Case for Engaging the Unreached | Resource Reviews


  1. VIDEO: A Case for Engaging the Unreached
  2. BOOK: When Everything Is Missions
  3. BOOK: The New Odyssey
  4. ARTICLE: Dangerous Missions Shortcuts
  5. EVENTS: Upcoming Conferences, Courses, and More

Comments or questions? Let me know. Follow us on Twitter for more great content. Found us through a search engine or a friend? We’d love to have you subscribe!

BOOK: When Everything Is Missions

When Everything Is Missions, by Denny Spitters and Matthew Ellison. BottomLine Media, 2017, 144 pages.

This book address the problems that arise when, as churches and the Church, we put the “missions” label on all the good things we do and support. It’s written for church and ministry leaders and all who look to clarify their own answers to questions like these:

  • What is the mission of God?
  • What is the mission of the Church?
  • Is every Christian a missionary?

Denny Spitters is Vice President of Church Partnerships for Pioneers USA, while Matthew Ellison is the founder of Sixteen:Fifteen, where he serves as President and Church Missions Coach. I should mention that I (Marti) edited the book and that it’s published by the same ministry that keeps Missions Catalyst running. Take a look.

» Pick it up from Amazon for about US$10.00. Also available on the Pioneers website. Books should ship October 1.

BOOK: The New Odyssey

The New Odyssey: The Story of the Twenty-First Century Refugee Crisis, by Patrick Kingsley, Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2017 (American edition). 368 pages.

In the begining of 2015, before migration became the year’s defining issue for much of Europe, editors at The Guardian newspaper appointed award-winning journalist Patrick Kingsley to be their first-ever migration correspondent. Though they didn’t realize it at the time, this role would give him an amazing opportunity to be a first-hand witness of the depth and breadth of the European migration crisis.

This book, based on interviews and encounters in seventeen countries across three continents, brings to life stories of refugees and other immigrants who cross the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas as well as the great expanse of the Sahara seeking hope in Europe.

Kingsley does not write from a biblical perspective and some may object to his political critique, but he does a great job blending story and analysis to paint a fascinating picture of the crisis, particularly as it unfolded in Europe in 2015.

» Learn more or purchase from Amazon (or elsewhere) for US$10-15, depending on the format. Also check your public library. A Pioneers colleague blogged about this book and another top pick on the topic, Seeking Refuge. See also A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea. The website Faith and Forced Migration published a review.

» Our friends at The Mission Table recently launched a new episode in their ongoing conversation about the American church and missions. This one deals with our response to the global refugee crisis (28-minute video).

ARTICLE: Dangerous Missions Shortcuts

Source: Catalyst Services Postings, August 2017

Shortcuts are so tempting. We all like to find easier ways to get things done. But shortcuts often don’t deliver what they promise. Some shortcut failures are harmless; others are devastating.

Missions shortcuts can be dangerous, too, and harm may come despite our best motives.

» Read about seven missions shortcuts and how to avoid them. We appreciate these excellent, balanced, and constructive insights from Ellen Livingood.

» You might also want to browse the Postings archives or subscribe to this free monthly publication.

EVENTS: Upcoming Conferences, Courses, and More

Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar

October 2 to February 11, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement Course (online). Provided by the Perspectives Study Program.

October 4-7, Christian Community Development Association National Conference (Detroit, MI, USA). Annual conference.

October 5, Data Is Your Ally: Key Research Analysis for the Modern Missions Movement (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

October 8 to November 3, Equipping for Cross-cultural Life and Ministry (Union Mills, NC, USA). Offered regularly by the Center for Intercultural Training.

October 8-22, 15 Days of Prayer for the Hindu World (global).

October 13-14, People Raising Conference (Oak Brook, IL, USA). Be equipped for raising personal support.

October 13-14, Missions Fest Seattle (Bellevue, WA, USA). Free, annual, community missions event.

October 15-20, ABIDE (Joplin, MO, USA). Re-entry and debriefing for singles, couples, and families provided by TRAIN International.

October 16-18, Crisis Management Seminar (Lake George, CO, USA). Provided by Crisis Consulting International.

October 17 to November 14, Mobiles in Mission: Using the Tool in Everyone’s Pocket (online). Mentored course on using mobile devices in ministry to unreached people. Offered by Mission Media U.

October 18-21, COMMA Consultation (Chicago, IL, USA). Annual gathering of the Coalition of Ministries to Muslims in North America.

October 19, Resources and Relationships in Missions: Navigating the Minefield of Dependency (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

October 23-29, Recalibrate! (Gull Lake, MI, USA). Debriefing and renewal retreat for missionaries sponsored by Paracletos.

October 23 to November 18, COMPASS (Palmer Lake, CO, USA). Language and culture acquisition training regularly provided by Missionary Training International.

October 26-27, Support Raising Bootcamp (Waynesville, NC, USA). Provided by Support Raising Solutions.

October 27-28, Reaching the Nations in North America (Wake Forest, NC, USA). Sponsored by the (Southern Baptist) North America Mission Board and others.

October 31 to November 3, Thrive Retreat (Madang, Papua New Guinea). For North American women serving cross-culturally.

» View the complete calendar. Please let us know about mistakes or omissions. For more about a specific event, though, you should contact the event organizers.

The Church, as both building and bride | World News Briefs

Missions-Catalyst-no-tagline_largeMissions Catalyst News Briefs 09.20.17

  1. USA: Nabeel Qureshi Goes Home
  2. SOUTH SUDAN: New Radio Station
  3. MUSLIM WORLD: “Impossible to Plant a Church in a Muslim Country”
  4. PAKISTAN: VBS Ministry Reaches Thousands
  5. ETHIOPIA: Church Attacked, Told to Close

Comments or questions? Let me know. Follow us on Twitter for more great content. Got this from a friend? We’d love to have you subscribe!


This edition gives us a lot to think about when we think of what it means to be the Church. Many point out the Church is not just a building or institution, and I heartily agree. But buildings and institutions can be important tools.


USA: Nabeel Qureshi Goes Home

Watch Dr. Nabeel Qureshi (1983-2017) share his perspective on life and death in a message he shared in Houston in June.

In keeping with our theme of the Church, let me say the Church has lost a gift with the death of author and apologist Nabeel Qureshi. Christian news sites on the internet are blowing up with this news as eulogies, condolences, video clips, and quotes from Nabeel abound. Please pray with me for his family and friends, including David Wood who led him to Jesus (I hope I get to see their crazy handshake in heaven).

Nabeel summed up his recent battle with cancer well in saying:

“Without Jesus, we approach life with the expectation of death. With Jesus, we approach death with the expectation of life.”

The Church has lost the gift of Nabeel the man, but she has inherited an amazing, powerful legacy.

» Learn more (The Gospel Coalition). You might also want to read the piece Ravi Zacharias wrote about why this Muslim-turned-Christian speaker resonated with so many (The Washington Post).

SOUTH SUDAN: New Radio Station

Source: Words of Hope, September 18, 2017

This summer, a new radio station started airing Words of Hope Dinka radio broadcasts in South Sudan. This allows programming to be heard in more parts of the country than was previously possible. The close partnership between Words of Hope and the station allows for Christian programming to be coupled with better listener follow-up in this remote area.

The country of South Sudan continues to struggle with a long-running civil war and refugee crisis. Words of Hope currently supports radio broadcasts in three languages in South Sudan: Dinka, Nuer, and Bari. The ongoing civil war has forced many Nuer and Bari listeners out of the country and into refugee camps in Kenya and Uganda. The Words of Hope Dinka studio, located on a compound in the city of Rumbek, has been able to operate continuously since it was dedicated in May of 2013.

» Read full story and pray for growing collaboration between broadcasters, local churches, and Christian workers so that all who hear the good news and respond may be discipled.

» Did you know that South Sudanese refugees in Uganda now exceed one million? (UNHCR). The Guardian recently published a photo gallery that tells some of their stories.

MUSLIM WORLD: “Impossible to Plant a Church in a Muslim Country”

Source: SBC International Mission Board, September 14, 2017

“There is no church here. There are no Christians, and,” he added, “there never will be.” His tenor and words stung. They exposed at once the great need of our city of 450,000, as well as the seemingly impossible task. But what this grizzled Muslim man, a stranger to me, didn’t know was that already there were five Muslim-background Christians meeting in my nearby home.

Today, four years later, the fledgling church in that city has disbanded. All missionaries have been forced to leave. The dozen or so local believers who once gathered have mostly moved on. Those who remain live either in isolation or secrecy. Others have fallen away. And I’m left to wonder if perhaps there was something the old man knew that I didn’t. That maybe his city is unreachable. That maybe church planting is impossible.

Without a doubt, missionaries in the Muslim world face an incredible assignment. Usually we think first of the danger or the obvious antagonism to Christianity. While such challenges are real, I can honestly say they may be the least of our worries when we seek to establish a church where there is none.

In some ways it’s easy to be an evangelist in the Muslim world. I’ve found the people friendly and hospitable. Many are overtly religious, relational, and even appreciate lively conversation about religion, God, and Jesus—more so than most Christians I know.

The challenge is this: how do you gather those who do believe?

» Read full story. Readers might also appreciate, from the same source, an article for mission workers on expectations vs. expectancy for mission workers and one for pastors on preaching the biblical basis for missions.