Introduction To Global Missions by Zane Pratt, M. David Sills, and Jeff K. Walters was provided to me by Broadman & Holman Publishing Group for review.
There are many great books on missions but few that are accessible, concise, and well-written. Introduction To Global Mission (ITGM)is such a book. Nothing less should be expected from Pratt, Sills, and Walters, each of whom currently are or previously have served as professors of missions at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. Pratt currently serves as the director of Global Theological Education for the International Mission Board. Sills heads up Reaching and Teaching. Walters leads the urban ministry training center at SBTS. These men have served on multiple different continents and in varied contexts. It’s the breadth of experience that gives the book a balanced, measured tone that avoids ethnocentrism or “my way or the highway” attitudes towards missions.
The book begins with a theological foundation for missions that includes a discussion of mission vs. missions (are they the same?), God’s missionary purposes in all of Scriptures, and a whole Bible overview of world evangelization. This section is incredibly helpful and concise. An entire series of books could be written on just this. It could be butchered and muddy prose, or it could be insufficient in proof. Instead, ITGM’s Biblical argument is lucid and clear.
Following this is a section on missions history. This section is incredibly brief, though helpful. If any section of the book is lacking, it would be this one though I admit that 2,000 years of church history can hardly be condensed into 45 pages. Such as it is, this section well serves its purpose in showing the primacy of missions in the history of the church, especially recently. Note: This section is less than generous to the medieval Catholic Church and is also heavy on Baptist mission work once it arrives at modern missions. With that said, I do not think that represents much of a loss for the author’s efforts.
The last two sections of the book deal with applied anthropology, worldview and world religions, and the practicalities of missionary efforts. This section is drenched in personal experience and wisdom from the authors. Their emphasis on the local church’s place in disciple-making is noble and worthy of praise.
I’ve read many books on missions. Some focused only on the Biblical basis of missions. Some were just about the practicalities. Some focused on only one perspective to missionary efforts. There are better books on particular subjects that are far more narrow than Introduction to Global Missions. With that said, I can think of no better book than this for precisely the purpose of the title: to introduce a person to global missions. At 270 pages with clear section divisions and an accessible writing style, this book is an excellent sourcebook for all missions minded people and should become the standard for seminaries, Sunday School classes, home groups, and individuals seeking to become educated in regards to missions.