Reggie Weems, pastor of Heritage Baptist Church, Johnson City, Tennessee, USA has written this book to ‘help pastors understand the full ramifications of applied grace (practical theology), and in so doing increase their global influence for Christ’ (p. 20).
He has a heart for getting pastors involved in mission and helping them lead their congregations in mission just as he has during his 20 year ministry.
Weems explains the difference between the terms ‘mission’, ‘missions’, ‘missio Dei’ and ‘missional’ as they are used in contemporary missiology and is keen to disabuse his readers of the idea that mission is just something that people do in far-flung places.
His emphasis is on discipleship which leads to mission, wherever people are. Foreign mission is an extension of this and the author includes a number of helpful case studies of people who are living ‘missionally’ as examples of what he is teaching.
I am not especially keen on the book, however, for a number of reasons. Although he does include some choice phrases and statements (e.g. ‘Mission is God’s grace-based global initiative’ (p. 19) sometimes his writing lacks originality and can even be quite obscure.
What on earth does this mean: ‘Mike Breen is concerned that the concept of missional living isn’t appropriately resourced by a definitive orthopraxy’ (p. 26)? The book could have done with a more careful scissor job.
How could the editor have let this statement through—‘I strongly believe that anyone who wants to change the world only needs to control a single entity: public education’ (p. 52)? This concept, which would sound sinister to any casual reader, is then backed up with a quote from Josef Stalin!
Then consider this: Nathan and Jin Young, we are told, lived a missional lifestyle at home in the US and when they moved to Korea continued to do so. But we are told ‘they don’t live any differently in Korea than they did when they were in the USA’ (pp. 32 and 33). Are we supposed to conclude that a missionary has no obligation to adapt to the local culture of the people?
Weems’ book may be helpful for fellow pastors of his denomination in Tennessee, but I don’t think others will benefit much from it.