Book Review: The Planting and Development of Missionary Churches

The Planting and Development of Missionary Churches by John NeviusThis is a short little book (104 pages) that was originally written in 1885 by John L. Nevius. Nevius was a seasoned, effective and groundbreaking missionary to China. This book was originally written as a pamphlet to instruct new missionaries in China. It was so insightful that some mission sending organizations, at the time, made this work a required reading before entering the field and even required the passing of a comprehensive test on the reading. Today, over 115 years after it was first publish, some mission sending agencies still have this book on reading list for new missionaries.

Nevius’ work changed the way many looked at foreign missions work. His respect for the indigenous people and their culture was not a frequently shared view. While his perspective was not prominent at the time it was not original to him. Nevius modeled his belief on missions after the Apostle Paul.

His message of treating indigenous people with respect and love was so effective that he experienced such a rapid rate of growth in church planting and converts that he could scarcely keep up. He trained new believers and raised up church leaders at a rate that does not exist today. He also trained new missionaries with a depth that few have duplicated. He was not afraid to plan big, and was regularly rewarded.

This brief paperback is a wonderful read for missionaries and those who support missionaries. It provides us with a century old example of what has passed the test of time and continues to glorify God today.