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  • Writer's pictureFrom Every Nation (Chris Howles)

Mission Hits #58 (May 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 #58

 

The keen amongst you may have noted that there was no April edition…alas, time last month just did not allow for it. But I'm delighted to be able to present this 58th issue of Mission Hits to you now, and I know there'll be a huge number of resources here you love and benefit from!

 

The Lausanne 'State of the Great Commission' report at the top there is clearly a crucial, influential, and impactful document, and I think all of us might do well to dwell there a little. But there's so much more to enjoy here beyond that, including podcasts about power and partnership, upcoming online events about diaspora ministries, new books about African missiology, and articles about how to best give money to missionaries.

 

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).

 

Have a blessed and mission-minded month ahead, and I'll see you next time!

 

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


Essential for all, not just for missionaries, but I'm putting it here because I think missionaries would enjoy and be blessed by devoting some time to this document/website. Written by 150 global mission experts worldwide, this is a massive and magnificent work that will shape the worldwide missiological conversation for a good time to come. Released now in advance of the Lausanne IV Congress in South Korea in September, it's full of helpful charts and maps and represents an outstanding overview of where global evangelical mission is (and is going…)


Essential for Church Leaders


"Let's kick off this talk, and let's not beat around the bush but instead bite the bullet and call a spade a spade! We must be all in and on fire for Jesus!" Missionaries learn quickly (and often the hard way) not to use idioms and such like in their preaching. But what about teachers 'back home' in multicultural settings? Let's show hospitality through clarity.

Essential for Mission Agency Workers


A whole industry of resources has built up around the missionary TCK, but this article offers a more nuanced perspective, asking adults to listen before assuming anything or filtering everything through experiences of previous generations. Thought-provoking for mission agencies pondering member-care.

Essential for Christians Partnering as Senders


An important question, and not one I've seen written about much. Some will agree, some will disagree, but in this Gospel Coalition article Elliot Clark argues that giving directly to missionaries can unwittingly undercut the centrality of the local church in mission sending.


 

GENERAL (well worth your time)

 

"In my years of church consulting, no church leader has said to me, “Our church really doesn’t want to do the Great Commission.” I’ve worked with many churches, though, that proclaim the Great Commission but never get around to doing it. Here are my conclusions about why churches so often fit this description." Some interesting suggestions well made by Chuck Lawless:

 

What's your instinctive response to the phrase 'Reverend Mohammed'? Should it be normal practice for Muslim-background believers to change such names? Such an interesting article from the Oak Hill College (UK) blog about why the answer to that might not be as simple as some might assume. 

 

"Today, there are likely more than 100 million Christians across China. Though persecution of the church is once again on the rise, house churches across China continue to grow and multiply. So, what can be learned from China’s house churches about perseverance?" Hannah Nation writing for the Radical website.


 

AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts & videos)


'Mission Shift' from Cru is a brilliantly-crafted audio-docuseries (featuring interview clips with mission leaders worldwide) focusing here in Series 2 on power and partnerships in global mission: "In this new era of missions–when mission engagement is from everywhere to everywhere–how do we in the West partner well with believers in locations traditionally labelled as mission fields?" Well worth a listen to all 8 episodes, but start with the also-excellent Season 1 if you haven't yet heard that.

 

"Chris Clayman, Executive Director for Joshua Project, gives us all the details on how we can use the free tools on their website to help us educate and inspire God’s people. You’ll learn about the people group profiles and lists, the Unreached of the Day resource, and the Global Interactive Map". I found this 33-min episode of the Gospel Mobilization podcast informative and constructive.

 

Such a helpful conversation with Dr Andy Bannister (on the Frontiers 'Raw Mission' podcast) about evangelistic conversations and apologetic engagement with Muslim people today. Challenging, passionate, informative and full of good advice.


 

DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)

Is Paul's return to Jerusalem for Pentecost in Acts 20-21 set up intentionally by Luke to represent the reverse of what happened 25 or so years earlier? There certainly seems to be an argument for asking this. Fascinating reflections from Andy McCullough writing in the UK for the Unreached Network.

 

An argument that our mission-mobilizing and mission-sending messages and motifs could be more intentionally aligned around 'natural' affinities based in geographies, cultures, and histories. The third of three articles, but it also holds up very well as a thought-provoking standalone. Chris Maynard writing for the Lausanne network.

 

"If you travel much, you will find Christian churches in hot desert or tropical climates throughout the Arab World, Africa, and Asia with steeples and slanted roofs built to withstand heavy snow. This is emblematic of the paradigm of church that is entrenched in our global Christian subculture. A fixed mindset concerning church has been uncritically imported into the Majority World...we need to relearn to think and act like a movement if we intend to faithfully follow Christ into new frontiers." Blog post from ABTS Assistant professor of missiology Wes Watkins.


 

BOOKS (recent releases)

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


Tim Silberman

"This study explores the factors influencing local church participation in mission both locally and around the world. Through an in-depth analysis of the practices and perspectives among evangelical churches in Australia, the author identifies a range of theological, missiological, and organizational influences on mission practice. Though beliefs about the church, the world, and mission are important, understanding organizational principles, social capital, and the power of relational networks provides invaluable insights into church-mission practice."

 

Sadiri Joy Tira, Damples Dulcero-Baclagon & Lorajoy Tira-Dimangondayao

"Never have so many people left their homes and migrated to other parts of the world as we've seen in recent years. [This book] brings together experts from diverse backgrounds to consider the practical significance of this mass migration. The reasons for these population movements are as varied as the people. The contributors explain such trends but suggest possible ways to engage with diaspora neighbors. This book challenges us to find more creative and integrated mission strategies for effectively reaching out to the various "peoples on the move" with the gospel."

 

Anna Hampton

"A treasure trove of practical tools and profound insights to help you thrive in an increasingly hazardous world. With deep spiritual contemplation and meticulous research, [the author] offers a unique viewpoint on cross-cultural service and the art of making sacrifices. [This book] includes a trauma recovery recipe, sixteen risk myths, a hermeneutical methodology, and risk assessment and management training. Facing Danger equips you to create a systematic action plan to faithfully traverse dangerous landscapes"


 

MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)


How can someone on a short-term trip use social media to communicate about their experience and the people they are alongside in a helpful not harmful way? Ten excellent pieces of advice from the 'Helping without Hurting' team. This sort of thing really should be a non-negotiable part of any training for short-term (or indeed long-term) trips in this day and age.

 

2:19, a UK-based organisation who help equip churches for intercultural witness, have produced 10 beautiful animated videos telling the overall Bible story for less-fluent English speakers. Perhaps you might find these very helpful in your intercultural church outreach with refugee & diaspora peoples? "Hearing of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is a new concept to many. In this series, the background of the concept of sacrifice and what this means is retold though ten Old Testament stories, to give the bigger picture of God’s amazing gift to us in Christ, and the relationship he offers us."

 

A new feature film about the life of Christ has just been released where all the content is in American Sign Language. All the actors who had signing parts in front of the camera were deaf, including the actor playing Jesus. "Even Deaf people who’ve been Christians for years say they have a different understanding because they can see, wow, God truly does understand my sign language."


 

QUOTES (wise one-liners)


(1) "If there be any one point in which the Christian church ought to keep its fervor at a white heat, it is concerning missions. If there be anything about which we cannot tolerate lukewarmness, it is in the matter of sending the gospel to a dying world."

Charles Spurgeon

 

(2) "If you will go to the nations and last, you must rest in the promise that the word of God will do the work of God."

Kevin DeYoung

 

(3) "The aim of your church being a comfortable spiritual home for all the varied ethnicities in your area is a huge, and unlikely to ever be perfectly fulfilled, goal…but always standing as a challenge."

John Root


 

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)

"I've had to compete endlessly, not to achieve my dreams, but just to live a mediocre life. It's been so draining.' She does not want to put a child through the same competitive misery she experienced."

 

John Sanqiang Cao was released from prison in China recently, and shares his story here. His words are so poignant, his mother is incredible, and the remarkable way that he eventually got hold of some Bible verses in the prison library is something else. An extraordinary interview in Christianity  Today magazine.

 

"Climate events in Bangladesh are increasing at such an alarming rate that current policies and adaptation strategies will soon not be enough to safeguard the country’s people, infrastructure and ecosystems…The Bangladesh government spends roughly 7% of its annual budget on climate adaptation."


 

TWEETS (short but significant)



 

STATS (noteworthy numbers)


(1) India which only overtook China in population last year, is predicted to be about double the size of China by the end of the century (1,353m - 771m) SOURCE

 

(2) In South Korea over a third of households are singles. Over 20% of them have planned suicide in the last year, and well over half of them are at risk of a 'lonely death' (body not found for 3+ days). SOURCE

 

(3) By 2050, over 40% of the world's working age adults will be African. SOURCE


 

ONLINE EVENTS (Zoom seminars and conferences)


Stephen Stallard (assistant professor of pastoral ministry, Western Seminary) will explore the importance of multicultural teams in a polarized world and the theology, history, and praxis for such diverse teams. ARCH symposium. 30th May 2024, 3pm (BST) - free.

 

"This is an introductory course for those new to diaspora and refugee ministry. We will survey the basics of how and why peoples move, especially refugees. We will touch on various contemporary refugee crises as well as some prominent historical and biblical movements, and types of refugee movements. Particular attention will be given to creating contextually-appropriate missional responses for various refugee and voluntary migration scenarios." Weekly Zoom classes for 9 weeks from June 1st to July 27th (9am EST). Run by Gary Fujino (Professor of Diaspora Studies) for Ephesiology Masterclasses, and you get it for $100 when you use coupon code justice2024

 

"We rejoice when God calls people to relocate permanently overseas for gospel ministry. But what about the other disciples sitting in our churches? Some can go on short term trips, yes. But how else can they engage with the nations? Let’s explore ways we can get the gospel out through digital pathways!" With Kavanah Media, organised by the Upstream Collective. Thursday, June 20, 2024, 2pm EDT


 

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

 

 


 

JUST FOR FUN (unrelated but interesting!)


A beautiful visualisation of the world's most commonly-spoken languages.

 

A map of the world, where each country is sized proportionally to its population. It's certainly a new way of seeing the world. What are your surprises? Mine are Russia, UK, Canada, Japan, and Mongolia.

 

A helpful way of trying to fit history (or at least, famous people in history) together in our minds. Scroll down to see when people lives, and who they lived 'alongside'. Thanks to the ever excellent Missions Catalyst Mailings for highlighting this.


 

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



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