From Every Nation (Chris Howles)
Mission Hits #45 (January 2023)
Welcome to Mission Hits #45
Warmest greetings from Uganda in this new year. Many of you reading this will be involved in organising, hosting, or travelling on, a short-term mission team this coming year. We have such a team arriving in Uganda later this week to stay with us. As such, it's pleasing to link below to several thoughtful, helpful, and challenging resources related to these matters.
I've also inserted a new (very short) section in this edition: Stats (noteworthy numbers). This might become a regular section and provide some thought-provoking information to inform your prayers, thoughts, and activities.
The full list of sections (maximum 3 resources per section) is now:
ESSENTIALS (If you only have time for one…) GENERAL (well worth your time) AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts & videos) DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding) BOOKS (recent releases) MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable) QUOTES (wise one-liners) GLOBAL INSIGHT (critical news & trends) TWEETS (short but significant) STATS (noteworthy numbers) ONLINE EVENTS (Zoom seminars & conferences) HIGHLIGHTS (most popular from last month's Mission Hits…) JUST FOR FUN (unrelated but interesting)
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Head of Theology serving at Uganda Martyrs Seminary Namugongo.
Mission Partner: Crosslinks (UK)
Doctorate in Intercultural Theology (Fuller Theological Seminary) (if you only have time for one...)
ESSENTIALS (If you only have time for one…)
Essential for Missionaries
Tell me about a time you deeply hurt someone A great question for missionaries to wrestle with before being sent (or, next best time, now): "Tell me about a time you deeply hurt someone, and how you made things right." This blog post might sting , but it's painfully important. Mission teams can stand or fall on how members are able to honestly engage with such questions with themselves and others.
Essential for Church Leaders
Ten signs of healthy sending in your church The practicalities and realities will be complex of course, but it's good to have a direction to work toward! Some informative signs of healthy sending-cultures here, including 'You’re making local, domestic, and global mission complementary instead of competitive' and 'You’re attracting people who desire to live on mission.' From Bradley Bell at The Upstream Collective blog.
Essential for Mission Agency Workers
Eleven factors for helpful short-term trips "As one who grew up as a TCK and who has also served as a missions pastor and as a missionary, I have seen my fair share of short-term trips. Most of them were a blessing. A few went off the rails. All of them were costly, both to those who invested their time and money to go, and to the missionary teams that received them. Over time, our own set of best or preferred practices for short-term trips has emerged." Brilliant again from the 'Entrusted to the Dirt' blog from Central Asia.
Essential for Christians Partnering as Senders
A pocket guide for talking to missionaries
Missionaries share the questions they love and the questions they dread when they're back in their home/passport countries. I sometimes worry that such articles make people nervous about talking to missionaries at all! But we're all friends here at Mission Hits, and there's certainly some good advice here
GENERAL (well worth your time)
(1) Ten questions that will shape 2050: How we can steward the great commission in the decades ahead Matthew Niermann, Director of 'State of the Great Commission Report' for Lausanne 2024, asks 10 questions (and many sub-questions, almost all without easy answers) that are impacting Christian engagement in world mission today and in the coming decades. There's very few mission leaders in any context that won't benefit from picking a few of these and chewing them over.
(2) Four reasons the unreached/unengaged are overlooked in missions Brooks Buser on why traditionally unreached groups are not always central to church's mission visions and efforts, including 'the fear of bad eschatology' and 'complicated terminology'.
(3) Isaiah 60, the magi, and the child
Lovely reflection from Andy McCullough on the relevance of Matthew's magi narrative to how we understand mission, ethnicity and place, in our world today.
AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts & videos)
(1) Top 10 missions books to read in 2023 Author's privilege! I was grateful to appear on 'The Missions Podcast' and suggest ten missiology books worth reading in 2023 to broaden and deepen our missiology. Was so had limiting it to ten. Which would you have added or removed? Have a listen and drop me a line!
(2) Countries with the most Christians 1900-2050 Magnificent! A 30-sec video showing how incredibly quickly the 'Top ten largest countries by number of Christians' list has changed from 1900-2050. This is a very good use of half-a-minute, and no doubt you, like me, will watch it several times. From The Center for the Study of Global Christianity.
Useful 22-min Pastor's talk episode (from IX marks ministries) featuring a US missionary in Central Asia discussing some important questions concerning healthy financial relationships between Western and non-Western churches. The discussion is based on this 9Marks article 'Seven Principles for Funding Foreign Missions'
DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)
(1) Full 'Edinburgh Centenary Series' books free online A staggering resource to release for free online. The Edinburgh Centenary Series grew out of the Edinburgh 2010 conference and consists of 35 volumes, thousands of pages, and over 600 contributors from every part of the global church. All free to download as PDFs here. Books include 'Pentecostal Mission and Global Christianity', 'Evangelical and Frontier Mission', 'Foundations for Mission', 'Creation Care in Christian Mission', and 'Reflecting on and Equipping for Christian Mission'. Epic.
(2) Status of Global Christianity, 2023, in the Context of 1900–2050 The Center for the Study of Global Christianity release this one-page of stats at the start of every year, and it's always worth examining closely. Absolutely essential I'd think for anyone wanting a statistical overview of where Christianity and Christian mission is up to in 2023 (and where it might be heading).
(3) NT Wright on reimagining mission in the global south
NT Wright is one of the world's foremost biblical scholars. These three hour-long sessions (link is to the first one) are from an Oxford conference on 'Reimagining Mission in the Global South'. Wright speaks on the multi-ethnic, multicultural, polychrome mission of the church and the theology of mission and discipleship. You need to put your thinking cap on, but you're unlikely to regret listening
BOOKS (recent releases)
(1) Missions in Southeast Asia: Diversity and Unity in God's Design (2022) Kiem-Kiok Kwa and Samuel Ka-Chieng Law (Editors) "The church in Southeast Asia has a rich and complex history, at times flourishing, at times floundering, but inexorably taking root. In [this book] contributors from throughout the region reflect on the history and future of Christianity in Southeast Asia, providing an overview of missions in the region, and exploring how local churches are defining a uniquely Southeast Asian approach to interreligious engagement. From ethnic and religious conflict resolution to navigating hybrid identities, this collection of essays makes an excellent contribution to global conversations surrounding the future of missions in a globalized world"
(2) Is the Commission Still Great?: 8 Myths about Missions and What They Mean for the Church (2022) Steve Richardson "Questions and skepticism about missions arise from both outside and inside the church. Is missions an outdated idea? Do missionaries do more harm than good? Are we succeeding or failing? Is it time for global believers to do the job in their own countries with minimal Western involvement? We don’t need to fear questions like these. But we do need to seek—and find—solid, biblical answers. [This book] dismantles the myths that obscure God’s beautiful plan to make disciples of all nations, restores perspective and motivates us to participate in God’s grand design"
(3) Faithful Disobedience: Writings on Church and State from a Chinese House Church Movement (2022)
Hannah Nation & J. D. Tseng (Editors)
"Throughout China's rapidly growing cities a new wave of unregistered house churches is growing. They are developing rich theological perspectives that are both uniquely Chinese and rooted in the historical doctrines of the faith. To understand how they have endured despite government pressure and cultural marginalization, we must understand both their history and their theology. In this volume, key writings from the house church have been compiled, translated, and made accessible and have universal applications in a world where the relationship between church and state is more complicated than ever."
MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)
(1) Links to mission resources Mission Catalyst does a great job sending out links to mission news and resources. It's a little bit similar to Mission Hits (and has been around for much longer!) You can never have too many excellent world mission resources, so do sign up to their weekly email.
(2) The geographic centre of Christian faith This 1-min video shows how the population 'centre' of Christianity has moved from AD33 (Jerusalem) to today (West Africa). Worth noting afresh how monumental the past century has been when viewed in the light of church history.
(3) Five theology books from the global church
Chosen by Geethanjali Tupps, Christianity Today magazine's global books editor.
QUOTES (wise one-liners)
(1) "Whatever we do, we must not treat the Great Commission like it is the Great Suggestion." Charles Swindoll
(2) "Separation of church from mission is theologically indefensible." Lesslie Newbigin
(3) “We can’t experience the fullness of God’s beauty without the beauty of the global church.”
GLOBAL INSIGHT (critical news & trends)
(1) Is the world ready for mass migration due to climate change? Fascinating and critical article from the BBC on how to think through the relationship between nationalism and internationalism in light of the monumental migratory pressures the world faces in the coming decades.
(2) India faces deepening demographic divide as it prepares to overtake China as the world’s most populous country "The cry of a baby born in India one day in 2023 will herald a watershed moment when India overtakes China as the world’s most populous nation. In the north the population is still rising. In the richer south, numbers are stabilising and in some areas declining. The deepening divisions between these regions mean the Indian government must eventually grapple with a unique problem: the consequences of a baby boom and an ageing population, all inside one nation."
(3) Christian missionaries target the birthplace of Buddha in Nepal
Interesting that the BBC are writing about the ministries of South Korean missionaries worldwide: "Missionaries, many of them South Korean like Pang, have helped build one of the world's fastest-growing Christian communities in Nepal"
STATS (noteworthy numbers)
(1) The US has over 50million foreign born residents in it. The next highest is Germany with 15million. SOURCE.
(2) Up to three billion people could be displaced from their homes by 2100 due to global warming. SOURCE.
(3) Over half the world's population live in just 7 countries in the world (China, India, US, Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, Nigeria). SOURCE
ONLINE EVENTS (Zoom seminars & conferences)
(1) How to be an effective mission-supporting church (6th Feb 2023, UK) How can local churches today be more effective in doing and supporting mission, both locally and globally?" Zoom seminar with Andy Johnson (associate pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington D.C) run by European Mission Fellowship. 7.30pm (GMT)
(2) Diversity and mission mobilization (February 16th, US) Michael VanHuis, vice-president of MissioNexus, discusses two recent studies focusing on opportunities and hinderances for people of color to take part in cross-cultural missions. February 16th, 12pm EST. Free for MissioNexus members. £25 for non-members.
(3) Beyond Contextualization: Rethinking Religious and Cultural Boundaries (March 23rd-25th, US)
The 2023 Ralph D. Winter Memorial Lectures are on the gospel's inreligionization and interreligious encounters with Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim communities. Dr. Kang-San Tan, Dr. Darren Duerksen, Dr. Harold A. Netland, and others. Organised by Frontier Ventures
HIGHLIGHTS (most popular from last month's Mission Hits…)
(1) Ten questions for debriefing after a mission trip
(2) Best Mission Books of 2022
(3) Why is it so hard for missionaries to say “I’m not fine”?
JUST FOR FUN (unrelated but interesting)
(1) Trends of the century A nicely presented collage showing which people, events, memes, tech etc.. were most searched for year by year 2000-2021. A sort of cultural history of the 21st century.
(2) Safari from your own home There's something rather peaceful about watching this continuous 24h-a-day love footage of a watering hole in the Namib Desert. The kind of thing some people might enjoy having on regularly in the background maybe?!
(3) 99 Good news stories from 2022
Did you know that Burundi planted 150million trees in 2022? That child mortality is at its lowest ever level? That the number of tigers in the world has grown for the first time in 100 years? Some much-needed good news stories (some from a more secular than Christian perspective)
Full searchable archives of all Mission Hits resources from edition #1
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