Item description for Changing the Mind of Missions: Where Have We Gone Wrong? by James F. Engel & William A. Dyrness...
Overview IVP Print On Demand Title The world has changed dramatically since earlier Western missionaries set sail. And as a new millennium dawns, further global and cultural changes await. Yet missions methodology remains static. Courageously analyzing the challenges facing Christian evangelism, the authors propose a practical reframing of missions organizations to help you meet the new realities of worldwide ministry.
Publishers Description The world has changed much since earlier Western missionaries set sail across the seas. And as a new millennium dawns, even greater global and cultural changes are overtaking us. Yet missions has remained much the same. In Changing the Mind of Missions James F. Engle and William A. Dyrness offer a courageous analysis of the challenges facing North American and other Western Christian missions: How can we work within a world context that is shifting from modernity to postmodernity? How can we reverse our assumption that missions means going from "here" to "there"? How can we recapture the vitality and comprehensiveness of the gospel for the complex plight of today's world? How can we reexamine our commitments to programs and strategies in light of the baseline fact that we are engaged in God's mission? Here is a book that is sure to spark conversation among missionaries, students of missions, mission leaders and church mission committees. It points a way forward with the goal of increasing the spread of the gospel by every means possible to every corner of our world.
Citations And Professional Reviews Changing the Mind of Missions: Where Have We Gone Wrong? by James F. Engel & William A. Dyrness has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Christian Century - 04/23/2001 page 109
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Studio: IVP Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.68" Width: 5.12" Height: 0.54" Weight: 0.55 lbs.
Release Date Mar 18, 2000
Publisher IVP-InterVarsity Press
Edition Print on Demand
ISBN 0830822399 ISBN13 9780830822393
Availability 0 units.
More About James F. Engel & William A. Dyrness
Engel is founder and president of Development Associates International and retired distinguished professor in the graduate programs at Eastern University, where he founded the Center for Organizational Excellence. He has ministered around the world as a consultant, trainer and leadership-development expert and is well known for his books and writings on world evangelization.
Reviews - What do customers think about Changing the Mind of Missions: Where Have We Gone Wrong??
Missions must focus around Kingdom-communities Nov 11, 2005
As with any successful venture in life, the work of Christian mission is not immune to the dangers of complacency, despair, or mediocrity. Pertinent to the discussion is the way in which modern, evangelical missions approach the crisis of the twenty-first century. James Engel and William Dyrness lament the current state of missions but set out to articulate, in hope, "to see the current state of the missions enterprise function in the way God intended it and to prosper once again (17; emphasis mine). Engel and Dyrness formulate their model of missions by telling the fictitious story of Bud Anderson. Bud is president of Global Harvest Mission (GHM). GHM is representative of many missions and parachurch organizations in the world (and a key argument by the authors): It started successfully but has fallen onto hard times. Bud is faced with the crisis of rallying support and interest for a dying cause. Bud's dilemma is interwoven with one facet of the authors' argument: Missions must transcend the institutional mindset and become kingdom oriented.
Engels and Dyrness define missions as "the announcement, embodiment and extension of Christ's reign in the world, by the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father" (27). Such a definition does not necessarily preclude missions organizations, per se, but does force the leaders in the church to view such organizations as expendable, if need be. The authors aim to see evangelicals reorient a missions-focus by redefining the Great Commission around Jesus' kingship being advanced by kingdom communities throughout the world (88-89).
One of Engel's and Dyrness's central criticisms is leveled at the "institutional-bureaucratic" model of missions (and by implication, the Church). Before they level a critique of the modern structure (and aware that doing so will force them to give their own alternative), the authors begin a succinct biblical theology of missions. Like most, if not all, missions projects, the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 is the foundational text. However, unlike most Evangelical mindsets, the authors see Christ's words as a normative statement of his universal kingship over the cosmos. Christ has invested his people to go make disciples--extending that divine presence and bringing humanity into conformity with that call. Christ's saving work applies not only to humans, but to all of creation. Creation will be restored. Christ makes such work possible by sending his spirit. In the larger context, this is the missio Dei--"the mission of God and by God" (37). Missions involves the Triune God interacting with his creation.
Mission is the extension and joyful proclamation of the inauguration of Christ's reign on earth. Missionaries and strategic planners must resist the temptation to reduce the gospel to a set of propositions. If that is the gospel, then merely restating those propositions to a "people group" would constitute as "reaching them." Rather, missions must seek to engage the whole man and by implication, effect social transformation. The authors are to be commended for a bold vision for missions. However, there are a few flaws with the presentation. They should, if at all possible, state what kingdom-oriented communities would look like on the practical level. Secondly, they used the term "postmodernism" too loosely. To what degree do they seek to be postmodern? The term can be interpreted ambiguously. If by postmodern they mean challenging modernity's arrogance, then by all means let's be postmodern. But if they take a radical definition and mean the denial of truth-claims and the Christian meta-narrative, then we must oppose the use of the term. In fairness to the authors they probably meant the latter. Not all of the topics of missions were addressed in this review but the book warrants further study and will serve as a useful primer.
The Good and Bad of Missions Apr 15, 2004
Everyone is in to this question: What has gone wrong with Christianity?
For the bad of the book: Certainly the world has changed. When hasn't it? To argue that the major premise is to come out of a modernity paradigm for missions to a post-modern one that is still emerging is inappropriate in my mind. This is all the rage in missiology today, paradigm shift and meeting the changes of culture. When will we realize that Christianity spans across cultures and paradigms and what we are about are cultural pilgrims, strangers, vagabonds who are on our way to the City of God, thus in the world but not of it. The Bible leads us to believe that as this journey nears its end (either for each generation or for all) the world moves further away from truth and into greater rebellion against God. The answer here which is different is provided wonderfully by Willimon and Hauerwas "Resident Aliens." Further, to suggest that conversion must always be balanced by social transformation betrays what Jesus and the apostles were about: let it alone. This is confusion of kingdom of God and kingdom of secular authorities that God places and disposes of for His own purposes and use.
For the good: I appreciate their rejection of pragmatic utilization of managerial techniques and programming and sloganeering as main missions thrust to save the billions who are going to hell and we must do it now! attitude. Their strong conviction and suggestion that we return to engagement one person at a time with the gospel to include them as disciples in community with Bride of Christ is to be praised.
All in all, mediocre book which doesn't rightly address the Biblical concepts of missions, but spends much too much time engaged with models and concepts outside Scripture, which is modern demise of missions. The power of God to save is the pure Gospel preached and taught and rightly distributed in the Sacraments as Christ mandated them. When will we believe and trust in what Christ has graciously given us, the mysteries of God to save? This is not even stressed at all here to the detriment of all who follow the authors' proposals.
Changing the Mind of Missions Feb 3, 2003
As a retired medical doctor living, and working informally, here in Honduras, I find this to be a fairly accurate account of the futility of the activities of American churches, with their expensive spiritually blessed "mission trips." I am very actively involved with 4 - 5 different indiginous churches' social action projects here. Thankfully, I am non-traditional enought to be learning FROM them how to help them help each other. (In fact my attention was directed to the book by a local Honduran priest who has been here for more than 26 years.)
Very few Americans are intellectually or spiritually, capable of profitting from this book.
I, too, found the fictional case study presented to be of little value, but did not find it significantly distracting.
However, in the few pages in which the authors described and praised the "mega-ministry" of Perimeter Church in Atlanta, Georgia, I thought I could not help but wonder if the story did not get inserted by mistake from the word processor of the Public Relations or Fund Raising Departments of Perimeter Church itself. How they could present Perimeter Church as anything but an another example of American excess, that makes anything vaguely reminiscent of the Gospel a travesty, I do not know. Within that example, they again praise a sister 17,000 member congregation in Guatamala City, which cannot be anything other than another example of the ineffective Christianity that the book is warning against. A "gospel" with has no "good news" for anybody, let alone somebody in trouble. I think they could have safely used these 2 churches as examples of what they were speaking against rather than their fictional account.
So puzzled am I by this lapse, that I'd like to hear from the authors themselves as to whether they are serious about the rest of the content of the book in view of their praise for this church in Atlanta.
athofden is wrong Jun 18, 2002
First of all Christianity is not a Western religion, it is a universal religion. Second, Christianity originated in the East. The original Christian missionaries came from the East to the West. Also, first Christian churches were in the East. Christianity is not racist; quite the opposite. It would be racist to not try to save other races from eternal punishment and separation from the only true God.
thinking through missions is a good thing Apr 3, 2002
First, this bok is not for those who are thoroughly opposed to any sort of evangelizing/proselytizing. If you don't believe that Christians should obey the Great Commission, then this book has little to offer you.
However, for the rest of us, this is particularly applicable. I can't address others' comments about this book being out of date, since the authors have been writing since before I was born, but it was a great read for me in helping think through my own involvement with missions, and working through my understanding of what the Gospel is supposed to be.
it definitely challenges some ideas about para-church organizations, while trying to give some solid action points. Although some may claim this is outdated, I would also argue there are many many churches who are still behind in working/thinking through some of these ideas to see what they can and should implement for the greater glory of God.
If you're interested in missions, and understanding what role various communities of Christians can and should play, this book will be great for you.