Daily Archives: 2012/01/08

1) Final Review for David Mays —

If you didn’t get a book review from him at one time or another (maybe you were living on Mars?), you probably heard one of his webinars. (See his book reviews, nearly 1000 of them.) He actually featured Brigada on a recent webinar… and, in his typical well-prepared way, he modeled a level of excellence for me that was such a trademark, it might as well have been his middle name. David Mays entered the marketplace as a director of quality control in a major pharmaceutical company. In some ways, when it comes to quality control, he never really laid aside the clipboard. In his work with ACMC, and most recently, with The Mission Exchange (formerly EFMA), he was always “Mr. Resource,” and constantly improving the capacity of local churches and agencies wanting to make a global impact. But this past week, he went on up to see Jesus.


David Mays will be missed, but not forgotten. Missions Exchange might try to replace him, but they’ll need five employees to come close to what David did solo… and each of those five better be good. Bravo David. Job well done. Enjoy heaven. We’ll look forward to your tips about that come our turn.

2) New Web Development Tool is Superior for Multiple Users —

I first heard about Bark Communications from a mega-church pastor in Columbus, Ohio. I was suggesting Clover, which is a good website development engine in and of itself. (It’s still the tool we use here at Team Expansion, in fact. Learn more about Clover at




Clover gives you lots of great tools so your site can look and be organized, simple, and attractive. But if you are thinking you might have multiple users, Clover is limited. (Each site offers only one user name.) For a larger organization, that’s kind of limiting — if everything has to go through one person.


Sure you could use open source tools, but — having used two or three of those over time, I can tell you first hand, it’s not easy. Some of the changes you’ll want to make… Some of the cool features you’ll want to incorporate…. well, let’s just say — it’s a chore.


Enter Bark Communications.




Bark gives you (right out of the box) an amazingly versatile toolbox with features that will excite your fancy — and inform your constituents. For an example, check out what we’ve done so far at…




Keep in mind, there’s not a single graphic arts person represented in any of that site. We’re all volunteers in U4theU … and we’ve done the entire site in our spare time between normal responsibilities in our respective missions and churches. It’s all been done by lay people who have no clue about creative arts. But Bark is good enough that it helps you with everything from multiple contributors (and their stories), embedded videos, lots of nice banners (and even ads, if you want), newsletter forms, and even a fairly decent bulk emailer. The list is practically endless — photo tools, staff pages, donor tools, news pages, audio/video/media engines, lots of pre-designed templates (to keep you out of design trouble), and tons more. And one of the greatest factors is — it’s affordable. Check it out at the link above. (And — truthfully — if you decide to sign on, part of your sign-on fee becomes a gift to Brigada. But keep in mind, we subscribed and began using Bark Communications because it was good. Then, months afterward, we asked the designers — how do we refer this to others. They literally had to invent a way. So it wasn’t a marketing deal. It was one beggar telling another where to find bread.) (Steve, thanks again for recommending Radiant Tools and their Bark non-profit division.)

3) If You’re Member Care, Consider this Global Conference —

It would be a great way to connect with a world-full of member care specialists. The conference is slated for April 23-27, 2012, and the place is Chiangmai, Thailand. Learn more about the program and schedule here:




Entitled, “Global Voices on Global Challenges,” I have a hunch that the best part of all would be the wide network of relationships you’d form. In only 4 days, you’d exponentially increase your reach. (Thanks to Kelly and Michèle O’Donnell for tipping us off to this conference!)

4) What’s your Favorite iPhone Prayer Request App? —

I’m still tempted just to use Evernote. In this way, I have the same set of prayer requests on my iPhone, my laptop, and the web itself. By using appropriate and relevant tags, I can easily sort prayer requests by category (Church, Mission, Family, work, etc.) or status (Answered, Current, Daily, etc.). But I’m less certain about how to feature a particular set of prayer requests each day of the week or month. For example, our organization prays for a set of countries each day of the month, so that, by the time we get to the 30th or 31st, we have prayed through the whole world. On the next day, the first of the next month, we start the process all over. (By the way, in this manner, I’m happy to tell you that nobody on our team is shocked any more when someone mentions Tuvalu, Mauritius, or Vanuatu.) So, having not found an easy way to do that in Evernote (without some workarounds), I’m intrigued by using a custom app. The one on which I’ve settled for now is simply called, “Pray!” and is available in the App Store. I like it that it can be date-driven or tag-driven. Title, details, “prayer areas” (tags), and reminder (dates, which can reoccur) and — bam — your request is ready to roll. Simple, fast, convenient, and effective. With the size of our organization, for my own purposes, I really didn’t have the luxury of patching into some global network of prayer requests from countries, churches, and organizations on a broad level. I’ve got more than I can manage just with family, church and org. But maybe your life is different. Which app has become your favorite and why? Please click into a comment box at the web version of this item — and thanks in advance for giving your opinion.

5) On Your Next Vision Trip or Prayer Journey: Options —

So let’s say you’re about to visit an unengaged unreached people group (UUPG). What kind of contribution could your team make, on behalf of the rest of the world full of researchers, prayer partners, and world Christians? One on-field worker recently responded, “Why not make a Gospel Recording?  It takes about 5 days for an interpreter to work with a UUPG member to make a 20-minute Good News recording.  Making such a recording sheds much useful insight about a UUPG.  And in the process, Gospel truth is communicated and left behind for others to use.” So my question is — how would a team go about doing this? Is there a guidebook anywhere (where?)? What other opportunities and/or responsibilities should an on-site vision team try to fulfill? If you have ideas, resources, pointers, directions, instructions, please click into the “Comment” box of the online version of this item.

6) I’m Looking Forward to Training On Storying —

Want to join me for a training on orality or storying? Just visit




and register for the Feb. 26 – Mar 2 class in Orlando. I can’t wait. We’ll learn how to choose, custom-craft, and deliver storying materials, tools, and training. We’ll learn how chronological Bible storying can enable and empower a new outreach among a previously unreached people group. Join me. We’ll have a ball.

8) Just for Fun: The Most Ridiculously Effective Fun iPhone App —

So I have to ask, in your opinion, what’s the most ridiculously effective iPhone app you’ve seen. Is it some scan-and-send solution? Perhaps something related to a map or location? For me, I tell you… the one that I keep coming back to … the one that seems utterly impossibly beyond a shadow of a doubt weirdly amazing, has got to be [drum roll] SoundHound. First, realize — it’s totally free. Second, keep in mind, you can *sing* to it. Third, it just *works*. So what does SoundHound do? Suppose you’re driving along in the Land Rover and some radio station suddenly plays this gorgeous rendition of a song you used to hum when you were a kid. You can’t remember the words or title though. You want to tell your spouse when you get home… but … how do you describe it? Even if it *were* on YouTube, how do you know what search terms to use?


Enter SoundHound. You just hold the iPhone up to the radio speaker, click the big button, and in 20 seconds, it’s collected enough sampling to go to work. (Granted, it relies on a connection to the SoundHound hub — so you have to be within cell range. But even if you’re not, it’ll at least log a history of your search, so when you get back to town, it’ll still dutifully go to work.) So what does it *do*? It takes the music you played and studies the chord construction, analyzes the words or melody, then somehow magically searches through all the music that has ever been written or recorded! In about 15 seconds, suddenly, all the famous “Name that Tune” experts are obsolete. I’ve used it dozens of times and — only once have I stumped it. (It was on an NPR program. The jazz pianist was covering something so unique, I don’t even think it had a name.) In every case but that one time, it has come back with the name. “Pass it on.” “There’s Something about the name.” “Yellow Submarine.” You see, it really doesn’t matter. It knows all.


So please — Match that. What’s *your* favorite amazing iPhone ability. Just click in the “Comment” box of the online version of this item. Thanks in advance for your response.

10) The BackPage: My Prediction for 2012: CHE will Transform Us —

This past week, I attended my first formal “Vision Seminar” on Community Health Evangelism, commonly known as CHE. Our workers had been utilizing the unique strategy for some time. On several of our fields, CHE had transformed the entire approach. But I had never trained in it myself… until now.


I thought it was for health workers. Somehow, I had understood that it had to do mainly with medical practices. Who knew there were 2500 lessons on nearly every topic ever known to plague mankind. Actually, the goal of CHE is to establish a development ministry whose purpose is to bring together Jesus’ Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) and the Great Commandment (Matthew 25:37-40). This is accomplished by training community members as Community Health Evangelists (CHEs) who regularly visit 10 – 15 neighboring households, sharing the gospel and promoting principles of disease prevention and healthy living. The program is designed to be transferable, multipliable, and ongoing after the training team leaves the area.


There’s no doubt — within the next handful of years, CHE will have transformed the way we do missions (if it hasn’t already). What interests me as much as anything is — the way the revolution is taking place. How can a grassroots philosophy make such a huge impact on our globe? How can a set of practices, primarily articulated by a handful of practitioners, become so ubiquitous that church after church would insist that every mission partner train in it?


It’s too early for me to answer those questions. I only know that my admiration has gone through the roof for Stan, Terry, Val, David, and the other pioneers who have patiently mentored and facilitated these trainings. I’m inspired by the way they’ve adopted such an “open source” approach to something that might have been able to make them rich. But perhaps, one of the secrets to its popularity is the essence of the fact that they gave it away to the world so freely — and continue to do so.


Read more about CHE by downloading this introductory 50-page manual.




Isn’t it crazy that the author isn’t even named? Literally nobody is taking the credit… and nobody is getting a payoff… primarily because of the unselfishness of those who envisioned and experienced these tools. Hats off Stan. Well done Terry. Way to go Val. We appreciate you!!!



 Scroll to top