I was encouraged to read today on Andreas Kostenberger's Biblical Foundations blog that he listed Discovering the Mission of God as #3 on his top books of 2012. I could not agree more. Edited by my colleague and dean Mike Barnett and contributed to by other Columbia International University faculty (Alex Luc, Joel Williams, Bryan Beyer, Bill Larkin, Chris Little, and Jerry Rankin), this is an essential book for studying missions today.
The volume includes thorough and accessible chapters on the biblical and theological foundations of mission, the history of missions, culture, and practical mission strategies and issues. The book is unique in that it includes chapters from well-known, previously published theologians and missiologists (Chris Wright, John Piper, Ed Stetzer) combined with fresh from the field insights from seasoned practitioners. In this sense, the book captures the essence of missiology--a discipline that wrestles with Scripture, theology, culture, and practice, and one that ultimately collapses without practical engagement in mission.
At CIU, we have used Discovering the Mission of God (or DMOG as we like to call it) in both undergraduate and graduate/seminary level courses. Our undergrads (mostly first and second year students) read about half of the book for their missions survey course, while grad students read the entire book as well as other texts. So, I think DMOG works as a great primary text for introductory courses in colleges and seminaries. I could also see it as a great resource for missions organizations in their new candidate orientations and for local churches in their world Christian discipleship efforts.
Finally, here's a brief word from the author.
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