John Mark Terry and J.D. Payne, A New Look at Missions Strategy

“A New Look at Missions Strategy”

by John Mark Terry and J.D. Payne

What Is This Book About?

This is a new book on missions strategy. It is an addition to Baker Academic’s Encountering Missions series (Scott Moreau, general editor). In its pages we define strategy, explain the need for strategy, survey the history of missions strategy, and present an approach to strategy development. We give attention to both ancient and contemporary strategies. In this way readers will learn about the apostle Paul’s strategy, and they’ll also become familiar with modern strategies, like church planting movement and insider movements. The historical section will help readers understand how missions strategy has developed throughout church history. The readers will gain insight into developing a missionary team and preparing a worldview profile. Many books focus on either international missions or North American missions, but in this book we have addressed both. This dual emphasis reflects the experience of the authors. We have included a case study and discussion questions at the end of each chapter to help readers make appropriate applications. The liberal use of subheadings and sidebars makes this book easy to read. We are careful to define our terms so that beginning students can easily understand.

Cover ArtWhy Did We Write the Book?

We wrote Developing a Strategy for Missions to rectify a dearth of contemporary books on missions strategy. Anyone who has taught a course on missions strategy in recent years has likely experienced frustration in finding appropriate textbooks. Dayton and Fraser’s helpful work, Developing Strategies for World Evangelization, has been out of print for many years, and it does not address contemporary issues. The same is true of Roland Allen’s books; students certainly can profit from reading them, but Allen wrote to address problems he observed one hundred years ago. Other books discuss strategy in part, but they also cover other aspects of missions. There are many helpful books on specific topics in strategy, like church planting and worldview, but they do not provide an overview of missions strategy. So we decided a book like this was sorely needed, and thankfully, Baker agreed.

Both authors have dedicated their lives to fulfilling the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18–20). We know that thousands of missionaries desire to expand the kingdom of our Lord throughout the world. The question is, how do we “make disciples of all nations”? We pray this book will answer that question, at least in part.

What Qualifies Us to Write the Book?

Both authors have served as missionaries. I (Mark Terry) have served as a missionary in southeast Asia for twenty-three years. I currently serve as professor of missions at Mid-America Baptist Seminary in Memphis, Tennessee. J. D. Payne has served as a home missionary and church planter in North America. He formerly taught missions, especially church planting, at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. J. D. Payne currently serves as pastor of church multiplication at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama, where David Platt is the senior pastor. We both hold PhDs in missions, and we have both taught masters and doctoral level courses on missions strategy. We’ve also served as consultants and field leaders of missionaries. We have written books on missions, evangelism, and church planting. We are both active in the Evangelical Missions Society.

Who Might Benefit from the Book?

We believe professors of missions will welcome the book, because many books about missions strategy are outdated. Beyond that, many helpful books are out of print. This volume provides professors with a primary textbook on strategy that can be supplemented with other materials. The book can also assist missions administrators and field leaders as they seek to develop and implement strategies in their fields of responsibility. New missionaries can benefit from reading the book because it will give them some “handles” as they begin their ministries. The book will help new missionaries learn the vocabulary of missions strategy; for example, novice missionaries who have read this book will not be confused when someone mentions an “indigenous” approach. We believe missionary training centers could use this book as they prepare missionaries for field service in international as well as North American settings. The book can benefit missions pastors and church missions committees as they develop their congregations’ missions strategies.

Dr. Payne and I are grateful for Dr. David Hesselgrave’s kind endorsement of our book. He wrote: “This is a book on mission strategy—and a very good one. Moreover, it is not simply a book on this or that phase of mission; it lays out a strategy for fulfilling Great Commission mission. I commend it to the reading, study, and practice of missionaries and mission students, pastors and staff members, and all Christians who take the Great Commission seriously.”


John Mark TerryJohn Mark Terry (PhD, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is professor of missions at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tennessee.

J. D. PayneJ. D. Payne (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is pastor of church multiplication at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama, and has served as missionary.

For more information on Developing a Strategy for Missions, click here.