Mission Hits #43 (November 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 #43
As anyone who follows me on Twitter knows, I'm a bit of a geek when it comes to maps, population and data, so news this week that the world's population crossed 8 billion for the first time fascinates me. To mark this I've included below a special extra section of three resources for you below to help us as mission thinkers to understand something of the size and distribution of the world's population, and some implications of that.
The 'Miscellaneous' section this week is devoted to the FIFA men's World Cup (possibly the world's biggest sporting event) that kicks off on Sunday. These resources enable us to better understand and pray for some serious issues concerning the staging of this tournament, Christian mission in Qatar (the host country), and religious freedom in some of the other participant nations.
Beyond that, there's plenty of other wonderful world mission- and world Christianity-related resources to enjoy below. As always, 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. Please feel free to send me any feedback (email@example.com).
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
The US missionary in Central Asia argues that the high standards of discernment required when sending missionaries out are often abandoned when making the equally-momentous decision to return home. "Sadly, many who come to the field, sent by their community, leave the field as Christian individualists."
Essential for Church Leaders
Author's privilege! I wrote a piece for the Oak Hill College (UK) blog about our positive experiences of how local church congregations most effectively serve, support, send and sustain their mission partners in a mutually enriching way that glorifies Jesus Christ both at home and abroad.
Essential for Mission Agency Workers
Personally I'm not convinced the word should be retired, but many are, and this two-part article by Dan Bouchelle (first part link above, second part here) outlines 8 reasons why he thinks the word shouldn't be used. Agree or disagree, this deserves wide engagement.
Essential for Christians Partnering as Senders
Mekdes Haddis calls out some Western churches and agencies for sending underdeveloped disciples to go and make disciples of others: "An emphasis to 'BE' discipled before 'MAKING' disciples is necessary if the Western church is to remain an essential part of the global mission movement…our ability to testify of God’s goodness in our lives has far more power than our ability to indoctrinate others." It's key for mission agency workers thinking through recruitment/sending policies.
GENERAL (well worth your time)
Ten emotions (from 'elated' via 'encouraged' and 'daunted' to 'depressed') that church leaders may feel when thinking about multi-ethnic local church ministry in Western settings. Written by an Anglican minister John Root ministering in a London-context, but useful far beyond.
Michael Oh, CEO of the Lausanne Movement, with a short, packed blog post about African Christianity, especially as it relates to the rapid spread of Islam across the continent. "The future of the global church is African. And the future of global mission is African. And one day we will hit one billion African believers. What does that mean for all of us?"
Five skills (or expectations/preparations) that Western evangelists and church planters working cross-culturally will most likely need. Of course there's more, but this is a useful starting point for those considering embarking on such a ministry.
AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts, videos)
World mission tutors at Oak Hill College (UK) Ray Porter and David Baldwin in really challenging, clear, perceptive conversation about many different questions related to enjoying and engaging in God's global gospel purposes today.
A 3-min YouTube video showing a map of the world and coloring in how different Christians traditions have grown (and reduced) and spread around the world in the past 1000 years. Such things will always be oversimplified, but it does nicely show the ebbs and flows of global Christianity.
There can be differences between the "missions with a S" world and the "missional" world - but there's a lot of common ground. Michael Goheen (professor of missional theology at Covenant Theological Seminary) discuss the mission of the biblical story, the role of the church, vocation, cultural partnerships, and narrative theology.
DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)
If you are interested at all in world mission/world Christianity trends and data, then this community of skilled, passionate researchers and statisticians is worth joining, if nothing else just to read and enjoy the excellent 'Correct Me If I'm Wrong' quarterly email newsletter (it's released in English, Portuguese and Spanish).
AMRI is a relatively new electronic multilingual platform designed to enhance the worldwide missiological community's sharing, connecting, and collaboration. This looks a good attempt to build relationships and share information within the global missiological community.
Not cheap at $75 per seminar or $400 for all six seminars, but OCMS have released their 2022-2023 seminar series, including talks such as "African Christianity in the Context of World Christianity" and "Migration, Refugee, Displaced and Diasporas in Christian Mission"
BOOKS (recent releases)
Links are to Amazon for best info/reviews. Other outlets are available...
"For many, missions is the story of heroes, martyrs, and the advance of the gospel. For others, it's the story of colonialism and missionary disasters. So how do we respond to God's call to love our neighbors as a new era emerges? Subversive mission is submission―to God and local leaders. Subversive mission offers a new way forward for outsiders called to cross-cultural ministry by serving as humble alongsiders"
"[This book] lays out a biblical framework for missionary care; helps reestablish the local church’s place in sending and supporting; gives valuable insight from the field, the agency, and the church on how to partner well together; and provides practical application for developing a pre-field, on-field, and post-field missionary care strategy. Sending doesn’t stop at the commissioning service—it is fostered and continues through faithful missionary care. The church must hold the rope and not let go!"
Glen Scrivener & Justin Schell
"Exploring how God's nature informs mission and surveying the missional narrative of Scripture, Come and See lays a theological and biblical foundation for Christian mission, inviting you to savor and participate in the grand story of God's mission that begins in Genesis and continues today. Perfect for church-based training programs, Come and See will introduce readers to both the theology of mission and the history of God's work through the church on mission"
SPECIAL SECTION: World Population passes 8 million
This week the human population of this planet passed 8 billion. If you want to see how many people that is, this webpage means you can literally see a figure for every human on earth, and watch the number increase 1 by 1 (and if you want to see what 8 billion looks like as one MASSIVE crowd, check out this 2min YouTube video…)
Truly magnificent infographics showing how the 8 billion divide up across the world, and then continent by continent. Absolutely lovely, and so informative.
"Food production is a major factor in the climate crisis and still millions of people go hungry. Here are some potential solutions"
MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)
The World Cup in Qatar:
(1) Steven Morales has produced this 10-min video for Radical.net aimed at US Christians to introduce the World Cup, and how to pray for Qatar during this global event.
(2) Some prayer points in this article from InContext International re: Qatar and ministry there: "According to Open Doors, Qatar is 18th on its World Watch List of countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian (up from 29 in 2021). The persecution level is considered very high with Islamic oppression, clan oppression and dictatorial paranoia being the primary sources."
(3) Two prayer guides which might help you during the World Cup: 'Praying Through the Arabian Peninsula' have produced a day-by-day prayer guide for Qatar especially. Open Doors UK has produced a day-by-day prayer guide for the seven countries playing that are on their persecution watchlist.
QUOTES (wise one-liners)
(1) "Every step in the progress of missions is directly traceable to prayer."
(2) "If you will go to the nations and last, you must rest in the promise that the word of God will do the work of God."
(3) "It is impossible to stress too strongly that the beginning of missions is not an action of ours, but the presence of a new reality, the presence of the Spirit of God in power."
GLOBAL INSIGHT (Noteworthy world news/info)
"Christians are scared, worried, and angry. They cry out to God for an end to this evil and for a better government, [but] they’re not always sure what to do." Gospel Coalition article by Nima Alizadeh introduces what's happening in Iran right now, and how many Christians are debating how to respond.
Are Middle Eastern Christians all Orthodox? Are they always converted from another religion? Are they passive? Elizabeth Marteijn (Centre for the Study of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh) debunks five common myths.
"Tanzania will be one of eight countries responsible for more than half of the increase in global population over the next three decades: five of those countries will be in Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa’s population will nearly double to more than 2 billion by mid-century. The region is growing three times faster than the global average and, by 2070, it will become the most populous place globally, surpassing Asia."
TWEETS (short but significant)
HIGHLIGHTS (Most popular from last month's Mission Hits…)
JUST FOR FUN (unrelated but interesting!)
I love a good skyscraper. This marvelous 4min animated video compares the height of famous skyscrapers, before continuing on to some of humanity's planned/envisioned ideas which are so unbelievably massive they make the Burj Khalifa look puny.
What happens when you get all the people with the craziest laughs together? Bookmark this for when you need a smile (note the headline to the video contains a swear word)
A 3-min video showing how Europe has changed over the past 1,000 years. I suspect anyone interested in history will enjoy this.
Full searchable archives of all Mission Hits resources from edition #1
Questions, comments, or suggestions for the next edition?
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