From Every Nation (Chris Howles)
Mission Hits #49 (May 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 #49
As we approach our half-century of Mission Hits posts next month, I hope you enjoy #49 here below!
Dealing with issues such as missionary mental health, learning from Christians outside our own contexts, thriving as a parent of missionaries, and reading majority world-authored books, an absolutely fantastic collection of resources are here to enjoy and benefit from!
If you're interested in the slightly more 'academic' side of missiology, then check out (and sign up to receive) the 3-times a year 'Mission Hits Journals' posts as well as this one. To see examples and sign up, check out www.fromeverynation.net/mission-hits-journals Post #10 is due out next week.
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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
How the sent send the senders: three ways missionaries can catalyze mission at home
How can missionaries stir and excite their sending churches and partners to understand and walk in their own mission-calling? There could and should be more said about this topic for cross-cultural gospel workers. This Upstream Collective blog post by Matthew Bennett (Cedarville University) is a good place to start and well worth a read.
Essential for Church Leaders
Give your church a global focus
Darren Carlson (Training Leaders International) with help for pastors seeking to remind their congregations regularly of God's global purposes. some simple, implementable suggestions for church leaders.
Essential for Mission Agency Workers
Demystify mental health for missionaries
Important article from Catherine Allison dealing with a weighty and often neglectedtopic: "As supporters, we should remember the humanity of the missionary behind the prayer card. We should ask pointed questions, such as: “How’s your walk with Christ?” “What’s not making the newsletter?” “What’s felt challenging lately?” “Are you supported well?” And we shouldn’t delay in nudging him or her toward help."
Essential for Christians Partnering as Senders
How national Christians can bless and teach Western churches
Author's privilege! I wrote an article for the Upstream Collective blog about how we who are in the West can learn from and be blessed by missions partnerships with majority world sisters and brothers. I hope it could be useful for any Western Christian interested in thinking expansively about global Christianity as Westerners today.
GENERAL (well worth your time)
Missionaries must be guests before hosts, and learners before teachers. How many of us lose opportunities to witness to Christ because we fail to learn the lessons of Jonah? "The great privilege of following Jesus across cultural boundaries is the opportunity to be changed, to learn, to be surprised, to be enriched, to be humbled, to be blessed, to be corrected."What a wonderfully written and important article.
(2) Is the era of pioneer missions over?
"It would be foolish for a foreign missionary to enter the country and make plans on how to reach the nation for Christ without learning what Christian ministry is already happening, who is doing it, and how foreign missionaries might come alongside indigenous believers and other missionaries who are already there. We live in an era of partnership." Karl Dahlfred making some perceptive points about partnership in 21st century mission.
(3) Diaspora ministry design and the innovator’s dilemma
Perceptive thoughts as ever on (Missio Nexus President) Ted Esler's blog, thinking about 'push' versus 'pull' models in relation to Western church engagement in diaspora ministries. Or is there a third way…?
AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts & videos)
(Click here for a full list of 88 categorized mission-related podcasts)
(1) Missions in the 21st Century
What global realities and megatrends are impacting missions today? What impact does urbanization have on Christian missions? What changes are we seeing in the makeup of the global church? 31-min Paul Akin interview with Michael Goheen for the 'Amazon to the Himalayas' podcast.
(2) Kingdom collaboration with Michael Oh of Lausanne
Ted Esler (Missio Nexus), Matthew Ellison (Sixteen: Fifteen), Walter Kim (National Association of Evangelicals) chat with Michael Oh (Lausanne Movement) about the importance of creating movements of collaboration to advance the Gospel. 36-min 'Mission Matters' podcast episode.
What is the center of Christianity? What does it mean to be on mission? How do we go about “doing” theology? And how is mission the mother of theology? Travis Michael Fleming interviews Allen Yeh (Professor of intercultural studies) in this 75-min episode of the 'Apollos Watered' podcast.
DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)
(1) End of the global south? Updating the state of world missions
A massive essay in breadth, depth, and scope. F. Lionel Young III (Senior Research Associate at the Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide) writes for the Desiring God website about how an understanding of global Christianity is impacting world mission. This is massively worth a 20-minute investment of your time if you're ready to be stretched!
(2) Holding together unity & diversity: A theological proposal
Worthy of a long, slow read, this post by British pastor-missiologist John Root is so important in these fragmented times we live in. "Biblical, Trinitarian theology enables us to give full energy both to the unity of all humankind going back to creation and the exciting though challenging diversity of peoples that has arisen over the course of history."
(3) Does the Bible say, “Make disciples of all people groups”?
Joshua Hutchens (of 'Gospel Life') writes very helpfully here about this complex topic: Is Matthew 28:19 referring to our modern-day conception of people-groups? What is the wider scriptural context? I appreciated Joshua's ability to make these tricky but important questions clear.
BOOKS (recent releases)
Links are to Amazon for best info/reviews. Other outlets are available...
(1) The Missionary Mama's Survival Guide: Compassionate Help for the Mothers of Cross-Cultural Workers (2023)
Tori R Haverkamp
"When your child decides to become a missionary, you may feel a little like you’re wandering in the wilderness. You are likely painfully aware of your need to support your missionary child but feel unsupported yourself. You probably feel all alone. But you’re not. We’re going to hike this path together. (This book] is a concise and compassionate companion guide to understanding God's mission, accepting your child’s vocation, and embracing your new role as a Stayer"
(2) Seeds and Stars: Resting in Christ for Great Commission Service (2023)
"Great Commission spirituality must first emerge from a hearty trust in the Triune God. Many biographies retell legendary accomplishments of sacrificial servants of generations past. However, more than learning from what they famously achieved, we must look deeper at what they believed. We would do well to consider how certain beliefs are especially applicable for gospel service of all kinds, and how fruitfulness and faithfulness emerge from resting in and acting upon the promises of God."
(3) Acts and the Movement of God: From Jerusalem to the Ends of the Earth (2023)
"The book of Acts calls us back to the beginning—to a movement born in obscurity, captivated by God’s grace, devoted to prayer and the spread of his Word, and on the move from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. What if Luke isn’t just telling us, “This is how it was,” but he’s also saying, “This is how it can be”? This book combines insightful commentary with stories and lessons from across the globe, inspiring readers to join the movement of God, as it stretches from where they are to every place and every people."
MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)
British pastor and missiologist Andy McCullough recommends books by global south Christians. Have a look and commit to a couple!
(2) Afrigo: Encouraging the African Church in world mission
'Afrigo' is a free, regular magazine from and for African Christians (with the involvement of SIM and AIM) with articles relevant for African cross-cultural missionaries and their supporting partners. It's vision is "to see the African Church inspired and equipped to send, support and pray for African missionaries."
(3) God's story to the nations
Dr. Jody Stelly is a retired Marine Officer turned missiologist and Christian educator. He's just published this stunning new book illustrating the account of Genesis 1-11 and highlighting the ecological handiwork of the Creator. This is the first book in this Bible Storying initiative useful in evangelistic outreach and as a discipleship tool among oral cultures.
QUOTES (wise one-liners)
(1) "A moribund church is notably free of heresy because it has effectively insulated itself from the hurly-burly that attends every effort to engage a culture for the sake of the Gospel. That is the risk and the promise of mission."
Wilbert R. Shenk
(2) "Rest in this - it is His business to lead, command, impel, send, call... It is your business to obey, follow, move, respond."
(3) “I believe spirituality and mission are so closely bound together that separating them does violence to both.”
George R. Hunsberger
GLOBAL INSIGHT (critical news & trends)
(1) Sudan and a decade-long path to turmoil
The current conflict in Sudan is devastating, and immensely complicated. But understanding something of how this has happened seems a worthy thing for us to do. This article from 'Middle East Eye' is sober, hopeful, helpful and clear.
(2) The Sahel: finishing the task
"African missions are coming of age. What does this mean for the Sahel region?" The whole Sahel region is devastatingly troubled, and yet seemingly forgotten in the West. Patrick Johnstone writes a second article here for the Lausanne website about the region, thinking about the past, present, and possible future, of missions in the region.
(3) UK is one of the least religious countries in the world
"The UK has some of the lowest levels of religiosity and belief in God in the world, according to a global study spanning dozens of countries. The findings reveal that belief in God has declined dramatically among Britons, from three-quarters who believed in God in 1981, to just under half (49%) in 2022. Only five other countries had lower levels of belief in God than the UK."
TWEETS (short but significant)
STATS (noteworthy numbers)
(1) According to some researchers, China could have the largest concentration of Christians of any nation by the year 2035 SOURCE
(2) Nearly 34 million Afghans are living in poverty (up from 19million in 2020), due partly to the massive loss of foreign assistance (which previously accounted for 70 percent of the government budget) after the Taliban’s takeover. SOURCE
(3) "By 2050, 68 of the world population will be urban - 64 percent of the population in the developing world and 86 percent in the developed world will live in urban areas." SOURCE
ONLINE EVENTS (Zoom seminars & conferences)
(1) Unreached 2023 online: The peacebuilding imperative (9th-10th June 2023, UK)
"With guest speakers Owen Hylton (London, UK) and Michael Feulner (Yalova, Turkiye) this year’s Unreached Conference will focus on God’s mission to create peace between all peoples, through Jesus Christ, and how we can play our part." 9th June 6pm-9pm /10th June 8am-4pm. Tickets £25.
(2) Mobilizing your senior church leadership (June 14th 2023, US)
"If the pastor does not plead the cause of the nations, who will? Join us for this critically important conversation as we think and talk about what it looks like to mobilize senior leadership to be champions for global missions." Wednesday, June 14th, 2023, 12pm CT. Free for MissioNexus members.
(3) Rethinking agency in mission (21st June 2023, 12pm, UK)
"The concept of ‘Mission From the Margins’ has gained currency in current ecumenical thinking as a relevant paradigm for thinking about mission in the 21st Century. In this webinar Rev’d Canon Dr Peniel Rajkumar from USPG argues why this paradigm might still hold compelling relevance in post-colonial contexts marked by polycentricity." Wednesday 21st June, 12pm-1.30pm, £15.00 (Global Connections members, and students) £45 otherwise.
HIGHLIGHTS (Most popular from last month's Mission Hits…)
(1) How to visit a Mosque or Temple: Creating a perspective-changing experience for your church
(2) 10 Things I love about being a missionary
(3) How support raising honors God and his people
JUST FOR FUN (unrelated but interesting!)
Within1 second of seeing this I knew I'd be putting it in Mission Hits! Absolutely marvellous. Each country lights up whenever a baby is born there, and the list below keeps a running total. Simple and fascinating.
(2) 30 Maps to rethink the world
Anyone who loves maps, which I hope is all of you (?!), will love these.
Bit random, but I took this 'food disgust test'. Takes 2-3 mins and it identifies to what extent, and in what specific areas, you are grossed out by things like mould, insect, poor hygiene etc.. My disgust level is small, which means my food standards are pretty low! But that has served me well over the years. What about you?
Full searchable archives of all Mission Hits resources from edition #1
Questions, comments, or suggestions for the next edition?
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