Outreach magazine has named four IVP titles as 2023 Resources of the Year. The honored books include Wandering Toward God by Travis Dickinson; Agents of Flourishing by Amy L. Sherman; Inalienable by Eric Costanzo, Daniel Yang, and Matthew Soerens; and Analog Christian by Jay Y. Kim. Now in its twentieth year, the 2023 Outreach Resources of the Year honors the past year’s best books that emphasize outreach-oriented ministries.
Apologetics 2023 Resource of the Year
In Wandering Toward God: Finding Faith amid Doubts and Big Questions professor and philosopher Travis Dickinson says that our doubts and hard questions about the faith are an important way we can express our commitment and love to God. Doubt isn’t our destination but it’s an important step on the way. It’s possible to wander toward God as we ask our questions honestly, in faith and trust.
Andrew MacDonald, associate director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center Research Institute, evaluated this title for the Resources of the Year. He said, “As the genre of apologetics continues to undergo a revolution, turning greater attention to the importance of story and persuasion, Dickinson’s work stands out for its analysis of the underlying problems of doubt, and how our response to this reality can actually fuel rather than damage our faith and mission. More of an apologetic to rather than for Christians, Dickinson hits a critical need for many in the church who are fearful of where their challenging questions might lead them.”
Social Issues 2023 Resources of the Year
Agents of Flourishing: Pursuing Shalom in Every Corner of Society offers a multifaceted, biblically grounded framework for enacting God’s call to seek the shalom of our communities in six arenas of civilizational life (The Good, The True, The Beautiful, The Just, The Prosperous, and The Sustainable). Amy L. Sherman writes that because we believe in what is good and true, we strengthen social ethics and contribute to human knowledge and learning. Because we value beauty, we invest in creative arts. Because we are committed to a just society, we work toward restorative justice and a well-ordered civic life. And our desire to see society prosper sustainably means that our business practices seek the economic good of the community while protecting the physical health of our environment.
Mark DeYmaz, directional leader of Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas and convener of the National Multiethnic Church Conference, evaluated the titles in the Social Issues category. He said, “While many passionately explain why the church and other Christ-centered organizations should pursue community transformation and human flourishing, and advance the common good, this book provides the ‘how’ and ‘what’—proven, credible strategies to help leaders realize such dreams for the glory of God.”
Inalienable: How Marginalized Kingdom Voices Can Help Save the American Church was written by pastor Eric Costanzo, missiologist Daniel Yang, and nonprofit leader Matthew Soerens. “A vocationally and experientially diverse group of co-authors provide a 360° rationale and recommendations for (essentially) reinventing the S-curve of the American church’s growth and decline,” said DeYmaz. “While acknowledging hits to the credibility, reputation and psyche of the church’s collective witness, they passionately and practically encourage readers to see this not so much as a problem but an opportunity for the church to understand the times and know what is the best course of action to take (1 Chron. 12:32) in pursuit of systemic transformation for the sake of the gospel.
“As expressed in the subtitle, Inalienable will require empowered leadership to embrace disruptive innovation where 20th century mindsets persist that may be unintentionally (yet nevertheless) preventing the emerging voices of the best, brightest and marginalized of the next generation from shaping things both now and in years to come.”
Spiritual Growth 2023 Resource of the Year
Analog Christian: Cultivating Contentment, Resilience and Wisdom in the Digital Age explores the ways the digital age and its values are affecting Christian discipleship. Jay Kim’s Analog Church explored the ways the digital age and its values affect the life of the church. In Analog Christian, he asks the same question of Christian discipleship. As the digital age inclines us to discontentment, fragility, and foolishness, how are followers of Jesus to respond? What is the theological basis for living in creative resistance to the forces of our day? How can Christians cultivate the contentment, resilience, and wisdom to not only survive but to thrive as we navigate the specific challenges of our age?
Thomas Bandy, director of Thriving Church Consulting, evaluated the books for the Spiritual Growth category. He said, “Kim confronts the negative impact of the pandemic, politics and polarization which have contributed to social media becoming toxic. Kim helps Christians who go online practice patience, kindness, faithfulness and self-control to overcome impatience, hostility and self-indulgence they may encounter.”
The Outreach Resources of the Year aims to highlight valuable resources for church leaders and bring deserved attention to tools that can help churches better engage in effective outreach to share the gospel and reach their communities for Christ. The Outreach magazine editorial team sorted qualifying titles into ten key categories for review by expert panelists in each field. The panelists thoughtfully evaluated each submission and chose one or more as an Outreach Resource of the Year, then highlighted other titles as “Also Recommended.”
For a complete list of IVP award-winning titles, visit ivpress.com/award-winners.