptitude for performing miracles, Jesus ended up crucified. The Gospels were clearly unique. Jesus did what he did in the way that he did due to the particular nature of the kingdom that he was introducing. He wanted to be in the world and not of the world (John 15:19; 18:36). Religious leaders of Jesus’ time, jealously protective as they were of their own prestigious standing amongst the people, attacked Jesus’ claim to have a unique theological eminence (Luke 22:66–71). While to some extent Jesus’ response was one of a demonstration of power (as in his reply to John the Baptist’s question in Matt 11:4–6), that demonstration of power was insufficient to save himself from judgement by Jewish authorities (Luke 23:2) nor did he rescue himself from the cross as some thought he ought to have done (Luke 23:35). In his ministry, Jesus put himself under strictures. He did not use all the power available to him. As a result, he was crucified. For Christians, his crucifixion has become the emblem of their salvation. It has become the very core of Christian belief.

Jesus’ weaknesses became the source of his power. Whether or not he was the first person to operate in this way, he certainly took it to new lengths. There are many reasons for Jesus’ “success” in establishing a heavenly kingdom that was to turn the world upside down (Acts 17:6) and to attract more followers than has any other “religion” the world has ever known. I cannot go into all of them now. I would suggest that many of them are rooted in his practice of demonstrating power through the weakness and vulnerability that he achieved through self-imposed strictures on what he did and how.

Jesus’ power was of an unconventional nature. The position of not searching for power can, by winning the respect of people, itself be power. Ghandi is known to have drawn on this source of power.22 Jesus was the master of it. Self-imposed strictures were required in what he did and how for him to be able to have and to express power in such an unconventional way.

Had Jesus built his popularity entirely on his divine nature, he would have left his followers with an impossible act to follow. The alternative course which he followed provoked the envy of the powerful as much as it frustrated them; he did not use the power that he had in ways that they considered appropriate, for example, to support political insurrection. It was evident that he knew that this would turn people against him; he was aware that he would be rejected and killed (Mark 10:33–34), but he nevertheless went ahead. To use our terminology, he consistently kept to strictures that resulted in his weakness, vulnerability, and death. One of the reasons for doing so was to encourage his followers to do likewise. Jesus’ vulnerability was voluntary. His disciples’ should be too. As Jesus chose not to utilize power available to him, so Christian leaders and prophets should follow his example. As Jesus was consistent in his non-use of power, so should be missionaries today.

We find no records of Jesus raising funds from foreign communities, or of using languages that were not already well known by the people he was reaching. We have no knowledge of his having appealed to the temple, to Herod, or to Rome for funding for his ministry. The question of language choice was probably obvious as there were no powerful global languages being spread by technology such as the printing press, internet, radio, and television in Jesus’ day as there are today. We can surmise that if Jesus were to go to a non-Western people to evangelise them today he would do so using their language. He would prefer an already known language to a language of empire that obliged his listeners to spend years in school before they could begin to understand what he was on about and that could never communicate at depth with their hearts.

People following vulnerable mission principles make ministry dependent for its success on the heartfelt approval of indigenous people. Because it does not come with financial benefits, I have found that vulnerable mission is a way of discerning what people actually want aside from economic help and of doing things that can be imitated by local people.

The Difficulties of Working under Strictures

Having looked at the principles underlying self-imposed strictures in ministry outside of the West, I now want to ask more specifically what it is like to work under them. This account is based on my personal experience of practicing vulnerable mission amongst Africans since 1988.

Envy can undermine self-imposed strictures. One kind of envy is that of the people whom the vulnerable missionary serves. For example, is it just for two people to do the same job but receive different pay? A Western missionary generally needs a lot of money just to get them and keep them on the field. To some, this can only be justified if the same missionary is bringing money for others on the field. If it is unacceptable for a missionary to perform a role other than being a conduit for donors, then apparently justifiable envy of local people could come against a vulnerable missionary. The only way out of this dilemma would seem to be to cut their link with their Western home country (or countries) and become as poor as local people in ministry.23

Another kind of envy is that of the vulnerable missionary’s colleagues. They can become envious of a vulnerable missionary’s ability to understand and engage at depth with the local community, an ability that they may well lack.24 The self-worth of many missionaries and development workers arises from the good they perceive themselves as doing. Any suggestion from the position of greater understanding of a vulnerable missionary that what they are doing is less than adequate can be threatening to their raison d’être. Foundationally envy is a sin (Deut 5:21). A vulnerable missionary’s activity may be a test as to whether colleagues are avoiding that sin. As with a missionary working under strictures today, this was also the case at the time of Christ, who tended to reach the poorer elements of society (e.g., see Luke 1:51–53 and Luke 4:18) but was rejected by religious leaders (John 11:53). Jesus was a victim of the envy of others (Mark 15:10).

This issue of envy probably deserves more attention than it has had in recent years.25 Some people attempt to legitimize envy. (Chilton considers Sider’s efforts at advocating for the redistribution of wealth to be the actions of a guilt manipulator.26) Missionaries’ responses to poor people’s expressed envy has helped to make intervention in the poor world into a very materially oriented activity. That is, attempts by missionaries to equalize resource availability with those who are poor in a place like Africa, so as to reduce the legitimacy of the envy of the African people, can be so absorbing of their time and energy as to define their whole identity. Envy motivates a lot of the “asking for things” that Maranz identifies as commonplace when Africans meet Europeans.27 One widespread response to this has in recent years been for missionaries (and the West as a whole) to give massive amounts of aid to those asking, even when the process of giving aid can be very destructive.28

Many African people can greatly appreciate a missionary’s practising a type of vulnerable mission that enables them to learn local languages and cultures. On the other hand, they may not appreciate a missionary’s resultant inability to extend them material aid.

A missionary not wanting to root their ministry in linguistic superiority or financial provision must be careful how they relate to a missionary colleague who has not self-imposed such strictures. Their influence on the use of resources by such a colleague will effectively mean the vulnerable missionary is providing resources (i.e., redirecting the flow of resources) despite their commitment not to do so. For example, should missionary A who is self-imposing strictures so as to work in a vulnerable way affect the ways in which missionary B uses resources, then missionary A is in effect a source of those resources. This requires the vulnerable missionary to maintain a certain distance from missionary colleagues, especially if they are searching for guidance regarding the local context, and especially if they are not careful to whom they will give credit for having influenced their decisions.29

Working under self-imposed strictures can definitely slow the rate of progress in ministry. This is clearly one reason for its unpopularity amongst Western people. Western missionaries like to report success stories, and they like to be able to do so after relatively short periods of time. The growing popularity of short-term mission points to a requirement for “success” to be achieved ever more quickly. The desire for success stories to report is linked both to the need to raise funds and the need to “prove faith.” Donors like to contribute to projects that are resounding successes with large apparent impacts over a limited timeframe. Increasingly, it appears that parts of the Christian population in the West are seeking affirmation for their faith in the feedback they receive from poorer parts of the world outside of the West, typically Africa. African people are often not reluctant to provide such support for faith, if only because they usually stand to benefit materially and even in terms of prestige as a result of having pleased a Westerner.30

The limitations that Christ found himself under as a result of the self-imposed strictures that he worked with should be clear. His ministry would, on many counts, not be considered “successful” in today’s terms, nor would he be considered a successful person. He had few followers when his life was prematurely cut off. Those who did follow him seemed to be plagued by doubt and uncertainties. They seemed rather ready to abandon him (Matt 26:56). They were often incapable of grasping the greater depths of his teaching (Luke 24:36–45).31

I have discussed some of the negative impacts of working under strictures in mission. I consider it essential that some Western missionaries in years ahead engage in ministry under self-imposed strictures. The practice must be given a high priority for the sake of the future health of global church and society.

Working with Conventional Missionaries

Genuine conventional missionaries need not feel threatened by having vulnerable missionaries work alongside them. The two need to work in a complementary way. Missionaries who self-impose strictures can become dependent on more conventional missionaries for infrastructure, resources, and fellowship. Conventional mission could become dependent on missionaries that work under strictures for the acquisition of necessary contextual insights.32

The Christian missionary seeks for righteousness firstly from God and not from colleagues. If our righteousness comes from God, then we have no need to be proud of what we are doing. We have even less cause to try to show up other ways of working. The aim of missionaries who work under self-imposed strictures is not to expose, offend, or embarrass a missionary who does not do so. The insights offered by a missionary who works under self-imposed strictures should be as the weaker partner trying to convince the stronger partner to rely more on the providence of God.33

Missionaries and development workers are not immune from the general pressure to “succeed”; yet the very contrary contexts that they work in often make it peculiarly difficult for them to succeed. They face cultural barriers that are often little understood by their supporters back home. The liability to “failure” in mission evokes various responses. Some take a critical view of fellow workers, perhaps despising those who succeed where they have failed. A scapegoat may be sought. Missionaries should be aware of and avoid this kind of behaviour. Humility and joy in the light of failure should be a part of true Christian mission. The self-imposition of strictures does not make someone into a “better” missionary.34 All should be ready to forgive, and to avoid taking offence.

We live in an age in which it has become important for the results of someone’s work to be measurable. Missionaries may not escape from the pressure to demonstrate quantifiable outcomes to carefully defined aims and objectives. Vulnerable missionaries may not be able to demonstrate quantifiable outcomes to their ministries. If we draw a parallel with the world of research, the missionary who works under self-imposed strictures is engaging in qualitative rather than quantitative research. Such missionaries’ aims can be vague, such as “encouraging the church.” Their not drawing on outside resources to boost their ministries often means that they have much less to show for their efforts than do colleagues who fund projects with foreign money. Conventional missionaries justify relatively affluent living conditions through their need to host, entertain, and travel with the foreign visitors who are an essential part of their task.35 Not having such a justification (and for other reasons) missionaries who work under self-imposed strictures can end up in relatively poor living circumstances.

Local people in Africa can be very protective of their links to donors. Their desire to protect “essential” donor-based ways of working may result in attacks (not necessarily physical) on missionaries who work under strictures. The sensitivity of on-field relationships means that missionaries working under strictures may be advised not to feed what they are learning back to missionary colleagues on the field. They should be given avenues of feedback higher-up the missionary hierarchy, such as to missionary strategists who are based in the West. Western mission leaders need to devise careful and sensitive means of taking advantage of insights that are provided by missionaries working under strictures.


Recent trends in mission from the West to Africa tend towards missionaries acting as donors. This typically requires a Western missionary to engage in a lot of fundraising. Time spent administering and distributing resources has made close identification with “the poor” difficult. This has restricted missionaries’ ability to understand the local context and hence to share a contextualized gospel.

Jesus, believed by Christians to be God in human form, did not take advantage of all the power available to him in the course of his ministry. Rather, it seems that self-imposed strictures on the ways in which he engaged with people defined his ministry. To follow Jesus’ example some contemporary Western missionaries ought to consistently self-impose strictures on the ways in which they minister. Only thus will they be able to effectively represent the gospel of Christ. Not to self-impose strictures can be to represent the benefits of Western ways of life rather than the Jesus of the Gospels.

The association between what is Western and what is “good” in parts of Africa can make mission under self-imposed strictures difficult today. These days faith in the benefits of Westernisation is so hegemonic that to be Westernized almost defines what it is for a people to “develop.” The self-imposition of strictures is the necessary means for missionaries to avoid the pitfalls of humanistic agendas and instead to remain faithful communicators of Jesus’ message.

Jim Harries (PhD) served for three years amongst the Kaonde people in Zambia. Since 1993 he has lived in a Luo village in western Kenya. ​Jim ministers in a Bible-teaching ministry to churches in Kenya and beyond ​​(especially Tanzania) using the Swahili and Luo languages. In Kenya he works particularly with indigenously founded and run churches. Harries is the chairman of the Alliance for Vulnerable Mission and serves as adjunct faculty at William Carey International University and Global University, both in the USA. He can be contacted at


Blommaert, Jan, and Jef Verschueren. Debating Diversity: Analysing the Discourse of Tolerance. London: Routledge, 1998.

Chilton, David. Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators: A Biblical Response to Ronald J. Sider. Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1981.

Dear, John. “The Experiments of Gandhi: Nonviolence in the Nuclear Age.”

Future Church. “Priestly Shortage at a Glance.” Future of Priestly Ministry.

Harries, Jim. “The Immorality of Aid to the ‘Third World’ (Africa).” In Vulnerable Mission: Insights into Christian Mission to Africa from a Position of Vulnerability, 23–40. Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2011.

________. Theory to Practice in Vulnerable Mission: An Academic Appraisal. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2012.

________. “Witchcraft, Envy, Development, and Christian Mission in Africa.” Missiology: An International Review 40, no. 2 (April 2012): 129–39.

Healey, Joseph G. A Fifth Gospel: The Experience of Black Christian Values. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1981.

Johnson, Jean. “The ‘Thinning’ Revisited: Dependency and Church Planting in Cambodia.” International Journal of Frontier Missiology 27, no. 2 (Summer 2010): 69–72,

Johnson, Kelly S. The Fear of Beggars: Stewardship and Poverty in Christian Ethics. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007.

Maranz, David. African Friends and Money Matters: Observations from Africa. Publications in Ethnography 37. Dallas, TX: SIL International, 2001.

Martin, Jonathan. Giving Wisely? Killing with Kindness or Empowering Lasting Transformation? Redmond, OR: Last Chapter Publishing, 2008.

Perkins, Pheme. “The Gospel of Mark: Introduction, Commentary and Reflections.” In The New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. 8, edited by Neil M. Alexander, 507–733. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1995.

Reese, Robert. Roots and Remedies of the Dependency Syndrome in World Missions. Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2010.

Schwartz, Glenn J. When Charity Destroys Dignity: Overcoming Unhealthy Dependency in the Christian Movement. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2007.

Sider, Ronald J. Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger: A Biblical Study. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1977).

Speckman, M. T. A Biblical Vision for Africa’s Development? Pietermaritzburg, South Africa: Cluster Publications, 2007.

Young, Robert C. Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Theory, Culture and Race. London: Routledge, 1995.

1 Africa in this article refers to those parts of sub-Saharan Africa known to the author either through personal experience or study. I believe that much that is here said regarding Africa is also true for other parts of the Majority World.

2 The phenomenon of Africans using European languages tends to complicate this issue. Because they borrow European languages and imitate ways in which they are used, they can appear to communicate in ways that are dualist.

3 Taking chance to be: “The occurrence of events in the absence of any obvious intention or cause.” See Oxford British and World English Dictionary, s.v. “chance,”

4 Robert C. Young, Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Theory, Culture and Race (London: Routledge, 1995), 28.

5 Robert Reese, Roots and Remedies of the Dependency Syndrome in World Missions (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2010), 63.

6 A cargo cult understands that “salvation will come in the form of wealth (‘cargo’) brought by westerners.” See The Free Dictionary, s.v. “cargo cult,”

7 See Jim Harries, Theory to Practice in Vulnerable Mission: An Academic Appraisal (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2012).

8 Kelly S. Johnson, The Fear of Beggars: Stewardship and Poverty in Christian Ethics, Eerdmans Ekklesia Series (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007), 3.

9 Johnson, 8.

10 Future Church, “Priestly Shortage at a Glance,” Future of Priestly Ministry,

11 Joseph G. Healey, A Fifth Gospel: The Experience of Black Christian Values (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1981), 75.

12 This is not usually said overtly. If we were to explore attitudes in the West toward the Majority World in the way that Jan Blommaert and Jef Verschueren, Debating Diversity: Analysing the Discourse of Tolerance (London: Routledge, 1998), did using pragmatics to examine attitudes toward Muslims in Belgium, I believe that we would find massive assumptions of implicit superiority on the side of the West.

13 I am not saying that Africa and the developing world should not be “Westernized.” I object to the model being used to do this whereby Westerners must always fill “superior” roles through use of outside languages and resources.

14 For more on unhealthy dependency and how to avoid it see Glenn J. Schwartz, When Charity Destroys Dignity: Overcoming Unhealthy Dependency in the Christian Movement (Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2007).

15 For example, see Jonathan Martin, Giving Wisely? Killing with Kindness or Empowering Lasting Transformation? (Redmond, OR: Last Chapter Publishing, 2008).

16 M. T. Speckman, A Biblical Vision for Africa’s Development? (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa: Cluster Publications, 2007), 134.

17 Many Muslims refuse to accept that someone as great as Jesus could have been crucified.

18 E.g., see Jean Johnson, “The ‘Thinning’ Revisited: Dependency and Church Planting in Cambodia,” International Journal of Frontier Missiology 27, no. 2 (Summer 2010): 69–72,

19 There is a strange, ironic parallel between the position of the incarnated Jesus and that of the contemporary Western missionary in Africa. As Pharisees were frustrated by Jesus’ failure to demonstrate his power in normally acceptable ways—for example, by instigating a revolt against Roman control over Judah—so African people can be frustrated by missionaries who fail to live up to their expectations of providing material resources.

20 Pheme Perkins, “The Gospel of Mark: Introduction, Commentary and Reflections,” in The New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. 8, ed. Neil M. Alexander (Nashville: Abingdon, 1995), 519.

21 Speckman, 134.

22 John Dear, “The Experiments of Gandhi: Nonviolence in the Nuclear Age,”

23 A Nigerian Christian once told me that a Western missionary would have to do this in order to be truly respected.

24 This is a result of being under pressure to raise funds and plan and administer projects that set them apart from their local communities.

25 Jim Harries, “Witchcraft, Envy, Development, and Christian Mission in Africa,” Missiology: An International Review 40, no. 2 (April 2012): 129–39.

26 Ronald J. Sider, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger: A Biblical Study (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1977); David Chilton, Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators: A Biblical Response to Ronald J. Sider (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1981).

27 David Maranz, African Friends and Money Matters: Observations from Africa, Publications in Ethnography 37 (Dallas, TX: SIL International, 2001), provides many examples that illustrate African people’s expectation to be given things by Westerners.

28 Jim Harries, “The Immorality of Aid to the ‘Third World’ (Africa),” in Vulnerable Mission: Insights into Christian Mission to Africa from a Position of Vulnerability (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2011), 23–40.

29 The same problem of association with powerful donors of course also troubles nationals—who therefore often have to give advice in favour of resource-inputs to colleagues or friends whether or not they consider such to be helpful in the long-term. Not to do so would risk making enemies.

30 Confusion between monistic and dualistic worldviews (see above) often results in African people testifying to what is happening in their Christian walk in ways that seem amazing if not miraculous to Western people. In short perhaps one could say that amazing things observed by monists can appear by dualists to be miraculous, i.e., as if they are beyond science.

31 The noticeable failings and weaknesses of Jesus’ followers, as communicated especially in Mark’s Gospel (see Perkins, 513), can be an encouragement to those who are not up to scratch in following Christ.

32 Wise conventional missionaries will look to vulnerable missionaries for insights regarding their ministries, in parallel to ways in which development practitioners look to anthropologists.

33 1 Pet 3:1–6 comes to mind; how women are to win over their husbands.

34 None is good but God alone (Mark 10:18).

35 Donors who visit projects they fund require infrastructure such as guesthouses and vehicles of Western standard. This justifies having such facilities, which missionaries then also use for themselves.

Posted on

Review of Paul Borthwick, Western Christians in Global Missions: What’s the Role of the North American Church?

Paul Borthwick. Western Christians in Global Mission: What’s the Role of the North American Church? Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2012. 224 pp. Paperback. $11.33.

In his helpful 2012 book, Paul Borthwick is asking a critical question every congregation and ministry with global dimensions should be asking: What is the role of the North American church in God’s global mission?

Dr. Borthwick writes from a decidedly North American church background, but demonstrates deep awareness of the global context. Though he has never lived outside the US for any extended time, he worked for many years as a missions minister for a large church with a vast global footprint. He has traveled widely, listened to global leaders for decades, researched extensively, and now teaches missions at Gordon College while serving as a senior consultant for Development Associates International. He has been a guest speaker around the globe and has served as guest faculty internationally as well as being a contributor to many missions journals.

The book is divided into two sections. In part one, Borthwick provides a wealth of data to show how much our world has changed from the days when the church was dominated by Europe and North America. He traces and documents the global trends that are reshaping the world, such as migration, increasing economic disparity, and theological realignment.

Readers looking for quotable data to educate people about how the world has changed will find this section to be a goldmine.

Borthwick not only gives an excellent big picture vision of the state of world Christianity, he also provides a helpful appraisal of the North American church and the Majority World church, both of which are realistic but hopeful. The reader comes away seeing not just how much the world has changed but how each part can contribute well to the whole. This section alone is worth the price of the book and sets the table for the conversation each congregation and missions committee needs to have soon. Many needed adaptations will naturally flow when churches understand the new reality.

Part two is more opinion and less data, but it is well reasoned and supported as Borthwick unpacks the meaning of two phenomena for those of us in North America. First, he examines the global transformation of Christianity. Then, he analyzes the strengths and weakness of the West relative to the rest of the world. His appeal for respectful partnership is compelling. He outlines well what Americans do well, what we don’t do well, and what we need to learn. At MRN, we have found his views to be well founded and useful in our equipping work with American and global churches.

I found the most compelling idea in the book, and the one that has stuck with me now after a couple of years, is his treatment of the metaphor of passing the baton. He points out that in a relay race, when a runner hands off the baton, he or she stops running. This is exactly what the North American church does not need to do at this juncture. Just because we are not in charge of setting vision for world Christianity, which now has greater numbers than the West and much capable national leadership, does not mean we should disengage. The kingdom of God is about relationships, not just tasks. We engaged in global partnerships that created the expectation of on-going relationships and mutual support.

Borthwick helped me to see more clearly that the mission of God is not a project we can start and turn over. It is a complex web of relationships we serve as part of God’s global community called the body of Christ. We are family, and need to remain connected as family even if our roles change through the passing of time and transitions between generations. The North American church has a role to play moving forward, and we cannot just walk away and take care of ourselves because the global church is gaining power and we have our own issues to face. To be of benefit to the global church we must humble ourselves, learn to posture ourselves as servants, and listen deeply for a long time before responding.

In particular, Americans’ optimism, problem-solving skills, and leadership training ability are needed in a world often resigned to being stuck in fate and hopelessness. But, our “can do” spirit can also create dependency and passivity and reduce people to projects as we function from a position of control and dominance. We need global partnerships, just as any other part of the world does, for what we will gain from them.

Among the strengths of the Majority World, Borthwick mentions: zeal for the Lord; zeal for missions; expectancy; and rugged, sacrificial faith. Borthwick says the great concerns for the Majority World church are abuse of power, making converts not disciples, prosperity theology, and ignoring societal transformation.

Some of my favorite quotes include:

  • “As a colleague from Fiji reminded me, ‘Your Jerusalem is my ends of the earth.’ ” (38)
  • “My advice: if you want to be a cessationist, don’t travel! The church in the Majority World did not get the memo.” (45)
  • When he asked a Nigerian believer why they had more healings, the man said, “You have more doctors. . . . If God doesn’t heal us, we die.” (45)
  • “Global relevance demands global involvement.” (65)
  • “Someone once described an expert as a person who has made every possible mistake and tried to learn from them. In this regard, it is possible that the history of crosscultural mission over the last two hundred years has rendered North American experts.” (68–69)
  • “A brother in Zimbabwe reminded me, ‘What you in the West call “Globalization” we call “Americanization.” ’ ” (75)
  • “The bottom line is this: moving ahead together will take time, listening and long-term relational credibility.” (106)
  • “The big question is not ‘Where do we fit?’ but ‘What is God doing?’ ” (111)
  • “Paul Gupta expresses his conviction that for true reciprocal partnerships to work, ‘Every partner must bring resources to the table. If all the parties do not bring resources, it is not partnership; it is ownership, and there will be controlling dynamics from the side of the owner.’ ” (130)
  • “Building crosscultural relationships is easier if we accept the fact that 40 percent of the time we will have no idea what’s going on.” (133–34)
  • “Don’t come thinking that you are coming to fix Africa. You cannot fix Africa.” (134)
  • “From most of the world’s perspective, the USA doesn’t have friends in the world; it has ‘interests.’ ” (135)
  • “When we hear the word partnership, what comes to our mind is that this is another way for the White man to control us.” (150)

For many non-charismatic believers (i.e., cessationists), Borthwick’s rather expansive view of the boundaries of the kingdom may be a challenge. So much of the growth of the kingdom of God in the Majority World is filled with fellowships that practice and teach signs and wonders that are deeply troublesome to many in North America who do not expect such activity from God. Regardless of how a reader may respond to these phenomena, it is a powerful reality that must be taken into consideration. It cannot be discounted nor easily swept away as simply error. Something powerful is happening, and it is bringing glory to Jesus. As much as I wish Borthwick provided more help with critical discernment regarding this aspect of global missions, this was not really part of the purpose of this book, so it seems unfair to fault him for it.

Dan Bouchelle


Missions Resource Network

Bedford, Texas, USA

Posted on

Review of Scott A. Bessenecker, Overturning Tables: Freeing Missions from the Christian-Industrial Complex

Scott A. Bessenecker. Overturning Tables: Freeing Missions from the Christian-Industrial Complex. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2014. 201 pp. Paperback. $16.00.

In his challenging book Overturning Tables: Freeing Missions from the Christian-Industrial Complex, Scott A. Bessenecker confronts what he sees as the “corporate, culturally white, individualist paradigm” from which the modern missionary movement operates (185). He desires to see a new day in missions, creating different attitudes and approaches, which include those traditionally marginalized by what he calls the “Christian-Industrial Complex.” The author is the associate director of missions for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Therefore, he is not standing on the outside of the system offering disconnected criticism but rather he speaks out of his own ministry’s struggle in “deconstructing the industrial complex and reconstructing the ancient, lighter form of church and mission” (185). Bessenecker provides historical context for modern missions by showing the corporate, market-driven environment in which it was birthed. He is bold in critiquing the present situation while providing biblical teaching and examples from those who are seeking to live out alternative approaches.

Bessenecker sees Adoniram Judson’s story as the birth of the Christian-Industrial Complex’s influence in missions. Judson is often presented as the first American missionary to serve overseas, first arriving in India in 1812 and later ministering in Burma. Judson, along with three other “boys,” sought counsel from clergy and Christian business leaders of the day. Having been influenced by the developing colonialism and capitalism around them, the Christian leaders formed the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) to finance and oversee the new mission. He contrasts this approach with a relatively unknown earlier missionary, George Leile. George, a former slave, was given his freedom before the beginning of the Revolutionary War and began to preach to the slaves in South Carolina and Georgia. George and his wife, Hannah, were called to the mission field of Jamaica. In order to pay for his family’s passage to Jamaica, Leile indentured himself to a wealthy landowner. With this sacrifice, Leile began a long ministry as the first American missionary to a foreign land. He was self-educated and self-supporting. He served for all of his life as a bi-vocational missionary, supporting himself, his wife, and four children through any work he could find. Bessenecker points out that Judson and his colleagues were perhaps the first college-educated American missionaries sent out and supported by a mission society. However, he emphasizes that Leile and his family served in the spirit of the early disciples, who were “ordinary and unschooled.” The first three hundred years of Christianity spread across Europe, Asia, and North Africa through the efforts of the marginalized with very little money or structure. This tale of two missions sets the spirit behind the author’s call for a new paradigm for missions today.

Overturning Tables is well researched and written in a style accessible to both missiologists and practitioners. It offers both a description of missions greatly influenced by capitalism and suggested practices to bring about healthy change. This pattern of exposing the problem and offering ideas to promote new approaches is woven through each chapter. The chapter titles provide insight into both the problem and the principles for change. For example, “From Corporation to Locally Owned,” “From Solitary to Solidarity,” “From Mainstream to Margin,” and “From Independent to Interdependent” reveal a description of missions freed from the corporate structure. The author exposes the problem of limiting mission involvement to only the middle and upper classes because of access to financial resources through the corporate system. He illustrates that in his own ministry they seek to foster indigenous expressions of ministry and provide access to poorer or less-connected people. He advocates a move away from a product focus and a patron-client model toward a more holistic, interdependent model. He challenges the assumption that solutions to missions problems must involve a large infusion of cash by encouraging the return to a more biblical model of gathering in both public and private spaces as the church sharing a meal, teaching each other, praying, singing, and addressing the needs of the body of Christ. The book exposes the rise of a Western individualism influenced by capitalism and advocates the practice of interdependence involving both the mainstream and the marginalized on an equal plane of communal leadership. Bessenecker envisions people rooted in the dominant culture walking alongside of, advocating for, and ministering together with those on the fringes of the mission and societal community.

Perhaps the most challenging shift that has to take place as mission liberates itself from a corporate-style capitalist paradigm is determining how to measure success. Overturning Tables exposes the difference between solely measuring numerical growth and recognizing the signs of kingdom health brought about by the reign of Christ. As a consumerist culture began to invade the work of the church, the primary measurements of success became the counting of attendance, baptisms, and contributions. Through a study of biblical texts and the nature of God, Bessenecker concludes that God is not as obsessed with productivity as we are. He offers some ways to measure kingdom health, such as evaluating co-laborers’ growth in spiritual maturity, recognizing times of Sabbath rest, evidence of growing disciples and transformed lives, focusing on long-term growth as opposed to immediate results and accountability in the use of financial, material, and human resources.

Overturning Tables is a prophetic and challenging read yet greatly needed among all those involved in shaping the future of modern missions. Scott Bessenecker gives a gift in the form of a prayerful and prophetic critique of our present mission practices. He attempts to start a discussion by asking his readers to question whether our structures are overly influenced by what works in the capitalistic kingdom of this world but are damaging to the good new of the kingdom of God. He challenges his readers to create fresh structures and new ways of understanding money, people, the church, and missions in the kingdom of God.

Jay Jarboe

VP of Ministry Operations

Missions Resource Network

Bedford, Texas, USA