Resource Reviews

Missions-Catalyst-no-tagline_largeMissions Catalyst Resource Reviews 4.22.15

  1. BIBLE STUDY: God’s Heart for the Nations
  2. FOR USE WITH CHILDREN: Fabric Map and Lesson Plans
  3. BOOK: Missiographics 1.0
  4. BOOK: Mission Mobilization Fiction?
  5. EVENTS: May Calendar

Dear Readers,

In this issue we highlight a new edition of the Bible study God’s Heart for the Nations. I should let you know: I worked on that one! So I hope you’ll let me know if you have any comments or questions about it.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us about resources you’d like to see featured in future editions. We don’t have space to write about all the new books that come out or describe upcoming events in detail, but we can always use your tips about new videos, websites, online tools, and other resources that are accessible and would be interesting to other readers. We’d also welcome your comments on our website or Facebook.

Much thanks!


BIBLE STUDY: God’s Heart for the Nations

GHFTN_Cover__74282.1427221033.500.750God’s Heart for the Nations, by Jeff Lewis. BottomLine Media, 2015. 63 pages.

Looking for an affordable, effective tool to open eyes to God’s global purposes as revealed in scripture from Genesis to Revelation?

God’s Heart for the Nations is an inductive Bible study that explores how God’s blessings and global purposes are woven together. Originally published in 2002, it has recently been revised and updated by the author in collaboration with Pioneers, which now distributes the booklet.

The eight lessons include more than 100 Bible passages to explore along with memory verses, mission quotes, people group profiles for prayer, and suggestions for reflection or further study. There’s also a video introduction for each lesson.

You might work through it on your own, include it the curriculum for a class or small group, or use it to prepare a short-term mission team.

Jeff Lewis is a professor at California Baptist University and also has a ministry teaching and consulting with churches and other groups about seamlessly integrating God’s heart for the nations into their lives and ministries.

» Learn more or purchase from Pioneers for US$6 (with discounts available for bulk orders) or get it from Amazon. Not available electronically.

» See also these resources of similar scope and purpose: Witnesses to All the World: God’s Heart for the Nations, by Jim and Carol Plueddemann and Missions: God’s Heart for the World, by Paul Borthwick. You could also download Embark, a free four-week study from Frontiers.

FOR USE WITH CHILDREN: Fabric Map and Lesson Plans

Parents and teachers might be interested in a new attractive fabric map to use in learning about and praying for the world. This large, hemmed 29” x 40” cloth map is brightly colored and each country clearly identified. The map also comes with suggestions for fun family activities.

» Preview or purchase fabric map from CMM Press for US$12.00.

A series of 24 downloadable lessons for teaching kids about the world has recently been “freshened up.” Most are designed for a 30-minute time slot. They introduce children to kids around the world and different issues affecting their lives.

» Learn more or purchase lessons from CMM Press for US$5.00 each.

» Visit the CMM Press store for additional resources for children, parents, and teachers written or collected by Weave Family ministries. See also the extensive resource lists on the Weave Family website.

BOOK: Missiographics 1.0

Missiographics 1.0, by Justin Long. GMI Books, 2015. 80 pages.

In an age of data and information overload, images may be the best way to tell the story of global missions. That’s why our friends at GMI started publishing Missiographics, a series of free, compelling, mission-related infographics to help mission leaders, mobilizers, teachers, and students see the world through new eyes.

Missiographics 1.0 collects 16 of the most helpful graphics in this series and supplements them with thoughtful essays from researcher Justin Long addressing the “so what?” questions they evoke.

» Learn more or purchase one of several ebook editions from GMI for US$9.99. This is the kind of book you might want to have on paper, though, and the print edition is US$14.99.

» Also see the complete Missiographics library or subscribe to newsletters.

BOOK: Mission Mobilization Fiction?

Child of Ishmael, by James Wright. CreateSpace, 2015. 418 pages.

Mission books don’t tend to make the best-seller lists, and mission fiction is almost non-existent. So when an author whose previous book we’d reviewed and enjoyed told me he’d written a novel to help mobilize people for missions, I thought you’d want to hear about it. An unusual resource!

The novel deals with the awakening of a somewhat naive Iowa college-town pastor and his community when a mosque goes up across the street from their church and brings them face-to-face with Islam, apparently for the first time. They start questioning their assumptions about faith, world religions, and how the church should respond. You probably know people who hold the same views or struggle with the same questions. Several characters even end up traveling to Central Asia to solve a few mysteries and visit a man they met through the mosque.

» Learn more or purchase the Kindle edition for US$8.99 from Amazon ($14.99 for the paperback). See also Fields of Gold: Planting a Church among Central Asian Muslims, or read our review of it.

EVENTS: May Calendar

EVENTS: May Calendar

May 1-3, TENTmaking Impact Seminar (Seattle, WA, USA). Provided by Global Opportunities.

May 5, To Send or Not to Send? Webinar from Sixteen:Fifteen. Part of the series The Mission Table; free.

May 6, Is There Any Good News in the Muslim World? Webinar from Sixteen:Fifteen with Keith Swartley; free.

May 7, Megacities and the Urban Future. Webinar from Missio Nexus with Douglas Batson.

May 8-9, MissionNext Forum (Arlington, VA, USA). Find your fit in missions.

May 11-17, Single Vision (Hong Kong). Renewal for single missionaries.

May 13, Maintaining the Vision for the Long Haul and Staying Encouraged. Webinar from Missio Nexus, with George Verwer.

May 14, Organizing to Reach the Diaspora: A Case Study in Changing Overseas Structure from Geographic Components of Global Affinity Groups. Webinar from Missio Nexus, with Jerry Rankin.

May 15-16, The Journey Deepens (Portland, OR, USA). A weekend retreat for prospective missionaries.

May 18-19, Support Raising Bootcamp (Nashville, TN, USA). Provided by Support Raising Solutions.

May 18-30, Theology of Honor and Shame (Simi Valley, CA, USA). A 3-unit intensive course at Eternity Bible College developing a biblical missiology for Majority World cultures.

May 19, How to Keep Social Media from Wrecking Your Short-term Mission Trip. Webinar provided by DELTA Ministries.

May 21, Beyond Welcome Back, 10 Things You Need to Know About Reentry. Webinar from Missio Nexus, with Lisa Chinn.

May 23-31, Darshan (Chicago, IL, USA). Hindu evangelism training provided by Christar.

May 24, Global Day of Prayer (international). An annual event.

May 27-29, 2015 COSIM Conference (Nashville, TN, USA). Annual conference of the Coalition on the Support of Indigenous Ministries.

May 28, Identifying Doors God Opens for Shorter Term Mission Endeavors and the Cost of Effective Integral Engagement. Webinar from Missio Nexus, with Gil Odendaal.

May 28-30, Serving Internationals (Wheaton, IL, USA). Annual conference by the Association of Christians Ministering among Internationals (ACMI).

May 28-30, Global Children’s Ministry Equip Conference (Chiang Mai, Thailand).

May 30-June 6, Sahara Challenge (St. Paul, MN, USA). Intensive training for ministry to Muslims, from Crescent Project.

» View the complete calendar and/or submit an item.

World News Briefs

Missions-Catalyst-no-tagline_largeIn This Issue: Religious projections and thought-provoking videos

  1. WORLD: Growth Projections of World Religions
  2. KENYA: “I Need God to Help Me Forget”
  3. SOUTH AFRICA: Young Man Forgives His Father’s Murderers
  4. BURMA: God at Work Among Soldiers
  5. NIGER: She Found Jesus, Faced Rejection and Violence
  6. INDONESIA: Muslims Make Marketing Push

Dear friends,

As I was working on this edition of Missions Catalyst I came across a Steve Saint talk which includes thought-provoking observations, statistics, and inspiration. See Let God Write Your Story (But What If We Don’t Like the Next Chapter?).

After watching that, I searched for more of his talks and found Sovereignty, Suffering and the Work of Missions, given long before his accident that paralyzed much of his body. Each of the talks is just under an hour long.


WORLD: Growth Projections of World Religions

Source: Missiologically Thinking, April 6, 2015

[On April 2], the Pew Research Center released an extensive report on the future populations of different world religions. Though there is troubling information here, this is a fascinating work providing a sobering reality of our world. Here are a few of the projections [for] 2010-2050:

  • In the United States, Christians are expected to decline from 76 percent to 66 percent of the population.
  • In the United States, the unaffiliated are expected to increase from 16 percent to 26 percent of the population.
  • In the United States, Muslims will outnumber Jews.
  • In the United States, the Hindu population will double.
  • Europe’s Christian population will decrease by 100 million.
  • Europe’s Hindu population will double, Muslims will comprise 10 percent of the population, and the unaffiliated will reach about a quarter of the population.
  • 4 out of 10 Christians in the world will live in sub-Sahara Africa.
  • The global number of Muslims will nearly equal the number of Christians.
  • The global Buddhist population will remain the same.
  • The global unaffiliated will decline in population.

Such predictions are difficult to make with accuracy. However, this report should lead us to prayer, more intentional disciple-making, healthy questioning of our present structures and institutions, and the avoidance of burying our heads in the sand and ignoring the possible future.

» Read full story or the Pew report. Also note that the Center for the Study of Global Christianity offers a different analysis.

KENYA: “I Need God to Help Me Forget”

Source: World Watch Monitor, April 13, 2015

The chairman of Garissa University College’s Christian Union, who survived the April 2 Al Shabab attack in which 148 students were killed, has pleaded for prayer for the physical and psychological healing of survivors.

“Please pray for us… Many saw sights too horrible to describe,” said 21-year-old Frederick Gitonga.

“Pray for me too. I need peace of mind, strength, and wisdom. I am struggling with dreams that cause me to snap awake, then [I] cannot get back to sleep. I find myself remembering the horror of that day. The sounds and smells come back clearly.”

Gitonga explained how he had been up late the night before the attack, praying for one of the students under his care, that they would be able to truly forgive someone a wrong. The next morning, that student was dead, along with the other 21 Christian Union (CU) members who had attended early morning prayers.

Gitonga said the only reason he is still alive is because he had felt too tired after his late night to join in with prayers that morning. Instead, he decided to go back to sleep, only to wake to the sound of gunshots.

“My roommates ran out, leaving the door wide open,” he explained. “I felt a strong urge not to run, but to stay put. As I hid under the bed, I could hear the gunshots and screams of fellow students. I could [hear] them lying to women that they should come out since their religion does not allow them to kill women. When they did, they were all killed. I know of no single Muslim who lost their life.

“After some time things went quiet, but I did not move.”

The next thing Gitonga remembers is hearing two attackers enter the room.

» Read full story. See also Kenya Mourns Students Killed While Praying.

SOUTH AFRICA: Young Man Forgives Father’s Murderers

Source: International Mission Board, April 8, 2015

Eighteen-year-old Joseph Sambo laughed as he held his father’s hand. The two had spent the evening sharing secrets and talking about plans for the future. It was already after dark, so Joseph decided it was time to head inside.

Moments later, he heard yelling and turned back to see his father being held down and beaten by three men. Before he processed what was happening, he saw a gun pointed in his direction and was commanded to run. He found a nearby hiding place and listened as three gunshots were fired, followed by a deafening silence.

Joseph ran over to check on his father, but it was too late. He was already dead and the murderers had fled. With the death of his father went the death of Joseph’s hopes and dreams he had shared just minutes before.

“I asked, ‘Why God, why did you let this happen?’” Sambo, now 22, said.

» Read full story and watch related video (three minutes long).