Book Review: Keeping the Mission in the Missionary

This book was written by my friend Jeff Amsbaugh. It is not an old book, but I was a bit surprised that I did not know about it. It really is a great book on a Biblical philosophy of missions. Dr. Amsbaugh uses the book of Philippians to build this philosophy. In fact the book could be read as a commentary on Philippians.

The book is written for pastors and churches so that they can know how to choose which missionaries and ministries they will support with their missions money. It is also an excellent book for missionaries to read about what churches expect of them.

Dr. Amsbaugh used a questionaire to petition information from mission board directors. These questions revolved around how missionaries should do their work and present their ministries. While there was good consensus on all the questions there was one area in which I found myself in disagreement with his conclusions. And I was not the only one. The book was published in 2002. I am curious to talk with him and see if his position has changed since then.

He discussed topics such as the missionary’s prayer life, his relationship with pastors and others on the field as well as the missionary’s vision, separation and commitment. The one issue in which I disagreed had to do with contentment. In a nutshell he wrote that missionaries should be content with a low socio-economic standard to be able to reach the nationals. While I agree the missionary should be content if that is what it takes to do the work, but it has been my experience that the missionary is expected to live at least a little better than the national. That does not mean that he should live in a mansion with 10 servants while the people around him starve and die from poverty. The consensus of those answering the questions agreed that the missionary did not have to live in poverty to reach the nationals.

That one issue aside, I think this is one of the best books I have read on the subject. I would like to have a copy of this book handy to pass out to missionaries along the way. There is so much a missionary can learn about what a pastor expects from those they support.

Dr. Amsbaugh is a gracious preacher. He has a way of making people feel comfortable in his presence even though he is a busy man in a large ministry. If you live in, or visit, the Columbus, Georgia area, I invite you to visit his church.

I was not able to find any on-line sources for the book. He probably just sells them directly from the church office. You can contact them through their website (WARNING: it works almost exclusively in IE).

Keeping the Mission in the Missionary, Jeff Amsbaugh, 2002, self-published, 230 pages.

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