Mission Hits #41 (September 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 #41
One of the most enjoyable parts of bringing together this email each month is benefitting from how brutally honest many people now when communicating about world mission.
In this edition we have moving missionary accounts of serving overseas as an introvert, relating well with siblings, the 'disappointment' of returning home from missions service cross-culturally, and processing a brutal attack from violent home intruders. I'm so grateful for those willing to open up about their joys and the challenges they face, for the good and blessing of others.
And so I hope you all enjoy these amazing articles, podcasts, tweets, videos, books etc.
If you know anyone who might find this a useful monthly resource to receive, then please do pass this on. 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)
p.s. In case you've not yet seen it, note that I've put together a list (with links and descriptions) of 50 currently active (and 18 inactive) world mission-related podcasts. Find it here.
Although I considered it, there's NO 'Mission Hits Podcasts' or such like email going out, but I will continue linking to 3 top podcast episodes each week here in Mission Hits.
ESSENTIALS (if you only have time for one...)
Essential for Missionaries
Well-written, honest, perceptive, and very funny. This article is about being an introverted missionary in India, but wherever you're serving, and whatever your character, I suspect this will be both reassuring and challenging for you.
Essential for Church Leaders
Churches, don't assume your mission partner families are fine. Some important stats in this article from the 'A Life Overseas' blog, but this one caught my eye especially: 37% of missionary kids (compared to 11% of American kids at 'home') report experiencing emotional neglect i.e. "not feeling loved, special or important, or that their family was not close and supportive."
Essential for Mission Agency Workers
Beware of the prideful paths of spiritual complacency, spiritual elitism, and godless nostalgia. Great advice for those returning from short-term mission trips that could and should play a apart in church and agency debriefing/counselling after mission trips. From Sam Bierig on the Midwestern Seminary blog
Essential for Christians Partnering as Senders
Articles like this are precious - Nathan Sloan reflecting on his return from cross-cultural missionary service in South Asia. I suspect sending partners of missionaries would do well to keep this up their sleeve ready to share it at the right moment when missionaries return home: "Alongside my ambition, I also now long to be faithful and content in life’s more mundane rhythms...when we’re faithful in the ordinary, God gives our lives extraordinary significance"
GENERAL (well worth your time)
Yaw Perbi and Sam Ngugi write for the Lausanne Movement website about their new book 'Africa to the Rest': "Our dream is that every African Christian would become a catalyst to build a world in which there is the gospel for every person, a disciple-making church for every people and place, Christ-like leaders for every church and sector, and kingdom impact in every sphere of society, to the glory of the missionary God! Out of Africa to the rest!"
Relationships…unity…agility…measurability: Smaller churches (note: defined very differently in this US article than it would be in the UK) can be involved faithfully and fruitfully in mission sending when their innate strengths are recognized and utilized: "In a smaller church, it’s easier to capture the whole church’s heart for a particular place and people."
Catalyst Services investigate at how different subjects studied at university/college (inc. those sometimes considered irrelevant to world mission) can be used for global Kingdom impact. It features mission workers who are using their studies in Physical Education, Finance, Fine Arts, Film Studies etc. to serve God cross-culturally for the spread of the gospel and the growth of the church.
AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts, videos)
"As a new missionary, Ann was adjusting to Central Asian culture and learning the language. Suddenly, an event dramatically changed her life. Listen in to hear her story of a home break-in and attack just nine months after arriving in her new country. She shares the effects on her faith, relationship with locals, and how God used it." This was a profoundly frightening and moving podcast episode from last year, but one that ultimately results in God's honour and glory. Content warning: Strong depictions of violence and trauma. Listener discretion advised.
I was quite struck by this podcast episode from 'Cup of Cold Water Ministries'…it's really honest about the effects on family of someone moving overseas as a mission partner. "Shari Tvrdik welcomes her two sisters to discuss what it was like to be the family that stayed behind while Shari left for the mission field and discuss the hurts and joys of trying to keep a relationship alive from the other side of the sea."
30-min discussion on the 'From Amazon to the Himalayas' podcast. Ryan Robertson (Reaching and Teaching) gives a helpful framework for understanding the 'missionary call' and how this can help churches discern who and how to send people cross-culturally in mission.
DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)
Allen Yeh, Associate Professor of Missiology at Biola University, has contributed a chapter in a new free-online WCC book. His chapter (Ch 8, P181) looks at some distinctive characteristics of mission in the 21st century. It concludes "And so current missions in the Age of World Christianity is in many ways more biblical than ever before. As such, it is more of a reformation than a revolution, and there is great reason for hope as we face the future"
“We have no right to send people on missions, especially in cross-cultural or multicultural contexts, without giving them an understanding of demonology" Adam Thomas' review of Scott Macdonald's 2021 book 'Demonology for the Global Church' holds up well as a standalone article, but also makes one want to read the whole book.
In conjunction with the Motus Dei network ('a network for the missiological study of global movements to Christ') Ephesiology Masterclasses are offering an in-depth online course: "study with leading experts will equip you with the tools to understand the people you are engaging and join with God in His work of uniting all things in Christ." It's $200 but Mission Hits readers have been allowed to use the code 'emsprofs' to get it for free! Fantastic opportunity.
BOOKS (recent releases)
Links are to Amazon for best info/reviews. Other outlets are available...
"In an increasingly globalized and multicultural world, how can we learn to see beyond our own cultural influences, understand those of others, and learn from each other in order to better understand and apply the word of God? This book will enable you to understand the common pitfalls and dangers related to cross-cultural hermeneutics while also equipping you with principles and real-life examples for how to interpret Scripture in such situations."
Jangkholam Haokip & David W. Smith
"The wisdom of tribal peoples has often been overlooked, both within the church and outside of it. However as the ideologies of consumerism, free market individualism, and nationalism grow more and more dominant across the globe, with devastating implications for our planet's shared future, it has become ever more urgent to make space for voices from the margins - voices offering alternative frameworks for understanding the nature of existence, spirituality, and what it means to be human"
"Christians should make disciples as disciples. [This book] casts a holistic vision for Christian mission that is rooted in theological ethics and moral philosophy, proposing a theology of mission grounded in virtue. Becoming a skilled missionary is more about following Christ than mastering techniques. Christian mission is best understood as activities that develop virtue in its practitioners and move them toward their ultimate goal of partaking in the glory of God."
MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)
Indigitous Serve has produced an illustrated 40page PDF helping kids (and, to be honest, adults too) understand about people groups worldwide where less than 0.1% identify in any way with Jesus. 31 groups are featured with stats, prayer points, bible verses and cartoon illustrations for each. It's ideal for a month of prayer, but could just as easily be used over a longer period.
The Lausanne Movement are launching a corporate reading scheme to read the whole Bible leading up to Seoul 2024, including weekly discussions. "Our weekly 'Listening to God’s Word Together Calls (L2G) seek to bring Christian leaders engaged on mission with God to hear Scripture read in a communal environment."
This is quite the feat. A dynamic, interactive, searchable map showing the locations, sizes, religious affiliations and backgrounds of hundreds of different UPG diaspora groups across North America.
QUOTES (wise one-liners)
(1) "Living the mission of Jesus means taking your faith into your work and your life and praying for it to change people's hearts toward God."
(2) "Community without mission dies out, and mission without community burns out."
(3) "The Church who feels no compassion for perishing souls has already become worldly."
GLOBAL INSIGHT (Noteworthy world news/info)
"A great upheaval is coming. Climate-driven movement of people is adding to a massive migration already under way to the world’s cities. The number of migrants has doubled globally over the past decade, and the issue of what to do about rapidly increasing populations of displaced people will only become greater and more urgent. To survive climate breakdown will require a planned and deliberate migration of a kind humanity has never before undertaken."
"The global food system exists to allow surpluses to be traded to areas where crops are short. It works, for now. But as weather becomes less predictable and droughts more common, production may become less reliable—and the movement of food to the most vulnerable might grind to a halt."
"Since the 1990s, large numbers of Americans have left Christianity to join the growing ranks of U.S. adults who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular.” This accelerating trend is reshaping the U.S. religious landscape, leading many people to wonder what the future of religion in America might look like."
TWEETS (short but significant)
ONLINE EVENTS (Zoom seminars & conferences)
"What does it look like to call a new generation of missionaries to the hard places? How can we equip them with the spiritual and practical resources that will keep them from shrinking back in the face of overwhelming opposition?" US event. Wednesday October 5th 10am PDT/1pm EDT. Free for Missio Nexus members.
"Join author and missions expert Nathan Sloan as he gives us a deeper understanding of and passion for global missions, while equipping us to expand God’s kingdom wherever we find ourselves. Explore God’s plan from before the beginning of time for reaching all nations and peoples of the earth with the gospel, The connection between God’s ongoing work in our hearts (renewal) and in the world (missions), and practical ways we can move out on mission with God to the world around us." Wednesday 21st September, 11am (EST). Free.
Creativity, technology, missiology - hats off to those who have gifts to bring them together in UPG evangelism and cross-cultural discipleship: “An 8-week seminar to prepare you to create films that communicate the gospel across cultures. Whether you have had experience making videos or movies, or have never held a camera, join us to grow your skills, and be inspired to create videos that communicate good news.” From Create International (a ministry of YWAM). $250, 28 September – 30 November 2022.
HIGHLIGHTS (Most popular from last month's Mission Hits…)
JUST FOR FUN (unrelated but interesting!)
There are thought to be at least 30,635,595 unique surnames on Earth, and this website has them all. Look at the most common names worldwide ('Smith', the most common name in the UK and the US, is only 130th most common globally!) and search for your own name. 1 in every 120,000 people in the world is a 'Howles' like me, making it the 427,211st most common name on earth. Awesome stuff.
"We’ve assembled the 50 greatest fictional deaths of all time—the most moving, most funny, most shocking, most influential scenes from books, movies, TV, theater, video games, and more. Spoilers abound: It’s a list that spans nearly 2,500 years of human culture" I enjoyed scrolling through this list, reading a few that I was familiar with.
I just can't get enough of this kind of thing. Pictures of the same place 'then' and 'now. How some places change so dramatically, and some not at all, is genuinely fascinating.
Full searchable archives of all Mission Hits resources from edition #1
Questions, comments, or suggestions for the next edition?
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