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A classic missions text gets a 21st century upgrade

Gailyn Van Rheenen’s first edition of “Missions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies ” has served as a foundational textbook in missions classes for the past 19 years. 

The book’s second edition expands our understanding of missiology further, incorporating current trends in missional thinking and contemporary research. 
In Print | Daniel McGrawThe volume also shares personal insights and stories that draw upon Van Rheenen’s own experiences among the Kipsigis of Kenya, his time as a missions professor at Abilene Christian University in Texas and his work with Mission Alive, a U.S.-based church-planting ministry. 
“God was (and is) a missionary God,” he writes, and missions is simply our partnering with God in his ongoing story with the world. This is the book’s main idea. 
Van Rheenan introduces missional theories using the story of Jim and Julie, a fictional married couple of college students considering missions and ministry. They represent the journey undertaken by so many of us as we discern our calling for the Kingdom. Their experiences provide a critical introduction to each new chapter. 
Van Rheenen incorporates a vast array of new material into the second edition. He describes the “missional helix,” a process of ministry formation that combines theological reflection, cultural analysis, historical perspective and strategy formation to bring about the desired goals of ministry. 
This process of discernment, reflection, and implementation is critical to ministry, whether on the mission field or in established churches. It also engages the practitioner in a process of spiritual formation, drawing one closer to God as he or she is engaged in the practices of ministry.
Van Rheenen also includes a new chapter focused on North American church planting. He highlights the role of missional communities — incarnational groups that move outward into the world and deeper into people’s lives. He challenges us to stop simply managing a church and, instead, to focus on helping others grow into deeper disciples of God.
This new edition greatly expands upon Van Rheenen’s previous work, and it serves as a reflection of contemporary missions practices and dialogues throughout the world. 
Each chapter includes a series of reflection questions, making it a wonderful college textbook. It also will help missions committees as they pray, plan and participate in missions throughout the world.
DANIEL McGRAW is minister for the West University Church of Christ in Houston. He and his wife, Megan, served as missionary apprentices with the Caballito congregation in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Filed under: Features Reviews

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