From Every Nation (Chris Howles)
Mission Hits #42 (October 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 #42
Am I being disobedient by staying in my home country?
What if I want to serve overseas but my spouse doesn't?
What is a missionary call and how do I know if I have one?
What about my responsibilities to struggling family back home?
What can it look like to be engaged cross-culturally in my home context?
These are crucial and common questions, and in this 42nd edition of Mission Hits you'll find excellent resources helping you to think through each of them (and many more).
As ever, this past month has seen an abundance of stimulating and significant resources for Christians who are thinking how to engage in god's global purposes wherever the Lord has sent them and placed them. May you find a handful below that bless you inspire you.
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.
Mission Partner: Crosslinks (UK)
Doctorate in Intercultural Theology (Fuller Theological Seminary)
ESSENTIALS (if you only have time for one...)
Essential for Missionaries
A liturgy for when a loved one Is ailing back home
Many missionaries know all-too-well the pain, guilt and loss of being away from sick or struggling loved ones back home. This liturgical prayer by Bradley Bell captures that heartache and hurt beautifully, and uses it to draw us in to Christ and his mission. If you are serving the Lord far from home, or know someone who is, bookmark this.
Essential for Church Leaders
This post outlines some of the outrageous difficulties that you'll face if you want to serve cross-culturally with this Central Asian people group, before concluding: "Perhaps you feel a strange burning in your chest as you read of these impossible tasks. Maybe instead of balking at the unlikelihood of success, you feel overtaken by an unusual confidence, perhaps even a jealousy for God’s glory among these forgotten peoples. Pay attention to those desires if they keep surfacing and if they align with gifting and opportunity." Church leaders might do well to consider how to incorporate such story-telling into their missional discipleship work.
Essential for Mission Agency Workers
10 Things the church can learn about missions from Jesus, Peter, and Paul
The extent to which contemporary mission strategy can base itself upon New Testament practice will always be hotly debated, but Professor of New Testament Eckhard Schnabel brings out 10 ways it can do in this Gospel Coalition article, including "Missionaries travel as they seek to proclaim the gospel in cities, towns, and villages" and "The primary strategy of missionary work consists in proclaiming God’s revelation in Jesus to all people without exceptions"
Essential for Christians Partnering as Senders
I’m not a missionary. Am I making excuses?
Alex Kocman, a missions author, podcaster, and leader, asks whether remaining in ministry 'at home' is somehow disobedient? This feels, perhaps ironically, important for Christians involved in sending missionaries to grapple with if they want to be discerning in who to support as cross-cultural workers.
GENERAL (well worth your time)
(1) Preparing for Cross-Cultural Ministry
These six recommendations from a counsellor for Christians preparing to be sent from Chinese churches for cross-cultural mission are an interesting window into the mission movement there, and are also helpful for Western contexts too.
(2) What Is Polycentric Mission Leadership?
"For far too long, the modern picture of mission as uni-directional, western-centred, and hierarchically structured has unhelpfully dominated the scene. Polycentric mission leadership is about breaking that paradigm." Polycentric is a missions buzzword, but probably with good reason. Joe Handley here explains why it's important in light of contemporary World Christianity.
(3) John Piper’s ‘Let the Nations Be Glad’ celebrates 30 Years
Some love it, some don't. But don't underestimate the influence this book has had in the evangelical mission world. Gloria Furman, Ajith Fernando, J. D. Payne, Brooks Buser and others write about its impact on them in this Gospel Coalition article.
AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts, videos)
(1) Trends shaping world Christianity
11-min video from Dr. Gina Zurlo (Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity) outlining with wonderful charts and graphs some key shifts in global Christianity over the past 150 years.
(2) When couples disagree about their calling
How should a person respond when they are convinced of God's call to cross-cultural mission service but their spouse/partner isn't? It's a surprisingly common and tricky scenario. Husband and wife Scott and Tara Dunford respond sensitively and pastorally to this listener question.
(3) What kind of global goer are you?
This sort of 10-question survey will appeal to some more than others, but there are useful concepts here that I enjoyed thinking about. Jeannie Marie explains the fivefold typology of world mission involvement personality-types she has developed in this 35-min conversation on the Global Missions Podcast.
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 #8 covering July-September 2022 is here. If you still haven't done so, sign up to stay informed, inspired, and thoroughly up-to-date with contemporary missiological thinking.
(2) When “The Golden Age” is over: A call for missiological reflection on China missions of the past four decades
Some are comparing the current 'moment' in China to the expulsion of Western missionaries in the 1950s, such seems to be the crackdown on overseas workers going on right now. "As the mission community tries to cope with China’s new reality and to adjust accordingly, a legitimate question to ask is whether any valuable missiological reflection will be done…With the end of “the Golden Age,” it may be necessary for us to slow down and take a step back for a season of self-examination." Interesting stuff from ChinaSource.org
(3) A bibliography for the proclamational approach to church planting overseas
For those interested in literature arguing for proclamational mission perspectives (and thus generally critical of rapid multiplication mission strategies) then this comprehensive bibliography is a good place to begin. Mission Hits will, of course, continue to highlight significant resources related to many different perspectives on this key missiological question.
BOOKS (recent releases)
Links are to Amazon for best info/reviews. Other outlets are available...
(1) Seeking God's Face: Practical Reflections on Honor and Shame in Scripture (2022)
Jackson Wu & Ryan Jensen
"Honor and shame shape the biblical message and all that Christians are called to be. Unfortunately, many leaders and laypersons do not grasp the theological and practical significance of these concepts for the church. [This book] contains 101 practical reflections on honor and shame taken from across the pages of Scripture [presenting them] not as abstract concepts, but as compelling issues that affect evangelism, spiritual formation, and discipleship."
(2) You Are Sent: Finding Your Place in God's Global Mission (2022)
"In this nine-week study, discover God's passion for local and global mission and be empowered to make Jesus known everywhere you go. The study includes detailed leader's notes and an easy-to-use format suitable for a classroom, small group, or in one-on-one discipleship." Click here for a 1h video of a seminar from Nathan introducing some of the key ideas.
(3) Relational Partnerships for Missions Mobilization (2022)
Enoch Wan & Joshua Paxton
"Today, while we speak often of partnership many of the Church’s activities remain siloed in various institutional forms. Missions history also demonstrates that these cultural forms have not always played well with one another. This book explores a relational approach to building partnerships through the Synergy process. Our prayer is that it will help pastors, educators, and mission agency leaders think Scripturally about how to build relational partnerships for mobilizing the next generation of missionaries."
MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)
A short annual report from Wycliffe Bible Translators explaining (with stats and graphs) what's happening with Bible translation worldwide. Did you know that only 9.7% languages currently have a full Bible, leaving 1.5b people (20% of the world's population) without one. And yet the speed of work and new translations coming in is extraordinary and encouraging!
(2) Persecuted church global prayer guide
'The Voice of the Martyrs' has produced an excellent website helping readers to understand where and how some Christians are persecuted worldwide. Click on any country to see more information and short, clear prayer points. What incredible access to such information we have these days - it leaves me with little excuse for prayerlessness.
(3) Preparing for sexual integrity on missions
"Being in a different culture can trigger heightened and even new forms of temptation. It is wise to prepare for this - this course will give you tools to anticipate and prepare to face difficult feelings and temptations that arise while on mission." Online course (can be done anytime) for $9.95 from Pure Life Academy.
QUOTES (wise one-liners)
(1) "One of the hardest things in missiology is avoiding the temptation to see one’s own experience of mission as normative."
(2) "Jesus said 'Apart from me, you can do nothing', which means it's impossible to complete the task of the Great Commission without prayer as the bedrock.”
Dr Jason Hubbard
(3) "The completion of the Great Commission will include great suffering, but eternity will prove it is worth the price."
GLOBAL INSIGHT (Noteworthy world news/info)
(1) Is the future of Europe African?
Fascinating maps, thought-provoking ideas, and a brutal and breathtaking conclusion. "migrants will for cultural and linguistic reasons have a strong preference to worship in their own communities and the established churches are happy to let them. The effect of this is highly religious silos amongst a highly irreligious culture and never the twain shall meet. As a result the church may well die while all the while ignoring the medicine necessary to keep it alive."
(2) How hunger destroys lives and communities
There is vast, frightening, unfathomable hunger worldwide right now. But what is it? Fascinating and frightening article from the Guardian. "Lack of money means there is still a dearth of research into both the short- and long-term impacts of malnutrition. “This is not a subject that people put a lot of medical research into”
(3) The danger of being religious in a religious nation
I found this BBC article about Nigeria interesting and disturbing: "Religious intolerance - in one of the most religious countries in Africa if not the world - is one of the issues dominating debate ahead of next year's elections."
TWEETS (short but significant)
ONLINE EVENTS (Zoom seminars & conferences)
(1) Global Missions Health Conference 2022 (Nov 10th-12th, US)
For those involved in or interested in healthcare missions (global mission from a medical background/perspective). $49 ($149 for healthcare professionals) An extensive program of talks and seminars on a huge variety of related topics.
(2) 'The Local Church In Mission' (16th Nov, UK)
Gavin Calver, CEO of the Evangelical Alliance (UK) speaks about the local church in mission, answering questions such as 'How can we see all Christians mobilised to be witnesses?' and 'How can we make the most of one of the seasons of greatest openness to the Gospel in recent years?' Wednesday 16th November 12noon (UK time). £15 for Global Connections members.
(3) Are these countries really closed? (Nov 3rd, US)
"Are countries in the 10/40 window really closed to the gospel? Maybe they are just closed to our traditional methods of doing missions. Let's talk about some of the creative ways God is using to bring His people to live and proclaim in these 'creative access nations'." Thursday November 3rd 12pm (CT). Hosted by Sixteen: Fifteen.
HIGHLIGHTS (Most popular from last month's Mission Hits…)
(1) Missionary job description: Feel awkward
(3) Missionary Kids are experiencing abuse & neglect at higher rates than American kids. Dramatically higher…
JUST FOR FUN (unrelated but interesting!)
My new favourite Wikipedia page. A long list of everything you'd heard was true (and probably have passed on to others) but turns out isn't.
(2) Alone at the edge of the world
This article is huge (16,000 words huge), yet worth every second it takes to read (or the 90mins to listen to the audio) because it's one of those rare moments where the extraordinariness of the subject is matched by the brilliance of the writing to create something very special indeed. An astonishing adventure story about British sailor Susie Goodall's attempt to sail around the globe, alone and without technology.
(3) The smallest possible circle containing…
3min YouTube video showing the smallest circle possible that contains 1%, and then 2%, and then 3% etc. of the earth's population. It starts as a pinprick in Bangladesh, and gets ever larger and larger. Maybe it's just me (I have a thing for global demographics) but I thought it was excellent fun to watch.
Full searchable archives of all Mission Hits resources from edition #1
Questions, comments, or suggestions for the next edition?
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