Dropping temperatures mean more nights spent inside, curled up with a warm mug and a good read, so we decided to share 10 of our top picks for books on missions. You’ll find some classics, a few academic selections and maybe your next favorite book. Check out our list and then let us know in the comments what must-read missions books we’re missing.
Piper pens this missions staple with the much-quoted thesis: “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate.” This book is a primer for anyone looking for a foundational understanding of God’s purpose in global missions.
In this quick read, Lanier provides a practical introduction to understanding cultures through the categories of “hot-climate” (relationship-oriented) and “cold-climate” (task-oriented) cultures. We love it so much, we give it to all of our short-term missionaries to read before serving on mission trips.
Peace Child | Don Richardson
This gripping true story is the firsthand account of Don Richardson, who served among a cannibalistic people group. In this tough climate, Richardson built a bridge between the Sawi’s sacrificial culture and the sacrifice of Christ to successfully explain the gospel for the first time. Peace Child is a great read for anyone interested in serving among unreached people groups.
Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation | Jason Mandryk
Now in its seventh edition, Operation World outlines key demographic, historical and spiritual data for every country in the world. The content is highly organized, making it easy to look up specific facts quickly, and there is also a daily prayer guide to help you pray for the nations. We have several copies floating around our offices, and we recommend it for every bookshelf.
Through Gates of Splendor | Elisabeth Elliot
Written in 1957, this classic missions book is written by Elisabeth Elliot, whose husband Jim was killed by the Auca Indians in Ecuador. Elliot details his journey with the other four missionaries who lost their lives sharing the gospel.
The Poor Will Be Glad: Joining the Revolution to Lift the World Out of Poverty | Peter Greer and Phil Smith
This challenging book outlines the distinction between a handout and hand up in the way we approach poverty alleviation. Greer and Smith draw on real-life experience to offer practical and actionable ways that individuals can contribute to the economic development of their community and the world. It’s a great read for anyone who wants to use community development as a platform to share the gospel.
Great Commission Companies: The Emerging Role of Business in Missions | Steve Rundle and Tom Steffen
For many countries that are socially and legally closed the gospel, workers must use creative methods to share their faith. In Great Commission Companies, the authors explain how business people are using their acumen to start companies and share the gospel all over the world.
A Spirituality of Fundraising | Henri J.M. Nouwen
In this foundational essay, Nouwen explains why fundraising for ministry is not a burden but rather a tool for discipleship. Our Chief Advancement Officer, Arnie Adkison recommends it to all new missionaries as they begin the support-raising process.
“The nations” are now converging in neighborhoods around North America because of recent trends in globalization and migration. In this practical book, J.D. Payne offers insights and examples on how Christians can make meaningful cross-cultural relationships right in their backyard.
In this thoughtful work, Guinness contemplates the deep question, “What am I here for?” Guinness exhorts readers to consider what God’s calling is for their lives, stating, “No idea short of God’s call can ground and fulfill the truest human desire for purpose and fulfillment.” For those looking to be able to articulate God’s specific purpose for your life, this book is a key resource.
Which of your favorite missions books did we miss? Comment below with your favorite page-turners and add to our list.