• From Every Nation (Chris Howles)

Mission Hits #20 (May 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

Please note there is only one 'Mission Hits' email in May.

Normal twice-monthly service should resume from June onwards.

ESSENTIALS (must reads)


(1) Missionaries are not superheroes

May such articles comprehensively remove any lingering sense that missionaries should be considered spiritual superheroes. How the Hierarchy of Missions Hurts the Gospel, the Church, and the missionary...

(2) Teaching Kids to Love the Nations

I wonder how many Christian parents would ever consider such a topic? Some helpful suggestions here. Link takes you to a video from a conference talk but the transcript is there too.

(3) A tribute to Carlos Rene Padilla

This is a short, sweet, and informative tribute by Jules Martinez-Olivieri to this most important of recent mission figures: "Padilla did not confuse theological orthodoxy with socio-political conservatism...instead, walking with prophetic independence, Padilla was a key voice in providing the missional coordinates for the next generations."

GENERAL (worth your time)

(1) 4 ways to love your Muslim neighbour

Written primarily for Christians in the West. It's introductory-level, but helpful and positive.

(2) Power Dynamics on the Mission Field

An important study into the use and abuse of power within cross- cultural mission teams.

(3) Does God hate Africa?

A Kampala Christian writes to John Piper: "Every day is pure struggle for most Ugandans. I know God promises to look after all people, but it still makes me wonder, why does he especially seem to hate Africa so much?” You may or may not appreciate Piper's answer, but it's a courageous question, and credit to Piper for attempting an answer.

AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts, videos)

(1) Building a multi-ethnic church

Missiologist Ed Stetzer interviews Dr. Derwin L. Gray in this 44-min podcast to discuss his most recent book "Building a Multiethnic Church: A Gospel Vision of Love, Grace, and Reconciliation in a Divided World". Some excellent conversation here about the priority of multi-raciality ("gracism not racism"!) in our churches.

(2) The Persecuted Church with Nik Ripken

Dr Paul Akin speaks to Nik Ripken in this 50-min podcast. Ripken (author of 'The Insanity of God') is one of the world's leading voices on the persecuted church, and his stories, passions and concerns are striking and profoundly humbling.

(3) Dr Siegfried Ngubane

Dr Siegfried Ngubane (SIM, Southern Africa) speaks candidly about the church in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. An important listen for those interested in theology from Africa, and relationships between African & Western churches.

DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)

(1) Migration in World Christianity: Hospitality, Pilgrimage, and Church on the Move

A brilliant essay from Kirsteen Kim at Fuller Theological Seminary about the theology and application of mission as hospitality, migration and pilgrimage. I'm glad I spent the time on it "A Christian understanding of hospitality keeps in mind that the host is also a guest, as there is properly speaking only one host, Jesus Christ, who calls us into his celebration and fellowship"

(2) Movemental Ecclesiology: Recalibrating Church for the Next Frontier

Some faculty at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary argue that the post-Covid church worldwide must adopt and adapt to newer, more fluid expressions of ecclesia with more focus on Bible learning than Bible teaching, flattened hierarchies, and more social agility. Experienced missiologists will be familiar with such things, but this is a good introduction to 'movement ecclesiology'.

(3) Five Ways Biblical Geography Shapes Our View of God’s Mission

Bible, mission, geography. Christianity Today article looking at how the three intersect.

BOOKS (best recent releases)


(1) Urban Apologetics: Restoring Black Dignity with the Gospel (2021)

Eric Mason

"Urban Apologetics is the first book focused entirely on cults, religious groups, and ethnocentric ideologies prevalent in the black community. It brings the church up to speed on the legitimate issues that blacks have with Western Christianity as well as the questions alternative religious groups pose about historic Christianity, and it applies the gospel to black identity to show that Jesus is the only one who can restore our identity"

(2) The Abandoned Gospel: Confronting Neo-Pentecostalism and the Prosperity Gospel in Sub-Saharan Africa (2021)

Philip W. Barnes, Jack Rantho, Trevor Yoakum, Misheck Zulu, Baz Bhasera, Matthews Ojo (Editors)

"The authors of this book contend that the evangelical church in Africa (and indeed around the world) must rise up and say the same thing about any and all aberrant faiths and false churches. This particular volume will lay this charge against the various movements and groups that can be categorized under the heading of the Prosperity “Gospel” and Neo-Pentecostalism. These two (overlapping) groups represent a religion that has abandoned the gospel and is now preaching a gospel that is no gospel at all."

(3) Becoming All Things: How Small Changes Lead To Lasting Connections Across Cultures (2021)

Michelle Reyes

"A poignant discussion on the challenges surrounding cross-cultural relationships in America today, including the reasons for cultural difference, stereotyping, appropriation, gentrification, racism, and more. Seeking to deconstruct these things in our own lives, Reyes focuses on the concept of cultural accommodation in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, and looks at the ways in which we need to adapt who we are in order to become all things to all people."

MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)

(1) Stratus (Strategy for Unreached Synergy)

I've only had a brief play so far, but this new mapping/missiometrics tool from radical.net looks impressive . It combines data on physical needs, spiritual needs, and barriers to access, to create an interactive globe aiming to help churches and agencies coordinate missions strategy and resource allocation.

(2) World Migration Report 2020

If you're interested in what's happening with worldwide migration in the 21st Century (and if you're involved in world mission you need to be) then this is a beautiful webpage, with some great infographics.

(3) Missionary biographies for children

Short biographical stories about past missionaries written for a younger audience.

MISSIONS QUOTES (thought-provoking one-liners)

(1) “There is no success without sacrifice. If you succeed without sacrifice it is because someone has suffered before you. If you sacrifice without success it is because someone will succeed after.”

Adoniram Judson

(2) "Great commission work can never be divorced from great commandment obedience"

JT English

(3) “God aims to be sought, found, and known by all the peoples of the world.”

David Platt

AND FINALLY (unrelated but interesting!)


(1) Guess the place!

Oh this is brilliant. It shows you footage of a walk through a city, and you have to look for clues and click on a map where you think the city is. You get points for how close you are, and how quickly you guess. Can choose worldwide option, or choose a certain country. This appeals so much to me, and I'm sure it will many of you too.

(2) The mystery of the man who fell from the sky

Stunning long-form journalism about a Kenyan stowaway who landed in a London garden in 2019 "A nameless man lay before me in a little plot of south-west London, in an unmarked grave, identifiable only by a simple wooden cross and a numeric code. There are so many people like him. They keep quiet counsel in unvisited graves, and their stories vanish with them."

(3) Ironmen

What the Royal Marines are getting up to here looks terrifying and thrilling in equal measure. Who needs Marvel films anymore?

Full searchable archives of all Mission Hits resources from edition #1


Questions, comments, or suggestions for the next edition?


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