Monday, April 12, 2010

"Out of the Comfort Zone" by George Verwer

I just skimmed a book about missions strategy by George Verwer called "Out of the Comfort Zone". It's a 152-page treatise on how to approach missions in a grace-based way. Written in 2000 - it's a pretty modern and on-target book.
Chapter 1 he talks about having a "grace-awakened approach to mission". He heavily quotes Swindoll's book on the topic. It's a good way to start out in thinking about mission.

Chapter 2 he speaks about witness - saying that "there is a 'being' and a 'doing' side to witnessing. Like so many things that people are arguing about in the church today, it isn't a case of 'either/or', but a case of 'both'." (p.21)

Chapter 3 is about being a missions leader. He speaks to the need for balance in leadership; for example = the balance between faith and common sense, the balance between discipline and liberty, the balance between authority and fellowship, the balance of life and doctrine, the balance between being decisive and firm while also gentle and broken, and also the balancing of the many priorities in the life of the leader (i.e. work and rest, family and time with God, etc..), lastly he reminds us to have a balanced view of God.
He also sets out 6 practices that the missions-leader needs to keep up on: 1. Keeping a Vision 2. Sensitivity and Understanding 3. People of Prayer 4. Encouragers of others 5. Committed to high standards in Communication 6. Readers
This chapter really spoke to me as a leader. I think it's quite good.

Chapter 4 is about being a missions mobilizer. He speaks to how to get informed and take ownership for world evangelism.

Chapter 5, called "Future Missionaries - From Where?" is dedicated to some of the controversies in the world of missions; such as western vs. indigenous missionaries, funding, insensitivity, redeployment, etc..
He believes that there should be Western missionaries in certain areas and indigenous missionaries in others. He believes in redeployment and in paying missionaries for missionary work (instead of having tent-makers). In fact, he belives it's poor stewardship to have a missionary doing a menial job that a non-Christian could be doing when they could be using their time to spread the gospel.
Verwer may be confident about a missions strategy; but he's also grace-based and warns against getting too "extreme" on this topic. As an example, he says that Brazil (which he predicts will be sending missionaries around the world by 2025) is a place that doesn't need Westerners; but suggests that if someone is having success there, that they stay - following the principle of spiritual expediency.

Chapter 6 is about funding - I'll be honest, I just skimmed over this chapter. But in the chapter before, I know he talks about the stewardship principle and the fact that a preacher/evangelist is worthy of a wage.

And the last chapter is called "Acts 13 Breakthrough" - he outlines what exactly he thinks needs to be done in missions in this new millinium. He includes numbers that are very informative and makes a plea for 200,000 new missionaries.

All in all, I think it was an excellent book. Great about missions, great about leadership and evangelism too.

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