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A Reader's Guide to Transforming Mission


One of the greatest privileges of my life was to study under David Bosch at the University of South Africa while I was working with African indigenous churches in neighboring Lesotho. Whenever I pick up Transforming Mission, I hear him talking, just like we talked at his home and in his office. That book has become the most widely used mission textbook in the world, but many readers who never had the privilege of his personal teaching do not find his book as clear and easy to follow as I do. This book is designed to make it easier for them to hear Bosch, benefit from him and challenge him.

Brevity, clarity and accuracy have been my goals. While reducing the text by about 80%, I have simplified the vocabulary, used shorter sentences and paragraphs, added diagrams, tables, analogies and discussion questions, and reorganized some of the chapters internally. I have tried to present Bosch's main ideas and the flow of his thought, confining my own opinions to occasional footnotes and a longer section in chapter 14.

If Transforming Mission is a tour through a game park, this book is a quick, low-altitude plane flight over the park. It reveals some of the same things as a trip on the park trails, but they all shoot by very quickly. Though a few tourists may be content with the plane ride, its main value for most people will be helping them find the parts of the park they want to spend more time exploring on the ground with Bosch himself in Transforming Mission.

To help the reader move easily from this book to Bosch, a precise method of page referencing, using tenths of a page has been employed. For example, the reference "(103.1)" in this book means the desired text is in the first tenth of page 103 of Bosch, that is, roughly the first five lines. "103.9" means the reference is to the last five lines on that page, "103.5" means it is in the middle of the page, etc.

In writing a book to introduce Transforming Mission, I have felt like I suppose a woman feels when trying to apply nail polish with a three-inch-wide brush. No matter how careful she is, some things are bound to get smeared. Likewise, I am sure I have smeared some things here. Perhaps with the help of my readers, I may correct some of them in a future edition. Thank you for your comments and your forgiveness in the meantime. As the Basotho say, Thupa e otlolloe e sa le metsi, (The walking stick may be straightened while it is still green). You may contact me with corrections and suggestions at the following e-mail address: .

Stan Nussbaum

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3/30/07 For comments on this web site, write Return to GMI Home Page