Mission Hits #31 (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 #31,
I'm trialing a new section in this edition: 'Global Insight' - three articles about significant current world events. It's good for those interested in God's worldwide mission to be aware of major world current affairs if possible, and these stories have big impacts on church and mission in these places. I hope you enjoy the new section.
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.
Please note that, as normal, there will only be one edition in December (a short Christmas break for us all!) Normal twice-monthly service will resume in January.
ESSENTIALS (must reads)
A daughter passes on the advice her father once gave her about cross-cultural mission service: "The missionary life is a beautiful one. But no one can prepare you for the pain, the loss, the mental and spiritual fatigue, the criticism, the doubts. You won’t believe the ugliness that will emerge from your own heart as you battle discouragement and the confusion of living in another culture." Not the letter that most missionaries will want to read, but perhaps the one they need to read.
Few missionaries deploy with the express intention of living in a 'missionary bubble', spending more time with near-culture fellow foreigners than with host country nationals. But it's amazing how often that happens. Some advice on how to avoid this unwanted situation…
I think there's a fair few textbooks that would teach this. But regardless, seven useful nuggets of wisdom for those preparing for cross-cultural ministry in some form, including 'The stress of crossing cultures will reveal your own sin'; and 'Making disciples means sitting with people'.
GENERAL (worth your time)
Two related articles under this entry. This blog from Eddie Arthur says that mission agencies should not really be saying "If you are interested in short or long-term mission work, talk to us" - speak to your local church first. This is always what British Mission Agency UFM encourage too. In this short magazine article (p10-11) Director Michael Prest argues that gifting for missions is best recognized and developed within the local church setting, and gives ideas of what pastors could be looking out for in this…
"Globalization has made access to diverse perspectives easier than ever before in history. We can read widely, worship and pray across the globe. We can listen humbly, repent where needed, and grow in our faith and mission practice. Listening well also prepares us for more fruitful partnership with the global Church."
From UK mission agency Crosslinks: "We will always need more people to get involved in overseas mission. How can you identify and develop future mission partners?" Lots of short and simple advice here for busy church leaders to think through…
AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts, videos)
25-min podcast interview with Dr Todd Johnson, who in my experience is always worth listening to. The global church is shifting, and this discussion involves how the West is no longer the center of the church universe, and how this shift is affecting mission work and missionaries.
This 42-min conversation between Mark Meynell and Ruth Padilla deBorst about John Stott is lovely. Ruth's memories of Stott's friendship with her father, Rene Padilla, are moving and the whole episode gives a snapshot of Stott's impact on the church across the world, focusing here particularly on Lausanne '74. Padilla deBorst explains what made John Stott, a public-school educated 'traditional' British man, so beloved and respected by so many across the world…useful lessons for Westerners working cross-culturally.
I enjoyed this 52-min podcast conversation, recorded back in January 2020, where Oscar Muriu and Graham Joseph Hill discuss Oscar’s passion for raising up a legacy of African leaders for the church of Christ worldwide, what the West can learn from African innovations in church planting, leadership development, prayer and discipleship, and what the churches of the Global North and the Global South can learn from each other, and how they can partner together for God’s mission and harvest
DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)
Sebastian Chang Hwan Kim is the academic dean for Fuller Theological Seminary's Korean Center, which aims to support the formation of Korean Christian leaders through Korean-language programs. Some interesting questions and answers here about the globalization of mission, ministry, and theological education.
Many readers will belong to churches which have at least some degree of ethnic diversity in the congregation. Some good tips here for thinking intentionally how to understand, and mobilize, the inherent missional potential in and through the diversity of the congregation.
BOOKS (recent releases)
Links are to Amazon for best info/reviews. Other outlets are available...
Alice T. Ott
"This readable survey on the history of missions tells the story of pivotal turning points in the expansion of Christianity, enabling readers to grasp the big picture of missional trends and critical developments. Alice Ott examines twelve key points in the growth of Christianity across the globe from the Jerusalem Council to Lausanne '74. It demonstrates that the expansion of Christianity was not just a Western-driven phenomenon; rather, the gospel spread worldwide through the efforts of both Western and non-Western missionaries and through the crucial ministry of indigenous lay Christians, evangelists, and preachers."
Perry Shaw, César Lopes, Joanna Feliciano-Soberano, Bob Heaton (Editors)
"The growth of the church around the world has led to an increased need for qualified theological educators, both locally and from the global community. Yet teaching cross-culturally is fraught with overlooked challenges, and lack of cultural sensitivity can undermine educators’ credibility, distort their message, and threaten the fruit of their ministry. Teaching across Cultures is a deeply practical guidebook for teaching theology beyond one’s own cultural context. It is a must-read for anyone embarking on the joyful journey of cross-cultural ministry."
"Many new believers have questions about what it means to live as a Christian in the context of a local church, and pastors are looking for resources to pass along to their congregations to help them think biblically about the Christian life. In this concise booklet, Mark Collins addresses the essential role of the local church in furthering global missions. He shows how Christians can participate in the global cause [and] reminds readers how fundamental they are to the spread of the gospel throughout the world and offers practical ways for them to participate."
MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)
There's a part of Europe where churches are illegal, Christian literature is banned, clergy are banished and meeting as Christians results in fines. Christianity Today magazine invites us to pray and suggests how.
One of the largest missionary-sending agencies in the US makes a commitment to train and send missionaries from Asia to Africa.
An interview with Alice T. Ott, author of the recent book "Turning Points in the Expansion of Christianity: From Pentecost to the Present" (See 'Books' section above).
QUOTES (wise one-liners)
(1) "Missions is the overflow of our delight in God because missions is the overflow of God's delight in being God."
(2) “The future is as bright as the promises of God."
(3) "If you're talking about mission, it's not possible to have a briefer text than the whole Bible"
GLOBAL INSIGHT (Noteworthy news)
"By the end of this century, Africa will be the only continent experiencing population growth. Thirteen of the world’s 20 biggest urban areas will be in Africa — up from just two today — as will more than a third of the world’s population."
"But it is not senior Taliban officials who are paying the price for the freeze on funds. 'Don’t make the mistake of thinking that I will suffer from sanctions' said one senior Taliban official in Kabul. 'I will always get my salary, my meals, and money to keep my office warm.' It is the lives of ordinary Afghans that are on the line."
"Fierce and frequent droughts and floods have uprooted more than three million Somalis since 2016, according to UNHCR data that tracks internal displacement by cause. The phenomenon is emptying parts of Somalia's rural interior and spawning huge camps on the outskirts of cities, as urban populations swell with desperate migrants seeking a new start."
TWEETS (short but significant)
HIGHLIGHTS (most popular links from last Mission Hits…)
AND FINALLY (unrelated but interesting!)
In 1958, two men set took off from Las Vegas in a tiny airplane. They didn't land until 64 days later. This is remarkable.
I've rarely read anything more absurd and profound at the same time. A Twitter thread about a small ladder on the window ledge of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, and what the heck it's been doing there for the last several centuries. I don't know what to make of this. Bizarre and beautiful. Maddening, but also strangely lovely.
2-min video brilliantly demonstrating the power and creativity of engineering, and I say that as someone with no idea about or experience in engineering.
Full searchable archives of all Mission Hits resources from edition #1
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