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  • From Every Nation (Chris Howles)

Mission Hits #44 (December 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 #44


Greetings all!


For this final edition of 2022 you'll find (as always) a bundle of excellent resources to help us consider and participate in God's global mission. Topics include embracing returning mission partners, the importance of seeking multicultural churches in Western urban contexts, the role of Global North churches in majority world mission sending, and wonderful tweets, books, quotes, and news items (and of course some fun and games at the bottom of the email there).


May we all enjoy, learn, grow and engage!

As we approach Christmas, you'll find a little extra bonus section this edition with three relevant links to festive resources that show in various ways how the season relates to world mission and missionaries!

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 (chris.howles@fromeverynation.net).

Blessings,

Chris (Howles)

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


Why is it so hard for missionaries to say “I’m not fine”?

"As an MK, I wanted to please. I didn’t want to hinder the advancement of the gospel. But those honest hopes and fears eventually suffocated any sense of authenticity from my personal relationship with God. I forgot that the gospel of grace is for 'I’m not fine' people" So important. Missionaries, let's read it slowly, carefully, and thoughtfully.

Essential for Church Leaders


The mission trip most churches should take

Caleb Greggsen argues that churches should regularly fund short visits to their supported missionaries by church leaders/elders/wise discerning Christians with the sole purpose of listening, counselling, blessing and encouraging…

Essential for Mission Agency Workers


How do I know if I should go to the nations?

Ken Midkiff writing for radical.net lists some questions that potential missionary candidates should ask (or be asked), including 'Am I abiding in Christ?', 'Have I suffered well?', 'Am I doing in my home country what I will be doing overseas?' and 'Am I teachable?'.

Essential for Christians Partnering as Senders


Make your church a harbor for returning missionaries

Some useful advice for sending churches when they receive missionaries back again following a period of overseas Christian service: "There were keenly listening ears in that room, along with many tears. The haunting distance was pushed back, and for one meaningful moment, that woman was understood and truly cared for. She was 'home'."

 

GENERAL (well worth your time)


(1) Ten questions for debriefing after a mission trip

Those returning from a short-term mission trip, or long-term service for that matter, could do worse than taking some time to reflect on these ten brief questions. Team leaders, church pastors, and mission agency staff responsible for debriefs would benefit from this..

(2) The need for multicultural churches

Five reasons why it is important to seek to develop our churches as multi-cultural. Written by John Root, an Anglican minister ministering in a London-context, but useful far beyond that immediate setting. Really helpful.

(3) Sense and sensibility: Two dimensions of pioneering evangelism

Mark Pickett brilliantly shows how Paul's missionary journeys demonstrate the importance of using both human strategy and inclination towards God's leading in our mission work. It's a wise approach to a thorny missiological debate: "I love that about Paul. He planned, he strategized, he used the sense that God had given him. But he was also sensible – sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in extraordinary ways."

 

AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts, videos)

(A full list of 81 categorized mission-related podcasts)


(1) Majority world mission sending: is there a role for the West?

Super 28-min podcast with Michael Prest, Director of British mission agency UFM Worldwide, discussing some of the barriers and opportunities for Western Christians, churches, and agencies when seeking to support majority world mission sending.

(2) When Helping Hurts

Brian Fikkert's 2009 book 'When Helping Hurts' has sold in enormous numbers and had a hugely significant impact on the Western missions movement. This is an excellent interview that summarises the book well, explains its importance, and helps listeners think through this crucial topic carefully - this 40-min 'The Missions Podcast' episode is absolutely worth a listen.

(3) The burden to be “successful” on the mission field

"The burden to feel “successful” as a missionary and prove your worth to your supporters is a heavy one. In this episode of “Modern Day Missionaries” we’re joined by Amy Young, a charismatic counselor, author, and former global worker. Amy challenges and redefines the way we measure success on the mission field, offering an empowering, fresh biblical perspective." I found this 35-min 'Modern Day Missionaries' podcast helpful and enjoyable.

 

DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)


(1) Diminishing returns in mission

Jay Matenga, Executive Director of the World Evangelical Alliance Mission Commission, continues to challenge the Western missions movement (I think helpfully) into thinking more broadly about the era we inhabit and how it might shape our practices. It's a brutal, crucial read: "Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution. I fear this type of attitude is hindering many missions organizations from remaining fit for purpose for God’s mission today"

(2) Studies in World Christianity (full archives)

All 380 articles printed in the 'Studies in World Christianity' Journal over the past 25 years, now all updated, indexed and searchable. This is a treasure trove of World Christianity academic info. The interested scholar would find many years of useful content within. From the Centre for the Study of World Christianity (the University of Edinburgh).

(3) Jesus and empire: Christian witness in the context of power

18 talks (here as YouTube videos) from the recent 2022 Stott-Bediako forum conference. Talks include 'Christianity as a Narrative of the Deception of Empire' (by Bishop Zac Niringiye), 'Mammon and Empire: Confronting the Root of All Evil' (by Al Tizon) and 'A Theology of Nondominating Power: Kwame Bediako on Politics' (by Tim Hartman)

 

BOOKS (recent releases)

Links are to Amazon for best info/reviews. Other outlets are available...

(1) Mission in the Way of Daniel: Empowering Believers to Live into God's Plan (2022)

Edward L. Smither

"What can the prophet Daniel teach us about serving in God's mission? [This book]probes mission theology and practice in the Old Testament, exploring the well-known story of Daniel through the lenses of mission history and mission practice. Providing relevant application for contemporary issues like diaspora, power encounters, and divine favor in mission, the themes in Mission in the Way of Daniel advance the ongoing conversation about how to do mission"

(2) God Shines Forth: How the Nature of God Shapes and Drives the Mission of the Church (2022)

Michael Reeves and Daniel Hames

"Evangelism and missions are parts of the Christian life often accompanied by fears, insecurities, and cultural pressures. [This book] argues that an individual’s relationship with God influences their evangelism and missions more than anything else. Scripture clearly shows that a believer’s responsibility is to make God known in the world, but this cannot be done without first knowing and enjoying God."

(3) Reading the Bible Around the World: A Student’s Guide to Global Hermeneutics (2022)

Federico Alfredo Roth

"As we increasingly encounter readers with perspectives, experiences, and cultures different from our own, we can incorporate new ideas and approaches to interpreting Scripture. In Reading the Bible Around the World, a crosscultural team of scholars describes and workshops global readings in biblical interpretation. Guided by these expert teachers, readers will gain a deeper understanding of the influence of their own social location and how to keep growing in biblical wisdom by reading alongside the global Christian community."

BONUS: Best Mission Books of 2022

Of course Mission Hits has been highlighting 3 top new missions books each month, but here's a good list of some highlights as well. Some Christmas reading for you?

 

MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)

(1) Biblical basis for mission: 30 day challenge

The Center for Missions Mobilization has put together a 30-day series of daily Bible readings from Genesis to Revelation to learn more about God's purposes in and for the nations. What a great venture to begin 2023 Bible reading with!

(2) David Joannes books Christmas deal

New or recent missions/missiology books are usually so expensive, so this makes a refreshing change. For only December 15-20 2022, get all three of David Joannes’ (from Within Reach Global) books for 99¢ each on Kindle: 'The Space Between Memories', 'The Mind of a Missionary', and 'Gospel Privilege'. 90% discounted price.

(3) ThM/PhD in Orality Studies

"Over 80% of the global population rely highly on oral communication. At the same time, nearly 100% of seminary graduates use highly literate models to teach biblical and missional content. Our Bible schools and seminaries excel in WHAT they teach, but rarely excel in how to connect with the Oral Majority the way Jesus did." Good example here from Asian Theological Seminary of much-needed creative and innovative thinking in modern missiological education.

 

QUOTES (wise one-liners)


(1) "Missions history reminds us that when we've lost the willingness to risk in the cause of Christ, the kingdom has most likely moved past us."

Nathan Sloan

(2) "There are a thousand needs in the world, and none of them compares to the global need for the gospel."

John Piper

(3) "We owe Christ to the world – to the least person and to the greatest person, to the richest person and to the poorest person, to the best person and to the worst person. We are in debt to the nations."

David Platt

 

GLOBAL INSIGHT (Noteworthy world news/info)


(1) Is Islam the world’s fastest-growing religion?

Pew Research Forum suggests that Islam will overtake Christianity as the world's biggest religion at some point this century. But there may be more to that stat than meets the eye. A. S. Ibrahim (professor of Islamic studies at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) investigates more…

(2) Why ‘persecuted’ is not the best way to describe Christians in the Gulf

"Tolerance - with all its limitations—is the right word to describe the state of Christianity in the Gulf. Broad labels like persecution are not only counterproductive but fail to describe the reality of millions of Christian migrant workers. In nurturing these, improvements in religious freedom will come." From Hrayr Jebejian (General Secretary of the Bible Society in the Gulf) writing for CT Magazine.

(3) The people living off Manila’s rubbish

Good photography can be as powerful, provocative, and prayer-inducing as a written article. This is very good photography.

 

TWEETS (short but significant)

 

ONLINE EVENTS (Zoom seminars and conferences)


(1) 8 Myths About Missions and What They Mean for the Church (Feb 7th, US)

Steve Richardson, President of Pioneers USA, shares from his new book Is the Commission Still Great? February 7th 2023, 1-2pm (EST). Free.

(2) International Conference on Computing and Mission (15th-8th February 2023, Europe)

"You are invited to join this international gathering of women and men who have a common interest in computers and missions. We share a vision of cooperation for effective use of technology, bringing the Gospel to every nation" For mission-minded techies and tech-minded missionaries! Conference is in-person but with 'a limited hybrid option'. Website has more details.

(3) The End of Globalization (Feb 9th, US)

"The world is changing in ways we did not expect. Could it be that we are standing at the end of an important era in global missions, about to embark on a new era? Ted Esler (President of Missio Nexus) looks at the reasons why many think that globalization is coming to an end" February 9th 2023, 12-1.15pm (EST). Free for Missio Nexus members.


 

HIGHLIGHTS (Most popular from last month's Mission Hits…)


(1) 10 tips for healthy links between missionaries and their sending church

(2) Not coming nor leaving as Christian individualists

(3) Why it may be time to stop using the word "Missionary"

 

CHRISTMAS! (special 'extra' section)


(1) A liturgy for missionaries during the holidays

Bradley is quite the writer, and these liturgies (this is the latest of several) are deep and profound and saturated in God's hope and comfort in Christ. "Let us endeavor without fear, guilt, or shame to subdue the earth by creating new traditions, by making new memories, by forging new adventures in the midst of our “field family”. And may this testify to a Father who gathers his children wherever we go."

(2) Caring for sent ones during the holiday season

"Very often, the Christmas season is a difficult time for missionaries. How can we leverage this holiday season to ensure that we care for those that have been sent." 30-min episode from 'The Sent Life' podcast (of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary)

(3) 7 Christmas carols that are actually about missions

A theme Mission Hits returns to each Christmas! "Some of the most popular Christmas carols talk about God's power and dominion over the earth and point to the reason we have missions." Alex Kocman from ABWE writes about the mission emphases of some of our most cherished carols.

 

JUST FOR FUN (unrelated but interesting!)


(1) City Tours

Love this. Choose a city, then sit back and be driven round it (complete with listening to local radio!) If you prefer to see places a bit slower and on foot, then this website does almost exactly the same thing but as an online walking tour.

(2) 52 things I learned in 2022

From journalist Tom Whitwell. Some of these are just brilliant. For example, "In 1739, there were three times more coffee shops per person in London than there are today" and "If you want a question answered on the Internet, post a wrong answer first"

(3) Comparing yourself to others….

Answer the questions to see if you are above or below average. For example: "Are you more religious than others". There's nothing factual here, just an interesting metric to see how people perceive themselves. If you don't want to answer the questions, you can click to just see the answers. Interesting insight into human nature!

 

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

 

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