• From Every Nation (Chris Howles)

Mission Hits #32 (December 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,

I trust you will enjoy this 32nd edition of Mission Hits. Like every December, there's only one this month (instead of normal two) to give us all a Christmas break, but to make up for that there's an extra category below - Christmas resources related to world mission and world Christianity! A bit of Mission Hits festivity for you…

If you're interested in higher-level resources, don't forget to sign up for 'Mission Hits Journals' here to get links to journal articles about all things world mission! It's just 4 emails a year, and edition #5 is due out in early January.


As ever, please feel free to send me any feedback (chris.howles@fromeverynation.net) and if you think others would benefit from Mission Hits, do send it to them

Blessings, and wishing you all a merry Christmas from here in Uganda,

Chris (Howles)

https://www.fromeverynation.net/about

ESSENTIALS (must reads)

(1) “Millions are dying without Christ”: Thinking through a popular but insufficient reason to move overseas

As clear, concise, and helpful article as I've seen on some of the primary biblical motivations that might draw someone into, and sustain them through, cross-cultural mission service. Enjoyed this.

(2) Things mission agencies shouldn’t say #5

The whole series of blog posts is good, but this one is a cut above : "We should never say, suggest or imply that 'mission' is a western endeavour that the church around the world is joining. That is, it is something that belongs to us that we are now sharing with them." Massively worth a read. Western missionaries (including me, no doubt) and mission agencies regularly make this mistake, and we'd do better to avoid it.

(3) 10 Unique ways to care for your missionary

Serge is an organization working hard to do missionary care well, and this blog post is a useful summary of different ways that churches and Christian partners can support and encourage missionaries

GENERAL (worth your time)

(1) Sharing Jesus with Muslim friends

A sister article to 'Sharing Jesus with Hindu friends' (see Mission Hits #30), this article is a beginners guide to witnessing to Muslims, ideal for a Christian university student with Muslim friends at a UK campus. Full of friendly and wise advice, and easy to read, comprehend, enjoy and apply.

(2) There are no shortcuts in missions

"No one is advocating 'slow' for the sake of slow. But when 'slow' allows people to know the God of the universe who sent his Son to die for sinners, I’m willing to proceed as slowly as necessary." Gospel Coalition (US) blog post from Brad Buser of Radius international.

(3) A ban on intercultural relationships?

Intercultural marriages involving cross-cultural mission workers are common. Yet mission agency 'policies' can at timers be confused or even discriminatory. Useful blog post on this important topic: "A missionary culture full of intercultural marriages is a wonderful witness to the global nature of the church and a foretaste of heaven (Revelation 7:9). Let’s build it here on earth!"

AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts, videos)


(1) Kwame Bediako: African theology for a world Christianity

Not yet listened, but I will. 70-min podcast interview with Tim Hartman about his new book on Kwame Bediako, one of the great African theologians of his generation: "Challenging stereotypical perceptions of African Christianity and pressing readers to interrogate their own theological convictions in light of cultural and societal presuppositions, this book examines the gift of Bediako’s work not just for Africa but for the world."

(2) How Can I Support International Missions?

"Every Christian has a role in supporting international missions. In this episode of Pastors Talk, Jonathan Leeman chats with Mark Dever and Mark Collins—a supported worker in East Asia—about the relationship between a church and its missionaries." Worth a listen to this short 24-min podcast from 9Marks, aimed at pastors.

DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)

(1) Climate change, migration and mission

On November 16, 2021, Latin American missiologist Dr Ruth Padilla DeBorst delivered the Alexander Duff Lecture entitled “Fleeing the hot spots: Climate change, migration and mission.” It was followed by responses from two World Christianity PhD students. Hosted by the Centre for the Study of World Christianity, this is a beautifully-crafted and thought-provoking presentation on a topic that missiologists just cannot ignore. Well, well worth 30-mins of your time.

(2) Four ways to interpret the Bible missionally

Jackson Wu argues that missional theology should have been implications for biblical interpretation, and outlines four complementary approaches here, before touching on the perennial question of the relationship between 'mission' and 'missions'. He boils down complex issues well.

(3) The future of missionary care

A brief, summative Twitter thread from Bradley Bell (Upstream Collective) with some interesting thoughts on current theological, biblical, practical, ecclesiological, trends in the field of missionary care.

BOOKS (recent releases)

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

(1) Missionary Partnership: A Brief Biblical Theology of Missions, Deputation, and Partnership (2021)

Ben Sinclair

"Missionary Partnership provides encouragement and advice to churches and missionaries who are frustrated with the current process of sending missionaries or believe it is an inefficient process. Sinclair desires to reduce the time missionaries spend on deputation and furlough while increasing the partnership and effectiveness of missionaries on the field. The development and implementation of a biblical and efficient partnership model will greatly encourage missionaries while noticeably improving their deputation, partnership, and furlough ministries."

(2) The Vanishing: The Twilight of Christianity in the Middle East (2021)

Janine di Giovanni

This looks to be a brutal but important read. Rather than putting in the blurb lie normal, let me link to an excellent book review from Christianity Today magazine.

(3) Invisible: Theology and the Experience of Asian American Women (2021)

Grace Ji-Sun Kim

"In Invisible, [the author] examines encounters with racism, sexism, and xenophobia as she works toward ending Asian American women invisibility. She deploys biblical, sociological, and theological narratives to empower the voices of Asian American women. And she shares the story of her heritage, her family history, her immigration, and her own experience as an Asian American woman. She powerfully paves the way for a theology of visibility that honors the voice and identity of these women."

MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)

(1) A weekly rhythm of prayer

I like this. Something for a new year's resolution list? We often talk about praying for missionaries, but what specifically might that mean? OMF have produced a Sunday-Saturday daily prayer guide to help you pray thoughtfully and thoroughly for missionaries you are partnering with.

(2) Create Children's Books for Missions

Such an unusual and fascinating idea I just had to include it here. 8-week online self-directed course through 'Create Seeds': "Join us to enhance your creativity, grow your skills, and be inspired to create children’s book/colouring books that communicate the good news across cultures. If you are an artist, writer and/or working with unreached kids and would like to learn how to tell stories through visual arts, our team is in the process of developing online training just for you."

(3) Understanding Islam 10-week course (UK)

Unreached Network (UK) 10-session course (online only, or Zoom with 3 in-person meetings in Luton) on 'Understanding Islam', starting in January 2022: "This course provides an opportunity to hear from people who have years of experience working and living in Muslim communities as well as Muslim speakers from a variety of backgrounds to enable people to be equipped to develop meaningful relationships and introduce faith related dialogue. Topics include: Doctrine and Muslim beliefs, Shame and honour culture, Outreach to the Muslim community, Welcoming believers from Muslim backgrounds into the church"


CHRISTMAS! (festive fun!)


(1) '12 Days of Christmas' Children's resource

Free PDF from Wycliffe USA. A world Christianity resource for children, learning how Christmas is celebrated in 12 different places around the world. Looks good for family meal times etc. over this festive period. "It’s fun to see how people all over the world celebrate Christmas! Some traditions are a lot like ours here in the U.S., and others are very different! So come travel with us, make crafts and try delicious recipes as we learn about the way people in countries like Nigeria, Georgia, Lithuania and more celebrate Christmas — all while remembering the true reason for the season. Jesus is born!"

(2) 7 Christmas Carols That Are Actually About Missions

"Some of the most popular Christmas carols talk about God's power and dominion over the earth and point to the reason we have missions." Alex Kocman from ABWE writes about the mission emphases of some of our most cherished carols.


(3) Christmas gift catalogues

Christmas gifts to support mission engagement and poverty relief work around the world. There's plenty more, but Within Reach Global, East-West, and Tearfund are 3 examples.

QUOTES (wise one-liners)


(1) "If churches don't keep sending people out, God will eventually stop sending people in."

Jared C. Wilson

(2) "The call to follow Jesus included a call to follow him in his mission."

J.D. Greear

(3) "Missions are the test of our faith that the gospel is true."

Lesslie Newbigin

GLOBAL INSIGHT (Noteworthy news)


(1) How Nairobi’s ‘road for the rich’ resulted in thousands of homes reduced to rubble

Infrastructure, China, traffic, development, inequality, growth, elitism and corruption. This story encapsulates so many of the issues related to African urbanization, and with stunning photography too. "About 40,000 people have been made homeless by demolition works for a major Chinese-backed toll road in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. Schools, businesses and 13,000 homes spread across nearly 40 hectares of the Mukuru Kwa Njenga slum have been demolished since October, clearing land for a link to the Nairobi expressway."

(2) India fertility rate falls to below replacement level

Demographics is usually significant in missions thinking, so this trend is a significant one: "The average number of children per woman, has declined to 2.0. Countries experiencing below-replacement fertility (lower than 2.1 children per woman) — indicates that a generation is not producing enough children to replace itself, eventually leading to an outright reduction in population."

(3) Myanmar coup: The women abused and tortured in detention

"Since Myanmar's military seized power in February, protests have swept across the country - and women have played a prominent role in the resistance movement. Human rights groups say that although the military in Myanmar used disappearances, hostage-taking and torture tactics before, the violence has become more widespread since the coup."

TWEETS (short but significant)






HIGHLIGHTS (most popular links from last Mission Hits…)

(1) 7 Things No Missions Textbook Will Teach You

(2) 10 Ways a church can help raise up new missionaries from within the congregation

(3) The Missionary Calling: A Pastor’s Kid’s Perspective

AND FINALLY (unrelated but interesting!)


(1) Music around the world and across the decades

What a project that is growing here! Click on a country anywhere in the world, and listen to an example of its music from any point in the past 100+ years.

(2) Marine Traffic

Who wouldn't want to see a map of the world live-tracking all the big boats that are on the oceans right now?! The world of shipping is a mystery to me, but this website is fun.


(3) Book Summaries

I quite like book summaries, although I get why many don't. You certainly have to pick the book, and the summarizer, carefully. This website has 100+ non-fiction book summaries done well. Many of which you probably won't be interested in, but some of which you might be. It's all free. If you're willing to pay, then, for me, look no further than Blinkist (1 week free trial)

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


Questions, comments, or suggestions for the next edition?


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