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  • Writer's pictureFrom Every Nation (Chris Howles)

Mission Hits #54 (November 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 #54

It's such an pleasure to bring this wonderful collection of world mission/world Christianity related resources to you once again. Truly, we live in an age of extraordinary abundance when it comes to excellent-quality and free writing and resources. I hope these links below give you plenty to ponder and practise in the coming weeks and into 2024!

 

I've decided to give myself a little break over Christmas/New year, so the next full edition of Mission Hits will be in January, not December. This is partly because there are normally fewer resources released during these holiday weeks, but also because we have a house move/job change coming up and we need all the breathing space we can muster!

 

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. And please feel free to send me any suggestions or feedback (chris.howles@fromeverynation.net).

 

Blessings,

Chris (Howles)

Mission Partner: Crosslinks (UK)

Doctorate in Intercultural Theology (Fuller Theological Seminary)

 

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


Essential for Missionaries


Does it matter whether a missionary's financial support comes from individual partners or from churches? Ryan Robertson (Reaching and Teaching International) argues that it does, for these four reasons.


Essential for Church Leaders


Interestingly, only 35 percent of engaged Christian parents say they would definitely encourage their grown up son/daughter to serve in missions. This seems an area that church leaders could think about carefully and proactively.

Essential for Mission Agency Workers


I usually reserve such articles for the 'Digging Deeper' section below. But you know mission agency workers in the West must wrestle with significant concepts like 'polycentricism', and this excellent article by Jim Memory (Lausanne Europe) is a great place to begin.

Essential for Christians Partnering as Senders


Author's privilege! I was pleased to write this 1000-word piece for the Upstream Collective blog: A few practical, devotional, and biblical contours to help us grasp the term 'The Great Commission'. I think it could be useful for mission committees and other interested Christians to process and discuss together to help clear up some of the many confusions out there currently!

 

GENERAL (well worth your time)


"The rise of evangelical theologies from Asia, Africa, and Latin America is good news for the whole body of Christ. Here are three suggestions for how readers in the West could best respond." Stephen Pardue (author of this recent book) with some brief, important reflections for the Gospel Coalition website.

 

Mary Lynn Kindberg describes 6 ways that a missionary's approach to language learning can demonstrate important gospel truths to people in the host community.

 

Some may agree with all this and some might not, but it's a good piece to engage with reflectively…are missionaries too fearful of being labelled 'colonialist'? This article from the 'Entrusted to the Dirt' blog seeks to "free the missionary from a fear-based missiology – and lead to one built on a better foundation."

 

AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts & videos)


Interview with Ted Esler, Executive Director of MissioNexus, about how the UPG paradigm of missions is a hard sell for the younger generations in the US and what needs to be done to change that. Ted is a well-thought out interviewee always thinking about trends and changes in missiology. 55-min episode of the 'Missions Drop' podcast from Frontier Ventures.

 

"Is the Church growing, or is it shrinking? It's hard to know what's going on in and through God's kingdom around the world. So what is the state of global Christianity?" Interview with Todd Johnson, Professor of Mission and Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. 43min episode from the 'On The Move' podcast from 21C International.

 

55min interview with Matt Bennett & Doug Coleman on the 'Missions Talk' podcast about the history, theology and missiological reasoning behind insider movements. It's not a discussion with diverse viewpoints (guests and hosts share a broadly similar perspective) but it is a well-informed and well-articulated explanation of one particular perspective.

 

DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)

The Lausanne Movement's 'Occasional Papers' are always well-considered and well-written. This one, principally authored by Sam George, will no doubt keep on trend and shape the diaspora missiology conversations for years to come.

 

In this Gospel Coalition essay Trevin Wax argues for the priority of evangelism over social action in Christian mission. He includes some useful historical context to show how this debate emerged.

 

British Anglican minister John Root with a long, deep, compelling, challenging and very helpful blog post on how westerners might think through the issues involved in loving our neighbours of a different ethnicity. This isn't a '5 practical ideas to get to know your immigrant neighbours' list, but rather a theological reflection on such relationships. Well worth your time.

 

BOOKS (recent releases)

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


Andrew Walls

"The history of the missions is complex and fraught. Though modern missions began with European colonialism, the outcome was a largely non-Western global Christianity. Throughout his long and fruitful career, Andrew Walls told the story of missions as a dedicated Christian scholar, teacher, and mentor. Prior to his passing in 2021, he entrusted the editing of his lectures to his friends and students. The result of this labor of love, [this book] is a must-read for scholars of missiology, world Christianity, and church history."

 

Emily Bennett (Editor)

"You’ve said “yes” to God’s call to go, and now you will pack up your things and step into the unknown of a new location, people, and culture. The following years will likely include great joy, frustration, homesickness, difficulty, and excitement. In this book, ten women who have served on the mission field share what they wish they had known before they began. Includes essays on 'Leaving what you love', 'Taking kids overseas', and 'Dealing with fear and anxiety'" (You can find a discussion guide of the book here)

 

Eric Robinson

"What if we could root the nature of the believer's calling and vocation from a missional perspective? This book seeks to understand how a deeper understanding of God's mission can help believers discern the work to which they are called and equip them for missional witness in and through their work. When believers connect their gifts, talents, and creativity with God's work in and for the world in a way that is contextually relevant, it opens up opportunities for transformative witness."

 

MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)

Videos of some of the main sessions from 'Shift', the annual MissioNexus conference that took place last month, are now online. Includes Sam George on 'People on the move', Ed Stetzer on 'A Post-Covid Missiology' and James McGee on 'Race and Missions'.

 

This is a few years old, but I think that's ok for this 'Miscellaneous' section, especially as this is such a remarkable resource. Australian missiologist Graham Joseph Hill has made 165 free video interviews with outstanding Christian leaders, mostly from the majority world, on themes such as discipleship, ministry, theology, mission, prayer, worship etc. in their contexts. It's called 'The Global Church Project' and is worth checking out.

 

A remarkable website: "The creation of the Dictionary of African Christian Biography was announced in 1995 and the website first went online in 1998. Now, over 25 years later, with over 3,000 biographies in four languages, the mission of the DACB continues to be “to collect, preserve, and make freely accessible biographical accounts and church histories – from oral and written sources – integral to a scholarly understanding of African Christianity.”

 

QUOTES (wise one-liners)


(1) "Only half of the pastor’s work is to gather the people together for worship. The other half is to send them back to their daily tasks equipped to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world."

Lesslie Newbigin

 

(2) "To belong to Jesus is to embrace the nations with Him."

William Carey

 

(3) "He that will not serve the Lord in the Sunday school at home, will not win children to Christ in China."

C.H. Spurgeon

 

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)

"Chinese churches in Britain have seen a 28.8 per cent growth in the last two years, making them the fastest-growing churches in the UK, boosted by people emigrating from Hong Kong to Britain since 2021. "It is nearly 200 years since Western missionaries brought Christianity to Hong Kong. Now, church leaders that I speak to feel a sense of mission here in Britain. They have, they say, the chance to bring the gospel back to the local people."

 

"The US is currently home to more immigrants than any other country in the world—and as Christianity booms overseas, more Christians are migrating to the United States. Many of them are joining existing churches or starting new churches, which in turn are leading other immigrants to find faith in Jesus after they arrive."

 

China’s constitution says ordinary citizens enjoy “freedom of religious beliefs” and the government officially recognizes five religions: Buddhism, Catholicism, Islam, Protestantism and Daoism (also called Taoism). But authorities closely police religious activity. Here are 10 things to know about how the Chinese government regulates religion, from the recent Pew report, “Measuring Religion in China.”

 

TWEETS (short but significant)

 

STATS (noteworthy numbers)


(1) 32% of South Koreans are Christian, but for South Koreans in the US that number increases to 80% SOURCE

 

(2) 95% of Zimbabwean teachers wish to emigrate abroad SOURCE

 

(3) Thailand’s total population will drop from 66 million to 33 million by 2083. Working population from 44 million to 14 million. Children from 10 million to one. SOURCE

 

ONLINE EVENTS (Zoom seminars and conferences)


Dr. Gina Zurlo (Center for the Study of Global Christianity) speaks about women in mission & world Christianity at the Overseas Ministries Study Center (Princeton Theological Seminary). 9.30am - 11.30am (ET) over two consecutive mornings. Free.

 

"Join special guest Lauren Wells, founder of TCK Training, as we talk about ways sending churches can care well for the children of our sent ones." Upstream Collective 'Sending Church' training. Thursday, December 7, 2023 | 10-11:00 a.m. EDT (If you cannot attend you can still register and receive the recording) $25.

 

"Learn from the wisdom of seasoned missiological anthropologists, their cross-cultural study, practice, and ongoing reflection. This hybrid gathering will provide you with valuable insights and practical knowledge to navigate the complexities of serving in diverse cultural contexts." Speakers for this 2024 Ralph D. Winter Lectureship (from Frontier Ventures)  include Darrell Whiteman, Bob Priest, Miriam Adeney, Michael Rynkiewich and Daniel Shaw. $60 for full online access. Looks great.

 

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

 

 

 

JUST FOR FUN (unrelated but interesting!)


This is fascinating, and almost disturbing. Press two keys on your keyboard randomly as fast as possible. The computer will guess your next one about 70% of the time. In short, we're not able to be as random as we think we are.

 

Website that will dial you into live CCTV footage of a sunset somewhere in the world at that moment. We all need a good sunset every now and again!

 

I wonder if you, like I did, would enjoy this Twitter thread of 20 ancient sites and wonders brought to life by virtual reconstructions? It only takes a few seconds but it's very interesting.

 

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



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