14) The Last Bit: Retaining Workers for the Long Haul

We were struck by the piece written by Elliot D. Stephens in the current issue of EMQ. (EMQ is a Missio Nexus publication. You’ll need a Missio Nexus log-on to read the article at the link below. But your org or church might already have one. If you don’t, this one article might be worth the price of admission.)




Entitled, “Retention and Onboarding: Are We Ready to Ask the Hard Questions,” Stephens quotes from the ReMAP 1 retention study — with “47% of career missionaries leaving by year five, with 71% leaving over preventable character issues.” Then he leads us to ReMAP 2, which concluded that, “low retention agencies were still witnessing higher attrition over preventable reasons.” The author then explains his Ph.D. dissertation study for his own agency to compare notes with ReMAP. He found that his org had a median length of service of 5 years, then quoted from Patrick Johnstone, author of Operation World. Johnstone had written that “most church planters are more effective starting in year eight.” Whoa. That was sobering. In Stephens’s case, he found that 70% of his org’s workers resigned and exited before reaching the 8th year. Stephens then quoted research by one research group that “it costs $500,000 to mobilize, select, train, send, and keep a worker on the field for four years of service.” Of course, reducing stewardship of lives to a financial figure, though sobering, is actually more costly when we look at human and spiritual factors. The bottom line: We can’t afford NOT to retain workers as long as possible.


In this day and age though… how do we DO that? Stephens spends the last half of his article exploring options, beginning with proper onboarding and pre-field training. He then looks at training once the worker is fielded. Elliot, if you’re out there somewhere reading Brigada, my hope is that you’ll develop this research into a book. Once the book is released, please tell us about it and we’ll promote it here in Brigada — because we (the Kingdom) need this. Our organizations and local churches need this. We — humanity — need this.


What are your thoughts about retention? What has your church or org learned about how to do it — to the 12-year mark, for example? What are the “best practices” — and then let’s make up our minds to DO them. Please click “Comment” following the web version of this item. And please, get the article. : ) And thank you Elliott.


9) Still Time to Register for "Traction Men’s Conference" (Sept. 2019)

You still might have time to register for the Traction Men’s Conference, a 6-day experience designed to encourage global workers serving cross-culturally. You’ll learn about managing stress, solation, and opposition, reconnecting with God through prayer, cultivating the character of authentic leadership, navigating difficulties with grace, honoring God in all things, and persevering with courage and trust in the face of challenges. Learn more — and register — at …




(Thanks again, Jenny!)


12) Resources for Missionaries

Brigada loves sites which gather great content for missionaries — and there’s a new one especially (exclusively?) for people engaged in overseas missions or full-time ministry…


This site was created by a missionary, for missionaries, with the purpose of helping to connect missionaries with existing resources. You might ask, but why would Brigada (which attempts to do exactly the same?) refer people to a competing site? The answer is simple: There’s no competition among lighthouses. : )

11) Lead Your Church To Think And Act Like Missionaries

churchplantingIs your church looking for a way to engage globally but you don’t know how to get started? This new resource, “Jet Set In A Box”, from The Upstream Collective may be just what you are looking for.

The Upstream Collective trains and equips churches to think and act like missionaries, and one of the ways they do this is through Jet Set Trips. Jet Set trips are traveling mission think-tanks, where you will engage a city of your choice by using missionary skills outlined in “Tradecraft: For The Church On Mission,” experience culture and ministry venues where God is already working.

Upstream has packaged their model for churches so that you can build your own team, get training and consultation from their years of experience and begin implementing your global strategy now. Check out:


7) Praelude2020.com Seeks to Help You Build Pray-ers and Funders

Praelude is an online system designed to facilitate missionaries building 24/7 prayer and full funding. Praelude involves (1) pray-ers selecting a 20 minute window in apraelude missionary’s week and committing to pray for them some time during that window. (2) The missionary adds current prayer requests to the site (I aim for once or twice a week.). (3) An hour before the pray-er’s selected time, they receive an email or text message to remind them and provide the current prayer requests. (4)There’s also a link to click after praying to indicate they’ve done so. (5) That click gets reported to the missionary as someone having prayed, which, as you might imagine, is very encouraging! The weekly prayer commitment is coupled with a monthly financial donation of at least $20. That’s encouraging too. Check it out at…


(Thanks to our good friend, Shane, for filling us in on Praelude. We appreciate you Shane!)

14) The BackPage: Where Do We Find African-American Missionaries? —

globe-flagsThis past week, a brother in Atlanta posed a difficult question to me: why is it that there are so few Christians of color active in Mission work? … and how will we motivate more to take part? This brother didn’t leave me without recourse to begin studying the problem. He suggested a name and, sure enough, it turned out that a gentleman named Jim Sutherland has researched the problem in-depth. For example, see his dissertation at…


In this study, African American mission executives helped to refine a survey that was sent to African American cross-cultural missionaries to determine reasons for the under representation of Blacks (African Americans) in intercultural missions. One hundred and two surveys were returned. SoA theory is proposed and supported from findings that the core worldview value of survival / security in current African American culture explains the under-representation. Implications for recruitment of African American missionaries are given for both Black and White mission recruiters as well as recommendations to the Church to remedy deeper issues of racism. Do you have input, counterpoint, or supporting opinions? If so, just click “comment” after the web version of this item. Thanks in advance for participating!

(Thanks, Pastors Bank and Sharon, for helping us)

7) Where do you Find Psych Services for your Missionaries?

One source is Narramore Christian Foundation. These guys have been around since the early 1950’s. Read more about their services and their servants at…


With global staff based in West and East Africa, France, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Philippines, they can help you or your agency with consulting, counseling, and more. For example, check out their reentry program for MK’s at…


5) Music and Bible Resources Free for Field Workers

MfM is an organization that seeks to bless and encourage Field Workers, especially those in isolated or difficult locations. MfM sends its resources without charge to any field worker who applies. They offer a range of praise-worship style CDs sent by snail-mail or secure download from their password-protected website…


The secure website also offers a range of ebooks (some also as eReader files) for Bible study or as teaching or preaching resources. All MfM offers are available without charge to any Field Worker who applies. Contact PaulGatmfm4udotcom for further information.

7) Missions Grad Student Shares His Paper on Decision-Making

Brad’s first class at Moody Graduate School was Theology of Missions. He wrote a paper in that class titled “Decision Making For Missions Involvement: A Biblical, Rational Process For Considering Family Issues.” It might be helpful to some dealing the tensions between ministry and personal/family needs. Here’s a link to a podcast episode where he reads and discusses the paper. And there’s also a link to the paper itself.


1) What are the Essential Apps for Cross-cultural Workers?

beafullyfundedmissionaryHere’s one worker, Darious, with a list of essential apps for missionaries and other cross-cultural workers.


My question is, What do you think he might have omitted?
To add your two cents worth (and your app), just click in the box following this item (in the online version, of course) then add your ideas about what additional resources cross-cultural workers might need. Thanks in advance for any help you can give.



1) Missionary Member Care: An Introduction: Free Download

member care

The 17 chapters of this 160-page e-book give an overview of member care for those interested in providing it or in receiving it. Though it is written for missionaries, it is also appropriate for use in an introductory university course in member care because it contains hundreds of links to primary sources of information. 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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