Feed aggregator

BOOK: Ministry in Muslim Contexts

Source: William Carey Library

Margins of Islam: Ministry in Diverse Muslim Contexts, ed. Gene Daniels and Warrick Farrah. William Carey Library, 2018. 240 pages.

If you’ve ever thought, “I know more about ‘Islam’ than this Muslim in front of me does,” you may have discovered for yourself the diversity of belief and practice in the Muslim world… which may not line up with what you had read, heard, or assumed.

In Margins of Islam, 16 thoughtful cross-cultural workers take us on a tour through a wide variety of Muslim communities.

These including contexts shaped by Sufism, animism, urbanization, colonialism, secularism, and nationalism and among North African Berbers, nominally Muslim Bosnians, Chinese Muslim youth, and Russified Central Asians as well as the Muslim communities in the UK, France, Indonesia, Thailand, Turkey, and elsewhere. Each author describes the historical and cultural factors shaping Muslims in that specific context and draws conclusions for ministry that may also apply in communities affected by the same dynamics.

Since the book is both academic and practical, you can use it for your own teaching, writing, or research and come away with things to think about, ask about, or explore in your relationships with Muslims, as well as finding clues on where to learn more.

» Purchase the Kindle edition from Amazon for US$9.99; $15.99 for the paperback. Visit the publisher’s site to see the table of contents and a endorsements.

BOOK: Short-Term Missions Workbook

Source: InterVarsity Press

Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens (revised and expanded), by Tim Dearborn. IVP Books: October 2018. 144 pages.

Looking for a tool to train a team for a mission trip? This helpful classic may be just what you need. It includes Bible studies, cross-cultural training helps, discussion questions, cultural simulation activities, and a leader’s guide.The content of this new edition closely follows that of the 2003 edition but has been updated throughout. New chapters focus on on facing risks, fear, and suffering and making the most of the trip after returning home. I recommend it highly.

Two things you should know, though:

  • Readers are assumed to be Americans traveling to other countries, but the workbook can also be used with teams serving cross-culturally in the US. I don’t think it would work very well for self-study apart from a team.
  • Participants are also encouraged to read Beyond Duty: a Passion for Christ, a Heart for Missions (from the same author and publisher and revised in 2013). References are made to it throughout. But the two books can also be used separately.
  • The author suggests teams meet weekly for nine sessions, as well as twice following the trip (using video conferencing if necessary).

» Get the paperback for US$12.38 from Amazon (or elsewhere). Get a discount on bulk purchases if you get them from IVP. It’s also available as an ebook.

» Need something simpler or more flexible? Try the bestselling Before You Pack Your Bag, Prepare Your Heart, by Cindy Judge.

PODCAST: Three Trends in Global Missions

Source: Global Missions Podcast

The Global Missions Podcast, out of Canada, has recently launched a new season. In the October 2 episode, Marv Newell of Missio Nexus unpacks three big trends impacting missions today, with practical ways that churches and mission agencies can respond to these realities. Nothing we haven’t heard before, but I’m not sure we’ve adjusted our approaches enough in light of these factors.

» Listen to the podcast. There’s also a brand-new episode about how the upcoming Urbana Conference.

» The Taking Route Podcast, a fun one for women living cross-culturally, has also launched a new season you or someone you know might enjoy.

ARTICLE: Are We Serving Orphans?

Source: Catalyst Services

Often orphanage ministry is one of a church’s most-popular global missions efforts because there is such an emotional attachment to needy children. Yet disturbing facts about the orphanage model, especially the impact of Western short-term ministries in majority world orphanages, are causing many churches to rethink their strategy for orphan ministry abroad.

» Full article includes case studies, best practices, and more. You can read it online or download as an eight-page PDF.

EVENTS: Coming up in October and November

Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar

See the online calendar for links.

October 18, Stewarding the Purpose Inside Your People (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

October 11-12, Support Raising Bootcamp (Rogers, AR, USA). Provided by Support Raising Solutions.

October 18-20, B4T Expo (Kansas City, MO, USA). Business for transformation. Sponsored by OPEN USA (formerly NexusB4T).

October 19-20, Missions Fest Seattle (Bellevue, WA, USA). Free annual community missions event.

October 19-20, MissionFest Toronto (Milton, ON, Canada). Free annual community missions event.

October 19-20, Check-IT-Out Fall Conference (Charlotte, NC, USA). For IT and software professionals and students on technology in missions/translation.

October 21-26, ABIDE (Joplin, MO, USA). Debriefing and reentry help for returning missionaries.

October 22 to November 17, COMPASS Prefield Training (Palmer Lake, CO, USA). Provided by Missionary Training International multiple times a year.

October 27, Heart for Muslims conference (New York, NY, USA).

October 28 to November 11, 15 Days of Prayer for the Hindu World (global).

October 30 to November 27, Using Mobile Phones in Missions (online). Mentored course to leverage ministry outreach using phones. Provided by Mission Media U.

November 1, The New Normal for Mission in China (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

November 1-2, Finishing the Task through Children (Carlsbad, CA, USA). Gathering sponsored by Missio Nexus and Kids Around the World.

November 1-3, Christian Community Development Association (Chicago, IL, USA). An annual event.

November 1-3, Crescent Project National Conference (Columbus, OH, USA).

November 1-4, GO Equipped Tentmaking Course (Velbert, Germany).

November 4-30, Mobilizer Equipping School (Chiang Mai, Thailand). Provided by SVM2.

November 5 to March 17, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement (online).

November 7, The Missionary Pipeline (online). Free webinar from Sixteen:Fifteen.

November 7-11, GO Equipped Tentmaking Course (Ceski Tesin, Czech Republic).

November 8, The Place of Orality in Church Planting (online).

November 8-10, Global Missions Health Conference (Louisville, KY, USA). Annual event focused on medical missions.

November 14-15, Standards Introductory Workshop (Cincinnati, OH, USA). Presented by Standards of Excellence in Short-term Missions.

November 15, Insights from Respected Women in God’s Mission (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

November 15-17, GO Equipped Tentmaking Course (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). Hosted by Tent Brazil.

November 15-18, Mental Health and Missions Conference (Angola, IN, USA).

November 15-18, The International Conference on Missions (Cincinnati, OH, USA).

November 27-28, Support Raising Bootcamp (Colorado Springs, CO, USA). Provided by Support Raising Solutions.

» View the complete calendar. Please let us know about mistakes or omissions. For more details, contact the event organizers.

| World News Briefs

In this issue:

  1. NIGERIA: Churches Claim Jesus as Path to Prosperity
  2. WORLD: Addressing Secularization
  3. WORLD: Do You Know the Basics of Animism?
  4. PAKISTAN: World Awaits Asia Bibi Verdict
  5. NORTH KOREA: Five Surprising Facts


This week’s stories explore worldviews and worldview clashes. Need a refresher on worldviews and religions? Check out a series of short videos from Pioneers made for young folks but great for adults, too. (You might want to buy the accompanying curricula.)


NIGERIA: Churches Claim Jesus as Path to Prosperity

Source: Mission Network News, October 4, 2018

A recent article by [German new source] Deutsche Welle (DW) said megachurches in Nigeria are making money off believers and exploiting their faith by doing so.

“Within the Christian community, the Pentecostal denomination has really gotten a lot of traction… in some cases, that’s a great thing, and in other cases, some of their doctrines that are being taught… particularly about prosperity, is quite honestly, hindering the Church,” World Mission’s Greg Kelley says.

An article by [Nigerian news source] Punch in July reported that out of the 193.3 million people in the country, 152 million live off less than $2 a day. As people have become desperate to rise out of poverty, many have looked to churches and seen their ticket to prosperity.

Kelley says he believes God does bless his people financially and in every area of their lives, but “when the emphasis is upon materialism, we have a real problem, and unfortunately, that’s what’s going on in a segment within the Church in Nigeria. This emphasis on wealth and materialism is really debilitating the ability of the Church to gain the kind of momentum it needs and the kind of depth it needs.”

Instead of putting the focus on worshiping Jesus, Kelley says, the focus of these churches has turned to how a person can get wealthy. This shift in focus is not only affecting believers and the Church, but it’s tainting opportunities for ministry to others, specifically to Muslims.

» Read more.

» Listen to Conrad Mbewe: Combating Prosperity Teaching in Africa (The Missions Podcast, ABWE International). Jump to the 10-minute mark to hear the conversation about Africa. From The Africa Report, see also Spiritual Awakenings (how young, hip, and educated Africans are finding new meaning in the teachings of traditional religions).

WORLD: Do You Know the Basics of Animism?

Source: International Mission Board, September 21, 2018

Animists believe all life is spirit as opposed to matter. Humans have souls, as do animals, insects, plants, bodies of water, rocks, mountains, weather systems, and so on. All are both somewhat good and somewhat evil, but the relevant characteristic is power, not morality.

Souls—also referred to as spirits—are living beings with volition, moods, and the capacity to help or wreak havoc as they are wooed or offended. Spirits that do not inhabit a living being may exist in the form of a god, a personal force, or a ghost.

Animists believe earthly events have spiritual causes. Spirits influence the success or disaster of embodied human beings. Many spirits are easily offended and vindictive. Others feel threatened and defend themselves by harming humans. Upset spirits knock life off balance, causing trouble ranging from headaches to hurricanes.

For this reason, humans show respect to the spirits through ritual, custom, and offerings. Placating spirits restores balance and yields blessing. If cultivated, spirits can be powerful allies against malevolent beings.

It is true that animistic orientation is ancient—the oldest way of seeing the world since Adam’s walk with God. It has held the human imagination through time and remains fresh, renewing itself not only in isolated tribes but also among neopagan youth in the West.

» Full story includes a video, examples, and a biblical response. Looks like IMB is doing a whole series on world religions.

WORLD: Addressing Secularization

Source: Lausanne Global Initiative, September 2018

The Lausanne Global Secularization Initiative addresses the increasing secularization of society around the world, a trend closely tied to the globalization of culture, especially among urban youth.

The emerging Global Youth Culture, connected by consumerism, social media, and the entertainment industry, forms the largest global culture ever to exist. It spans the globe, embracing the same values, listening to the same music, subscribing to the same YouTube channels, and following the same influencers on social media.

This global culture is largely influenced by one predominant worldview—secular humanism—which affirms that God is irrelevant and man is at the center. In this relativistic culture, we are god and consumerism is our religion. This is a generation that does not look to the Church for answers but believes it to be a dead and empty tradition of the past. Either there is no God or, if he exists, he doesn’t interfere with our lives.

The Global Youth Culture presents a unique challenge to missions worldwide because of the large cultural gap that exists between the Church and secularized youth in society. This demographic is not limited to post-Christian regions like Europe or the USA. It is impacting cultures in urban centers of every region of the world, including the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.

» Read more.

» Of course some secularizing societies are also experiencing renewal through immigration. See The Unexpected Trend Reviving Canadian Christianity (The Gospel Coalition).

PAKISTAN: World Awaits Asia Bibi Verdict

Sources: Various

This week Supreme Court judges in Pakistan delayed ruling on the final appeal of Asia Bibi who has been on the country’s death row since 2009 on charges of blasphemy. The justices also warned media about commenting on or discussing the case until their detailed verdict is released, though they set no date for its release.

See an article from Mission Network News, as well as two sources it cites, a story from Pakistan source DAWN News and a description of how Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are used to persecute Christians (Forgotten Missionaries International).

Readers may also be interested in an update on another high-profile religious liberty case we’ve followed. World Watch Monitor reports that Andrew Brunson’s legal appeal has been sent to Turkey’s highest court.

Thanks for continuing to pray for these Christians and those who persecute them as well as their countries and communities. Don’t forget, it’s almost that time of year again: International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is Sunday, November 4. Voice of the Martyrs is distributing an IDOP video highlighting Christians in Pakistan. See below.

NORTH KOREA: Five Surprising Facts

Source: Open Doors, October 8, 2018

North Korea is famously a difficult place for Christians to live and worship openly. The country has been No. 1 on Open Doors’ World Watch List—the annual list of the places in the world where it’s hardest to follow Jesus—for more than a decade. Tens of thousands of Christians are imprisoned or under arrest for their faith. And yet, that’s not the full story. Christianity and North Korea have a long relationship! So, here are five surprising facts about Christianity in North Korea and how this tightly controlled Communist nation has been impacted by the Christian faith.

» Read more or share this article with your friends.

Out of the Seats and into the Streets | Practical Mobilization

Out of the Seats and into the Streets An interview with mobilizer Jeannie Marie about her brand-new book

By Shane Bennett

My friend and colleague Jeannie Marie knocked it out of the park with her wise, warm, and winsome book, Across the Street and Around the World: Following Jesus to the Nations in Your Neighborhood… and Beyond. With engaging stories and practical insight, she points the way for normal people to make extraordinary contributions to God’s kingdom.

I am loving this book and expect it to become a significant tool in the mobilization toolbox. Jeannie graciously answered some questions for us about the book and her life and offered some suggestions for us as mobilizers. Read her thoughts, then grab a copy of her book.

Q: Who do you hope will read Across the Street and Around the World?
  • Ordinary believers who know they want to make a difference in the world, but just don’t know where to start.
  • Small groups who want to practice reaching out to internationals right in their city and need practical steps to know how to do it well.
  • Teams going overseas on short-term trips who need a good, comprehensive training tool that lays it all out in one place.
  • Pastors who hope to inspire their people to fall in love with God’s heart for the nations and need a simple resource anyone could read.
  • Jesus-following college students, millennials, and retirees trying to figure out if God could send them to the ends of the earth.
Q: What do you hope to see Across the Street and Around the World accomplish?

I’d like to do for discipleship and global church-planting conversations what When Helping Hurts did for poverty alleviation. That is, to help regular people with passion not mess it up too much—and do it well— because now they get the whole picture. And to see ordinary people with a global spark know how to light it up by taking a first step, then keep it going.

I’d love to see people trying things they’ve never tried before, right where they live, like having a refugee family over for dinner. And then a few of those people finding themselves on the other side of the world, speaking Urdu, eating chicken liver on a stick, talking to a rickshaw driver about Jesus.

And the visionary part of me? I imagine that Revelations 5:9 scene with all the peoples from every nation, tribe, and language worshipping the Lamb. I’d like to rub shoulders with the Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists who came to faith in Jesus Christ because somebody picked up this book and did it.

Q: What is your favorite part of the book?

I smile to myself when I re-read chapter ten. I like stories about people changing. I remember a short trip to Morocco in which I was wrapped in a colorful sheet they call a mulafa in the desert, returning to the white-picket fence suburbs to wrestle with such different worlds, then ended up living with my family in a bright green house in the middle of ten million Muslims in India. That was fun to write.

Q: What was most challenging thing to write about in this book?

How to inspire people to identify and surrender their cultural expectations about things like prayer, church, and even their own religious labels so they can step into someone else’s space with just Jesus on their arm and not a lot of other expectations. It’s tough to describe such a radical theological shift gently without offending traditions people hold dear—and at the same time not use a lot of big, theological words that lose people’s interest.

Q: In your opinion, what five things that will make the biggest difference in reaching the world?
  1. People who spend so much time with Jesus, they know his voice and do what he says.
  2. People who pray. For real. For hours, because they enjoy it and see God doing things.
  3. People who take thousands of small steps in an intentional direction towards the pain, the poverty, and the people with least access to Jesus.
  4. People who plant themselves in strategic places surrounded by millions who don’t have access to Jesus. They learn the language, cry the tears, and bleed the blood, until they can train up local people to reach their own.
  5. People who figure out strategies such as how to foster movements in urban poor cities, how to mine the potential of social media and cell phones, and how to adapt our good news messages to each new generation.
Q: Have you ever seen a mobilizer be really annoying? How can we avoid that?

Mobilizers who only talk about their specific group, trip, or organization without customizing the message (or even totally dropping it) based on who is in front of them feel stale to me. We could listen to people first and find out their passions, interests, and experience. Then, if it makes sense, connect them to a story we could imagine them living.

Here’s a fun way to make the conversation all about them. We can ask them to take this quick quiz on their phone: What Kind of Global Goer Are You? Then, if they’re a Bleeding Heart, a Strategic Thinker or an Adventurous Traveler (see chapter ten!) we can tailor our message and invitation to fit the way they’re wired.

Q: Any tips for getting our pastors to read Across the Street and Around the World?

Put a copy of the book in their hands and tell them it will get their people out of the church seats and into the streets, right where they live. Tell them it’ll guide ordinary believers to take a few first steps, starting soon and starting small right where they live.

As their people start putting a face that’s a friend on the big word “nations,” they’ll start going into the city, and a few will venture across the sea. The people they shepherd will grow closer to Jesus in the process—and influence the world.

You can point out the small group plan at the back of the book and all the useful tools at AcrosstheStreetandAroundtheWorld.com, like sermon-series plans and an all-church global challenge where the whole church eats beans and rice for a week while they send a team to love on refugees.

Q: What’s the next book coming from the Jeannie Marie keyboard?

This two-and-a-half-year-old baby just got born yesterday, and you’re already asking about the next one?! Actually, I live so far in the future inside of my head that book two and three are already written in my mind.

Dress for Heaven shows how to practically live out the way heaven is meant to be, where God is in charge right here on earth, in different spheres of our life: career, family, marriage, purpose, play, and such. If you write and tell me what you think about book number one, I’ll tell you about book number three!

Q: Toward the end of the book, you lay bare the American dream. Talk about your journey of surrender.

While reading the audiobook in the studio, I kept stopping the sound engineer during chapter eleven. I could only read a line at a time in parts because I would start choking up with tears because I lived it. Like when my rich uncle died at a ripe old age and God advanced some of my parents’ treasure in heaven ahead of time through him after they’d followed Jesus for fifty years around the globe. When I finally gave up my beloved dining room table to move overseas. And when God changed the address of people I knew living in foreign countries and gave them an address in heaven.

Surrendering the American dream gets real and personal. A good mobilizer lives it out so we help other people get a feel for the story they might get to live, too.

A Word from Shane

I almost never use this Practical Mobilization column to sell stuff, but I’m asking you to buy this book. If our tribe helps the book go big in its launch week, we’ll contribute to its broader success, help build momentum, and encourage both Jeannie and her publisher, Thomas Nelson, to produce and distribute more good resources like this. Thanks.

BOOK: Seven Thorny Questions for Church Mission Leaders

Source: InterVarsity Press

Mapping Church Missions: A Compass for Ministry Strategy, by Sharon R. Hoover. IVP Praxis, 2018. 193 pages.

Should we prioritize evangelism or works of service? Local ministries or global missions? What’s more important: giving our money or giving our time? Crisis response or building sustainable, long-term ministries? And what do we make of short-term missions? Will we focus more on discipling those we serve or developing those doing the serving? What’s our attitude toward risk—will we embrace it or avoid it?

God has given our people a wide variety of gifts and passions, but how will we steward them? No church can do it all. In a book that just came out this week, church mission leader Sharon Hoover takes on seven thorny questions that often divide Christians and churches and have probably led to gridlock at some point in your church. She provides tools and examples to help you find your place on each spectrum and understand the values and perspectives of those who might be on the other side. The author’s succinct summations of the shifting and competing trends that have led to some of these tensions are particularly helpful.

» Learn more or pick up the paperback from Amazon (or elsewhere) for US$13.00, and slightly less for the Kindle edition. See also the publisher’s website.

E-BOOK: Sharing the Gospel with Asian Atheists

Source: Brigada Today item, September 16, 2018

You’ve no doubt been following the crackdown on religion in China. In the face of all this persecution, Chinese Christians are becoming all the more bold in their willingness to speak out about Christ, while at the same time clarifying that they have no desire to overthrow the government. In fact, they are testifying that Christians pray for their leaders and try to be good citizens. Either way, in times like these, some find it easier to bring up issues of faith with their Asian friends. But how do we begin with an Asian friend who has atheistic world view? Our good friends at 10/40 Connections [Chad and Leslie Segraves] have made it easier for all of us by putting together this free e-book, about 50 pages long.

» Download Saving Face and All the Rest: Share the Gospel with Asian Atheists (PDF).

MOBILE APP: 10/10 Prayer and Fasting

Source: 10/10 Prayer and Fasting

A partnership of Christians desiring to see God draw Muslims to himself has an audacious goal: mobilize believers who will join together to pray 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for ten years, asking God for at least ten percent of the Muslim world to be saved by 2028.

What do you think? You in?

Earlier this year they released a mobile prayer app—10/10 Prayer and Fasting—which, if you turn on notifications, will send you a short prayer request each day and remind you to pray. Registration required.

» Learn more or get the app (Google Play). Thanks to Encountering the World of Islam for reminding us of this one.

EVENT: Hindu World Prayer Focus

Source: World Christian

The second annual Hindu World Prayer Focus, coinciding with the Hindu Festival of Lights (Diwali), is scheduled to take place October 28 to November 11. Copies of a 32-page booklet are being distributed globally and available in the US from WorldChristian.com for US$3 (with discounts for multiple copies). This is a great chance to help your church or group learn about and pray for the world’s more than one billion Hindus.

» To learn more, visit the international website.

» Also see Modeling Prayer for Hindu Background Believers (IMB).

EVENTS: Coming up in October

Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar

October 1 to February 10, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement (online).

October 2 to December 20, Serving Others Through Listening Well (online). Part of Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills. Provided by International Training Partners.

October 3-5, The Patronage Symposium (Beirut, Lebanon). Exploring the gospel in patron-client contexts.

October 4, Welcoming the Stranger (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

October 5, Quarterly Update (online). A survey of trends affecting the unreached. From Justin Long.

October 12-14, EMS National Conference (Dallas, TX, USA). From the Evangelical Missiological Society.

October 17-18, Mission Agency Consultation (Albuquerque, NM, USA). Provided by Sixteen:Fifteen.

October 18, Stewarding the Purpose Inside Your People (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

October 11-12, Support Raising Bootcamp (Rogers, AR, USA). Provided by Support Raising Solutions.

October 18-20, B4T Expo (Kansas City, MO, USA). Business for transformation. Sponsored by OPEN USA (formerly NexusB4T).

October 19-20, Missions Fest Seattle (Bellevue, WA, USA). Free annual community missions event.

October 19-20, MissionFest Toronto (Milton, ON, Canada). Free annual community missions event.

October 19-20, Check-IT-Out Fall Conference (Charlotte, NC, USA). For IT and software professionals and students on technology in missions/translation.

October 21-26, ABIDE (Joplin, MO, USA). Debriefing and reentry help for returning missionaries.

October 22 to November 17, COMPASS Prefield Training (Palmer Lake, CO, USA). Provided by Missionary Training International multiple times a year.

October 27, Heart for Muslims conference (New York, NY, USA).

October 28 to November 11, 15 Days of Prayer for the Hindu World (global).

October 30 to November 27, Using Mobile Phones in Missions (online). Mentored course to leverage ministry outreach using phones. Provided by Mission Media U.

» View the complete calendar. Please let us know about mistakes or omissions. For more details, contact the event organizers.