Missiology is a perfect one-stop shop to begin the study of missions. The editors draw from dozens of writers to create forty-two chapters of a nearly encyclopedic overview of the study of missions or missiology. The expected chapters on the biblical basis of missions, history of missions, cross-cultural issues, status of the church, and strategy of missions are all superbly introduced and summarized. However, this volume also addresses subjects like steps to strategy development, missions education in churches, serving as a single missionary, specific methods of theological education, evangelistic approaches to each major religion, cross-cultural ministry in the USA, spiritual warfare, and many more topics. This breadth of detail sets Missiology apart from other introductions to the subject. The reader should know that the editors are Southern Baptists and many are connected with the International Mission Board. Though the chapters are relevant to anyone studying missions from any faith tradition, the illustrations and examples are primarily drawn from the SBC’s mission history and organizations. In addition, the book should be seen for what it is, an introduction. For those looking for a comprehensive interaction with each major issue in missiology, you will find that this book does not address each topic with ample detail.
The chapter that I thought was weakest was Jim Slack’s chapter on “Strategies for Church Development”. Slack advocates a specific model of church planting that uses small groups that meet in homes led by bi-vocational leaders and avoids the model that grows larger churches with full-time leadership. Slack applauds the Korean’s contribution of early morning prayer meetings to the spectacular growth of the church there in the last generation, but ignores the fact that the vast majority of their churches do not follow the model for churches that he recommends. Slack should advocate for more freedom in developing a church planting model for each context rather than recommending one specific model. I would recommend this book to anyone who is considering cross-cultural ministry or is interested in learning about the major and even minor topics within the field of missiology.