Monthly Archives: March 2019

2019/03/31 — Brigada Today

Compiled/Edited by Doug Lucas and Tina McCormick, Team Expansion

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In this issue…
1) This World Has Lost a Fantastic Servant: Tribute to Steve Smith
2) Dog Sets New Distance Record: Longest Frisbee Catch in History
3) Is This the Best Explanation of the Greatest Spiritual Needs?
4) “Never a Cold Call:” The Importance of Prayer to Power What We Do
5) Six Truths about Disciple-making Movements (from Curtis Sergeant?)
6) Carrie Osgood Might have Created the Most Interesting World Map Ever
7) TESOL Training in Chiang Mai.
8) Get Foundational Coaching Skills Training (FOCOS )
9) Get B+ High Security Training, May 6-9, San Diego CA
10) Can Someone Tell us Why We Shouldn’t Use “OnlyOffice?”
11) Mapping Center: Great Tool for Locating Unreached Peoples
12) New Version of “More Disciples” is In the Works (“2 Weeks or so”)
13) We’re Grateful for…
14) The Last Bit: Wondering About Church Growth in the USA?
15) Closing Stuff

1) This World Has Lost a Fantastic Servant: Tribute to Steve Smith

I (Doug) remember the first time I heard Steve Smith speak — just like it was yesterday. I remember thinking, “Wow — this guy is so smart. When I grow up, I want to be like he is.” I made up my mind — we had to introduce him to the people of our org. I’m so glad that, last summer, we featured Steve Smith at our organization’s global gathering. Our workers from around the world loved his passion for the Word, his commitment to people, and his earnest desire to seek the Spirit’s guidance. On March 13, after battling cancer for two years, Steve was promoted to an office in Heaven. Obviously, the Lord knows best. But from where we’re sitting, it feels like we’ve lost a tremendous warrior for the Cause of Christ. Take a look at this tribute page from our friends at No Place Left:

 

npl2025.org/tribute/

 

Scroll down the page and check out the articles he wrote in Mission Frontiers alone. This guy was the Energizer Bunny for Christ. Please take a look at the offer on that page for a free copy of his book, “HASTENING,” and check out how you can offer it to your contacts.

 

Our heart goes out to Laura and the family. Only God can console them. But for all of us, it feels like there’s this huge galactic hole left behind. See the IMB’s mention at…

 

www.baptistmessenger.com/former-imb-missionary-leader-steve-smith-57-dies/

 

Please take a moment right now to lift up Laura — and thank the Lord for the blessing it was to learn from this great man of God, co-author of T4T: A Discipleship Re-Revolution, follower of Christ, disciple-maker of many.

(Thanks Robby, for helping give the world a chance to read his books.)

2) Dog Sets New Distance Record: Longest Frisbee Catch in History

Check us out on this. For us, this longest-distance Frisbee catch illustrates several key lessons that come together in this incredible feat.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1Fruyxrx3w

First, the dog has to be incredibly fast and fit. Second, the dog’s timing has to be right (to snatch this thing right out of the air). Third and finally, the thrower had to make the throw just right (super-long distance combined with a super-long hang-time — and don’t forget super-straight). Launching a disciple-making movement (DMM) is somewhat like this. It usually requires an implementer who was so passionate, so determined, and so committed, that there was actually never anything in question: He or she felt so driven that “whatever it takes” to win an entire pocket of people, he or she would give it all. However, in reality, there was a certain sense of timing, calling, and God’s purpose involved. But even given all this, at the end of the day, it’s really all up to God and His eternal purposes. We can do everything just right — but if God’s Spirit doesn’t will it, it just won’t happen.

 

But when it DOES happen, it’s a beautiful thing.

 

3) Is This the Best Explanation of the Greatest Spiritual Needs?

This relatively new video (with relatively few views) just might be the best explanation anywhere of the biggest spiritual needs ever, especially when it comes to understanding the places where the Gospel isn’t. Thanks to RW Lewis and Chris Maynard for imagining this clear, clarion call for pioneers. Our hope is that your church or group will find time in the very near future to view and share this video, then prayerfully brainstorm about what action steps you might take to address its truths. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVmTU13rgo8&feature=youtu.be

(Thanks to Mission Frontiers for consistently pointing us toward these important facts. And thanks to Telos Fellowship for believing in the importance of sharing these challenges. Finally, we’re all grateful to the good folks at JoshuaProject.net for sounding the call for all.)

 

4) "Never a Cold Call:" The Importance of Prayer to Power What We Do

This past month, while traveling among 11 very unreached people groups in a Muslim West African nation, a couple of church leaders and I (Doug) studied a movement that is beginning to spread like wildfire across the plains. We met with some of the movement’s leaders to try to discover what’s powering it. One of them put it this way: Speaking of the power of prayer, he quipped, “We never have to make a cold call.” His point was simply this: By investing most of their time in prayer for their neighbors (both near and far), they are seeing God go before them in everything they do. One gentleman — we’ll call him Ibrahim — told a story about a man who recently knocked on his door, literally asking, “Can you tell me why I felt such a strong compulsion to come and knock on your door? Is there something you’re supposed to tell me?” Ibrahim assured the visitor that, yes, most definitely, there was a particular story that the visitor was supposed to hear. A few days later, Ibrahim baptized the new believer in Christ. When we pray, heaven fights our battles for us. We have the benefit of “high ground.” We never have to make a cold call again.

5) Six Truths about Disciple-making Movements (from Curtis Sergeant?)

We can’t recall for sure where we heard these six truths. (That probably means they came from Curtis Sergeant. : ) ) But they are timeless and true for most, if not all, disciple-making movements that catch stride:

  • *** You take care of the depth; let God take care of the breadth.
    *** Pour deeply into a few regardless of the cost.
    *** Keep doing what you are doing and you will get better at it.
    *** To obey and train others, you can’t pass on what you don’t possess.
    *** Simple things grow and simple things multiply.
    *** It is always relational before it gets organizational.

We should make note of these, memorize them, and say them out loud every morning of our lives. : )

6) Carrie Osgood Might have Created the Most Interesting World Map Ever

What if, in one world map, you could see populations (instead of land masses), overlaid with the majority faith of those major populations? What would it look like? Well the great news is — wonder no more. A young lady named Carrie Osgood has not only answered your question, but has presented it with picture-perfect precision at…

 

carrieonadventures.com/inspiration/worldreligions.html

 

If you view it here…

 

carrieonadventures.com/inspiration/graphics/worldreligions-detailed.png

 

you can see country labels and zoom in for greater detail on the smaller lands.

 

(Who is this lady — Carrie Osgood? Learn about her business here:

clo-communications.com/ Thank you Carrie! )

7) TESOL Training in Chiang Mai.

Are you teaching English as a platform for ministry? Now you can get training that will help you do an excellent job. Asean Center for TESOL offers an intensive, five-week certificate course in Chiang Mai, Thailand, including 10 hours practice teaching to non-native speakers. April 1 – May 3, and July 1 – August 3 are the next two course dates. Learn more at….

 

www.actesol.com

 

or email

infothaiatactesoldotcom  (infothaiatactesoldotcom)  

8) Get Foundational Coaching Skills Training (FOCOS )

Are you looking for practical training that will help you make use of coaching skills and principles in your leadership roles? Coaching Mission International (CMI) is committed to supporting you as you learn to integrate coaching skills into your leadership sphere. The curriculum includes experiencing coaching for yourself during a five-day interactive workshop introducing coaching skills, mentor coaching, and teleclasses for skill development and application as you begin to use those skills with others. It’s taught onsite in Phoenix, AZ, September 10-14, 2019. Learn more at…

 

cmiprograms.org/training/focos/

9) Get B+ High Security Training, May 6-9, San Diego CA

Prepare yourself for living in or visiting places of high risk. Learn how to maintain security for yourself and others when being interrogated, how to avoid or survive kidnapping, and small things you can do to make a big difference in your level of risk. Register at

 

www.surveymonkey.com/r/SecurityMay19

 

For more info contact

infoatinterculturalStudiodotorg  (infoatinterculturalStudiodotorg)  

10) Can Someone Tell us Why We Shouldn’t Use "OnlyOffice?"

After looking at the comparison at…

 

www.onlyoffice.com/best-microsoft-office-alternative.aspx

 

We’re trying to figure out why we wouldn’t use this app as our main way to create and view documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Their desktop version seems solid (and, in some ways, a lot clearer?). And their cloud version can be free for qualifying nonprofits. And it’s open source, right? So we can see the security holes (if there are any), right? And wow — the price is great (free for the desktop version; free for the cloud version for qualifying nonprofits). Can someone click “comment” below this item and tell us why we shouldn’t invest in this rather than corporate alternatives?

11) Mapping Center: Great Tool for Locating Unreached Peoples

Last week while visiting with the staff of Global Gates in New York City, we learned about a service called Mapping Center. Granted, it’s a paid service… and we all love free things. But this service tells your church members who their neighbors are and even prompts your members to pray for them. It’s got to be worth a look, right? And after all, there are components of the app that are free anyway. Check out…

 

www.mappingcenter.org/our-services

 

The amazing data come into play in the “Online Community Connector” version. You can see ethnicity, language spoken and more — down to the granular (house by house) level. Amazing stuff. (Thanks for your work on this, Kevin — and everyone else. And thanks for sharing the ideas, Chris.)

12) New Version of "More Disciples" is In the Works ("2 Weeks or so")

It just showed up on Amazon last month, but already, several people have asked for end-of-chapter discussion questions for the new book, “More Disciples.” So this past week, we hunkered down and did a full revision, adding material we had been wanting to include anyway. All of the material is now in the hands of the formatting team. So a revised, enlarged, and expanded version 1.1 of More Disciples will be available in two weeks or so. We’ll let you know when it drops. Watch for it in the next 14 days. (We’ll do our best to take care of those who already purchased version 1.0.)

13) We’re Grateful for…

… the gift of $100 from Mission Network of Mt. Vernon, WA, which has researched and promoted fruitful paradigm shifts in mission strategy since 2004. Learn more at themissionnetwork.org/

… the $20 gift from a staffer at Finishing the Task. These people are world-changers. Learn more about their passion at finishingthetask.com/

… a $200 gift from a long-time Brigada participant who wrote, “As active missionaries it was never possible to donate, but now it is possible. Thank you for all you do. So much of the information you shared was an encouragement or a help in our work on the field.” Whoa. Thanks for that encouragement — and thank you for your long-time service for the King and His Kingdom worldwide.

 

Want to join these partners in helping Brigada through 2019? If so, just click “Donate” at www.brigada.org, or 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 by writing a check to Team Expansion is tax-deductible. Thank you, in advance, for your partnership!

14) The Last Bit: Wondering About Church Growth in the USA?

If so, this new study from Exponential by LifeWay Research might shed some light on your quest. Reported just last month (March 6, 2019), the study points out that “three in 5 (61 percent) pastors say their churches faced a decline in worship attendance or growth of 5 percent or less in the last three years.” In fact, “fifty-four percent of pastors say fewer than 10 people indicated a new commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior in 2018, including 8 percent who had none.” Interestingly, LifeWay found a bit of a tipping point. “Less than a quarter (23 percent) of churches with an average worship attendance of fewer than 50 say they are growing, while most churches with 250 or more in attendance (59 percent) are growing.” By the way, most Protestant churches have fewer than 100 people attending services each Sunday (57 percent), including 21 percent who average fewer than 50. Around 1 in 10 churches (11 percent) average 250 or more for their worship services.

 

We feel that many people will seize on the negative parts of this study. They’ll hear that ” three in 5 (61 percent) pastors say their churches faced a decline in worship attendance” and miss out on the news that 39 percent say their congregation has grown by at least 6 percent since the first quarter of 2016. While the media would like for us to believe that the USA has left Christ to follow secularism, reality tells us otherwise. Church growth is still happening. We just need to work at it and rally for it a bit harder. See the full report at…

 

lifewayresearch.com/2019/03/06/small-struggling-congregations-fill-u-s-church-landscape/

 

What surprised you most about this study? Can you spot any encouraging perspectives, or is it mostly dim news for you?

 

(Thanks to Justin for pointing us to this study originally.)

15) Closing Stuff

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