GBHEM Publishing Releases a Book Offering Help for Missional Churches

Published On: January 22, 2018

The Publishing Office of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), leadership development agency for the denomination, announced the release of a new book, “From Relief to Empowerment: How Your Church Can Cultivate Sustainable Mission” by Laceye and Gaston Warner. Ideal for those who want to engage or are engaged in mission, the book encourages readers to move mission beyond “us and them” to “all of us together.”

The Warners support the idea that mission flourishes when relationships are characterized by mutuality—a difficult, but important, balance to sustain. Mission that moves beyond relief to empowerment opens ways to address systemic forms of oppression and poverty.

A great resource for group study, “From Relief to Empowerment” examines ZOE, a Christian non-profit and United Methodist Global Ministries’ Advance, as an example of sustainable mission that can empower even the most vulnerable to help themselves. Proceeds of book sales will go to ZOE.

“This is an extremely important and powerful book for anyone seeking a better understanding of mission and how we can make a deeper and more significant impact in the world,” said Mark Sorensen, lead pastor of The Harvest Service at The Woodlands United Methodist Church, Woodlands, Texas. “Our church has partnered with ZOE for almost a decade and, truly, they are one of the best missiological organizations out there.”

Laceye Warner is associate professor of the Practice of Evangelism and Methodist Studies at Duke Divinity School and a United Methodist elder. Gaston Warner is chief executive officer of ZOE, which empowers more than 28,0000 orphans and children in seven countries, across three continents including: Zimbabwe, Zambia, India and Guatemala. He is also an elder in The United Methodist Church.

“One of the best things that God has done in the church in recent years is a recovery of the sense that the church is mission,” said Will Willimon, professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry and retired United Methodist bishop. “The church is God’s sending into the world, in word and deed, agents of the realm of God. We could have no two better guides in this recovery of the missional church than Laceye and Gaston. With their experience in theological education, ZOE, and the local church, they show us practical ways for every church, not only to be in mission but in sustainable mission. This book is a great gift, particularly for pastors and churches who are trying to keep up with Jesus’s mission to God’s world.”

“ZOE invites us into Christ’s mission as humble learners, encouragers, and partners. The journey of ZOE is a remarkable unfolding of receptivity and generosity, of learning and teaching, of creating and observing,” said Hope Morgan Ward, resident bishop, North Carolina Annual Conference. “This book will help us celebrate possibility and live faithfully into Christ’s mission in the world.”

Wesley’s Foundery Books is an imprint of GBHEM. Foundery books are clearly and accessibly written by Methodist/Wesleyan experts, with an emphasis on church life and ministry. Representing the rich diversity of the church, Wesley’s Foundery Books offer a disciplined and balanced approach.

“From Relief to Empowerment: How Your Church Can Cultivate Sustainable Mission” is available at and For more information about GBHEM’s Publishing Office, visit Publications or follow @GBHEMPublishing on Facebook.

About GBHEM: As the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s mission is to build capacity for United Methodist lay and clergy leaders to discover, claim and flourish in Christ’s calling in their lives, by creating connections and providing resources to aid in recruitment, education, professional development and spiritual formation. Every elder, deacon and licensed local pastor benefits from our training and candidacy programs. Many young adults find help in clarifying their vocation and God’s call in their lives through our leadership and discernment programs. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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