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Richard Noble: On Mission Together

Richard Noble, On Mission Together: Integrating Missions into the Local Church (Beaver Falls, PA: Falls City Press, 2019), 224 pages, ISBN 9780986405136.

Dr. Richard Noble is the founder and director of the Center for Missional Engagement. He is also a pastor, an adjunct faculty member at Geneva College and Crown College, and the missions mobilizer for the Christian & Missionary Alliance denomination. As you can see missions is a major focus of his ministry. In this book the reader will see that he wants missions to be the major focus of every Christian church.

The main body of On Mission Together consists of nine chapters, an afterword, and six appendices. In the chapters the author covers many topics. The following is a sampling of a few  of the chapter titles: “In Partnership with God,” “What the Bible Says About Missions,” “Missions Awareness and Education,” “Praying for Missions and Missionaries,” and “Giving to Missions.” The main focus of this book is global missions (xviii). In the appendixes one will find, among other things, ideas for hosting a missions conference and some thoughts concerning short-term missions ventures.

Dr. Noble has a passion for missions, he was raised in a family that supported missions (page xv). This passion becomes clear near the very beginning of the book. In the preface he says that “missions is not just a particular ministry program of the local church but rather a priority and a lifestyle for every follower of Jesus Christ” (page xvii). He points out that as Christians we have been called out of the world and then sent back into it in order to transform it (page 24). Jesus said that we are to be salt and light in the world (Matthew 5:13-16). The author makes the observation that both salt and light “change the environments that they come in contact with” (page 44). The same holds true for us, we, as believers, are to change the world. Noble sees missions as the priority of all ministries in the church (page 25). This includes ministries to adults and children (page 27). While local missions are important Noble gives great attention to cross-cultural missions. Christians should be open to the idea of going overseas, at least for the short-term and possibly for the long-term. However, he recognizes that not everyone is called to go. Those who are sent are important but so are those who send them. Believers who remain at home need to pray, give, and minister to missionaries. The author is an advocate for missionary care and he offers a number of suggestions for how churches can provide this important ministry.

On Mission Together is a very practical book. The text includes biblical teaching but it also contains a wealth of information and ideas about how to actually make missions the focal point of church ministry. Some of the chapters contain a section called “Principle in Practice.” In these sections the author gives examples of what specific churches are doing in order to actively participate in a particular aspect of missions ministry. The examples he cites are diverse, they come from churches in different locations, different denominations, and different congregational sizes. The message that emerges from all this is that all churches can be mobilized for missions. In appendix F the author supplies a significant list of books about various topics related to missions. This is a great asset and may be of interest to those who want to read further on a particular topic.

One point that the reader will glean from this book is that churches need to be intentional about missions. And their intentionality needs to go beyond financial giving. In order for missions to take its rightful place in the church the involvement of the pastor is very important (pages 141-151). However, it is not just the pastor’s job to promote missions, Dr. Noble recommends having a team involved in the promotion of missions.

On Mission Together is a great resource, it is clearly written and easy to understand. This book will be a welcome addition to the libraries of missions directors, missionaries, pastors, missions committees, and anyone else who is interested in missions. Hopefully Bible schools and seminaries will become aware of it and use it in training their students. If the message of this book is taken seriously much more will be accomplished for the Kingdom of God around the world.

Reviewed by John P. Lathrop

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Category: Ministry, Summer 2020

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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