Resources for Mission Leaders

Here’s a list of resources for you to read yourself and recommend to your fellow leaders:

Theology of Mission – Resources that explore a theology of mission in the way of Jesus. (See Chapter 3 in Freeing Congregational Mission)

Cultural Humility – Resources that explore cultural proficiency and cross-cultural communication. (See Chapter 4 in Freeing Congregational Mission)

  • Intercultural Development Inventory® (IDI®) – IDI® is a great tool to assess your and your leaders’ cultural proficiency and to learn how to improve your cultural proficiency in the future. The IDI is designed for both individual and group use. We highly recommend this tool if you want to improve your and your church’s cultural proficiency.
  • Law, Eric H. F. The Wolf Shall Dwell With the Lamb: A Spirituality for Leadership in a Multicultural Community. This book offers helpful suggestions on how to effectively engage and communicate with those who are culturally different than you and how to facilitate conversations between groups of people from different cultures.
  • Livermore, David. Cultural Intelligence: Improving Your CQ to Engage Our Multicultural World. This book addresses not only the importance of learning about other cultures and how to navigate through cultural differences but more importantly, how a deeper understanding of your own culture and values will help you embrace and effectively communicate with those from different cultures.
  • Culture Humility – “Cultural Humility: People, Principles and Practices” is a 30-minute documentary by San Francisco State professor Vivian Chávez, that mixes poetry with music, interviews, archival footage, and images of community, nature and dance to explain what cultural humility is and why we need it.
  • Hofstede Insights – This global network of experts offers consultation, resources, training and tools to organizations and companies all around the world to transform their intercultural engagement. Visit the website for more information especially you can use the Country Comparison tool to learn about the cultural value in a specific country.   
  • Richards, E. Randolph and O’Brien, Brandon J. Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible. Our western cultural biases and assumptions can often lead to misreading and misinterpreting scripture without carefully considering the cultural context of the Bible. This book helps us to be self-aware of our own biases and cultural differences to fully see and understand the Bible with fresh eyes and unexpected ways.    
  • Third Wave of Mission. “Third Wave of Mission: Culture Module”. This six video series explores the importance of understanding culture through preparation and reflection as groups prepare themselves for a mission experience through STM trips.

Co-Development – Resources that explore community development as a mutual and sustainable venture (See Chapter 5 in Freeing Congregational Mission)

  • US Catholic Mission Association “From Charity to Sustainability”. These brief (5-9 minutes each), high quality video modules explore how to transform our mission activities like short-term mission trips and parish twinning from just charitable assistance to sustainable integral human development. Use one or more of these well-framed modules to get the discussion started and deepen understanding for your congregation’s mission leaders.
  • Newton, Connie and Early, Fran. Doing Good…Says Who? Stories from Volunteers, Non-Profits, Donors, and Those They Want to HelpWhile not written from a faith-perspective, Newton and Early’s 60 years of combined work experience in Guatemala yield a highly readable source of great insight for short-term mission leaders. We highly recommend this book to groups who want to deepen their understanding of cultural humility and co-development.
  • Corbett, Steve and Fikkert, Brian. When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the poor…or Yourself: An evangelical perspective which can help short-term mission leaders to think through the principles and strategies that they want to shape their work.
  • Life.Church “Helping Without Hurting”. This six-video, documentary-style series will guide you through principles outlined in the book, When Helping Hurts: How to Elevate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor, and challenge you to determine what God is calling you to do.
  • Lupton, Robert. Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It): A best-selling book that can wake us up to the unintended consequences of our benevolence in short-term mission, local/global mission and philanthropy.
  • Wesley, David. A Common Mission: Healthy Patterns in Congregational Mission Partnerships.  This book emphasizes the importance of including and listening to the voices of all those whom churches seek to work in partnership with to have a powerful, long-term and “collective impact” on both ends. The author lays out five healthy patterns of congregational partnerships that are vital.
  • Christian Relief, Development and Advocacy: The Journal of the Accord Network. This journal is a place where evangelical development scholars and experts have published on Christian relief, development and advocacy. Consider it an on-line library for academic articles written from a Christian perspective.

Short-Term Mission – Resources that explore the potential of STM and how to do it well (See Chapter 6 in Freeing Congregational Mission “Redeeming Short-term Mission”).

Caring for Children: Resources that explore ways to support vulnerable children through their families and communities (See Chapter 7 in Freeing Congregational Mission, “Caring for Vulnerable Children and Families”).

  • Faith to Action – The Faith to Action Initiative is a coalition of groups such as World Vision, Catholic Relief, World Relief and other organizations created to mobilize and educate churches to engage in care that upholds the vital importance of the family in a child’s life. Visit their website (especially the “Learn” and “Take Action” sections for resources on how to take action on behalf of the children and their family.
  • Residential Care Report – In 2020, Faith to Action commissioned the Barna Research Group to study the perceptions and practices of U.S. Christians in relation to residential care for children (orphanages). Check this excellent and easy-to-digest report.
  • Kinnected – Kinnected is a program of Australian Christian Churches International Relief (ACCIR), which seeks to preserve and strengthen families and assist children currently living in residential care to achieve their right to be raised in a family. Their materials are excellent and their short, well-designed videos are excellent for a discussion starter for youth groups or Christian education classes.
  • Better Care Network (BCN) – BCN is an international network of organizations committed to supporting children without adequate family care around the world. BCN brings together information on family strengthening and alternative care through a comprehensive online library and newsletter. Visit the website for resources and training events.
  • Rethink Orphanages – is a global, cross-sector coalition working to prevent family separation and unnecessary child institutionalization by shifting the way countries in the global north engage with overseas aid and development. Visit its website for resources and opportunities on alternatives to orphanage trips, volunteering and others.
  • Bruce Wydick, “Want to Change the World? Sponsor a Child”, Christianity Today. (Accessible to subscribers only). Development economist Bruce Wydick makes the case for child sponsorship.
  • Bread for the World – Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. It equips individuals, churches, and organizations in advocacy work to end hunger. You can visit the website especially the “Get Involved” section to learn more how you can be a part of their movement.
  • Heifer International – The mission of Heifer International is to empower people and help them escape poverty through economic development, environmental sustainability, food security and nutrition and so on. Visit their website and see “What You Can Do” section for ways you can get involved.

Decolonizing Mission – Resources that explore how to deconstruct our mission engagement by understanding our shared colonial history and its enduring impacts.

  • Charles, Mark and Rah, Soong-Chan. Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery. This award-winning book reveals the deep impact of the Doctrine of Discovery on the founding history of America and Christianity in the United States that justifies white supremacy and many injustices done to people of color. The evangelical authors call on churches to a truth telling that will expose past injustices and open the door to reconciliation and true community.
  • Tisby, Jemar. The Color of Compromise. This book highlights the painful reality of how the American church has helped create and maintain racist ideas and practices. Tisby, an African-American evangelical, challenges both white and black churches to follow an inclusive and equitable path.
  • “Race & Mission”, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary – “McClure Lectures and WMI Month of Mission Series October 2020”. In this series of 30-40 minute videos, you will find keynote presentations and workshops by Brenda Salter McNeil, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, David Kampt and other leaders who spoke in a series organized by the World Mission Initiative and Continuing Education at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. The videos were designed to use with church groups and look at the intersections of race and mission and what we can do about it. 
  • Hanciles, Jehu. Beyond Christendom: Globalization, African Migration and the Transformation of the West. In this masterful, scholarly book, Hanciles traces an often-unnoticed thread through mission history: Christianity was not only spread by Western missionaries as we all know but also through the faithful Christians from the global south or non-western countries (particularly from Africa) who migrated to other parts of the world. Helpful to open a congregation’s eyes to “migrants as missionaries”.
  • National Catholic Reporter – “Decolonizing Faith and Society”. This monthly column contains articles that question the oppressive side of Western modernity and Christianity to imagine communal futures in which the Earth and all people may fully thrive.  

Transforming Congregational Mission – Resources that explore ideas on how mission leaders can transform their church mission engagement. 

Additional Mission Resources – Resources available from different denominations

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