From Every Nation (Chris Howles)
Mission Hits #17 (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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PLEASE PASS ON TO INTERESTED FRIENDS, COLLEAGUES & CHURCH MEMBERS
ESSENTIALS (must reads)
(1) There Is No Future Without Cross-cultural Ministry
2-page essay from Malawian-born Dr Harvey Kwiyani (now UK-based lecturer in African Christianity and Theology) about the questions and opportunities that global migration bring to UK church and mission. We cannot afford to ignore the topics raised here (equally-relevant for readers elsewhere in Western contexts).
(2) Toxicity and mission agency culture
I was torn over posting this. It's highly critical of the strategy and culture of one large US-based mission society, and I have no easy way to discern the exact situation (although note that Jackson Wu is a highly regarded missiologist and author). If nothing else, it is a pertinent warning to all involved in Western mission agencies on the dangers of authoritarianism and a fixation on statistics to measure effectiveness.
(3) Experiencing miscarriage as a missionary
I appreciated the heartfelt honesty from this (anonymous) American missionary in South Asia as she shares her (ongoing) story of grief after a miscarriage on the field. Cross-cultural living can be hard. Dealing with such traumatic griefs cross-culturally even more so.
GENERAL (worth your time)
(1) 3 reasons for a Christian to study Islam
"I lived in the Middle East for several years. One of the things that struck me early on is that it is shockingly easy to talk about God with Muslims…[but] actually communicating the gospel to a Muslim friend is vastly different than merely speaking the gospel." Short, stimulating article from Matthew Bennett.
(2) Secularization in Thailand
This blog post from OMF missionary Karl Dahlfred is about the style, substance, and growth of secularism in Thailand and the implications for gospel witness there. I suspect much of it applies to other parts of Asia and elsewhere too. Training for ministry and mission in such places must keep up!
Should churches direct resources and efforts to sending workers away into overseas or contexts, or reaching diaspora communities within our own towns and cities? Short, helpful article from GFM answering 'both!': "The United States, abroad, and on an airplane in between those two places – the mission of God is the same."
AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts, videos)
(1) How should a church get involved in supporting world mission?
It's easy to impose our own contemporary missions cultures and systems onto the Book of Acts to justify what we're already doing. Missiologist Eddie Arthur avoids this as he gives a overview of some key (often overlooked) moments in Acts which need to inform current mission practices. 25-min podcast (or watch the video here).
(2) Interview with Chris Wright
Chris Wright is one of the most influential missiologists of the 21st century. His epic book 'The Mission of God' is a huge, worthwhile read, and this (2020) 40-min podcast interview with him (by Graham Joseph Hill) is a helpful introduction to his outlook, particularly in relation to mission in the Old Testament .
After St Patrick's day last week, I enjoyed this12-min video from JD Payne on Patrick's life, ministry and monastery-planting strategy.
DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)
(1) Is Christianity shrinking or shifting?
A packed article with descriptions, maps and stats about how the demographics and dimensions of Christianity worldwide have changed over the past 100 years. Accessible articles like this on such an important (yet still widely unknown) phenomenon deserve a wide reading.
(2) Majority world Systematic Theology
Dr Alexander Chow, codirector of the Centre for the Study of World Christianity, has helpfully compiled a thorough list of systematic theology monographs (in English) which emanate from, or are informed by, majority world contexts (from 2019).
(3) World Christianity and the History of Mission Annual Meeting
Online conference 22nd June 2021 – 24th June 2021 on the theme 'Oral, Print, and Digital Cultures in World Christianity and the History of Mission'.
BOOKS (best recent releases)
(1) Migration and the Making of Global Christianity (2021)
Jehu J. Hanciles
"[This book] shows how migration—more than official missionary activity or imperial designs—played a vital role in making Christianity the world’s largest religion…in turning the focus of the story away from powerful empires and heroic missionaries, it tells the more truthful story of how every Christian migrant is a vessel for the spread of the Christian faith in our deeply interconnected world."
(2) An Introduction to Ecclesiology: Historical, Global, and Interreligious Perspectives (2021)
"As the church today encounters challenges and opportunities related to rapid growth in the Majority World...Christians need a robust ecclesiology that makes room for both unity and diversity. An essential resource for understanding how the church can live out its calling as Christ's community on earth."
(3) What is God's Mission in the World and How Do We Join It? (2021)
Juan Francisco Martinez and Jamie Pitts
"What does God’s mission look like? Who is supposed to carry it out—and how? [This book] helps readers understand what mission means, why Christians in the past have made missteps, and how we can learn from Christian communities that are spreading the good news of Jesus today."
MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)
(1) Innovation in Missions: A Global Perspective
The annual US-based Missio Nexus 'On Mission: On demand' conference took place recently on the theme of innovation in mission. The 19 short talks from speakers across the world are now available as video and transcribed (about 2-3 pages each). I particularly enjoyed talks from Eliézer Magalhães, Dr. Harvey Kwiyani, and Reuben Kachala.
I have many questions, but outreach to youngsters on/through Minecraft is certainly an innovative use of technology and creativity in mission.
MISSIONS QUOTES (thought-provoking one-liners)
(1) “Every missionary I know is extraordinarily ordinary. Everything they do, they do by the grace of God.”
(2) "Missionary zeal does not grow out of intellectual beliefs, nor out of theological arguments, but out of love"
(3) "We must adopt the compassion of God if we are to participate in the mission of God."
AND FINALLY (unrelated but interesting!)
I downloaded this podcast for the first interview, but it's the second one that captured me. The astonishing stories of 3 young women who gave birth in the concentration camps of Europe in the final months of WW2. It’s hugely traumatic and harrowing, breathtakingly sad and shocking, but ultimately just so moving and profoundly important to remember such people. Interview starts at 26:26.
(2) The world's largest stadiums for each sport…
When I was a kid the Guinness Book of Records was my favourite Christmas present every year. Sadly, people stopped buying it for me, but articles like this fill that gap in my life…
"For 6 months there's been someone in my family WhatsApp group who I thought was my dad but was in fact a random called Peter…" This twitter thread made me laugh.
Full searchable archives of all Mission Hits resources from edition #1
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