BOOK REVIEW – Doing Mission in the Arab World

On the ground experience

Ministering in a cross-cultural context comes with a range of complexities and challenges. In Doing Mission in the Arab World, the first from Interserve’s Grassroots Mission Publications, we read the insights of mission practitioners into a range of areas. These are presented in 11 short articles, each addressing a different facet of working in the Arab world.

The great strength of this book is that it is written from the perspective of people who have lived experience of what they present. This gives many of the articles a very practical and applicable grounding. Standout articles include a compelling case for discipling new believers from a Muslim background, a call to reconsider the ‘C1-C6’ contextualisation scale (an influential method of categorising churches by what cultural aspects they include) and an excellent article about human rights on the basis of Christian doctrines.

An eclectic mix

There are a few caveats to the format. First is the eclectic range of subject matter: most of the articles were originally to be presented at a conference and so the pieces cover a huge range of topics, from spiritual warfare in the Orthodox Church to the various risks of Business as Mission. If you were looking for a systematic exploration of mission in the Arab world, this is not it. However, as a result, there are topics less commonly seen in mission publications, which may prove useful. Secondly, the subject matter of some of the articles doesn’t lend itself to brevity. Undoubtedly these were expanded on at the conference, but in this form it can feel a little lacking. For example, the article presented as a practical methodology of Jesus in the Quran felt in reality to be more of a survey of references within the text, and may well have benefitted from a few more pages of explanation. The best articles were typically those that gave an overview of a topic, rather than attempting to delve more deeply.

A great starting point

Overall then, Doing Mission provides a fascinating window into missional issues of the Arab world, but its limitations should be recognised. Accepting the brevity of the format, this book is an intriguing introduction to many important topics and is well worth the time.

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