Mission Hits #10 (Nov 2020)
Welcome to Mission Hits, a fortnightly blog highlighting stimulating and significant recent resources related to world Christianity, world church, and world mission.
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CONTENTS: Maximum of 3 resources in each category…
Essentials (if you only have time for 3 clicks, make it these)
General (excellent articles well worth reading)
Audio-Visual (podcasts, videos...)
Digging Deeper (more technical/academic resources)
Books (the pick of recent releases)
Miscellaneous (None of the above!)
Mission Quotes (thought-provoking one-liners)
And Finally... (unrelated things I found interesting this week)
Please note that there will be only 1 'Mission Hits' in December (Christmas break!)
Twice-monthly editions will resume from January 2021.
This is a really thought-provoking article from Indian missiologist Bijoy Koshy (International Director of Interserve International) about the fundamental changes that need to happen within the 21st Western missions movement: "There is a church in almost every country that has to be taken into account — however small and seemingly weak it may be. What does this mean for us as an organisation? It means that even before the pandemic (and now made so obvious), God was showing us that we must allow the National Church to lead us in local missions. That will mean that the dominant world view of missions will be community focused, relationship oriented and locally led."
I'm sure most readers are familiar with the concept of 'diaspora evangelisation' in Western globalised cities such as London and New York. This article from Lausanne is a good summary of some of the strength, weaknesses, and opportunities of such a concept, and how you might be able to get involved: "The ultimate goal of diaspora ministry in global gateway cities is to not only reach the diaspora communities that have connections back to their homeland but also to mobilize and train them for diaspora missions to their own people and beyond through cross-cultural outreach."
"Most Christians would heartily agree about the importance of prayer. Why then do ministers and missionaries openly admit to praying so little? This is especially perplexing when we realize that many of those who lament their neglect of prayer are truly God-called men and women, who love the Lord and honestly desire to see His kingdom advance into all nations. Why then do we so-often neglect prayer?" Paul Washer gives 7 reasons. All resonated with me, and I think they may with you too.
Short-term mission teams are such a contentious debate within the Western mission movement, and as this article acknowledges there are abundant reasons to be cynical and sceptical about such things. But could 2020 (and a 'year off' for the 'industry') provide an opportunity for a reset and realignment? This article gives some places to start…"When planned and executed correctly, short-term missions trips serve as a valuable and vital tool that bring great benefits to all parties."
"What is Jesus doing right now? He hasn’t become some ethereal force drifting around the universe filling our lives with good vibes. He is the reigning Lord whose good news is causing knees to bend worldwide. Our preaching, praying, and going are what he uses to do it." Alex Kocman reflects on Jesus' current reign and it's missional implications.
I enjoy reading testimonies from missionaries about God working in their ministries and contexts. There's nothing particularly spectacular about this one, but it's yet another example of God working in in people and places that we might not hear much about: "When the Franssens moved to Southeast Asia, they had no intention of working with refugees, but they were approached by an international church and asked if they would be willing to join them in ministering to Afghani refugees. The Franssens now partner with the church, an American businessman and an Iranian believer to minister to refugees…Of the roughly 7,000 Afghani refugees in the area, the Franssens estimate that 500 have committed their lives to Christ in the past five years."
Dr. Tite Tiénou is Chair of Global Theology and World Christianity, Research Professor, and Dean Emeritus at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (US). In this 33-min discussion Dr Tiénou (formerly a seminary president and pastor in Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso) discusses the relationship between theology and missiology, the importance of listening to Christians from cultures other than our own, and explains why he no longer uses the word 'contextualization'. This is S1-E5 from the TEDS 'Foreword' podcast.
In this 5-min video American Steve Schirmer (President of Silk Road Catalyst) and Malawian Reuben Kachala (Founder of 'Frontier Missions International' in Malawi) argue that discipleship in Africa is not always leading or motivating Christians into cross-cultural sending mission.
Not listened to this yet, but sounds interesting: "Sam George (Director of Global Diaspora Institute at Wheaton College Billy Graham Center and Catalyst for Diasporas for the Lausanne Movement) talks about a Biblical framework for justice in missions, stories of notable Asian American missionaries who declared the gospel in word and deed, and practical ways we can work toward a more just approach to missions."
15 recorded interviews with African scholars, missiologists, church leaders and thinkers by Harvey Kwiyani. As Dr Kwiyani himself says: "Let nobody ever say they don't know any African theologians. This series has 15 of the many exciting emerging African scholars of theology. Dig in and explore a new world." I'm really looking forward to listening to these in the coming weeks…
I'll be honest I've not watched it all, but the bits I did were deep and engaging, wrestling with questions of contextual theology, the relationship between social sciences (and qualitative research) and theology, and world Christianity. 90-min panel discussion with Dr Easten Law (OMSC), Dr Diane Stinton (Regent College), and Dr Muthuraj Swamy (Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide), and moderated by Dr Alexander Chow (University of Edinburgh).
Christopher Flanders and Werner Mischke (Editors)
"In Honor, Shame, and the Gospel, over a dozen practitioners and scholars from diverse contexts and fields add to the ongoing conversation around the theological and missiological implications of an honorific gospel. Eight illuminating case studies explore ways to make disciples in a diversity of social contexts—for example, East Asian rural, Middle Eastern refugee, African tribal, and Western secular urban."
Short 108-page book aimed to help those entering (or continuing) in overseas cross-cultural ministry to "feed your soul and nurture your relationship with God as you adjust to cross-cultural life. When so much of life is new, focus each month on one Fruit of the Spirit. Staying connected to God isn’t a given, but it can be cultivated."
Missions professor Matthew Bennett guides readers through Islam’s key tenants and provides answers to critical questions, such as 'Who was Muhammad and what was his message?', 'Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?', 'What are the differences between the Qur’an and the Bible?', 'What is shariah law?', and 'How should a Christian share the gospel with Muslims?'
'Theologians without Borders' is an organisation dedicated to fostering equitable online theological education partnerships, including by help Western scholars to visit and teach in Majority World institutions, and vice-versa. There are short-term online teaching opportunities posted here for anyone who has the credentials and heart for such ministry.
What a good example of combining creativity and 'zoom-culture' to share mission information and prayer requests "Join us to cook some Japanese food, find out how important food is to Japanese culture and how cooking and eating together are important tools in bringing the Good News of Jesus to Japan. You can cook a Japanese Recipe along with Emiri on Zoom in your own kitchen, or just watch and listen as OMF Ireland missionaries working in Japan share about their ministry and the role that food plays in it." Saturday 28 November, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm (UK time)
Throughout December Langham partnership are holding weekly conversations with partners around the world. These will take place each Tuesday from 1.00-2.00pm (GMT) via Zoom. (1st December - Longing for Jesus in Lebanon, 8th December - Longing for Jesus in Africa, 15th December - Longing for Jesus in Argentina, 22nd December - Longing for Jesus in the UK). Meetings will include a time of devotion and prayer as well as an interview with the guest for the day. Chris Wright rounds off the series.
(1) "The mission of God is not advanced through clever strategies that gloss over our humanity. It is advanced person-to-person in grace-filled friendships where truth is told, needs are met, and Jesus becomes the pivot point of life"
(2) “Prayer needs no passport, visa or work permit. There is no such thing as a ‘closed country’ as far as prayer is concerned … much of the history of mission could be written in terms of God moving in response to persistent prayer”
(3) "All God's giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on God being with them”
J. Hudson Taylor
Nick Challies, 20-yr old son of popular Christian author/blogger Tim Challies, died suddenly last week. This is an astonishingly beautiful and moving article from a grieving father about the hardship of being in quarantine away from brothers and sisters at this time: "What we do know is that we we are learning through our sorrow just how wondrous it is to be part of something so beautiful, so good, so necessary, as the body of Christ. We are learning how devastating it is to be detached from it in our moment of need".
I'd never heard this story before, and it absolutely took my breathe away (pun intended): "The crew believed him to be dead, but Atchison told the others to continue holding onto him, out of fear that letting go of him might cause him to strike the left wing, engine, or horizontal stabiliser, potentially damaging it." The most amazing thing? He carried on flying for another 18 years.
Is the termite the organism, or is it the colony that counts as 'one'. After reading this, I realized that wasn't so silly a question! Termites are mind-boggling. And after reading this I now resolve to complain less vociferously when they eat our furniture or something here.
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