Mission Hits #15 (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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PLEASE PASS ON TO INTERESTED FRIENDS, COLLEAGUES & CHURCH MEMBERS
ESSENTIALS (must reads)
"Each year the American church sends out thousands of missionaries who have never had substantive experience serving faithfully in a local church…You can be trained to handle the word of God, but it’s much more difficult to be trained to handle a messy church.". Extremely helpful article on the ABWE blog.
Oh this is good. Every missionary (and pastor?) reads this whilst nodding…. "Guiltitude can be hard to diagnose, as it often masquerades as responsibility or humility. Its most obvious symptoms are: Fear of having, Fear of doing, and Fear of full reporting"
Articles about 'What we Westerners can learn from the church in X' can descend into patronizing cliches. This doesn't. Director of Langham Preaching Paul Windsor brilliantly describes what the majority world church has taught him as a New Zealander.
GENERAL (worth your time)
The stats are contested, but the stories and testimonies are fascinating and fantastic. There is growing evidence of something intriguing indeed happening in Iran…
Of course there's more, but these 5 practices/attitudes to cultivate before/during missionary service are great …(and good for church/agency leaders to think about as criteria for mobilization too…)
Of course it's blunt, but some useful pointers and challenges for pastors, and those training to be pastors…
AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts, videos)
British missiologist Eddie Arthur interviews Michael Stroope Professor of missiology (Baylor University, Texas) and author of 'Transcending the Modern Mission Tradition' (Regnum 2020). In this 25-min video, Prof. Stroope speaks about what it is that motivates him to be involved in mission, but also why he believes that the very concept of mission is problematic.
Lisa LaGeorge speaks helpfully both about the American short-term missions 'industry' and also why complementarian churches are in danger of excluding women in mission even within their own theological parameters (she speaks as a complementarian). 50-min interview from The Missions Podcast
Thabiti Anyabwile 45min talk from Cross Conference 2019. I find this a strong example of passionate, biblical engagement with young people on the topic of mission.
DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)
Duncan Forbes, church planting on a London council estate, lists 6 ways that majority cultures often co-opt minorities' theologising for their own gain, status, or purposes. Focussed primarily on contexts of ethnicity/class within a British context, it translates powerfully to relationships between the Western church and the majority world.
Jay Matenga argues that indigeneity, influence, and integration are the key concepts to consider as we emerge into post-pandemic missions. The article requires 30-mins of your time as it's not one to be skimmed. Beautifully-written, provocative and thoughtful.
Not watched this yet, but it comes recommended by others (see blog introducing it here): Dr. Alexander Chow (Asia), Dr. Ruth Padilla DeBorst (Latin America), and Bishop Dr. D. Zac Niringiye (Africa) discuss the changing face of global evangelicalism in light of the shift of the centre of world Christianity to the global South. 90-min zoom conversation (YouTube)
BOOKS (best recent releases)
David R. Swartz
"Evangelicals in the Global South spoke back to American evangelicals on matters of race, imperialism, theology, sexuality, and social justice. From the left, they pushed for racial egalitarianism, ecumenism, and more substantial development efforts. From the right, they advocated for a conservative sexual ethic grounded in postcolonial logic. [G]lobal evangelicals forced many American Christians to think more critically about their own assumptions".
Sunday Bobai Agang, Dion A. Forster, H. Jurgens Hendriks (eds)
"Through faithful application of Scripture to contexts common in the continent today, contributors from across Africa join as one to present a vision for the Africa that God intended. [This book] challenges every reader to think through the application of biblical principles in their own community, place of work and sphere of influence."
Tom Doyle, JoAnn Doyle, Greg Webster
"Despite enormous risks to themselves and their families, former Muslim women are now influencing their husbands and their children and bringing others to faith in Jesus Christ…Women Who Risk takes readers into the intimacy of Muslim homes in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, and other hot spots to see the drama of Christ at work. The stories of these women are both breath-taking and heart-rending. Living on the edge, these women spread the gospel without fear, and the victory of the gospel is thrilling for all to see."
MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)
30-min animated cartoons for children (aged around 8-12). Several episodes focus on some well-known missionary characters from years past. You have to set up an account but it's just an email address and password and takes no more than a few seconds.
Wycliffe Bible Translators have produced these 21 short, simple prayers to help kids understand and pray about Bible translation and mission. Just 2 pages to print, these could be easily incorporated into any family Bible time etc.
The Africa Society of Evangelical Theology have their annual conference, in English, on 5-6th March 2021, with theme of 'The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit'. Even if not interested/able to attend, it's worth clicking just to see the papers being presented - great examples of contemporary African theological scholarship.
MISSIONS QUOTES (thought-provoking one-liners)
(1) “I have never met a missionary who had extraordinary impact in their ministry if their life did not include extraordinary surrender to the principle that to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
(2) "Keep Jesus as the center of your life, and you will find yourself in the center of His great mission."
(3) “Disciple making is not a call for others to come to us to hear the gospel but a command for us to go to others to share the gospel.”
AND FINALLY (unrelated fun!)
Who doesn't love a photo of a good bridge?! And there are really good photos of some really good bridges here…
I adore and fear waterfalls in equal measure so when, a few years ago, I first heard about the astonishing 'Devils Pool' at Victoria Falls it's been on my mind ever since. There's many YouTube videos of it, nothing particularly special about this one, but it gives a sense of the drama. The obvious question that I've never been able to find out is who first 'made the jump' to discover this remarkable natural feature?
$300,000 seems to me to be a lot of money for a fish… but this whole industry is baffling and fascinating: "Armed robberies are frequent — and breeders often secure their lots with concrete walls, barbed wire, watch towers, and dogs."
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