From Every Nation (Chris Howles)
Mission Hits #30 (November 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 #30!
I'm thrilled to have reached this mini-milestone of 30 editions of Missions Hits, and trust that you enjoy, and benefit from, reading these as much as I do in putting them together every 2-weeks.
From Halloween to Hinduism, and from missiometrics to motivations, there's lots of significant and simulating content in this edition.
As ever, please feel free to send me any feedback, or let me know which resources were helpful to you and your interests - 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) Being, not just making, disciples
Crucial from Eddie Arthur. This stuff just cannot be stressed enough: "A key feature of mission life must be ensuring that missionaries continue to grow as disciples. We need to have structures and relationships in place that ensure that people are not just doing their jobs, but that they are growing in Christ…Investing in the spiritual health of missionaries (and church workers) needs to be a high priority. We cannot simply assume that everything will be alright."
(2) Sharing Jesus with Hindu Friends
Excellent introductory article to Hinduism beliefs and sharing Christ with Hindus by intercultural researcher and former missionary in Nepal, Dr. Mark Pickett. Written for UK Christian university students, this article serves as an accessible and motivating starting point for anyone wishing to witness to Hindu friends.
(3) The Rise of World Christianity and the Decolonising of Mission
New CEO of Global Connections (UK) Dr. Harvey Kwiyani, on ever-challenging and helpfully thought-provoking form in this article. "[W]e need new ways of understanding mission that makes it possible for non-Western Christians (who largely have no imperial powers behind them) to engage in mission. Indeed, we need to decolonize mission. This will release the global body of Christians to engage in mission, bringing us closer to Jesus’s vision of disciples and missionaries (apostles and evangelists) in every nation."
GENERAL (worth your time)
(1) From partnership to collaboration
Dr Peter Rowan, Co-National Director OMF (UK), argues persuasively that fellowship/collaboration language (with emphasis on inter-dependence and reciprocity) might be better than 'partnership' when it comes to working with others, especially across cultures.
Work permits. Missionaries talk all the time about them, ask for prayers for them, and spent inordinate amounts of time on them. Nigerians in England, Brazilians in Portugal, Mongolians in China or, as here, Americans in Tanzania. This blog expresses something of the worry, stress, and anxiety that so many missionaries face trying to get those precious little passport stamps…
(3) Start with why: The motivation for mission
Whole books have been written on the question of 'motivation for mission', but this short and clear (IMB) article is a good introduction to the key that unlocks everything else really: The love of God.
AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts, videos)
(1) Does God Want Missionaries to Risk Their Lives?
45-minute Christianity Today interview with Anna Hampton, author of Facing Danger: A Guide Through Risk. There's a transcription here too - I read it instead of listening. It's excellent. Questions of appropriate risk are always there in the mission world, and in light of the death of John Chau in 2019, missionaries in Afghanistan, and the recent kidnapping of missionaries in Haiti, the topic is as relevant as ever. Hampton speaks wisely, graciously, and sensitively, and from rich personal experience too. I'd be bold enough to suggest this is an essential read/listen for those involved in mission sending in some pastoral or institutional sense.
(2) Are Movements Methods Good for Missions? (Responding to Critics)
29-min episode from back in January by the 'Coworkers Podcast' team. A good lesson wherever you stand on this question. "Should we intentionally pursue rapid multiplication of disciples and churches? Are movements methods biblical? In this episode, Jesse responds to some recent, common critiques of movements methods."
DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)
(1) How many missionaries are there in the world today?
One for the missiometric keenies in the Missions Hits gang. Justin Long asks how many 'missionaries' there are in the world today, and how we can even start trying to work out such things.
(2) Dr Kimberly Hill on African-American missionaries
It's a (46-min) podcast, but I'm putting it here as it's a pretty demanding (but worthwhile) conversation: "We talk with Dr. Kimberly D. Hill, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Texas at Dallas, about her research on African American missionaries, the complex relationship between race, mission, and empire, and the process of researching historical figures and doing justice to their voice and legacy."
(3) Apostolic Imagination: Recovering a Biblical Vision for the Church's Mission Today
J.D. Payne delivered a 40-min PhD Colloquium last week at Southeastern Seminary that serves as an accessible postgraduate-level introduction to some of the hot topics swirling round evangelical missiology right now with regards to two broad camps of 'traditionalists' and 'revisionists'. If you prefer to get this similar sort of content at a slightly more accessible level, check out his 40-mon podcast covering similar ground here - 'Apostolic Imagination: Rethinking Contemporary Missions'
BOOKS (recent releases)
Links are to Amazon for best info/reviews. Other outlets are available...
(1) Journeys of Asian Diaspora: Mapping Originations and Destinations (2021)
Sam George (Editor)
'Asians make up the largest and most dispersed people of the world, and Christians make up a sizable proportion of this demographic. Asian Christians are more likely to emigrate, and many have continued to embrace Christian faith at their diasporic places of settlement. They are quick to establish distinctively Asian churches all over the world and infuse diversity, revival, and missionary consciousness into their adopted communities. The dozen essays in this volume are written by leading scholars of Asian backgrounds situated in various diasporic locations.'
(2) A Third of Us: What It Takes to Reach the Unreached (2021)
Marvin J. Newell
'Today, over three billion people, a third of humanity, have yet to hear the good news of Jesus. In light of this staggering need, Marv Newell explores the five Great Commission passages, where Jesus methodically unfolds the essence of the disciples’ task. Writing to the whole body of Christ, Newell casts a vision for multiple ways to get involved in reaching the unreached. When finishing the task set by our Savior feels overwhelming, this practical and inspiring book points us back to Jesus’ words with hope'
(3) Christ Among the Nations: Narratives of Transformation in Global Mission (2021)
Sarita Gallagher Edwards, Robert L Gallagher, Paul W Lewis, Delonn L Rance
"This book reflects the rich diversity of global Christianity and addresses the complex realities facing global mission today. From a variety of denominational and socio-cultural backgrounds, [this book] addresses religious pluralism, globalization, personal and communal suffering, and attitudes of paternalism, triumphalism, and ethno-centricity…an invaluable resource for students, missioners, and those in cross-cultural ministry"
MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)
16 years ago, a man called Jason lost 5 of his grandchildren in an instant when a pickup truck slammed into the car they were driving in. Jason visited the driver, and offered his forgiveness, and prayed for him. 3 weeks ago, another of Jason's grandsons was one of the group of mission workers kidnapped in Haiti, with $1m ransoms placed on them. Jason is again responding with faith and forgiveness, praying for the salvation of the kidnappers too. Horrible and humbling article.
(2) 10-31 in the mission world
It was October 31st last week, so like every year two things appeared in the world of mission resources. (1) Articles about whether the reformers were interested in world mission, and (2) Articles about whether or not American Christians spend more on Halloween costumes for their pets than they do on reaching the unreached. This article by Michael Haykin, and this blog post by Justin Long, are good examples of these two things respectively. Both are very interesting and informative!
(3) A 31-Day Journey with Those Who Lived God’s Promises
A 31-day devotional book from M. R. Conrad, based around missionary figures of the past: 'Read [missionary] stories. Feel their heartbeat. Experience their struggles. Discover the source of their strength in the promises of God’s Word'.
QUOTES (wise one-liners)
(1) "The mission of the church is missions; the mission of missions is the church."
(2) "God calls each church to be a global sending center; not a religious entertainment spectacle."
(3) "If you say, 'I want to be a missionary, but I'm not really interested in the church,' you're saying you have better ideas than God does."
TWEETS (short but significant)
HIGHLIGHTS (most popular links from last Mission Hits…)
(1) 5 Christian activities we mistake for missions
(2) Liturgy for the well-worn missions leader
(3) What is Intercultural Theology?
AND FINALLY (unrelated but interesting!)
(1) The battle for the last unclaimed land on Earth
Who would have thought that in this day and age there is still a stretch of land that is effectively unclaimed and unwanted by any country? Meet the latest wannabe emperor - a 41-year-old barrister from south London who wishes to claim it for his company in scenes reminiscent of the 1880's Scramble for Africa. Extraordinary story. "This 800 square mile triangle in the Nubian Desert is a diplomatic Terra Nullius, land which no state claims and no nation on Earth seems to want."
Is there anything more beautiful and captivating than moving lava? And this lava is really moving! Whilst on the subject, 'Lava' is one of my family's favorite Pixar short.
Beautiful infographic cataloguing 188 different cognitive biases and fallacies. I might commit to reading one a day for 6 months. Pretty sure I'd make better decisions as a result.
Full searchable archives of all Mission Hits resources from edition #1
Questions, comments, or suggestions for the next edition?
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