From Every Nation (Chris Howles)
Mission Hits #8 (Oct 2020)
Welcome to Mission Hits, a fortnightly blog highlighting stimulating and significant recent resources related to world Christianity, world church, and world mission.
Mission Hits is a ministry of www.fromeverynation.net
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NOTE NEW FORMAT: Maximum of 3 resources in each category…
Essentials (if you only have time for 3 clicks, make it these)
General (excellent articles well worth reading)
Audio-Visual (podcasts, videos...)
Digging Deeper (more technical/academic resources)
Books (the pick of recent releases)
Miscellaneous (None of the above!)
(1) I want to be a missionary but the church won't send me. What now?
The answer to this question has often implicitly been 'no problem. Get an agency and carry on regardless'. This is an outstanding article demonstrating how wrong that is, and what the right steps are if you find yourself in that situation…
British missiologist Eddie Arthur responds critically but fairly to the recent US Barna Report on Missions report (linked to in Mission Hits #7): "Mission is polycentric, it is not just about people going from the West as they always have done. There are new expressions of mission, new methodologies and structures and they will continue to spring up whether we in the West notice them or not. If we, in Europe and North America, are to play our part in what God is doing in the world today, we must do so in dialogue with our brothers and sisters around the world. The future of missions will not be determined in our part of the world alone."
There are strong currents at the moment in Western missions thinking along the lines of utilising professional skills and gifts for the world mission endeavour (as opposed to leaving/sacrificing them, as might be 'traditional' ) . This article is a helpful summary of how church leaders might start thinking along these lines: "In order for any additional partners/projects to be the best fit for your church, you need to match field opportunities with your congregation’s untapped interests, skills, and resources…Over and over, churches have seen someone with limited concern for missions suddenly be willing to get involved because they have interest and perhaps experience in the specific project."
(1) Leaving Early Has Complicated All the Complicated Emotions of Re-Entry
A personal account of some of the emotions this family felt as they left Tanzania in a big hurry, and how they are processing it all back in the States. If you are ever involved in helping missionaries transition back to home contexts, this is worth reading. "I found myself awake at 2 am, tears rolling down my cheeks. Again. I pounded my fist on God’s chest crying, “This is not the story I wanted!” I did not want to leave that way. That wasn’t how it was supposed to go".
(2) What does a cross-cultural missionary look like?
A worthy article from the Upstream Collective for cross-cultural missionaries and sending churches/agencies to engage with: "As people, and churches, wrestle with the question of who should go, there needs to be a standard of sending. There needs to be a way to answer the question, “What are the character and behavioural traits of effective missionaries? Here are three lists of traits that prospective missionaries should use as they seek to grow in maturity… These lists should help you grow toward your calling and capacity to serve overseas".
(3) Pornography Use and Its Inverse Relation to the Great Commission
What effect does pornography use have on numbers of Christians offering themselves for cross-cultural missionary service. Almost impossible to measure, but it wouldn't be surprising if it were significant indeed. This article explains why: "If we do not continue to help our flock harness their passions under the authority and leadership of Christ, we will have young people working hard and making money but they won’t be considering the mission field."
(1) What is the Role of a Missionary in the Church?
A 4-minute clear and straightforward video explaining some of the links between a missionary, the local church, and the global church.
(2) Burnout and the Mission of God
It's from a while ago but I just listened to this recently and was extremely grateful for it. Very wise, brutally honest, and really practical wisdom from Brad Bell describing his experiences and struggles with mental health issues and burnout in serving Christ overseas a few years ago. No heroism, no Hollywood…just heartfelt and helpful. I'd recommend this 30-min chat to missionaries and mission leaders as a part of a wider 'diet' of thinking through these key issues.
(1) Recovering an Overlooked Missions Verse: The Promise of Philippians 1:6
I'd never thought about or come across this idea before, but what an interesting idea. Elliot Clark, writing for The Gospel Coalition, argues that Phil 1:6 (He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ) is a promise of reward for the Philippians as missionary senders and partners! "If we merely apply this verse to our individual salvation and neglect God’s work through our collective mission, though, we’ve overlooked the context of Paul’s prayer and the broader impulse of his missionary appeal. As a result, we’re missing out on one of the greatest encouragements Scripture has to offer for faithfully and generously supporting gospel ministry"
I don't think I've come cross this one before, and I know very little about the 'Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement', but articles within include "Face and the Loss of Reputation in the Korean Protestant Church" and "Everyday Life Case Studies of Honor-Shame Dynamics with the People of Huancayo, Peru"
(1) Ephesians: A Pastoral and Contextual Commentary (Asia Bible Commentary Series) (2020)
Brian Wintle and Ken Gnanakan
Another contribution to the 'Asia Bible Commentary series" published by Langham Global Library. This series " empowers Christians in Asia to read the Bible from within their respective contexts. Holistic in its approach to the text, each exposition of the biblical books combines exegesis and application. The goal is to strengthen the body of Christ in Asia by providing pastoral and contextual exposition of every book of the Bible." Full the full list of that series, see here
"Local congregations are the primary means of public witness in and for the world. As Christians move back and forth between their churches and their neighborhoods, workplaces, and other public spaces, they weave a thick gospel witness. This introduction to public missiology explains how local congregations can thicken their witness in the public realms where they live, work, and play. Real-life examples from around the world help readers envision approaches to public witness and social change".
(3) Missionaries, Mental Health, and Accountability: Support Systems in Churches and Agencies (2020)
Jonathan J. Bonk, J. Nelson Jennings, Jinbong Kim, Jae Hoon Lee
"Global contributors—comprised of an equal balance of Korean and Western writers—reach into the complexity of missionary mental health with the added component of accountability in church and agency support systems. Specifically, four important areas of missionary mental health are considered: 1) disillusion, discouragement, and depression; 2) relational dynamics and tensions; 3) contributing factors in missionary psychological duress; and, 4) resources and organizational structures that address missionary mental health"
(1) Christmas shopping for God's glory!
Some people love this sort of thing, some people hate it. I'm easy. But if you're interested in buying Christmas presents for someone that goes to someone else, how about 'Books for Seminary Students' for £40, or a church-based addiction recovery counselling session in Mongolia for £27, or £5 for a Bible for refugees in Europe? All done through SIM UK.
(2) Stories of Hope in Latin America
'Hope-sharers Devotionals' is a monthly email from LatinLink "full of inspiring stories, resources, and Bible reflections on the themes of hope, mission, and your place in it all…our prayer is that you feel inspired, encouraged and moved by the many ways hope is being shared across Latin America. But the story doesn’t end there. We want you to take these stories with you and share hope however you can in your own communities."
(3) A Taste of Asia: 21 Devotional Adventures for the Family
There's more and more resources available to help children engage with praying for all nations. This looks like a fine addition from OMF: "From yurts to yaks, cities to chopsticks, trains to traffic jams, there are so many amazing things about Asia. Through Bible readings, activities and prayers, this book helps families engage with and pray for God's plan for the whole world to know Jesus. This beautiful resource, produced in conjunction with OMF will no doubt become a family favourite, with wonderful illustrations and a missionary heart."
Mission hits is a ministry of www.fromeverynation.net
For questions, comments, or suggestions for the next edition, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that I choose links to resources I find stimulating and/or significant. Posting a link does not mean I personally agree with everything there!