Summer reading list

Summer is a time when you may be looking for a good book to take away with you or read as you relax in the garden. To help you with this we have compiled a great reading list all about mission.

Take a look and peruse the variety of books we have listed, from classic texts to easy reads and even some audio and video, which you can find on the Resource Hub.

We hope you enjoy our recommendations and that you have a great summer!


  1. Insider Jesus by Wiliam Dyrness. Culture is a big deal in mission, as is how Jesus relates to culture. In this book Dyrness explores this in a fresh way, considering how people who come to know and follow Jesus might do so on the inside of cultures rather than being extracted from them. He has some particularly good insights on how we could think of religion as part of culture.
  2. Missionary Theologian, a reader. Lesslie Newbigin. Ed. Paul Weston. This book opens up the vital work of mission theologian Bishop Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998) and draws on his key writings over 60 years. Newbigin’s insights remain acute and inspiring. “The conviction that lies at the heart of Newbigin’s writings,” writes Weston “is that the gospel of Jesus Christ is public news.” This book encourages us to work out how this public news might be lived and shared in our contexts now.
  3. Give Me A Drink: 21 sketches for mission by Ian Adams. In this resource Ian Adams identifies 21 themes that may help shape our mission now. A common strand running through the themes is the possibility that mission in the way of Jesus is to participate in the healing of all things. Each theme is accompanied by Adams’s memorable photographs. Together they urge both new humility and new boldness in mission. Published by Proost (
  4. Christian Mission: How Christianity became a world religion by Dana L Robert. This brief history examines Christian mission work, giving a thematic overview of the political, cultural, social and theological issues and their connection to the current globalisation of Christianity.
  5. Sent Forth: Africa Missionary Work in the West by Harvey C Kwiyani. Kwiyani, a Malawian scholar, shows how African Christianity has been missional since the days of the early Church and how the continued evangelisation of the world will need the energy of African churches and missionaries.
  6. God’s Biker by Sean Stillman. An inspiring book in the vein of Jackie Pullinger or Vincent Donovan. The book details the story of Sean Stillman, a biker who set up a wonderful community in Swansea called Zac’s Place. A great story about mission and easy to read.
  7. Christianity Rediscovered by Vincent Donovan. In this book Donovan, a Catholic priest, shares his experience of sharing his faith with the Maasai people in East Africa. This is a candid, enlightening journey as Donovan recognises his own cultural biases, and becomes a ‘midwife’ for the Maasai to discover God within their own context. Donovan is a great storyteller; you won’t be able to put this book down.
  8. Missional Conversations: A Dialogue between Theory and Praxis in World Mission by Cathy Ross and Colin Smith. This book introduces key themes in contemporary mission from writers who are both in academia and those who are practically engaged. Themes discussed in the book range from mission and migration, creativity, the environment and new forms of church.
  9. Church in Life by Michael Moynagh. Moynagh is the ‘resident theologian’ for Fresh Expressions and in this book he takes a practical theology approach to the questions, issues and critiques that have been raised about the movement. For anyone wanting to think more deeply about innovating church, this is the book for you.
  10. Ministry Across Cultures (Sharing the Christian Faith in Asia) by Warren R Beattie. This book gives practical thoughts and steps on understanding cultural differences and contextualisation. Although firmly rooted in Asian examples, it is written in such a way that the learning can be easily translated to other settings. It’s a good example of how learning from overseas mission can be useful in local mission.
  11. Foreign to Familiar by Sarah A Lanier. Great for gap year volunteers, and others who don’t necessarily want a big heavy read. It contains 10 short chapters on understanding different cultures.
  12. The Mission of God’s People: a Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission by Christopher Wright. Lots of practical thoughts on how Christians and churches can approach mission in a manner based on biblical principles. It will hopefully both inspire you and provide some possible next steps in your call to God’s mission.
  13. Christian Mission in the Modern World by John Stott is a classic book that has recently been revised, updated and expanded by Chris Wright and re-issued by IVP. Wright has helped Christians see that there is no disconnect between the proclamation of the gospel and its practical application, reflecting CMS’s longstanding commitment to holistic mission.
  14. A Spirituality of Fundraising by Henri Nouwen. A short and thought-provoking read for those who are uncomfortable about asking for financial support or who have questions about the need for fundraising. Henri Nouwen shows that fundraising is a form of ministry and that it can be a deeply spiritual experience both to give and to ask for financial support.
  15. God doesn’t do waste: Redeeming the whole of life by Dave Bookless. In this book Dave Bookless shares how he and his family did a total re-think and went green. A personal story demonstrating how God can redeem all aspects of our lives.


  1. Future Present zine (available from Proost). Edited by Jonny Baker and Cathy Ross. Full colour with 14 contributions exploring how the world might be imagined differently and what we might do to lead us towards that different future.
  2. Anvil Journal. Anvil is a journal produced by CMS with the aim of generating creative thinking and engagement in mission. There are a variety of topics discussed, including pioneering youth ministry, mission entrepreneurship and examining what the word mission means. Available on the CMS website:


There are a whole host of audio tracks to listen to on our Resource Hub; here are a few suggestions to get you started. The Resource Hub can be found at

  1. Prayer exercises by Ian Adams. Ian has written and recorded a series of prayers around the themes of praying with the parables, the seasons of the year, and how we may pray with our heart and our body.
  2. Practical spirituality. A podcast looking at how faith addresses the concrete realities of everyday life, featuring author Mark Scandrette.
  3. Mission Is… We have a number of audio recordings looking at different aspects of mission, featuring different people in mission.


We have a number of great videos on the Hub. Check out:

  1. Springing Up. A beautiful spoken word video by Martin King, a resident of Matt’s House, a missional community in Hull.
  2. Mission is… Practitioners of mission reflect on what they think mission is. You may want to start with Kyama Mugambi, who discusses the differences between African and British Christianity.
  3. House of Pain in a House of God. An inspiring story about a church in Nottingham and how they worked with their community to host a group of wrestlers in their church.
  4. Mission Mythbusting with Susann. In 11 short videos, CMS’s vocational guru explores the most common myths she hears from people who are considering mission and their calling. 
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