Invitation to a Community of Learning

Missions Text CoverFirst, I would like to introduce you to the 2nd edition of Missions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies and then invite you into a community of learning through reading and responding to my new Missions Blog. The blog’s focus is to partner in a process of learning as disciple-making missionaries to equip ourselves and others for God’s mission.  My prayer is that we begin to think of ourselves as God’s missionary people whether we live in our own culture or a new one in which God has sent as His missionaries—whether full-time or bi-vocational—all passionate people learning to grow as disciples making disciples.

The 1st edition (Zondervan 1996) went through 11 printings and became a standard text in missions organizations, seminaries, and universities.  This edition has eight new chapters with significant revisions in each of the other chapters.  Anthony Parker—my first graduate assistant at Abilene Christian University; long-term missionary to Benin and Togo, West Africa; and coach trainer for Pioneer Bible Translators and Mission Alive—worked closely with me as researcher and writer.  My wife Becky, who read and reread the manuscript, reflected on the content, and made innumerable suggestions and revisions.  I am thankful for the gracious and incisive editing of Jim Ruark and other editors of Zondervan/Harper Collins.

Following is a brief summary of the text:

The 2nd edition of Missions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies  (Zondervan/Harper Collins) is a handbook of missions, similar in some ways to Perspectives of the World Christian Movement, but written by one author, to describe the process of Christian servants becoming incarnational leaders planting and nurturing missionary movements. This 2nd edition has eight new chapters which provide models and illustrations from both domestic (North America) and international missions. Missions guides prospective and on-the-field missionaries (1) to attune their hearts to the narrative of the missionary God in the Bible—to embody the stories of missio Dei, kingdom of God, incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection, (2) to spiritually transform their lives into God’s likeness, (3) to discern personal motivations for carrying the mission of God, (4) to learn from missionaries who have gone before—in each of the six epochs of the historical expansion of Christianity, (5) to learn how to be learners as they enter a new culture (even within their home culture), (6) to confront personal feelings of ethnocentrism so that they might communicate to those of another culture as equals, (7) to communicate God’s eternal message in cultural categories that are both meaningful and effective, (8) to minister using a process of theological reflection, cultural analysis, historical perspective, and strategy formation within the context of spiritual formation in what is called “the Missional Helix,” (9) to learn basic incarnational principles for planting churches, nurturing new believers, and training leaders, (10) to apply these principles to the specific contexts in both Africa and North America; (11) to provide guidelines for effective short-term missions, (12) to discern the wise use of money in missions; and (13) to determine fundamental criteria for selecting sites for missions.  The goal is that this book will equip leaders to plant and renew hundreds of churches, thereby catalyzing movements of discipleship and mission. The story of Jim and Julie, in narratives interwoven throughout the book and in the epilogue, illustrates a journey of spiritual transformation to become incarnational missionaries. Missions equips and inspires learners to become leaders transforming the world.

I invite you to subscribe to this Missions Blog.

The first blogs will be on the Missional Helix, what I would call the heart and soul of the book.  The Helix is a spiral leading the missionary to return time and time again to reflect theologically, culturally, historically, and strategically within an environment of spiritual formation to discern ministry models appropriate to a local context.

Dr. Gailyn Van Rheenen




2 Responses to “Invitation to a Community of Learning”
  1. Dear Dr. Van Galen Rheenen
    I have read your learning decommunauté méssage invitation.
    I will love you fair that I am very interested in you and accept your inviation Missions and subscribe to this blog thank you
    His will gladly work with you in the field missions to implement ls churches

    Evangelist Missionary

    Komi Nestor NOUGBLEGA..

  2. Yaw Senyah says:

    I am pleased to be invited to join missions blog and the accompanying discussions

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