top of page



On Being a Missionary by Thomas Hale

Hale, a medical missionary in Nepal for 25 years, has written "for everyone who has an interest in missions, from the praying and giving supporter back home to the missionary on the field or about to be," discussing virtually every aspect of missionary life including the call to missionary work, how to prepare for living and working on the mission field, the adjustment to life on the mission field, understanding cultural differences and indigenisation of the gospel, how to deal with culture shock and stress, the missionary's role in the local church and their lifestyle, interpersonal conflict and working on a missions team, the importance of prayer and the Holy Spirit in missionary work as well as maintaining one's focus on the goal of reconciling people to God, and finally the practical issues related to singleness and marriage on the mission field, children, and home visits.

The Missionary Call: Find Your Place in God's Plan for the World by M. David Sills

Sills has produced a wonderful book on the missionary call, what the Bible says about it, thoughts of missions leaders, how to discern one's call, and what to do about it.

Six Dangerous Questions to Transform Your View of the World by Paul Borthwick

Borthwick's book asks questions about who Jesus is, what heaven and hell are, the significance of Christianity, and God's purpose for our lives, causing the reader to re-evaluate their life in light of the answers to these questions. A brilliant book for instilling a heart for missions in the reader.

I Think God Wants Me to Be a Missionary: Issues to Deal With Long Before You Say Goodbye by Neal Pirolo

Pirolo's book contains the stories of four young adults who believe that God has called them to be missionaries, their struggles, and the advice they receive from their pastors. This is a great introduction to issues that should be considered and dealt with before leaving for the mission field. (Available from

Ministering Cross-Culturally: An Incarnational Model for Personal Relationships by Sherwood G. Lingenfelter and Marvin K. Mayers

Lingenfelter and Mayers use the incarnation of Christ as a model for cross-cultural ministry, explaining the need for those in missionary service to be socialized into a new cultural context, becoming what they call 150-percent persons. They examine six pairs of contrasting traits, time versus event orientation, task versus person orientation, dichotomistic versus holistic thinking, status versus achievement focus, crisis versus non-crisis orientation, and concealment of vulnerability versus willingness to expose vulnerability, looking at the Biblical perspective of each and the implications for cross-cultural ministry. This book is absolutely essential for anyone who is serious about entering into ministry in a cross-cultural setting.

Customs of the World: Using Cultural Intelligence to Adapt, Wherever You Are DVD series by David Livermore available from

In this DVD series, Livermore describes ten cultural differences and how they affect culture and behavior in the ten largest cultural clusters in the world. While the series is not geared specifically for missions, its content is relevant and helpful in improving one's cultural intelligence.

Global Mission Handbook: A Guide for Cross-Cultural Service by Steve Hoke and Bill Taylor

A revised edition of Send Me! Your Journey to the Nations, Hoke and Taylor's Global Mission Handbook is an excellent, practical book guiding individuals as they prepare for long-term missionary service. Containing a combination of short articles, worksheets, and narratives of missionaries, the handbook includes chapters on understanding one's personal spiritual formation, the call to missions, ministry identity, cultural sensitivity, training and education, support raising, choosing a sending agency and ministry role, lifelong learning, and finishing well.

Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility by Duane Elmer

Elmer raises the point that servanthood is culturally defined and looks at how missionaries can portray the servant spirit in a way that will be seen and valued by local people. In the first half of the book, he explains the steps in becoming a servant: openness, acceptance, trust, learning, understanding, and serving. Elmer goes on to look at the need for humility, the proper exercise of power in service to others and the importance of walking in faithful obedience even when we are unaware of God's purposes, concluding with an examination of Joseph as an example of humble servanthood.

Serving Well: Help for the Wannabe, Newbie, or Weary Cross-Cultural Worker by Elizabeth and Jonathan Trotter

A compilation of their articles at the A Life Overseas website, this book is broken into sections on preparing well, moving well, grieving well, taking care of your heart well, taking care of your marriage well, taking care of your children well, working well, anticipating well, recalculating well, communicating well, and returning well.

How to Be a World-Class Christian: Becoming Part of God's Global Kingdom by Paul Borthwick

Borthwick looks at what it means to be a world-class Christian and how to become "one whose lifestyle and obedience are compatible, in cooperation, and in accord with what God is doing and wants to do in our world." He discusses the importance of learning about the world, prayer, and changing one's lifestyle, then goes on to examine ways to reach out to internationals among us and further afield. This book is a good introduction to thinking globally and could be used in groups as it contains discussion questions at the end of each chapter.

Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, edited by Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne

Great Commission, Great Compassion by Paul Borthwick

A Mind for Missions: Ten Ways to Build Your World Vision by Paul Borthwick

So You Want to Be a Missionary? Essential Considerations by Don Mingo

Something Needs to Change by David Platt

Crossing Cultures in Scripture: Biblical Principles for Mission Practice by Marvin J. Newell

Authentic Lives: Overcoming the Problem of Hidden Identity in Outreach to Restrictive Nations by Thomas Hale III

Prepare for Battle: Basic Training in Spiritual Warfare by Neal and Yvonne Pirolo

Life and Work on the Mission Field by J. Herbert Kane

Encountering Missionary Life and Work: Preparing for Intercultural Ministry by Tom Steffen and Lois McKinney Douglas

To Timbuktu & Beyond: A Guide to Getting Started in Missions by Marsha Woodard

The First 30 Daze: Practical Encouragement for Living Abroad Intentionally by Larry and Susan McCrary

Connected: Starting Your Overseas Life Spiritually Fed by Amy Young

Mission Smart: 15 Critical Questions to Ask Before Launching Overseas by David L. Frazier

Across the Street and Around the World: Following Jesus to the Nations in Your Neighborhood... and Beyond by Marie Jeannie

Global Humility: Attitudes for Mission by Andy McCullough

Thriving in Cross Cultural Ministry by Carissa Alma

Have We No Rights? by Mabel Williamson

Teamwork: How to Build Relationships by Gordon and Rosemary Jones

African Friends and Money Matters: Observations from Africa by David E. Maranz

God's Heart for the Nations by Jeff Lewis

Spiritual Multiplication in the Real World by Bob McNabb

The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good by Peter Greer


Living Overseas: A Book of Preparations by Ted Ward

A Beginner's Guide to Crossing Cultures: Making Friends in a Multicultural World by Patty Lane

The Art of Crossing Cultures by Craig Storti

Cross-Cultural Dialogues by Craig Storti

The Expert Expat: Your Guide to Successful Relocation Abroad by Melissa Brayer Hess and Patricia Linderman

Home Away From Home: Turning Your International Relocation Into a Lifetime Enhancement by Beverly D. Roman

Transitions Across Cultures: A Guide to Culture Shock for Travelers and Those Who Love Them by Stephen W. Jones

Getting Started: Making the Most of Your First Year in Cross Cultural Service by Amy Young


Facing Danger: A Guide Through Risk by Anna E. Hampton

Hampton seeks to develop a biblical understanding of risk in order to increase the resiliency of cross-cultural workers from a risk-averse culture and reduce attrition rates. Stressing the need to look to God in times of risk and highlighting the Holy Spirit as our advocate to come alongside us and help us through risk, Hampton also looks at emotions in risk situations and gives practical information on stewardship in risk situations and preparation for risk situations. Additionally, she discusses the importance of shepherding people in the way that Christ modelled. Hampton's website Better Than Gold contains further resources including a list of risk myths, book lists and articles for additional reading, risk videos, resources for developing a theology of risk, information on the Risk Assessment and Management Training that Hampton and her husband offer, and more.


Western Christians in Global Mission: What's the Role of the North American Church by Paul Borthwick

Borthwick addresses the role of the church of the West, particularly the North American church, in light of the nine challenges that he identifies in the modern world. Initially examining the state of the church both in the West and in the Majority World, he goes on to discuss how the Western church can be involved in global mission by building relationships and partnering with the church in the Majority World.

Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help and How to Reverse It by Robert D. Lupton

Drawing on his experience in urban ministry in Atlanta, Lupton explains how charitable giving can and often does cause more harm than good to the communities that individuals are wanting to help because, "Giving to those in need what they could be gaining from their own initiative may well be the kindest way to destroy people." Instead, he espouses community development which focuses on working with those in need, identifying and building on local assets, identifying what the local community sees as the most important needs, investing with the poor, developing local leadership, and working at a pace that the community is comfortable with in order to bring about lasting change.

When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor... and Yourself by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert

Corbett and Fikkert explain that an incomplete definition of poverty in terms solely of material poverty in combination with the God-complexes of the materially non-poor and the feelings of inferiority of the materially poor lead to harm being done to both the materially poor and non-poor. They articulate strategies to develop policies and programs that will help a community by addressing both broken systems and broken individuals using a highly relational approach.

The Changing Face of World Missions: Engaging Contemporary Issues and Trends by Michael Pocock, Gailyn Van Rheenen, and Douglas McConnell

This book identifies and evaluates trends in the world which affect missions, reflects on them, and recommends workable emerging models and best practices. Trends addressed include globalisation, changing demographics, syncretism, post-modernism, changing motivations for missions, increasing awareness of spiritual power, creative access platforms, collaboration, issues around finances, new technologies, and contextualisation.

Changing World, Unchanging Mission: Responding to Global Challenges by M. David Sills

In this book, Sills addresses the question of how missionaries can move with the times and remain faithful to God's Word. He examines several challenges facing Christian missions: changes in travel and communication, short-term missions teams, reaching oral learners, helping without hurting, churches which serve as sending agencies, global political instability, and the shift toward the Global South.

Missionary Methods: God's Plan for Missions According to Paul by Roland Allen

Originally written in 1912, Missionary Methods focuses not on the doctrine of Paul but on his methods as an example for modern missions. Allen examined various aspects of Paul's ministry and contrasts them with common missions practices of his day. Though missionary methods have changed in the past hundred years, there is much of value that can be gleaned from this volume.

Legitimacy in Missions Matters: 5 Marks Toward Legitimacy by Steve Schirmer

In his book, Schirmer considers creative methods missionaries use to enter restricted-access countries and stresses the importance of maintaining a legitimate presence in a host country. He examines the five marks of legitimacy and discusses what legitimacy is not. Legitimacy in Missions Matters is available as a free e-book from Silk Road Catalyst.

Cross-Cultural Conflict: Building Relationships for Effective Ministry by Duane Elmer

Cross-Cultural Connections: Stepping Out and Fitting in Around the World by Duane Elmer

Cross-Cultural Partnerships: Navigating the Complexities of Money and Mission by Mary T. Lederleitner and Duane Elmer

Teaching Across Cultures: Contextualizing Education for Global Mission by James E. Plueddemann and Duane Elmer

When Missions Shapes the Mission by David Horner

Subversive Jesus: An Adventure in Justice, Mercy, and Faithfulness in a Broken World by Craig Greenfield

The 3D Gospel: Ministry in Guilt, Shame, and Fear Cultures by Jayson Georges

Becoming Whole: Why the Opposite of Poverty Isn't the American Dream by Brian Fikkert and Kelly M. Kapic

Walking With the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development by Bryant L. Myers

Ministering in Honor-Shame Cultures: Biblical Foundations and Practical Essentials by Jayson Georges and Mark D. Baker

Misreading Scripture with Individualist Eyes: Patronage, Honor, and Shame in the Biblical World by E. Randolph Richards and Richard James

Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels by Kenneth E. Bailey

Margins of Islam: Ministry in Diverse Muslim Contexts by Gene Daniels and Warrick Farah

Following Jesus in Turbulent Times: Disciple-Making in the Arab World by Hikmat Kashouh

Ephesiology: A Study of the Ephesian Movement by Michael T. Cooper

Facing West: American Evangelicals in an Age of World Christianity by David R. Swartz

Christian Mission: A Concise Global History by Edward L. Smither

Kingdom Without Borders: The Untold Story of Global Christianity by Miriam Adeney

Millennials and the Mission of God by Andrew F. Bush and Carolyn C. Wason

We Are Not the Hero: A Missionary's Guide to Sharing Christ, Not a Culture of Dependency by Jean Johnson

When Charity Destroys Dignity: Overcoming Unhealthy Dependency in the Christian Movement by Glenn Schwartz

Jackson Wu (pseudonym), former missionary in Asia, author, and theologian, has put together a list of recommended books on Honor/Shame cultures here.


Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation by Jason Mandryk

Currently in its seventh edition, Operation World is intended "to inform and inspire God's people to prayer and action in order to change the world." To that end, it gives basic statistical information (geography, ethnicities and languages, economy, politics, and religion) about every country in the world as well as answers to prayer and challenges for prayer.

The Future of the Global Church by Patrick Johnstone

Written by the author of the first six editions of Operation World, The Future of the Global Church attempts to interpret what the data tells us about the progress of world evangelization. Filled with maps, charts, and graphs, it examines nine global challenges to evangelization, gives an overview of church history and the major world religions, and then goes on to describe the branches of Christianity and trends in missions.

North American Mission Handbook: U.S. and Canadian Protestant Ministries Overseas edited by Peggy Newell

First published in 1953 and now in its 22nd edition, The North American Mission Handbook contains the results of the book's primary survey, providing information on trends in missions, and then goes on to list over 900 U.S. and Canadian based mission agencies, their purpose, the type of ministry they do, where their missionaries serve, and more.


Evangelical Missions Quarterly

Established in 1964, Evangelical Missions Quarterly publishes four issues each year on a wide variety of topics relevant to missions. No longer offering a print version of the magazine, a subscription to the online periodical includes access to previous issues.

From Every Nation

From Every Nation maintains an extensive list of journals and periodicals on world mission, missiology, and world Christianity.

Jeff Jackson of Shepherd's Staff has generously shared a recommended reading list for missions.

Recommended Reading:

From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya by Ruth Tucker

A Concise History of the Christian World Mission by J. Herbert Kane

A Biblical Theology of Missions by George W. Peters

A Mind for Missions by Paul Borthwick

Six Dangerous Questions by Paul Borthwick

Ministering Cross-Culturally by Lingenfelter

Operation World 2001 by Patrick Johnstone

The Great Omission by Robertson McQuilkin

The Great Omission by Steve Saint

On Being a Missionary by Thomas Hale

Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper

Friend Raising by Betty Barnett

Re-Entry by Peter Jordan

Serving as Senders Today by Neal Pirolo

Getting Sent by Pete Sommer

We Cannot But Tell by Ross Tooley

Witnessing to This Generation by Roger Oakland

Inspirational Reading:

Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by Greg Lewis

Faithful Witness (William Carey) by Timothy George

Through Gates of Splendor by Elizabeth Elliot

Chasing the Dragon by Jackie Pullinger

Bruchko by Bruce Olson

Gladys Aylward by Jane and Geoff Benge

The River God Forgot by Jim and Janice Walton

Resource Books:

Where There Is No Doctor by David Werner

Where There Is No Dentist by Murray Dickson

Great Commission Handbook (Magazine) by Bill Berry

Fishers of Men (Re-Entry Guide) by Lisa Espineli Chinn

Personal Growth Books:

Your God Is Too Safe by Mark Buchanan

Journey of Desire by John Eldredge

31 Days With the Master Fisherman by Larry Moyer

A Future and a Hope by Jon Courson

Resource Books and Publications:

Calvary Chapel Magazine

Mission Frontier

Evangelical Mission Quarterly

World Pulse

Language Acquisition:

Language Acquisition Made Practical by Thomas Brewster

There are a tremendous number of books available in the area of missions preparation. We hope to update this list regularly. 

bottom of page