If you are going to be an astronaut, you have to prepare. If you are going to be a lawyer, you have to prepare. If you are going to be a doctor, computer programmer, designer, chef, and a mountain of others professions, you will have to prepare! Why in the world would anyone think that a missionary does not need to prepare? If you are interested in the mission field, you must prepare yourself for serving in this capacity. I don’t think there is anything better in the world than advancing the Gospel. It is fun, hard, time consuming, and slow, and it is wonderful. I am using the things that I have learned as I have prepared for serving Jesus on the mission field.
With that in mind, one of the ways you can prepare is by reading. I have heard statistics that claim very few read much after they graduate from high school and college. I hope that is not true. We grow by reading. Now the question is what books to read…
Where To Start
Obviously a missionary ought to read the Bible and have read the Bible through many times. How can a man explain the eternal truths of God if he doesn’t read the book that contains the eternal truths? Read the Bible, read it again, read it daily, study it, and apply it in your life. But we also need to be reading other books and there is no shortage. Here are a few categories and recommendations…
- Missionary Biographies: They will burn in your heart and help you dream big! They can be exciting, motivating, heart breaking, and stirring all at the same time. There are all kinds to choose from. I recommend a good biography of Adoniram Judson, Jim Elliot, and William Carrey, but there are many more that are worth reading.
- Books on missions: These books help explain how to serve in another culture. Some great books to start with would be “Cross Cultural Servanthood”, “Ministering Cross Culturally”, and “Planting Churches Cross Culturally”. There are more, but these are good to start with.
- Books on Culture Shock: This topic is for a whole other post (one I might add that will be coming soon). Culture Shock is very real and will beat you up really bad. Identifying it is key to successfully overcoming it. A book I recommend, “Culture Shock” by Myron Loss. Another great book that will help you in another culture is “The Ugly American”. It has nothing to do with missions but it gives you insight of what Americans can look like to nationals. It is an excellent book
- Discipleship: My favorite book in the world is “The Master Plan of Evangelism” by Robert Coleman. Start with this book! It will change your life. There are many more, but this book will build your ministry philosophy with the biblical principles it so clearly explains. Read it, TWICE, then read it a few more times for good measure…
- Motivational books: There are a few great books that will motivate you to get out and do something. Missionaries need drive. A well-liked book is “The Rhinoceros Success” but my favorite is “The 10X Rule”. This book will push you! Get the audible version, it has even more content.
There are many more books that are available that should be read. My mentor has said that after a certain age, we grow by the people we know and the books we read. So go buy a bunch of books and start reading. I am in the middle of a wonderful book right now about leadership. So start reading and never stop. Keep reading!
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