Monday, August 10, 2015

Review of "To the Edge" by J.D. Payne

To The Edge: Reflections on Kingdom Leadership, Mission, and Innovation (2015) by J.D. Payne is, as the title suggests, a series of reflections on three different topics. Some can be read as reflections, others are almost suitable for a morning’s devotional reading.
In the digital age in which we currently exist, these reflections would each be suited for a stand-alone blog post, but somehow there is also a sense of connectedness that you might not get from reading a series of posts, one each day over a period of time.
Since I read Payne’s Strangers Next Door a few years ago, I’ve been a fan of his writing, and his heart for the kingdom. I was expecting something different when I offered to read and review this book, so when I started reading, it was a little disappointing – not with the content, just the format (amazing how we try to pigeonhole people). But as I continued reading I found myself caught up in the ponderings of one of the prominent voices in the fields of missions of the 21st century.
Each of the three sections has its own nuggets, there for the gleaning. Try “the Conference No One Hosts” on page 12 – a stark reminder of the all the mistakes, failures, financial outlay, and trial and error that go into finding what does work…. But wouldn’t it be great if someone would tell us what ­doesn’t work before we spend the same amount of money and make the same mistakes.
And then we get to the reflections on mission, and again and again I was reminded of things that I’ve probably heard before, but have obviously forgotten: Ask for the story (p 52), the West is a mission field, (p 53), 8 tracks in an i-pod world (78); and don’t miss “That Deer-In-Headlights Look” on page 85.  A reminder that we need to look into the fields and stop looking into the headlights. 
And then just when you think you’ve adjusted to the possibilities that there are opportunities, and that maybe we are more prepared than we think, we get hit with the reflections on “INNOVATION” and realize that the way we’ve always done it, may work, but then again it might not, and just because we’ve never done it that way before doesn’t mean that it isn’t going to work. Payne provides some great new ideas about trying new ideas.
I started out thinking, OK, and ended up really liking this book.


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