Rest, Reflect, or Retool | Resource Reviews


  1. INFOGRAPHIC: Beyond Prayer Flags and Statues
  2. PODCAST: Sabbath Rest in Missions
  3. BOOKLET: Ten Tips for Exegeting Your Culture
  4. BOOKS: New Titles in Missiology
  5. TRAINING: Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills
  6. EVENTS: Upcoming Conferences, Courses, and More


Feel the need for some time out to rest, reflect, or retool? This month’s resource reviews have something for you… or maybe something you can share with others in your ministry or circle. Found something new, helpful or inspiring, or worth sharing with other readers? I hope you’ll let us know.

One more thing. We just got word from friends at Global Mapping International (GMI) that after 33 years providing vital information and insight to the global church (see, for example, a piece from their Missiographics collection below), they are closing their doors June 30. We are sad to see them go!

Yesterday’s press release says,

“As it winds down its pioneering work, GMI is taking the unusual step of granting to other organizations in the mission community much of the intellectual property it has created, to ensure ongoing access to these essential tools and information.”

Connected to an organization that might be interested in stewarding some of these great knowledge resources? Learn more about what you can do. And please pray for their staff in this transition. Thanks!


INFOGRAPHIC: Beyond Prayer Flags and Statues

Top Ten Buddhist GroupsSource: GMI Missiographics

Do you know the top 10 Buddhist people groups? What are you doing to shine the light of Christ into these precious people’s lives?

See Buddhism: Beyond Prayer Flags and Statues (2014) and two of the latest Missiographics publications, one on the state and needs of the Chinese Church today and another about the unfinished task of missions.

PODCAST: Sabbath Rest in Missions

Source: Global Missions Podcast

The GMP, produced by the Jaffray Center for Global Initiatives at Canada’s Ambrose University and Send International, just hit a couple of milestones: more than 25,000 downloads and the completion of their fiftieth episode. Worth celebrating!

You might be interested in listening to or sharing one or more of these recordings with a friend. For example, you could sling up your hammock and pour a cool drink to listen to a recent episode with Mark Buchanan on Sabbath rest and avoiding burnout. Good stuff. Detailed show notes will help you quickly assess the scope and focus of each episode.

» Learn more or listen to the Global Missions Podcast.

BOOKLET: Ten Tips for Exegeting Your Culture

Source: Brigada Today, April 16, 2017

Suppose you’re a pastor of a small church wanting to make an impact on your town or city. How do you start? What if you “think like a missionary?” Ed Stetzer is good at helping people stretch their minds, measure reality, and think “outside the box.” He also knows something about cross-cultural work and missions.

“Exegete Your Culture: Ten Checkpoints for Knowing and Reaching Your Culture” is a great (and relatively short) instructional booklet for getting started in any town or city.

» Download the uncopyrighted PDF or learn more about Ed Stetzer.

» Readers might also be interested in the new book Breaking the Huddle, which explores how churches and ministries can break the patterns that keep them focused on their own needs and start reaching out winsomely to those around them (IVP Books).

BOOKS: New Titles in Missiology

Source: IVP Academic

It’s giveaway time! On my shelf are four complimentary books from IVP Academic that all look worthwhile—though weighty—and I don’t think I’m going to have time to read them. The first person to ask and to provide a US address for shipping can have any one of these volumes free of charge. My only condition is that you honor the publisher’s generosity by posting a review on and/or another commercial site.

Polycentric Missiology: Twenty-First Century Mission from Everyone to Everywhere, by Allen Yeh. IVP Academic, 2016. 258 pages; paperback. Missiologist Yeh chronicles the latest issues in world missions through the lens of five landmark mission conferences, showing how world Christianity has developed since Edinburgh 1910.

Intercultural Theology, Volume 1: Intercultural Hermeneutics, by Henning Wrogemann. IVP Academic, 2016. 435 pages; hardback. Described as the most comprehensive textbook on the subject of Christianity and culture today and the first English-language introduction to the field of intercultural theology, this is the first of three volumes translated from the German.

Transcending Mission: The Eclipse of a Modern Tradition, by Michael W. Stroope. IVP Academic, 2017. 459 pages; paperback. Are words like missions, missionary, and missional, all coined in modern times, the best and most biblical way to describe how the church interacts with the world, or, as Stroope concludes, a barrier to faithful witness?

From Bubble to Bridge: Educating Christians for a Multifaith World, by Marion H. Larson and Sara L. H. Shady. IVP Academic, 2017. 209 pages; paperback. The first book of its kind to explore why Christians are reluctant to step out and engage with those of other faiths and provide both a rationale for doing so and concrete suggestions for implementation.

» Click on the titles to learn more about each book. Write me if you’d like one of the free copies. Thanks!

TRAINING: Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills

Source: International Training Partners

Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills workshops have helped thousands of Christian workers worldwide (including me!). Each workshop is designed to enhance the knowledge, attitudes, and skills of Christian workers for relating well with family, co-workers, friends, and those from other cultures.

Participants work and share together in pairs, small groups, and as a whole group, and practice the skills with each other. Trained facilitators use the best methods of interactive adult education to help maximize learning. Workshops are normally five days in length.

Now SYIS is also offered in an online format, providing access and offering advantages the five-day intensives can’t match. The training is broken down into four courses. Each course including six weeks of interactive online work and another six weeks of personalized follow-up coaching with a qualified facilitator. The cost of each online course is US$250, with a 20% discount if you sign up for the whole program (US$800 total).

Is this something you, your ministry team, or your organization can use?

» Learn more about SYIS and SYIS Online.

EVENTS: Upcoming Conference, Courses, and More

Source: Missions Events Calendar

May 1-2, Standards Introductory Workshop presented by Standards of Excellence in Short-term Missions (Phoenix, AZ, USA). A pre-conference workshop at the International Wholistic Missions Conference.

May 1 to September 3, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement Course (online). Provided by the Perspectives Study Program.

May 3-5, International Wholistic Missions Conference (Phoenix, AZ, USA). From the Global CHE Network.

May 4, Inspired HR: The Intersection of Law, Spirituality, and Common Sense (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

May 11, Diaspora Missions: OK, We Get It! Now What? (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

May 12-13, People Raising Conference (Oak Brook, IL, USA). Be equipped for raising personal support.

May 15-20, TOTAL It Up! Taste of Translation and Linguistics (Dallas, TX, USA). Provided by Wycliffe Bible Translators.

May 17, Mind the Gaps: Engaging the Church in Missionary Care (online). Free webinar from Sixteen:Fifteen.

May 18-19, Personal Support Raising Boot Camp (Hawthorne, NJ, USA). Provided by Support Raising Solutions.

May 18-20, Christian Community Health Conference (Cincinnati, OH, USA). Provided by the Christian Community Health Fellowship.

May 22-25, Global Children’s Ministry Equip Conference (Nairobi, Kenya).

May 22-27, TOTAL It Up! Extreme – Taste of Translation and Linguistics (Waxhaw, NC, USA). Provided by Wycliffe Bible Translators.

May 24-28, TENTmaking Course (Bergen, Norway). Provided by Tent Norway.

May 25, STM Emergencies: Preparing Team Leaders to Respond in a Crisis (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

May 27 to June 25, 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World (global). Join millions of Christians around the world who regularly participate in this largest ongoing international prayer focus for our Muslim neighbors.

May 28 to June 3, Single Vision Retreat (Dolphin Bay, Thailand). A member care program for singles in the mission community.

May 31, Advisory Forum: Serving Safely—Duty of Care for Your Organization (Atlanta, GA, USA). Free presentation from Raptim Travel and held at the Delta Flight Museum.

» View the complete calendar, with many more events recently added for June and July. Please let us know about mistakes or omissions. To learn more about a specific event, though, contact event organizers.

World News Briefs


  1. AZERBAIJAN: Dreaming for Muslims to Believe in Christ
  2. GAMBIA: No Longer an Islamic Republic
  3. MYANMAR: Study Shows High Incidence of Suicide among Refugees
  4. TURKEY: The Malatya Murders and Ten Years of Forgiveness

…and lots of links to more!

iraq-smile A group of Iraqi Christians lined up to travel several hours so they could celebrate Easter in their own church, damaged by the fighting. Read their story (Open Doors).


There are some exciting things afoot in the here-but-not-yet Kingdom! Explore how networks are changing the shape of world mission (Mission Frontiers) and read about the once-a-generation gathering of European students to celebrate the Resurrection (Evangelical Focus).

Partner with the Moroccan church by praying for a very timely need: Moroccan Christians sent a letter to their prime minister calling on authorities to take the necessary steps to ensure Christian basic rights like freedom of worship. Pray also for the Church in Turkey; watch the video mentioned in a related story below.

If, like me, you don’t want the Easter holiday to end, learn about Eastertide or join Eastern Christians in observing Pentecostarion. I plan to incorporate the vision of the International Day for the Unreached into these new-to-me holiday seasons. Got ideas on how to do this well? Let me know.


AZERBAIJAN: Dreaming for Muslims to Believe in Christ

Source: Joel News International, April 2017

Azerbaijan is a Muslim majority country where the freedom to practice any other faith often comes with a price. According to estimates there are only 10,000 evangelical Christians.

Sari Mirzoev should know. In 1991, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, he became the first Azeri Muslim to convert to Christianity. “Nobody understood why I did this, but as I saw God at work in my life, I realized that everyone around me was spiritually dead.” He accepted Christ while attending a Russian congregation. At the time, there wasn’t a single church for ethnic Azeri people. “All the believers that I knew were Russian.”

In 1995, Mirzoev says God gave him a prophetic word that Azeri Muslims would come to Christ as a result of his testimony. Twenty-two years later, he leads the largest Azeri evangelical church in the country called Love Baptist Church. “Sometimes we have as many as 30-40 people who accept Christ as their personal Savior in a single service,” says Mirzoev.

» The full story appeared in Joel News International; subscribe here. To learn more, read/watch a related report from CBN News.

» See also Uncovering the Unreached, the story of a western worker mobilizing Ukrainians and Russians to pray for Muslims and other unreached groups in their region (Send International).

GAMBIA: No Longer an Islamic Republic

Source: Open Doors, February 6, 2017

At the end of 2015, Gambia’s then President Yahya Jammeh pronounced the West African country to be the Islamic Republic of Gambia, saying the decision to make it an Islamic state was made because Islam is the religion of the majority of Gambian citizens. This decision raised fears among the Christian minority and human rights groups, but now Gambia’s new president, Adama Barrow, has pledged reforms, including removing laws in Gambia’s constitution that violate freedom of religion.

Speaking at his first news conference since taking office on January 26, President Barrow said the country’s official name will no longer contain the word “Islamic.” Gambia, whose population is 90 percent Muslim, with the remainder of the population being Christian and animist, will move forward as the Republic of Gambia, rather than the “Islamic Republic of Gambia.” These encouraging changes are a welcome sign to Gambia’s Christian minority that the new administration will be more disposed than the outgoing president to safeguard religious freedoms for all citizens of Gambia.

» See full story with picture and prayer points.