Mission Hits #22 (June 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)
Brief, easy-to-read, and oh-so important. Why befriending immigrants with loving hospitality in our Western contexts is a fun, enriching, and missiologically-strategic ministry.
A useful introduction to an important question: "When theological education is properly aligned towards fulfilling the Great Commission, the missionary impulse is amplified." Blog post for the Upstream Collective from Matthew Hirt.
Four reasons why bringing up kids in an overseas mission context can be a great blessing to the kids, the parents, and the ministry. I suspect this will resonate with many missionary parents doing this, and might be helpful too for those caring for them.
GENERAL (worth your time)
We know this in theory, but living it out is hard. Frequent reminders from articles like this help me: "When we prioritize outcomes over faithfulness, we subvert the glory of Christ…although goal-setting can be an important component of effective ministry, it has the potential to undermine the work of the Holy Spirit and promote quantity over quality."
Brief but effective: Why praying for gospel ministry thousands of miles away is important (and some quick tips on doing it more). From Steve Burchett at BiblicalMissiology.org
"The diaspora can challenge our parochial worldview to give us a global view of a God who is a missionary God". American Missiologist Ed Stetzer gives a simple introduction to the benefits for all people that come with ministry to immigrant diaspora communities in the West. This article is worth reading for the last paragraph alone.
AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts, videos)
Editor's privilege - I can link to myself! I appreciated this opportunity to talk to Jamie Read (Crosslinks, UK) in this 25-min podcast as part of the excellent 'Inside Mission' series: "In this episode Chris challenges us to think about mission as more than just 'sending' but an interaction with the world Church that depicts God's vision of people from every nation working together for his glory."
Some helpful observations on this podcast about the importance of honour-shame dynamics, not just in certain 'overseas' cultures worldwide today, but also in Western culture, and of course fundamentally in the Bible. If such things are relatively unfamiliar to you, this is a good place to start thinking about these important concepts. 47-min conversation from the Missio Nexus (US) podcast 'The Mission Matters'.
This is a very important question. 47-min discussion from 'The Missions Podcast': “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.” This phrase has often been used, quoted, misused, and misquoted among Christians. How should Christians handle doctrinal disagreements and controversy? This question is even more complicated on the field. How can missionary teammates know the difference between an essential, gospel-level issue and a non-essential? What happens when missionaries differ."
DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)
Professor of Missions (Harding, US) Alan Howell speaks about what questions Christians involved in mission need to be asking post-pandemic in order to appropriately discern the times and respond accordingly: "Are there ways of doing mission that the pandemic is revealing to be obsolete? Are we brave enough to give them a good burial and move on?"
30-minute podcast from David Jacob (Center for Mission Mobilization and Retention): "Neurotheology is a relatively new field of study that investigates how our brains are shaped and transformed by religious experiences. Out of this study comes the significance of attachment (see John 15). As we examine the science that forms attachments, we see that the most important tool for mobilizing may be right in front of us - mentorship"
Journal article (2020) by Kirk Franklin (University of Pretoria) looking at how measures of progress and milestones need to move beyond statistics and more into line with the missio Dei. It's written into the world of Bible translation, but has a broader application across the field of mission . Well worth reading if you're a mission leader in some capacity.
BOOKS (best recent releases)
"This comprehensive resource helps teachers understand the way people in different cultures learn so they can adapt their teaching for maximum effectiveness. Craig Ott, a senior missiologist known for his expertise in theology and church planting, draws on extensive research and cross-cultural experience from around the world. This book introduces students to current theories and best practices for teaching and learning across cultures" (buy from US publisher)
"Dr. Katho demonstrates the many parallels between Jeremiah's Judah and a continent that continues to experience the complex and devastating realities of poverty, injustice, and war. Katho reminds us, however, that Jeremiah is also an exercise in imagination. It is a book of hope, and Katho, like Jeremiah, dares to dream past the present and into a future where God is known and humans flourish." (buy from UK publisher)
"All the prophets are to be taken seriously by Muslims. They know the names of many Bible characters and often know Islam's version of their stories. This book is about sharing the precious truth of the gospel by referencing characters on whom Muslims themselves set a high value. It offers helpful, practical conversational habits to initiate, navigate, and steer conversations through the common ground of our prophetic heritage." (Buy from US publisher)
MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)
90-min Webinar on 30th June 2021 from Global Connections (UK). "How has mission to Muslims developed throughout the pandemic, and what new opportunities are there? Should we change our approach? What changes have been good; what do we want to keep? What have we missed; what do we want to return to? Join us at the next Muslim World Forum for missiological reflections, short anecdotes of ministry, and time in small groups for prayerful reflection and interaction. Missiological perspectives will be provided by Cathy Ross, Patrick (Pat) Brittenden and Shadi Fatehi."
2-hour zoom event from OMF-UK: "A fun morning of cooking Lao food and learning about this beautiful country from those who have lived and worked there. You can cook the simple traditional dish with us or just watch along as we hear about stories of the people, the place and find out about opportunities to serve. Author Reuben Grace, who will be sharing about his new family devotional book ‘A Taste of Asia’."
MISSIONS QUOTES (thought-provoking one-liners)
(1) "The best apologetic of the Gospel is a church that believes it, lives it, and proclaims it"
(2) "I believe it will only be known on the Last Day how much has been accomplished in missionary work by the prayers of earnest believers at home"
(3) "Keep Jesus as the center of your life, and you will find yourself in the center of His great mission."
AND FINALLY (unrelated but interesting!)
This is interesting. Some of these are stunning, and monumentally huge, structures.
A huge list (click any one for explanation and examples) of any trope you can imagine in film, tv, literature, media, or anywhere else. It's hard to describe - it's best to have a dig around yourself in this fascinating and epic website.
So interesting to see famous 18th/19th Century figures 'humanized'. I'd love to see this done for early 20th Century famous figures too.
Full searchable archives of all Mission Hits resources from edition #1
Questions, comments, or suggestions for the next edition?
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