Bible Study: God’s Heart for Muslims, Third Edition

Source: Encountering Muslims (formerly Encountering the World of Islam)

Now in its third edition, God’s Heart for Muslims, by Keith Swartley, is an eight-lesson Bible study designed to help you delve into the scriptures, be introduced to the variety of Muslim peoples, and uncover what’s in your own heart as you seek to follow Jesus in his love for all peoples. Use individually or with your team or small group.

Learn more or download a copy.

This booklet is distributed by Via, another organization that just rebranded. You may remember it as the Center for Mission Mobilization. They have many helpful resources and services. Learn more.

Journal Issue: EMQ on the Digital Frontier of Missions

Source: Evangelical Missions Quarterly, Missio Nexus

From apps to AI, the increasing availability of digital technology is changing the world and the way we do missions. In the July 2023 edition of Evangelical Missions Quarterly, you can read articles from practitioners working at this crossroads of missions and technology. You’ll learn about digital missions, digital evangelism, digital discipleship, digital churches, digital prayer meetings, and even digital and metaverse mission fields.

If you’re a Missio Nexus member, you already have an EMQ subscription. Find the issue online or buy print copies from Amazon for US$14.

There are, though, several articles you can read and share for free.

See also Pioneering Church Planting in the Metaverse (and if intrigued, sign up for the GACX training of the same name listed on our calendar below).

Articles: Found Around the Web

Sources: Various

The Future of Missions

What topics will dominate global mission conversations in the next decade? Ted Esler of Missio Nexus identifies five issues and topics the global ministry world will be talking about.

Read The Next Ten Years.

Also listen to an interview with missiologist Gina Zurlo (the Gospel Mobilization Podcast). It may affect how you think about global missions and use mission statistics.

Missions Giving

Our missions giving may fund worthwhile activities but not directly contribute to gospel-spreading, disciple-making, and church-multiplying missions as much as we think, says Ben Wright.

Read Pastor, Where Do Your Missions Dollars Go? (The Gospel Coalition).

Also from TGC, see 5 Questions to Ask When Missionaries Seek Support.

And read Churches, We Need You! (Why the Church Is a Critical Piece of Missionary Care) by Jessi Bullis (A Life Overseas).

Cross-Cultural Photography

Living in or visiting another culture? Photography is a powerful tool to share about life in your host country. But make sure you make and share images in a responsible way.

Read 7 Principles for Ethical Photography as a Global Citizen by Anna Danforth (A Life Overseas).

For more thoughts and tips, see a series of field shooting notes on Instagram. You’ll have to scroll down a bit to find it (Commnet).

And just for fun, see Photographer Captures Photos of Signature Dishes of Grandmas From Around The World (DeMilked), found in Mission Hits.

Events: Conferences, Training and More in August

Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar

August 2, High-Functioning Mission Teams (online). Peer-2-peer gathering for church mission leaders from Missio Nexus. This is about church mission teams (aka mission committees), not field teams.

August 2-30, Pioneering Church Planting in the Metaverse (online). Join a learning cohort once a week for five weeks from the Global Alliance for Church Multiplication (GACX). Bring a VR headset if you have one!

August 3, How Great Is the Need for Care in Developing Resilience Among Our Workers? (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

August 7-11, Abide Debriefing (Joplin, MO, USA). Help for moving forward with hope and momentum; retreats held regularly by TRAIN International.

August 7-11, Engage Retreat (Union Mills, NC, USA). Spiritual retreats are provided regularly by the Center for Intercultural Training.

August 10, Harnessing the Power of Technology: Communication Strategies for Missions Organizations (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

August 13 to September 8, Equipping for Cross-Cultural Life and Ministry (Union Mills, NC, USA). Provided by the Center for Intercultural Training, and followed by a Language Learning Accelerator course (both offered regularly).

August 15, Contend: Monthly Day of Prayer For Mission Mobilization (global). Coordinated by GMMI and held on the third Tuesday of each month.

August 21, The Great Dechurching (online). Thought-leader briefing from Missio Nexus.

August 28-31, Field Security Seminar (Lake George, CO, USA). Provided regularly by Crisis Consulting International.

August 28 to September 23, COMPASS (Palmer Lake, CO, USA). Language and culture acquisition provided by Missionary Training International.

August 31, How Agencies Grow Church Engagement (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

View the complete calendar, updated regularly. Submissions welcome.

USA: “The Largest Baptism in American History”

Source: Harvest, July 11, 2023

On July 8-9, Harvest Christian Fellowship facilitated more than 4,500 baptisms at Pirate’s Cove in Newport Beach. The same body of water was used for baptisms during the Jesus Movement in the 1960s and 70s.

People gathered from across the country with lines wrapped around the seawall in what Harvest is calling the largest baptism in American history.

“On the day of Pentecost, after Peter preached, we read in the Bible that 3,000 people were baptized,” said Pastor Greg Laurie. “At Pirate’s Cove, we are looking at a baptism of biblical proportions.”

Laurie and his wife Cathe were baptized at Pirate’s Cove nearly 50 years ago. The cove was also used as a filming location for the Jesus Revolution movie.

According to Laurie, the movie demonstrated “the power of baptism and more significantly, what salvation looks like visually. By watching someone get baptized the way it was done in the film it really conveyed what conversion can look like. It really resonated with a lot of people.”

The baptism follows the Southern California Harvest Crusade where 230,000 people packed out the Honda Center in Anaheim [or] watched online, and 7,000 made proclamations of faith in a two-day worship experience.

“There is no question that pretty much everyone at this baptism saw the Jesus Revolution film,” said Laurie, “So many said they were so inspired by it they wanted to be baptized at Pirate’s Cove.”

See the full press release with pictures. It mentions that Jesus Revolution will be available for streaming on Netflix at the end of the month; you can already stream it through some other services.

Papua New Guinea: Unity Between Churches

Source: Wycliffe Bible Translators, July 7, 2023

“I have to do this,” Bishop Leidimo Edoni said.

He was referring to sailing in a small, marginally seaworthy boat through choppy, pirate-occupied waters in the Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea. The trip would take five hours, and danger lurked everywhere.

So why was the bishop making such an arduous trip to begin with? The answer was simple: God moved Bishop Edoni of the United Church in Papua New Guinea to see transformation happen among all communities in Milne Bay. Bishop Edoni sought a partnership with another bishop at the opposite end of the island. Unity meant that two of the most prominent church groups in the province, representing thousands of people, would be brought together—all in the name of Bible translation.

The shared desire for and commitment to translation was a promise of eubone, which means “unity” in the Dobu language. Together, these two bishops promised to lead the work of bringing the Bible to their people.

Read the full story and also read God Is on the Move: Encountering Jesus Through His Word with reports from Fiji, Azerbaijan, and the Philippines.

See also these two interesting articles: Researchers Use AI to Help Translate Bible Into Very Rare Languages (Christian Today) and AI Begins Symbiotic Relationship With Bible Translation (Mission Network News).

India: Manipur State a Guerilla War Zone

Source: Mission Network News, July 10, 2023

It’s been two months since the Meitei people began a campaign attacking tribal Christians and burning their homes and churches. Now, makeshift bunkers and fortifications crisscross Manipur as each side defends its territory.

Within the first month, more than 35,000 people fleeing Manipur were displaced in IDP camps. Now, the number has nearly doubled to 60,000 people.

Regan Miller with Mission India says, “Schools in the area have been trying to reopen to establish some normalcy again. Yet, teachers and students are really just not showing up because they’re afraid of everything that’s going on in their safety. So they’re still far from normalcy and it’s crazy to think that’s still going on when it’s been two months since the violence started.”

Mission India’s partners on the ground say they are encouraged by the faithful example of persecuted Christians in Manipur.

“They sent us this video of Christians that were just lining the street in Manipur praying for their state and praying over the violence that’s taking place.”

Read the full story. You can send an encouraging prayer for Manipur now (Mission India).

See also a well-written and thought-provoking article about living out and sharing the gospel in conflict zones illustrated with stories from eastern Congo (Lausanne Global Analysis).

East Asia: Is Downsizing Ever Better?

Source: Beyond, June 30, 2023

[A church in East Asia] had come to a startling revelation: the more the church grew numerically, the fewer disciples they made. Their focus on excellent preaching had failed to produce any real lifestyle changes in their church members. Additionally, they found that as the church grew, they had fewer new believers attending. Their desire to grow numerically actually made them less effective as a church.

In a bold move, the church leaders decided to structure the church to once again meet in small groups. They trained leaders in the Discovery Bible Study group process and ensured all their members attended a small group.

Shortly after they made this decision, government officials demanded they shut down their large Sunday meeting place. If this decision had come a few months earlier, it could have been disastrous, but these leaders saw God’s hand in the timing of these events. They decided that it was confirmation of God’s will and leading. They would not seek another place for their large meeting. Instead, they would continue meeting as house churches and use the new Discovery Bible Study process.

Read the full story.

To explore the link between hospitality and discipleship, see Why Smaller Churches Must Be Better at Hospitality Than Larger Churches (The Christian Post).