From Every Nation (Chris Howles)
Mission Hits #48 (April 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 #48
Greetings to all! I'm writing this from Rwanda (not Uganda as normal) where I'm attending the 4th Global Anglican Futures conference ('GAFCON'). Many of you won't be interested in global Anglican politics - I understand! But the conference is illustrative of how divergent Western and majority world approaches to Scripture often are, and how commonly that results in apparently irreconcilable divisions in historic denominations worldwide (note thatan amazing 87% of Worldwide Anglicans will be African by 2050). This report may help you to understand more about these dynamics (only if you're especially interested).
But onto Mission Hits now! Many readers will have come across George Verwer who died this month aged 84. There's a section in this month's Mission Hits with links to some lovely articles and obituaries about his extraordinary life and impact.
Otherwise, some brilliant resources below as always. 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
10 Things I love about being a missionary
Not every point will apply to every missionary, but this article helps us to recognise the enormous joys we often get to enjoy in the call God has set before us. I wonder if we'd do well to create our own personal list after reading this?
Essential for Church Leaders
How to visit a Mosque or Temple: Creating a perspective-changing experience for your church
Some advice and suggestions from Catalyst Services on how church leaders might organize visits to local mosques or temples to help believers think about and pray for witness to followers of other religions in their own communities.
Essential for Mission Agency Workers
How support raising honors God and his people
Brad Vaughn shares a helpful perspective on how missionary fundraising/church giving should be understood: "One gives to God, who then turns around and provides for another. The “donor” does not primarily give to an individual or organization. Likewise, the recipient does not primarily receive from another person. Instead, it is the Lord who dispenses grace." Mission agency workers, who often facilitate and encourage such relationships, might benefit from this perspective.
Essential for Christians Partnering as Senders
How to involve children in missions in a healthy way
There is a rapidly increasingly number of resources helping kids to engage from an early age in God's global plans and purposes. I'm thankful for that. This Radical.net article is a tremendously helpful reminder though that the Great Commission must walk with and even derive from the Great Commandment in raising the next generation.
GENERAL (well worth your time)
(1) Sharing the gospel in Uganda
Author's privilege! I wrote something about how sharing the gospel in Uganda (or much of sub-Saharan Africa?) may not always look the same as in Western settings….
(2) A missional theology of creation care
The recent edition of Evangelical Missions Quarterly (subscription only) is about creation care. This is noteworthy and likely to create some discussion (see Ted Esler's description of how this came about here). EMQ have released one of the main articles for free online, with David Bookless explaining why he believes creation care as part of God's mission for the church has basis in both church history and Bible theology.
(3) The case for long-term missions
Brooks Buser writing for 9Marks with some good notes about the (1) value, (2) cost, and (3) glory, of long-term cross-cultural missionary service. Feels like this might be good to show to a pastor who hadn't thought much about mission strategy in their church.
AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts & videos)
(Click here for a full list of 85 categorized mission-related podcasts)
(1) Alternatives to short-term missions
45-min interview with Dr. Miriam Adeney on the Reimagining Short-Term Missions Podcast about "collaborating with all members of the global church to cocreate better ways for churches in every part of the world to deploy their respective strengths to make disciples of all nations". Some challenging perspectives and ideas here.
(2) A debate on prioritism and holism
"What is prioritism? What is holism? Is there a middle way? For decades these questions have reverberated throughout the missions community" I enjoyed this constructive dialogue over the relationship between evangelism and social action with Alex Kocman of ABWE and Dr. Ray Norman of World Vision in this 60-min 'The Missions Podcast' episode.
(3) Strengthening your missions committee
Rob Magwood (Global Missions Podcast & SEND International) gives a clear and practical webinar on developing and strengthening a church's missions committee in this 55-min YouTube video.
DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)
(1) The unexpected beauty of Babel
What happened at Babel, and why? "Even though Babel is a reminder of human pride and God’s just judgment, it is also the start of something which will ultimately become an amazing tapestry reflecting God’s glory. There are eternal upsides to the shattering of humanity’s united language"
(2) The Oxford Handbook of Mission Studies
The Oxford Handbook of Mission Studies (edited by Kirsteen Kim, Knud Jørgensen, and Alison Fitchett-Climenhaga) came out a few months ago. It's 760-pages long and probably financially out of reach for some of us. But it does look fascinating, and theology libraries should get a copy.
(3) Oxford Centre for Mission Studies Online lectures
Long list of recent video lectures in missiology and world Christianity from OCMS (UK). Topics from the past few weeks include The Chinese Christian Community in Britain: Spirituality, Unity, and Division (Yinxuan Huang) and The Roma Christian Experience (Melody Wachsmuth/Rafael Nastase)
BOOKS (recent releases)
Links are to Amazon for best info/reviews. Other outlets are available...
(1) New Funding Models for Global Mission: Learning from the majority world (2023)
"Conventional methods of funding missionaries are shifting. Churches in Africa, Asia, and Latin America no longer depend on Western funding for sending out their own missionaries. How then does the Majority World fund missionaries? [This book] critiques the common fundraising approach where missionaries raise their own financial support and presents seventeen other funding models that are more appropriate options for contemporary missionaries, along with an overview of what the Bible says about missionary funding."
(2) Can a Christian Be Cursed?: An African Evangelical Response to the Problem of Curses (2023)
"[The author] draws on African traditional beliefs, empirical research, and the teachings of popular African pastors to provide insight into the religious and cultural contexts of the contemporary African church. He explores biblical passages on cursing and utilizes the evangelical positions on biblical authority, the atonement, personal conversion, and active mission to evaluate cultural beliefs and bring them into alignment with the gospel A book to empower believers to confront their fear of curses equipped with the truth of Scripture."
(3) Missionary Motivations: Challenges from the Early Church (2023)
"From monks to pilgrims to prisoners, early Christian missionaries filled the earth with their message through the humblest of means, all for the glory of Christ the King. Matthew Burden provides missiological insights by helping the reader rediscover the early church's vision for global mission, which stands alongside, supports, and informs the contemporary models. This book presents a deep look into the mindset that drove missional activity in the early church to inspire and inform the next generation of the church's missional thinkers"
MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)
George Verwer died on 14th April 2023. For this month's 'Miscellaneous' section here's a few resources since his death which shed some light on his personality, ministry, and legacy.
Joseph D'Souza (for Premier Christianity)
"As the founder of Operation Mobilisation (OM), George Verwer was easily one of the most influential Christian leaders and evangelists of the last century. He served OM with distinction, and he inspired countless other Christian leaders all over the world."
"In the midst of his very busy schedule, he always had time for people, even young men of little importance like me. My last email from him, in response to one from me, was a couple of weeks ago - just one word: 'praying'."
Justin Taylor (for Gospel Coalition)
"George Verwer was a man who never got over the goodness of the good news. His passion was to see all the peoples of the world finally and eternally glad in Christ."
"I thank God for George Verwer. For his raw passion. For his indomitable faith in Jesus. For his perseverance in messy missiology. And for his kindness to me personally."
And his last ever interview, from 2 weeks ago…
QUOTES (wise one-liners)
(1) "Missions is not just about sending missionaries; it's about sending the whole body of Christ."
(2) "He who does not serve God where he is would not serve God anywhere else."
(Attributed to Spurgeon)
(3) "Mother tongues and new idioms are crucial for gaining fresh insights into the doctrine of Christ"
GLOBAL INSIGHT (critical news & trends)
(1) Black British Christians keeping the faith
"In bleak times for the established church, and a Eurocentric presumption that for religion the only way is down, black British Christians are writing a chapter of the national story which suggests that faith has a future."
(2) Is AI changing the face of religion?
Interesting article looking at how religious leaders (article focuses on Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism) are thinking about AI in their religious work - including writing talks. "If I’m going to preach about vulnerability and intimacy, I would share something of myself as a model for vulnerability. And that’s something that AI cannot do.”
(3) Families mourn ‘devastating’ suicide rates among Nepal’s migrant workers
Mission and migration are hard to separate in the 21st century. Stories like this are important to for those with ears to hear. "Long periods of separation from families, debt, abusive working conditions, unsanitary accommodation, loneliness and a lack of social support services are all likely to be factors which leave workers vulnerable to severe mental health problems and thoughts of suicide"
TWEETS (short but significant)
STATS (noteworthy numbers)
(1) The average Nigerien woman has 6.5 children. In South Korea it's 0.78 SOURCE
(2) 87% of Worldwide Anglicans will be African by 2050. SOURCE
(3) In 2022 about twice as many people died as were born in Japan, with fewer than 800,000 births and about 1.58 million deaths. SOURCE
ONLINE EVENTS (Zoom seminars & conferences)
(1) Coming home to a foreign country (27th April, UK)
"During this online event attendees will hear from three different mission workers who have returned 'home' to learn about some of the challenges they faced., and we'll discuss some of the key cultural changes to be mindful of." £20 for Global Connections members, £60 non-members. 10am-1pm BST, Thursday 27th April.
(2) Preparing your church to send missionaries (May 3rd, US)
"What do you need to commit to if you are going to send out missionaries and care for them in a proper way? How should you prepare your leadership, your staff and volunteers? Nathan Sloan (Upstream Sending) will help us understand the building blocks necessary to prepare our church to send out the next generation of missionaries." 12pm CT, Wednesday May 3rd. Free.
(3) AI and its impact on global mission (May 31st, US)
"Join Ted Esler and Jon Hirst for a discussion on the ways that tools like ChatGPT affect the global Great Commission. There are dangers, challenges, and opportunities to uncover in this fast changing technology" Free for Missio Nexus members. Not accessible for non-members. 2pm-3.30pm EDT, Wednesday May 31st.
HIGHLIGHTS (Most popular from last month's Mission Hits…)
(1) 5 Lies global workers believe
(2) A liturgy for the well-worn missions leader
(3) How to stay sane as a single missionary
JUST FOR FUN (unrelated but interesting!)
Addictive little game with some geographical interest! Set the material, diameter, speed, and angle of an asteroid hitting the earth, then choose its place of impact and it'll calculate how many people get wiped out. Half fun, half disconcerting.
This 5-min animation is the 'how deep are the oceans, really?' video to end all 'how deep are the oceans, really' videos.
(3) The dog and the dinosaur: The improbable quest to find a living brontosaurus in the Congo
One of those true stories that would make an amazing movie because you couldn't make it up. Meet the British WW1 veteran and his dog who set off to the Belgian Congo in 1919 with a 12-bore double-barrel shotgun and a set of butterfly nets in order to catch a dinosaur. This long-form article is a crazy read and actually teaches much about the Western imagination of Africa in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Full searchable archives of all Mission Hits resources from edition #1
Questions, comments, or suggestions for the next edition?
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