Spiritual Equipping for Mission: Thriving as God's Message Bearers, By Ryan Shaw

Spiritual Equipping for Mission

Thriving as God's Message Bearers

by Ryan Shaw
Foreword by Tom Lin

Spiritual Equipping for Mission
  • Length: 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: September 05, 2014
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3672
  • ISBN: 9780830836727

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God calls his people to mission. But the demands of crosscultural ministry can be overwhelming and draining, leading to discouragement and burnout. All of our strategies and methodologies for reaching others are useless if we are incapable of living the holy, faithful lives God intends for us. Yet God does not leave us on our own. The Holy Spirit equips us to succeed and thrive spiritually in preparation of becoming God's message bearers in the world.

Spiritual formation and discipleship are at the core of effective and fruitful mission. Mission professional Ryan Shaw unpacks ten fundamental spiritual keys we need to practice to have a successful outer global witness. He shows how we can partner with God to experience Jesus' transforming power and presence, with practical insights for praying, growing and persevering as God's servants in the world.

God is calling a new generation to serve long-term to fulfill the Great Commission. The Holy Spirit is at work within us to equip and enable mission workers in and out of the field. Discover how you can become who God wants you to be as his ambassador to the world.

"In this book Ryan Shaw has presented ten issues that are key for anyone wanting to be serious about crosscultural message bearing. While much crosscultural training is focused on strategy and methodology, Ryan deals with core issues of who the message bearer is to be, and how they can remain alive in their inner being. If these matters are not kept in focus, the message bearer will not thrive and even the best strategy and methods will not be fruitful."

Betty Sue Brewster, senior associate professor of language and culture learning, Fuller Theological Seminary, School of Intercultural Studies

"Ryan Shaw has touched a nerve and struck a much-needed balance with his helpful book. The pages of this book ring with the values of a trained Great Commission apologist and crackle with the spiritual insights of a passionate worshiper of Jesus. The spiritual keys that Ryan puts forth are indispensable to the formation of the heart and life of any message bearer and will fuel the fire of even the most experienced person already engaged in kingdom work. I highly recommend this book as a training resource, as an instrument for personal challenge and inspiration, and as a handbook for being a disciple-making message bearer."

John Brown, senior pastor, Harmony Vineyard Church, Kansas City, Missouri

"Ryan Shaw presents in this book the key elements necessary for the message bearer to make a positive impact in his or her ministry context. These important principles are biblically grounded with examples from God's servants in the Bible and from the history of missions, interwoven with personal experiences and practical applications. This excellent book is indispensable to all who are called to serve the Lord in advancing his kingdom, but also to those who train and send missionary workers. It helps us to understand the crucial importance of a healthy spiritual formation in the effort to fulfill the demands of the Great Commission."

Bertil Ekstrom, executive director, World Evangelical Alliance Mission Commission

"I am thrilled with the insights and practical truth Ryan Shaw has brought together here. According to Hudson Taylor, the real secret for modern-day message bearers is a life and vibrant inner core of ever-developing faith and intimacy with God. The keys identified here are right on to unlock the potential Jesus promised!"

Donnie Scearce, lead pastor, North Park Church, London, Ontario, Canada

"Most of us focus on strategy, methods and materials, but Ryan helps us look beyond just purpose and plans, and evaluate the person. He exhorts me to ask myself, 'Am I really becoming the man I need to be to accomplish God's mission in and through my life?' Spiritual Equipping for Mission is a challenge for any world changer who wants to know and live and share the heart of God with those who desperately need to experience the love of the Savior."

Steve Shadrach, executive director, Center for Mission Mobilization

"Ryan's book offers powerful spiritual keys to every message bearer. I keep thinking how desperately the emerging mission movement needs to hear such messages that point to the necessity of being spiritually grounded as the primary and vital resource for success in any mission enterprise."

Daniel Bourdanné, general secretary, International Fellowship of Evangelical Students

"Message bearers eager to thrive in life and ministry will discover biblical truth and practical wisdom in every chapter of Ryan Shaw's Spiritual Equipping for Mission. Anchored in God's Word, rich in personal testimony and birthed in real-life experience, Ryan's inspiring focus on inner transformation is both a refreshing voice in the metrics-saturated missiological conversation and a true expression of his own life and ministry."

Eric Peters, international director, Pioneers

"In Judges 6:13, Gideon wondered why his generation had not been experiencing the kind of testimonies that were given about God's miracles and marvelous works among the people of Israel in the past. I too have often wondered why the spectacular acts of the Holy Spirit associated with the apostles in the book of Acts, as well as the utter dedication attributed to the early missionaries, are rarely seen in the present generation of missionaries, whether from the West or from the emerging missionary movement in the global South. I am glad to discover that the reasons and the remedies are being explored in Spiritual Equipping for Mission by Ryan Shaw. This book will be a veritable tool in unearthing what has been missing as well as pointing the church and mission movement to what should matter as we confront the last of the giants in missions and mobilize, equip and unleash the great potentials in God's people on the remaining and daunting harvest. I highly recommend this book to my colleagues in the Great Commission community."

Reuben Ezemadu, international director, Christian Missionary Foundation, and continental coordinator, Movement for African National Initiatives

"Ryan Shaw's latest book, Spiritual Equipping for Mission, flows from his observations of the effects of spiritual fatigue on sincere Christians who began with zeal but, because they were not equipped with tools to foster long-term spiritual vitality, burned out or became discouraged. With real-life advice and useful tools, Ryan lays out a plan to build strong spiritual foundations so that crosscultural workers thrive. Spiritual Equipping for Mission should be on the required reading list of every person or team preparing to serve as crosscultural message bearers."

Paul Borthwick, senior consultant, Development Associates International, and author, Western Christians in Global Mission

"Relevant, megamotivational, practical and a vital message for the church in our day. I urge people not only to read it but to also get involved in distributing copies."

George Verwer, founder and former international director of Operation Mobilization

"Ryan Shaw writes about the basics of Christian spiritual disciplines for those who want to obey our Lord's Great Commission seriously—to make history and effect transformation among the nations. He includes many historical instances and contemporary stories, including his own, to illustrate his points. This book will be an excellent guide for all who seek to fulfill God's will in our generation."

David S. Lim, national director, Philippine Missions Association

"In my many years of mission work I have seen firsthand the impact of proper equipping—and especially spiritual equipping—or the absence of it in the lives and work of those sent to make disciples and teach them to obey! This book brings focus to some of the most fundamental topics as we consider how we have done in our Great Commission work so far and is definitely an excellent tool for how to do it well in the coming years."

Decio de Carvalho, executive director, COMIBAM International

"This is an important book about the most fundamental principles in mission that gives us a deeper understanding of what it means to be a message bearer. Beyond a doubt it is an inspiring and tremendous help for those who want to invest their lives for the extension of the kingdom of God. Ryan Shaw is a gifted writer with profound insights who makes the biblical text come alive."

Martha Roguin de Rodriguez, president of COMIBAM Argentina and director of YWAM base in Ituzaingo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

"I am convinced the world is in the throes of a massive sending movement of young men and women to the final unreached people groups of the earth. Ryan Shaw has been a trumpet for this new student-volunteer mission movement for years. It's a privilege to endorse his heart, his vision and his spiritual equipping of a generation. May many read this book so that they may run the race effectively and finish the task."

Lou Engle, president of TheCall

"While I know Ryan to be a sacrificial servant, willing to give his life for seeing unengaged people groups come to know Christ, he rightfully challenges us to not fall into the temptation of emphasizing the mission at the expense of our own souls. Ryan also brings this pastoral vision down to a practical level, giving us very helpful 'spiritual keys' that will help us cultivate a deeper inner spiritual life. If we heed these words and apply these keys, I believe we will not only be more spiritually equipped, but also will spiritually thrive in engaging the Great Commission. May it be so!"

From the foreword by Tom Lin, vice president for missions, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA; director, Urbana Student Missions Conference

"Ryan Shaw has clearly identified a gap in the area of motivating and training crosscultural Christian workers in this generation. By paying attention to the prevailing omission of focus on spiritual dimensions in the missionary enterprise, he proceeds to invite the church back to the foundations of a God-filled life as the primary qualification for effective ministry engagement. It is a much-needed tool in catalyzing the emerging missionary movement in our part of the world. Bible schools and missionary training centers will find it a treasure in bringing back the vital balance between academic and spiritual development of prospective message bearers."

Thuo Mburu, consultant, mission education and church growth, Trinity Fellowship, Nairobi, Kenya 

"God is doing something unprecedented in human history, something never before witnessed by the church. Men, women and children are turning to faith in Jesus Christ in unprecedented numbers in places you might not expect. I personally believe he is preparing the way for the return of Jesus Christ. The Scriptures tell us to be awake, watching and warring for this future event; I believe the future is here now. Ryan does us a favor by pointing out that God is orchestrating events, and part of what he's doing is calling people from every ethnic group, fulfilling his purpose of creating true worshipers for himself. Ryan reminds us that we are more than witnesses of these things--we are also 'message bearers.' Message bearers are people wholeheartedly committed to serving Jesus and inviting others to come with them on the journey. Ryan unpacks the importance of being a serious message bearer and the means we can use of setting our hearts toward consistent growth so that we become more effective."

Bob Creson, president/CEO, Wycliffe Bible Translators, USA 

"Finally! For years the mission engine of our world has lacked a book like this. Spiritual formation and discipleship are at the core of effective and fruitful mission. Jesus said, 'Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.' Yet the mission world seems to have somewhat lost this compass for several decades, focusing more on popular business tools and resources in leading mission. Ryan's book couldn't come at a more timely moment for the mission world. I pray that this book gets into the hands of as many mission workers as possible. It's that important, and it's that good!"

Joseph W. Handley Jr., president, Asian Access 

"Spiritual Equipping for Mission is a refreshing book about fulfilling the Great Commission. Ryan provides ten fundamental spiritual keys that will equip you to yield fruit-bearing results and ensure this mandate is achieved. Yet, by cultivating these keys or inner-life qualities, a whole new understanding will take hold that it is not ultimately about accomplishing an assignment but pleasing the heart of God."

Dr. Ché Ahn, senior pastor, HRock Church, Pasadena, California; president, Harvest International Ministry; international chancellor, Wagner Leadership Institute 

"Our world is changing faster than we can imagine. The face of missions is no exception as we see the rise of the church in the Global South and the changing role of the West. One thing that has not changed are the basics of what it takes to stay healthy in the mission effort. I say basics yet so few live them out, hence the continuing issue with attrition. I welcome any book that seeks to equip workers and enable them to stay strong in their walk with God--regardless of their circumstances on the field--and effective in their work and in their team. The missions effort needs this type of input and help."

Andrew Scott, president, Operation Mobilization, USA 

"The future of the mission movement is compromised by a rhetoric of readiness without the reality of rootedness. Books combining missions and the cultivation of the inner life are few. Ryan Shaw has thus done the church an outstanding service. He masterfully draws our attention to the place where the Great Commission is won or lost! Even a casual glance at the content yields evidence that Ryan has covered the most crucial bases. I read with profit the vital and practical truths that he has personally gleaned over the years. I joyously commend this remarkable book to you!"

Edmund Chan, leadership mentor, Covenant Evangelical Free Church, Singapore; founder, Global Alliance of Intentional Disciplemaking Churches

"Ryan Shaw's book Spiritual Equipping for Mission is a great resource for those preparing for missionary service. . . . I would highly recommend this to anyone contemplating or preparing for missionary service and also for people who are actively supporting missionaries."

Phillip Scheepers, Vox Reformata, 2015

"Spiritual Equipping for Mission is a unique contribution to the field of missionary training and leadership. The book will be a blessing to people beginning their journey into message bearing, seasoned ministry workers, and for Christians seeking to build a missional lifestyle."

Benjamin D. Espinoza, Evangelical Missions Quarterly, October 2015

"My own spirituality was refreshed by reading this book. Many spiritual discipline books leave you feeling like you want to join a monastery and retreat from the world to deepen your spiritual walk. Shaw demonstrates how the deepening of our spirituality can also solidify our sense of mission to the world."

On Mission, Fall 2015

"Shaw's book is simply a reminder. All 10 qualities are things that should be well known but tend to be forgotten in the stress of career ministry. Even if you have a vibrant, dynamic walk with Jesus Christ, you still need the message of this book."

Caleb Nelson, World, January 9, 2016

"This is an important book written by a seasoned mission leader. . . . After many years of preparing message bearers in a seminary context, I wish that this volume would have been available to me during those years."

John Nyquist, Missiology, 44, 4


Introduction: Setting the Stage
1 What Is the Spirit Saying?
2 Spiritual Key # 1 Being Saturated with the Powerful Presence of God
3 Spiritual Key # 2 Embracing Humility
4 Spiritual Key # 3 Hungering and Thirsting for God
5 Spiritual Key # 4 Being Clothed with God?s Word
6 Spiritual Key # 5 Discerning God?s Guidance and Revelation
7 Spiritual Key # 6 Pursuing a Lifestyle of Prayer
8 Spiritual Key # 7 Cooperating with God?s Two-Fold Purpose
9 Spiritual Key # 8 Understanding the Times and Seasons of God
10 Spiritual Key # 9 Persevering with Steadfastness and Stability
11 Spiritual Key # 10 Pursuing a Focused Life
Other Resources by Ryan Shaw
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Ryan Shaw

Ryan Shaw is international lead facilitator and president of Student Volunteer Movement 2. He is the author of Waking the Giant (William Carey Library, 2006) and holds an MA in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Seminary. He and his wife, Kelly, currently serve as missionaries in Chiang Mai, Thailand.