Mission Hits #36 (April 2022)
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Welcome to Mission Hits #36
And what a 'Mission Hits' edition we have for you here! Curating it was a delight. I thought the 'new books' section was particularly interesting this month. But may all 25 resources bless you and build you in the privilege of joining with God in his mission purposes worldwide.
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Uganda Martyrs Seminary Namugongo
Mission Partner: Crosslinks (UK)
ESSENTIALS (if you only have time for one...)
Essential for Missionaries
Many Western mission workers serve amidst cultures that have different approaches to time, punctuality, and relationship than is traditionally found in the West. And this can produce significant cross-cultural challenges and struggles! The 'why can't they just…' approach is rarely helpful or godly. Suyai R. Cameron describes a Christ-centered alternative for the 'A Life Overseas' blog...
Essential for Church Leaders
Bradley Bell (Upstream Collective) writes powerfully on how encouraging and training potential sent-out mission workers requires a leader/mobilizer/sender to play the roles of both cheerleader (excitement and energy!) and curmudgeon (warning and pessimism!). Ultimately, "when you redeem and combine the qualities of the cheerleader and the curmudgeon, something new emerges...The Sage.”
Essential for Mission Agency Workers
Some new (US-based) research about missionary kids is outlined here in Christianity Today magazine: "The level of trauma missionary kids experience is much higher—nearly double—than that of kids who grow up in the US. And yet their needs are often overlooked by missions agencies, local church partners, and even their own families. It is a myth that children are naturally resilient…Resiliency has to be built and nurtured and cared for."
Essential for Christians Partnering as Senders
A short, valuable read. Includes: 'Help destigmatize mental-health concerns', 'Prepare for mixed emotions ', and 'listen well'
GENERAL (well worth your time)
US missionary with OMF in Thailand Karl Dahlfred writes an accessible introduction to an important concept: "We are all theologians and we are all contextual theologians. The question is whether or not we are good ones. Are we aware that we are reading and thinking about the Bible and its implications within a particular time and place in history and in the world?"
Gospel Coalition article written by Josh Irby, one of the hosts of the new 'Mission Shift podcast' (see below), introducing Western Christians to some ideas that will be very familiar to many of you but which still need to be said clearly, loudly, and consistently. "The Majority World church is ready not only to receive missionaries but to shape missiology. They’re ready not only to receive theological instruction but to shape theology. This desire, however, is complicated by the power difference between the Global North and Global South".
Many of us will be familiar with the 'evangelism v social action' debates which dominated missiological discussion in the late 20th Century (and is still very present today). British missiologist Eddie Arthur has a fascinating suggestion here: the problem is not 'how do these fit together' but rather 'why are we trying to squeeze them together under the slightly artificial concept of 'mission'? “Mission combines things which may not need to be combined and it creates dichotomies which don’t need to exist".
AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts, videos)
New eight-episode podcast series, based on tens of hours of interviews with mission leaders worldwide, about changes taking place in World Christianity and World mission and how this must impact the Western missions movement. I'm only part-way through, but this seems to be a crucial and much-needed addition to the US mission podcast world. Guests on this first episode include Paul Borthwick (US), Carlos Abarca (Costa Rica), Adegbite Olanihun (Nigeria), and Dela Adadevoh (Ghana). Run by Cru.
1h-long podcast with Jackson Wu (Mission One) in conversation with Elliot Clark (Training Leaders International) talking about one of Paul's (often-underlooked?) missionary motivations, about the importance of interdependent churches over self-propagating ones, and about the implicit inevitability of cultural colonization. Really interesting conversation.
About 20 video zoom presentations, most around 10mins long, from the recent World Evangelical Alliance Mission Commission 2022 conference on the theme of 'The Future Wellbeing of Missions'. Topics include: 'The Value of Indigenous Movements', 'Welcoming Nationals into Missions', 'Radical Collaboration', And 'Interconnecting with Migrants As Messengers'.
DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)
Author's privilege! I was asked by a UK Bible college (which partners with the seminary where I live and work here in Uganda) to speak about the (sometimes less-than-savoury) history of Western mission in Uganda, and how Western Christians involved in global partnerships today should respond. 17 minute talk, filmed at 1am (why? See the video!) in our college chapel.
Alongside 'Mission Hits' you're currently reading, the other primary ministry of this website is to collate and distribute missions-related academic output. 'Mission Hits JOURNALS' is an email (4 times a year) with links to all journals/periodicals related to world mission/World Christianity. Edition #6 covering Jan-Mar 2022 is now out. Check it out and, if you still haven't done so, sign up to stay informed, inspired, and thoroughly up-to-date with contemporary missiological thinking.
Epic Twitter thread from Jarel Robinson-Brown, Anglican curate in London, outlining the centrality of African Christianity in the early centuries of church history.
BOOKS (recent releases)
Links are to Amazon for best info/reviews. Other outlets are available...
Hannah Nation and Simon Liu
"With decades of persecution under government oppression and a rich theology of suffering, the Chinese house church movement has much to contribute theologically to the global church. In [this book] the authors pull together the insights of the Chinese church for the West...awakening readers to the reality of the gospel―the ground of our hope―in the midst of darkness. Readers will be convicted, encouraged, and edified by the testimony of these Chinese Christians." (excellent excerpt from the book here)
Jonathan J. Bonk, Michel G. Distefano, J. Nelson Jennings
"[This book] calls for evangelicals to reevaluate their relationship with money, both personally and corporately. Topics include 'misalignment between fiscal theology and practice', 'Mobilization, fundraising practices, and faith financing' and 'Short-term missions, patronage, and dependency'. Written by men and women whose calling as missionaries, pastors, and administrators has brought them face-to-face with the complex, real-life issues involving the intersection of money and ministry.
"As a local minister in Kazakhstan, Kanat Yesmagambetov has seen firsthand the impact that Western missionaries are having on the rest of the world. With a heart to help his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, Kanat clearly confronts Western Christian leaders regarding their well-intentioned but ineffective methods of sharing God’s Word. Be prepared to evaluate your own heart and hear the words of a laborer in the field."
MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)
Sometimes people ask me 'What books could/should I read by African Christians?' Well, this is where I'll now point them. Paul Windsor (Langham) has written a blog outlining 5 such books he read last year, and what he learnt from them. Have a read of this, and promise yourself to pick up at least one of them this summer. You won't regret it!
A 4-part series of articles from TEAM (a Global Alliance of Churches and missionaries), with short articles about three ways you can pray for Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Atheists. Kind of thing you could bookmark. Or print out as a bookmark. Or share with a group of fellow mission pray-ers.
QUOTES (wise one-liners)
(1) "Local churches are the subject (primary actor), object (fruit of mission) and means (display of the gospel) of mission."
(2) "There's only one thing worse than being lost and that is being lost and having no one trying to find you."
(3) "The purpose of discipleship is to send. Not keep."
GLOBAL INSIGHT (Noteworthy world news and info)
About 80% of Israel's Christians are Arab Christians belonging to Greek Catholic or Orthodox Churches. An interesting article from The Jerusalem Post explaining in wonderfully simple terms about the history, demographics and background of Christians living in Israel today.
"As resources stretch ever thinner, with no end to the war in sight and more than 20,000 still crossing into Poland every day, a big question hangs in the east-European air: how long will the Polish welcome last?"
The Sahel and Horn regions of Africa are in crisis. But they're so poor, so complicated, and so downright different to us in every way, that it's now largely forgotten about. Breathtaking photography here of Somalia's devastating, relentless drought.
TWEETS (short but significant)
HIGHLIGHTS (3 most popular links from the previous Mission Hits…)
AND FINALLY (unrelated but interesting!)
Why are our maps always that way up? "This way of seeing the world is a human invention. (A recent one, too.) And across the expanse of human history, it seems that millions of people saw the world very differently indeed. Hold onto your hat. This is going to get pretty weird…" Long but fun article asking why our maps look as they do. And if other's see the world differently…
Whoever thought photographs of solar panels could be so spectacular. I can't get my head round these massive farms. Quite remarkable. Such beautiful pictures.
I'm not particularly an animal person, honestly, but this Twitter account can hook you in. 10-20 second videos of funny animals doing funny things. Just keep scrolling down. You might never stop.
Full searchable archives of all Mission Hits resources from edition #1
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