Books

Books by Gailyn Van Rheenen

Gailyn Van Rheenen with‎ Anthony Parker, Missions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014).

The 2nd edition of Missions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies  (Zondervan/Harper Collins) is a handbook of missions, similar in some ways to Perspectives of the World Christian Movement, but written by one author, to describe the process of Christian servants becoming incarnational leaders planting and nurturing missionary movements. This 2nd edition has eight new chapters which provide models and illustrations from both domestic (North America) and international missions. Missions guides prospective and on-the-field missionaries (1) to attune their hearts to the narrative of the missionary God in the Bible—to embody the stories of missio Dei, kingdom of God, incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection, (2) to spiritually transform their lives into God’s likeness, (3) to discern personal motivations for carrying the mission of God, (4) to learn from missionaries who have gone before—in each of the six epochs of the historical expansion of Christianity, (5) to learn how to be learners as they enter a new culture (even within their home culture), (6) to confront personal feelings of ethnocentrism so that they might communicate to those of another culture as equals, (7) to communicate God’s eternal message in cultural categories that are both meaningful and effective, (8) to minister using a process of theological reflection, cultural analysis, historical perspective, and strategy formation within the context of spiritual formation in what is called “the Missional Helix,” (9) to learn basic incarnational principles for planting churches, nurturing new believers, and training leaders, (10) to apply these principles to the specific contexts in both Africa and North America; (11) to provide guidelines for effective short-term missions, (12) to discern the wise use of money in missions; and (13) to determine fundamental criteria for selecting sites for missions.  The goal is that this book will equip leaders to plant and renew hundreds of churches, thereby catalyzing movements of discipleship and mission. The story of Jim and Julie, in narratives interwoven throughout the book and in the epilogue, illustrates a journey of spiritual transformation to become incarnational missionaries. Missions equips and inspires learners to become leaders transforming the world.

The books serves as a guide to future and current domestic or international church leaders and church planters and as a text for the core missions course in an undergraduate program on the Junior/Senior level or an introductory text on the graduate level.

Purchase HERE.


Gailyn Van Rheenen, Communicating Christ in Animistic Contexts (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 1991)

In this book Van Rheenen presents a comparative analysis of western dualistic secular culture and its worldview with the dynamic integrated worldview of what are often referred to as “traditional” or “animistic” peoples. He explains the characteristics of an “animistic” understanding of the world in such a way as to clarify how characteristics of this worldview are found in various cultures, not just “traditional” ones.

The full text can be accessed on Folk Religion page of this site.

Purchase HERE.


Gailyn Van Rheenen and Bob Waldron, The Status of Missions: A Nationwide Survey of Churches of Christ (Abilene, TX: ACU Press, 2002).

Written to encourage and guide Churches of Christ to become missionary fellowships, the book is both descriptive and prescriptive. It reports the current status of missions among Churches of Christ and personal interviews of 80 mission leaders and missions ministries. It also describes theological and strategic guidelines to encourage and guide local churches toward effective missions involvement. Stories of effective missions churches enable the reader to understand the nature and character of redemptive churches.

Purchase HERE.


Gailyn Van Rheenen, ed., Contextualization and Syncretism: Navigating Cultural Currents, Evangelical Missiological Society Series 13 (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2006).

Culture’s influence upon Christianity is easier to discern in retrospect than in prospect. If history is our guide, one thing is sure: This age will be as syncretistic as any other…How is the gospel being contextualized in the contemporary world? To what degree are these new contextualizations syncretistic? This book attempts to answer these questions by defining and analyzing contextualization and syncretism.

Purchase HERE.


Gailyn Van Rheenen, “Reformist View,” in Evaluating The Church Growth Movement: 5 Views, ed. , Counterpoints (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004)

Although the church growth movement has made a significant impact on evangelicals over the past half century, it has also created controversy and division. This careful five-view analysis helps evangelicals understand the movement’s strengths and weaknesses and arrive at their own conclusions on issues that affect the future direction of the church.

Purchase HERE.


Michael Pocock,‎ Gailyn Van Rheenen,‎ and Douglas McConnell, The Changing Face of World Missions: Engaging Contemporary Issues and Trends, Encountering Mission (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005).

The dramatic changes that have taken place both in global society and in the church have implications for how the church does missions in the twenty-first century. These trends include the rise of postmodernism, the spiritual decline in the West and the advance of the gospel in the rest of the world, and the impact of technology on society and missions. The Changing Face of World Missions is for the mission-minded church leader or lay person who wants to understand these trends. Each chapter identifies and evaluates a trend, examines it in light of Scripture, and proposes a practical response. Important terms are defined, and sidebars help readers think through the issues on their own.Co-authored by Dr. Michael Pocock & Dr. Van Rheenen.

Purchase HERE.

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