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Missions 101

Ten Books Worth Reading

Dec. 27, 2011By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

One feels compelled to write a post like this since everyone else is doing it!  One disclaimer - not all of these books were written this year.  However, they are books that I read this year!

Let the Nations Be Glad!

The standard textbook in missions classes around the world offers a God-centered theological foundation for missions.  The newest edition includes a chapter on the prosperity gospel.  As an added bonus, it's dedicated to a board member of TLI, who also writes the afterward in the book.

Transforming Worldviews: An Anthropological Understanding of How People Change

A capstone of the life work of the late Paul Hiebert. Everyone has a worldview, but to have the worldview transformed by the gospel is a lot more complicated than one can imagine.

Leading Across Cultures: Effective Ministry and Mission in the Global Church

Jim Pluddeman is a former missionary, former head of SIM and now a favorite professor of many students at TEDS.  His passion for the nations rubbed off on me in seminary.  His book comes from years of experience and reflection.

Money, Greed, and God

How many times have your heard that capitalism is to blame for poverty and the great wealth divide among nations and people groups?  Jay Richards challenges you to think otherwise.  You may not agree, but it will cause you to reflect and gain a larger understanding of economic principals.

Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It)

The title is enticing enough for me!  In the same line as When Helping Hurts, you will learn quickly how good intentioned giving sometimes hurts those you wish to help.  Just consider that in the last 50 years, Africa has receive $1 trillion in aid. The result: country by country, Africans are worse off. Overall per-capita income is lower today than in the 80's. 700 million people live on $1 a day. Adult literacy is below pre-1980 levels.

What Is the Mission of the Church?: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission

I mention this book because of the push back it has received.  There is a good debate happening right now about what the central mission of the church should be.  Don't just read the reviews or the debates.  Read the book.

Viewpoints: Fresh Perspectives on Personal Support Raising

If you need a plan for personal fundraising, this is your book.  

Clouds of Witnesses: Christian Voices from Africa and Asia

Mark Noll and Caryoln Nystrom introduce the reader to Christian leaders you probably have never heard of, but who played an influential role in the expansion of the church around the world.  You might be frustrated by the theology of many of those highlighted, but the book is helpful in that it expands your view beyond Wesley, Whitefield and Edwards.

A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories that Stretch and Stir

Another helpful book to understand that the revivals of Northhampton and England were not the only thing the Holy Spirit was doing in the world.  The authors help you to see God's work in regions you probably are not familiar with and give you an appreciation for the God's global work!

Reaching and Teaching: A Call to Great Commission Obedience

David Sill's book is a challenge to slow down and a critique of the IMB's focus as it relates to church planting and evangelism.  The take away from the book is that in our need for speed to reach the nations we have not dug the theological roots down deep into new churches and in return the churches that have been planted barely resemble Christian faith at all!

Darren Carlson is the Founder and President of Training Leaders International.  As President, Darren oversees the general direction of the ministry and serves as an advocate for pastors with little access to formal training and thoughtful cross-cultural theological engagement. You can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter

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