Sills, M. David. Changing World, Unchanging Missions: Responding to Global Challenges. Downers Grove: IVP Books, 2015. 233 pp. $17.00. Purchase for less at Amazon or on Kindle.
I met Dr. Sills back in 2007 when I was a student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He published a book in 2008 entitled The Missionary Call (you can read my review). Dr. Sills still serves as the A.P. and Faye Stone Professor of Christian Missions and Cultural Anthropology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and is also the founder of Reaching and Teaching International Ministries.
Divided into 10 chapters over roughly 200 pages of text, Dr. Sills looks at how missions compete and conflict with one another while the world is slowly being urbanized and definitely globalized. He offers a chapter on short term missions and then explains how we are to reach oral learners and help people without hurting them.
Chapter seven looks at churches as being the sending agents for missions while eight offers a look at your business as mission. Find business signs here. Finally, chapter nine offers a look at how missions changes governments with chapter ten giving a paradigm shift (for Christians in the West) regarding the global south and how we can facilitate the growth of Christianity there.
I love that Sills writes with passion, conviction, and perhaps most importantly, experience first hand of the ever-changing mission field. It is from the latter that this book was birthed. His goal is to show that while the world may continue to change, the message of salvation in Christ alone will never change. It is as timeless as the God who saves.
His chapters on the local church serving as sending agencies for missions and the recognition of the global south as reality will, I pray, be instrumental in raising up a new generation of missions work. As a pastor myself, I find that the need for sending out missionaries is great but the workers are few. It is my responsibility to ring the bell of missions but in a way that is kingdom building.
He also helps the reader to think through how our initial response is typically to fix problems (either with money or materials) often does more hurt than good. This, too, is a paradigm shift for many in the West, but one that needs to take place. Again, David Sills helps initiate this change.
If you are a Christian, you need to be aware of the need of missions and how though the culture is ever-changing, our message is not. The global Christian church is indebted to Dr. Sills for his willingness to translate his expertise into a book in order to train up even more missionaries. Every Christian should read this book.