From Every Nation (Chris Howles)
Mission Hits #14 (Feb 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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ESSENTIALS (must reads)
(1) Money: The Most Complicated Part of Missions
'Money' is always one of the most common causes of frustration and misunderstanding when Western Christians visit more resource-deprived regions. This 'For The Church' article does as good a job as many at summarizing some of the issues, outlining some theological frameworks, and giving some helpful practical advice (e.g. Westerners should be "frugal, generous, wise, Spirit-led, and forgiving").
(2) Should I stay or should I go?
When should a missionary leave their host ministry setting, if at all? British missiologist Eddie Arthur does a great job identifying some of the questions that should be, but aren't always, asked when making these difficult decisions…
(3) Challenges for single women on the mission field
Well-written article with some shocking anecdotes from single female missionaries talking about their experiences with colleagues, agencies and sending churches. If you work alongside, know, or send/support/pray for single female missionaries, you should read this.
GENERAL (worth your time)
For a while now debates concerning the effectiveness and efficiency of various forms of 'Business as Mission' (BAM) have been ongoing in mission circles. These two articles (you can find part 2 here) are a good basic introduction to the topic. Matthew Bennett, writing at the start of 2020, describes 3 limitations of a BAM strategy and then 4 ways that it contributes to mission endeavors.
This is written for missionaries ministering cross-culturally, but is also useful for 1.) Supporting churches who want to ask their missionaries important questions, and 2.) All Christians to be asking themselves whatever they're doing! 30 questions to ask and answer honestly: From the 'Alifeoverseas' blog
A nicely chronological and alliterative way of understanding both the individual distinctiveness and God-blessed wholeness of Jesus famous five 'Great Commission' passages in the Gospels and Acts (from East-West Ministries)
AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts, videos)
Dr Daniel Strange, theological director at Oak Hill College London, appears on The Missions Podcast to speak about the problem of pluralism, the integration of mission and theology, and The Southgate Fellowship (see 'Digging Deeper' section below for more on that). An important 40-minute podcast that is worth the time.
(2) Four Ways to Increase your Missional Intelligence
"Author Jeannie Marie helps us understand what Missional Intelligence (MQ) is and how it can help us improve our service both as goers and senders. She shares how we can increase our Missional Intelligence through 4 personal, practical, and Spirit-empowered ways." 37-min show from the Global Missions Podcast.
DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)
(1) Affirmations and Denials Concerning World Mission
TSF is a group of Western theologians, missiologists, and reflective practitioners who have produced a set of 100 affirmations and denials related to some of the most important missions, missiological, and theology of religions questions around, approached from an evangelical, reformed perspective. There are debates to be had, but it's an important document for those wishing to grapple with some profound, complex, important mission issues.
(2) Missional and Missions: Getting Our Language Right
American missiologist Ed Stetzer wrote a chapter for the recent book 'Conversations on When Everything is Missions: Rediscovering the Mission of the Church' (featured in Mission Hits #11) which is reproduced here in Christianity Today Magazine (2 parts: 2nd part is here ). He is concerned by the tendencies for missio Dei language to lead churches away from missions. Agree or disagree, as ever with Ed Stetzer it's a worthy read.
(3) Should Missionaries Be Looking for “Persons of Peace”?
A long read, but evidently an important one given the prevalence of 'Person of Peace' missions-thinking in many contexts today. Alex Kocman asks good questions through pertinent theological lenses to explore this trend.
BOOKS (best recent releases)
(1) Engaging Religions and Worldviews in Africa: A Christian Theological Method (2020)
This looks to be both an enormous (500+ pages), and an enormously important, book. The contents page alone looks epic! One reviewer writes: "Turaki, educator and church leader for decades, proposes a way forward that rescues African theology from irrelevance on the one hand, and superficiality on the other, a way that ultimately has the power to bring transformation to African challenges today."
(2) Reading the Gospel of John through Palestinian Eyes (2020)
"In this insightful reflection on the Fourth Gospel, Rev Yohanna Katanacho invites us to encounter the text anew, this time from the perspective of a twenty-first century Palestinian Christian…[he] demonstrates how John’s gospel establishes a new identity for the people of God – an identity defined not by race or nationality but by suffering and love."
(3) Undivided Witness: Followers of Jesus, Community Development, and Least-Reached Communities (2020)
David Greenlee, Paul Bendor-Samuel, Mark Galpin (eds)
"Undivided Witness presents ten key principles linking community development and the emergence of vibrant communities of Jesus followers among the 'least reached'. Twelve practitioners explore this uncharted missiological space"
MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)
Did you know that ALL resources, in ALL categories (articles, books, quotes etc..) are archived on this fromeverynation.net website? Presented in searchable tables this is building up week-by-week into a substantial collection of some of the best recent resources concerning World Christianity and word mission. For example, you could search the BOOKS archive for 'diaspora', the AUDIO-VISUAL archive for podcasts about 'short-term mission,' or look for ARTICLES about 'Covid'.
(2) Black Missionary Heroes Past and Present
To celebrate Black History Month the National African American Missions Council are releasing daily devotionals highlighting the life and ministries of African-American missionaries. You can sign up by email, or click and read individual entries.
MISSIONS QUOTES (thought-provoking one-liners)
(1) "You are not called to the mission of God; you are made for the mission of God"
(2) “A materialistic world will not be won to Christ by a materialistic church”
(3) "Every time God expresses his missionary focus on all the nations he cuts the nerve of ethnocentric pride"
AND FINALLY (unrelated fun!)
(1) The Most Amazing Bowling Story Ever
This is a sensational story. I don't care a jot for bowling, but I challenge anyone not to get sucked into this. A remarkable tale. (Note, near the end a picture covers some words. Highlight the text [CTL-A] and you can read it fine) "Each time he approached the lane, the entire bowling alley went silent. Every time he let fly another roll, there were audible moans from strangers and shouts from the crowd. Each time he struck, the room erupted with applause. In all his life, Bill Fong had never heard anyone cheering him like that."
(2) World Leaders in the past 50 years
A visual timeline of different world leaders since 1970.
(3) One of the World's Greatest Card Magicians…
Really enjoyed this documentary (available on Amazon Prime - link here is to YouTube trailer). Richard Turner - one of the most determined and skilled artists imaginable, but there's quite the twist too…
For full searchable archives of all Mission Hits resources from edition #1 up to now, go to https://www.fromeverynation.net/mission-hits
For questions, comments, or suggestions for the next edition, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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