Spiritual Equipping for Mission: Thriving as God’s Message Bearers by Ryan Shaw

Spiritual Equipping for Mission book cover

Title: Spiritual Equipping for Mission: Thriving as God’s Message Bearers

Author: Ryan Shaw

Publisher: IVP Books, 2014

ISBN: 083083672

Book review by: Karen Davison,
NSW/ACT Personnel Manager

Available from Koorong (print and ebook) and other Christian bookstores


Ryan Shaw is involved in cross-cultural ministry and in equipping others for mission. He has written several books and other publications.

Although I’m often sceptical when picking up books by American authors, I was drawn by Shaw’s focus on the spiritual life of the ‘message-bearer’. As Tom Lin says in his introduction, “One of the most urgent and strategic issues in the mission field today [is] nurturing the spiritual life of the missionary.” The recent history of mission has placed a great deal of emphasis on the task of evangelism. Many ‘message-bearers’, both in the cross-cultural context and in our churches at home, are focussed on the task of making the gospel known but are neglecting the importance of growing their own inner spiritual life. Ultimately, they will be ineffective in their task, claims Shaw.

“The Great Commission is a spiritual work, not merely a strategic one. It’s effectively served through spiritual people, full of the Holy Spirit, obedient to Jesus, consistently tending the garden of their inner life.” In this book, Shaw explores 10 ‘Spiritual Keys’ that are the inner-life characteristics of effective and thriving message-bearers.

This book should be read prayerfully, with time to reflect on each area. I liked the emphasis it places on deepening spirituality, whilst remaining very grounded in Scripture, the cross, and the task of ‘message-bearing’. I found it challenging and at times confronting, yet also practical and encouraging. This is a timely and relevant read for all ‘message-bearers’, at ‘home’ and in a cross-cultural context