From Every Nation (Chris Howles)
Mission Hits #29 (October 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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Welcome to Mission Hits #29!
You might notice a new section in this edition ('Tweets') to go with the new section from last time ('Highlights'). I trust these are useful additions that bring more stimulating content to you as quickly and easily as possible.
As ever, please feel free to send me any feedback - firstname.lastname@example.org
If you think others would benefit from this issue of Mission Hits, do send it to them.
ESSENTIALS (must reads)
(1) Liturgy for the well-worn missions leader
"I live in a ministry that demands immediate results, but it's slow work. I live with a burden to see the lost saved, but I cannot save. I live with an urgency to mobilize your church, but she seems distracted…Lord, I am not sufficient for these things." Bradley Bell writes a lovely liturgical prayer for worn and weary mission leaders and missionaries. Print it out and pin it by your desk…
(2) 5 Christian activities we mistake for missions
What exactly constitutes 'missions' is a debate that runs and runs. This is a clear articulation of one perspective: "Let’s talk about missions with precision, so that we can do missions with excellence."
(3) The Complexities of the Church
Some brilliant quotes from Andrew Walls' book 'Crossing Cultural Frontiers: Studies in the History of World Christianity', collated by Eddie Arthur. For example: "The truth is that Western models of theology are too small for Africa…Since most Africans live in a larger, more populated universe, with entities that are outside the Enlightenment worldview, such models of theology cannot cope with some of the most urgent pastoral needs. They have no answers for some of the most desolating aspects of life—because they have no questions"
GENERAL (worth your time)
(1) 3 Reasons we measure growth in DMMs
Regular Mission Hits readers will have seen articles here cautioning against excessive counting/measuring/recording stats related to growth, conversion, baptism, multiplication etc. in disciple making movements. This article argues that doing those things can be responsible, careful, fruitful, and worshipful.
Some sensible advice on that most dreaded of topics: missionary support raising. "You need to shift from thinking you are asking them to give you money, toward understanding you are extending an invitation to be part of what God is calling you to do. It makes all the difference."
"you stole my ability to do almost everything" - A rather poetic and profound description of a common yet corrosive feature of living cross-culturally: reverse culture shock.
AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts, videos)
Honor and shame. Fear and power. Guilt and innocence. Such worldview categorizations can shed light but also cause heat and controversy. ED Burns speaks on 'The Missions Podcast ' about how he reconciles such concepts and helps missionaries to avoid 'karmic Christianity' and enjoy a theology of 'enough'. A good listen.
(2) On church-centered missions vs movement-driven missions
What’s the difference between “movement-based missions” and “church-based missions”? 37min chat with Mack Stiles, Brooks Buser, Scott Logsdon, and Aubrey Sequeira about these diverging approaches. It's not balanced - all panellists are proponents of church-based, but it's a strong defence of that position.
DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)
(1) Commemorating Andrew Walls (1928-2021)
80-minute video recording on YouTube of the Centre for the Study of World Christianity's research seminar commemorating the life and legacy of its founder, Professor Andrew F. Walls (1928–2021). Discusses his contributions to African Studies, Religious Studies, and World Christianity and Mission Studies. Panelists included Margaret Acton, Dr Barbara Bompani, Professor James L. Cox, and Professor Jehu J. Hanciles.
(2) What is Intercultural Theology?
Benno van den Toren, Professor of Intercultural Theology at the Protestant Theological University, writing briefly and brilliantly about what intercultural theology is, and crucially, some of the tensions (perhaps even hypocrisies?) contained within the discipline.
BOOKS (recent releases)
Links are to Amazon for best info/reviews. Other outlets are available...
(1) Motus Dei: The Movement of God to Disciple the Nations (2021)
Warrick Farah (Editor)
'[This book] is a multi-disciplinary academic investigation of an emerging “movements missiology,” highlighting the importance of theology, social sciences, ethnology and anthropology, communications theory, leadership theory, and statistical analysis. Offering over thirty first-hand accounts of indigenous churches planting churches among the nations, Motus Dei provides a seedbed for growing movements in diverse contexts. There are lessons to be learned here by anyone seeking to participate in the movement of God.'
(2) The Muslim Majority: Folk Islam and the Seventy Percent (2021)
'More than 70 percent of Muslims worldwide practice folk Islam, a syncretistic mix of theologically orthodox Islam and traditional religious beliefs and practices. Author and missiologist Robin Hadaway outlines a contextual approach that addresses the unique perspective of popular Islam. Hadaway explains the differences between folk Islam and orthodox Islam and explores best practices for reaching the vast majority of Muslims with the gospel of Jesus Christ.'
(3) Spiritual Formation for the Global Church: A Multi-Denominational, Multi-Ethnic Approach (2021)
Ryan A. Brandt & John Frederick (Editors)
"The church is one in Christ. Yet too often, it is divided by national, denominational, theological, and racial or ethnic boundaries. The church is a global body of believers. Yet too often, it privileges a few voices and fails to recognize its own diversity. In response, this volume offers a multi-denominational, multi-ethnic vision in which biblical scholars, theologians, and practitioners from around the world join together to pursue a cohesive yet diverse theology and praxis of spiritual formation for the global church"
MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)
Series of free, monthly, live (US-based) conversations about contemporary mission topics specifically designed to serve pastors and church leaders. Remaining 2021 talks are 'Finish the mission or establish healthy churches?' (Dr. Matt Bennett, 10/27), 'Developing Church Mission Strategy: right place, right work, right people', (Dr. Scott Logsdon, 11/10), and 'Unity in your church catalyzes global mission impact ' (Lori McDaniel, 12/1). All are 11am Eastern time (4pm UK time).
(2) Missionaries and Covid-Vaccines
A useful summary from Christianity Today magazine on how US mission agencies are responding to the question of missionary Covid-vaccinations as it relates to questions of international travel, personal safety, vaccine mandates etc.
Clear, colourful, and concise prayer guide from the World Evangelical Alliance concerning COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference starting Oct 31st.
QUOTES (wise one-liners)
(1) "The Church, wherever it is, is not only Christ's witness to its own people and nation, but also the home base for a mission to the ends of the earth."
(2) “Our mission, according to Jesus, is not to gather audiences, but to grow disciples.”
(3) "The Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become.”
TWEETS (short but significant)
HIGHLIGHTS (most popular links from last Mission Hits…)
(1) Top tips on preaching on mission from the whole Bible
(2) Moving beyond multicultural church
(3) Beware the Idols of an Overseas Life
AND FINALLY (unrelated but interesting!)
I watched this in disbelief. The Japanese Puffer Fish can do something nothing else in nature can…
This is fun. Search for any words/phrase to see what % of books it has appeared in over time. 'Christian Mission' currently on a massive downward trend. 'World Christianity' on a massive upwards trend. But check out words and phrases that interest you!
A lot of worldview analysis you can do here, but I thought this was a really interesting article about people who are slashing their income, doing the absolute minimum work possible, and 'pursuing the pleasure of leisure' by having to do what they want to do.
Full searchable archives of all Mission Hits resources from edition #1
Questions, comments, or suggestions for the next edition?
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