From Every Nation (Chris Howles)
Mission Hits #35 (March 2022)
Welcome to Mission Hits, a 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 #35
I trust this edition will be helpful for you. I personally enjoyed the "MKs and their parents’ ministries" article, and also the "10 Biblical terms I wish Christians had in English" one: Fascinating! Do let me know what you found most simulating and significant.
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Uganda Martyrs Seminary Namugongo
Mission Partner: Crosslinks (UK)
ESSENTIALS (if you only have time for one...)
Essential for Missionaries
All missionaries know that the 'P' word is bad, but how easy it is for such thinking to seep into our hearts and actions! Good advice here (from Cedarville Professor of Missions Josh Bowman over at the Upstream Collective blog) such as 'Be suspicious when there is only a one-way flow of resources and ideas in a relationship' and 'Pass the baton of ministry leadership and ownership early and often'.
Essential for Church Leaders
Helping my Church to pray for mission and missionaries
It's a 7page PDF, but certainly worth skipping to the list of ideas on p5 and p6 if you're short on time. Not every suggestion will apply to every church, but there may be something in here that prompts an idea to help your congregation pray for God's worldwide work.
Essential for Mission Agency Workers
4 Misguided expectations from short-term missions
Getting expectations right is crucial before facilitating anyone in cross-cultural mission. This short article would be a helpful introduction for mission agencies to guide their advertising, recruitment, and training processes in relation to short-term mission.
Essential for Christians Partnering as Senders
MKs and their parents’ ministries
You may have expected this under the 'missionaries' section, but actually those who partner with families in mission would also benefit from seeing this. Playing to expectations is a common experience for missionary kids (and pastors' kids too!). This is the third in a series, but it stands alone (and links to the first two are there if you need them).
GENERAL (well worth your time)
(1) Lessons we need from the global church
4-page magazine article (for Langham USA) by Ajith Fernando on what he believes Western Christians can learn from those elsewhere in the world.
(2) Caring for your sent ones in year one
Geared towards a US context, but very relevant for other settings too. A helpful selection of issues that church leaders and mission committees can be thinking through in sending and supporting new mission partners.
(3) No mission work is an island
Gospel Coalition article by Sri Lankan Asiri Fernando about the posture of mutual dependence that is required in the world church: "What if those hungry for theological education would humbly and proactively ask for help? What if developed nations appealed to the majority world to pray for them? What if Western believers actively listened to the penetrating insights of those applying the Bible in contexts of hardship and suffering? A key to mutual burden-bearing is embracing a dependent spirit."
AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts, videos)
(1) Updates and prayer requests from a Ukrainian church leader
I've not had opportunity to listen yet, but I 100% trust that this 3-part series of Langham podcasts with Mark Meynell hosting will be excellent. He speaks to a pastor in Ukraine (name withheld) about the impact of and response to Russia's invasion. Recorded on March 8th and March 12th.
(2) Polycentric mission leadership
"The word 'Polycentric' describes the concept of having more than one center. When applied to leadership, it reflects a growing model in ministries and mission agencies. We discuss the nature of polycentric leadership, why it is growing in popularity, and what it looks like in reality." JD Payne speaks with Joe Handley, President of Asian Access and Co-Catalyst for Leadership Development for the Lausanne Movement in this 34-min podcast.
DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)
(1) Pragmatism in missions: The works of Donald McGavran
This is a serious Twitter thread from Midwestern Seminary Adjunct Professor CJ Moore about the relationship between pragmatism and Scriptural teaching in the field of cross-cultural mission methodology, especially in regard to 'Son of God' language in Muslim areas, multi-individual conversions, and other aspects of Donald McGavran's mission strategies. You are, as ever, welcome to agree or disagree. But it's worth engaging with.
(2) 10 Biblical terms I wish Christians had in English
Really interesting, and something I hadn't seen done so clearly and helpfully before like this. Ten words from a selection of different languages globally that express something, or capture something, intrinsically biblical in a way that English just cannot easily do.
(3) Serving China’s missionary church
"While China’s mission movement may appear to mirror many of the same characteristics as traditional missions from the West, it would be a mistake to assume that the same structures that have served missions so well elsewhere in the world are appropriate to the China situation." A short, useful description of how China's (and many other non-Western country's) cross-cultural mission involvement doesn't always follow the precise path that the Western church has taken.
BOOKS (recent releases)
Links are to Amazon for best info/reviews. Other outlets are available...
(1) No Shortcut to Success: A Manifesto for Modern Missions (2022)
"[This book] implores Christians to stop chasing silver-bullet strategies and short-term missions, and instead embrace theologically robust and historically demonstrated methods of evangelism and discipleship―the same ones used by historic figures such as William Carey and Adoniram Judson. These great missionaries didn’t rush evangelism; they spent time studying Scripture, mastering foreign languages, and building long-term relationships. Rhodes explains that modern missionaries’ emphasis on minimal training and quick conversions can result in slipshod evangelism that harms the communities they intend to help"
Gospel Coalition book review here:
(2) Rethinking Global Mobilization: Calling the Church to Her Core Identity (2022)
"In [this book], you will learn about God’s big-picture, comprehensive, holistic intent for mission mobilization as calling the global Church to her core identity, in contrast to the common, yet limiting, understanding of mobilization as primarily recruiting individual workers. By developing a Biblical missiology of mobilization, the whole Church can engage in her priority calling of local and global mission. Providing Biblical, theological, missiological, theoretical, practical and historical reflections, Rethinking Global Mobilization addresses needed paradigm shifts in mission mobilization."
(3) Christianity Worldwide 1800 to 2000 (2021)
Jehu Hanciles (Editor)
"In 1800 most Christians lived in Europe or North America, but by 2000 they came from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania. [This book] brings together voices from around the world to explore how Christianity grew and developed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Writers and theologians from each region of the globe lay out the history of Christianity between 1800 and 2000 in their part of the world, showing how repeatedly it was local believers who drove the changes in those centuries, both in sharing faith and adapting it to their particular culture - a Chinese Bible translator, Liberian prophet or Korean Bible woman is as significant as a British missionary or Italian pope."
MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)
(1) The biggest source of bad missiology today? Marketing…
A Twitter thread from Caleb Crider outlining some of the downsides, or genuinely significant problems, with some of the slogans common across the evangelical missions world (such like 'Finish the Task', 'Until all have heard', & even 'Reaching the unreached') Some interesting ideas here. Anyone interested in in mission practice would benefit from considering these thoughts.
(2) Meta is building an AI Babelfish to translate every language
"Meta wants you to understand anyone, from anywhere, no matter which language they speak. To achieve this the company is looking to build a universal, instantaneous speech translator, capable of translating any language to any other language" The possibilities, and challenges, that such a thing would raise in world mission are significant, and I wonder whether all mission-minded folk would do well to start pondering possible implications sooner rather than later (although marks off for calling Luganda 'Luganta' in the article)
(3) The future wellbeing of missions
The 2022 Mission Commission Online Conference, April 6th-8th, is on the theme of “The Future Wellbeing of Missions” through the lenses of Interconnection, Inclusion, and Indignity. Free online event, 2 hours a day on zoom for 3 consecutive days. Attendees must be serving (or have served) in a missions leadership capacity with international involvement. List of speakers and topics looks very interesting.
QUOTES (wise one-liners)
(1) "A foreign accent is a sign of bravery"
(2) "Without Christ, not one step. With Him…anywhere."
(3) "Mission begins with a kind of explosion of joy. The news that the rejected and crucified Jesus is alive is something that cannot possibly be suppressed"
GLOBAL INSIGHT (Noteworthy world news and info)
(1) Chinese Christians debate dodging the cross
A whole house-church congregation in China fled to South Korea under persecution, but they are now being forcibly deported. Many Chinese churches are debating whether to flee religious persecution ('Mayflower' Christians) or stay and endure ('Watchman Nee' Christians). A fascinating topic, and absolutely something to pray about.
(2) Bangladesh sets target to send 1 million workers abroad in 2022
"Bangladesh is seeking to send 1 million workers abroad this year and diversify labor migration destinations, a top overseas employment official has said: 'We have a plan to export 1 million migrant workers to different countries around the world, and we are working to explore every possibility in this regard'” Remittances are the 2nd largest source of foreign income for Bangladesh (after textiles). Migration and movement is truly changing the face of global mission in the most radical and rapid ways.
(3) The last Christian in the city…
"Michel Boutros is a 90-year-old Christian in Syria’s Idlib who has turned into an icon of steadfastness despite the bloodshed of the war that has been plaguing his country for 10 years now." The only Christian in the war-ravaged north Syrian city. Beautiful and heart-breaking in equal measure.
TWEETS (short but significant)
HIGHLIGHTS (3 most popular links from the previous Mission Hits…)
(1) Reasons international partnerships go awry
(2) To bribe or not to bribe, that is the question
(3) Seven factors for missionary homes
AND FINALLY (unrelated but interesting!)
(1) Does the Earth need its own flag?
Interesting question. Here's someone who says 'yes'. And has designed one that is getting used more and more widely…
"Tell me a simple fact that simply blows your mind". A tweet inviting people to post interesting facts spurs thousands of incredible replies. Some of my favorites include: "Joe Biden was born closer to Lincoln’s presidency than his own.", "50% of Roger Federer’s name is ‘er’", "There is a photograph available today of a man born in the 1740's", "Santiago, Chile is farther east than New York City." and “Space Ghetto” in an American accent sounds like “Spice Girl” in a Scottish accent." Just click, and scroll down to see all the replies. So joyful.
(3) Historical figures as modern people
This is wild. People in famous historical paintings, images, and even statues as they would appear today as modern people. There are SO many more examples of this I'd love to see, but these ones on this Twitter thread are great fun.
Full searchable archives of all Mission Hits resources from edition #1
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