Missions Catalyst

Subscribe to Missions Catalyst feedMissions Catalyst
World Missions News, Ideas, and Resources
Updated: 1 hour 17 min ago

World: Great News—Movements Are Starting New Movements

Source: Dave Coles, Mission Frontiers, January 1, 2023

I often tell people, “My job is to hear about the incredible works of God and proclaim the incredible works of God. That’s a pretty unbeatable job.” Sometimes when speaking to a group, I tell them, “I’m going to give you some good news: the kind of news you almost never find on the internet or on TV. Most of what’s out there is bad news. Scary news. Irritating news. I’ve got news that is thrilling!”

Read this issue of Mission Frontiers. It reports that the number of known disciple-making movements has more than tripled in the last five years. And they’re spreading. New research suggests that 80–90% of currently existing movements have been started by other movements rather than an outside catalyst.

Want the data? Read Justin Long’s article How Long to Reach the Goal? or see the recently updated DMM Dashboard. “If you have prayed for movements to spread around the world… they have,” he says.

You might also be interested in Ministry Leaders Unite on Fulfilling the Great Commission by 2033 (Empowered21, via Christian News Wire).

Uganda: Home Burned and Two Christians Injured in Separate Attacks

Source: Morning Star News, December 4, 2022

[On November 20] Muslim extremists burned down a house where a cell fellowship was meeting in eastern Uganda, a week after Muslims in another area caned two converts, sources said.

Arafah Senyange, 28, and his brother Zulufa Hajati Nakimuli, 43, were beaten with [a] cane on November 13 in Busembatia town, Bugweri District (formerly in Iganga District) for converting from Islam to Christianity in October, Nakimuli said.

The two brothers were studying the Bible under a mango tree outside their father’s home after returning from a Sunday service in Busembatia when one of their brothers, mosque leader Hamuza Lubega, arrived shouting the jihadist slogan, “Allah Akbar [God is greater],” he said.

Lubega seized their Bible and began tearing its pages, then called their brothers Shafiki Kato and Ahmad Sewanyana, Nakimuli said.

“We were accused of bringing an unholy, corrupted book into the home of a Muslim family and following Issa [Jesus] as the Son of God, which is blasphemy in Islam,” Nakimuli told Morning Star News. “Shafiki was sent to get some more family members with [a] cane to use on us. As they arrived, they started beating us with it.”

Read the full story. Also from Morning Star News: Killings in Kaduna State, Nigeria Darken Christmas Season.

Pakistan: Christian Girls and Women Converted without Consent

Source: Voice of Justice and Jubilee Campaign, November 2022

There is no shortage of human rights atrocities taking place across the world at this very minute, from the military coup in Myanmar, to the slaughter of Christian communities in Nigeria, to the internment of millions of Uyghur Muslims in China. While we wish it was possible to be on the ground in every one of these places and contexts offering legal and humanitarian assistance and speaking to admirably resilient faith-based communities, we recognize that we must work within our geographic and personnel constraints.

Voice for Justice has worked tirelessly to expose the ever-increasing thousands of cases in which young girls from the Christian community in Pakistan are abducted from their workplaces, their educational institutions, and even from the refuge of their own homes, at which point they are forcibly married to men 20 and 30 years their elder and converted to Islam against their will. Meanwhile, these girls’ families are largely left helpless as the very state actors—police officers, courts of law, judges, religious leaders, and the like—who are tasked with protecting the nation’s people and advancing their interests instead aid and abet perpetrators, breeding a culture of impunity under which these horrific crimes can persist unmitigated.

See the full report, Conversion Without Consent.

Also from Pakistan, a Chinese missionary to Pakistan declares, “If I Die in Pakistan, Leave My Body There” (Back to Jerusalem). The author adds, “This sacrifice is the heart of preaching the gospel message to all the nations; it is the heart of the Chinese missionary vision, and it is perhaps what is needed to complete the Great Commission in our lifetime.”

Mission Events, Best Books, and the Year in Review

  1. You Reign: The Year in Review
  2. Recommended: Best Missions Books of 2022
  3. Classes: Learn about Muslims and Islam
  4. Events: January Conferences, Training, and More

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

You Reign, The Year in Review

Source: Prayercast

Same song, different year. Some things change but the love and sovereignty of God continue. A six-minute video reflects on the events of 2022 and recognizes that “amid the overwhelming events of this year, his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:14).

Watch or download the video.

What would be in your own highlight (and lowlight) reel for 2022? Consider setting aside time for an annual “examen” (Unhurried Living) or get some coaching from Steve Moore on How to Do a Year-End Reflection Exercise (Learning @ the Speed of Life).

Recommended: Best Books of 2022

Source: Catalyst Services

Looking for a good read recommended by others in the mission community? Catalyst Services offers a baker’s dozen of suggestions (including several we featured) in the categories of theology/missiology, evangelism, missions mobilization, leadership, missionary preparation, and missionary care.

See what they recommend and follow links to previous “best books” lists at the bottom of the article.

Classes: Learn More about Muslims and Islam

Sources: Various

Heading to the Middle East or Southeast Asia? Want to learn more about the world of your refugee neighbor? Several ministries we’re loosely connected with are gearing up for 2023 training programs for Christians who want to learn more about Muslims and Islam.

Encountering the World of Islam

Encountering the World of Islam offers a 12-week online course featuring expert instructors and mentors with experience among Muslims. Videos, readings, and other assignments are enhanced through online discussions. The next class is from January 9 to April 9. They can also work with you to set up a cohort class.

Learn more or sign up. Already had the Perspectives class? Contact EWI for a Perspectives alumni discount code (January class only).

Summer Institute on Islam

The Summer Institute on Islam, typically offered as a one-week intensive, provides a solid foundation for understanding a Muslim’s worldview, theology, and culture from within their own frame of reference. This course can help Christians get past stereotypes and misunderstandings and form relational approaches for sharing our faith with Muslims in ways that make sense to them. Academic credit may be available for those who need it.

SII 2023 will be held in Orlando, Florida April 16-22.

Download a brochure about SII.

Lilias Trotter Center Global Courses

The Lilias Trotter Center aims to help prepare the hearts and minds of men and women for the joys and challenges of serving cross-culturally. They are offering two online courses this coming semester (January 9 to May 5), both related to ministry among believers of a Muslim background (BMBs, also known as MBBs).

  • Deliverance in BMB Discipleship
  • BMB Perspectives on Identity, Community, and Theology

Learn more. Note that these are college-level courses offered in partnership with Wesley Biblical Seminary and will cost a bit, but discounts are available for those who audit and students from the “majority world.”

Calendar of Events: January Classes, Conferences, and More

Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar

January 8, Call to Prayer Virtual Prayer Gathering (online). Join others to engage the Muslim world through prayer on the second Sunday of each month. From Missio Nexus.

January 9-13, Storytelling Training (online). Get hands-on experience with oral Bible storytelling with five three-hour sessions provided by Story Runners, a Cru ministry.

January 9 to February 4, COMPASS (Palmer Lake, CO, USA). Language and culture acquisition provided by Missionary Training International.

January 9 to April 9, Encountering the World of Islam (online). New online classes start several times a year.

January 9 to May 14, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement (online). New online classes begin regularly. Note that about 120 in-person classes are also scheduled for early 2023 in locations across the US.

January 10-11, Support Raising Bootcamp (Fayetteville, AR, USA). Provided by Support Raising Solutions. Note there will be another January bootcamp January 23-24 in Costa Rica (in Spanish).

January 12, The Ancient Roots of Innovation (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

January 15 to February 10, Equipping for Cross-Cultural Life and Ministry (Union Mills, NC, USA). Followed by Language Learning Accelerator course from February 12-24. Provided by the Center for Intercultural Training.

January 17, Contend: Monthly Day of Prayer For Mission Mobilization (global). Coordinated by GMMI and held on the third Tuesday of each month.

January 19, Thought Leadership for Servant Leaders (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

January 19-21, Help! We’re Going on a Short-Term Trip (Atlanta, GA, USA). Seminar for team leaders from CultureLink.

January 20-21, MissionConnexion Northwest (Portland, OR, USA). A free, regional missions conference, the largest event of its type in the region. Come early for a related event designed to equip church mission leaders, Leadership Connexion.

January 25 to March 22, Kairos Course (online). An interactive overview of the plans and purposes of God. An additional class will be running in a different time slot from January 26 to March 23. Prefer a face-to-face class? Consider the one-week intensive in Louisville, KY, March 20-24, in partnership with Team Expansion, or find a class in your part of the world.

January 26, Missio Nexus Innovation Fund (online). Webinar introducing a new opportunity for funding from Missio Nexus.

January 28-30, Mission Central Conference: Serve (Vancouver area, Canada). Formerly Missions Fest Vancouver.

January 26-28, Azmera Stateside Summit (Dallas/Fort Worth, TX, USA). A mission event just for women, how cool is that? Provided by Azmera. Be sure to also check out their Haven retreats for women serving cross-culturally.

January 31 to February 3, Critical Skills for Emerging Leaders (Winter Park, FL, USA). A training event from Missio Nexus.

View the complete calendar, updated regularly. We welcome your submissions.

Signs of the Gospel in the Heart of Asia

This edition features stories about Asia, from the Himalayan mountains and the steppes of Kazakhstan to China, Myanmar, and Japan.

  1. South Asia: 10 Years in the U.S., But Amrita Never Understood Christmas
  2. Kazakhstan: The Gospel in the Heart of Central Asia
  3. Myanmar: The Gospel Makes Surprising Inroads
  4. China: Expatriates Serving in China’s New Era
  5. Japan: Laughing Buddha Hotei—A Japanese Santa Claus?

Read or share the email edition or scroll down for individual stories.

South Asia: 10 Years in the U.S., But Amrita Never Understood Christmas

Source: Beyond, December 7, 2022

One of the great joys in Joel and Becky’s work has been to see “Tazig” believers celebrate Christmas and remember God incarnate in their own culturally relevant ways.

Last year one of their teammates’ sisters returned to visit her Himalayan family. Priscilla’s sister has lived in the United States for the past ten years and has become an American citizen.

As Priscilla and the other Tazig believers were making plans for their Christmas celebration, her sister, Amrita, asked, “Oh, you are going to celebrate the English New Year?”

Priscilla replied, “No, we are making plans to celebrate Christmas when the Creator God came to the earth and lived as a human.”

Amrita never understood Christmas. For 10 years she had heard people in the United States say, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.” Since her people celebrate the Tibetan New Year over multiple days, she thought Christmas was just the start of our New Year’s celebrations. Amrita had never heard the Christmas story.

Thankfully, Priscilla told her about God sending his Son to the earth and all about Christmas. A few days later, Amrita joined the Tazig Christmas celebration, knowing for the first time what it was all about.

Read the full story and ask yourself if there might be someone in your life who doesn’t know the reason we celebrate Christmas.

Kazakhstan: The Gospel in the Heart of Central Asia

Source: Christian Today, December 13, 2022

Today almost 30 percent of the population in Kazakhstan is Christian. While the majority are still from a non-Kazakh background, the number of Kazakhs who confess to following Jesus Christ as their Lord is growing.

The number of evangelical registered churches in Kazakhstan today stands at approximately 400, including all Russian-speaking and Kazakh-speaking churches. The vast majority of them belong to the Evangelical Alliance of Kazakhstan (EAK). You will find ethnic Kazakhs in almost all of the evangelical churches today, about 100 of which are registered Kazakh churches.

The Kurultay (convention) of Kazakh pastors is one of the most important annual meetings in Kazakhstan. They come together to fellowship with each other and discuss the most important current issues among the Kazakh-speaking population. And they share with each other the problems that hinder the growth of God’s kingdom in the country.

“We believe that God has positioned us strategically and given us, the Christians of Kazakhstan, a missionary calling to take the good news to Muslim peoples living near and far. Kurultay organizes short-term missionary trips and sends long-term missionaries. This happens not only within Kazakhstan but also outside of Kazakhstan. Kazakhstani pastors and missionaries go to other countries of the Turkic world because of our cultural affinity and religious background to plant churches,” [says the leader of the Kurultay].

Read the full story.

Got about 15 minutes? Listen to David Garrison and Zane Pratt talk about Christianity in Central Asia, or as Garrison calls it, Turkestan (Maverick Podcast).

From neighboring Mongolia, read East Asian Believers Spread Christmas Message in Spite of Bitter Cold (International Mission Board).

Myanmar: The Gospel Makes Surprising Inroads

Source: Christian Aid Mission, December 15, 2022

When a local Christian worker in Burma (Myanmar) visiting homes knocked on one door in the country devastated by a military coup, he didn’t realize a military family lived there.

Area residents were resentful and/or terrified of the family since the February 2021 coup unleashed havoc in the country—protests, crackdowns, and sheer random violence left many areas paralyzed.

“This family had the feeling that they were isolated because military personnel were hated by all the people,” the leader of a native ministry said.

The worker had visited other homes with the gospel and had seen families put their faith in Christ.

“Lastly he happened to reach the home of a retired lieutenant and his family—usually no one visited this family,” the leader said. “When he visited them not knowing who they were, the family was so happy for his visit.”

The worker told them how God’s love and salvation were available for all who came to him in repentance. Touched by the worker’s kindness, the family invited him to visit them again.

“He lovingly visited them, and they invited him to visit again and again,” the leader said. “And finally the retired lieutenant came to faith in Christ and received believer’s baptism. Now this man invites their neighbors to his home, and they have believers’ fellowship every Sunday, and sometimes on Saturday also.”

Read the full story.

An update from the Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin asks us to pray for a Christian leader in Burma. Reverend Dr. Hkalam Samson, former chairman of the Kachin Baptist Convention and current chairman of the Kachin National Consultative Assembly, was arrested on December 4.

China: Expatriates Serving in China’s New Era

Source: ChinaSource Quarterly, Winter 2022

At a recent gathering of more than 100 China ministry professionals, I was struck by how many of the attendees operated with the assumption that the era of expatriates living and ministering within China’s borders was over. Only a handful of those in attendance had any plans to live and work in China while most of the conference focused on ministering from a distance.

While there is real value to serving the Chinese church remotely, is it the case that expatriate Christians can no longer live and minister within China?

The full story makes a case that there is still room for foreign expatriates to serve in China, despite many challenges. For a closer look at the challenges and opportunities facing Chinese missionaries, read Where Is the Chinese Missionary Movement Headed in the New Era?

You might also want to read A Voice From China—Interview with a Senior House Church Leader, which is quite interesting and grapples with some of the same issues (Asia Harvest). See also Six Reasons Why We Should Listen to Christians from around the Globe (OMF).

Christmas Resource Roundup: 7 Ways to Support Missionaries at Christmas

In this edition:

  1. Video: What Does Christmas Have to Do With Missions?
  2. Article: 7 Ways to Support Missionaries at Christmas
  3. Prayer: A Liturgy for Missionaries During the Holidays
  4. Family Devotional: The Best Gift Ever
  5. Online Event: Sharing Christ with Friends & Family at Christmas

Hi there, friends.

How are you doing? Full of Christmas cheer? Or maybe your holiday stress is running high. Could be you have no time for email. Good news, though: this is a quick one. Snag what you can use and carry on.


Read or share the email edition, or just scroll down.

Video: What Does Christmas Have to Do With Missions?

Source: The Gospel Coalition

Christmas has everything to do with missions, says David Platt. He challenges Christians to reflect at Christmas on the many people around the world who still have not heard the good news of the gospel.

Watch the video (or click on the image below). It’s just a few minutes long.

You might also be encouraged by a recent article from The Gospel Coalition, 4 Ways to “Be Still and Know” This Christmas. It’s a reflection on Psalm 46 and its implications for Christmas and God’s global mission.

Article: 7 Ways to Support Missionaries at Christmas

Source: OSCAR

Christmas is a great time to reach out and connect with a missionary you know! OK, maybe any time is. But as you’re looking through your Christmas list, consider if one or more of these items should be added. The article is from Mike Frith at OSCAR, the UK mission information service.

  1. Send them Christmas greetings
  2. Send a Christmas present
  3. Give them a financial gift
  4. Pray for their Christmas celebrations
  5. Pray for their Christmas outreach
  6. Include them in your Christmas
  7. Help those recently returned

Read the brief article, then browse OSCAR’s Christmas resource list.

It’s probably too late to post packages. But you can still bless friends abroad in other ways. Any of these might be much appreciated.

Prayer: A Liturgy for Missionaries During the Holidays

Source: Upstream Collective

Far from home and feeling a bit down about it? Maybe you could use some words of lament to speak and pray. Upstream published some last year.

Take a look and download the liturgy to use with your team or family or share with a friend.

See also A Liturgy for When a Loved One Is Ailing Back Home.

Family Devotional: The Best Gift Ever

Source: Wycliffe Bible Translators

Kids off school next week? Consider taking the time to dive into Scripture as a family with this five-day family devotional. Each day, enjoy a short, Scripture-based teaching, questions to answer together and a fun activity (including a few international recipes).

Download the 11-page PDF, The Best Gift Ever: A 5-Day Christmas Devotional with Kate & Mack devotional. No registration required.

Also see Kate & Mack’s 12 Days of Christmas (a look at Christmas traditions around the world) and other Wycliffe resources for kids.

Online Event (Tonight!): Sharing Christ with Friends & Family at Christmas

Source: Wheaton College Billy Graham Center

Where: Zoom
When: Wednesday, December 14, 7pm Central Time

Christmas time is full of social gatherings with family and friends as well as opportunities for meaningful conversations. To help us enter the season with hopeful expectations, Wheaton professor emeritus Dr. Jerry Root will present his annual talk on sharing Christ with your friends and family at Christmas. Dr. Root shares inspiring stories and winsome ways to help us all share our faith boldly.

Dr. Timothy Larsen, author of The Oxford Handbook of Christmas, will follow to share some of the rich history of our Christmas traditions.

Register to attend.

For a taste of Tim Larsen, see his article No One Took Christ Out of Christmas (Christianity Today). The subtitle summarizes, “Let’s dispense with our worries that Christmas as we know it isn’t Christian.” Whew!

Ready to think about the new year? Check out our growing calendar of 2023 mission events. Submissions welcome.

Mozambique, Morocco, and Myths about Europe | World News Briefs

  1. Mozambique: Missionary Pilot and Two Others Imprisoned
  2. Morocco: Finding Faith on the Internet
  3. Bangladesh: Helping 1 Million Rohingya Refugees
  4. Europe: Myths, Truths, and Opportunities for Mission
  5. Indonesia: Discovering Christ as a Kurdish Refugee

Read or share the email edition or scroll down for more