Conflict resolution

14) The Last Bit: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Since time eternal, missionaries have had trouble getting along. Paul and Barnabas had it out in Acts 15:39. Paul and Peter fight in Antioch (Galatians 2:11-14). Our good friend, Ron Koteskey, analyzed why we seemingly keep experiencing these conflicts at…


He encourages (with biblical backing) to approach the person alone. If this doesn’t work, he suggests we bring a witness or two. If this won’t work, he concludes the only way forward is to take it to the church. Ron suggests that, once the church makes a decision, if either party refuses to abide by the decision, then the church should treat that party as being “outside the church.” (See the biblical backdrop for Ron’s conclusions in Matthew 18:15-19.) Ron’s additional comments and suggestions all seem helpful. But, still we are left with questions. Why does conflict happen? We’re all trying to walk in Christ’s steps. We’re all praying. We’re all reading the same Book. Why can’t we all just get along?


If you have a magic solution… if you can help explain this… please click “comment” after this item on the web. We’d love to hear your take.


14) The Last Bit: We Loved This Response to Critics of DMM/CPM

Recently, we found ourselves in the middle of an exchange of emails aimed at designing rebuttals toward some critics who were casting stones at disciple-making movement (DMM) and church-planting movement (CPM) approaches. In the midst of no small amount of wrangling scriptures and forging powerful responses came a mature voice of tranquility. It was David Garrison. His reply seemed so balanced, we asked his permission to reprint it to a wider audience, volunteering to remove all proper nouns. Somewhat embarrassed, but at the same time, convinced his approach was prayerfully true, he agreed. Here’s what he essentially said:


“What we’re now hearing from these various critics (of DMM/CPM) is not new, though it is coming out of a new front. I’ve seen this for years from various naysayers. The good news is that these brethren are brethren, and do have contributions to make to our own thinking and understanding. We should listen to them and see what positive things we can take away from their critiques without getting sidetracked by these skirmishes.


“On the one hand, they are attempting pioneer church planting, and for that we can be grateful. Many who begin with them may some day migrate over to more fruitfully exponential paradigms. In one particular region, some years ago, we had a whole cadre of folk who seemed to have all come from one common stream, who were no friends of CPMs, but these young missionaries quickly came to see that “planting a church” among a particular people group (as some would advocate) does little to impact the exponentially compounding lostness of the world’s UPGs. These young missionaries, over time, saw for themselves that DMM/CPM was, in fact, occurring among many UPGs around them. It didn’t take them too long to ask for training in more fruitful practices, and the great majority of them (at least in our region) have gone on to become highly fruitful DMM/CPM catalysts.


“It’s important that we be Christlike in our interaction with these who cast doubt and questions on our claims – while making sure we are not inflating any claims ourselves. They, the critics, are not the real enemy; lostness is the enemy, and we must not yield to the temptation to become distracted by those who find it so difficult to grasp the CPM/DMM paradigm. Missionaries are feisty people; let’s keep our feistiness focused on lostness.


“In summary, let’s keep our eyes on the prize, friends: the knowledge of the glory of God (which is Christ in us) multiplying exponentially until it covers the earth “as the waters cover the seas.”




David Garrison

[end of David Garrison’s comments]


When we grow up, we want to be like David Garrison. This balanced response doesn’t invite the formation of roots of bitterness. What’s more, it promptly ends cat fights. The roar of flame-mails soon dies out when one party refuses to spar in response. We would all do well to learn from Garrison’s patience, even if we wish for more disciples and more disciple-makers. Maybe the secret to multiplication isn’t really in our arguments and logic. Maybe it has rested in God all along anyway. Do you agree or disagree?

14) The BackPage: What’s Getting in the Way?

rock_in_roadThis past week at the Finishing the Task conference in L.A. (which went very well, by the way), I heard a one-hour talk by Karin Primuth, of Vision Synergy.

She did a fantastic job in her session. As I read more about her work, and back-traced her sources, I came upon an article by her father. I had seen it before, but for some reason, it just leaped off the page at me this time.

When has any man summed up the hold-up in any more succinct and cutting-edge way? This article should be required reading for every mission strategist who cares about Matthew 28:19-20. Then, we should all pray hard that God gives us all wisdom regarding how to beat these 5 hold-ups:

1) Lack of Laborers
2) Lack of Effective Strategy
3) Lack of Unity within the Global Church
4) Prejudice
5) The Church is Unaware

Could you possibly begin making a difference on any of those five factors today? … this week… or in 2016?

10) The BackPage: What are some Typical Roots of Team Conflict?

conflictThis past Wednesday in our regular weekly Bible study at Team Expansion’s Int’l Services office, we tackled the challenge of trying to document some of the typical roots of team conflict. It was interesting enough to me that I thought we should expand on our discussion here in the “BackPage” of Brigada. As our springboard, we read from I Cor. 1, where Paul says he’s glad he hadn’t focused so heavily on baptizing people personally, simply because he was starting to get sick at his stomach of the number of ‘name-droppers’ who would somehow try to ‘glory’ in the fact that they had been baptized by Paul himself. So one of the roots of division and team conflict might be pride, do you think? :-) Whenever we are unwilling to give way to others, because we value our own needs above others’, we concluded that conflict would always be the outcome. Other causes might include inflexibility, selfishness, lack of communication skills, and more.

What are some of your own theories as to why missionaries, national workers, and home office personnel sometimes can’t (or won’t) get along? If you quote a source in your response, please point us to it. And thanks in advance for any tips you can provide.


6) New Book on Transparency: Create a Culture

This book by Bennis, Goleman, and O’Toole is short and easy to read It calls us all to embrace honesty as we share information, relate to one another, and go about our work. The authors assert, “A lack of transparency is usually no accident. It is often systematically built into the structure of an organization.” Find it at Amazon by logging on at the link below…

6) Do You Work In Hard, Unreceptive Places?

If so, consider enrolling in the International School of Reconciliation Studies, a self paced, web-based, school for leaders. In association with the International Reconciliation Coalition, an organization founded by John Dawson, President of Youth With A Mission, The International School of Reconciliation speaks of reconciliation between God and Self, the Biblical Basis of Reconciliation, and best practices of reconciliation around the world. Scholars and practitioners from around the world are your teachers. Enrollment is open the month of January, for more information go to

Limited financial scholarships are available.

14) The Back Page: Taking Initiative To Resolve Conflict

This past week, I was approached by a member of a partner organization. She had been hurt by something I emailed last week. Rather than sit on it, she chose to simply approach me and ask, “Is this what you meant?” The funny thing was – I explained what I had originally meant (which had her best interest at heart) and she *instantly* looked relieved. “My shoulders already feel lighter,” she reported. The thought occurred to me, “What if she had held this in?” It would have festered and, most likely, become a root of bitterness in her life.

Have you recently experienced hurt as a result of something someone said or did to you? Do you feel a distance between you and another person on your team? Not quite as close to that co-worker as you used to be? Here’s this week’s BackPage advice: Go to them. Talk to them about how you feel. Talk to them in terms of how you felt (rather than making a judgment about what they meant). Ask them what they meant. Maybe, just maybe, you misunderstood. If so, you’ll resolve a conflict and perhaps save some bitterness. If they meant it, at least you’ll help them see how much you were hurt by it. Maybe they’ll think twice before they hurt someone else.
Got a comment about this BackPage editorial? Just click “Comment” below.

20010114 Brigada Today

In this issue….



PACE-Lab is a unique event designed to help you and your church maximize the experience of adopting an unreached people group. (Disclaimer: Doug Lucas is one of the key planners and implementers of the event. So there’s got to be a way to work soccer into this somehow. :-) ) Each session is geared for action and results. The dates are Feb. 15-17 at Kavanaugh Conference Center in Louisville, Kentucky. Organizers are setting up an environment that will permit you to link up with other churches and agencies to navigate the potentially-troublesome waters of world evangelism. You’ll be directed toward helpful project outlines, CD’s, job descriptions, web pages, to-do lists, and videos. There’s lots of time for questions and some special time given to Brigada itself, including how we can improve the Brigada experience all the more. We follow up each session by helping participants develop actual plans, measurable goals and, Lord willing, tangible results. Interested? Check it out on the web at: You can study the hour-by-hour schedule, look at the map and driving directions, and even register & pay the minimal program fee online! We’d love to have you there!


Brigada Logo The results are in (from literally hundreds of participants), and the survey said…

  1. 1/3 of us subscribed to Brigada because of an email from a friend. So… would you send a note to a friend today to ask him/her to subscribe to Brigada?
  2. 1/4 of us have been a part of the family for 4 years or more. Whoa. How in the world have you put up with these weekly emails for all that time??? :-)
  3. 41% said they read 100% of each issue! Another 38% average reading at least 3/4 of each edition. All of which goes to show… we’d better find some good stuff to say or someone’s going to be very bored. :-)
  4. 90% said the typical edition is “the right length”! yahoooooo!Yahoo :-)
  5. 83% preferred to keep our mailings “weekly”.
  6. Well over half said that they gleaned something that “made a positive difference” in their ministries at least once a month. Yikes… Brigada Logo what can we say this week??? :-)
  7. Two-thirds of us have purchased something “technology-related” as a result of seeing it in Brigada Today. (Now if we only had an advertising department that could use that statistic! :-) Just kidding.)
  8. 75% said they had referred someone else to Brigada. Yahooo! :-) No wonder we don’t need an advertising department! :-)
  9. Some 2/3 of us have never visited the eGroups website. So much for their advertising theories! :-)
  10. and now…. [drum roll please snare drum ], the statistic that I was most eager to hear, where do we live? Here’s the breakdown:
    • 59% in USA or Canada
    • 13% Asia & the Middle East
    • 12% Western/Central Europe
    • 9% Africa
    • 4% Latin America
    • 2% Australia/Oceania
    • 1% Eastern Eur./Russia.

    I think what surprised me most was the low numbers in Latin America. (Que lastima!) But I was also pretty shocked that there were just as many Asians involved as there were Europeans!

  11. 1/3 of us are field missionaries and 1/5 are other agency people. A ton of us are lay people, just caring about missions! Yessssss!
  12. 94% of us speak English as our first language.
  13. 3/4 of us are male. But … hey… 1/4 are female! That’s a better result than I see in many other missions venues!
  14. but get this — 1/4 of us are between the ages of 50 and 59! Who says there’s a technology generation gap! :-)

But I guess the feature I enjoyed most was the freeform commentary… all the verbatim responses and “get it off your chest” kinds of things. There were tons of people … I mean scads… who said they regretted that many items seemed designed for a USA audience. (Okay.. so no more editions dedicated to Internet Banking or payment. Sorry about that! :-) ) And many people encouraged briefer items. Oops!! I’m outa here! :-)



By the way, if you or your organization would ever like to better understand the needs & values of your field personnel, prospective field workers, donors, church partners, or people groups you’re seeking to reach, I highly recommend you consider Jim McGee at Campbell Research jmcgeeatcampbell-researchdotcom  (jmcgeeatcampbell-researchdotcom)  . It was simply a joy to work with him on the Brigada readership survey and he invested acres of time, simply as a courtesy to the Brigada community. So naturally we’re going to recommend him in hopes that someday someone will actually pay the guy something so he can buy food for his kids!!! Seriously, Campbell Research has done research projects for the likes of Frontiers, Wycliffe, the Far East Broadcasting Company and other missions agencies in the past. Give him a try… please!


WebWatch This is what the world looks like at night! Give it a minute to load, it’s a high resolution composite of hundreds of images made by NASA satellites orbiting the earth at night. How’s that for perspective? Can you find your favorite cities on this image? Surprisingly, city lights make this task quite possible. Where are the masses of the 10/40 Window? Take a look! Of course, this doesn’t show the rural masses where electricity and therefore lights are less common, but what a view of the cities! See also (Thanks to Rod for tipping us off to this great site!)


calendar The tenth Heartland MissionsFest will take place Feb. 22-24 in Tulsa, Oklahoma with tracks on long-term missions, short-term trips, and serving as senders. Speakers include George Verwer, David Shibley, Betty Barnett, Bill Berry, John Dupree, Steve Hawthorne, Steve Hoke, Neal Pirolo, David Smithers, Tom Telford, Keith Wheeler and John Zumwalt. The last conference drew 2,000 participants from 15 schools, 21 states, 67 churches and 97 agencies. Co-sponsors include ACMC, Ask A Missionary, Caleb Project, and the U.S. Center for World Mission. Read the brochure and register online at or phone 800-366-6641.


Brigada autoresponder I’m compiling this week’s Brigada Today while traveling through 3 sites in Asia and I’m reminded again just how important it is to do good preparation prior to travel. You can get some great tips for packing (for both short- and long-term experiences) by sending a simple email to: packingatbrigadadotorg  (packingatbrigadadotorg)   Our autoresponder will wing its way into your inbox in no time flat with a 36K file on everything from how to get the most out of a suitcase to what to pack in your carry-on. Literally dozens of Brigada readers participated in compiling this October ’99 file. For those who want to stay connected while venturing abroad, send an email to: email_traveling_tipsatbrigadadotorg  (email_traveling_tipsatbrigadadotorg)   This 14K file was compiled from a series of items focusing on how to raise your chances of being an effective global communicator while on the road. And when you’re ready to book your flight, write to: travelatbrigadadotorg  (travelatbrigadadotorg)   This 19K annotated list of resources just might refer you to an agent or agency that could save you hundreds of dollars. Thanks to Bob, our volunteer web-genius, for programming this autoresponder feature into our website.


If you’re having trouble getting along with someone, but can’t afford the shrink next door, you can at least download our help file on the subject. Just send a note to: conflict-resolutionatbrigadadotorg  (conflict-resolutionatbrigadadotorg)   Hey… if you can’t settle a fight with someone, just send them that file. Maybe they’ll find it in their heart to get along with you! :-)


Some 26 million Fulani, speaking more than 41 dialects of the Pulaar language, live throughout the Sahel region, across Africa from Senegal in the West, and as far as Sudan in the East! The Fulani have been Muslims for centuries. Patrick Johnston described the Fulani as one of the Gateway people groups of the world. Any significant ‘turning to Christ’ among the Fulani would greatly influence other Peoples throughout the African region. Imagine the impact of 10, 20, 50, or even more than 100 thousand people, all praying and fasting for the Fulani during February 2001! A prayer guide is available for the February “PRAY 4 THE FULBE” prayer project. Full info on the Web site “Pray 4 the Fulbe” If you don’t have access to the web, try writing johandotbesteratlapostedotnet  (johandotbesteratlapostedotnet)   for more information.


movie camera From time to time, let’s feature a “needle in a haystack” search. The only condition: you’ve got to agree to write back to tell us if you’re successful. Like this week, Tom Tgaudetataoldotcom  (Tgaudetataoldotcom)   is looking for some Moody Science Films in the Bahasa Indonesian language. (Hey… I told you it was a needle in a haystack!) Evidently, Moody did like 8 films in Bahasa… but they’re all out of print. So Tom is holding out hope that somebody has a couple of them sitting, gathering dust on a shelf somewhere. Let’s pitch in and help the guy out. I sent him first to brigada-peoples and he didn’t hear a peep there. I hate it when that happens. So let’s get those wires hot. Start those telegraphs a hummin’. Surely somebody among the 10,000 of us has heard of Bahasa before! :-) (Warning: Please don’t write me about it. I can’t even pronounce Bahasa. :-) Write Tom. He’ll be a happy camper. Thanks!!!)


graduation cap Centro Cultural Milamex A.C. and Prisma Magazine are hosting a Christian comics training in Cuernavaca, Mexico from February 2-5, 2001. The teachers will be Mexican cartoonist Paco Palafox and ROX35 COMIX instructors Nate Butler and Len Cowan. You can learn more about the ROX35 COMIX training ministry at this web site or by emailing ROX35atrox35dotorg  (ROX35atrox35dotorg)  . For more information on this course in Mexico, please contact Centro Cultural Milamex A.C., Matamoros 29 Col. del Carmen, Coyoacan. 04100 Mexico, D.F., Fax/Tel: 5659 6930, email Ccmprismaataoldotcom  (Ccmprismaataoldotcom)  .


calendar Here’s a three-day training course laying out the basic principles and strategies of saturation church planting. This seminar is geared for mission leaders and any missionary who wants to better understand the enabling of national church planting movements in the countries where they work. It is taught in Europe and the United States by those actually doing SCP. The next seminar dates are February 5-7 and will be held at the Center for Intercultural Training in Union Mills, North Carolina. For more information, contact Patti at citinfoatcompuservedotcom  (citinfoatcompuservedotcom)   or call 800-887-1786 in the USA or via Net2Phone or visit


The quarterly evangelistic paper SOON in easy-English is now also available by email. Articles may be freely re-used or translated. Send a blank email to: soon-subscribeatsoondotorg  (soon-subscribeatsoondotorg)  


letter and ligntening bolt In times past, we’ve recommended as a universal inbox, including (in its initial year or two) a personal toll-free number for free! Well — no more. Starting next month, will begin charging for those types of services. Some are still free, so it’s worth a look — but thanks to Ted and Tom for drawing attention to the fact that the free lunch is over. :-( It was good while it lasted. But hey… these folks have to make a living somehow! :-)


graduation cap Beginning with the Urbana Missions Conference, Columbia Biblical Seminary & School of Missions launched its Advancement In Ministry (AIM) track for delivering degree programs. AIM enables students to fulfill the residence requirements for a degree by spending a maximum of four weeks per year on the school’s South Carolina campus. One week intensive courses are combined with independent learning courses, enabling students to complete a Certificate (10 courses) in twenty months, a Master of Arts (20 courses) in forty months, or a Master of Divinity (30 courses) in sixty months. AIM’s pages on the CBS website may be viewed at or write the coordinator jharveyatciudotedu  (jharveyatciudotedu)   directly.


letter and ligntening bolt If your Internet connection is slow or paid for by the minute, you have probably been bothered by people sending you, without asking, huge file attachments which take 5, 10, 15 minutes or more to download. And that’s assuming they don’t stall halfway through the download process! But until they are downloaded, you have a queue of emails you can’t get at! There are several ways to get round the problem:

  1. If you use the excellent Eudora emailer, in Options/Attachments, select ‘put attachments in body of message’, and in ‘checking mail’ select a small maximum file size to skip. (The Pegasus email program offers a similar facility). Reset it after, if you wish to receive normal-sized attachments.
  2. Download the little free utility Email Remover (for Win95+). This allows you to view emails waiting for you, and delete any you wish to from the server without downloading them at all. It can be set up for multiple email accounts:
  3. Use the procedure described in a recent Brigada Today to download POP3 email into a Hotmail account. Ensure that it is set up not to leave email on the server. Then delete selected emails via the Hotmail webpage.

(Thanks to Tony tonyatsoondotorgdotuk  (tonyatsoondotorgdotuk)   from the UK for these tips! And yes… it is a hassle, Tony!)



books and penDid you ever have one of those weeks where you just had to say “Whew!” at the end? You know… the hectic kind… with phone calls, to do lists, databases, visits to make, books to read, doctoral dissertations to write, financial reports to compile, lessons to prepare… not to mention personal quiet times waiting in the wings. Is it my imagination, or does it seem to you that there are more of those these days than there were, even, say… five years ago? What’s happening to our lives? Makes me want to wish for one of the stopwatches I saw on an old Twilight Zone re-run. You know the episode… the guy clicks off the watch and the whole world stops except for him? He gets a chance to tidy up his shop or learn the violin, then … click… he starts the watch again and the whole world kicks back into gear without so much as a stutter. “Whoa”, they say, “You’re sure making fast progress on the violin!” :-)

So what can missionary-types do in times like these? Visit your local Dick’s Sporting-goods store and try out all the stopwatches? :-) Nice try. Here’s a more practical alternative. First, go through the list and find any and all items that are so urgent and so important that you simply positively have to finish them before anything else. Rank those as a “1”. Maybe some of them can be delegated to someone else (like, if you’re fortunate enough to have a secretary). Some of them might be so big that you have to break them down into smaller, bite-sized steps. If so, break them out if you must.

Don’t be so quick to rank an item high just because it’s urgent. Stephen Covey (author of 7 Habits books) does a good job of helping us see the difference between what’s urgent and what’s important. My doctoral dissertation isn’t urgent, but it’s probably important. (So why am I sitting here writing a Brigada Today BackPage editorial when I could be writing a dissertation? Probably because the dissertation looks so big that it’s no fun to tackle. By contrast, I can whip out a Brigada Today in just a few hours or so. So … here’s a memo to myself: Work the important things in as well as the seemingly urgent.

Next, start assigning a rank to the other items on the list. I used to try ranking things from 1 to a hundred… but I’ve come to believe it’s almost counterproductive to do that. (By the time you finish the list, the day is done!) Use 1 to 10 or whatever is manageable for you.

Once you’re done, change the order of the items to reflect the new look and feel of a managed task list. Now, look at the first item on the list and get started. When you finish it, celebrate (but only for a moment), then take off on the next item and so on.

Now here’s the key to escaping a hectic day. Here’s what I tell our mission’s Personnel Director when he’s feeling the pressure of a whole page full of items: Just do one at a time. That’s the secret to survival in a hurry-up world. “One line at a time.” Avoid seeing the list as a big stack of things. Just see it as one line (the next one) and tackle it ’til it’s finished.

Now a final word about “biggie” items. For example, during the past 2 or 3 weeks, I’ve been working with my boys to build a soccer practice area in our basement. It’s not huge, but it was a big challenge for me – over 26 feet long, just over 13 feet wide, complete with “dasherboards” (like an ice skating rink), goals, real indoor turf, … the works. I set a goal to have it finished before I left for this trip to Asia and just about everything on the to do list had to wait. Now maybe that’s good, in a sense. Singleminded determination and enthusasism are good things. But along the way, I’ve had to review my “family” to do list each evening to see what, if any, smaller items were slipping. Some nights I had to take time away for helping the kids with a homework question, helping Penny hang a curtain in the bedroom, or spending time with a family we might have invited over for a meal. I guess what I’m saying is that we can’t let this “one line at a time” thing keep us from eyeing the rest of the list on a daily basis, to make sure we don’t let a really important item fall through the cracks. Like… I didn’t finish grooming the dog before I left (poor pitiful- looking thing! :-)). But now that I’ve left, I’ve got to let go of it. I can’t let it keep bugging me. I’ve got to let go. Release it.

Okay… so there you have it. Magical stuff . . . stuff that’ll help you hang in there over the long haul. “One line at a time!”

And be careful… it’s a jungle out there. :-)


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*Global Glimpses: John Hanna, Caleb Project, jhannaatcprojectdotcom  (jhannaatcprojectdotcom)  
*Brigada Website: Bob Mayhew, WebServantatbrigadadotorg  (WebServantatbrigadadotorg)  
*Brigada Customer Service Manager: helpatbrigadadotorg  (helpatbrigadadotorg)  
*Brigada Coordinator: Doug Lucas, Team Expansion & Brigada, DLucasatteamexpansiondotorg  (DLucasatteamexpansiondotorg)  
*and many other occasional contributors too numerous to mention!
But thanks for working together! That’s the dream of Brigada!
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