From Every Nation (Chris Howles)
Mission Hits #34 (February 2022)
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 #34
Another month of just one, not two, Mission Hits editions. Let's see what happens as I work out the best schedule going forward.
But what an edition! Note one small change I hope you'll find helpful; the opening section (ESSENTIALS) has been divided into four, with a single 'If you only have time for one article' link for (1) Missionaries, (2) Church Leaders, (3) Mission Agency Workers, and (4) Christians Partnering as Senders. I trust this will help you quickly access the most appropriate content for you.
As ever, please feel free to send me any feedback (email@example.com) and if you think others would benefit from Mission Hits, do send it to them.
Uganda Martyrs Seminary Namugongo
Mission Partner: Crosslinks (UK)
ESSENTIALS (if you only have time for one...)
To bribe or not to bribe, that is the question
Bribery is anything but a simple issue that is easily identified and easily avoided. I've always found these things to be murky and messy here in Uganda. But such questions are a daily reality for some missionaries, and I appreciated the realism yet hopefulness of this article. As always, Amy Medina writes wonderfully for the 'A Life Overseas' blog.
For Church Leaders
Pastor, do you know your missionaries?
A Gospel Coalition article arguing that everyone benefits (pastor, congregation, missionary, host community) when church leaders understand the lives, methodologies, and ministries of their mission partners and associated sending organizations.
For Mission Agency Workers
Reasons international partnerships go awry
Four big reasons why cross-cultural relationships and partnerships can crumble pretty quickly without careful attention and wisdom. This article is a clear and helpful introduction to the topic.
For Christians Partnering as Senders
Does sending church exclude the universal church and parachurch?
As good a short, simple summary as you'll find anywhere on why the local church is central to God's Great Commission purposes and plans. From Caleb Crider and The Upstream Collective.
GENERAL (well worth your time)
(1) Seven factors for missionary homes
I include this because I've never read anything specifically on this before, not in this form anyway. What factors might helpfully help a missionary/agency think about suitable missionary housing? A good foundation to start an important conversation…
(2) Has the Gospel already reached the entire world?
"Did the apostle Paul say the gospel had already reached the ends of the world in his own lifetime? It appears he did, and that raises implications about the urgency of the Great Commission today" John Piper approaches an important question in this 12-min podcast (transcript is there also if you prefer).
(3) The growth of Christianity in the world’s first atheist country
"To be sure, we’re still small, and we’re not significant in the eyes of this world, but we have a big God, and we worship him. We know he’ll build his church, and the gates of hell won’t prevail against it.” The genuinely fascinating story of Christianity in Albania over the past 100 years. I knew nothing about this, and I'm glad I read it.
AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts, videos)
(1) ‘The fire has gone out’: The Africans working to revitalise Christianity in Europe
A really excellent BBC 25-min podcast with Dr Harvey Kwiyani (CEO of Global Connections, the Missio Nexus of the UK) about the impact that African Christianity is having, and can have, in the UK. African Christians are a crucial part of the missional landscape in many cities across Europe. This interview is a fascinating, accessible overview of the characteristics, opportunities, struggles, and implications of this relatively recent change.
(2) The priority of reaching unreached people groups
40-min episode from 'The Global Missions Podcast' looking at what is meant by the phrase unreached people groups, why so many people worldwide have so little opportunity to hear about and get to know the Lord Jesus Christ, and what attitudes are required to start making an impact on this. Interview with Simon Longden, National Director of Pioneers Australia.
(3) The spread of the major world religions
It's brutally simplified, but for the most basic summary possible of the chronology and geography of some of the world's religions as they have emerged and grown over space and time, this 2-min video on David Joannes' wonderful missions website is a nice enough start. But promise me you'll then go and immediately read Eddie Arthur's excellent article 'Everything you've learned about church history is wrong' to get a fuller picture.
DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)
(1) The strange new habitat of the global Church
A really fine long-form article from Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen (Professor of Systematic Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary) outlining the new geography and emerging denominational identity of the world church today.
(2) Homogeneity and hybridity lectures
The Ralph D. Winter Memorial Lectureship takes place at Fuller Theological Seminary from March 3-5, 2022 on the topic "Homogeneity and Hybridity: Revisiting HUP" Virtual ticket is $50. Program looks fascinating, with Ruth Padilla DeBorst, Harvey Kwiyani, Markos Zemede, Rebecca Lewis, Warrick Farah and other scholars and mission leaders considering important topics around HUP, urbanization, and diversity.
(3) From Malaysia to the ends of the earth
A book, but probably fits better here under 'Digging Deeper' rather than above under 'Books'. "From Malaysia to the Ends of the Earth: Southeast Asian and Diasporic Contributions to Biblical and Theological Studies" (Dec 2021). For those interested in engaging deeply with non-Western theological thought, this looks to be a fascinating contribution.
BOOKS (recent releases)
Links are to Amazon for best info/reviews. Other outlets are available...
(1) Apostolic Imagination: Recovering a Biblical Vision for the Church's Mission Today (2022)
J. D. Payne
"[This book] examines the contemporary practice of Western missions and advocates a more central place for Scripture in defining missionary language, identity, purpose, function, and strategy. J. D. Payne shows that an apostolic understanding of the church's disciple-making commission requires rethinking every aspect of missionary engagement"
(2) When Christians Face Persecution: Theological Perspectives from the New Testament (2022)
Dr Chee-Chiew Lee
"While there are unifying principles, the New Testament is filled with a range of experiences of and reflections on Christian persecution - texts that it is crucial to engage with in order to fully appreciate the bewildering array of experience and strongly held viewpoints amongst believers today. [The author] explores the New Testament authors' theological understanding of persecution...and how they encourage or persuade their recipients to persevere in their faith."
(3) Global Migration and Christian Faith: Implications for Identity and Mission (2021)
M. Daniel Carroll R and Vincent E. Bacote (Editors)
"Never before have the numbers of people on the move been so large nor the movement as global as it is today. How should Christians respond biblically, theologically, and missiologically to the myriad of daunting challenges triggered by this new worldwide reality? How has the Christian church responded to migration in the past? How might the Bible orient our thinking? What new insights about God and faith surface with migration, and what new demands are placed now upon God’s people in a world in so much need?"
MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)
(1) The 50 countries where it’s hardest to follow Jesus in 2022
"Overall, 360 million Christians live in nations with high levels of persecution or discrimination. That’s 1 in 7 Christians worldwide, including 1 in 5 believers in Africa, 2 in 5 in Asia, and 1 in 15 in Latin America." A sobering and prayer-inducing read. It's also worth checking out the follow -up article 'Let’s Praise Progress on Religious Freedom. Start with These Countries', which looks into some faintly positive developments in UAE, Sudan, Uzbekistan, and Egypt.
(2) Remembering Abouna Makary, Coptic Priest
Abouna Makary died last week, aged 86. If you hadn't heard the name before, neither had I. But this Christianity Today obituary is written for beginners and is genuinely fascinating. "Abouna Makary stood firm, insisting on developing a Cairo-based ministry rich in traditional dogmas and teachings but also focused on commonalities, bridge-building, and the power of the Holy Spirit to unify Egypt’s Christian believers"
(3) My top recommendations for honor and shame books
Missiologist Jackson Wu outlines his top books (from both secular and Christian perspectives) on the roles of honor and shame in today's world. Some fantastic recommendations on a crucial topic in world mission.
QUOTES (wise one-liners)
(1) "Forgive me for being so ordinary while claiming to know so extraordinary a God."
(2) "In the final analysis and in the face of all rational arguments, the whole of missionary work consists of nothing more or less than the childlike witness: “Come and see”! (John 1:46)"
J. H. Bavinck
(3) "We are settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves"
GLOBAL INSIGHT (Noteworthy news)
(1) Eritrean Patriarch Dies After 16 Years in Detention
Stories such as these, and people such as this, so often just wash over us as Christians in the West. I urge you to take a moment to read of this man who, whatever our theological differences may or may not be, can inspire, teach, and move us: "Abune Antonios, a confined Eritrean Orthodox Church patriarch and the longest-serving prisoner of conscience in the Horn of Africa, died on February 9 at the age of 94."
(2) The forgotten, cascading crisis in Madagascar
The UN calls it the world's first food crisis caused by climate change not by conflict. The WFP estimates that tens of thousands of people are currently facing “catastrophic” famine conditions. This article about the challenges facing so many people in Madagascar does a great job of explaining some of the environmental, political, and social causes.
(3) Japan’s Shinto religion is going global
The internet is decentralizing religions traditionally considered contextually/geographically-specific, like Shintoism in Japan. This secular article describes how online groups are spreading and practicing Shintoism worldwide. If nothing else, it's a good introduction to Shinto as a religion.
TWEETS (short but significant)
HIGHLIGHTS (most popular links from the previous Mission Hits…)
(1) 8 Dangers of becoming a sending church
(2) Global missions and the treason of conversion
(3) 4 Ways to cultivate missional prayer as a family
AND FINALLY (unrelated but interesting!)
Worldle. Not Wordle. It's great, but deceptively difficult! You get given the outline of a country. 5 guesses to work out what it is. Each wrong guess you're told how far off you are. I know that many of you will enjoy this. One available everyday.
(2) Egypt's New Administrative Capital
Maybe it's just me, but I feel that the world hasn't really woken up yet to the fact that Egypt is just building itself a new city to relieve Cairo. And it's ambition, architecture, and immensity, is on a whole other level. Where’s the long-form articles about this? Anyway, the link is to a few pictures, but take a look at it on Google maps to really get a sense of it, especially 'The Octagon', which must be one of the most extraordinary projects on the planet right now. It already has Africa's tallest building, and by 2030 will have the world's tallest building (165 floors), the first time for that accolade to be held in Africa since the Great Pyramid.
(3) The changing room illusion
Well, this 100% got me. Can't say anything more without giving it away, but watch this whole 60 second video without impatiently flicking forward. Bet ya it gets you too…
Full searchable archives of all Mission Hits resources from edition #1
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