In this issue…


1. HAS IT REALLY BEEN 10 YEARS? — In just 4 days, it will be. The first feeble Brigada Today was actually sent between two people. Late on the evening of January 25th, 1995, I wrote Jonathan Marsden with some newly created gadgetry he had cooked up for me as a worker in a high-tech non-profit called “CrossConnect”. (Turned out that it was *really* non-profit, so CrossConnect was sold a few times and no longer exists as a separate entity. But Jonathan is still there… and occasionally I’ll drop him a note just to see if he still hears about Brigada stuff. So Jonathan, if you’re out there in India or who knows where, if you can see this, please hang with me here a moment.)

What did that first issue say? Well a number of things… some of which have long since gone by the wayside — nearly. One of the proposals was that we set up people-specific prayer/news email groups. I wrote, ” On a monthly basis, thousands of additional individuals around the world are gaining access to what amounts to a global communications network, commonly referred to as the Internet.” (Can you believe I had to kind of *define* it? :-) LOL ) … We propose to create a series of ‘electronic newsletters,’ available to anyone with an Internet connection (including those with Compuserve, America Online, Delphi, etc.)” Online services like Delphi faded in importance, but AOL, which eventually bought out rival Compuserve, has survived and thrived.

I went on to add, ” We would start with one simple newsletter, which would, as a minimum, carry news about mobilization for the 100 Gateway cities and the people groups that live in them.” That ‘simple newsletter’ has changed very little in format over the past 10 years. (I haven’t had time to think about it! :-) ) And that “simple newsletter” became, a very short time later, Brigada Today. And yes… it really has been 10 years and . . . whoa . . . there’s a Brigada Today to match every single Friday… all 520 of them… since January 25, 1995. Yikes. :-) See them all on the web for free at:
2. RUMORS OF BRIGADA’S DEATH WERE EXAGGERATED — Several spoke out in favor of such a proposal. Well-known missions leaders like John Robb, Pete Holzmann, and many others wrote encouraging words. Some, like Patrick Johnstone, originator of Operation World, were just a tad more realistic, even though they agreed upon the need. ” I do not see that any system that tries to collect, collate and disseminate info – even on the 100 Gateway Cities and 130 Gateway Peoples (for a start) can work,” responded Patrick. “The burden on all will bring it rapidly to the point of overload.” Gulp. No wonder I’m tired. And what am I doing staying up ’til 2:30am at a people group consultation in the Mediterranean anyway??? :-) Some things haven’t changed. However, Patrick, if you’re reading — maybe it didn’t exactly *overload*. :-) He added, ” I think your present plans are almost certain to founder on the lack of the right personnel and adequate finance.” Oops. :-) Been a long time since I saw that line. Whoa. Maybe it’s hard to start things. But if it is, maybe it’s even harder to keep them going. Patrick should know. He’s labored tirelessly, day and night, to catalogue and chronicle the growth of the Lord’s church throughout the globe… and many have been inspired by his work, myself among them. Again, I hasten to add, I believe Patrick was only trying to improve on the project by being bluntly realistic. He also said, “To use electronic networks is a real option (of a number) We should develop a workable system, and maybe your proposal could lead to that.” To be fair, Patrick was slated to be married just a handful of days later. He was also planning his honeymoon that same night. What could I expect? :-) His mind was elsewhere. (Speaking with my best impersonation of his ever-so-proper British accent), I was quite fortunate to have gotten so thorough a look at all! :-)
3. DAN SCRIBNER SAID “THUMBS UP” — Whoa… I probably hadn’t taken another look at Dan Scribner’s response since that January of 1995. I’d forgotten he even replied. Ten years ago this week, he emailed back, ” Warmest greetings in the Lord. Brigida [sic :-) ] sounds like a wonderful plan. I hope AD2000 can contribute / assist in any way possible. At the moment we are up to our ears in alligators planning the GCOWE conference in May. We only have about a dozen staff here in the International Office. Please keep me in the loop of communications regarding this and if there are any specific AD2000 related questions I certainly will try to give my input.” Whoa. As you know, Dan went on to become one of 2 key players in making JoshuaProject.Net a reality today! And you know what? He’s still just as encouraging! :-)
4. IT WILL TAKE TIME — John Siewert worked for MARC, the Missions Advanced Research and Communication arm of World Vision. He wrote, in a prophetic tone, ” My experience in serving as discussion leader for one e-mail forum is that any e-mail-based undertaking takes more time than expected if responses are going to go back to those who ask questions, etc. Therefore Doug and the editor need to have some prime time set aside for this project.” Whoa. Was he ever right. (Yawn. I’m sleepy.) :-)
5. PERHAPS THE MOST ENCOURAGING RESPONSE… — But perhaps the most encouraging response of all (to the initial proposal) came from a Global Mapping employee named Dave Nesmith. ” In the vernacular of Madison Avenue, you have run it up the flagpole–I salute it.” He went on to add, ” Let us reject out of hand the notion that it won’t work. The resources and the technology are with us. The only preventive factor is the lack of our will and desire to make it happen. High-tech is handing us a golden opportunity. Let’s grab it!” Whoa. :-) Dave, wherever you are, thanks for the boost 10 years ago!
6. WANT TO MINISTER TO THE POOR WITHOUT CREATING DEPENDENCY? — Then get training from real-world practitioners and colleagues to equip you to implement programs in your church or community that truly empower the poor. The Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College offers courses for both the 2/3 World and U.S. contexts. Come June 13 – June 18, 2005 to the Christian Economic Development Institute at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, GA USA. Chalmers’ partners include World Relief, Food for the Hungry International, and World Vision US. To register, email chalmers(at)covenant(dot)edu [As a means of preventing spam for our contributors, in the preceding email address(es), please replace (at) with @ and (dot) with .] or visit
7. SO WHAT WAS THE FIRST TRUE BRIGADA “ITEM”? — Trivia… fun facts to know and tell… :-) Once you get past all the proposing and responding, the actual first true *item* was a note about Sali Berisha, then the leader in Albania, who on January 25th had proposed setting up private radio and TV channels to offer a broader and more impartial dissemination of information. We all know what *that* brought about! :- ) The second item had to do with a proposal of 30 days of prayer for the Muslim world (another proposal which has survived the decade). (Throughout the coming year, we’ll highlight each month “Ten Years Ago This Month in Brigada”. It’ll perhaps give us a chance to take a look back at from whence we’ve come… and sometimes might even clue us in on where we might be headed in the future.)
8. WANT TO SHARE YOUR OWN BRIGADA EXPERIENCE? — Do you have a favorite memory of Brigada? Would you want to take a moment to write about something you purchased, a service you used, or an opportunity you followed? Now you can. Just copy this URL into your browser window: (or, if you’re reading on the web, just click it)

Here you’ll find a spot to leave a comment, recall a memory, even offer a testimony. Others in the Brigada family will be able to visit the page and celebrate what God did in your life — and maybe even give glory to God for what happened in your situation. Hey – 10-year-old birthdays don’t come that often! :-) OK… enough sappy stuff.. Let’s get to work! :-)
9. SCHOOL OF FRONTIERS MISSIONS IN FLORIDA — The SOFM is an intensive Christian training course beginning with a 12-week lecture/teaching phase followed with an overseas internship in the 10/40 window. The purpose of the SOFM is to give student’s essential principles and tools needed to start long-term effective church planting movements among unreached people groups. Some of the topics being studied are: Principles of church planting among unreached peoples groups, The Power of Team Leadership, Anthropological Insights for Missionaries, Chronological Bible Presentation, History of Missions and much more! School starts on April 17th. For more information contact Jose at myglobito(at)yahoo(dot)com or call (904)221-5990. [As a means of preventing spam for our contributors, in the preceding email address(es), please replace (at) with @ and (dot) with .] You can also check:
10. ANYBODY ABLE TO WORK WITH AOL? — Does anyone know anything about the rumor that Brigada-Today is on a “blocked list” with AOL? If so, does anyone know the proper technique to be removed from that list? In contrast to spam (which is unsolicited), Brigada Today only goes out to those who subscribe to it. If we’re on that list, it’s a mistake. Maybe some subscribers don’t know how to remove themselves, but we never send Brigada unsolicited.
11. MUSIC AND MISSIONS CD — The first Global Consultation on Music and Missions was held in 2003. The multimedia CD-ROM of the Proceedings is now available. The CD-ROM has about 50 presentations, about 300 files total. Presenters, including John Piper, shared penetrating insights from around the world. If you are interested in the integration of music, missions and worship, you’ll be thrilled with the wealth of materials. One person said, “This was a phenomenal conference – probably the best conference I have ever attended.” Every missions organization should have one of these CD-ROMs as a reference. Though it is easily worth $40, it is available for only US $10. Write ethnodox1(at)netscape(dot)net [As a means of preventing spam for our contributors, in the preceding email address(es), please replace (at) with @ and (dot) with .] or see
12. LEARN A PRACTICAL SKILL FOR MISSIONS — Simplified dental care can open many doors to evangelism and relationship building among the unreached. No drills, injections, electricity, or sophisticated equipment are involved – only simple hand instruments, a compassionate heart, and two weeks of your time. Now you can bring greatly needed dental care to your community. Courses are offered monthly in Texas. or email dentaltrainingformissions(at)yahoo(dot)com [As a means of preventing spam for our contributors, in the preceding email address(es), please replace (at) with @ and (dot) with .]
13. TALKING BIBLE A GREAT PERSONAL AUDIOVISUAL — ASI in California says that the invention of the Talking Bible revolutionizes how one can now give non-readers access to God’s word in audio. A Talking Bible has an audio recording of an entire New Testament in a desired language sealed inside. It looks like a Bible but has a button to push rather than pages to turn… no longer any need for a cassette player and an album of individually labeled cassettes. The task suddenly becomes doable and affordable…that task is to take the work of the Bible translators, record them and make them available as Talking Bibles.

Half the world’s adult population cannot read. Among them are millions of non-reading Christians. They need God’s Word in audio format. ASI and others can now give them Talking Bibles with entire New Testaments speaking their languages. It seems unthinkable that the church/mission community would not do this.

ASI is appealing for churches to observe an annual Talking Bible Sunday. A Talking Bible Sunday will help church people become aware. The special offering will give them the opportunity to participate in this global effort …. an effort to give Bibleless non-readers Talking Bibles in their languages.

For more information visit ASI’s website Or call ASI at 1- 800-318-7262 and ask for Dori. You’ll be glad you took the time to do this.
14. BE CHANGED BY THE WORD SO THAT YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD — YWAM Turner Valley Canada offers the 9 month School of Biblical Studies (SBS). Students in this school learn how to inductively study the Bible for themselves and are helped to prepare for the important goal of sharing God’s truth. The school begins in September 2005. Please call 1-403-933-3755 for more information or check out
15. DISCIPLESHIP TRAINING SCHOOL FOCUSED ON UNREACHED PEOPLES — YWAM Turner Valley Canada offers exciting Discipleship Training Schools (DTS)! Dates for DTS are March 23 – August 12, 2005 OR September 14th – February 10th 2006. The schools include 12 weeks of teaching and training in Canada. Some topics taught are: The Cross & Repentance, Bible Meditation, the 10/40 Window, Evangelism, Islamic/Buddhist Worldview and more. Turner Valley DTS also includes an 8 week mission trip to Southeast Asia or North Africa, working with SPECIFIC unreached people groups. North Americans can call toll free for information to 1-877-FOR-YWAM, Internationals please call 1-403-933-3754. Also check out the website at:
16. GIVE INPUT ON AN MK AND WIN BIG MONEY — Here’s a gal who is doing research with MKs and adult MKs at If you are interested in helping out, check out Near the top/center of the page is a short message called “Join a research project giving MKs a voice!” That’ll have all the information about the study and the different ways to be involved. Everyone who signs up will automatically be entered for their draw to win one of two $20 US gift certificates to!
17. SYIS IN TURKEY: SHARPEN YOUR INTERPERSONAL SKILLS — International Training Partners offers Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills Workshops in different parts of the world. These five-day, highly interactive workshops focus on biblical application of skills in relating to one another and to the host people.

A workshop hosted by International Training Partners will be held near Istanbul, Turkey April 4-8, 2005. Contact Robin Bower at rbower(at)itpartners(dot)org [As a means of preventing spam for our contributors, in the preceding email address(es), please replace (at) with @ and (dot) with .] for more information.

Go to for details on all of the workshops and information on ITP. If your mission is interested in sponsoring a SYIS workshop, contact Paul Lere at plere(at)itpartners(dot)org.
18. BOOK REVIEW NOT OPEN AND SHUT — In our item last week, “For Academicians: Reviewing Morehead’s “New Religious Mov’ts”, it’s plain to see we didn’t offer both sides. One responder suggested the inclusion of the following link to give equal time: Our apologies if we overlooked anyone! Remember we don’t have the luxury of reading *all* the reports and texts mentioned each week. Consider the source.
19. FAVORITE “BACKPAGE” EDITORIALS — Whenever I travel and meet Brigada participants, it’s always amazing to me that they remember these BackPage Editorials. This month, in honor of our 10th birthday, we bring back some of our most oft-requested editorials… Sergey and “Does It Every ‘Just Happen'”, which first aired the 8th of May, 1998:

“DOES IT EVER “JUST HAPPEN???” — Those who know me well (and many who know me only marginally) know that I have a love for God, family, friends, and soccer. :-) (In spite of what some might think, that’s really the order I try to keep them in!) I only hope and pray that somehow we’ll have all four in Heaven. [grin] The first three have been around a while in my life, but the last love, soccer, is fairly new to me. Although I’m playing on a competitive team this year, I’m really just a beginner (I have a whole two years of playing experience in a poorly run recreational league previously). As you might have guessed, it’s not easy to find a competitive team for a 41-year-old. So I play in a league designed for age 20 and up. I’m very fortunate to practice alongside some very talented players. (Our coach took an under-23-year-old team to the national championships last year . . and won!) To land a spot on the team, I just explained how hard I was willing to work and how serious I was about learning. Lo and behold, the coach put me on the team! And when the center forward of our team suffered a broken leg earlier this season, all of a sudden, I found myself as a starter in his place… and this past Sunday, I played the entire game there! (We won 5-2, with only marginal help from me.)

I have several heroes . . . and most are about half my age. :-) One young man from Ukraine is incredible. I mean… when he was born, his mother probably delivered a soccer ball first, and then Sergey. The ball was probably tied to his ankle and. . . I don’t think he’s ever untied it since! I love practice times even more than games because I get to watch him and really study him in action. He’s constantly moving… constantly sizing up the play and constantly vigilant about how he can contribute most. And even though he’s a star (and deep down inside, he has to know it!), he still pushes the ball my way PLENTY of times in any given night.

Last Tuesday evening, at one point during our scrimmage, I chipped the ball to him and, frankly, placed it rather poorly. The ball arrived at chest-height and his back was to the goal with defenders all around. Not a great situation. But for Sergey, it was all automatic. He cushioned the ball down to his feet and instantly faked then back- heeled it with such force that it swished right through the defenders legs. Sergey scored a goal without even looking at the net… without even having to turn around to glance into the eyes of his opponents. Incredible.

As he turned and ran up the field, I turned with him and asked, “How in the world ….?” With a shrug of his shoulders he responded, “It just happened.” I was quick to reply… “It DIDN’T just happen. It took 27 YEARS of daily practice to make it happen!” (He’s 28 years old.)

Ever since that moment, I’ve been reflecting about my fledgling soccer career. I coach an under-14 team (my older son’s) and assist coaching an under-10 team (my younger son’s). I play on a competitive team and sometimes play “pick-up” soccer in between. But maybe I’ll never “catch up” with Sergey. There are too many hours… too many YEARS of his life filled with touches on the ball. However, I’m not exactly envious. Instead, I’m filled with admiration and actually inspired to keep going. I figure I’ve got nowhere to go but up! :-) Who knows… give me another 25 years and maybe I’ll be ready to play! :-)

My REAL job is to lead a mission agency — about 120 missionaries in a couple of dozen countries. Where I sit, I get to read reports literally from all over the world. Now, after last Thursday’s practice, whenever I hear a success story about a villager who has walked in from 50 kilometers away just so he can study the Bible… then take it back to his village and repeat it to dozens of others… I’ll think twice about whether or not it “just happened.” Someone had to sweat bullets on Bible college mid-terms, then raise financial support, leave family and friends to go to the field, learn a foreign language, and most of all be determined enough to not quit when the going got tough. Someone had to pray, trust the Lord for supernatural intervention, and follow His guidance. After all that, if someone walks in and listens, should we be so surprised? Sergey might say, “It just happened…”, but truth be known, it didn’t JUST happen. Someone MADE it happen.

We live in a world of quick fixes — quick food, quick microwaves, quick computers, quick everything … just about. But in the midst of it all, some things aren’t so quick. You can’t learn to play Sergey’s kind of soccer without a few years of daily practice with someone who knows what he’s doing. And you can’t learn a language overnight, either.

I admire Sergey… but my heart is filled with just as much admiration for a guy I know who has invested the last 5 years learning Mandarin. He’ll probably never get a trophy (at least not here on earth), never be named an “MVP” in front of a crowd of 30,000 cheering spectators, and I can predict with a fair amount of certainty that he’ll never make the kinds of salaries that today’s pro athletes take home, either. (At least not as long as I serve as president of his mission agency! :-) ) But can he ever speak Chinese. I mean… it rolls off his tongue. When he opens his mouth, everyone expects English to come out… but if there’s a Chinese person looking on, inevitably, their mouth drops open.. their eyes bug out… (I love seeing that reaction!). His Chinese didn’t “just happen.” He didn’t “just happen” to teach Greek to house church leaders last year. He didn’t “just happen” to train evangelists that ended up baptizing 18 people in just one recent month. It took YEARS… and it’ll take YEARS for many of us to learn language, learn effectiveness, learn the field.

So — should we give up? Not on your life. But we probably SHOULD start thinking about recruiting some additional players for the team. :-) If they have to wait for me to invest the next 25 years to reach Sergey’s level, well, . . . let’s just say I hope my bones will still hold me up on the field when I’m 66! :-)

God bless your day! Be careful out there… it’s a jungle!!! Doug Lucas” [end of quoted story (SPECIAL UPDATE AS OF 23 OF JAN, 2005: Sergey married a Japanese immigrant, moved an hour away and we’ve not heard much from him lately. But the guy learning Mandarin learned it. He’s now a sought-after teacher involved in training house church leaders all over mainland China. Team Expansion now has 250 full-time missionaries, instead of 120. My older son is now 18 and, due to proper humility on his part, he won’t let me tell you the details of the soccer scholarships he’s looking at for college. I’m now coaching my younger son’s high school team at the local Christian School. And next week I start a new season with an over-30 team, where I’ll be captain of the “Energy United” team. God be praised for the incremental gains, step by step… Never, never, never give up. Because, 10 years after the birth of Brigada, it’s *still* a jungle out there.)