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David Joannes: The Mind of a Missionary

David Joannes, The Mind of a Missionary: What Global Kingdom Workers Tell Us About Thriving on Mission Today (Prescott, AZ: Within Reach Global, 2018), 312 pages, ISBN 9780998061153.

David Joannes has a burden for unreached people groups. For approximately twenty years now he has ministered in Asia bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to those who have not heard it. The Mind of a Missionary is his second and most recent book. In addition to his writing and missionary work, he is also the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, a ministry which serves to spread the gospel in Southeast Asia.

The main body of the book is divided into four sections, each section comprised of three chapters. Section One is called “Motivations,” Section Two is “Expectations,” Section Three is “Risks,” and Section Four is “Rewards.” Some of the topics of these sections are internal matters and some are external, but they are all issues that missionaries have to grapple with. As the author explores each of these areas he discusses the ministries of real missionaries. A number of the missionaries he writes about are now dead but some are still alive. The missionaries whose stories provide the basis for each chapter are: Jim Elliot (and his team), C. T. Studd (the Cambridge Seven), Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, Robert Moffat, Jackie Pullinger, David Eubank, Nik and Ruth Ripken, William Carey, Hudson Taylor, Amy Carmichael, Don Richardson, and Heidi Baker. If you are familiar with past missions history many of these names will be familiar to you. A few in this list are still actively involved in ministry.

However, this book is not a compilation of missionary biographies. Some of the experiences of the individuals mentioned above are highlighted in the book in order to shed some light on the motivations, expectations, risks, and rewards of missionary service. But there is more in the book as well. In addition to the missionaries already mentioned Joannes shares some of his own experiences and those of other people in missionary work. It is encouraging to learn about some of the things that are happening around the world through people and ministries whose names are not widely known.

The church needs to care about the missionary as well as missions.

The book is well balanced, while progress has been made in missions, as the ministries of the people mentioned in this book demonstrates, Joannes does not paint a completely rosy picture of missionary work. There are still unreached people groups in the world and missionaries face significant difficulties. You will learn about the challenges and painful experiences that missionaries deal with. You will also hear about the great attrition rate in the missionary force; many missionaries return home from the field. The reasons for their return are varied but the author points out that some of these issues could have been taken care of so that they did not feel the need to return home. One message that comes through in regard to this is that the church needs to care about the missionary as well as missions.

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Category: Fall 2018, Ministry

About the Author: John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. He has written for a number of publications and is the author of four books Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers Then and Now (Xulon Press, 2008), The Power and Practice of the Church: God, Discipleship, and Ministry (J. Timothy King, 2010), Answer the Prayer of Jesus: A Call for Biblical Unity (Wipf & Stock, 2011) and Dreams & Visions: Divine Interventions in Human Experience (J. Timothy King, 2012). He also served as co-editor of the book Creative Ways to Build Christian Community (Wipf & Stock, 2013). Amazon Author page. Facebook

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