"An ancient Chinese proverb says, “May you live in interesting
times.” This is certainly an interesting time in world missions. I recently
read in the Christian Post that two-thirds of the Christians in the
world today live in countries that were receiving foreign missionaries from the
West a hundred years ago.
"Last year 400,000 missionaries were
sent around the world: 127,000 came from the United States. Brazil has now
become the second largest missionary-sending country. They sent 34,000
missionaries last year, many of them went to the United States of America. Another
major supplier of missionaries is South Korea.
"There is a saying, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!” So why should there be another book on
the recruitment and training of missionaries? One reason is that the majority
of books on the subject of missions are written from the perspective of Western
civilization. But the old adage still holds true: “When in Rome, do as the
Romans do,” i.e., a visitor should try to act as the people do who are from
that place. Failure to understand and adapt to the dynamics of African (alien)
life and thought patterns is a recipe for missionary frustration and puts
needless barriers in the way of successful cross-cultural missions outreach.
"This is a book written by a native of Liberia, Africa
with biblical, theological and practical insights for prospective and seasoned
missionaries and their supporters; it will successfully launch and sustain them
in the course of their mission work. In education, we emphasize the need to
“teach along the grain of the students’ disposition.” The same holds true for
effective missionary training and service.
What this book proposes is a vital curriculum for missionary preparation
for cross-cultural missionary service. If understood and followed it will
preclude a host of problems of cross-cultural
communication; and it will also make the transition to native life go more
“Why reinvent the wheel?” Let us see how others have
confronted and solved the diverse problems they have faced or will face in
foreign missionaries. Because the author – who grew up in Africa - has “been
there and done that” – he is in an ideal position to bring wise counsel about
life and work in an alien culture. Profusely illustrated by examples from
African village life, the book ushers the reader into a whole new world.
Sensitivity and appropriate accommodation helps hone the message and messenger
for effective ministry on the mission field.
137:4 asks, “How shall we sing the LORD'S song in a foreign land?” Paul, the
missionary par excellence, answers in 1 Corinthians 9:20-22, “To the Jews
I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one
under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under
the law. To those not having the law I
became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am
under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I
became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by
all possible means I might save some.”
"I commend this biblical and practical tour de force for
the next wave of Christian missions. Isaiah 59:19 says: So shall
they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of
the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord
shall lift up a standard against him.”
"Speaking of “finding our feet” in missions, Paul cites
Isa. 52:7 in Romans 10:15 “And
how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful
are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of
good things!’” And Jesus in John 20:21
says, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."
Dr. Ronald Kilpatrick