8) MissionSmart: Worth Another Look

mission smartAfter a flurry of mentions in recent editions of Brigada, I have to admit — I now have three new books on my desktop. I’m looking forward to reading, “MissionSmart: 15 Critical Questions to Ask Before Launching Overseas.” After mentioning this book in a recent Brigada item, one of our great friends, Marti, commented, “Recently read this myself, primarily looking for its strengths and weaknesses. Have noticed that several of the “how to become a missionary” books and resources out there reflect assumptions or biases that limit their usefulness. It’s hard to produce something that is concrete, practical and clear without becoming unduly prescriptive. But I thought he kept a good balance on that. Emphasis on the importance of not simply “sending” yourself but building a strong relationship with the church, getting relevant experience before you go, dealing with family and identity issues, etc.” Marti added that the “Book does assume we’re talking about Americans/Westerners going out as long-term career missionaries, but acknowledges a variety of roles and approaches. See the author talking about this book here:”

She closed by saying, “I have a hunch this book will find a greater audience with church mission leaders (who have seen a few people crash and burn) than with the candidates themselves (who have a stronger felt need for encouragement rather than cautionary tales).” I can’t wait to read it myself. You can order MissionSmart at:

9) Do you Think God Wants You to be a Missionary?

i think God wants me to be a missionaryThen check out the book by that title (“I Think That God Wants Me to be a Missionary”)…

A recent commenter from Emmaus Road International …

Mentioned that he had found the book very helpful. We agree and have actually taught workshops using material from it. Another job well done, Neal!

8) Get Original Version of “Send me!” as PDF — for free!

send me your journey to the nationsIn another response to last week’s item, “3) How do You Respond when a Recruit Rises in a Local Church?,” Brigada participant David, of, pointed us to the fact that “Send me!” had been revised (how did we miss this? :-) ) and the original version is now available for free as a PDF. We found it at…

But it might be elsewhere as well. You can order the new version at…

11) Get Smart with “Mission Smart: Critical Questions” (the book)

mission smartWe’re still reaping additional rewards from the question on “what would you tell a new recruit.” David, of, recommended we check out “Mission Smart,” which you can find at …

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

3) How do You Respond when a Recruit Rises in a Local Church?

send me your journey to the nationsWith praise, I hope. But the specific question is — this past week, a global outreach staff person in a large local church emailed, asking for “some sort of resource/questionnaire/book to guide young minds and hearts that are considering overseas mission work. If a young person comes to you and says, “I think God might be calling me to Africa, what do you give them? What do you ask them? What do you tell them to do?” My shooting-from-the-hip response was to recommend the book, “Send Me! Your Journey to the Nations.”

In this book, Steve Hoke and Bill Taylor outline a very thoughtful and intentional process for a recruit, perhaps in cooperation with the global outreach minister and the local church, can begin preparation well in advance of any actual departure date. But do you have other such resources you would have recommended? In particular, what if the prospective recruit is on the younger side? Maybe the “Send me” book is a bit too much for a very young recruit? Got a favorite? If so, please just click “Comment” after the web version of this item. Thanks in advance for any help!

12) Learn to Be a Missionary-Journalist [New Book]

go tell it bookGreat stories are happening everywhere in the mission field and around the world. Sometimes these stories hit their mark, but more often than not these stories of God at work often stay hidden, are told ineffectively, or miss their audience completely. Now, in their new book, “Go Tell It,” Jim Killam and Lincoln Brunner gives practical tips for how to “report” on what God is doing around the world.

The authors write with a special eye for the Christian missions world to help bloggers, missionaries, and world-travelers report stories of God’s work around the globe. From fundraising to newsletters to “Missions Sunday” presentations and everywhere in between, this book will help energize the church for the Great Commission.

Read an excerpt at:

(Thanks for the tip, Natalie!)

14) The BackPage: “The Insanity of God” Book Might Change Your Life

insanity of GodThe Insanity of God is a book by Nik and Ruth Ripken. For many of us, at least in the United States, we believe that by being obedient to God’s call will result in a safe and secure life. How many of us have been told that the safest place to be is right in the center of God’s will? Nik and Ruth Ripken’s journey takes them too many places where they see many Christian lives at stake just because of their belief. While working in Somali, Nik sees depravity, starvation, and evil at its best. He even feels that every time he arrives in Somali that he has “descended into hell by way of a bombed-out, single-landing-strip airport…” (Chapter 1, pg 1). After a devastating life event, however, the family packs up their belongings and heads home to Kentucky to question everything they believe in – including their faith.
Story after story of persecuted believers, Nik is humbled and moved that God performs miracles just like the days of old. “The stories that I was hearing saved my life. God is indeed still present in this broken world. He is working. He is doing what He has always done. And, through the stories, my hope and my faith were being rekindled,” (pg 272).

During his trip to Ukraine, he was with a group of believers listening to their stories of prison, persecution, and God’s powerful hand in their lives. At the end of the testimonies and stories Nik responds by asking, “I just don’t understand why you haven’t collected these stories in a book? Believers around the world ought to hear what you have been telling me here today. Your stories are amazing! These are inspiring testimonies! I have never heard anything like them!” An old pastor replies, “Son, when did you stop reading your Bible? All of our stories are in the Bible. God has already written them down. Why would we bother writing books to tell our stories when God has already told His story. If you would just read your Bible, you would see that our stories are there,” (page 179).

This takes Nik on a journey that not only restores his faith but takes his faith to new levels as never before. His book reminds the reader that the God of the Old and New Testament is alive and well today – and that maybe we have put God in a little box surrounded by parameters. Nik states, “And when the Bible becomes present active tense, not only is God out of the box. There’s no box. It’s burnt, it’s ashes.”

Watch the book “trailer” at…

Order the Insanity of God at…

3) Don’t Buy This Book (Unless You’re Courageous)

dangerousCaleb Bislow in his book, Dangerous, quotes the late Mike Yaconelli, “The most critical issue facing Christians is not abortion, pornography, the disintegration of the family, moral absolutes, MTV, drugs, racism, sexuality, or school prayer.  The critical issue is dullness.  We have lost our astonishment.  The Good News is no longer the good news, it is okay news.  Christianity is no longer life changing, it is life enhancing.  Jesus doesn’t change people into wild-eyed radicals anymore, He changes them into ‘nice people.’  If Christianity is simply about being nice, I’m not interested.”

Caleb’s view of Christianity is a refreshing view of faith.  While literally wiping out his family’s savings to head to the unreached, Caleb and his wife agree that there is more to this life than just having a good jobs and exceptional kids. “In comfortable America, it’s easy to think that God would never call people to the ridiculous or dangerous – that God’s very special plan for our lives is to have stable jobs, two-point-five healthy kids, and a taupe house in the suburbs.  But then we read the Bible.” (page 69).

While listening to that still small voice that most of us would chalk up to crazy thoughts, Caleb sees time after time how important it is to listen to that quiet voice rather than the deafening sounds around us.

Caleb inspires you to do more than just read an inspiring book – but to however, get up and join those who take the Great Commission at its word – to make disciples of all nations. Learn more at…

11) Get the Inside Scoop on “Tradecraft”

Global Mapping has recently released a book called “Tradecraft,” which “pulls back the curtain on tools once accessible only to full-time Christian workers moving overseas and offers them to anyone anywhere who desires to live missionally. Tradecraft is a collection of 9 foundational skills that will help all of God’s people everywhere move beyond volunteerism and into partnership in mission.” Learn more here:

12) “The Global Gospel,” book by Werner Mischke: Impact

Be watching for Werner Mischke’s new book, The Global Gospel. It will help you explore the biblical concepts of honor and shame, then apply them to cultures all over the world, again and again. This could end up very helpful in understanding cultures that are different from our own, especially as we seek to design ways and means of presenting the gospel in a contextually-accurate form. As a result, this would be a great backdrop reading for anyone crafting presentation materials for those who come from a different culture. See a partial manuscript at…

Check out his additional resources on honor and shame here…

7) Great new resource for understanding TCKs

between worlds bookBetween Worlds, a new book about the joys and struggles of growing to adulthood as a Third Culture Kid (TCK), just came out. The author, Marilyn Gardner, grew up in Pakistan and went on to raise five of her own TCKs in Pakistan, Egypt, Massachusetts and Arizona. The book is poignant, funny, and thought-provoking. And the chapters are short and very readable. The book is available at Amazon:

It is also for sale in Australia, the UK, the EU and Brazil. To get a Brigada readers’ discount (only orders of five or more, please) email

2) Fantastic Mobilization Resource: “Don’t Waste Your Life” Group Study

don't waste your lifeWhen my son found a copy of the book, “Don’t Waste Your Life,” on a table at Fort Benning several years ago, it was a life-changing experience for him. He was processing out of the army having been hit by a career-ending knee injury. His lifelong dream was crashing in around him. In the middle of all the swirl of emotions, John Piper’s book was critical in helping him rebuild a dream — a dream that has him in the Middle East today, helping people rebuild their own dreams. That’s why I’m excited about the group study featured here…

In this newly designed kit, small groups and classes will be able to maximize John Piper’s biblical charge to make our lives count for eternity. Piper’s central thought is that millions waste their lives on seeking a kind of “fatal success,” all because they have not awakened to the simple, biblical reality that “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” This valuable resource can assist churches, small groups, and teachers in reversing that empty trend.

The newly redesigned kit combines a group study edition based on John Piper’s best-selling book Don’t Waste Your Life, with a ten-session DVD featuring his teaching, plus a full-length study guide and leader materials. It contains everything a ministry or facilitator needs to stimulate discussion within a group and to convey Piper’s passion to make our lives count for eternity.

3) Maybe Scribid Isn’t Such a Great Option After All

piracyPart of the magic of Brigada is that we function with a kind of “collective consciousness.” It’s almost like we get to operate with the sum total memory of the entire Brigada family. So we’re glad, for example, when we publish news about an item like Scribid, that participants are willing to speak up. One friend wrote, “I was disappointed to see Brigada mention Scribid. They have been at the center of a copyright war on the Internet. In effect, users upload copyrighted pdfs. Scribd places ads on them and then gets payment so that users can download other people’s works that Scribd doesn’t have the rights to distribute. In other words, Scribd is essentially making money off pirated content. However, in the last couple of months they have tried to cooperate with some book publishers, but to date I don’t know of anyone who has gotten paid through their scheme. (Thanks Roland!) To learn more, check out this revealing article:

1) Understanding Adolescence

adolescentsFirst published by Victor Books, “Understanding Adolescence” has been updated and is available on-line. It is relevant to missionary parents, teachers, youth workers, and anyone else who works with teenagers. It is also helpful to missionaries serving in cultures that do not have adolescence as a stage of development. The book is available to download free of charge as .doc, .pdf, or .zip files for your computer and as .mobi or .epub files for your Kindle or Nook. You can’t beat the price. Find it at…

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