Get the Ask a Missionary Book
Ask a Missionary: Time-Tested Answers from Those Who've Been There Before, edited by John McVay (IVP Books). This easy-to-read compilation of the best of AskaMissionary.com includes wisdom and advice on everything from making the decision to go to stepping into a new life once on the field.
Discovering How God Is Leading You
The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?, by Rick Warren (Zondervan). A guide to understanding that you were made by God and for his purposes.
Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God, Revised and Expanded, by Henry and Richard Blackaby and Claude King (B and H Publishing). A modern classic on how God is working in the world today and how we can join him in his work (not the other way around).
Live Life on Purpose, by Claude Hickman (Book Villages). Finding your life purpose only makes sense in the context of God's plan to reach the world. Discover the part you were meant to play in God's epic plan.
How to Be a World-Class Christian: Becoming Part of God's Global Kingdom, by Paul Borthwick (Authentic). World-class Christians pray world-focused prayers; live lifestyles of stewardship, sacrifice, and solidarity with the poor; and are committed to both local witness and world evangelization.
I Want to Make a Difference Now: Your Bridge to Global Impact, by Don Parrott (Next Step Resources). Addresses obstacles that keep adults from Christian mission work, and features more than 50 inspiring and amazing stories of those who have left North America for mission service in other countries.
Becoming a Missionary
Mission Smart: 15 Critical Questions to Ask before Launching Overseas, by David L. Frazier (Equipping Servants International). This book is designed to help mission workers and those who would send them recognize gaps and issues that need to be dealt with in appointment, preparation, placement, and care.
Global Mission Handbook: A Guide for Crosscultural Service, by Steve Hoke and Bill Taylor (IVP Books). A practical guide to preparing for a life of cross-cultural ministry, with resources on spiritual preparation, cross-cultural skills, and hands-on ministry training, and selecting a mission agency.
On Being a Missionary, by Thomas Hale (William Carey Library). Drawing on his years of experience as a veteran missionary to Nepal, as well as the input of many others, Dr. Hale deals with the problems, struggles, and failures missionaries often face.
Encountering Missionary Life and Work: Preparing for Intercultural Ministry, by Tom Steffen and Lois McKinney Douglas (Baker Academic). Manual practical guidance regarding getting ready for the mission field and the realities of life on the field.
I Think God Wants Me to Be a Missionary: Issues to Deal with Long Before You Say Goodbye, by Neal Pirolo (Emmaus Road International). Helps missionary candidates look closely at scores of issues that should be clarified long before they say goodbye.
Scaling the Wall: Overcoming Obstacles to Missions Involvement, by Kathy Hicks (Authentic). Personal stories from missionaries in many organizations about how God overcame their fears and obstacles and met their needs in ways they never could have expected.
Each of these books addresses the philosophy behind raising funds for ministry as well as providing practical tips.
These books are tried and true and worth re-reading when confidence or creativity fades. You may be able to find in a library or borrow them a friend. All three have been updated in more recent years, though, so look for the newer editions.
Friend Raising: Building a Missionary Support Team that Lasts, by Betty Barnett (YWAM Publishing). A practical and genuine approach to life, ministry, and teamwork in missions.
Funding Your Ministry, by Scott Morton (NavPress). Addresses the obstacles of support raising and gives a biblical path for recruiting and maintaining donor support.
People Raising: A Practical Guide to Raising Funds, by William P. Dillon (Moody Publishers). A highly practical guide that gives tools to move beyond building a donor list to sharing a vision and drawing others into a vital ministry team.
Getting Sent: A Relational Approach to Support Raising, by Pete Sommer (IVP Books). Down-to-earth handbook affirms that God uses the Christian community to send us into ministry and demystifies the process.
The Spirituality of Fundraising, by Henri Nouwen (Upper Room). Solid and easily understood basis for fundraising explores how both giver and receiver are accountable to the God who owns all things and allows us to manage them.
The God Ask: A Fresh, Biblical Approach to Personal Support Raising, by Steve Shadrach (CMM Press). Book designed to reduce the intimidating of raising support, which the author says isn't about money or asking people to give, but about looking to God to provide for you.
ViewPoints: Fresh Perspectives on Personal Support Raising, by Steve Shadrach (The BodyBuilders Press). Short, encouraging chapters address support-raising paradigms convictions, attitudes, relationships, strategies, and more.
Finding a Fit
North American Mission Handbook (William Carey Library). Lists more than 900 Protestant mission agencies based in the U.S. and Canada and includes analysis of trends in U.S. and Canadian based ministries serving overseas.
The Church Is Bigger Than You Think: The Unfinished Work of World Evangelism, by Patrick Johnstone. Provides an overarching analysis of the diversity of the Church in the world today, and a call to continue its mission. Several chapters relate to selecting a mission agency.
Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation, edited by Jason Mandryk (IVP Books). Data about every nation of the world: geography, population, ethnicities, languages economics, politics, religion, status of evangelization, prayer needs, and more.
Western Christians in Global Mission: What's the Role of the North American Church? by Paul Borthwick (IVP Books). Discover how Western churches and agencies can contribute to a new era of mission marked by mutuality, reciprocity, and humility.
About Specific Agencies
You can get a feel for the "DNA" of a mission agency by reading books about their ministry or the life of the ministry's founder. A few good examples:
Is That Really You, God? Hearing the Voice of God, by Loren Cunningham (YWAM Publishing). Follows the life of Loren Cunningham from his youth through the pioneering and establishment of Youth With A Mission, one of the world's largest mission organizations.
Planting Churches in Muslim Cities: A Team Approach, by Gregory Livingstone (Baker Academic). Livingstone, founder of Frontiers, provides a biblically and culturally appropriate blueprint for church planting in Muslim cities anywhere in the world. Based on the experiences of one hundred missionaries.
Spiritual Revolution: The Story of Operation Mobilization, by Ian Randall (Authentic). Tells the story of 50 years of OM, beginning with an account of George Verwer's conversion and OM's early outreach in Mexico, to becoming a movement with more than 4,000 workers serving in over 100 countries.
When God Comes Calling, by Ted Fletcher (BottomLine Media). Drawing on Ted's experience as a Marine and as a corporate executive, Ted and Peggy Fletcher, founders of Pioneers, stepped out in faith to send others to places in the world where missionaries were not welcome.
Singles and Family
Single Mission: Thriving as a Single Person in Cross-cultural Ministry, edited by Dr. Debbie Hawker and Rev. Tim Herbert (Condeo Press). Encourages and equips single missionaries and help them be strong in their faith, effective in their ministry, resilient and content.
Missionary Singles Issues, by Ron Kotesky (Missionary Care). Compiled series of brochures written to help individuals deal with some of the situations that arise when singles serve in other cultures: loneliness, comparison, identity issues, and more (free download).
Through Her Eyes: Perspectives on Life from Christian Women Serving in the Muslim World, by Marti Smith (IVP Books). Accounts from two dozen women, single and married, provide a candid look at issues associated with living cross-culturally.
Screams in the Desert: Hope and Humor for Women in Cross-Cultural Ministry, by Sue Eenigenburg (William Carey Library). Poignant insights into issues many women encounter on the mission field, through one woman's humorous accounts of life overseas and lessons learned along the way.
Parents of Missionaries: How to Thrive and Stay Connected When Your Children and Grandchildren Serve Cross-Culturally, by Cheryl Savageau and Diane Stortz (Authentic). A counselor's professional insight and a parent's personal journey teach parents/grandparents of missionaries to understand missionary life, stay connected long distance, and more.
Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds, Revised Edition, by David C. Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken (Nicholas Brealey Publishing). Examines the TCK experience and its effect on development, identity, and readjustment.
Families on the Move, by Marion Knell (Monarch Books). Help for parents as they take their kids through the sometimes awkward and frustrating moments of being a third-culture kid.
Hidden in My Heart: A TCK's Journey Through Cultural Transition, by Taylor Murray (BottomLine Media). Tells Taylor's story as she transparently unloads her grief and anger on him and, surprisingly, finds him willing to listen and bring her to a place of healing, and ultimately joy.
Cultural Adaptation - Secular Books
The Art of Crossing Cultures, by Craig Sorti (Nicholas Brealey Publishing). What it takes to encounter a new culture and succeed; how to deal with country and culture shock. Equally helpful for businesspeople and exchange students.
The Whole World Guide to Culture Learning, by Daniel J. Hess (Nicholas Brealey Publishing). Handbook for cross-cultural adaptation through experience-based culture learning.
The Whole World Guide to Language Learning, by Terry Marshall (Nicholas Brealey Publishing). On site guide for language learning, whether you enroll in formal language classes, working language learning into a busy schedule, or something in between.
For information about specific cultures, a good place to start is the series, CultureShock! A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette (Marshall Cavendish Corporation). These reference books provide concrete, practical tips about the customs and etiquette of various countries and cities.
Books on Cultural Adaptation - Christian Books
Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot- and Cold-Climate Cultures, by Sarah A. Lanier (McDougal Publishing Company). Designed to foster greater appreciation for people around the world and an increased desire to better understand them.
Cross-Cultural Connections: Stepping Out and Fitting In around the World, by Duane Elmer (IVP Books). Provides a compass for navigating through different cultures: How to avoid pitfalls and cultural faux pas as well as how to make the most of opportunities to build cross-cultural relationships. We also recommend the author's other works on this topic.
Ministering Cross-Culturally: An Incarnational Model for Personal Relationships, by Sherwood Lingenfelter and Marvin Mayer (Baker Books). Mission classic that examines the significance of the Incarnation for effective cross-cultural ministry.
Spiritual Equipping for Missions: Thriving as a Mission Bearers, by Ryan Shaw (IVP Books). Unpacks 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.
Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ, by Neil T. Anderson (Regal). Emphasizes the truths of Scripture as a base from which to renew our minds and fend off Satan's relentless attempts to convince us that we are less than Christ empowers us to be.
Spiritual Warfare for Every Christian: How to Live in Victory and Retake the Land, by Dean Sherman (YWAM Publishing). A must-read, no-nonsense, both-feet-planted-on-the-ground approach to the unseen world.
English Teaching as Christian Mission, by Donald Snow (Herald Press). Explores the special role Christian English teachers can have in world mission.
Working Your Way to the Nations: A Guide to Effective Tentmaking, 2nd edition, edited by Jonathan Lewis (IVP Books). Provides insight on the life of a tentmaker and tips for getting started. (You can also download the PDF for free from Global Opportunities).
Tentmaking: The Life and Work of Business as Missions, by Patrick Lai (IVP Books). Manual shares proven, workable alternatives to conventional missionary life.
The Missional Entrepreneur: Principles and Practices for Business as Mission, by Mark Russell (New Hope Publishers). An in-depth look at business as missions in action, focusing on best practices and principles.
All the World Is Singing, by Frank Fortunato, Paul Neeley, and Carol Brinneman (Authentic). Looking for ways to use music in missions? This volume documents the power of music within the global Body of Christ.
Taking It to the Streets: Using the Arts to Transform Your Community, by J. Nathan Corbitt and Vivian Nix-Early (Baker Books). Handbook combines real-life stories with tested methodologies to create a new paradigm for the role of the arts in Christian ministry and mission.
When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself, by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert (Moody Publishers). Contemporary classic on the subject of poverty alleviation and ministry to those in need.
Walking with the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development, by Bryant Myers (Orbis Books). How Christian mission can contribute to dismantling poverty and social evil.
Other Recommended Books
2020 Vision: Amazing Stories of What God Is Doing Around the World, by Bill and Amy Stearns (Bethany House Publishers). Exciting breakthroughs in new harvest fields are highlighted, along with scriptural insights into God's heart for the nations and practical ways for individuals and churches to get involved.
Serving as Senders Today, by Neal Pirolo (Emmaus Road International). Learn how to care for missionaries you know while they prepare to go, while they're on the field, and when they return home.
From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions, 2nd Edition, by Ruth A. Tucker (Zondervan). Understand the life and role of missionaries throughout history through their real-life failures and successes.
Let the Nations Be Glad: The Supremacy of God in Missions, by John Piper (Baker Academic). A thorough biblical defense of God's supremacy in all things, providing readers with a sound theological foundation for missions.
Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation, 7th Edition, by Jason Mandryk (IVP Books). Vital information and specific prayer points for each country in the world.
Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader, 3rd Edition, edited by Ralph Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne (William Carey Library). Text for the college level course which will help you understand God's plan for our world - and for your life. Every prospective missionary should take this!
See also The Traveling Team's list of mission books, Top 25 Books for Campus Mobilizers.