Resource Reviews

Missions-Catalyst-no-tagline_largeIn This Issue: Assessing readiness and raising up new workers

  1. VIDEO: Am I Ready to Serve in Missions?
  2. INFOGRAPHIC: Mobilizing New Harvesters
  3. LESSON: Happy Birthday, Jesus!
  4. BOOKS: Charitable Giving Guides
  5. EVENTS: Upcoming Conferences and Training

Dear Readers,

A couple of cool resources have come our way this month. Looking for something to keep you praying for those you’ve sent to the ends of the earth? See How to Pray for Missionaries A–Z from the International Mission Board. Adapt the list for your own purposes, or just print the PDF of 26 simple prompts as is and put it somewhere you will see it often. You could even use it to help you teach your family or missionary team to pray for missionaries.

You may be one of those sent-out ones, yourself. Check out The Missionary’s Thanksgiving Prayer from Marv Newell at Missio Nexus. Some of the items may not apply to you, but perhaps more of them do than you have brought to mind recently. We all have much to be grateful for!

In times of trouble it may be hard to know how to pray. “Help!” may be a good place to start. As pastor and social media chaplain Jon Swanson points out, our Heavenly Father listens not only when we talk to him but also when we talk about how we should talk to him. Author Jack Hayford once wrote, “We worry about knowing exactly what to pray in some cases because we think we know what to pray in all others. We may, at times. But aren’t there many times that we have asked imperfectly? God was not befuddled. Our ignorance did not clog the wheels of the universe.”

Praying with you to the One who made the world,

PS: A warm welcome to nearly a hundred new subscribers from several Perspectives classes, Pioneers’ Church Partner Forum, and the Global Missions Health Conference. Thanks for signing up!

VIDEO: Am I Ready to Serve in Missions?

ReadinessSource: SEND International

What can you tell those wondering if missions is for them—or who look in the mirror and wonder if they will ever measure up? A few quick words from Rob Magwood (“Mags”), Canadian Director of SEND International, provide a pithy and on-point perspective.

» Watch the video. See also other videos from Magwood on topics like excellence in short-term missions, using your career skills cross-culturally, and more. Mags also hosts the Global Missions Podcast for which he recently interviewed Ellen Livingood on mission strategy in the local church.

LESSON: Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Source: Weave Family

With Christmas just around the corner, you might be looking for something festive (but not too complicated) to do with the kiddos in your life or in your classroom.

Using a birthday party theme, this Christmas lesson shares Bible truths about why Jesus came to earth. Who sent the birthday invitations? Who were the first guests? Who gave the biggest gift? Who is still waiting to receive their invitation to the celebration? Two plans, 30 and 60 minutes, include a demonstration and Bible verse, plus optional snack and craft activities that encourage prayer for the unreached.

» Purchase lesson plan for US$5 from Weave Family (download only).

INFOGRAPHIC: Mobilizing New Harvesters

Source: GMI Missiographics, Center for Mission Mobilization

While most of the Church is aware of the Great Commission, mobilizing people for mission is still a great challenge. With the insecurity in the world, changing funding models (causing a drop in funding for many), and hurdles getting permissions to live in various countries, harvesters face great challenges. But in the midst of all of that, the global Church is seeing an amazing answer to prayer, with thousands of new missionaries being sent from everywhere to everywhere! Missiographics takes a closer look at the newer sending countries and calculates their “sending potential.”

» Learn more and download the infographic, the first in a series developed for the Center for Mission Mobilization. You might want to subscribe.

BOOKS: Charitable Giving Guides

Source: ECFA Press

Need help managing charitable donations? The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) provides oversight and accreditation for Christian non-profits and has published a series of short books which may help you understand and navigate the worlds of law and finance as they pertain to charitable giving (at least in the US). Two of their ebooks, coauthored by three ECFA leaders, are US$9.95 each:

» Learn more about these and other resources, including a series of free, downloadable pamphlets for churches, clergy, and charitable organizations in both Spanish and English.

EVENTS: Upcoming Conferences and Training

Source: Missions Events Calendar

December 1, Sending New Missionaries (Greenville, SC, USA). One-day workshop provided by Catalyst Services. Several more events like this one are planned for the new year in different cities.

December 2-3, Support Raising Bootcamp (Lombard, IL, USA). Provided by Support Raising Solutions. Offered regularly throughout the year in different locations.

December 2-4, Finishing the Task Conference 2015 (Lake Forest, CA, USA). Prioritizing the unreached and unengaged.

December 10, Understanding the Components to a Successful Mid-Career Assessment (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus, featuring Steve Hoke and Tom Wilkens of Church Resource Ministries.

December 27 to January 1, Urbana Student Missions Conference (St. Louis, MO, USA). Held every three years by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

December 28 to January 2, Mission-Net (Germany). European gathering of younger Christians passionate about serving God.

December 29 to January 2, Chinese Missions Convention (Houston, TX, USA). This annual five-day event exists for one purpose: to see people unleashed for God’s global glory.

» View the complete calendar and/or submit an item. We just posted 60+ items for 2016. Let us know if an event you care about is missing.

World News Briefs

Missions-Catalyst-no-tagline_largeMissions Catalyst News Briefs 11.18.15

  1. WORLD: Messages from the Paris Attack
  2. ALBANIA: Historic Gathering of Global Christian Leaders
  3. NEPAL: New Constitution Bans Converting Others
  4. KYRGYZSTAN: Couple Shares Gospel, Forced to Flee their Village
  5. MYANMAR: The Gospel Spreads Like Wildfire


Ms. Yamini Ravindran of the Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka speaks at Global Christian Forum meeting in Albania on standing together through discrimination, persecution, and martyrdom (see story below).

Credit: Global Christian Forum/Eero Antturi.


If you were a citizen of Heaven and your job was to be the bureau chief for the “Earthly Times,” what would be your choice for a headline story this week? Paris attacked? The historic gathering of Christian leaders reported below? The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church? Would it be a story of the gospel’s advance, or its decline? Would Heaven highlight bad news such as those so willing to “cast the first stone” in Afghanistan?

For Missions Catalyst I like to find the news that you might not find from major sources. It might look as if we ignore some big news, but if I can’t find a unique, kingdom take on it I may not put it in our line-up… not because it is unimportant, but because it has been well covered.

One thing is sure: Heaven is poised to invade Earth. Some people here call it Armageddon. Others speak simply of the end of the world, or focus more of the completion of the Great Commission. (You might be interested in mission strategist Steve Smith’s new novel, Hastening, offering his take on this.)

There’s no doubt that a heavenly invasion would be news both on Earth and in Heaven. Heaven surely has a better vantage point than Earth has; we get it wrong (a lot!) Check out the interactive Timeline of When the World Ended to see that religious folks are not the only ones making predictions. Be sure to peruse the “other” category. Interesting. Maybe it is weird to like this stuff, but I do, and it puts some things in perspective.

Watching and praying with you,

WORLD: Messages from the Paris Attack

Source: INcontext Ministries, November 2015

The attacks in Paris [were] a message delivered to a global audience and packaged in the wrapping of terror.

The main message that the Islamic State (IS) conveyed with the acts of terror is that they are now pursuing the vision of expanding their borders beyond the edges of Iraq and Syria.

In a world where only pain that affects me directly counts, it becomes more and more critical that Christians will show solidarity with anybody who suffers, regardless of nation, race, or religion.

The declaration by French President François Hollande that “this is war” was not metaphorical nor was it symbolical. It came as a declaration that enough is enough and on Sunday night France launched massive air strikes on the Islamic State group’s de-facto capital in Syria.

Refugees will ultimately pay the price for the attacks: The prayer of every follower of Christ in these troubled times should therefore be that our hearts are not hardened by hatred and [suspicion].

Somali atheist Ayaan Hirsi Ali in Foreign Policy [advocates] that Christians should redouble efforts to convert Muslims in order to reduce Islamist excesses. Changing the ideology at the heart of Islam is critical. Hirsi Ali intones that war alone will not do away with Islamist violence:

“We will not win by stamping out the Islamic State or Al Qaeda or Boko Haram or Al-Shabaab; a new radical group will just pop up somewhere else,” she said. “We will win only if we engage with the ideology of Islamist extremism, and counter the message of death, intolerance and the pursuit of the afterlife with our own far preferable message of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

This is an amazing confession by an atheist and should confirm what every Christian believes (1 Timothy 2:3-6).

» Read full story (a three-page PDF. We greatly condensed it!)

» Also read Three Problems in Islam and Two Consequences of Denial Revealed by Charlie Hebdo (Adopt-a-Terrorist-for-Prayer) and Nine Things You Should Know About Islamic State (The Gospel Coalition).

ALBANIA: Historic Gathering of Global Christian Leaders

Source: World Evangelical Alliance, November 14, 2015

In response to increasing discrimination, persecution, and violence against Christian communities around the world, a historic consultation of Christian leaders has called on churches globally to pray, support and be in solidarity with those suffering persecution due to their faith. An initiative of the Global Christian Forum, the consultation that brought together 145 church leaders from 56 nations was supported by the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (Vatican), the Pentecostal World Fellowship, and the World Council of Churches. Together, they represent more than two billion Christians.

The gathering, held in Tirana, Albania from November 2-4, was the first time in modern history that every stream of global Christianity had joined together to listen and learn from Christians who experience discrimination, persecution, and violence.

In its final message—another historic first for World Christianity—the consultation offered “repentance” for times when churches had “persecuted each other and other religious communities in history.” And it called on churches “to urgently strengthen the solidarity of all Christians” in the face of discrimination, persecution, and martyrdom in the 21st century.

It was co-hosted by the Albanian Evangelical Alliance in a country where communism sought to violently wipe out anything related to religion, destroying churches, mosques, and other places of worship. However, in the 1990s Albania returned to granting full religious freedom to all major and minor religions.

» Read full story.

NEPAL: New Constitution Bans Converting Others

Source: Christian Aid, November 5, 2015

Nepal has quietly enshrined a long-time ban on proselytizing in its new constitution. For an indigenous ministry in Nepal that has long found ways to quietly proclaim Christ as Lord, that means business as usual.

As did the interim constitution of the prior seven years, the new constitution signed by Nepal’s president on September 20 outlaws “any act to convert another person from one religion to another or any act or behavior to undermine or jeopardize the religion of another,” with violations punishable by prison and/or fines.

While the ban on proselytizing appears to contradict Nepal’s assertion of the right to profess and practice one’s faith, Christians were relieved that framers ultimately did away with a reported concession to Hindu groups to ban all religious conversions and rejected their demand to restore the Hindu monarchy.

The government instead approved a constitution defining the state as secular and thus neutral toward all religions. Nepal thus completed the transition it began in 2008 from the world’s only Hindu monarchy to a secular, multiparty, constitutional republic.

» Read full story.

» See also two stories about work in Nepal from Operation Mobilization: A New Testament in Every Household (which describes contemporary approaches to Bible distribution) and We Haven’t Eaten in Three Days (dealing with effects of the country’s current fuel shortage).