20th Annual Outreach Resources of the Year: Social Issues

Now in its 20th year, the 2023 Outreach Resources of the Year honors the past year’s best books that emphasize outreach-oriented ministries. 

Last fall we invited publishers and authors to submit resources with release dates between Nov. 1, 2021, and Oct. 31, 2022. The Outreach magazine editorial team then sorted qualifying titles into 10 key categories for review by expert panelists in each field. 

The panelists thoughtfully evaluated each submission and chose one or more as an Outreach Resource of the Year, then highlighted other titles as “Also Recommended.” Here are the winners in the Social Issues category.

SOCIAL ISSUES

Evaluated by Mark DeYmaz, directional leader of Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas and convener of the National Multiethnic Church Conference. 

RESOURCES OF THE YEAR

Agents of Flourishing - InterVarsity Press

Agents of Flourishing: Pursuing Shalom in Every Corner of Society by Amy L. Sherman (IVP Praxis)

Well-reasoned, researched, comprehensive and pragmatic, this book goes beyond the dreamy idealism often associated with notions of pursuing shalom or seeking the peace and prosperity of the city. Rather, Agents of Flourishing provides biblically and historically informed guidance for pastors and ministry leaders seeking to effectively engage communities and lead their organizations beyond rhetoric to results. 

While many passionately explain why the church and other Christ-centered organizations should pursue community transformation and human flourishing, and advance the common good, this book provides the “how” and “what”—proven, credible strategies to help leaders realize such dreams for the glory of God.

Inalienable: How Marginalized Kingdom Voices Can Help Save the American  Church - Kindle edition by Costanzo, Eric, Yang, Daniel, Soerens, Matthew.  Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Inalienable: How Marginalized Kingdom Voices Can Help Save the American Church by Eric Costanzo, Daniel Yang and Matthew Soerens (IVP)

A vocationally and experientially diverse group of co-authors provide a 360° rationale and recommendations for (essentially) reinventing the S-curve of the American church’s growth and decline. While acknowledging hits to the credibility, reputation and psyche of the church’s collective witness, they passionately and practically encourage readers to see this not so much as a problem but an opportunity for the church to understand the times and know what is the best course of action to take (1 Chron. 12:32) in pursuit of systemic transformation for the sake of the gospel. 

As expressed in the subtitle, Inalienable will require empowered leadership to embrace disruptive innovation where 20th century mindsets persist that may be unintentionally (yet nevertheless) preventing the emerging voices of the best, brightest and marginalized of the next generation from shaping things both now and in years to come. 

ALSO RECOMMENDED

Called to Reconciliation: How the Church Can Model Justice, Diversity and Inclusion by Jonathan C. Augustine (Baker Academic)

An AME pastor and professor of law argues a biblical, sociological and rational case for why and how to pursue “Revelation 7” unity in the church for the sake of the gospel. 

Voices of Lament: Reflections on Brokenness and Hope in a World Longing for Justice Edited by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson* (Revell)

A collective work informed by some of the most insightful women in leadership today impacting the American church with tomorrow in mind. 

* Editor’s Note: Natasha Sistrunk Robinson is a columnist and contributing editor for Outreach magazine.

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