A Brief Book Notice from Books At a Glance
We were happy to see this brief but well-informed new book from our friend Stephen Davis – a man who has been deeply involved in cross-cultural ministry for decades. Cross-cultural ministry is challenging, and here Steve shares his experience and insights to prepare cross-cultural workers, to help churches identify and recruit candidates for cross-cultural ministry, and to help churches and mission agencies evaluate candidates more responsibly.
About the Author:
Stephen M. Davis is a bi-vocational elder at Grace Church (gracechurchphilly.org), a multilingual church in Philadelphia he planted with his brother John in 2010. Steve and his wife Kathy have been engaged in church planting in the United States, France, and Romania since 1982. He earned a DMin in Missiology from TEDS under Dr. David Hesselgrave and a PhD in Intercultural Studies from Columbia International University.
From the Preface:
The changing face of world missions presents unique challenges, among which is the preparation of missionaries for effective cross-cultural witness and church planting. In an earlier ministry as missions director of a large church I was responsible for recommending missionary candidates to our church. It became obvious that mission boards and local churches often have different criteria for missionary candidates. In this book I draw widely from leading missiologists and practitioners. I also share many of my personal ministry experiences, successes, and failures. I want to try to formulate clearer thinking in preparing cross-cultural workers so that churches and mission agencies can better understand their role in world missions and their involvement in the lives of those sent. In doing so we must answer the following question: How can we communicate the unchanging gospel of Jesus Christ to unbelievers in the midst of a changing world? This is one of the great missiological questions of our day. Gone are the days when the isolated West sent missionaries to unknown lands and people. Apart from isolated ethnic peoples in yet unreached regions, the world has taken on more of a global character. Contact between ethnic groups, whether resulting from immigration, warfare and displacement or tourism, is unprecedented. Times have changed. We have more opportunities, more resources and are the benefactors of more past experience and research than any previous generation.
When I think of competencies for cross-cultural ministry, I have in mind specifically those who are called to plant churches, whether as a lead church planter, part of a team planting churches, or working alongside nationals to provide training and plant churches with them. No two places of cross-cultural ministry will be the same. The application, however, is for anyone considering or already engaged in cross-cultural missions since mission without church can scarcely be called mission. Anything called missions that does not involve gospel proclamation and discipleship with the goal of planting churches should be called something else. What that looks like in different cultures and how that is accomplished may vary. My prayer is that this book will help churches, prospective candidates, and mission agencies to more effectively partner in ministry preparation and gospel proclamation in making Christ known to the nations. (pages x-xi)