6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Timely, important book introducing diaspora missiology to Christian leaders,
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This review is from: Strangers Next Door: Immigration, Migration and Mission (Paperback)
This is a great book for Christians who want to gain perspective on the ever-increasing ethnic diversity of North America and the West. It helps us to lift our eyes, come to terms with new demographic realities, and gain biblical hope concerning the mega-trend of the migrations of the peoples. Covering the tremendous rise in migration for job-seeking immigrants, international students, refugees, and more, JD Payne provides a multitude of stories as well as straightforward statistical evidence for the profound demographic and ethnic changes taking place in Western nations.
The book provides a thorough overview of people on the move in the Old and New Testaments, and creates for readers a clear Scriptural lens through which to see these people movements in our generation. This was very encouraging for me, creating a much stronger link between the accounts of "people on the move" in the Bible--and "people on the move" in our world, in our own communities.
Payne's overview of the demographic changes of many nations--demonstrated through well-researched and documented statistical evidence--is proof of the dramatic changes which are creating culture clashes in cities all over the western world. His primary readers are North Americans, so the additional information he provides about the USA and Canada is valuable and eye-opening.
The challenge to Christians engaged in God's purpose to bless the peoples of the world--is nuanced and multifaceted. He recommends a strategy called R.E.P.S.--Reach, Equip, Partner, and Send. Payne cautions against enfolding new "migrant" believers among various ethnicities into Western-style churches; rather, he challenges us with a vision to reach them, to plant churches among their natural relational networks, and then to partner with them in sending and empowering new ethnic believers back to their homelands as national missionaries to their own people. Payne wisely recommends church growth methods which are simple and reproducible without western systems and programs.
If Payne does an updated edition, I would recommend that he expand on the need for contextualization, and include practical next steps. For me, the main tenor of the book is that ordinary pastors and followers of Jesus Christ need to engage with their new ethnic neighbors and share the Gospel with them--with a vision for reaching the nations. So I believe that emphasizing the need for gaining new relationship skills, developing cultural intelligence, and learning how to communicate the gospel in a culturally relevant way would make this book more useful.
What the book comprises is an outstanding introduction to the subject of "diaspora missiology". I sincerely hope that thousands of Christian leaders will read this book and put their arms around the compelling ministry opportunities of our ever-increasingly diverse communities. This is a most timely and excellent book for all missional Christians concerned about living faithfully in today's world of increasing diversity and "peoples on the move."