Disclaimer: The book being reviewed today was written by the director of Biblical Ministries Worldwide, the organization that my wife and I serve underneath. While I have tried to be unbiased in my review, Paul Seger and I have a similar mindset about missions and supporting missionaries and I am sure that will come across in this review.
I have been anticipating this book for months and was quite excited when Senders by Paul Seger was published for the world to read. I suspect that others will not be as excited by it as I am. Senders is a challenging book. While this is a way in which we grow, most of us do not like to be challenged in our way of thinking. However, any person or church serious about cultivating missions must allow themselves to be challenged by Senders.
The origin of the definition and process of ‘modern’ missions is obscure. Regardless, Senders seeks to confront our thinking about missions by defining the roles of sending organizations and sending churches. The author challenges our mindset regarding three areas of missions:
- Missionaries: Who are our missionaries and where are they to come from? Seger suggests that our missionaries should be coming from the church and that they are an extension of not just our church body, but our church staff.
- Mission Organizations: What role does an agency play in missions? For many the organization does it all and bears full responsibility. The book outlines a different option though. One that is both biblical and enables us to do missions better.
- Mission Support: “The problem is not money. We have plenty of resources to fulfill the Great Commission” (pg. 23). Maybe this is often said, but it is little practiced in today’s culture. The author spends an entire chapter examining the principles of our priorities in regards to missions.
Ultimately by addressing these three areas, Paul Seger has defined for us how to do missions well by emphasizing our priorities. He has laid out for us the following:
- The Priority of Missions: The emphasis that missions should have in our church.
- The Priority of Money: How funding missions is not a matter of need as much as it is a matter of prioritizing.
- The Priority of Management: The training and deploying of missionaries.
Addressing such an important topic in such a meaningful way, why do I think others may not be as excited about the book? Because it compels us to change and requires of us more work than many are wiling to put forth. It requires intentionality in raising up missionaries in the church and intentionality in training them.
The book is an easy read (I read it for the first time on a short two and half hour flight from Los Angeles to Seattle). The real work comes not in reading the book, but in digesting and acting upon what you read. While it may be overwhelming to undertake the suggestions that are suggested, Paul Seger has also developed a workbook to guide missions teams in this process.
It is certain that not everyone will agree with every premise the author sets forth. Regardless of agreement, the concepts mentioned in the book are worthy of discussion in the church. If missions is a priority of the church, then reading Senders should be a priority as well.
The book is available at Amazon by clicking here; you can also purchase the study guide by clicking here.