Monthly Archives: March 2013

Brigada Today — 2013/03/24

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In this edition:
1)Train in Islamics — with Horizons International
2) Managing Email With An Assistant
3) Thuraya to Release a “SatSleeve” for iPhones
4) What’s a “MOOC?” Only the latest 30,000-person virtual classroom
5) Revolting Soccer Balls: Do They Really Work?
6) Looking for a Course on Something? Try iTunes University
7) “Half the Sky:” New Hope for Women in the Global South
8) Hope For Global Mentors Facing Generations & Gender Differences
9) Grounded Questions: From Abstract to Experience
10) How Do We Simplify Our Story?
11) Want to Hear the Bible Dramatized While you Work/Play/Drive?
12) Pacific Northwest Missions Care Conference – Register Now!
13) We Give Thanks to…
14) The BackPage: Lessons in Leadership from the Movie, “Argo”
15) Closing Stuff

1) Train in Islamics — with Horizons International

From May 26 – 31, get “From Cubs to Lions.” This is a discipleship course for new and maturing converts from Islam, taught in Boulder, Colorado.


From June 17 – 21, catch Engaging Islam in Dearborn, Michigan, focused on how to share the Good News with Muslims, with outreach every afternoon.

From July 8 – August 2, attend the Strategic Institute for Muslim Studies, again in Boulder, Colorado, focused on four intensive weeks of teaching which include teaching, interaction and role play.

Get all the details at…


2) Managing Email With An Assistant

We have received some great input in our quest from last week’s item, “12) The Best Way(s) to Train an Assistant.” But perhaps the michael-hyattmost relevant has been the reference that two different readers cited from Michael Hyatt

On top of Hyatt’s original comments, some 55 different readers added even more input following his. Great stuff. Thanks Brigada!

We’re all still learning… still seeking… so if anyone else runs into any other good input, please add it below the web version of this item or the original one. Thanks!

(Thanks to the two Brigada participants who suggested this!)

3) Thuraya to Release a “SatSleeve” for iPhones

Perhaps you first saw it here, at PC Magazine’s website:,2817,2416920,00.asp

Or maybe you were actually scanning Thuraya’s own website. (“How do you know if you’re a real rugged cross-cultural worker?” You regularly scan satphone websites, right? Just kidding.)

Either way, it’s coming — if you have an iPhone 4 or 4S. Take a look at the Thuraya page. It’s basically a satellite adaptor for an iPhone. Download the brochure, get the factsheet, and start dreaming. Once it’s launched, it should provide your iPhone with virtually uninterrupted coverage throughout Europe, Africa, Central Asia, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and Australia. It’ll probably set you back $500 or so, with the average outgoing voice call running $1.25 per minute. Many feel that incoming text messages will be free. Those with an iPhone 5 will have to wait for the wi-fi version, which will run upwards of $700. Of course, those of us who believe in a CASE for our iPhone will have to struggle to get our unit in and out of the case before sleeving up. hassle. :-) But if you’re hiking that five-day trip out to the foothills of the Himalayas to visit that outlying tribe in Arunachal Pradesh, this would be worth its weight in gold. No cell towers out there. :-)

(Keith, thanks for taking time to submit this item from the Balkans!)

4) What’s a “MOOC?” Only the latest 30,000-person virtual classroom

I’ve just wrapped up a great 3-day retreat with 7 other CEO’s of mission agencies. One of our number is plugged in well in the educational scene. He couldn’t wait to tell us about the rapid roll-out of these Massive Open Online Courses, or “MOOC’s,” as they’re called. Read more about them here…

Any class with 30,000 students gets my attention, even if only 20% of them graduate. Exciting stuff.

(Thanks Tony!)

5) Revolting Soccer Balls: Do They Really Work?

soccketball[Note: We have just learned that Soccket balls have sold out of the current generation. Check their website soon, however, for a new generation that promises to be even more efficient.]

Anyone done any kick-arounds with these “Soccket” electrical generators? I’m serious: These are soccer balls that make electricity. Finally, my critics will see that there is a PURPOSE in soccer (more than me just enjoying it). Learn more at…

(By the way, read the cool story about their creation here…

Pretty awesome. These weren’t techies. They weren’t even engineers. This was a single Harvard class on science and the arts. Love it. Imagine the 13-year-old kid whose mother says, “Raul, will you go make some more electricity please? Your sister has to finish this book about Simon Bolivar.” “Ohhhhh all right Mama. [sigh] If that’s what you want.” He tries to hide his enthusiasm and play the part of a martyr. Then proceeds to go find 5 other guys for a fast 3-on-3 small-sided game. He comes back in 45 minutes and little Carmelita now has another 3 hours of reading time with her history book. “Anything to help the family,” he sighs. :-) Gotta love it. How can YOU and your teams use these pelotas? :-)

7) “Half the Sky:” New Hope for Women in the Global South

I mentioned this mission agency CEO retreat I attended. One of our guys introduced us to “Half the Sky,” a documentary about women in the third world. It presents 6 different segments, each with a different USA actress who meets women from different parts of the world. Learn more at….

It’s produced by Nicholas Kristof, a columnist for The New York Times since November 2001. He’s not a Christian, but it’s clear that some of the people he interviews ARE. Fascinating stuff.

(Thanks Doug!)

8) Hope For Global Mentors Facing Generations & Gender Differences

Having trouble with cross-cultural mentoring? Not sure if you’re getting across to someone from a different age range or gender? Now you can try “3G mentoring.” The 3G’s are the three primary interpersonal differences that often lead to unproductive conflict and under-realized potential: generational distinctions, global diversity and gender differences. Learn more at..

Get the book at…

(Thanks to my fellow CEO’s at the retreat I’ve just attended! :-) )

9) Grounded Questions: From Abstract to Experience

My friend, Jill, pointed us to HER friend, who has virtually revolutionized a Bible college in New Zealand. Check out his Ted-type talk at…

This is heady stuff. But it boils down to asking simple questions — to bring about change. Don’t give up early. Stick in the talk until at least minute 4. It’s worth it. Makes me want to rely more on stories and less on Powerpoints. :-)

(Thanks Jill!)

10) How Do We Simplify Our Story?

Talking with these fellow CEO’s of mission agencies, the thoughts emerged — How do we simplify the story of our organization’s past, present and future. Several of my compadres had settled on a quest to come up with harder data categories. They had come to the point that they weren’t so fond of telling the “what’s” any more. They were realizing that people (prayer partners, donors, and friends) wanted to know the “Why’s” of our work. They were now investigating time and energy in figuring out how to INSPIRE the local church. A Bible translation group had sorted out the cost of translating each verse of scripture. A missions-focused seminary had figured out how much it would cost to double its student body. Their conclusion: Everybody’s looking for return on his or her investment. Bigger donors are asking the question, “If I give you $1000, what difference will it generate?” Interesting stuff.

(Thanks for the tip, Tony!)

12) Pacific Northwest Missions Care Conference – Register Now!

Check out “Care ConneXion 2013,” April 19-20, 2013 at Village Baptist Church, Beaverton, OR. Register before April 5th to receive the early-bird rate. Care Connexion is a catalyst for mutual encouragement and sharing of best practice resources in member care. This conference is an excellent opportunity to network with others committed to missionary care and will focus on equipping and networking leaders to provide relevant and effective care for missionaries. Guest keynote speakers are Scott Shaum, Barnabas International and Senior Pastor Mark Hanke, Salem First Baptist Church.  For more information, visit

13) We Give Thanks to…

*** Our Brigada participant from Richfield, MN who just sent $50 to Christ’s global work through Brigada. Thank you!!!

If you’d like to join in with a gift or gifts to undergird Brigada, just navigate to …

then click “Donate” in the upper right and follow the instructions. By the way, you don’t need a PayPal account to give. If you reach a screen asking for your PayPal I.D., look on the left side of the screen, about halfway down, and find the prompt which says, “Continue without a PayPal Account.” If you’d rather send an old-fashioned check, just make it payable to Team Expansion and send it to:

Team Expansion (Brigada),
13711 Willow Reed Dr.,
Louisville, KY 40299

(And by the way, Team Expansion is a 501(c)3 incorporation so for USA citizens, your checks made out to Team Expansion are tax-deductible.)

14) The BackPage: Lessons in Leadership from the Movie, “Argo”

ArgoOK, before I go any farther, I have to say — the language in this movie is horrific. On the one hand, it’s what I hear 3 times a week when I go play soccer with a couple of dozen international friends of mine from all over the world. They cuss, swear, and utter some of the worst words I’ve ever heard. It’s horrible. That’s what this movie sounds like in certain segments. Well… LOTS of segments. Don’t take your family to this movie. Don’t rent it for anyone else on Redbox until you’ve watched it yourself. But if you play soccer with the same guys I do, these words won’t be new. You just won’t like them. Honest. (Am I getting my point across?)

Having said all that, if you can get hold of an EDITED copy of this movie… like … maybe something they show on an airline?… then there are indeed some redeeming values. The story is all about a cooperative effort between Canada and our own CIA to free six U.S. State Department employees who escaped the Iranian embassy just moments before it was stormed by mobs of irate Iranians on Nov. 4, 1979. The rest of the drama describes the CIA’s attempt to free them. The title of the movie, “Argo,” gets its name, of all things, from a movie WITHIN the movie — because the lead CIA operative, Tony Mendez, comes up with a zany idea [which echoed the real life events of 1980] of trying to exfiltrate the 6 hostages by convincing the Iranian government that they’re scouting the country for a movie set — a movie entitled, “Argo.” If you want the complete plot-spoiling description [warning: Don’t read this until you’ve watched the movie], visit

OK, so now the scene is set. And now we ask about the redeeming values. If you can get past all the obscenities, it seems to me thatArgo training there are several lessons in leadership found within Affleck’s portrayal of Tony Mendez and the dynamics of the entire drama. I’d like to propose four lessons, then ask you, the Brigada audience, what further lessons YOU can find in Argo.

*** Leadership, at the end of the day, is believing so strongly in an idea — a big idea — that you’re even prepared to die for it if you have to. Once you reach that level, you can truly rise to heroic status. Anything less than that and you’ll probably be relegated to a medium performance, at best. Affleck’s portrayal of Tony Mendez has received broad acclaim partly because Mendez was indeed a leader willing to die for his cause. (Note: This Mendez guy is the real deal. Argo got a few things wrong, but MANY things it got right — and Mendez is one of them. One of the reasons the movie works is that Affleck helps us see that this guy labored over his integrity: In the movie version of the story, he realized that he had ‘outed’ these six hostages. He HAD to carry through with the rescue now. So… the question we have to ask ourselves as leaders is this: Are we willing to give our LIVES for the cause. I don’t mean — are we willing to leave our wives and children (we should be willing to take them with us). I mean… are we so passionate that this ’cause’ is more than a job. Is it a dream to which we’ll commit ALL of ourselves.

*** Secondly, there will be times, as leaders, that we will have to be so sure of our cause that we have to articulate it even when others believe it’s a dying cause. And part of the MAGIC of leadership is effectively convincing others that the cause is worth living for… and that it will succeed. My buddies and I have several friends who have  said it this way: You’ll know a leader because there will be people following her — or him. Affleck’s depiction of this in the movie is spectacular. In the movie version of the story, [plot-spoiler] the CIA calls off the rescue all together. Affleck’s character at first seems to relent and obey the order. But in a long and lonely night, he inwardly battles through the inner conflict: Does he follow through with his personal convictions even though it risks certain death, being fired and released when he returned (especially if he fails), and the possibility of being made a complete fool if his headquarters doesn’t reconfirm the airline tickets, for example. The upshot for you and me, as leaders: Can we pick our battles? Can we grow the intuition to know when to campaign for follow-through, and when to let go? Can we sort out when to stand up for what we believe and when to walk away. Those decisions, little by little on a daily basis, help shape the successes, or the failures, of us all.

Argo-the_movie*** Third, can we as leaders keep secrets? Mendez pulled all this off in 1980 — but then he couldn’t tell a soul. He couldn’t even tell his WIFE! It wasn’t until the whole thing was declassified in 1997 that the story could finally come out. Can we muster that kind of confidence and humility? “Loose lips” not only “sink ships,” as the old WWII poster says, they also can sink churches and mission agencies too.

*** Fourth, in the movie version, what did it take for Mendez to convince all six hostages to play along — especially the character, “Joe Stafford,” who said, in the movie version, ” You really believe your little story’s gonna make a difference when there’s a gun to our heads?” Tony Mendez replied, in the movie, “I think my story’s the only thing between you and a gun to your head.” [plot spoiler] 48 hours later, as they attempt to board the plane, Joe Stafford steps up to the plate and uses his language skill to tell the story of the movie to the guards, complete with story boards and sound effects. Thanks to his willingness to join the team, they make it through the gate. Our task as leaders is no different. We have to persuade those who aren’t on board either to get on board or to get off the ship. No small task. It takes constant vigilance. But if we’re successful, some of the very people who didn’t want to be involved might mean the difference between success and failure.

Now what about you? What lessons do YOU see in Argo? What did YOU learn about leadership, followership, and mobilization. Just click “Comment” below the online version of this item. Thanks in advance for your thoughts. And remember, please beware the bad language in the movie.


15) Closing Stuff

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