I had only read a couple of chapters of J.D. Payne's book Pressure Points: Twelve Global Issues Shaping the Face of the Church (Thomas Nelson, 2014) before tweeting that this book should be required reading for anyone interested in taking their great commission efforts to the next level.
After finishing the book, I want to amend that statement. It should also be required reading for anyone who is not interested in following the Great Commission. Christ's call on our lives is clear. As Christians we are called to be disciples of a special kind: disciples who make disciples.
If you're interested in doing what we're called to do, this book provides all sorts of information on issues that the church is called to confront. It's no longer just the fact that there are people in far off places of the world that have never heard of Jesus. The mission field is wide open in the West as well. The church is growing in other parts of the world, which is a good thing, and it offers new opportunities, and alternatives to the way that things have been done for the past 200 years. Pluralism presents a new set of challenges, and there are a myriad of opportunities to work with those who have migrated to the west, and are now have opportunities to share the gospel with family and friends in their home lands.
As the cultural mores change, there are challenges that we may not have considered as part of evangelism before, but now have to deal with. In this country there are a lot of people who would consider themselves Christian - but it's not based on a relationship with Christ as much as it is that they know they're not something else. And within that group there are issues: poverty, porn, urbanization, and different learning styles.
For those who are already involved in spreading the gospel, these are important things to know as we look at how to best address the changing picture of Christianity in the world. For others, this book should serve as a wake-up call.
A lot of people seem to think that Great Commission work is for the professionals: seminary trained pastors, missionaries, and evangelists but as Payne so deftly points out, there are plenty of opportunities for everyone who claims to be a Christ-follower to get involved in what Christ called his followers to do.
For some readers the information presented here will be clarification of things that they have already heard. For others is will be new and exciting, and hopefully will be the motivation they need to join God on His mission to call all people to Him.