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Mission Hits #55 (January 2024)


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 #55

Well, in some parts of the world the clock doesn't tick over to February for another few hours, so I'm taking this as a deadline met and a big win. Gosh, it's been tough to get this January edition out in time. A house move and new job this month has meant limited time for Mission Hits research.

 

However, I'm delighted with how it's turned out. There's a whole spread of super useful, faithful, inspirational resources below on everything from Brazilian missionaries to TCK trauma, from prayer guides to polycentric mission. I know you'll find much here that fascinates and challenges you. Do dig in, and dig deep!

 

I'm now working as 'Director of Cross-Cultural Training' at Oak Hill College in London, and am grateful for the remarkable staff and students I'm working and serving alongside. College website is here if interested.

 

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)

Director of Cross-Cultural Training, Oak Hill College (UK)

Doctorate in Intercultural Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary (US)


 

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


Essential for Missionaries


This is important: how do we think about, and communicate about, our cross-cultural ministry settings? I suspect all serving missionaries will appreciate (and feel mildly challenged by) this article: "Don’t go with a pointing finger and answers; please go with curiosity and a desire to see the image of God in those you seek to love…Consider trying to frame issues and problems within a bigger picture including beauty, kindness, and shadows of the kingdom of God"


Essential for Church Leaders


Not so much a 'How do we care for missionaries?' article but a 'What are we aiming for in our care for missionaries?'. Four big ideas that leaders would do well to discuss and consider with other relevant folk in their churches. Includes 'Our goal should be to find ways to share in our missionary’s “trouble” (Philippians 4:14)' and 'Our goal should be to create overflowing thanksgiving to God (2 Corinthians 9:12)'.

Essential for Mission Agency Workers


We all know how important debriefing is as part of the short-term mission sending cycle yet so many of us fall short of best practice in this area, and the long-term costs of that are considerable. Greg Mathias, Associate Professor of Global Missions at NOBTS, has written here as good an accessible and introductory article on the topic as you're likely to find (for the Upstream Collective blog).

Essential for Christians Partnering as Senders


In this survey of almost 2,000 adult TCKs, 60% said they had witnessed serious traffic accidents, 77% extreme poverty, and 59% violence such as armed conflict or human death. Christians sending and supporting missionary families must intentionally incorporate the likelihood of being exposed to these traumas into their missionary care and counselling.


 

GENERAL (well worth your time)


Harvey Kwiyani is asking all the right questions. This is a hugely worthwhile read for those thinking about 21st century global mission. "Polycentric mission cannot happen when Western Christians believe they are superior or higher than the rest of us. In this century of world Christianity, there should be no second-class missionary."

 

Desiring God article with 5 things for adults to bear in mind as they help young ones develop global Christian awareness and God's loving heart for the nations.

 

This is real, and I appreciate that. And it's funny too. An article for all those who find language learning really, really, really (almost impossibly) hard. You're not alone, you've not failed, and you do have a purpose in God's mission.


 

AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts & videos)


Author's privilege! I was grateful to appear on 'The Missions Podcast' and suggest ten missiology books worth reading in 2024 to broaden and deepen our missiology. Was so had limiting it to ten. Which would you have added or removed? Have a listen and drop me a line!

 

Conversation on the Lausanne Movement Podcast with Dr Allen Yeh & Dr Matthew Niermann exploring notable global shifts in Christianity over the past 100 years. I enjoyed this one greatly.

 

8-min video (but you can watch it double speed or just flick through it decade by decade) showing the size of each continent's Christian population over 200 years (projected through to 2100). The difference from the start to the end of astonishing. Imagine going back in time and showing that to someone in 1900.


 

DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)

An epic read from Jay Matenga writing for the World Evangelical Alliance. You'll need a long tea-break put aside for this one, but I very much doubt you'll regret doing so. It's a high-altitude overview of the meta-themes and trends most profoundly shaping the context of global mission today.

 

"Senior pastors and church boards are holding church missions leaders accountable to report on congregational engagement instead of external goals, outside of the congregation." Ted Esler, President of Missio Nexus, helpfully draws attention to an aspect of our church-mission culture that might be a touch skewed…

 

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary president Daniel Akin uses the apostle Paul as a case study of deep integration between theology and mission, showing both that his theological endeavours were directed towards the world and that his mission was grounded in theological truth.


 

BOOKS (recent releases)

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


Edward L. Smither

"John Stott (1921–2011) was an early innovator of encouraging global missional theology. Through his involvement in the Lausanne Movement and other global networks, he made room at the table for majority world Christians and theologians to speak to matters of developing global theology. Through his innovative work with Langham Partners, he provided resources for global pastors to be trained in theology and a platform for global theologians to publish their work. Ultimately, he encouraged global theologians to forge their own theology."

 

Carrie & Morgan Stephens

"[In this book the authors] offer an invigorating retelling of Ruth, Boaz, and Naomi to help us love people unlike us. Weaving in real life stories from their multiethnic, multigenerational, and socioeconomically diverse church, they highlight the power of unique friendships in God’s greater missional story. Readers will find inspiration to love and be loved more courageously as we all forge a path into a more redemptive future."

 

Yvonne Huneycutt

"The fascinating connection between the Perspectives movement, the frontier mission movement, and church planting movements is a story rarely told yet vital to understanding the spread of the gospel to resistant populations. Whether you are a mission leader, a student of missiology, or someone seeking to understand God's movement in the world, this book will deepen your insight into the strategies, goals, and personal stories that have shaped modern missions."


 

MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)

A long and extraordinary collection (collected by the extraordinary Justin Long) of prayer guides related to world mission and the global church. Goodness there's a lot here - we've really never had it so easy, have we?

 

An excellent list! Might these Catalyst Services recommendations shape your 2024 reading?

 

"The World Watch List is Open Doors’ annual ranking of the 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution. Explore each country profile and download the detailed dossiers for in-depth information about following Jesus in the most dangerous places. Read their stories and learn how you can stand with them in prayer and action."


 

QUOTES (wise one-liners)


(1) "Rest in this - it is His business to lead, command, impel, send, call... It is your business to obey, follow, move, respond."

Jim Elliot

 

(2) "God scatters his church to advance his gospel."

Micah Fries

 

(3) "Western theological leadership of a predominantly non-Western church is an incongruity"

Andrew Walls

 

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)

Each year, the International Rescue Committee analyzes 190 countries to identify those at greatest risk of experiencing a new or worsening humanitarian crisis in the coming year. Here's the 'top' ten. 8 are in Africa. #1 is, of course, Sudan.

 

"The number of Brazilian cross-cultural missionaries, domestic and overseas, has been growing at a rate of 6.7 percent per year since 1989, a higher number than the rate of growth for the evangelical population, 5.8 percent per year." You may need to sign up for free to read this, but you'll get a good insight into a growing mission movement.

 

Brent Fulton, founder of ChinaSource, on how the Chinese centre is controlling the periphery more than ever, with difficult consequences for foreign expats and missionaries. "The advance of the surveillance state gives officials in Beijing visibility into every corner of the country…The mountains have become shorter, and the watchful eyes of the Party are literally everywhere." Two blog articles - first is linked to above, 2nd is here


 

TWEETS (short but significant) \


 

STATS (noteworthy numbers)


(1) By 2050 there will be more Christians in Africa alone (1.28b) than all non-religionists, atheists, and agnostics worldwide combined (849m). SOURCE

 

(2) By the end of the century, it's expected that 13 of the 20 biggest cities in the world will be in Africa (with 6 of the other 7 in south/central Asia). Not one in China, Europe, North America or South America. SOURCE

 

(3) In South Korea, there are more 70-somethings than 20-somethings. SOURCE


 

ONLINE EVENTS (Zoom seminars and conferences)


"How can the local church truly be an involved part of the overseas worker’s lives, families, struggles & successes?" Jeff Jackson speaks in his Missio Nexus free online event on Fen 7th, 1pm-2pm EST.

 

"An introduction to the ministry of social justice from biblical, historical, missiological and contemporary points of view." Takes place online every Saturday for 7 weeks, starting on Feb 24th. Just $50 when you use coupon code justice2024. Course leader is Prof. Kathy Bhatia, and its run by Ephesiology Master Classes.

 

The annual African Society of Evangelical Theology conference is being held in Kenya (with online access) in March, with the theme of 'The Mission of God and God's Church'. Keynote speaker is Harvey Kwiyani. Just £10 for online access.


 

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

 

 


 

JUST FOR FUN (unrelated but interesting!)


The world's population recently passed 8 billion. What do all those people look like when standing next to each other in New York City? Here's the answer in this 30-second video.

 

I know y'all love world maps as much as I do. Well, here is a beautiful representation of the world showing borders and locations but not size. The more you look, the more fascinating it becomes.

 

I must admit I rather enjoyed this. It's been around for years but I've just seen it myself. 100 years of dance (and fashion) in 100 seconds, 1911-2011.


 

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



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