Mission Hits #38 (June 2022)
Welcome to Mission Hits, a monthly blog highlighting stimulating and significant recent resources related to world Christianity, world church, and world mission.
To receive each posting by email, sign up here
Welcome to Mission Hits #38
Made it (Uganda time, anyway)! There may only be hours to spare, but this June edition is sent in June :-)
It's been an epic month hosting visitors and also enjoying a trip to the US with family for my graduation, but the resources keep on coming and Mission Hits must keep on curating, collating and communicating them!
As ever, there is almost no end to the quantity of helpful books, articles, videos, podcasts, tweets and more that are so carefully crafted by wise missions-folk, and all are such a blessing to the church. And so once again it's been a difficult task to whittle it down to these excellent resources below. I hope you enjoy them and benefit from it as much as I have.
If you know anyone who might find this a useful monthly resource to receive, then please do pass this on and encourage them to sign up. As ever, please feel free to send me any feedback (email@example.com).
Mission Partner (Crosslinks UK) serving at Uganda Martyrs Seminary, Namugongo.
Doctorate in Intercultural Theology (Fuller Theological Seminary).
ESSENTIALS (if you only have time for one...)
Essential for Missionaries
I know this isn't the normal sort of article I'd include here, but this testimony from an American missionary family in Togo following the death of their daughter earlier this year is moving. Such courage and fortitude from them all. All readers could benefit from this, but it seems particularly-pertinent for current missionaries to read and reflect on.
Essential for Church Leaders
A helpful expositional essay from Tom Steller (Training Leaders International) concerning how that lovely little epistle Third John helps churches think carefully about what it means to send missionaries and not just have missionaries.
Essential for Mission Agency Workers
This story of how a small, rural US church felt when they received the help of a team of short-term mission team of youth from a larger, wealthier church is a really instructive read, and finishes with some excellent advice (for both 'sides' of the deal) for anyone involved in short-term mission teams in any form.
Essential for Christians Partnering as Senders
Any prayer for sent workers in cross-cultural mission is always appreciated and valuable. But Upstream Collective here have some helpful examples of how churches can pray not just 'nice' prayers, but prayers that recognize the spiritual battle that sending and being sent involves. Helpful for those who pray for mission partners publicly and privately.
GENERAL (well worth your time)
The 'single female missionary' is an extraordinary historical and contemporary phenomenon. And God continues to use so many such amazing women for worldwide good. In this blogpost Eddie Arthur nicely salutes such dedication, courage and skill!
Isn't the trade language, or indeed English, enough in most places for missions work? Four good reasons why investing in local-language learning is a worthy endeavour.
I'm convinced there is a PhD to be had on the use of photographs in mission agency literature. Regardless, this Mission Resource Network post by Dan Bouchelle is great advice for short term (and yes, long-term) mission partners about how to use photography well for the dignity of others, the downplaying of self, and the glory of God.
AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts, videos)
Links to video/audio of the 16 Missio Nexus (US-based missions network) seminars, each about an hour or so long, that have taken place in 2022. Topics include '40 years of mega-change in missions', 'Simplifying Muslim outreach', and 'Risk in missions'.
An interview with Ryan Shaw (Global Mission Mobilization Initiative). He explains what missions mobilization is, why he believes mobilization needs rethinking, and why he proposes the idea of more “mobilization from the inside.” An informative interview on the popular "Global Missions Podcast".
Hannah Nation, managing director of the Center for House Church Theology, speaks about the effect of the pandemic on Chinese house churches, their theology of suffering, and the influences that shape Chinese sermons into what they are. I learnt a lot.
DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)
Some analyses of African-American church involvement in global missionary sending are extremely limited. Morgan Davis has published a hopeful and helpful essay here with strong historical analysis and thoughtful exegesis of contemporary Western missions culture.
Paul Ayòkúnlé writing for Moya Chronicles: "The majority of the world’s Christians now reside in non-Western nations. How, then, can the centre of Christianity not be fully in touch with the faith it significantly hosts? The Africanisation of Christianity must occur for Christianity to be truly meaningful to Africans."
An extended article in Christianity Today magazine thinking how the crucially-important Jerusalem Council of Acts 15 can and should shape contemporary ministry in relation to ethnic diversity and division in church congregations.
BOOKS (recent releases)
Links are to Amazon for best info/reviews. Other outlets are available...
Scott W. Sunquist
"How should thoughtful Christians make sense of global Christianity as an unfolding historical movement? [The author] highlights both the continuity and the diversity within the Christian movement over the centuries, he identifies three key concepts for framing church history: time, cross, and glory. These themes shed light to help us discern how the Jesus movement developed from the first century to the present, through an explosion of contextual expressions"
"When we explore how the Bible describes “the nations,” we find some categories that have been overlooked, forgotten, or set aside in the development of missions strategy. Geography is one of these categories. However, this is not simply bringing current geo-political entities back into our missions strategy. Instead, Matthew Hirt is calling on missiologists, missions researchers, and missionaries on the field to discover how people groups identify their own geographies and, in turn, how that geography contributes to a people group’s identity."
Eric Costanzo, Daniel Yang and Matthew Soerens
"For the church to return to health, we must decenter ourselves from our American idols and recenter on the undeniable, inalienable core reality of the global, transcultural kingdom of God. Our guides in this process are global Christians and the poor, who offer hope from the margins, and the ancient church, which survived through the ages amid temptations of power and corruption. Their witness points us to refocus on the kingdom of God, the image of God, the Word of God, and the mission of God."
Gospel Coalition review here...
MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)
Langham Partnership, founded by the late British evangelical leader John Stott, has started a daily Monday through Friday email containing a short thought/excerpt from a majority world Christian leader to encourage, challenge and bless Western Christians. Great idea.
This 100-second video is captivating and not a little crazy. Glasses that translate in real-time what the other person is saying to you in a language you don't understand. Whether it's this precise product or another, there's just no way that this sort of technology isn't going to radically impact world mission and world Christianity in ways that I suspect many of us can't comprehend right now.
Michael Prest, Director of British Mission Agency UFM Worldwide, speaking on the topic "Identifying and encouraging people for cross-cultural mission from your church" - webinar for church leaders (Tuesday 5th July, 1-2pm, BST). It is so easy for such topics to get left behind in the busyness of church leadership. This should be well worth committing an hour to.
QUOTES (wise one-liners)
(1) "You can't make disciples of all the nations without signing up for storms. If you want to avoid storms, don't make disciples of all the nations"
(2) "The mission of God is the commitment of God to make Himself known to His creation ultimately for the purpose of redeeming and restoring all creation to its right relationship with God"
(3) "There is not something called Christianity and then missionaries who spread it. Christianity is in its very essence a mission to the world. If it is not reaching, teaching, baptizing, and multiplying disciples it is not Christianity."
GLOBAL INSIGHT (Noteworthy world news and info)
"The number of people forced to flee conflict, violence, human rights violations and persecution has now crossed the staggering milestone of 100 million for the first time on record, propelled by the war in Ukraine and other deadly conflicts. 'This must serve as a wake-up call to resolve and prevent destructive conflicts, end persecution, and address the underlying causes that force innocent people to flee their homes' said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi."
Really clear interactive article showing what's happening with Ukrainian & Russian wheat in light of the war there, and how it is impacting countries across the Middle East and North and East Africa.
Remarkable long-form essay from The Atlantic (US magazine) about China's authoritarian instincts. "Coming back to Beijing showed me what happens when an unfettered state is allowed free rein, unchecked by law or civil society…My fear—the fear of the millions experiencing harsh lockdowns in Shanghai and elsewhere in China—is the fear of the arbitrary."
TWEETS (short but significant)
HIGHLIGHTS (3 most popular links from the previous Mission Hits…)
AND FINALLY (unrelated but interesting!)
I can't get enough of this sort of thing. A 2-min video zooming out from Venice to the outer reaches of the universe. Watch with Isaiah 40:26 at your side…
And a similar sort of thing in the opposite direction…take a trip to the bottom of the ocean! I found this bizarrely fascinating. What a crazy place our seas are, with just the weirdest stuf down there. Watch with Psalm 148:7 at your side…
A 3D spinning globe showing world population density. Wonderful.
Full searchable archives of all Mission Hits resources from edition #1
Questions, comments, or suggestions for the next edition?
Find out more about fromeverynation.net