Updated: Nov 21, 2019
Here’s a slightly annotated list in my order of recommendation for your situation, below. Please pardon me for including our own book in the list of these otherwise sterling options.
HERE to THERE: Getting From CROSS to Your Mission Field, Propempo
Originally written for a university student missions conference, it describes in succinct fashion the steps to get to the mission field. It is peppered with good biblical and missiological principles. When read from the perspective of local church leadership in missions, it can become the blueprint for raising up new workers for the field from your congregation. It’s on Amazon; but it would be cheaper to buy them directly from me/Propempo.
Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, J.I. Packer
If your people have not read this, it is a classic. Very helpful in understanding God’s sovereignty in salvation and man’s responsibility in repentance and faith. It’s a higher reading level than may be comfortable for some.
Serving As Senders, Neal Pirolo
This is THE handbook for local support of a missionary. Unfortunately, it does not emphasize or center on the local church. I add three topics to Neal’s six: technology support, security support, MK education or MK home-schooling support. If you want to learn a model for organizing a “support team” that is church based similar to what is espoused in Serving As Senders, read articles on Barnabas Teams attached.
Mission Smart, David Frazier
Frazier saw so many missionaries burn out or stumble maladjusted on the field that he felt compelled to write this practical guide for the candidate or candidate-mentor to ask the right questions and obtain the right skills and experiences before they leave to insure a higher probability of effectiveness and longevity on the field. Solid stuff. Following the book’s advice WILL take longer for someone to get to the field; but it’ll be worth it.
Test, Train, Affirm, & Send Into Ministry, Brian Croft
This is not written for missionary candidates. It is written for ministerial candidates. But, it applies equally to missionary candidates. It is a small book, but full of essential distinctions for understanding “the external call” in very practical terms. You should read this, even if the congregation does not.
When Helping Hurts, Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert
Essential for missionary candidates. Further, it will help ANY believer have a better framework for understanding relief and development ministries and opportunities. Too often, Christians get pulled in by sympathy to doing things that are detrimental to the long-term well-being of the recipients of merciful generosity. While I disagree a lot with the first three chapters of covenant-theology/presbyterian hermeneutics (I have notes on this book that would explain and help people avoid the potholes), the remaining chapters are excellent for guidance in relief and development. The scalding criticism of Short Term Missions chapter is worth the price of the book.
Just Do Something, Kevin DeYoung
This is a short book you might give to young people frozen in fogginess by the choices before them. It is a great, biblical lever to get them off their seats and into action. Again, it’s not specifically a missions book. But it helps people realize that they have no excuse for getting involved in ministry.
From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya, Ruth Tucker
This is an anthology of missionary biographies. It is the source book for good, unvarnished biographies of our Christian missionary heroes through the centuries. I recommend that every Christian family have one on a reachable bookshelf and work through a few biographies every year with their kids. I have a recommended short list (attached) of some of the best ones to start.
Don’t Waste Your Life, John Piper
Again, this is not written for the young missionary wannabe. However, it actually was initially written based on a message to mid-life adults seeking to serve God in the “second career” stage of life. It was later rewritten with a younger audience in mind. So, it can apply to folks on both sides of that divide. It is sweetly challenging to our assumptions of “the great American dream” similarly to “Radical Together” by David Platt.
Let the Nations Be Glad, John Piper
This might be at the top of the list, if you haven’t already read it. it is classic, foundational, important.