World: Honoring Data in Missions

Source: WEA Mission Commission, August 26, 2023

More than 30 years have passed since the term “managerial missiology” was introduced to the vocabulary of global missions. At the turn of the century, the concept was embraced and explored by the Mission Commission as we countered what we considered to be an unbalanced emphasis on human controls to achieve the Matthew 24:14 vision in obedience to Jesus’ Matthew 28:18-20 commission within a certain time constraint.

But, as a wise person once said, “God cannot lead you where to go with information you do not know.” It is well beyond time to address the denigration of missions research, statistics, data, and other information that has evolved in some missions circles. We desperately need robust and well-presented data to guide us as we “reimagine” missions for the new era ahead.

The full article. Maybe we and our churches and ministries should ask ourselves: Do we tend to elevate data too highly or dismiss it too quickly? Is there a middle way?

Australia and Bhutan: Mass Exodus Brings Hope Amid Uncertainty

Source: INcontext International, August 16, 2023

Since May 2022, 12,000 Bhutanese have emigrated to Australia, approximately 1.5% of the population [of Bhutan]. In 2022, there were 30,000 Bhutanese living in Australia, and the rate at which people are leaving is increasing exponentially.

Bhutan has a mostly closed economy, largely dependent on tourism and hydroelectric power. When the borders were reopened post COVID-19 in September 2022, new tourism taxes on top of a nightly fee caused a slower-than-expected recovery in the country’s tourism sector [and contributed to] a 24% unemployment rate, especially among students, who now find themselves fleeing to Australia.

There are several perspectives to consider concerning this mass migration.

Firstly, more Bhutanese will have the opportunity to be exposed to Christianity in Australia. The global Body of Christ can pray that the Australian Church will take up this opportunity to minister to those coming from a nation with such a large “unreached” population, and that the Bhutanese who encounter Christ in Australia will have a desire to return to their country and share the gospel with those within their sphere of influence.

Secondly, Bhutan might be pressured to be more open in order to encourage more people to stay in the country.

In all instances of migration, we can see the fingerprints of God.

Read the full story. Also from INcontext, read Unlocking the Heart of the Unreached World. It describes the challenges and opportunities for ministry in the eight countries of South Asia.

Speaking of what God’s doing through migration, read an article making a case that immigrant churches may be key to church growth in America (Ministry Watch) and a related article about a network of diaspora churches We Must Praise Him in the African Way (The Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others). Inspiring.

Resource Reviews: Practical Tools for Mission Mobilizers

Sun going down on a full summer? We’ve got a prayer that may match your mood, a training opportunity for mission trip leaders, articles to help your church, and events coming up in September. Read on.

  1. Liturgy: After Times of Intense Ministry
  2. Training: 7 Keys to Mission Trips that Honor God
  3. Roundup: Practical Help for You and Your Church
  4. Events: Conferences, Training, and More Coming up in September

Read or share the email edition or scroll down for more.

Liturgy: After Times of Intense Ministry

Source: Eva Burkholder

Lord God, I’m so weary.
I feel like I could cry but not sure what about.
I’ve run a sprint and I need to pause. Rest. Reset.

It felt like a successful sprint.
I reached my goals. I survived.
I served. I taught. I empathized and encouraged.
I adapted. I pivoted.
I listened a lot. I prayed incessantly.
I invited co-workers into rest.

I heard hard stories and
know that some aren’t doing as well
as I’d like them to.

I made recommendations.
I shared resources.
I nudged toward restoration
and gave the gift of presence.

I also laughed heartily,
soaked in the beauty of your creation,
witnessed your healing and reconciliation,
saw them relax and breathe deep,
find solutions and next steps.
You enabled me to serve well. And I am grateful.

But now I’m tired and depleted…

Read the full liturgy, especially if you serve in ministry leadership or a missionary care role.

The author co-wrote a helpful book that came out earlier this year, Grit to Stay Grace to Go. Read our review.

Training: 7 Keys to Mission Trips that Honor God

Source: MissionExcellence

The Standards Introductory Workshop is a 10-hour seminar designed to help short-term mission leaders and mobilizers make their mission trips better. It explores seven standards of excellence in short-term missions and what makes them key elements of successful, God-honoring mission trips.

The workshop is taught by experienced MissionExcellence trainers, is interactive, and uses case studies and small group discussions to help you apply the standards to your specific ministry context. It can also serve as a step in becoming a MissionExcellence member organization, which will give you access to all kinds of mission trip help.

Workshops are offered at least a few times a year, in person as well as online. The next one will be September 26-27 in Orlando, Florida, preceding the Missio Nexus Mission Leaders Conference. The next online workshop will be October 24-26. Use the promo code CATALYST to get 20% off an online workshop registration.

Learn more or sign up.

See also a collection of articles about mission trips (from MissionGuide, another arm of the same ministry).

Roundup: Practical Help for You and Your Church

Sources: Various

7 Principles for Responding to Crises

Emails and church hallway conversations may raise urgent questions: “People are suffering! What will our churcåçh do? How can we help?” Catalyst Services shares principles to help your church decide when and how to wisely respond to crises.

Read the article.

7 Practical Ways Churches Can Care for Missionaries

Want to do a better job at caring for those you support and send out? A winsome Canadian church mission leader shared some solid ideas on the Global Missions Podcast. But they may require leaving margin in your mission budget—funds not allocated to monthly support.

Listen to the podcast (it first aired in 2021).

9 Ways to Share Wins Overseas

“Celebrating out loud is a way of putting skin on how God responds to us, in his own bounding, bursting-at-the-buttons joy. And the Bible’s clear that sharing the wins in community ratchets our joy up a notch.” Go.Serve.Love suggests a variety of ways to celebrate the good stuff.

Read the article.

Prevent Burnout by Enjoying God in 4 Simple Ways

In an article for Missio Nexus, Carolyn from Soul Shepherding offers four little but surprisingly powerful ways to renew your intimacy with God (and includes other helpful insights and links).

  1. Share your real emotions and struggles with someone you trust to give you empathy.
  2. Get outside to run, hike, walk, or sit and breathe in the beauty.
  3. Make a healthy meal and savor it.
  4. Sleep or lay in bed for eight hours.

Read the article.

Events: Coming up in September

Events: Conferences, Training, and More Coming up in September

Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar

September 4-17, Orient Pre-field Training (Joplin, MO, USA). Provided regularly by TRAIN International.

September 7, Mission Design: Practical Tools for Navigating your Changing Ministry Landscape and Leading Your Team to Creative Breakthrough (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

September 7-9, Support Raising Bootcamp (Kigali, Rwanda). Provided by Via Generosity (formerly Support Raising Solutions).

September 11 to December 10, Encountering Muslims (online). Formerly Encountering the World of Islam. New online classes start several times a year. Also available in other formats and languages.

September 11 to January 14, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement (online). New online classes begin regularly.

September 11-12, Support Raising Bootcamp (Phoenix, AZ, USA). Provided regularly in various locations by Via Generosity (formerly Support Raising Solutions).

September 11-15, Storytelling Training (online). Offered regularly by Storyrunners, a ministry of Cru.

September 12-18, Traction Conference (Wilderswil, Switzerland). Conference to serve men who are global workers serving cross-culturally. Provided annually by Catalyst International.

September 13, Hope Conference (online). An annual event from Crescent Project featuring powerful stories from former Muslims and insights from leaders in Muslim ministry.

September 14, Bitcoin for Missions: Unlocking the Potential and Exploring the Possibilities (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

September 15-16, Missions Expo (Capetown, South Africa). A free community missions conference; held annually.

September 19, Contend: Monthly Day of Prayer For Mission Mobilization (global). Coordinated by GMMI and held on the third Tuesday of each month.

September 20-21, People Raising Conference (online). Be equipped for raising personal support. Provided regularly by People Raising.

September 21, North America Central Asia Forum (online). Now relaunching, this group of people interested in ministry in Central Asia will hold short, online meetings several times a year. You may also be interested in a Central Asia Consultation planned for March in Eurasia.

September 21-29, Breathe (Wilderswil, Switzerland). A retreat for mission workers offered annually by Catalyst International.

September 24-27, Live the Mission Conference (Fresno, CA, USA). Hosted by Mountain View Church.

September 27-29, Mission Leaders Conference (Orlando, FL, USA). An annual event from Missio Nexus. Primarily for mission executives and church mission leaders. The conference includes several pre-conference meetings and training events that may also be worth your while. Note: I (Marti) will be there, so if you go, please look for me and say hello!

September 28-30, Unreached Peoples North America Summit (Pleasant Valley, MO, USA). Sponsored by a coalition of ministries.

September 28 to November 28, Frontier Filmmaking Seminar (online). Join Create International for an eight-week training in how to write, produce, direct, film, and edit gospel films for unreached people groups in their language and cultural context.

September 29-30, Help! We’re Going on a Short-Term Trip (Downington, PA, USA). Seminar for team leaders from CultureLink. Looks like they will also offer this seminar in Georgia in January and Florida in February.

View the complete calendar, updated regularly. Submissions welcome.

🌏 Korea, Niger, India, Eritrea, and a Watching World

  1. Editor’s Note: Persecution, Proverbs 22, and a World Parliament
  2. Korea: The Future of the Korean Mission Movement
  3. Niger: Triggers, Causes, and Ramifications of the Coup
  4. India: Religious Violence in Uttar Pradesh and Manipur
  5. Eritrea: 13 Christians Have Been Set Free from Prison

Read or share the email edition or scroll down to read the stories.

Persecution, Proverbs 22, & a Parliament of World Religions


This edition includes several in-depth analyses (in the form of short excerpts). You may want to save or share some of them with others. They address situations in Korea, Niger, and India with skill, humility, and a biblical perspective. Too heavy for you today? Skip to the end for news of prisoners set free in Eritrea and several other countries.

A few more finds:

Standing with the Persecuted

Supporting and praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters is a frequent theme in our Missions Catalyst news briefs. But Wissam al-Saliby says it’s not enough. In fact, he goes so far as to say international anti-persecution strategies are failing Nigerian churches (Christianity Today). Learn more about al-Saliby and his fight for persecuted Christians around the world in Faithful Among the Nations (World).

Wisdom from Proverbs

We’ve heard a lot about the Proverbs 31 woman. But where are today’s Proverbs 22 men? Read Jaimie Oliver Garande of Zimbabwe’s brief reflection on Proverbs 22:9 in To Solve Problems Skillfully (Haggai International). Do you think we need more Proverbs 22 leaders? Let’s pray for them.

Also pray for those participating in the Parliament of World’s Religions, August 14-18 in Chicago. But all religions are not one. I suggest you get the insider scoop from Carl Teichrib, a critical observer and author of the book Game of Gods.


Niger: Triggers, Causes, and Ramifications of the Coup

Source: Sahel Blog, August 3, 2023

On July 26, Niger suffered a coup, or perhaps a show of force that escalated into a coup. On July 28, the CNSP proclaimed the head of the Presidential Guard, Abdourahmane Tchiani (or Tiani), as military head of state. The coup has all sorts of geopolitical ramifications, real and imagined, but here I want to leave geopolitics aside and focus on Niger.

The first question concerns the proximate trigger for the coup. Tchiani himself, in a major speech on July 28, evoked “the continuous degradation of the security situation in our country” as well as “bad economic and social governance” as the reasons for the coup. Meanwhile, well-informed observers believe that the real trigger was an effort by [ousted president Mohamed] Bazoum to fire Tchiani. That is the most plausible theory I’ve heard so far.

Tchiani, born in 1964, is an elite, career member of the Nigerien Armed Forces. He has been at the head of the Presidential Guard since 2011. It is probably obvious why he would not want to give up such a post, but to add a little academic heft to the discussion, this saga has made me think of Professor Richard Joseph’s work on “prebendalism” in neighboring Nigeria—the idea that corrupt officeholders treat their offices as extractive opportunities for themselves and their network of supporters. In this view, Tchiani saw his job as simply too valuable to lose.

Read the rest of this long and thorough analysis; including links.

See also an infographic on the coup in Niger (INcontext).

How will believers and ministries be affected by the presence of military dictatorships stretching across this band of Africa from coast to coast? Justin Long addresses this in a new prayer publication based on his weekly news roundup.