Mission Hits #16 (Mar 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)
This is impressive. A free PDF with 101 pointers to help Christians in the West think, live, and pray with a focus on God's glory amidst all nations. Grouped as 'Ways to pray', 'Ways to give', 'Ways to welcome', 'Ways to mobilize' and 'Ways to go', I'd think most folk would find a good number of things in here they'd find achievable and fruitful.
This really needs to keep being said, and Matt Bennett does it well in this article: "In order to fulfill the command Jesus left us, the church cannot reduce its task to world evangelization. When we do, we produce strategies aimed at a diminished task"
Within days of each other, Desiring God released an article '6 myths about missions' and ABWE (re)released '5 myths about missions'. That's 11 debunked myths in total, which is enough for anyone in one go, and in fairness they're both worthy reads: 6 myths and 5 myths…
GENERAL (worth your time)
Of course this question is complex and stressful, but David Platt here lays some helpful foundations to start engaging in discussion.
A few years old and not written-from a Christian standpoint, but this list of 10 common experiences when transitioning back to the US/West from overseas made me laugh as I recognized so many of them personally! Worth bookmarking and using as a basis for a nice chat with a temporarily/permanently returned missionary.
A topic I knew little about. One can read Neil Brighton's (team leader, Latin Link Britain and Ireland) short book review here and not only get a 60-second outline of the topic, but also be motivated to read more.
AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts, videos)
I really enjoyed chatting with Eddie Arthur (if you're not subscribed to his kouya.net mission blog, you really should consider it) about the role of westerners in the Ugandan church, Ugandan missions movements, and The Beatles. 27-min podcast or YouTube video.
This is really excellent. As in, really excellent. A 40-min interview (on the 'Amazon to the Himalayas' podcast) with Andrew Scott, President of Operation Mobilization and author of the book 'Scatter'. Andrew speaks with warmth and passion whilst asking some extremely important questions about mission strategy and mission agencies.
DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)
Enjoyed this Alex Kocman article, using Proverbs 17:24 to challenge readers to examine our mission-motivations carefully: "Is your passion for missions reflective of a life of deep prayer and longing for the coming of the kingdom across the world…or are you pursuing global missions out of a desire to escape the monotony of your daily life?"
This is an important missiological concept - are there inherent ideas, images, doctrines etc...in other worldviews or religions which God has purposefully placed in order to prepare that person for (or bridge to) the gospel? A good introduction outlining some of the main (Western) academic contributions to this topic…
BOOKS (best recent releases)
"Europe has become the difficult mission in the world today. Secularism poses a new kind of challenge for Christian missionaries. As a Servant of God, Ted Kim is rightly concerned about this and this book will not only cause readers to see Europe as the mission held that it is, it will also convict them to pray. This is a book for everyone concerned about God's mission in the world, which should actually be every Christian in the world"
"[This] provides theological educators with the tools they need to combat the sacred-secular divide in the very realm where it is so often generated: the classroom. The approaches suggested here…an excellent resource for educators desiring to transform their institutional cultures, curriculums, and classrooms into environments that envision, empower, and liberate the whole church for its role in the mission of God."
"Take a 40-day journey to meet brothers and sisters who share in the sufferings of Christ. For more than 20 years, Todd Nettleton (host of The Voice of the Martyrs Radio) has traveled the world to interview hundreds of Christians who’ve been persecuted for the name of Christ. Now he opens his memory bank—and even his personal journals—to take you along to meet bold believers who will inspire you to a deeper walk with Christ."
MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)
If, like me, you enjoy missions and maps and missions-maps, then you may like the weird and wonderful world maps here from the Joshua Project representing unreached people groups.
"The 26th of March marks six years since Yemen’s Civil War began, a war which plunged the already impoverished nation of 30 million people into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis…It is estimated that less than 0.0001% of the population may be followers of Christ." I know pitifully little about Yemen, but this 7-day prayer guide seems enlightening and important.
MISSIONS QUOTES (thought-provoking one-liners)
(1) "Whatever you are good at, do it well for the glory of God - and do it somewhere strategic for the mission of God."
(2) “It is not so much the case that God has a mission for his church in the world, as that God has a church for his mission in the world. Mission was not made for the church; the church was made for mission – God’s mission.”
(3) "It is the very heart of the gospel that it both gives everything and requires everything."
AND FINALLY (unrelated but interesting!)
A harrowing read. One simply has to face up to stories like these, much as I'd prefer to turn away. Make sure to read until the end. (If you'd prefer an audio-version, go here)
I love skyscrapers, and enjoyed how this was presented: The 5 tallest buildings on every continent.
I was deeply moved by this, Christian blogger Tim Challies' letter to his son who died who died a few months ago aged 20: "Really, one of the hardest parts of my loss is that all my feelings of love remain, but there’s no way to express them. For 20 years there was always something I could give you, something I could do for you, some way I could spoil you. But now you are beyond all doing, beyond all need, beyond all expressions of love. It’s hard on a dad"
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