Book Review: Crossing Boundaries by David W. Scott

Reviewed by Dan Dick

Twenty-five years ago, I wrote an article called Three Types of Mission in The United Methodist Church.  The premise was that United Methodists engage in mission work at three basic levels. First level is “representational missions” where we give money or make donations so that others can do mission work on our behalf.  Second level is “relational missions” where we do mission projects or mission trips to serve those in need.  Third and last level is “incarnational missions” where we enter into long-term relationship with various groups, sharing in transformative work of Christian service and support.  These three levels follow the themes of doing missions for, taking missional service to, or engaging in mission work with the groups we want to serve.

Essential to all successful missions is a deeply rooted understanding of need that can only come through intentional and in depth conversation.  I was delighted to read David W. Scott’s new book, Crossing Boundaries: Sharing God’s Good News through Mission, and to see these ideas made tangible and Biblically-based.  David offers an insightful and gentle invitation for individuals, small groups, and congregations to spend some serious time reflecting on what “missions” mean in their context.  Not pushing one way or method to “do” missions, David encourages conversation as the foundation upon which we best build our missions ministry.  Through a series of Biblically-focused, practically conceived, and interactive chapters, David paints a picture of missions that recaptures our Wesleyan roots and reframes them in our ever-changing, ever-challenging global context. 

This is a short book well worth the time for individual reading and group contemplation.  David is Director of Mission Theology for the General Board of Global Ministries; his wife, Allie, served the Family Church and will be moving to Peace UMC in Brookfield, and Crossing Boundaries has been selected by Bishop Jung as one of his recommendations at this year’s Annual Conference.