Resources

Short-term Mission – further reading

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As a follow up to our issue of Intermission about ‘short-term mission’ here’s some useful online articles that capture some of the pitfalls of short-term mission and ‘voluntourism.’

A Cautionary Tale. A brilliantly funny short video from the Helping Without Hurting training mentioned at the end of this Intermission. 

The Voluntourism Paradox. How your visit to orphanages could be traumatising children, breaking up families and fuelling human trafficking. 

Western do-gooders need to resist the allure of ‘exotic problems.’ A deeper look at the problems addressed in Noah’s article. 

The Good Missionary. A look at short-term mission trips through the eyes of an African orphan. 

Stop Calling it a Short-Term Missions Trip. Why the phrase ‘short-term mission trip’ is unhelpful, and some better alternatives. 

When Short Term Missions is Actually Christian Tourism. Our saviour complex is challenged when we realise they might not need us. 

Why You Should Consider Canceling Your Short-Term Mission Trips. How our going and giving can actually hurt those we’re going to. 

 

Helping Without Hurting in Short-Term Mission (Issue 28)

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At the end of a trip, one of the students uttered the words every leader hopes to hear: “This was the best short-term mission experience I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a bunch.” I’ve led my fair share of teams, so what made this one so good? Was it my amazing, charismatic leadership? … Actually, no! Perhaps ironically, it’s because we didn’t follow the typical approaches for short-term mission trips.

In many cases, short-term teams want to maximize the opportunity by visiting as many places, people and projects as they can. Instead, we decided to stay in one location and work with one church. And typically, short-term teams pack as much into the schedule as possible. In our case, it wasn’t long before our contact ran out of things for us to do! He’d even dismiss the team after morning Bible studies, telling us to “just take rest today.” We were in a bustling South Asian city, so once the contact left I’d whisper to the team: “we’re not taking rest today.” Instead we’d break into groups, ask God what we should do, and then go do it. We’d end up encountering new people, finding and meeting needs, and sharing life with various folk. It’s hard to summarise just how fruitful this actually was!

So why did my student think this was the best mission experience he’d had? “Because what we’ve done here is precisely what we can do back home.” Normally we run around doing so much, meaning there’s no way we can replicate it in our normal lives. But here, we were integrating mission and regular life. We were learning how to be open to the opportunities God was opening up in front of us.

FINDING A BETTER WAY

This experience left me wondering: are there approaches and models for short-term teams that will help people integrate what they learn into their ‘normal lives.’ I’m not interested in people creating nice memories. There needs to be something of ongoing value from the experience for both the team and those we’re seeking to serve. How can we be making disciples (Matthew 28:19) not just good trips?

Many short-term teams go out with very little solid training – but good intentions are simply not enough! Helping Without Hurting in Short-Term Missions (Moody Publishers, 2014) is a new biblically grounded training package designed to help short-term teams prepare, process and maximise their experience. It also helps teams avoid attitudes and practices that actually harm the communities we’re seeking to bless. Though it focuses on teams going to poorer communities, we think it’s beneficial for almost any team crossing cultures.

It’s made up of eight 90 minute sessions that include reflections, discussion questions and short video teachings. Each team member receives a Participants Guide to help them process all they’re learning, and the Leader’s Guide is designed to give the team leader(s) all they need to know to facilitate the training, preparation and debrief. We hope this package will assist many Kiwis put together, implement and process short-term mission encounters.

If you’re interested in finding out more or discussing your ideas for a short-term Encounter Team experience with NZCMS, email kirstin@nzcms.org.nz

 

For discussion

In what ways do teams need to prepare and train well – whether for a cross-cultural trip or local mission?

If you want to explore in your small group how these concepts apply to local (and global) mission, I can’t recommend enough the free online video series ‘Helping Without Hurting’

 

Exploring today’s missional issues from a variety of angles, each edition of the Intermission magazine will equip you and your group to engage with God in your community and beyond. To signup to receive the Intermission in the post, email office@nzcms.org.nz. Intermission articles can also be found online at nzcms.org.nz/intermission.

The Women’s Mosque Movement

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By Moyra Dale.

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of the Lausanne Global Analysis and is published here with permission as part of the LGA Media Partnership. Learn more about this flagship publication from the Lausanne Movement at www.lausanne.org/lga.

 

A female religious scholar of 15th century Hadramawt, Yemen, al-Shaykha Sultana bint ‘Ali al-Zubaydy was well known for her piety, knowledge, and teachings. One of her male counterparts, expressing the conventional opinion that religious scholarship and teaching were the domain of men, challenged her in verse: ‘But can a female camel compete with a male camel?’ She completed the couplet, responding: ‘A female camel can carry the same load as a male, and produce offspring and milk as well.’[1]

As I approach the mosque in a Middle Eastern city, my all-covering full-length coat and headscarf clothe me anonymously among dozens of other women who are entering through the gates and across the yard, past the places for men to wash, away from the spacious main door of the mosque, to pass behind the curtain hung between the corner of the building and the surrounding wall. The curtain conceals the small side door, which opens to a set of carpeted stairs. Wooden shelves are at the bottom of the stairs and on the landing, and we remove our shoes and leave them in the shelves, making our way up the stairs in socks or stockinged feet.

There is not much furniture in the upper meeting hall: the carpet, some shelves for books at the back, a few plastic chairs, sponge mattresses to sit on around the side of the room, and a desk-and-seat for the speaker. Framed pictures of Arabic text hang on the wall. This is the hall where women come and go for the different meetings, do the ritual prayer (salah), greet friends, softly recite pages of the Qur’an or just sit quietly on the floor. The hall opens onto the balcony overlooking the main mosque area where the men pray. Theirs is the high roof, sense of space: here there is more limited space, a lower roof, looking through balustrade or windows onto the main men’s part below—behind, seeing, and unseen.

Women in the history of Islam

Women in mosques are not new in Islam. Traditions (Hadith) that refuse to forbid women from mosques are ascribed to Muhammad, Prophet of Islam. They support stories that women attended the mosque in Muhammad’s time, including Friday sermons and feasts. However, over the centuries as Islam expanded, men went to the mosque and women stayed at home to pray.

There have been women leaders[2] and teachers throughout the history of Islam. Aisha (Muhammad’s wife) and Fatima (his daughter) are often mentioned, along with some of Muhammad’s other wives and companions, as muhaddithat—women who taughthadith to others. A number of religious histories mention famous women scholars and teachers, women who were active in Islamic law (fiqh), interpreting the Qur’an and giving legal rulings (fatwas), exercising the same authority as men scholars.

Women scholars flourished more in the 7th-8th centuries (the early days of Islam) and 12th-16th centuries (times of disruption and invasion from the Crusaders and Mongols).[3] These women were often taught by a male relative such as their father, and sometimes also had private tutors. Education, a male patron, and often, social class were important factors.

A recent influential example was Zaynab al-Ghazali (1917-2005) in Egypt, who founded the Muslim Women’s Association (Jama’at al-Sayyidaat al-Muslimaat) when she was 18 years old. She claimed it had a membership of 3 million throughout the country by the time the government dissolved it in 1964. She gave lectures to thousands of women who attended each week at the Ibn Tulun Mosque. Her association offered lessons for women, published a magazine, maintained an orphanage, offered assistance to poor families, and mediated family disputes. Al-Ghazali worked closely with the Muslim Brotherhood, and spent six years in prison until released in 1971 by President Anwar Sadat.

The women’s movement in Islam today

The women’s piety movement has roots in the history of women scholars within Islam. However, it is also a contemporary movement, with unprecedented numbers of women involved in the Islamic revival movement, which has spread through the Muslim world since the 1970s. It has become more visible through the increasing number of women wearing hijab. In the 1980s and 1990s a new wordmutadayyinat, ‘religious women’, was invented, to describe the growing piety movement among women.[4]

Women’s literacy worldwide has increased at the same time as expanding access to Islamic teaching through pamphlets, cassettes, radio, TV, satellite, and Internet. These two factors have helped to grow the Islamic revival movement and women’s part in it. Some women preachers are self-educated; but increasingly religious institutions in the Muslim world are offering training to women.[5] Al-Azhar University in Cairo began training women preachers in 1999.

Where they face social restrictions, Muslim women have always used religious occasions in the home, such as Qur’anic recitations or recitative prayer (dhikr) to gain blessing. So religious practices provide support for the chance to gather and talk together over a glass of tea or a meal. Women began to organize religious lessons in their homes to learn the Qur’an and other religious materials. Increasingly, homes and special gatherings became used as places where women were encouraged to make sure that their behaviour and clothing fit with what Islam teaches. A birthday party might include a time to urge all the young women attending to wear hijab.

Throughout the world

In the Middle East in the 1990s and early 2000s, women began to move more into mosques for their gatherings, and to become involved in public religious teaching, including on television. Mosque classes train women how to behave as good Muslims, and also how to teach others at community events such as weddings or births. Furthermore local neighbourhood mosques are used as centres to organize activities including both religious instruction and medical and welfare help for Muslims in need.

Elsewhere in the world, in Indonesia from the early 1900s, both the reformistMuhammadiya and traditionalist Nahdlatul Ulama Muslim organisations have offered Islamic education to women as well as men, from grassroots informal religious classes up to Islamic training schools (pesantren). So now large numbers of women are equipped to discuss and teach about Islamic texts and legal rulings.[6]

In China, the growth in women’s mosques and women’s religious culture among the Muslim Hui people has been connected to China’s move in the 1980s towards reform and openness to the outside world.[7] In the Indian sub-continent, the efforts of the conservative Tablighi Jama’at was at first directed at men. However, women are now included among those who travel for shorter or extended periods to promote reformist Islam (while maintaining the rules of purdah).[8]

A new space for women

This has led to a generation of women literate and competent in the Qur’an and the traditions, and able to interpret them with regard to the issues of women’s everyday lives. A growing number of publications by women give women’s perspectives on reading the Qur’an and its teachings. In Malaysia, the Sisters of Islam draw on the religious texts in their effort to enable women and to help them get justice in issues of family law such as divorce.

Women’s authority in Islam has traditionally been in the home and at times of rites of passage, family transitions. Now they are taking up authority in the area of religious texts and teaching. It is still within conservative Islam, and women support their place in mosques and teaching, by conforming to conservative religious practices of dress and general behaviour. By reading the Qur’an and traditions for themselves, to answer the questions from women’s daily lives, they are reforming the role of women within Islam.

Implications and suggested responses

We recognise that Muslims and Christians may both meet questions about the place of women in a conservative reading of our faith and our books. We have common cause in working for women who face unjust marriage or divorce laws, or violence. So there is a place to meet and work alongside women in the Muslim piety movement. We need to bring a robust understanding of the place of women in Christ to our meeting.

It is good to be able to interact with the discussions around the Qur’an, the nature of the Messiah, the authenticity of the Bible—the arguments in which they have been trained. Going beyond argument to telling the stories of Jesus, of his interactions with women—including the place he gave them in his ministry (Lk 10:39, Jn 4); his power to purify (Lk 8:26-56); his refusal to condemn (Jn 8:1-11)—speak right into the aspirations and longings of women in the piety movement.

We can share from our own hopes and struggles, and how Jesus meets and answers us. As we pray, they may encounter the Messiah who is powerfully present to hear and answer our petitions.

The women’s mosque movement reminds us that within the Muslim world, there are different understandings of the place of women, just as there are different understandings of violence and its use. In the end, the basic place of meeting between Christian and Muslim is our shared regard for Jesus the Messiah; and the most fundamental point of difference is not the place of women or of violence, but who we believe the Messiah to be.

 

Image: ‘Enjoining the mosque’ by Giuseppe Milo (CC BY-NC 2.0). 

A book Out From St Martin’s

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By Stewart Entwistle. 

Why is it that the stories of missionaries (or Mission Partners) seem to have been written a hundred years ago, involving people in countries we’re unlikely to ever visit, and makes them seem to be super spiritual or other worldly?

Does anyone ever write anything about anyone who you could have heard of, could have met at your local church, and is really just like other people in the fellowship? Well yes they do – but not all that often!

But just recently a book was launched at the morning service at St Martin’s Anglican Church (Spreydon, Christchurch) which actually fits those criteria. Out from St Martin’s contains sixty two stories from people who have been associated with that church in one way or another, who have followed the leading of God to serve overseas. Yes, some of the authors are oldies, but all are ordinary Kiwis. It is interesting to note, that from a NZCMS point of view 37 of the stories are of those who served within the fellowship. Bishop Brain Carrell described a particular time when the Rev Roger Thompson was Vicar, “As a Crucible for Christian Commitment”.

There are short-termers who served for a few months, and long-termers who gave a lifetime of service, each telling their unique story of how God equipped, sustained and protected them during that service.

Nicky Gumbell, the founder of the famous Alpha Course, wrote “We all have a story to tell. Every family has stories. Every church has its own story of what God has done. Every Christian has a story – a testimony. All of us have access to the great story of what God has done in Christ”.

What will your story be like? Is it going be like the sixty two recorded in this book? Will it include time spent serving in cross-cultural mission, whether in New Zealand or overseas?

By the way the book is an easy read, inspirational and challenging!

 

Copies may be ordered by emailing lynatwyn@icloud.com or writing to: Lyn Smith, 49 Wyn Street, Hoon Hay, Christchurch 8025.  Cost: only $25 per copy (plus P&P: $5 for 1–2 copies).

The World Behind ‘Evangelicals Around the World’

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By Karen Stiller.

This article originally appeared in the September 2015 issue of the Lausanne Global Analysis and is published here with permission. To receive this free bimonthly publication from the Lausanne Movement, subscribe online at lausanne.org/analysis

It is amazing what a capital letter can do. It was not quite a controversy, but it was quite a hill to climb in the copy-editing stage of the newly released Thomas Nelson book, Evangelicals Around the World: A Global Handbook for the 21st Century. When is Evangelical capitalized, and when isevangelical lower case?

It turns out that the world does not stand in agreement on this issue. The Canadian managing editor finally worked it out with the copy-editors (American), working on chapters submitted from authors (from all around the world, in many different capital usage zones).

Evangelical self-identification

The Big E question does not seem important on its own—it was more annoyance than scandal—but it posed an interesting question of how theevangelical community (lower e as an adjective please!) identifies and views itself as one, large and growing, global community of believers.

How important is it to identify as Evangelical? Why does it matter? What makes a movement or a work or a thought require the adjective evangelical? It was a small grammatical question that hinted at a larger identity issue of a movement that is large and growing, but as far from homogenous as the East is from the West. It is a colorful collective proudly using the termEvangelical, but still working out what exactly that means, and therefore, whom exactly that includes. It is a Gospel people who do not all look alike, sound alike, or even think alike on all things at all times.

A messy church

The book itself is a neat and tidy collection of 51 chapters by 46 contributors, including Rose Dowsett (who was a member of the Lausanne Theology Working Group), in the very relevant chapter ‘The Challenge of Evangelical Diversity’.

Dowsett writes: ‘How inclusive, and how exclusive, should the evangelical family be . . . Is it possible to keep the peace between whose who call themselves conservative Evangelicals, those who call themselves open Evangelicals, those who call themselves Charismatic, those who call themselves Reformed, and those who find most or all of those terms utterly irrelevant and prefer no label at all other than Christian or perhapsBible-believing Christians?’ An excellent question.

Dowsett concludes: ‘Siblings in a family may be very different from one another, but we recognize that something is badly wrong when they are at war with one another.’ She then calls Evangelicals forward to a life of worship, life, and service.

Lives of service

It is the life of service of Evangelicals that I believe will capture the attention—and admiration—of readers of the book. We were concerned that if we only had chapters like ‘Evangelicals and Politics’, ‘Evangelicals and Missions’, and ‘Evangelicals and Science’, as helpful as those would be, we might be missing the activist and ministry edge of the evangelical community around the world.

So we issued a challenge to a Christian journalist. It was to find the stories of Evangelicals around the world engaged in ministry on the ground, and tell them succinctly in captivating mini-profiles that show the difference Evangelicals make in the communities they call home.

Canadian Debra Fieguth did just that in profiles that range from reconciliation ministry in Israel and Palestine, to an institute for indigenous theological training in North America, to Christian Relief, Assistance, Support and Hope (CRASH), the disaster relief ministry in Japan—and everything in between. The 23 stories Fieguth investigated and wrote demonstrate the breadth of global Evangelicals on the ground, responding to sometimes desperate need in their communities because of the love and commission of Jesus Christ.

In her profile of the India Missions Association, Fieguth shares the revealing story of a mission director who says that when the question, ‘Do you know Jesus?’ is asked, many people replied: ‘He doesn’t live in my village.’

The stories of Evangelicals engaged in ministries of mercy and activism are beautiful proof that Jesus does indeed (and of course) live—and work—in small villages and large cities and down dirt roads and beside paved highways around the world. Amid the book’s more scholarly considerations of the interactions of Evangelicals in areas like urban witness, the arts, presence in mainline denominations, and interaction with other religions, these mini-profiles remind us that ultimately we are a breathing, serving Body living out our high calling of service from day to day in communities from Phnom Penh to Pasadena. Doctrine and belief become service and sacrifice in the stories of these diverse ministries.

What lies ahead?

When our editorial team discussed a chapter on what lies ahead for the evangelical movement around the world, it was immediately clear we had to have a writer from the Global South. Nothing else would do. Any other perspective would be an insult to what is happening in the Global Church today. Paul Joshua Bhakiaraj is a professor at the South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies in Bangalore, India. He wrote the challenging chapter: ‘The Future of the Evangelical Movement’ for the handbook.

It is clear to any observer of the Global Church that if you want find richness and strength in the Church, the Majority World is where you look. If you want action and growth, that is where you find it too.

There, it seems, is where our bright future lies. Bhakiaraj would most definitely agree. He says the time is ripe for ‘a protest and a reformation’, pointing out that the malaise, or crisis, in the Church around the world ‘revolves primarily around Western Evangelicalism’. It is the ‘rare Western scholar who recognizes the vitality of the Evangelical Movement in the Majority World, and rarer still to identify it as an asset to the world church’, he writes in what may be the most provocative chapter in the book.

While hoping that Bhakiaraj is not 100% correct in that assessment of the rarity of Western recognition of strength elsewhere, it is in any event essential for Western ears especially to hear from this Majority World scholar and leader calling the Church to task—and to hope—as well. Even as Bhakiaraj points to crisis, he points to kairos. In crisis, there is opportunity. This could be ‘a kairos moment that affords us opportunities to protest against that which we have allowed to stagnate the faith. And a moment to scripturally and substantially reform ourselves by returning to and rebuilding on the centrality of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The time is ripe to review the integrity of our claim to gospel centeredness, indeed even our Evangelical credentials’, he writes. There is hope and growth and light and life for the Church—and it is global indeed.

‘The Evangelical Movement of the future will be a recognizably global movement, spread predominantly throughout the Southern and Eastern continents’, writes Bhakiaraj. ‘Not necessarily characterized by its Western features and represented by its Western celebrity leaders alone, it will clearly be a world Christianity, a movement that is recognized as a truly global phenomenon. It will become increasingly more globally representative and expressive of the realities of Southern and Eastern continents.’

A representative Evangelical, writes Bhakiaraj, will probably be a ‘Chinese woman engaged in the marketplace, rather than a white Western theologically educated male. The Evangelical Movement may not be centered any longer in Colorado Springs or in London, but will move, if it already has not, equally to Beijing, Lagos, and São Paulo.’ Bhakiaraj defines the nature of the Evangelical Movement as ‘a gospel centered people in multiple and complex contexts. While our contexts will differ and our responses vary, we must never lose sight of the centrality of the gospel itself.’

The author’s experience working on the massive, sprawling project that eventually narrowed and sharpened to become Evangelicals Around the World: A Global Handbook for the 21st Century suggests that Bhakiaraj is correct. For those who call themselves Evangelical everywhere, the gospel is central and the contexts are complex indeed.

Buy-in

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By Floyd McClung.

“Buy-in is believing in a leader. People buy into a relationship first and then the person’s vision. Through close association with Him, Jesus’ disciples bought into Jesus and then His vision. They even became willing to die for Him. Every effective leader has a core team of people who believe in him or her personally, and because they believe in their leader, they believe in the vision.

We shouldn’t expect others to buy into us as leaders if we have not bought into another leader ourselves. It is our authenticity, believability and Christ-likeness that compels people to buy into our vision. Are your team members buying into you because you have bought deeply into Jesus?…”

To read more about Jesus style leadership click here to find Leading Like Jesus on Amazon Kindle

(Image by Pedro Ribeiro Simões)

The Jihad of Jesus 

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By Jeff Fountain, director of YWAM Europe and the Schuman Centre for European Studies.

Called The Jihad of Jesus, it’s a handbook for reconciliation and action, a do-it-yourself guide for all Christians and Muslims who want to move beyond the ‘clash of civilizations’ and struggle for justice and peace nonviolently side by side.

I’ve known the author, Dave Andrews, for four decades, during which he has been consistently provocative and radical in his application of Jesus’ teaching to daily life and contemporary society.

Dave doesn’t pretend to be an expert: ‘I have not written this book as a specialist. I am not. I have simply written this book in conversation with Muslim friends, seeking to find a way we can struggle for love and justice that is true to the best in our faith traditions.’

Frequent misleading references to ‘jihad’ in newspaper, radio and tv headlines prompted some of Dave’s friends, both Christian and Muslim, to suggest he write a book about Jesus and ‘jihad’ and call it ‘The Jihad of Jesus’.

They hoped the provocative title would get a lot of attention, and introduce Christians and Muslims to a Koranic reconstruction of the concept of ‘jihad’ in the light of the radical practical nonviolence of Jesus.

Presently in Europe to promote his book, the Brisbane-based Australian has had prominent attention from the major papers in his home country with front page and full-page stories. Also the influential American Huffington Post review urged ‘all Christians and Muslims to join the Jihad Of Jesus’.

Oxymoron

For most of us, the book’s title seems an oxymoron. That word ‘jihad’ clashes with the Jesus we know. And Dave admits that the word conjures up images of terror and atrocities–from 9/11 to the recent aborted Thalys would-be massacre.

But if you go back to the Koran, he explains, the word jihad actually means struggle, not war. The word for war in the Koran is qital. The overwhelming emphasis of the word jihad in the Koran is non-violence.

Which means that what most ‘jihadists’ are involved with is totally unacceptable in Koranic terms, Dave argues.

‘So rather than taking the anti-jihad stand–which won’t succeed because jihad is such an important view in the Koran–we’re saying let’s reclaim it from the extremists, reframe it as a sacred nonviolent struggle for justice,’ proposes the author.

‘If both Christians and Muslims believe Jesus is the Mesih or the Messiah–which they do–let’s look at Jesus as a role model for non-violent jihad. Rather than see Jesus as a poster boy to legitimate crusading against Muslims, we see Jesus as a Messiah who can bring Muslims and Christians together, to work together non-violently.’

But achieving common ground it is not as simple as condemning violence, concedes Dave. Rather, it involves a critical reflection of the way religions have been constructed.

He argues in The Jihad Of Jesus that we are caught up in a cycle of so-called ‘holy wars’, but while this inter-communal conflict may be endemic, it’s not inevitable. And this gets to the core of the book’s argument: our religions can be either sources of escalating conflict, or resources for overcoming inter-communal conflict. For that to happen, we need to understand the heart of all true religion as open-hearted compassionate spirituality.

Open-set

When we define religion as a closed set–where you’ve got people who are in the right, and people who are in the wrong–we tend towards the violence of religion, believes Dave.

People who believe they are right feel they have the responsibility to impose their views on others non-violently, or if necessary, violently, he reasons. We all know examples of Christians and Muslims who operate like that.

However, an open-set mindset exists within both traditions which recognises that it has no monopoly on God, or a franchise on the truth. It includes the other in a way that is empathic and respectful. It leads to non-violent resolution of conflicts instead of violence.

‘There’s a thousand years of conflict between our communities,’ explains Dave. ‘So you’ve got this strong paranoia and this great underlying fear of one another that has erupted again since 9/11 in explicit and graphic and catastrophic ways. That is the challenge.’

Dave acknowledges theological differences between Christians and Muslims, but intentionally tries to focus on those beliefs about Jesus that Christians and Muslims have in common as the place to start conversations.

Such ‘common ground’ is not suspect compromise, but is ‘sacred ground’ on which we can stand and speak to one another, Dave believes. He urges Christians and Muslims to reflect the kindness and humility of Christ, who they should follow ‘with every beat of their hearts, through every vein in their head, their hands and their feet.’

For further information, see jihadofjesus.com, or order the book here.

 

Thanks to Jeff for letting us repost this. The original article can be found by clicking here.

Get Praying With Prayer Mate

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For those into technology, PrayerMate is an app for smart-phones and tablet-computers that helps you pray for the people and causes you care about, including NZCMS! Each day, the latest prayer prompts from NZCMS will be available at the touch of a button, and you can even set an alarm to remind you that it’s time to pray. It’s available on Android and iOS, so that you have prayer points from our Mission Partners right at your fingertips.

Download the app from iTunes here Download the Android app here

Once you have installed PrayerMate, the app should show you how it’s operated. It allows you to include a variety of topics in your prayer list, include prayers for NZCMS. You can add NZCMS to your prayer list by selecting the small + in the top corner.

Choose “Add new subject” then “World mission.” On the next page choose the bottom option, “Subscribe to feed.” Select the category “Mission & Bible Translation” then scroll down until you see NZCMS. The last step: select “Subscribe to this feed.” (If you are asked if you want push notifications, you can select “Yes” to be alerted to new prayer items from NZCMS.)

You can add in your own prayers, find other groups to be praying for, and remove some of the default items if you wish. To remove an item, select the arrow at the bottom of the item and then select “Archive subject.” To add an alarm to remind you to prayer each day, go to settings / advanced settings / Add reminder alarm.

For advice for getting started click here and watch the video at the end.

Making God relevant for Kiwis

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The Christchurch Press recently wrote a story about Ron Hay’s book Finding the Forgotten God. Below is a short excerpt from the news story by Philip Matthews.

Of all the people you should never lie to, an Anglican minister would be high up the list. But is this lying, really? Or is it just not quite telling the truth?

The Anglican minister is Ron Hay and he has been phoned by The Press at his home at Castle Hill, North Canterbury, because he has won a Mind Body Spirit Literary award, worth $10,000. Only he doesn’t know that yet.

Or maybe he does know and he’s playing along too, even when he cheerfully says things like: “You never know what your chances are in a situation like this”.

Officially, at the time of phoning, he is just one of five contenders for the award, handed out annually by the Ashton Wylie Charitable Trust for books on spiritual matters. An equivalent prize goes to unpublished manuscripts.

The media has the good news under embargo, provided we can keep the secret. And the secret is that Hay won at an award ceremony in Auckland last night,   all going to plan.

Some readers may already know him: Hay was the vicar at Sumner-Redcliffs for 15 years before he took early retirement in 2009, in order to write. His first book, Finding the Forgotten God, is the result.

To read more of the Press article click here. For more about Finding  the Forgotten God click here. And a big congratulations goes to Ron for winning the award!

The Relaunch of Interchange

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We’re pleased to announce the release of the revamped Interchange, the weekly news emailer from NZCMS. Asides from a beautiful new design, the biggest difference is that we’ve moved from including full length articles to a ‘snippet’ based approach. This ’email digest’ style highlights recent articles posted to the NZCMS website and invites you to read the articles of interest to you. It also means the length will be more consistent, as sometimes the length of articles made Interchange a little cumbersome for some readers.

As it turns out, we’ve been working on this new Interchange for over six months, sorting out some complicated internet scripting that would make the new design possible. To explain a little how it works, throughout the week we’ll post articles and updates to the NZCMS website, as well as add prayer items and events to an internet calendar system. Interchange then automatically draws all this content together and, after a review from me, sends it out to our members across New Zealand. If you want to see the latest news, you can visit nzcms.org.nz throughout the week or check our Facebook page.

Another change that we have been trialling over the last few months is the new printable prayer prompt list. This new system has made the process of creating and sending Interchange more efficient and means a printable prayer list will be automatically created – even if another staff member needs to write Interchange one week and even if I’m away from the office (both not possible previously). If you want a printed copy, we encourage you to print this when you receive Interchange. This is because the prayer list will only show future items, as the list automatically draws the next eight available items. Typically the prayer items are added on Wednesdays, meaning there will not be many items on the list by Tuesdays. Thank you for your patience as we’ve developed this new printable list, as it has given me a little extra time in my week that I can invest in further developing our Haerenga Mission Internship.

We hope you enjoy the revamped Interchange!

If you or anyone you know might be interested in receiving Interchange each week, they can sign up here: http://eepurl.com/bvbGez