Monthly Archives: September 2016

2016/09/25 — Brigada Today

Compiled/Edited by Doug Lucas and Tina McCormick, Team Expansion
Brigada online has more graphics and links at

In this issue…
1) The “BackPage” is no more: Enter “The Last Bit”
2) ConnecTEFL: Certify Online to Teach English As A Foreign Language
3) MissionSmart: 15 Critical Questions To Ask Before Launching Overseas
4) Good News Transcends Gang Stigma in Haiti
5) Need Downloadable Sunday School Lessons?
6) Have you Tried DonorSnap?
7) MissioNexus Hits the Target
8) What’s your best International News Source?
9) Got a great Missions Video? Please post it here:
10) Your go-to source about the Affordable Care Act
11) Need an Idea for a New Fundraiser?
12) Are you Afraid of Failure? AntiochJourney has Answers
13) This Thanksgiving, Would you Consider Brigada?
14) The Last Bit: Missionaries Lag No More
15) Closing Stuff

1) The “BackPage” is no more: Enter “The Last Bit”

Recently, a bunch of bad guys have given the term “The Backpage” a bad name. As a result, beginning with this edition of Brigada, we officially change the name of our “back page” to “The Last Bit.” Please pray for those whose lives have been endangered, ruined, or damaged as a result of bad guys who do bad things. The Last Bit will continue to feature current editorials, questions about today’s culture, and opinion pieces about things that affect the lives of those who travel and work cross-culturally for His purposes.

2) ConnecTEFL: Certify Online to Teach English As A Foreign Language

ConnecTEFL is an affordable 15 week, 120 hour teaching English as a foreign language certification program. The course can be taken in-class in Memphis, TN or online anywhere in the world. The certificate meets the globally accepted TESOL International short-term certificate standards. Get trained to teach English to arriving refugees or to obtain genuine work abroad. For more info, see…

3) MissionSmart: 15 Critical Questions To Ask Before Launching Overseas

Mission Smart addresses serious gaps in the mission mobilization process and offers fresh solutions for seeing less missionary attrition. It’s for overseas ministry candidates, church leaders, and mission agency staff. The goal is to ask practical questions in order to send the right people who know their callings, can thrive overseas and be effective in cross-cultural ministry. Learn more about the book

Here’s the Amazon link to get your copy.

4) Good News Transcends Gang Stigma in Haiti

Mason, a worker with Crossworld, recently joined students from Evangelical Theological Seminary of Port-au-Prince to continue the process of rebuilding parts of Haiti still suffering from the 2010 earthquake. But they got an unexpected invitation from a local gang who also sought their help. They worked alongside a mix of gun-toting murderers, escaped prisoners and thieves. New bridges for friendship and the gospel were built. Read the full story at

5) Need Downloadable Sunday School Lessons?

missionary kidsOur inquiry into this question last week elicited input from Deanna, Jonathan, and Barbara (among others), resulting in these great sources:

For those working in Francophone Africa (free of charge!):

For those working in Spanish (free of charge, with media & activities)

In LOTS of languages (tons), all free, with lots of media:

To me, this is some of the best examples of Brigada at work. Because people like Deanna, Jonathan, and Barbara have sleuthed out resources, we CROWD-source the questions on Brigada, and we all win! Thanks for being part of the Brigada family! And thanks for taking time to be “one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread!”

6) Have you Tried DonorSnap?

dollarBrigada user Bill McClure or Gospel Broadcasting Mission encouraged us to consider it in a recent inquiry we did on constituency relationship management (CRM) and donor relationship software. Start with a $39/month cost for an unlimited number of users and you’ll be amazed at what you get.

Mobile app
Dashboard metrics
Email integration — and mass emails
Quickbooks integration
Event management (including event registration)
Online giving (including recurring gifts)
Private, custom training for your org (included in the cost)
Help with data conversion and import (no extra charge)
Online forms — like volunteer sign-ups (no more signup genius)
Filtering, logic, and “needle-in-a-haystack” quick searches
Email notifications — on conditions that you set
Calendar integration
Goal management
Custom fields (including linked or relational fields)
Groups and “org chart” type data
Custom screen layout
Volunteer tracking — including hours, activities, interests and more
Full Donor management
AND it’s all in the cloud, so you can operate it from anywhere in the world, from any computer, from any country. Your on-field missionaries can finally see the data real-time. And you can give “no access,” “read-only,” or “read-write” access to any module!

Go to

It’s true that costs rise as you cross thresholds with multiple thousands of new contacts, but — won’t your giving presumably be increasing by then anyway, so you’ll have a bit more money to pay the reasonable monthly costs? : ) Give it a try — and please jot down your thoughts in a comment following this item. You can try it for free for 30 days. And thanks for the tip, Bill!

7) MissioNexus Hits the Target

Saw tons of you at MissioNexus. Brigada, for its part, doesn’t usually do an exhibit at these events. We’re too busy going to sessions and learning from you! : ) (Maybe we’re bad marketers.) Either way, MissioNexus hit the target – with great speakers, great content, and great themes. If you aren’t already a member, maybe it’s a new day. You’ve heard of EFMA or IFMA? This (MissioNexus) is the confluence of the two orgs, rolled up into one. Check ’em out at:

8) What’s your best International News Source?

news-around-the-worldEvery once and awhile, we revisit this question, just to see if something else has cropped up. Some people swear by…

But honestly, I have a hard time finding anything that beats the computer-driven model at…

You can customize the page with key words and cool “sliders” that let you focus on the topics that YOU want to see. So… learn less about the Kardashians and more about Kyrgyzstan. See fewer pointless ads and more themes that matter. (This is Google done right.) Drop entire sections in favor of YOUR preferences. Make it as international, national, regional, and/or local as you like. And, of all things, get it all for free??? I must be dreaming.

So can you beat the Google news page? What’s your favorite way to keep up to date on what’s happening with hurricanes, refugees, politics, and more?

10) Your go-to source about the Affordable Care Act

If your mission or church is operating in a USA context, the Affordable Care Act (ACA — or Obamacare) is probably relevant for you. (Maybe if you haven’t researched it, you should start.) Unfortunately, it’s extremely complex — and somewhat of a moving target. As a result, it’s difficult to figure out how it impacts your org, in detail. So what’s the best site, source, consultant, or advisor that you’ve found? Start with simple pages like these:

before you read all 974 pages of the real legislation here:

Then talk to consultants like the Marsh Group here…

But what source worked best for you? Where are you looking TODAY? Please comment after the web version of this item. Thanks!

12) Are you Afraid of Failure? AntiochJourney has Answers

Are you considering business as mission? Thinking about marketplace ministry? Wondering how to get started? AntiochJourney offers a 31-Day Challenge to give you a bite-at-a-time approach to get started. And it’s free. Learn more at…
They also write regular blog entries to keep you “coached up.” For example, see this item on “fear of failure,” featuring a great little four-minute video by Curtis Sergeant.

Plus you can sign up to be notified every time they post a new blog entry. Again — it’s all free.

13) This Thanksgiving, Would you Consider Brigada?

Brigada doesn’t try to raise much. For over a decade, our annual fundraising goal has been $17,000 per year (enough to pay for web-hosting fees, email, anti-spam monitoring, and a part-time assistant to handle communications and publishing). I can’t remember the last time we hit the goal. The crazy thing is — over 7,000 people read the email version each week… and many more read the web version online, where each weekly edition is archived forever (since 1995). So really… if just one generous lady decided to give the entire $17,000 in one check, we could leave behind the entire question — and move on. Or, if just 170 “true fans” of Brigada would each send $100, we’d be done in an instant. So this Thanksgiving, would you consider making an offering gift to Brigada? Start saving now. Come up with $100. Then on November 14th, just mail a check payable to Team Expansion (Brigada), 13711 Willow Reed Drive, Louisville, KY 40299. Team Expansion is a 501(c)3 incorporation so, for USA citizens, your gift to Christ through Team Expansion is tax-deductible. If you’d rather give online, just click “Donate” in the upper right corner at . In advance, please hear us when we say, “Thank you!”

14) The Last Bit: Missionaries Lag No More

There was a time, in the past, when SOME people might have poked fun of missionaries for being kind of “behind the times.” Maybe it was because our predecessors made due with clothes leftover from Salvation Army barrels, sent on slow boats to far-flung places in the world. So our sunset slides and out-of-style suits were kind of stereotypical, perhaps. Today, we’re suggesting that missionaries lag no more. Why? Maybe because of tools like Skype. Maybe it’s because the cities (and villages?) in which we work all have CNN? Or maybe it’s because certain pioneers started orgs like CrossConnect (the OLD CrossConnect — the one that started — the Pete Holzmann and Jonathan Marsden crowd), JAARs, and more. Either way, missionaries now seem to be LEADING the tech pack. We use advanced software in Bible translation, we post messages from near and far, and we research the latest way to help locals get a look at, not just the Jesus Film, but the latest video we prepped in our back office yesterday afternoon. See this story, for example…

In what ways are YOU amazed at technology being used in missions circles? Can you give an example of something that YOU remember that was “old-fashioned” in the missions world in the Good Ole’ Days? And maybe another example of something that is easier, less expensive, or faster today — because of tech? If so, just click “comment” after the web version of this item. And thanks in advance for taking part in “The Last Bit.”

15) Closing Stuff

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