We Are Not the Hero by Jean Johnson is a unique book on the cultural challenges and best practices of international missions efforts. I quickly bought this book after a friend, Jim Spoonts, President of Broomtree International and former Missions Pastor of the Village Church said, “I’ve been in missions for over 20 years and I thought I knew something about missions but after reading Jean’s book, I realized I didn’t really know anything.” Wowww…. That got my attention!
This book is all about cross-cultural missions. It will give countless real examples of the dangers of sending funds and salaries that aren’t sustainable and create unnatural behaviors that aren’t healthy for the local church and may ensure that the church won’t have quality indigenous growth. It will also help sensitize you to the dangers of trying to force western Christianity and style of worship on other cultures. Jean’s book is a must read for those that want to do international missions better and at a minimum, not cause any harm to the future of the Gospel in that area. All that said, she does offer proven suggestions of how we can foster sustained indigenous growth. Many of these suggestions are very much supported in David Watson’s book, Contagious Discipleship that catalogs the common threads through some of the very largest modern day church movements. Both books describe how to allow the church to flourish in the local culture, while westerners are in the background! If you are involved in missions efforts, I highly suggest you read both books to help ensure the effectiveness of you, your organization, and the collective resources of both.
Paul Staudacher / Empower Dreams