Outreach magazine named two InterVarsity Press titles as 2014 Outreach Resources of the Year, with three additional books making the short lists of "Also Recommended" resources.
The final eighteen titles that received the distinction were narrowed down from more than 170 resources published between Nov. 1, 2012, and Oct. 31, 2013, which were submitted to Outreach for consideration. Outreach editors narrowed the field to 112 and placed them in categories. The magazine then asked an expert in each category to evaluate the resources and choose what they considered to be the best. The experts determined how many resources to recognize in their respective categories and whether to include any as "Also Recommended."
Here are the InterVarsity Press titles that received this year’s Outreach Resources of the Year honors:
What Jesus Started: Joining the Movement, Changing the World by Steve Addison was named the Outreach Resource of the Year in the Church Health category. Todd Engstrom, executive pastor of the Austin Stone Community Church and director of church planting for the Austin Stone Institute in Austin, Texas, selected the resources for this category. "When it comes to church health, the single greatest indicator is healthy, replicating disciples of Jesus," said Engstrom. "Addison thoroughly establishes a framework for discipleship by analyzing the ministry methods of Jesus, the early disciples and Paul, while interweaving several real-life stories of multiplying disciples and churches. What Jesus Started is an excellent, practical resource to help your church take significant steps toward becoming an effective movement of disciple-making disciples, which is what a healthy church is all about. The application of the ideas contained in this resource, empowered by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, would do wonders for cultivating a vibrant community of Christ-followers!"
The World is Not Ours to Save: Finding the Freedom to Do Good by Tyler Wigg-Stevenson was selected for the Compassion category by R. York Moore, national evangelist for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA. "Tyler Wigg-Stevenson points us beyond the all-too-trendy and empty hope of mere activism and toward a life of freedom and faithful living," said Moore. "He writes that trusting God in our pursuit to do good and looking to the future for God's ultimate works of kingdom justice help us avoid activism fatigue. He reminds us that the world is, indeed, not ours to save but to love and serve while reinforcing the important synergy between theology, evangelism, mission and practical, compassionate living. With an emphasis on the person of Jesus and his paradigm for kingdom justice, Wigg-Stevenson paints a picture of sustainable, personal responsibility in a world of unimaginable evil and relentless need. This book is an essential contribution to the burgeoning body of literature in pursuit of compassion and justice, and it's a deeper and more holistic understanding of what it means to love God and his world."
Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power by Andy Crouch was recommended in the Leadership category. Bill Easum, a pastor and founder of 21st Century Strategies, made the selections in this category. He said, "Playing God is an excellent resource for pastors who are afraid to use the power at their disposal. Crouch contrasts God-given power that brings light, hope and goodness to the world with a different kind of authority: that which corrupts and can be abused."
Western Christians in Global Mission: What's the Role of the North American Church by Paul Borthwick was recommended in the Global Outreach category. "This book provides practical ideas on how the Western church can best continue in global mission—without being paternalistic or creating dependency—by using its human and material resources with strategic wisdom marked by a posture of humility, purposeful reciprocity and partnership equality," said Global Outreach panelist Robert L. Gallagher, department chair, director of the Master of Arts program in intercultural studies and associate professor of intercultural studies at Wheaton College Graduate School.
Mae Elise Cannon, senior director of advocacy and outreach, Middle East for World Vision/USA, included Refuse to Do Nothing: Finding Your Power to Abolish Modern-Day Slavery by Shayne Moore and Kimberly McOwen Yim, among the recommended resources in the Justice category. She said, "Exposed to the horrific reality of some twenty-seven million slaves in the world, two suburban stay-at-home moms make a commitment to make a difference. An accessible and encouraging read with lots of practical ways to engage, Refuse to Do Nothing is an important book that will help mobilize moms (and others!) to know you can make a difference as a modern day abolitionist."