Mission Hits #46 (February 2023)
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 #46
It's a bumper month as ever: I'm so grateful for the wisdom, faithfulness, and effort of so many people worldwide who clearly work so hard to produce resources to bless fellow believers in their understanding of God's global purposes.
You may not be aware that the parent website of Mission Hits - www.fromeverynation.net - keeps an archive of all the resources featured, going right back to edition #1 in 2020! Check out this list (with descriptions and links) to:
Almost 100 'Digging Deeper' resources
135 recommended world mission books from the past 3 years.
And over 100 thought-provoking mission-related quotes.
Each of these lists is fully searchable. Next time you are looking for help with a question you have, looking for something useful to read, or preparing a presentation, article, book, or talk, why not check it out?
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)
ESSENTIALS (if you only have time for one...)
Essential for Missionaries
I suspect some missionaries reading this will be painfully aware of how sickness, sometimes combined with distant or less reliable medical care, can be a concerning feature of overseas ministry. This article by Ryan Currie (US missionary in Liberia) gives some helpful theological perspectives on getting ill (or indeed your kids getting ill) on the mission field.
Essential for Church Leaders
Mission Hits #44 linked to an article about how beneficial and beautiful it can be when churches send a member out to visit missionaries with the sole purpose of learning, praying, and encouraging. Reaching & Teaching (US) explain what this can look like practically.
Essential for Mission Agency Workers
Rebecca Vandoodewaard writing for the Gospel Coalition gives a reminder of what some missionary kids want people to understand about them (including 'Missionary kids love their host countries and grieve when they leave' and 'Missionary kids are under pressure').
Essential for Christians Partnering as Senders
Andy McCullough (Newfrontiers Unreached Network) explaining why it's so crucial that missionaries are sent by local churches: "Receiving nations often speak of the havoc wrought by individualistic, unaccountable Western missionaries. Sadly, Mission agencies have sometimes been willing vehicles to facilitate disgruntled pioneer types who are determined to fulfil their “calling.” Yet the local church misses out on the privilege of being part of the journey"
GENERAL (well worth your time)
Dr. Peter Rowan (co-national director, OMF UK) on why it's essential for Western Christians to heed global voices outside the West, including 'identifying blind-spots', 'encouraging humility', and 'expanding Christology'.
How's that for a blog post title?! Hannah Nation writes: "We should be able to learn from our brothers and sisters from around the world—not only because we have much in common through our modern, urban, and secular societies but because we worship the same God who fills heaven and earth as the King of the universe."
You may like me deflate a little when you encounter yet another missions article on Matthew 28. But that's my hardness and complacency, and this lovely little blog post from Joshua Hutchens (US missionary in Malawi) refreshed me greatly with a reminder that 'go' also means 'come.' "We are not really departing. We are arriving. We are coming to Jesus, to his work, to his presence, and to his joy."
AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts & videos)
Mission Shift is an excellent podcast thinking through current changes in world mission. The first season is worth a listen and they're currently recording a second. In the meantime, they've released a bonus 35-min interview with Jake Abraham (Cru). He helpfully touches on topics such as polycentric mission, power dynamics in world Christianity, and more.
The death of John Chau in 2018, and the reactions that followed, is undoubtedly a significant story in 21st Century Western mission history, and as such demands sustained reflection. This 40-min podcast interview with Mary Ho (International Executive Leader of All Nations International, Chau's sending agency) is not the only perspective but is clearly a key one.
Yannick Christos-Wahab is from Nigeria, born and raised in London, and now serves as an FIEC pastor there. In this 'In:Dependence' 34-min podcast episode he speaks about how churches can foster genuine diversity and not tokenism. I found this to be beneficial.
DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)
Alongside 'Mission Hits' you're currently reading, the other primary ministry of www.fromeverynation.net is to collate and distribute missions-related academic output. 'Mission Hits JOURNALS' is a quarterly email with links to all journals/periodicals related to world mission/World Christianity. Edition #9 covering Oct 2022 - Jan 2023 is here. If you haven't yet done so, sign up to stay informed, inspired, and thoroughly up-to-date!
'A mile wide and an inch-deep' is a refrain commonly heard from Western Christians when discussing the African church. UK-based pastor and lecturer Joseph Ola argues in this article that "To say that is to hastily label an evolving story as though it is a concluded reality…the unfolding story of African Christianity is one of a light that keeps shining in the darkness". Important corrective piece.
"This is a new era indeed in the history of God’s people. In the past 100 years, the face of Christianity has drastically changed. What does this mean for believers globally?" Justin Schell writing for the Lausanne movement website. Some great stories, stats, and advice.
BOOKS (recent releases)
Links are to Amazon for best info/reviews. Other outlets are available...
Christopher J. H. Wright
"Wright encourages us to explore the Bible's grand narrative and to bring the whole counsel of God in Scripture to our understanding of who we are and what we must do as God's people. He helps us understand mission in its broadest sense, including our creational responsibilities. Wright's goal is to get us excited about the dramatic vista of the whole Bible and to help us understand the breadth and depth of missional engagement."
Evelyn and Richard Hibbert
"Often, church planters, disciplers, and pastors struggle to identify grassroots leaders and develop them in their context. [This book] focuses on how to develop grassroots Christian leaders across cultures. Using the four C's of Christian leadership-Community, Character, Clarity, and Care-the authors weave together research, experience, and practical application to show how these characteristics are expressed across different cultures."
Stanley H. Skreslet
"A novel, timely, and very helpful account of the vast history of Roman Catholic and Protestant missions since 1500. Expansive in scope, probing in analysis, rich in detail, and persuasive in its argument, this book provides historians of Christian mission and World Christianity a valuable intellectual structure by which to organize and understand the exceedingly diverse data and phenomena they encounter in their field."
MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)
I always enjoy and benefit from what Nathan Sloan and Bradley Bell write, so I'm excited by this lent devotional: "Each day follows a simple liturgical pattern: a Scripture reading, a brief reflection, a prayer, and—on Fridays—a guide for fasting. They wanted their local church to experience this special season with even greater significance, to be formed even more deeply by God’s global purpose for Easter, and to be sent into Pentecost with the same passion of the early church. And now they want that for you and your church too."
Dr. Harvey Kwiyani, mission theologian and CEO of Global Connections (the UK mission network) has started a really interesting new weekly Substack email newsletter sharing one thought, two resources, and three quotes, all related to 21st century global witness reimagined. Editions so far include 'World Christianity and Polycentric Mission' and 'Christian Mission in a Postcolonial World'.
Sign up to receive these daily email lent notes from the 'Africa Study Bible': "Africans throughout history have shaped Christian thought and contemplative practice. Explore the Lenten themes of prayer, fasting, repentance, and alms-giving with 'Lent Through African Eyes'."
QUOTES (wise one-liners)
(1) “To participate in mission is to participate in the movement of God’s love toward people, since God is a fountain of sending love.”
(2) "Mission is the meaning of the 'already but not yet' time period of the Kingdom"
(3) "Missions mobilization without preparation is devastation"
GLOBAL INSIGHT (critical news & trends)
"The government in Beijing sees the oncoming demographic collapse as one of the greatest existential threats facing the country." Did you know China's population will shrink by over 100million by 2020, and two-thirds of Chinese women don't want any children? The article contains explanations as to why this is happening and what the consequences could be.
With rising sea levels and extreme weather events, the global north needs to prepare to welcome displaced people. "Managed well, this migration could supply a much-needed population boost to countries with worker shortages due to low birth rates, and it could help reduce poverty in some of the worst-hit nations. Managed badly, it will be a catastrophic upheaval with huge loss of life."
Emmanuel Mutaizibwa and Ngina Kirori argue for better accountability in aid donation to Africa. "We don’t advocate a total end t aid to impoverished countries in Africa…but more pressure for accountability from these regimes, and support for those who are demanding better governance and democracy, might help change things."
TWEETS (short but significant)
STATS (noteworthy numbers)
(1) The top 20 fastest growing countries in the world last year are all in Africa. SOURCE
(2) In 2022, 5,621 Christians were murdered, 2,110 churches were attacked, and 4,542 Christians were detained because of reasons related to their faith. SOURCE
(3) 81.7% of all non-Christians globally do not know one Christian. SOURCE
ONLINE EVENTS (Zoom seminars & conferences)
The theme is 'War, pandemics, and climate change: Global crises—past and present—and their place in world Christianity scholarship'. Ethical, theological, and missiological perspectives on historic and contemporary global crises, focusing on the global south. Tuesday 14th March 1pm EST until Friday 17th March . $50 for students or $100 for others.
From Global Connections (UK) Muslim World Forum. "Join us to hear and discuss what Muslim-background believers often experience, as well as how we can be supportive brothers and sisters" 10:30am-12pm GMT Tuesday 21st March. £15 for Global Connections members, £45 non-members.
This fully-online conference seeks to "accelerate the development of mission information and the mission information community". Sponsored by the Community of Mission Information Workers, Lausanne Research & Strategic Information Network, and Harvest Information Standards. Monday April 17th to Thursday 20th 13:00 to 15:00 UTC.
HIGHLIGHTS (Most popular from last month's Mission Hits…)
JUST FOR FUN (unrelated but interesting!)
Choose any point on a world map, and choose a radius (from 3km to 100km), and it'll instantly tell you how many people live in that circle. A fun way of grasping how population density changes worldwide.
You've all seen photos of the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, or maybe you've seen the real thing. But I bet you've not seen it like this before. 20-sec video.
Look at the photo, and guess which year it was taken. The closer you are, the more points you get. Fun, fascinating, and not as easy as it sounds.
Full searchable archives of all Mission Hits resources from edition #1
Questions, comments, or suggestions for the next edition?
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