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  • Writer's pictureFrom Every Nation (Chris Howles)

Mission Hits #56 (February 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 #56

The creative, thoughtful, biblical and practical world mission/world Christianity resources just never stop coming do they?! What a remarkable blessing. This 56th edition of Mission Hits contains everything from demonology to gastronomic humility, from AI in mission to missionary care. I hope you enjoy it all as much as I have.


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)

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

A Chinese missionary speaks about Western missionaries: "They all want to help, but it’s overwhelming. Chinese workers…don’t have a professional perspective on Bible translation, media production, or such things. They only want to be able to stay there, to be accepted by the local people, have friendships, and share the gospel." So many important practical missionary concepts packed into this short ChinaSource article.

Essential for Church Leaders

A clear outline of the central role of the local church in missionary sending. "Christians who are passionate for God’s glory among the nations should not abandon the church, but rather help it to fulfill its God-ordained mission."

Essential for Mission Agency Workers

Ted Esler (MissionNexus) reflects on the news stories and trends from 2023 that will impact the great commission community throughout 2024 and beyond. Well worth mission agency staff and leaders being keenly aware of such things.

Essential for Christians Partnering as Senders

"Whether you’re part of a larger or smaller church, everyone can play a part in leveraging the resources their church has to offer." Clear and simple (although so often overlooked) from Kelsey Jarjour writing for the Upstream Collective.


GENERAL (well worth your time)

This is an unusual one, but it belongs here in Mission Hits. A missionary's relationship with food can be complex, and is probably too commonly laughed off instead of engaged with as a potential joy/anxiety/heart issue. This article by a US missionary in Central Asia is a theology of food for missionaries. Interesting stuff.


How can 'immigrant churches' and 'majority culture churches' learn from one another in the US context? Some really good observations here about different cultural approaches to authenticity and obligation in church community. Gospel Coalition article by Jason James.


House church or large church? That's a complex and heated debate where nuance and generosity is required. This article has both in spades: "There can be a beautiful redeemed simplicity to a healthy, organized house church, just as there can be a beautiful redeemed complexity to a healthy, multiplying big church. Both can be spiritually safe, both can be spiritually authentic."


AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts & videos)

"We explore the challenges missionaries face in different cultural contexts concerning demonology, addressing global perspectives, skepticism, and the balance between empiricism and anti-empiricism." 45-min Missions Podcast episode with Scott Macdonald.


"[this episode reveals] cultural trends concerning declining trust worldwide, and practical strategies for the Church to proactively foster and reestablish trust within its communities." 56-min Lausanne Movement podcast episode.


In this 40-min episode of Missions Talk, Mack Stiles and Ryan Robertson interview Tim Hamer and Aaron Menikoff on visiting missionaries overseas. Some really useful practical ideas and tips here to make the visit an impactful blessing for all parties involved.


DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)

The annual 1-page summary of stats related to world Christianity in 2024 is out. Produced by the Centre for the Study of Global Christianity (Gordon-Conwell), these numbers contain remarkable insights for those with eyes to see and a few minutes to explore.


Lots of us involved in mission are using AI to enhance productivity. But here Ted Esler goes further and looks into how AI might actually impact ministry and mission itself. Some interesting thoughts.


"In our appropriate focus on faithfulness, we shouldn’t overlook a complementary Pauline goal: the pursuit of gospel fruit. For Paul, resting in God’s sovereignty doesn’t equal resigning to futility. Instead, the most faithful missionaries are those who lovingly labor to see lasting results." Elliot Clark writing for the Gospel Coalition website.


BOOKS (recent releases)

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

Kevin Muriithi Ndereba

"This textbook provides an in-depth exploration of the biblical, philosophical, cultural, and practical concerns facing African Christians as they proclaim and defend the gospel in Africa…touching on such topics as hermeneutics, biblical criticism, church history, the nature of evil, religious inclusivism, Muslim-Christian engagement, eldership rites, domestic violence, cults, and the digital age."


Jonathan Downie

"In a world where communities thrive with diverse languages, why should our churches lag behind? [The author] masterfully illustrates the motivation and method for creating a truly multilingual church. From recognizing this urgent need, to uncovering our biblical mandate and choosing the right tools, he provides a comprehensive roadmap for the journey."


Kirk Franklin, Paul Bendor-Samuel and Deborah Crough

"[This book] surveys the extensive realm of Mission Theology, dissecting its terminology and discerning its profound implications regarding God’s mission (missio Dei) primarily from the Protestant mission movement perspective. The reader is invited on a personal journey of growth as a reflective practitioner, fostering integrity, creativity, openness, and curiosity within the realm of mission."


MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)

More than 365million Christians suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith. 1 in 5 Christians in Africa are persecuted. In Asia, it's 2 in 5. Here's Open Doors’ annual ranking of the 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution.


Nine books for kids aged 0-12 to help them see the global work of our global God! Post by Meredith Cook.


Those who enjoy stats and global trends might enjoy this Atlas of Migration for 2023. The link will take you to the Africa page but stats are available for any continent.


QUOTES (wise one-liners)

(1) "God involves us in his mission not because he needs us but because he loves us."

David Platt


(2) "Prayer and intercession, being missiological in nature, attune the heart of the church to the needs of the community. They help us see and listen to the voice of those in need."

Wilmer Estrada-Carrasquillo


(3) "God is pursuing with omnipotent passion a worldwide purpose of gathering joyful worshippers for Himself from every tribe and tongue and people and nation."

John Piper


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)

Large scale new survey data reveals some remarkable changes taking place in attitudes to religion in Iran. Only 78% of Iranians now believe in God. Less than a third identify as Shi’ite Muslim. 50% report losing their religion, and 60% that they do not pray. A remarkable secularization (not Christianization) taking place.


An article by Yinxuan Huang for China Source about Britain's fastest growing Christian community. Using the most recent data available he demonstrates that Chinese Christianity is dynamic, decentralised & diverse.


"Hinduism within India was previously viewed as a way of life, with the faith evolving to suit the needs of the follower. The new, top-down approach to homogenization of faith is leading to the political construction of the faith, where focus on a singular deity undercuts the flexibility on offer within the Hindu faith." Fascinating. Is Hinduism in India transforming in our lifetime?


TWEETS (short but significant) \


STATS (noteworthy numbers)

(1) Over 50% of Sudan's 50 million people need food aid. SOURCE


(2) By 2050 there will be more Christians in Africa than in Latin America and Asia combined. SOURCE


(3) Up to 5% of all 20th century deaths were due to malaria. SOURCE



ONLINE EVENTS (Zoom seminars and conferences)

"Join us for an enlightening webinar featuring Dr. Wayne Dye. Explore the fascinating intersection of language, culture, and orality with a leader in the field. Don't miss this opportunity to dive into the world of orality and gain valuable insights." Wednesday March 18th, 7am EST (12noon GMT).


"Tory Ruark, Director of MissionExcellence, will be talking with Dale Lusk about polycentric leadership and how God moved Merge Ministries from a very USA centric model to a polycentric model of leaders from all around the world." MissioNexus event, free for members, $25 for non-members. March 28 @ 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm EDT.


Dr. Tamie Davis, Australia, former missionary to Tanzania, reflects on how to think of 'truth' in cross-cultural encounters. Alliance for Vulnerable Mission webinar ("The AVM encourages cross-cultural workers to make themselves vulnerable to the people they serve - mainly by using local languages and local resources in ministry".) 2-4pm BST, 8th April.


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




JUST FOR FUN (unrelated but interesting!)

It turns out that age 41 I am older than a disturbingly significant majority of the world's population. What about you? Plug in your birthdate and country of origin to reveal some rather startling facts about yourself…


An experienced financial journalist was persuaded by scammers to put $50,000 of her savings cash into a shoebox and hand it to a stranger. I found this long-read article rather terrifying and frightening to read, but utterly engrossing. Are we so sure that it could never happen to us?


Fun, short, simple little quiz to see how quickly you can identify 20 countries (or flags) in Africa. Don't pretend you don't get competitive with these sort of things :-)


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

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