Mission Hits #12 (Jan 2021)
Welcome to Mission Hits, a twice-monthly blog highlighting stimulating and significant recent resources related to world Christianity, world church, and world mission.
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CONTENTS: (click to go straight to each section below)
A short, significant, excellent excerpt from Vince Bantu's recent book 'A Multitude of All Peoples': "Christianity is and always has been a global religion. For this reason, we should never think of it as becoming global...The church has two interrelated and indispensable tasks going forward: first, the deconstruction of the Western, white cultural captivity of the Christian tradition"
TGC Africa is an excellent resource for African evangelicals to think biblically about topics affecting their lives and faith. Here are the top 20 of 2020. Look how different many of them are to what you might expect from a similar website in the UK or US.
Eddie Arthur continues to ask important questions of the Western mission movement: ". The large (and costly) mission agencies which blazed a trail from the West to the rest of the world are no longer the main vehicle for God’s cross-cultural mission. Newer, more organic, indigenous and church-led approaches are springing up across the globe. Smaller organisations which are more flexible and without the financial and organisational overheads of our traditional agencies and which are linked in loose networks are developing across the globe. No one can predict what the shape mission will be in ten or fifteen years time around the globe, but it won’t look like it did in the 20th century."
Some simple ideas here on how to lovingly engage with the lives, practices and traditions of people from cultures different from your own. These things might apply to cross-cultural missionaries, but also in Western contexts when seeking to deepen relationships with your neighbours from other places. e.g. learn how to play a musical instrument from that culture: "An interest in their instruments speaks of your love for their culture and ways. You’d be surprised how many bridges this builds into homes and hearts!"
Simple stuff you might say, but regular reminders are immensely helpful. I'd say this is as much for missions-minded church members as church leaders actually. "Sent ones preparing to go may be delayed, visas harder to come by in the future, and mission trips cancelled, but that doesn’t mean that the pause button has been pressed on our King’s Great Commission…What if this is a moment for unique redemptive imagination and increased faithfulness in the “little things”? Here are 5 ways our little church in downtown Denver, Colorado is seeking to continue cultivating a sending culture in this difficult season."
"How did the Apostle Paul team with others in mission work? Listen in as we share a Bible study on Paul's co-workers, the work they shared, and how Paul spoke of them". Four main conclusions are: 1.) Paul's teams were formed for the purpose of the work, 2.) Paul's teams loved one another as family, 3.) Paul's teams were in almost constant transition, 4.) Conflict was not unusual. 25 minute podcast from the 'Coworkers Podcast'.
You need to put your thinking caps on for this one folks. It's a heavy, but worthy, listen: "Only a big view of God can sustain the people of God on a big mission. Yet have missionaries gotten their very doctrine of God himself wrong? This week, Dr. James Dolezal (associate professor of theology in the School of Divinity at Cairn University) highlights the doctrines of divine simplicity, immutability, and aseity—aspects of theology proper often lost on modern evangelicalism—and why they matter for reaching pagans, Muslims, secularists, and others" 55-minute episode of 'The Missions Podcast'
Phil Remmers, former missionary in Asia, argues that unconsidered ecclesiology in sending churches is causing big problems in the selection, training, and deployment of missionaries. Ultimately, he argues, we need fewer, better qualified/trained (to standards of Biblical eldership) missionaries. "Pastors, make your first objective to raise up elders where you are—and from that pool you’ll find effective, qualified missionaries. To be sure, this may be the more difficult and time-consuming path, but in the end your church will reap rich rewards—both locally and abroad"
"All writing is difficult, but I would contend that missiological writing is exponentially the most difficult" Interesting 26-min long video giving advice for those engaged in missiological writing in any form from Jeff Christopherson, Chief Missiologist of the North American Mission Board (NAMB).
It's a book, but one so specialised I believe it belongs in this section as a 'Digging Deeper' resource: "Bediako and Barth can serve as helpful guides for contemporary theological reflection…Collectively, their work points the way toward contemporary theological reflection that is Christological, contextual, cultural, constructive, and collaborative. As one of the first books to examine the work of Bediako, this study will interest students and scholars of Christian theology, African studies, and postcolonial studies."
I don't know how I missed this when it came out, but I like these textbook style Missions introductory books. This looks a good addition going by the reviews: "A Survey of World Missions examines the biblical, theological, and historical foundations of missions, as well as issues of culture and worldview, contextualization, philosophy, and mission strategy. The book is designed to assist pastors, students, missionaries, and theologians in developing sound theory and praxis for both the international and North American mission field."
Jonas Kurlberg and Peter M. Phillips (editors)
"Digitalization of society is radically changing both the methods and conditions of missions. This book explores the implications of digitality for Missio Dei in thought and practice. Bringing together theologians, missiologists, computer scientists and practitioners, the book considers a diverse range of topics from evangelism to pastoral care, cyber pilgrimages to biases in algorithms, public theology to homiletics and inculturation to contextualization."
Fabrice S. Katembo
"How do Christians live out unity in the face of ethnic conflict, tribalism, and political divisions? In this powerful application of Paul’s teaching, Fabrice S. Katembo explores the mystery of the church in an African context, arguing that the greatest challenge facing God’s people is not external threat, but internal discord. Katembo draws his reader’s attention back to the unifying work of Christ, who died to abolish all walls of separation and in whom we are one, no matter the tongue, tribe, or nation. Providing an overview of Paul’s life and ministry, and engaging the work of renown theologians such as John Mbiti and Kwame Bediako, this is an excellent resource for anyone facing intercultural tensions within the church"
A genuinely remarkable resource here, that I could imagine being hugely beneficial in church services, small groups, and family devotionals. 207 beautifully shot 5-min prayer videos for each country in the world, normally spoken by a local believer from that place. Really worth checking out some of these.
(1) "Every missionary path has to find the way between these two dangers: irrelevance and syncretism. And if one is more afraid of one danger than the other, one will certainly fall into its opposite."
(2) “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
(3) “The very fact that when we talk about the missional impact of CoVid-19, we immediately go to the subject of financial loss and administrative capacity betrays how institutionalized mission has become!”
This Twitter thread made me laugh from Glen Scrivener - a true story about a worried lady who was concerned that a neighbour might belong to ISIS. Read all the way to the end…
Anyone in the UK with youngish kids, and probably most people without them, has come across Julia Donaldson (most widely known for writing 'The Gruffalo'). This Guardian Long Read article about her story, her writing, and her success is so interesting.
Mixed teams of 4 people battle it out over an 11-day period across seas, mountains, rivers and waterfalls by bike, foot, paddleboard, canoes, white-water rafts, mountain ropes and more in this 2019 'Eco-Challenge' adventure race. It is brutal, and I think is simultaneously the thing I would most want to do and also least want to do in my life. Hosted by Bear Grylls, this 10-part Amazon prime series was such good viewing that Ros and I showed it to the kids over the past 3 months after watching it ourselves (despite a few naughty words within). Terrifying and inspiring.
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