Subversive Mission: Serving as Outsiders in a World of Need, By Craig Greenfield
Subversive Mission
  • Length: 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.5 in
  • Published: November 01, 2022
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: A0438
  • ISBN: 9781514004388

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For many, missions is the story of heroes, martyrs, and the advance of the gospel. For others, it's the story of colonialism and missionary disasters. So how do we respond to God's call to love our neighbors as a new era emerges?

Subversive mission is submission—to God and local leaders. Subversive mission offers a new way forward for outsiders called to crosscultural ministry by serving as humble alongsiders.

Join Craig Greenfield on this inspiring journey in Asia and beyond as he rediscovers the fivefold missional gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher, and demonstrates how each of these must look radically different in a crosscultural context. Along the way, you'll discover your own missional type through the Missional Type Inventory and come face to face with the five most common pitfalls that Westerners face in crosscultural settings.

By the end of this story, you'll be inspired by a radically different way of working for change in the world. Come alongside. And join God in what he is already doing.

"Books on the Ephesians 4 typology of ministry (APEST) are rare enough. Rarer still are those that seek to translate these critical biblical forms into the language of crosscultural mission. Craig's is a practical and wise book that does precisely that. We are grateful."

Alan Hirsch, founder of the 5Q Collective and author of 5Q: Reactivating the Original Intelligence and Capacity of the Body of Christ

"Craig is the real deal, seeking to sensitively model a way forward for expatriates participating in God's mission. When the spotlight falls on him, as it does with his writing and speaking, he redirects it to others, to the insider guardians of the gospel who are teaching us the ways of indigenous missions. The greatest challenge in missions today is for people of privilege to remove ourselves from the center. Anyone who is an 'outsider' to the people they're ministering with is privileged, otherwise we could not afford to be there. In this book, reimagining the ascension gifts for crosscultural application, Craig draws on his hard-learned experience to challenge outsiders to become alongsiders. Truly understood, the prophetic call carried along by Craig's pithy turns of phrase should bring us to our knees, surrendering our condescensions in penitent humility."

Jay Matenga, director of the Global Witness Department, World Evangelical Alliance

"This book overflows with Christ-centered culturally sensitive wisdom gained from the practical experience of serving the poor in rural Cambodia. It challenged me repeatedly to reevaluate why and how outsiders like me should respond to God's calling to serve local communities. Craig Greenfield offers a unique insider's perspective on how he and the 'alongsiders' humbly applied the missional calling of Ephesians 4 in ways that honored the local context. His well-structured guidance is easy to read, compelling, and inspiring to follow. Reading this is to stand on the shoulders of giants who dare to be catalysts, allies, seekers, midwives, and guides rather than saviors and CEOs."

Christo Greyling, senior director for faith and external engagement at World Vision International

"Personality and spiritual inventories are often trendy but not always biblically grounded. This book has the feel of a spiritual inventory but is utterly based in Scripture. It also has concomitant pitfalls to avoid, plus the author's rich crosscultural experience to inform it, uniquely translating into practical ways to serve in overseas contexts. This is a combination nicely balanced and definitely needed for today's globalized world as we endeavor to embody Jesus' upside-down kingdom."

Allen Yeh, professor of intercultural studies and missiology at Biola University

"For too long the power and economic disparities of Western missionaries have obscured or undermined their contributions in marginalized communities. Finally, here is a book that provides a helpful framework to guide the gifted outsider and grant dignity to the knowledgeable insider. People from distant contexts and those who've lived their whole lives in difficult neighborhoods—we need each other to solve some of the most pernicious ministry challenges. Subversive Mission will clarify for the reader how locals and foreigners can work together for lasting, healthy change."

Scott Bessenecker, director of global engagement and justice for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA

"A bold, illuminating, and timely book. Essential reading for every person who wants to be a danger for the kingdom and not to the kingdom."

Ken Shigematsu, pastor of Tenth Church, Vancouver, and author of Survival Guide for the Soul

"Over the past few years, the church has been rediscovering a fresh vision of the fivefold gifts presented in Ephesians 4. Many are recognizing, often for the first time, the significance of all five of the 'APEST' gifts. In Subversive Mission, Craig Greenfield helps to propel this important conversation forward by assisting the reader in seeing the fivefold not simply as ministry types but as missional types, especially in a crosscultural setting where we need to empower indigenous leaders. If you want to understand how the church can better engage God's kingdom activity around the world, read this book."

Brad Brisco, author of Missional Essentials and Covocational Church Planting


1. Called and Confused
2. From Apostle (Insider) to Catalyst (Outsider)
3. Danger #1: Power
4. From Prophet (Insider) to Ally (Outsider)
5. Danger #2: Complicity
6. From Evangelist (Insider) to Seeker (Outsider)
7. Danger #3: Secularism
8. From Pastor (Insider) to Midwife (Outsider)
9. Danger #4: Money
10. From Teacher (Insider) to Guide (Outsider)
11. Danger #5: Individualism

Appendix 1: Overview of the Five Missional Types
Appendix 2: Discovering Your Missional Type
Appendix 3: Questions for Reflection and Discussion
Appendix 4: Alongsiders International


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Craig Warren Greenfield

Craig Greenfield is the founder and director of Alongsiders International, a grassroots movement of young Christians reaching the world's poorest children. Originally from New Zealand, he has lived and worked for more than two decades in marginalized communities in Asia and North America. He is the author of The Urban Halo and Subversive Jesus.