- NETHERLANDS: The Secret That Can’t be Kept
- SOUTH KOREA: Consider Inviting the Neighbors
- THAILAND: Sacred Ink?
- CENTRAL ASIA: Nomad Truck Venture
- WORLD: Over 4 Billion Online
Today’s news briefs highlight some creative ideas and tools for ministry. I’ll add one more. I often find cool stuff at Flowing Data. This interactive map is awesome. You can zoom way in to get very detailed results. My area of Northern New York, a 6,000-square kilometer area, has a population of about 64,000. This time next year I hope to visit a part of the world with 12.5 million people in an area the same size!
You’ve heard of OM Ships, but you may not know about OM Riverboats. Their first vessel includes a floating “escape room” to help European visitors consider the gospel, “the secret that can’t be kept.”
Source: Operation Mobilization, January 24, 2018
The Agency is a first-of-its-kind interactive mission experience that’s set on top of OM’s newly-launched riverboat. Inspired by ideas from a popular real-life game known as an “escape room,” The Agency is a simulation where participants race against time as they try to break out of locked rooms by gathering clues and solving puzzles. Through the experience, participants discover a secret that can’t be kept.
“This experience is the focus of the riverboat,” explained David Svenson, who oversees the artistic direction of The Agency. “We are taking the parable and giving it a modern twist. It’s telling a story about the gospel which then motivates and mobilizes people to share it with the least-reached.”
Escape rooms have only been introduced in Europe in recent years, but have quickly gained popularity, especially among youths. The first escape room opened in the Netherlands in 2013, with others following due to market demand.
The concept of The Agency can be summed up in three words: recruited, trained, and sent. It’s the same process that Christians go through to eventually be sent by God and carry out the Great Commission.
» Full story here. Not familiar with the escape-room concept? Read In Escape Rooms, Video Games Meet Real Life (New York Times).
Source: International Mission Board, February 5, 2018
This Olympics… As you watch people compete in events like curling or skiing or shooting, let it be an opportunity to remember who we are, why we’re here, and the eternity to which we are all heading. Let it be an opportunity to remember that our big wide world is full of billions of living, breathing souls, all striving for similar things—to achieve purpose in life, to make their life count somehow.
And let it be a bridge to reach out. Many of us have neighbors or colleagues from different countries. Invite them over for a meal and to watch the Olympics together. Maybe even ask them to bring a dish from their country and share your cuisines. Talk about what sports are like in their country and what brings their countrymen together.
The Olympics are an easy topic around which to unite, talk about what we have in common, and build relationships. In some way, the Games speak to the hearts of everyone. People in every culture know what it’s like to spend their lives trying to achieve something. Every person knows what it’s like to try to find meaning and purpose.
Use these Olympic Games to ask people about their passion in life and what they’re striving for. Ask them what they want their big life achievements to be. Ask them where they find their purpose. Ask them if they’ve ever been disappointed in that quest. Ask if their accomplishments have fulfilled them like they thought they would.
The Olympics are a great bridge to enter a conversation about the race we’re running and the hope that we have—a hope that will gather the nations together one day in a way that is a million times more peaceful, a million times better.
» Read full story.
» See also Experiencing the Olympics with God in Mind (Weave). For daily devotions and activities to do with your children, join the author’s Missional Olympics Facebook group. Sound familiar? We highlighted both those things in last week’s Resource Reviews. Take a look if you missed it!
Source: International Mission Board, January 29, 2018
When I moved with my family to Thailand a few years ago, I began noticing an abundance of tattoo parlors, many advertising “bamboo tattoos.” I soon learned that bamboo tattoos are known in the local language as sak yant, which translates literally, “tattoo of sacred image.”
Sak Yant has gained worldwide fame. The tattoos are considered fashionable and are sought after by many who travel to Thailand. But it is important to understand the spiritual implications of the tattoos.
Khun Pat, a Christian who once practiced sak yant extensively, cautions, “For people who want to be involved with sak yant, they need to know this—it is not an art form. You open the door for something really dark to come into you.”
Khun Pat testifies to the deliverance from sak yant he found in Christ. “What Jesus gave me is not the power to hurt people, not to harm people; but what he gave me was the power to love people. Sak yant is darkness—it will destroy you long term. But Jesus will give you life.”
» See full story with photos and a short videos to see why he says these tats are trouble.
» It may be helpful to acknowledge that tattoos send different messages in different contexts. See Tattoos Present Him With Witnessing Opportunities (Baptist Press) and other points explored in a conversation on the topic at AskaMissionary.com. Also check out Why So Many Americans Think Buddhism Is Just a Philosophy (The Conversation).
Source: Christian Newswire, January 23, 2018
Christians with a heart for sharing Jesus and a taste for adventure are being invited to take part in an overland trek aiming to help take the gospel to some of the world’s unreached nomadic people groups. The five-week Nomad Truck Venture co-sponsored by Frontier Ventures, will see participants travel more than 3,000 miles across rugged Central Asia in the summer, to introduce them to the special needs and challenges of sharing Jesus among communities constantly on the move.
Joint-trek organizer, the Nomadic Peoples Network (NPN), has identified 181 nomadic groups—totaling 123 million people—of which only one is known to be reached. Also, comprising 69 of the world’s 193 unengaged peoples with populations over 100,000, and more than a third of the world’s unengaged, unreached people groups, nomads represent a major priority for frontier missions
» Learn more.
» For another creative venture in Central Asia, read Team Ventures into Fruit-Drying Business (Partners International).
Source: Missiologically Thinking, February 1, 2018
I want to draw your attention to Simon Kemp’s recently posted article, Eleven New People Join Social Media Every Second (and Other Impressive Stats). After reading this article, you need to download the “Digital in 2018” presentation—a massive goldmine of helpful charts and data on 230 countries and territories.
- 3.2 billion people are active social media users
- Average user spends 6 hours per day on the internet
- More than 200 million people got their first mobile device in 2017
- A quarter of a billion people got online for the first time in the last 12 months
- Saudi Arabia is the fastest growing country when it comes to social media users (with India close behind)
May the Lord give us grace today to see the possibilities… and to act on them.
» Read full story.
» Also read about a new app designed for the scattered Christians of India (Audio Scripture Ministries, via Mission Network News) and How Facebook’s Big Announcement Can Help Missions (World Venture).