Bob Bagley, the current associate executive director of Global Partners (GP), reviewed Journey with Me in the most recent publication of Evangelical Missions Quarterly. Bob comes from a background of serving in Africa with Global Partners for over three decades. Publication: EMQ » July–September 2022 » Volume 58 Issue 3. Click HERE to view the full article.
"Missionary service may prove hazardous to your spiritual health. Ironic as it may seem, it is not unusual for cross-cultural workers to pour themselves into ministering to others while their own souls become increasingly parched. The demands of missionary work and cross-cultural living can become barriers to the practice of the spiritual disciplines. It should not be surprising then that the ReMAP study on missionary attrition found that about a third of preventable missionary attrition is related to poor spiritual health.
While many helpful books have been written to guide believers in the practice of spiritual disciplines, little has been specifically written for cross-cultural workers. Drawing from his years serving in eastern Europe and subsequent ministry leading spiritual formation retreats for missionaries, Herbert Lamp has written this book to address that need.
Lamp’s book provides a basic introduction to foundational spiritual disciplines and practices that are critical for all believers, but especially for those in cross-cultural ministry. He puts the disciplines both in historical context, describing them as “ancient pathways” as well as in context for those in the trenches of missionary work. It is an easy read, written in a very personal and accessible manner. But it is not a quick read. The rich content demands that readers slow down to ponder and digest its riches.
I found the following aspects of the book particularly praiseworthy:
- Each chapter begins with a testimonial from a cross-cultural worker that relates to the spiritual pathway that will be explored in the chapter.
- While Lamp explores the classic pathways such as solitude and the “rule of life” (daily or regularly planned spiritual disciplines), he also includes pathways not often thought of as spiritual disciplines such as hospitality and forgiveness.
- Each chapter draws to a close with “Reflection and Points to Ponder” containing questions for personal reflection or for use in group study.
- After the reflection questions, there is an annotated list of suggested resources for people who want to explore more deeply the pathway introduced in the chapter.
It is easy to recommend that this book become the “go to” resource for helping new missionaries develop a pattern of practicing spiritual disciplines as part of their pre-field preparation. It would also be helpful for use with cross-cultural workers who are struggling to maintain their spiritual vitality amid their ministries. While the content of the book could be valuably covered in an intensive retreat setting, it would likely prove to be more helpful spread out over time to allow readers time for reflection and implementation."
Ironic as the opening statement may seem, cross-cultural workers show a pattern of pouring themselves into ministry while running their own souls dry. The heavy demands of missionary work and cross-cultural living can become barriers to personal, consistent spiritual discipline.
While many books have been written on spiritual discipline, few address it in the context of cross-cultural work. Herbert Lamp draws on his own experience of serving in eastern Europe, and his leadership of spiritual formation retreats for missionaries, to write Journey with Me. Lamp’s book provides a basic introduction to foundational spiritual disciplines and practices that, though critical to all believers, are particularly necessary to those in cross-cultural ministry.
Each chapter begins with a testimonial from a cross-cultural worker relevant to the spiritual pathway that will be discussed. Journey with Me is warmly recommended as a “go to” resource for missionaries, new and experienced.
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