December 2011

N.C. Baptist pastor’s book focuses on importance of missions

December 6 2011 by Neale Davis, book review

When Missions Shapes the Mission:
You and Your Church Can Reach the World
David Horner (B&H Books, June 2011)

“We need to distinguish between missions from a biblical perspective and the way the word has come to be used as a catchall expression to elevate, validate, or justify nearly anything people have introduced as a worthy cause for their church, denomination, or agency to embrace.”
David Horner in his book confronts the importance of missions in a way that is not just a corrective response to the dissolution of what Christ intended in Matthew 28. But thankfully, he provides a very helpful and practical plan to encourage churches to embrace missions in a truly authentic, biblical way. Because of the practical encouragement offered, this is far from just an evaluative critique of the state of missions. It is, in fact, a practical call to refocus on the Great Commission and an encouragement to rethink how we approach missions in the church.
Horner walks the reader through the book utilizing his own study of traditionally evangelical churches and making use of lessons learned from his church experience, but also from those churches that participated in the study. From start to finish he challenges pastors, church leaders, and lay people to use their best resources, in people and material, in order to effectively reach the lost around the world.
As Horner says, “this book is intended to challenge the status quo and incite more of you to change columns from the majority who are neglecting missions for all practical purposes, to the minority who are stepping up to make the changes necessary to make a difference.” By right, there is much to be concerned about in how missions has been diluted and downwardly evolved into merely helping with human misery without offering truly eternal value. While acknowledging the need for such social and help ministries, which sadly have come to mean “missions” in many churches, Horner encourages the reader to not stop there, but to move into what God has called us to do with the Great Commission. It may perhaps be a challenge that steps on toes, but it is done with appropriateness and a great deal of encouragement. Horner’s book takes on an encouraging “come join us” tone reminiscent of Come Help Change the World by Bill Bright. This book is not a slap on the hand, but good advice from a pastor who has walked the walk.
If you think your church may be in need of some great practical input and encouragement in your approach to missions, this is a great resource for you. Horner writes, “Missions is not really biblical missions until it strategically and comprehensively embraces a plan to reach all those areas with the message of salvation through Jesus Christ.” With that he lays out helpful how to’s in approaching the important task of helping fulfill the Great Commission.
“Let’s dream a godly dream. What if you committed to step up and lead your church in the pursuit of becoming a mission-focused church? Then, what if you invited ten of your pastor friends to join you in the effort – and each of them did the same? What would happen to the available missions force beginning right here in the West?”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Neale Davis, a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, has served with Campus Crusade for Christ for 27 years. He is a volunteer counselor at The Summit Church, Durham. He lives in Cary.)
12/6/2011 2:31:18 PM by Neale Davis, book review | with 0 comments