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Serving with Eyes Wide Open: Doing Short-Term Missions with Cultural Intelligence Paperback – April 1, 2006

35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Your passport to learning how short-term missions can best serve Christ's kingdom

Short-term mission trips are great ways to impact the kingdom. Yet they can lack effectiveness because of mistakes or naiveté on the part of participants. In this insightful and timely book, David A. Livermore calls us to serve with our eyes open to global and cultural realities so we can become more effective cross-cultural ministers. Serving with Eyes Wide Open is a must-have book for anyone doing a short-term mission or service project, whether domestic or overseas.

"Every youth worker thinking of leading a short-term trip needs to read this book!"--Mark Oestreicher, president, Youth Specialties

"A challenging, well-supported, and carefully crafted tool that will transform your missions and service ministries into opportunities."--Chap Clark, professor of youth, family, and culture; Fuller Theological Seminary

"Livermore does a terrific job of looking at the world today, asking stimulating questions about our approach to missions, and giving practical insights into cultural intelligence."--Daryl Nuss, international coordinator, National Network of Youth Ministries

"Livermore draws on his formal training, personal experience, theological insight, and contemporary research to challenge our cultural understanding of short-term mission experiences and their impact on our service and ministry."--Terry Linhart, assistant professor of youth ministry, Bethel College (Indiana)

"This is a must, not only for church mission committees, but for anyone who participates in short-term--or long-term--missions."--Ruth Tucker, associate professor of missiology, Calvin Theological Seminary

David A. Livermore is executive director of the Global Learning Center at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary and is cofounder of Intersect, a ministry that provides leadership training and consulting to emerging leaders in ministries around the world.

About the Author

David A. Livermore, (Ph.D., Michigan State University), is president of the Cultural Intelligence Center in East Lansing, Michigan and a visiting scholar at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He's a frequent speaker and advisor for non-profits and companies around the world. He and his family live in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books (April 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801066166
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801066160
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #321,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Livermore is a thought leader in cultural intelligence (CQ) and global leadership and the author of several books, Leading with Cultural Intelligence, named a best-seller in business by The Washington Post. He's president and partner at the Cultural Intelligence Center ( in East Lansing, Michigan and a visiting research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Prior to leading the Cultural Intelligence Center, Dave spent 20 years in leadership positions with a variety of non-profit organizations around the world and taught in universities. He's a frequent speaker and adviser to leaders in Fortune 500′s, non-profits, and governments and has worked in more than 100 countries across the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe.

Dave loves to take research and make it accessible to practitioners. He has been interviewed and referenced by major news sources such as Atlantic Monthly, CBS News, The Christian Post, Christian Science Monitor, Christianity Today, The Economist, Forbes, NBC, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.
Dave averages 35 international speaking engagements annually, addressing an average of 7500 leaders over a year. He also serves on several non-profit boards.

Dave and his wife Linda have 2 teenage daughters, Emily and Grace. Some of their favorite activities are traveling (fortunately!), hiking, eating Asian food, and walking to the local ice cream shop, Jersey Junction near their home in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Preston Herrington on May 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
As a doctor who goes on short-term mission trips on a regular basis, I felt I ought to read this book. I must admit that the title and the cover had me expecting a dry read. Instead, I found this little book to be extremely pertinent. In fact, it has affected my outlook on much more than the actual mission trips. I'm afraid this book will have limited readership, which is a shame. I would recommend this book for everyone with a Christian world view who has any interaction with people from different worldviews or cultures. Isn't that almost all Christians, except maybe those who intentionally separate themselves (e.g. the Amish)? I wish the book had been titled "Engaging the World: Being a Christian with Cultural Intelligence" or something like that. I'm glad I ran across a book review and decided to check out this gem.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By M. Abe on December 14, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have lived in four different countries and visited many more, but this book really opened my eyes to the ways I could be more sensitive to the cultural differences. I really enjoyed the section where he asked short term missions worker what they thought they had accomplished and compared their answers with with the answers of the people in the country visited. Eye-opening! As so many want to serve abroad, this is a good book to be more thoughtful and more helpful to the places where we go. Marla
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By M. Duell on January 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
With the amount of money spent on short term missions trips, it is about time that we begin to take a critical look at them. The majority of short term missions trips that I've seen advertised have 2 selling points: 1) the positive change that will take place in the lives of those going on Short Term Missions, 2) All of the amazing sight seeing tours that can be "tacked on" to the Missions trip. This book challenges the motivation for such trips and causes one to focus on the people that we are supposed to be serving, rather than the benefits to the short term missionary. I would recommend this book for anyone considering a short term mission. I would emphatically recommend it for "habitual" short termers.

This book gave me a better understanding of my own culture and how it influences the way that we Americans do missions.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Kameo on August 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
David Livermore's Serving With Eyes Wide Open is the best resource I have ever seen on serving the world church with cultural intelligence. As a long-term missionary of 34 years, I have frequently worried and fretted about American youth groups, synodical tour groups, and short term missionaries who confidently breeze into an Asian, Latin American or African setting armed with plenty of good intentions but with little cultural sensitivity and intelligence. Many leave as ignorant as they come, totally unaware of the problems their individualistic, achievement-oriented personalities and programs have created for national counterparts. Kudos to David Livermore! It's about time a manual like this was written - not only for those taking short term mission trips but for anyone desiring to serve in another cultural setting with eyes wide open.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
While there are times that it feels like Livermore is implying that short-term missions are more harmful than helpful (which he repeatedly says is not his view), the basic thesis that we should be thoughtful, careful, and aware while doing cross-cultural missions is absolutely correct.

For those who want to have a global perspective on life and a realistic view of culture and its influences, this is a very good "primer".

It is not a how-to book or a "training manual" for short-term missions. It is what the title says, an "eye-opener" -- not in the sense that there is anything surprising for those who have served cross-culturally, but in the sense that it reminds us to be aware of ourselves as much as we are aware of others.

In essence, its purpose is to set the stage for thinking wisely about how best to do short-term missions, an endeavor well worth looking into further. I very much enjoyed this book for its accessibility combined with research and insightful thinking.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lindy on November 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this book, David Livermore forces me to face and struggle with some extremely important questions, as I prepare for a possible cross-cultural medical mission. Some of these questions I would have never thought of on my own: What are ALL of my motives for wanting to go, and how many of them are grubby self-serving, rather than being about a desire to serve others? How much arrogance - "Western Civilization superiority" - oozes out of my very pores? What are my deeply-hidden assumptions and agendas? Livermore makes a good case for asking such questions, and has pushed me, pretty hard, against the wall of my integrity, forcing me into honest and necessary self-examination in advance of a 3-month mission. From this standpoint, I can recommend this book, with praise.

On the other hand, however, Livermore is so severely critical of his fellow Westerners and of the doubtful-to-poor results of their short-term cross-cultural missions that there have been times when - discouraged and pretty-well beaten up by Livermore - I have nearly given up my intention and effort to volunteer myself for any mission at all. Readers need to know this before taking on this book. Livermore is not enthusiastic about Americans going on short-term (especially 2-3 week) missions, so be forewarned.
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