Operation World might just be one of the most popular and influential evangelical books you've never read. Since 1974, the daily, country-by-country prayer guide has sold 2.5 million copies in six editions, including about 400,000 for the 2001 (most recent) edition. Canadian Jason Mandryk, a missionary researcher with Worldwide Evangelization for Christ International, has taken the reins as author of the newest edition, which will be published next month.
Christianity Today editor at large Stan Guthrie spoke with Mandryk about shaping the edition in the wake of numerous changes in the political, economic, and religious spheres in a post-9/11 world.
What are the most significant changes to Operation World since the last edition?
The global church has extended itself into new areas, even while it faces a growing crisis of confidence in the Western world. Since the invasion of Iraq, the Middle East has seen an acceleration of the exodus of traditionally Christian peoples on a scale that dwarfs the praiseworthy increase in believers from a Muslim background.
How has the book changed to reflect a post-9/11 world?
9/11 profoundly affected issues of security in missionary work and the interface of politics and religion in many countries. What has gone into the book reflects this; we have struggled to discover the entire ministry that goes on in many of these places, and have needed to be much more circumspect in how we report it. But in the unevangelized world, 9/11 was a non-event, or at least far down on the list of pressing issues that shape the nature and dynamics of Christian ministry.
Why has the book been so influential?
The emergence of Operation World as a resource was synchronous with the birth of an awareness in the West and ...