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  • Writer's pictureFrom Every Nation (Chris Howles)

Mission Hits #53 (October 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 #53

You'll notice an extra one-off section in this month's Mission Hits - 'Documentaries'. It includes information about two already-released documentaries from HBO and National Geographic about perhaps the two most well-known missionaries of the 21st century - John Chau and Renee Bach.

Otherwise, please find below your normal monthly mix of great global mission resources. I always enjoy listening to global mission related podcasts, and there's three below in the 'audio-visual' section that are, as always, well worth a listen.

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. And please feel free to send me any suggestions or feedback (


Chris (Howles)

Mission Partner: Crosslinks (UK)

Doctorate in Intercultural Theology (Fuller Theological Seminary)


ESSENTIALS (if you only have time for one...)

Essential for Missionaries

Matthew Hirt (IMB) writes about the joys and challenges of serving in multinational teams made up of people from different cultures. Such teams can be beautiful, powerful, fruitful demonstrations of God's heart and God's purposes, but can also be fraught with misunderstandings. This article contains some important ideas for such missionaries to be pondering.

Essential for Church Leaders

"How does a leader move disciples beyond temporary excitement toward the positive, repeated, missional actions that create a missions culture within a church?" Here are ten suggestions from ABWE president Paul Davis and communications specialist Katelyn Hawkins, including 'celebrate well', 'reflect every generation' and 'capitalize on relationships'.

Essential for Mission Agency Workers

It is now clear that, in the UK at least, mission agencies cannot expect to continue successfully by staying as they have been. But what changes are needed, and why? Chris Binder (national director for Interserve) shares some thoughts and experiences: "Change is never easy but, on the other hand, as the world around us changes, is not changing really an option?"

Essential for Christians Partnering as Senders

A seven page PDF from Catalyst Services with some issues and questions to think about for when Western Christians support majority world gospel workers in their own context.


GENERAL (well worth your time)

Hwa Young (bishop emeritus of the Methodist Church in Malaysia) with 6 things that many Western Christians can learn from many majority world churches, including 'the supernatural dimension', 'dependence on the Spirit', 'confidence in the gospel', and 'a theology of persecution'. Two fascinating blog posts (2nd one is here)

"Even in the shadow of such tragedy, let us not lose hope. Give us eyes to see the rapid movements of mercy rushing to fill these newly wounded spaces." In light of such great heartache in the Middle East, Ukraine, Sudan and so many other places this liturgical prayer from Bradley Bell (Upstream Collective) is worth perusing, pondering, and praying.

A brief reflection from Harvey Kwiyani (Global Connections) on attitudes to African Christians during the 1910 Edinburgh missionary conference, and how God subsequently did something entirely unexpected…."Those who were written off in 1910 will lead in the 21st century. But, more importantly, I wonder, what are we believing today that will be proven wrong in a few decades?"


AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts & videos)

Scott Dunford and Alex Kocman in a very informative and wide-ranging discussion about preaching about mission in church. What are the different types of mission sermons? What are the pitfalls? Should all sermons be mission sermons? 45-min episode from 'The Missions Podcast'

A very enjoyable and fascinating two-part 'Apollos Watered' podcast with host Travis Michael Fleming in conversation with Gina Zurlo (Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity). They cover so much that is so important in such a short time that this is a good overview of many of the defining trends and currents in global Christianity today.

The first episode of a new podcast from the Lausanne Movement. A very interesting and informative interview with Michael Oh, global executive director of Lausanne, about the movement's history and vision for the future of global mission.


DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)

Alongside 'Mission Hits' you're currently reading, the other primary ministry of this website 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 #11 covering June-Sep 2023 is here. If you haven't yet done so, sign up to stay informed, inspired, and thoroughly up-to-date!

British missiologist Dr Eddie Arthur has written over 200 blog posts over the past few years about questions and issues and approaches in Bible translation today. His writing is always accessible to non-experts, clear, illuminating and fresh, and anyone interested in the topic would no doubt enjoy these. He's asking for a very small donation but you can download them for free if so inclined.

All recorded sessions are from the 2nd virtual Mission Information Workers Conference ('to accelerate the development of mission information and the mission information community') are now here on YouTube. Discussions include mission data standards, gaps in global mission data, training of mission information workers, and development of national mission information work.


BOOKS (recent releases)

Links are to Amazon for best info/reviews. Other outlets are available...

Lucy S. R. Austen

"Elisabeth Elliot (1926–2015) is one of the most widely known Christians of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In this single-volume biography, Lucy S. R. Austen takes readers on an in-depth journey through the life of Elisabeth Elliot―her birth to missionary parents, her courtship and marriage to Jim Elliot, her missions work in Ecuador, and her private life and public work after she returned to the United States. Through Elliot’s example of love for God and obedience to his commands, readers will ponder what it means to follow Jesus." Helpful 'Christianity Today' review found here)

Wonsuk Ma

"How does a believer or community encounter the God of mission, develop mission awareness, and ultimately commit to the mission of God? With the radical shift in global Christianity in recent decades, how then would the “new” churches in the South rise to be the forerunner of Christian mission with more than two-thirds of the world’s Christians? As a Pentecostal missionary from Korea, the author reflects on his journey of mission formation within his unique socio-cultural context. The book argues that the process of one’s mission formation gives birth to mission theology and the resultant mission practices."

Michael Frost

"In an ever-changing world, how can we learn from the past to discern the shape of mission today? Michael Frost offers a compelling framework for understanding mission by drawing on the rich tapestry of Christian history and revealing how context shapes mission, just as a bottle shapes water. This book sheds light on how the shape of mission has changed over time, enabling us to learn from past successes and failures, and inspiring and equipping readers to engage in the mission of God in new and transformative ways."


MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)

I always enjoy Wycliffe Bible translators short, colourful, informative annual summaries of the state of Bible translation worldwide. "Discover how 2022–23 was the biggest year on record for the number of new language programmes where work began, plus how many Bibles and New Testaments were launched. And how Artificial Intelligence is set to have a massive impact."

Loren Cunningham, the charismatic visionary who launched Youth With a Mission (YWAM) and mobilized millions of young people for short-term trips, died last week aged 88. Christianity Today obituary here looking at his vision and impact.

"New AI-based video tool can take a recording of you, clone your voice from the video, translate what you’re saying into one of seven different languages (including Hindi), then sync your lips to the new voice so the final clip both looks and sounds as realistic as possible." (Justin Long) Surely AI is going to have huge implications for cross-cultural communication in mission?


DOCUMENTARIES (one-off section)

A documentary (from National Geographic and Disney+) about missionary John Chau, killed in 2018 while attempting to contact one of the world’s most isolated Indigenous peoples on remote North Sentinel Island. "Through exclusive interviews and with unprecedented access to Chau’s secret plans, personal diaries, and video archives [this documentary] examines the mythology of exploration that inspired him, the evangelical community that supported his quest, and reveals his own father’s heartbreak as Chau’s youthful thirst for adventure became a fatal obsession." Here is an excellent podcast conversation (with Mary Ho, who leads Chau's sending agency) about the documentary and why she thinks Christians should watch in in an informed manner. I also greatly enjoyed these reflections on the film for the Gospel Coalition blog. Finally, interest in Chau's story doesn't appear to going away anytime soon with a movie biopic currently being made too - IMDB page here

A new HBO 3-part series that delves into the case of Renee Bach, the US missionary who managed a clinic in Uganda with no medical training. "The series additionally explores missionary work, and non-governmental organizations that are used to provide resources in developing countries" Guardian review ('‘Latest wave of colonialism’: how dangerous is the white savior complex?' found here

This one is a work in progress, but you can go to the website to see more and keep informed about the production. "When we examine evangelical churches in the west and the state of global missions, a profound crisis emerges. Despite the unprecedented number of missionaries, activities, conferences, and even money dedicated to missions, there's a palpable absence of spiritual fervor in evangelism within churches. It's as if we're standing at the edge of the harvest watching it burn as we strategize about the most effective methods for reaching the world." 'The Missions Podcast' episode with the filmmaker David Griffin can be found here


QUOTES (wise one-liners)

(1) "Surely it is worthwhile to lay ourselves out with all our might in promoting the cause and kingdom of Christ."

William Carey

(2) "Missionary zeal does not grow out of intellectual beliefs, nor out of theological arguments, but out of love"

Roland Allen

(3) "The only place on the globe people aren't coming to Christ are the places we refuse to go."

Nik Ripken


GLOBAL INSIGHT (critical news & trends)

(A brief acknowledgement that many of the links under this section each month come from missions researcher Justin Long's excellent 'Weekly Roundup' posts: You can sign up here)

A clear introduction to the Israel-Gaza conflict from the BBC using maps, pictures, and a helpful historical perspective.

Interview (on the Missions Podcast) with Joel Veldkamp: This is the best, clearest explanation you'll find on this complex, crucial, and heartbreaking story. "With all but 50 Christians remaining in Nagorno-Karabakh, the rest have been exiled, leaving a once-thriving community nearly erased. Joel provides an updated look at the humanitarian aftermath, including the dire circumstances facing those who have been displaced."

"Malaria, a mosquito-borne disease, claims half a million lives every year and mostly affects children under the age of five, and pregnant women. “As a malaria researcher, I used to dream of the day we would have a safe and effective vaccine against malaria. Now we have two,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO."


TWEETS (short but significant)


STATS (noteworthy numbers)

(1) 1 in 10 Japanese are aged 80 or above. SOURCE

(2) "The global population is increasing at a 1.18% rate. The population of religious adherents has a 1.26% growth rate, while the nonreligious have a 0.56% growth rate." SOURCE

(3) The number of Pentecostal believers worldwide is expected to top 1billion in the next 30 years., SOURCE


ONLINE EVENTS (Zoom seminars and conferences)

DigitalMediaCon is a three-day online conference focusing exclusively on digital media and marketing for Christian communicators. There are fifteen sessions over 3 days, 5 of which address various aspects of the place of AI in Christian communication. Not explicitly world mission-focused, but clearly significant relevance. Conference runs from Tuesday October 24th to Thursday October 26th. £99 for members, £149 for non-members.

Harvey Kwiyani (Global Connections) leading an academic research seminar at the Centre for the Study of World Christianity (University of Edinburgh, School of Divinity), 4.10-5.40pm Tuesday 31st October, and registration enables on demand viewing for 90 days.

"What might occur if missionaries understood how God often uses them to mobilize other believers? What if they were equipped with a few simple tools to mobilize others as they visit churches?" MissioNexus online event (free for members) with Dave Jacob, the Founder and Director of Gospel Mobilization. November 16 @ 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm EST.


HIGHLIGHTS (Most popular from last month's Mission Hits…)


JUST FOR FUN (unrelated but interesting!)

Space is kinda big. As in 'impossible-to-comprehend' kinda big. But this little animation gives you a tiny sense….

I could stare at this for hours and still not have a clue what's going on.

I know some people don't, but I rather enjoy and benefit from many of these 'wise pieces of general life advice' lists. This one is quite sweet and practical.


Full searchable archives of all Mission Hits resources from edition #1

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