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)
Really appreciated this gentle and perceptive article, asking whether recent events should provoke a reassessment of the centrality of 'Finish the Task' strategies in mission.
The answer to that question? Ask them how their holiday is going…! We're currently on furlough/home assignment, and although we haven't experienced this directly, some of the issues raised here ring true. Worth reading if you are a missionary planning a home assignment, or someone caring for missionaries when back.
Practical ideas here about how a local church can support its missionaries during key lifecycle phases and transitions of a typical missionary experience: There's many similar articles out there, but I enjoyed this one. Recommended for church leaders and Christians with responsibilities for missionary care…
GENERAL (worth your time)
Many readers will be aware of how the Scriptures are full of 'shame-honour' concepts. But often such things are largely presumed to be relevant only to non-Western cultures. In this old (2017) blogpost Keelan Cook explains the concept (for those new to it), then explains why it's important in Western culture evangelism too.
What are the different ways that local churches can structure and administer their giving to global mission? Short summary from The Upstream Collective (US) of 4 such methods that might act as a helpful starting point for your church's missions giving…
Rachel Pieh Jones reflecting on her time in the Horn of Africa: "Western Christianity has stripped Jesus of his humanity, of the essence of the incarnation; flesh and blood. White Jesus is a figment of the imagination and when we turned the Jewish Palestinian man into an overly spiritualized modern European, we also removed the religious and cultural milieu in which he lived."
AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts, videos)
Two podcasts here, but they fit together perfectly: British missiologist Eddie Arthur on the background, and then implications, of mission as God's mission. Highly recommend listening to both of these if you are a part of the Western missions industry (!) in any way. Click on the title above for the first one. The 2nd is here. An hour well spent .
Interview with Jolene Erlacher about how Generation Z commonly approach missions through different lenses which will affect how they are equipped and sent into the world. Generational differences matter! 30-min podcast from David Jacob at The Missionary Mobilization Podcast.
DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)
Alongside 'Mission Hits' you're currently reading, the other primary ministry of this website is to collate and distribute academic output from the missions world. 'Mission Hits JOURNALS' is an email (4 times a year) with links to all journals/periodicals related to world mission/World Christianity. Edition #3 covering April-June 2021 has just come out. Sign up to stay informed, inspired, and thoroughly up-to-date with contemporary missiological thinking.
Long but valuable article from Dr. James D. Langteau (Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand and SIL-International consultant) about the serious relational/spiritual problems that too many missionaries are experiencing today, and what sort of local church discipleship is required. I expect agency leaders and mobilization workers would benefit from a careful read of this…
We all need to be prodded in our mission thinking - it helps to challenge and sharpen. Jay Matenga (Head of Missions Interlink, New Zealand) does just that. "A Great Commitment perspective of loving mutuality reorients transboundary service from us-to-them to an us-with-them journey of collaborative service, helping the gospel flourish locally and indigenously."
BOOKS (best recent releases)
Links are to Amazon.co.uk for best info/reviews. Other outlets are available...
Not strictly a Christian Missions book, but appears potentially relevant to short-term mission: "Voluntourism, or the combination of volunteer service and tourism, is valorised as the best of what tourism can be. Despite the accolades, the very same flaws rampant in early voluntourism, including xenophobia, racism, paternalism, colonialist attitudes, and a ‘west knows best’ mentality, are pervasive…What well-meaning Americans and others are doing by going away to give back is unintentionally, but actively, hurting developing economies and damaging communities. [This book] offers an alternative…and suggests strategies for travellers who want to actually improve the places they visit."
"Advanced Missiology draws the connections between the theory and practice of missions. Using the metaphor of a river, the book shows how theories ""upstream"" such as theology, education, anthropology, community development, and history have exerted an influence on missiology. Each chapter in Advanced Missiology shows how numerous theories, sub-fields, models, and strategies of missiology ultimately facilitate the Great Commission."
Krish Kandiah, Miriam Kandiah
"In ten action-packed stories, Whistlestop Tales tells how God uses people from all over the world in his global adventure. From Iraq to Italy, Sudan to Cyprus, each tale begins with a look at a modern-day country to help ground the characters in their original context and cultures…flagging that racial diversity is a big feature of God's story in the Bible and often we overlook this."
MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)
If you want to be informed about global affairs, but feel overwhelmed by the sheer scope and quantity of news available, then subscribe to Justin Long's 'Roundup': a weekly email with links to some of the major events/issues worldwide
Lots to enjoy here. A PDF of 40 days of prayer for the global church (40 pages, 1 per day) from The Gospel Coalition. Each day has a short description of some aspect of world Christianity, with prayer and a relevant Bible verse. Good for personal devotions, for staff prayers at a church/agency, or for a missions prayer group.
MISSIONS QUOTES (thought-provoking one-liners)
(1) "You cannot participate in God’s global mission of making himself the center of the universe until he has become the center of your life."
(2) "God is pursuing with omnipotent passion a worldwide purpose of gathering joyful worshippers for Himself from every tribe and tongue and people and nation"
(3) "Your candle loses nothing when it lights another"
AND FINALLY (unrelated but interesting!)
I know this will appeal to many of you: Lift any country off the world map and drag it around the world to compare size with others (bonus: demonstrates the distorting effect of our common Mercator map projections brilliantly). Have fun!
It’s secular but I found some of these fascinating: From David Perell - "These are my guiding principles and the light of my intellectual life. All of them will help you think better, and I hope they inspire curiosity."
An old one this, but I suspect it'll be useful (and certainly fun) to many of you. Why do we procrastinate? And how do we stop? Read all 3 articles one after the other (note: some swearing).
Questions, comments, or suggestions for the next edition?
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