Mission Hits #2 (July 2020)
Welcome to Mission Hits, a fortnightly blog highlighting stimulating and significant recent resources related to world Christianity, world church, and world mission.
Mission Hits is a ministry of www.fromeverynation.net
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(1) General, (2) Video/Audio, (3) Digging deeper, and (4) Books.
From Christianity Today magazine: "Little is heard about what is happening in this strategically important region, situated with Europe to its west, China to its southeast, and the Muslim world to its south. Yet the way local evangelical churches are responding to coronavirus challenges speaks volumes about their way of life and ministry, as well as their future missions potential." I was particularly challenged by this point..."Churches without comfortable, well-equipped buildings are more flexible and creative in missions outreach".
I thought this was interesting. Global Frontiers Missions, an American mission society, runs 8-hour long 'Global Mission Tours' in 2 US cities (currently off due to lockdown). They lead a group of Christians through the city, visit a Muslim or Hindu place of worship, eat at an 'ethnic restaurant' (!), have a prayer-walk around a multi-ethnic neighbourhood, and learn about global mission today and especially reaching minorities within their locations. It would need significant adaptation for a UK context, but I wonder whether this is something churches/agencies could replicate to get out of our normal 'sit and listen' mindsets?
Desiring God gives three ways to pray for missionaries: 1.) Favour with authorities, 2.) Healthy partnerships with local churches, and 3.) Bold witness with unbelievers. I'd certainly appreciate anyone praying that for me. Missionaries to the UK would appreciate this too I'm sure.
Neil Brighton, Team Leader at Latin Link, has written powerfully about how Covid-19 is affecting the established structures of the Western mission movement: "Maybe what we need is less strategy and more anarchy, more people who are passionate about a cause, who are willing to tear down statues of history and redefine what ‘mission’ might signify so that we have a richer, deeper appreciation for the reconciling work that God is doing in the world".
Were you aware of this? "In recent history, one of the most profound changes in the global religious landscape has been the unrelenting proportional decline of historic Christian communities in the Middle East...Christians were 12.7% of the region’s population in 1900 but only 4.2% in 2020, and it is likely that they will only represent 3.7% of the population by 2050" This article won't take long to read, but put time aside to pray about it immediately afterwards.
Paul Akin at radical.net gives three lessons we can learn by experiencing worship in different cultural contexts. A brief read, but one that helps us to think beyond our own church situation and see the global body of Christ acting out their worship in contextual forms.
The Global Church Project has done a remarkable job here of making short summaries of the theologies and works of female theologians from different parts of the world. Part of being in a global church in a connected world is listening to and engaging with perspectives from people in other places. Check them out here, including "9 African Women Theologians You Should Know About" and "18 Asian Female Theologians You Should Know About".
A well-produced 6-minute animated video outlining the missional story of the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. It moves quickly and inevitably skips through some crucial concepts, but would be useful as an introduction in a Bible study, seminar or even youth group about the missional basis of the Bible. At the bottom of the page is an 80-minute video lecture (which I've not watched) which goes into much more depth.
Fuller Theological Seminary, an important centre of pioneering missiological thought (whether one agrees with it all or not), has over 50 five-minute video introductions here to the individual books of the bible. Presented by Seminary faculty, each book is introduced through the lens of that person's academic interest and expertise.
I enjoyed this 47-minute long interview with Dr Todd Johnson, co-editor of both the Atlas of Global Christianity and the World Christian Encyclopedia (extremely significant resources to understand the scope and nature of world Christianity today). He talks about important global trends in Christianity and how they impact the world today. I listened to the audio on my phone, but the full video is available here too.
I've often enjoyed the writings of North American missiologist Michael Goheen. His personal website here has an immense collection of his work, including tens of his journal articles (many around the themes of Leslie Newbigin and missional ecclesiology). A great collection of resources for missiology keenies to explore and enjoy.
(2) Mission Frontiers Magazine (Missions in the Age of Coronavirus)
The July/August edition of Mission Frontiers is out. Articles include "The Church’s Response to Pandemics Throughout History and the Lessons for Today" and "Six Ways to Bear Witness in a Pandemic" by Rwandan Pentecostal pastor Isaie Ndayizeye.
(1) How One Man Dared To Shake Up World Missions: The Ralph Winter Story (2012)
You don't go far when studying missions before coming across the name of Ralph Winter. Some have even suggested he is a more influential figure in 20th Century Christianity than Billy Graham or John Stott! A short biography outlining his life, thinking, and influence.
"Innumerable books have been written about successful outreach and evangelism, yet almost none address the centrality of the family as God’s intended vehicle for experiencing life, community, and growth. Offering both a theological and practical foundation for understanding the role and significance of families in the vocation of the church, this book also provides creative ideas for implementing a family-centered praxis that offers preparation and support to families living out their calling to make Christ known".
"In effect, the book presents a theology of human weakness. More specifically, it expounds on various ways that God chooses to manifest his strength through our weakness. The various contributors in the book confronting the stigma or the feeling of shame that often accompanies people with disabilities. We should assist people with disabilities as they need help. But let’s not stop there. How might we equip and empower disabled people to serve in God’s mission?"
Genuinely excited by this book. "Gospel doctrine is the lifeblood of mission. Most missionaries in church history have, in preparation for the field, committed themselves to rigorous study and extraordinary theological training, but there has been a move away from that in recent times. E.D. Burns contends that this is dangerous, leaving those who need it most ill–equipped to deal with the difficulties mission life brings".
"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, drawing on decades of serving and learning among communities in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and South, Central and Southeast Asia".
Mission hits is a ministry of www.fromeverynation.net
For questions, comments, or suggestions for the next edition, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that I choose links to resources I find stimulating and/or significant. Posting a link does not mean I personally agree with everything there!