From Every Nation (Chris Howles)
Mission Hits #39 (July 2022)
Welcome to Mission Hits, a monthly blog highlighting stimulating and significant recent resources related to world mission and world Christianity.
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Welcome to Mission Hits #39
Greetings as ever from Namugongo, Uganda. I trust you will enjoy and benefit from looking through these links to first-rate resources related to world Christianity and world mission. I've certainly had a lot of fun putting this together, and I emerge from that lengthy process as ever encouraged, blessed, helped, taught and challenged.
Please note a new category of links: 'Online Events'. In this Zoom era there is such an abundance of mission-themed online events, seminars, conferences and lectures that I've started this new category to bring some of them to your attention.
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 always, please feel free to send me any feedback (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Head of Theology serving at Uganda Martyrs Seminary Namugongo.
Doctorate in Intercultural Theology (Fuller Theological Seminary)
Mission Partner: Crosslinks (UK)
ESSENTIALS (if you only have time for one...)
Essential for Missionaries
This is so important for serving missionaries. Eight principles to remember and enact in the face of ever-constant battles with pride, self-dependence, falsity, professionalism and results-based orientations. Principles include "Missionaries should view all accomplishments as sheer grace" and "Missionaries should see faithful stewardship as success." Ken Midkiff writing for radical.net.
Essential for Church Leaders
How pastors support global missions
This packs a LOT into one article, so inevitably there are generalizations and places where experienced mission thinkers may want to interject. But as a clear, overarching introduction to world Christianity and world mission today then this article written to encourage church leaders to commit to God's own global passions and purposes takes some beating.
Essential for Mission Agency Workers
Think local before you go global
Although I sense things are shifting, mission agencies traditionally gravitate towards sending mission partners out as rapidly as they reasonably can. This article from TEAM gives some helpful reminders why slowing down and first ministering in the home context can be better in the long-term…
Essential for Christians Partnering as Senders
Questions your church should be asking about mission and missionaries
A series of sharp, thoughtful questions designed to help churches "filter opportunities, vet agencies, and assess prospective missionaries, as well as care for them when they return." A Gospel Coalition article useful for church mission committees and such like.
GENERAL (well worth your time)
(1) Where are all the single male missionaries?
By far the best thing I've read about the absence of single male missionaries in the Western missionary movement. I really appreciated the explanation of why some contexts would really benefit from having such men serving there, and what we all lose in their absence, plus advice for church leaders for sending more single men. Fabulous article from Emmy Lopez for the 'A Life Overseas' blog.
(2) Fully funded or support raised? The pros and cons of each
I link to a lot of articles from The Upstream Collective and make no apology for it as the quality of what they produce is consistently high. Here's another one - a two-part blog (read both) on the question of being 'fully-supported' versus raising your own support as a missionary. It's easy to get either defensive or jealous, and Bradley Bell does a great job in laying out a balanced evaluation of the pros and cons for both sides.
(3) Preaching in a multi-ethnic congregation…
Helpful Twitter thread from New York pastor Rich Villodas about the questions he asks when writing a sermon to ensure he is relating things to the diversity of peoples and ethnicities in the congregation.
AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts, videos)
(1) Radius International Main Sessions
Two 45min plenary talks from the recent Radius International Missiology Conference. Brooks Buser on 'Who do we send on the mission of the church?' and Kevin DeYoung on 'What isn't the mission of the church?' Available as YouTube videos, but also as SermonAudio downloads/podcasts.
Helpful 35-min conversation with Lauren Wells (on the Teach Beyond 'Transformed & Transformational' podcast) about the 'grief tower' of some Third-Culture Kids (TCKs): "The Grief Tower is used to describe why the TCK life can be so difficult. It isn’t just one thing that happens; it’s a lot of little things…The idea of The Grief Tower is that all of those things are stacking up higher and higher throughout the developmental years if they’re not processed.”
(3) Free 'Biblical Training' audio courses
This website has a number of mission-related audio lecture courses by some well-known US teachers and authors in the field, including Timothy Tennent on 'Buddhism' and 'Essentials of African Traditional Religion' and Don Davis on 'Urban Church Planting'. The few I've listened to have been accessible, clear, and helpful.
DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)
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 a quarterly (4 times a year) email with links to all journals/periodicals related to world mission/World Christianity. Edition #7 covering April-June 2022 is here.
(2) The kingdom of God is big enough for both collectivists and individualists
Euiwan Cho, associate professor of Christian spirituality at Fuller, with a long essay on the foundations and features of individualist and collectivist societies, and how Christians in those societies can function healthily. Understanding the differences between these two systems, and then ministering effectively in them, are often important skills in cross-cultural mission.
(3) Gerald H. Anderson Lecture
Last month Dr. Dana Robert gave the inaugural Gerald H. Anderson Lecture at the Overseas Ministries Study Center at Princeton Theological Seminary, focusing on Anderson's life and legacy. It's a good introduction to the man and his work, for those interested. Youtube video.
BOOKS (recent releases)
Links are to Amazon for best info/reviews. Other outlets are available...
(1) Supracultural Gospel: Bridging East and West (2022)
Mary Lou Codman-Wilson and Alex Zhou
"Join Dr. Mary Lou Codman-Wilson and Alex Zhou as they dialogue about Alex's experience becoming a believer in the US and his struggle to share his faith when he returned to China. They model a process of examining our cultural worldview to overcome the tensions associated with living out our faith in a context dominated by different religious or secular systems. [This book is] a powerful and practical tool for those who are passionate about cross-cultural discipleship"
(2) Teamwork Cross-Culturally: Christ-Centered Solutions for Leading Multinational Teams (2022)
Sherwood G Lingenfelter and Julie A Green
"[This book] casts a vision for how teams made up of diverse peoples can serve in unity as the body of Christ despite the complicated problems that arise. The book equips leaders to respond to divisive issues so that multinational mission teams can do the work of ministry in ways that honor God."
(3) Theology of Mission: A Concise Biblical Theology (2022)
J. D. Payne
"[This book] traces the theme of mission throughout Scripture. Payne shows that God's mission is on every page of the Bible and is foundational to the church's own existence. With reflection questions following concise chapters, all readers can consider their place in God's work."
MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)
(1) World church weekly newsletter resource
Operation World, and the Joshua Project, two organizations many readers will be familiar with, have teamed up to produce 52 short weekly prayer guides "to help churches around the world see the big picture of how God is moving in our world today, cultivate greater awareness of global missional needs and opportunities, and mobilize prayer and loving action." They seem ideal for use in church newsletters, bulletins, magazines, emails etc. They really have made it so easy for us!
(2) Resources to teach kids about the persecuted church
A list of interesting books, websites, and videos (categorised by age group) to help youngsters consider, remember, and pray for, brothers and sisters persecuted for the name of Christ. Produced by the Gospel Coalition so mainly US-based but also relevant more widely than that.
I like seeing people use their talents and passions for mission. And I also fall easily for any title that riffs off the word 'mission'. So 'Animission' feels worthy of a link here: "A training program that equips artists, missionaries and teams to use digital animation creation tools to create media that communicates the gospel cross-culturally" Everything from 8-hour introductions to 7-week full courses in animation for spreading the Gospel.
QUOTES (wise one-liners)
(1) “Missions is a cross-cultural endeavor to help people experience God as their Treasure above all earthly treasures forever.”
(2) "It is not sufficient for the Church to attend to tactics: she must attend first to truth."
(3) "Mission flows from fullness, not emptiness. We seek not so much to draw in as to give out. We don’t ‘gain converts’, we offer Christ."
GLOBAL INSIGHT (Noteworthy world news and info)
(1) After 2,000 UK church buildings close, new church plants get creative
"In England, some rally to restore aging and emptying Anglican sites, while diverse congregations look beyond traditional sanctuaries…Migrant churches are more focused on the people and community element than the building element.” Article from Christianity Today magazine (US)
(2) The puzzle of India: Post-Christian without ever being christian
A 2021 Pew Research study reported that Indian Christians disproportionately identify with lower castes and that most converts come from poor backgrounds. Some churches and pastors are thinking carefully how to share the gospel with " a kind of unreached people group in India: urban professionals who often have significant influence in their cities, but who are underserved by the church."
(3) ‘He bought me like a chicken’: the struggle to end slavery in Niger
Devastating report from The Guardian (UK) about the practice of wealthy Muslim men purchasing an (illegal) '5th wife' to act as a servant to the first four. Slavery in Africa continues alive and well.
TWEETS (short but significant)
ONLINE EVENTS (seminars and conferences)
(1) 'Power, agency, and women in the mission of God'
2022 Fuller Theological Seminary Missiology Lectures. From October 26–28, 2022. Theme; "Power, agency, and women in the mission of God: A scholar-practitioner conversation". Program yet to be released, but for now they are suggesting people save the date.
(2) 'Without faces: Perspectives on women in mission'
Dr Cathy Ross (Head of Pioneer Leadership Training at CMS (Church Mission Society UK ) speaking on 'Perspectives on Women in Mission' on Wednesday 21st September 2022 (12-1.30pm UK time) via Zoom. "Cathy will be suggesting that World Christianity could be considered a women's movement and will discuss what that might mean for our understanding of and engagement in mission"
(3) 'Jesus and empire: Christian witness in the context of power'
29-31 October 2022, in person (Romania) and online. . Ruth Padilla DeBorst, Bishop Zac Niringiye, Marcel Macelaru, Al Tizon, and others, on the topic 'Jesus and Empire: Christian Witness in the Context of Power'. Organized by the Stott-Bediako forum.
HIGHLIGHTS (3 most popular links from the previous Mission Hits…)
(1) Faithfulness in the face of death
(3) Sending missionaries well: How churches support global ministry
JUST FOR FUN (unrelated but interesting!)
Well this is just irresistibly marvellous. Dutch visual artist Frans Hofmeester recorded a 15-second clip of his daughter every week since she was a newborn. Watch her go from 0 to 20 years old in two minutes. Magical.
"Two sailors. One focused on what others thought about him, while the other focused on what he wanted. One ended up dead, while the other found a deep sense of happiness. In life, we are always in a struggle between what the world wants from us and what we truly want" Crazy story, written well
There are 16 circles in this picture. I found it impossible to find one, then I suddenly saw all 16, and now that's all I can see…
Full searchable archives of all Mission Hits resources from edition #1
Questions, comments, or suggestions for the next edition?
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