From Every Nation (Chris Howles)
Mission Hits #47 (March 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 #47
Greetings to all!
Over 1,000 missiologists, missionaries, mission leaders and mission-senders read Mission Hits each month by email or over social media platforms, and the majority click on multiple resources to understand more about God's great global mission purposes and plans.
Thank you for being one of those!
With resources from or about Haiti, The Sahel, Ghana, Eastern Europe, China and more, and with topics ranging from the role of money in Western-majority world partnerships to praying for Muslims during Ramadan, I trust that whether it's a podcast, a book, an article, a tweet or a video, you'll find lots here that challenges, encourages, informs, and blesses you. I did!
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 suggestions or 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
"Living on the field will make me a better Christian"…"I must justify leisure activity"…"I am failing at everything". Missionaries commonly believe such words from themselves. This 'A Life Overseas' blog post by Emmy Lopez offers a helpful corrective: "There is no algorithm for untangling the web of deceit we can find ourselves in, but we can rest in the reality that God...cares for us as much as he cares for the nations to which he called us."
Essential for Church Leaders
The importance of families in global missions
"How would our church cultures be different if every family believed they had a strategic part in God’s story of blessing the nations?" This Lausanne Movement article considers practical ways that church leaders can include families and children into their missions vision and participation.
Essential for Mission Agency Workers
A liturgy for the well-worn missions leader
This is for mission pastors, mission agency workers, and all those purposefully involved 'from home' in God's global mission purposes, I suspect you'll benefit from Bradley Bell's excellent liturgy for missions leaders. "I live in a ministry that demands immediate results…But it's slow work. I live with an urgency to mobilize your church…But she seems distracted. I live with a longing to be sent myself…But here I am"
Essential for Christians Partnering as Senders
How to Stay Sane as a Single Missionary
Solid, practical advice for missionaries who are currently unmarried. Much of it is also sensible for married missionaries too in reality. It's a worthy read for church partners of single missionaries to keep in mind in supporting these sent global workers.
GENERAL (well worth your time)
(1) As the American church shrinks, global Christianity can point the way forward
"The great majority of immigrants coming to America are Christian, so immigrants do not represent the de-Christianization of American society but the de-Europeanization of American Christianity" Thought-provoking quote from a thought-provoking article in Christianity Today magazine.
(2) A call to prayer: 4 ways to pray for Muslims during Ramadan
Most of you I imagine will be aware that we are currently (end of March) in the Islamic month of fasting known as Ramadan. This ABWE article is an helpful introductory article about what Ramadan is and how we might use this month to focus our prayers for the Muslim world.
(3) Incomplete responses to short-term missions in developing nations
Beware of these three common, but not entirely satisfactory, post-mission trip responses: "Guilt, grumbling, and gratitude aren’t entirely wrong, but I believe they’re incomplete. They don’t take us far enough in responding to the work God wants to do in us and through us after we’ve participated in a short-term trip." Super from David McWhite writing for the Upstream Collective.
AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts & videos)
(Click here for a full list of 82 categorized mission-related podcasts)
(1) Building strong relationships with partner churches
Author's privilege! I was thrilled to be invited onto the Modern Day Missionaries Podcast (hosted by Stephanie Gutierrez) to speak to missionaries about building relationships with partner churches. I've enjoyed a good number of episodes of this podcast and I hope this one will be a help to others.
I thought this was an excellent conversation, profound and challenging. I suspect many missionaries would benefit. "Jim interviews "Steve K.", an anonymous missionary who recently returned to the US after 15 years abroad. They explore how God is using this experience to move in his heart, creating a longing for the future glory that God has promised us, and awakening a greater willingness to wait for it patiently."
(3) Interview with Professor Dale Adadevoh
Dale Adadevoh hails from Ghana and currently serves as the Vice President of Global Leadership for Cru (US). This is a super 56-min interview for the 'Mission Shift' podcast looking at the African church in global mission today and how to fostering healthy partnerships between Western and majority world Christians and Christian ministries.
DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)
(1) Decolonizing apostolic mission: Money
For me this was the most enlightening and challenging of a whole series of posts by Andy McCullough on Decolonizing Apostolic Mission, The author pleads with Western mission donors to consider a) The narrative question (which story is this money perpetuating?), b) The patronage question (Does this money create freedom or control?) and c) The envy question (what is the effect of this money on others in the context?) Really helpful.
(2) Is every Christian a missionary?
Elliot Clark answers 'no' to that question, defining a missionary primarily through the lens of being sent by a local church. Useful Gospel Coalition article. The debate goes on (and on).
(3) 10 Theses on mission structures
Really interesting thoughts on modalities and sodalities as they relate to global mission today from MissioNexus President Ted Esler. For those interested in the interrelationships between church, mission, and mission agencies, this is an important read.
BOOKS (recent releases)
Links are to Amazon for best info/reviews. Other outlets are available...
(1) Reading Hebrews Missiologically: The Missionary Motive, Message, and Methods of Hebrews (2023)
Abeneazer G Urga, Edward L Smither, Linda P Saunders (Editors)
"[This book] fleshes out the unique contribution the book of Hebrews has to the discussion of a New Testament theology of mission. The twelve contributors-from various theological, geographical, and missiological contexts-explore the missionary motive, the missionary message, and the missionary method of the Epistle to the Hebrews."
(2) Gospel Issues for the Global Church (2023)
Brent Hunter Burdick
"[This book] introduces eight global issues that significantly impact gospel proclamation today including: Diaspora: the Movement and Migration of Peoples; Faith and the Workplace; Creation Care; Disability Concerns; Mental Health and Trauma; Media and Technology; Wealth Creation; and the Arts. [This book] helps us to learn about and discuss innovative ways to advance the gospel message globally."
(3) Portraits of Global Christianity: Research and Reflections in Honor of Todd M. Johnson (2023)
Gina A Zurlo
"The essays in this book in honor of Todd M. Johnson provide readers with concrete examples of how knowledge and experience of Christianity worldwide has fundamentally changed their worldviews, perspectives of the faith, and vocational callings. It encourages readers to more seriously consider the growth of Christianity in the global South and its impact on their lives"
MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)
(1) Tips for working with an interpreter
Bit random maybe, but many readers will preach or teach with a translator at some point, and how you manage that will go a long way in shaping what your listeners hear, receive, and understand. This is a brilliant 'one-stop' article helping readers to get this right.
(2) Countries where it’s most dangerous to be a Christian in 2023
A short summary and prayer point for each of the 'top ten'. It's noticeable (I think) that half of this list are in Africa.
(3) The Central and Eastern European Bible Commentary
Langham Literature have recently released the Central and Eastern European Bible Commentary (editors: Corneliu Constantineanu and Peter Penner). It's the first full-Bible commentary to come out of Central and Eastern Europe, and it joins the collection alongside the Africa Bible Commentary and the south Asia Bible Commentary. It strikes me afresh how valuable such projects are, and how much many of us (regardless of where we are ministering) would benefit by having them all on our shelves.
QUOTES (wise one-liners)
(1) "The glory of the gospel—not the neediness of mankind—is the self-sustaining fuel for global missions."
(2) "Don’t pray to be safer. Pray to be braver."
(3) "No local church can afford to go without the encouragement and nourishment that will come to it by sending away its best people."
GLOBAL INSIGHT (critical news & trends)
(1) What evangelicals owe Haiti
"To understand the island nation’s crisis and what the church must do now, start with what we didn’t do." It's very long, but this from Christianity Today was worth every second. Profound and utterly gut-wrenchingly. "How did the most evangelized realm in all the world become a nation in dismaying anarchy?"
(2) Extreme poverty could be eradicated globally by 2050
"The end of extreme poverty may finally be achieved by 2050, spurred by economic growth in low-income countries, according to a new economic forecast… By 2050, no country will be classed as low-income" However the follow-up Guardian analysis also worth reading: Economic growth is not a magic wand for ending poverty: "It is quite conceivable that as monetary wealth increases in low-income countries, the situation of specific groups within them will actually get worse"
(3) The Sahel: What does the future hold?
There's two follow up articles to come about mission and ministry in the region, but this introduction by Patrick Johnstone (Operation World) about the current social, economic, environmental & political challenges facing Africa's Sahel region is incredibly sobering.
TWEETS (short but significant)
STATS (noteworthy numbers)
(1) By 2050 there will be more people in West Africa (766m) than in Europe (710m). Over half of them will live in Nigeria, and almost half of them will be under the age of 15. SOURCE
(2) In 2022, the number of forcibly displaced people exceeded 100 million for the first time, with climate change displacing more people than conflicts. For every degree of temperature rise, approximately one billion people will be displaced. SOURCE
(3) Of the next 2 billion children to be born, half will be Congolese (DRC), Egyptian, Ethiopian, Nigerian, Pakistani, Filipino, Indian, or Tanzanian. SOURCE
ONLINE EVENTS (Zoom seminars & conferences)
(1) MC & TCK Forum: Coming Home to a Foreign Country (27th April, UK)
"How can we support our members, including parents and TCKs, to prepare for the adjustment of returning to their passport country? This online event combines practical support with discussion, and includes insight from mission workers who have returned 'home'." 10:00am-1pm BST Thursday 27th April 2023. £20 for Global Connections (UK) members, £60 non-members.
(2) Caring for the kids: Planning a healthy home assignment (11th May, UK)
"Understand how to help your mission partner(s) and their families when it comes to the time for home assignment. How you can play a role in caring for them before, during and after this time?" Led by Rosalind Brown, TCK Coordinator for UFM Worldwide. Thursday 11th May 2023, 1-2pm BST. Free.
(3) 'Clear gospel. True gospel': Clear gospel proclamation is necessary for true gospel understanding (June 28th-29th, US)
"Two-day event where the ideas, philosophies, and methodologies of historic and contemporary missions are discussed and taught by pastors, missiologists, and experienced cross-cultural church planters. This an ideal opportunity for pastors, missionary candidates, and church leaders to become better informed on the state of modern missions." Radius International conference. June 28th-29th 2023, $25.
HIGHLIGHTS (Most popular from last month's Mission Hits…)
(1) 5 Considerations for a sending church when visiting a missionary
(2) Missions could make you sick
(3) Six reasons why we should listen to Christians from around the globe
JUST FOR FUN (unrelated but interesting!)
This is absolutely fascinating. Look what art AI is producing, organised according to different artists, materials, styles etc.. Hard to explain quickly but do take a look - it's rather impressive.
I suspect many of you enjoy history, and I suspect many of you will enjoy this. Choose a historical event/time period, choose your difficulty level, and then put the cards that appear in the correct order. Not as easy as you think...
(3) How many earths fit inside the sun?
The sun is, like, REALLY big! 30-second video showing just how big.
Full searchable archives of all Mission Hits resources from edition #1
Questions, comments, or suggestions for the next edition?
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