Operation World – The definitive prayer guide to every nation
Completely revised – 7th Edition
WEC International and Biblica Publishing
978 pages £12.30
Hardcover ISBN 978-1-85078-861-4
Paperback ISBN 978-1-85078-861-1
The last edition of OW was published in 2001. The concept of a volume like this began when the famous pioneer missionary William Carey published the first global survey in the 1790s. Dr Andrew Murray (1828-1917) of South Africa inspired the idea of weeks of prayer for the world. In 1943 Hans von Staden founder of the Dorothea Mission organised evangelism in the urban slums of South Africa. Following the example of Andrew Murray von Staden combined this enterprise with vision for world evangelisation and weeks of prayer for the nations. He encouraged Patrick Johnstone, an English missionary with the mission, to develop Operation World (OW). Five editions followed. After the sixth edition, Johnstone handed the baton to Jason Mandryk. Now we have the seventh edition. Every nation is described from a Bible-believing perspective. The work of OW has been translated into fifteen other major languages over the years. The ethos is broad in its scope and includes all denominations. The skills involved have had to be learned along the road of hard persevering labour and there has been no mega group financing this work. It has been sustained through prayer and faith. The main design is to inspire prayer and missionary enterprise.
In the preliminaries practical advice is given as the best way to use OW. Statistics and abbreviations are explained. It is urged that, among other uses, OW be utilised as a resource to prepare regular brief presentations in church services. Obviously with so many countries selectivity and flexibility is required. OW is ideal for use in family devotions. See if your children can locate the different nations on the globe. There are 274 in all.
It is important in this resource to understand the difference between Pentecostals and Charismatics (page xxxi). Not all Charismatics are evangelical. Statistics of the world population show a large increase in population from 2,429 million in 1950 to 8,309 million in 2010. ‘City Proper’ and Urban Conglomeration are defined. For instance the largest City Proper is Shanghai at 13.8 million and the Largest Conglomeration is Tokyo at 36.7 million.
This is not a theological book. It is broadly evangelical and reports religion as it currently is. The authors have studied to remove the naivety of previous editions with regard inflated statistics and the errors that come from shallow evangelism and Pelagianism.
The persecution index is omitted in this edition due to its being produced annually by Open Doors; readers are better served by getting an up to date version of it directly from Open Doors themselves.
The outstanding character of OW throughout is its cogent emphasis on worldwide evangelisation and the centrality of prayer and missionary action.
World trends are portrayed. There is an increasing appreciation that the Church is multi-racial and that the great commission will be fulfilled by international co-operation and unity. Globalisation means that there is an increasing inter-flow of peoples across the world. In this way the gospel spreads everywhere.
Sending out missionaries has gained momentum in countries such as Ethiopia, Nigeria, Brazil, Philippines and South Korea. Involvement by the more traditional sending regions of North America, Europe, and the Pacific has stayed level at best and often declined. The world missionary army is more multi-cultural and multi-national than ever before. Twenty OW pages are given to information about international and national missionary organisations. A page is devoted to statistics for missionary sending countries. These are some of the estimates: South Korea 19,950, Chile 280, Congo-DRC 350, El Salvador 165, Malaysia 380, Peru 318, Romania 130, Switzerland 1712, Netherlands 2,000, Thailand 468, India 82,950, USA 93,500, Canada 5,200 (for her population of 33 million that is better than the UK with her population of 62 million and 6,450 missionaries).
Countries with most unreached people groups (page 919) are listed, India 2,223, China 427, Pakistan 374, Bangladesh 353, Nepal 325, Indonesia 200, and Sudan 138 head the list.
For Vietnam, OW reports that a growing, witnessing Church is emerging from years of persecution. Three main groups where church growth is occurring include the mountain tribal peoples, the Hmong of Northern Vietnam and the ethnic Vietnamese themselves. This comment follows: ‘As numbers increase, so does the potential for false teaching and error. Opportunities for training are still highly restricted and piecemeal.’ This observation is applicable to most countries round the world.
The layout and maps of this new edition are attractive and clear and show a major improvement on the previous edition.
This is a most valuable resource for every Christian household.