I was asked by Evangelical Times to do a book review for them. It was in the September issue I think. Here it is for those who don't read that paper. I find it hard to write a review of a missions book for a wide readership. On the one hand there will be plenty of readers who have no interest in missions. These people need desperately to read almost any book on missions.
Make the World Your Parish: Increasing Your Global Influence for Christ by Reggie Weems (Leominster: DayOne, 2012; 112 pages; £6).
Reggie Weems, pastor of Heritage Baptist Church, Johnson City, Tennessee, USA has written this book to “help pastors understand the full ramifications of applied grace (practical theology), and in so doing increase their global influence for Christ” (p. 20). He has a heart for getting pastors involved in mission and helping them lead their congregations in mission just as he has during his twenty year ministry.
Weems explains the difference between the terms ‘mission’, ‘missions’, ‘missio Dei’ and ‘missional’ as they are used in contemporary missiology and is keen to disabuse his readers of the idea that mission is just something that people do in far-flung places. His emphasis is on discipleship which leads to mission, wherever people are. Weems argues, rigthly, that foreign mission is an extension of this and the author includes a number of case studies of people who are living ‘missionally’ as examples of what he is teaching. I think this is all good stuff.
I am not especially keen on the book, however, because, although he does include some choice phrases and statements (e.g. “Mission is God’s grace-based global initiative” [p. 19]) sometimes his writing seems to lack originality and can even be quite obscure. The book could have done with a more careful edit.
Having said that I hope Weems’ book is read widely among his fellow pastors in Tennessee. I am sure for many it will increase their passion for God and their appreciation for world mission today, and will encourage them to be senders, supporters and goers themselves.