02/08/2007

Out of the Comfort Zone (by George Verwer)

I've read a few books by George Verwer in recent years. He's the founder and head of one of the large international Christian organisations that particularly focuses on literature in evangelism and teaching, and I have a lot of respect for his vision and views.

I picked up 'Out of the Comfort Zone' second-hand (though it doesn't appear to have been read) and thought it might be a challenging read, given the title. Not challenging in the sense of deep or complex theologically, but in making me re-think some of my priorities.

However I actually found it rather basic. Perhaps it's that it's a few years old now, or perhaps it's that I've had so much contact with this kind of work in general that I've absorbed all the concepts, and take them pretty much for granted.

The topics covered are all good ones: the importance of grace in missions work, the need for leaders, and mobilisers, the problems of finance and different ways that missionaries raise support, and so on. There was a fair amount of focus on the AD 2000 movement too. But although I could recognise valid points, there was nothing I had not read or heard before, many times.

Another minor problem is that, despite his huge emphasis on literature and reading (which I heartily approve of), George Verwer is primarily a speaker, rather than a writer. If I slowed down my reading, and imagined someone saying the words in my head, there was a lot of energy in them. But as text to read, it seemed rather dry and it was difficult to concentrate.

This book could be useful for churches or Christian leaders who aren't involved at all in outreach, or who want to know, in a nutshell, how missions work happens and what is still needed. But for the kinds of people I know, who are already way out of their comfort zone, this book wouldn't really add anything new.

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