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  • Writer's pictureFrom Every Nation (Chris Howles)

Mission Hits #25 (August 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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ESSENTIALS (must reads)

"Which would bother you more: if your pastor got a tattoo, or if he committed adultery?” The class was unanimous. The tattoo would be more disturbing." What a fascinating example of understanding cultural perspectives before leaping into judgment and division. This Gospel Coalition article is really worth reading.

"No matter what I do, how I live, how I speak or dress— will it ever be “enough?” Will I always be a foreign weirdo?" I suspect this (by Julie Jean Francis) will resonate with many cross-cultural missionaries. And she may not give the answer you were expecting…

A really worthwhile read for our times: "COVID-19 has underlined a reality that has likely long been true: the church is too dependent on short-term mission trips as its main mobilization strategy. What would you do to mobilize your church or students if there were no trips to take, no cross-cultural moments to experience, no crickets to eat, no souvenirs to bring home?"


GENERAL (worth your time)

This is powerfully argued from Steve Schirmer (President of Silk Road Catalyst): "Platforms are often employed in an effort to gain legitimacy in a cross-cultural setting….There are some who use fictitious platforms—platforms that bring no value to the local community except to grant the missionary an entry visa. I grieve my complicity in this trend of deceit. Fake platforms are inherently illegal, irresponsible, and un-Christian as they are unethical and a false witness."

Local national friends, or expat home-country friends? Cross-cultural struggles to make friends or living in the expat bubble? Who to devote friendship time to is a real issue for many missionaries. This is a careful, balanced, practical article which missionaries facing such questions might benefit from.

A lovely article for missionaries (and those supporting them) about coping with constant transition without much stability and consistency.


AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts, videos)

Kenyan pastor Ken Mbugua speaks graciously, wisely, and helpfully on relationships between Western and African churches in this 30-min 'From Amazon to the Himalayas' podcast.

Dr. Riad Kassis is a teacher, author, theological educator, and director of the Langham Scholars program (which supports emerging theological leaders throughout the Majority World). From his home base in Lebanon, he chats with Chris Wright in this 48-min podcast about the history of Arab Christians, what it’s like for Christ followers in Lebanon today, and how theological education can be missionally-oriented.

David Jacob of the Center for Missionary Mobilization and Retention explains why missionaries should be involved in missionary mobilization, as well as practical ways churches can intentionally involve missionaries in the mobilization process (33-min podcast).


DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)

This 2021 'missiological report on Europe is an impressive and fascinating piece of work. As Chris Wright comments about it: "Combining fascinating and timely analysis of social, economic, and political trends, with insightful and forward looking missiological reflection, this report should be essential reading for all those who, in any part of the world, are concerned about mission in, from and to, the continent of Europe." Fifty readable and informative pages, by Jim Memory in collaboration with European Christian Mission International.

25-page summaries of all the 2020 PhD theses from South African Theological Seminary. Brilliant reading for those interested in some of the theologian and missiological work currently coming from Africa.

This year’s theme is ‘Pandemic, Migration and Mission: Navigating Implications for Mission’. This live three-hour global event will be in multiple time zones and languages and will be hosted by the Global Diaspora Network of the Lausanne Movement bringing together mission leaders, practitioners, and leading scholars in the areas of global migration, diaspora mission, and world Christianity. 25th August 2021.


BOOKS (best recent releases)

Links are to Amazon for best info/reviews. Other outlets are available...

Jay Moon, W.Bud Simon,

"[This book] unpacks the intercultural dynamics that Christians need to understand when encountering people from different communities and cultural backgrounds. Regarding evangelism from the perspective of four major worldviews (guilt/justice, shame/honor, fear/power, and indifference/belonging with purpose), this book demonstrates contextual evangelism approaches that are relevant, biblical, and practical. Sharing one's faith does not require attacking other religions; rather, we can engage at the worldview level in order to address people's deepest concerns.

Eliot Branch

"Who is Eliot Branch and what is his story? In his own words, he is just an ordinary man from rural Missouri struggling to learn the language and culture of a tiny landlocked country in Southeast Asia. Filled with true stories of peril and persecution the author and his partners encounter along the way, here is a testament to how God uses ordinary people to accomplish his mission when they step out in faith, not trusting in their own ability, but relying upon his."

Lauren Wells

"Third Culture Kids (TCKs), experience a significant number of losses, grief-inducing experiences, and traumas during their developmental years. These events stack up like blocks on a tower throughout the life of the TCK, creating what Lauren Wells has coined the Grief Tower. If it continues to stack without these experiences being processed, a TCK's Grief Tower is likely to crash in their early adulthood. Can parents and caregivers provide care that prevents the tower from stacking too high in the first place? The answer is yes, and this practical resource is full of tools for helping the TCKs we love to process their grief."


MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)

The persistence, creativity, and passion of these high speed prayers in Tokyo! And we can all join in on (the aptly-named) Zoom…

I have enjoyed some of these 35 free Reformed Theological Seminary 'History of Mission' lectures given by the late Dr Samuel Larsen in 2010. It's not just the content I've learnt from, but the teaching manner too.

Interesting. Free online video course to help Christians from oral-preference cultures learn Biblical Greek and Hebrew, with a focus on majority world students.


MISSIONS QUOTES (thought-provoking one-liners)

(1) “A congregation that is not deeply and earnestly involved in the worldwide proclamation of the Gospel does not understand the nature of salvation.”

Ted Engstrom

(2) "There is no participation in Christ without participation in His mission to the world. That by which the Church receives its existence is that by which it is also given its world-mission."

Lesslie Newbigin

(3) “God is a God of missions. He wills missions. He commands missions. He demands missions. He made missions possible through His Son. He made missions actual in sending the Holy Spirit.”

George W. Peters


AND FINALLY (unrelated but interesting!)

The world's biggest-earning franchises. Shows the size of both the Asian markets, and merchandising generally. At the top it's not Star Wars, Marvel, or Harry Potter but…..

A 55-second race through every front page of the New York Times since 1852. How much our newspapers, following our culture/sensibilities, have changed in that period!

A bit self-indulgent, but this is a link to my own twitter thread earlier this week about John Akii-Bua, Uganda's first ever Olympic gold medalist. It is truly an astonishing tale, and one of the most fascinating stories I'd ever read.


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

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