Outreach magazine named four InterVarsity Press titles among its 12th Annual Outreach Resources of the Year, with four additional books making the short list of "Also Recommended" resources.
Twenty titles received the Resource of the Year distinction. Almost 170 titles published between November 1, 2013 and October 31, 2014 were submitted to Outreach for consideration. Outreach editors narrowed the field to 113 and placed them in fourteen 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 whether to recognize one or more resources in their respective categories as Resources of the Year 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:
Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good by Steven Garber was named the Outreach Resource of the Year in the Culture category. Roxanne Stone, vice president of publishing at Barna Group, chose the resources for this category. "Every generation wonders at its place in the world. Every adolescent agonizes over the 'purpose of my life,'" said Stone, "But in such a time as ours—with the world at our fingertips and seemingly endless opportunities to choose from—such questions are particularly fraught. Into these questions of calling and vocation, Steven Garber steps with characteristic grace. Part prophet, part pastor and part teacher, Garber reminds the reader that to be alive on this earth is to be called—to be implicated in the common good of your time and place."
Visions of Vocation was also named the 2014 Book of the Year by Hearts & Minds Books and was one of four books to receive the 2014 Leadership Journal Book Award in the category of the Leader's Outer Life. Additionally, Garber's book received Christianity Today's 2015 Award of Merit in the Christian Living category.
Connecting with Muslims: A Guide to Communicating Effectively by Fouad Masri was selected for the Cross-Cultural category by Robert L. Gallagher, department chair of the masters of arts program in intercultural studies at Wheaton College Graduate School. He said, "We live in a world confused about Islam. Fouad Masri demystifies Islam and shows how to converse and build relationships with our Muslim co-workers and neighbors. He provides practical answers to seven common questions that Muslims ask about Christianity in a way that is nonthreatening and winsome, all the while sharing the biblical hope and love of Christ. With real-life stories, the author takes away the veil of Muslim culture and builds a bridge of trust between the two worlds that reveals the beauty of the gospel of Jesus."
Doing Good Without Giving Up: Sustaining Social Action in a World That's Hard to Change by Ben Lowe was selected in the Social Justice category. "In the now overcrowded genre of justice literature, Lowe does the church a great service in providing practical guidelines for the long, hard road of doing good. Lowe calls us to transcend a superficial engagement of our world and press into the complexities of culture and social action," said R. York Moore, founder of the Price of Life Movement, a national anti-trafficking campaign. "As a Southeast Asian brought up with the ubiquity of idols, Lowe points out the true heart of idolatry and helps us understand how much of today’s activism is no different than the worship of religious idols. Pressing for an authentic commitment to both Christ and culture, Lowe's work is as profound theologically as it is helpful for practical, everyday life."
Preventing Suicide: A Handbook for Pastors, Chaplains and Counselors by Karen Mason was chosen in the Counseling category by Brad Hoefs, founder of Fresh Hope, an international network of Christian mental health support groups. He said, "Suicide rates are at an all-time high in the U.S., and research shows that more people first seek help from their pastor than people do from doctors or therapists combined. It is imperative that pastors and pastoral counselors have a resource such as this. Dr. Mason does a great job of shattering myths about suicide while educating the reader as to who dies by suicide and theories on suicide, while also clearly challenging the reader to address suicide with Christian theology... This resource will literally save lives."
The InterVarsity Press titles that were also recommended include Incarnate: The Body of Christ in an Age of Disengagement by Michael Frost in the Missional Church category, People-Pleasing Pastors: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Approval-Motivated Leadership by Charles Stone in Leadership, Overturning Tables: Freeing Missions from the Christian-Industrial Complex by Scott Bessenecker in the Cross-Cultural category and Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of Worry by Amy Simpson in Counseling.