Book Review: Rethinking Global Mobilization – Calling the Church to Her Core Identity
By Rev. Thuo Mburu
What a noble gift to the global mission community! Ryan Shaw has produced a compelling text that is biblically sound, intellectually stimulating and inspires us to missions. It urges the Church to keep her eyes on why we do missions as foundational to mission mobilization. The book’s subtitle, “Calling the Church to Her Core Identity”, captures Shaw’s prophetic vision. His wide understanding is further emphasized in chapter two’s excellent attempt at defining mission mobilization from the idea that “redemptive history comprises the ‘mobilizer God’ calling the total extent of His covenant people into being in this age.”
The author’s unashamed emphasis on the biblical mission mandate and priority of unreached people groups is a timely remedy to the Church’s loss of focus by increasingly viewing everything as mission. This book is a prophetic voice reawakening the Western mission movement and catalyzing the emerging kingdom force in the Global South. The invitation is accompanied by practical guidelines for developing a framework for missions mobilization as well as a plea to discern the move of God and to (re)direct kingdom resources in support of His mission.
Apart from giving shape to the critical role of mission mobilization, Shaw’s work contributes to the expansion of the ideas, terms and references regarding missions, increasing our vocabulary and understanding. He has achieved this by consolidating and organizing ideas and practices which were scattered in the field of missions. Moreover, he has elevated concepts such as “Message Bearers” and “Scattering” (instead of “Missionaries” and “Sending”) to importance even while people are shy to use traditional mission terminology.
While admiring his vision of a new era of “A Truly Global Mission and Mobilization Movement”, I regret that the book is limited to historical experiences in the Western Church; thus missing the opportunity to investigate these same movements in both reputable and emerging indigenous movements in the Global South. The book is nonetheless a must-read for every pastor and church leader. It should be a companion to Bible school students and a resource to university discipleship and mobilization teams.
Thuo Mburu, PhD, is a mission leader and Senior Pastor at Christ Is The Answer Ministries (CITAM), as well as a university chaplain at Pan Africa Christian University.