5) Missio Nexus Has a New Report on Mission CEOs: Is it Helpful?

In a word, indubitably. How many CEOs took part? 119. Would we have liked for that to have been 500? Sure. But did these 119 CEOs give some fantastic answers? Most definitely. Their top personal priorities, their top influencers (the page on “Most Recommended Books” alone is worth the price of admission), the “annual review,” work and life, energizers, exhausters, staff effectiveness, activity assessment, external forces at work, internal forces and much, much more – they all help us put the job in perspective. These sets of answers help us see the “systems” that can influence… that ARE influencing… the jobs we do as leaders of agencies. VanHuis and his team have done an incredibly valuable service for us. You can read the entire report online for free if you’re already a member of Missio Nexus. (If you’re not — gasp.) See it here:




6) Missio Nexus’s Report on Church Missions Leaders: Is it Helpful?

In a word, absolutely. Seeing how other local church missions leaders function, how they prioritize (e.g., how they rank various concerns), what are the external forces at work in their jobs, what they consider to be key attributes of effective missions leaders, what are their key resources, what are their most helpful books, where do they send short-term teams — all these and more… they help create categories. They help give shape to our ability to analyze our own systems of thinking. Imagine a report that helps you keep short-term teams safe, or helps you collaborate. If you’re a member of Missio Nexus, this report is free for you to read online. (If you’re not — gasp.) See it here:




4) CEO/President Peer 2 Peer Retreat Sponsored by Missio Nexus

Peer 2 Peer is a two day event combining directed peer discussions, case studies, networking, panel & table discussions, and inspirational sessions.  It is designed to be both relational and developmental.

It’s designed for CEOs and Presidents of missionary agencies. In addition to leadership, the focus surrounds issues directly affecting evangelism, church planting and similar Great Commission topics. Spouses are welcome. Learn more at…




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!)


5) Find out What Kind of Salary Other CEO’s Make. Evaluate Your Own.

Confession: As the President of a non-profit of 330 full-time workers, I (Doug) have no idea what my salary should be. Our board members are caring people. They want my needs to be met. But our organization is practically ALL faith-based. We raise support for the org equal to our ministry costs plus our salary. So what’s fair? What’s common? I don’t want to make anything that seems unkind to the people I’m supposed to lead, you know? Many of them are living *very* humbly in the places they serve. So — I was always a bit uncomfortable. What were other orgs doing? I had no *clue*. That’s why I was *thrilled* when Missio Nexus released their “Senior Leader Compensation Study — June 2019.” (How did they know I needed this?) Yes — you’ll have to join Missio Nexus to read it. But if you’re like me, you’ll be glad you did. Join first as an individual, if you like, just to try it out. (Confess: That’s what I did. And I’ve never looked back. This year, our whole org joined because of their new group health program. It was a no-brainer.) In this report on CEO salaries, you’ll see how yours stacks up against others in your region and over all. It’s 18 pages of charts, graphs and explanations. VERY clear. VERY helpful. And for me, very gratifying. (I immediately sent clips from the report to the board so they could be glad about the budget they had set for my salary. I won’t say where I was in the stack. I’ll only say it was extremely helpful to have this report — and it’s broken down by organizational size (number of people for whom you’re responsible). I bet some of you will experience something similar. Who knows – you might even use it as justification to ask for that raise for which you’ve been praying! : ) )  Well played, Missio Nexus. Thank you — again.




14) The BackPage: Characteristics of Learning Leaders

I enjoyed this past issue of the International Orality Network (ION)  Newsletter. I honed in on J.O. Terry’s article about Learning Leaders. He wrote that they are generally “a peer among the listeners or people group. They may not be literate, or if literate, often are only marginally literate. It is best if learning leaders are taught or trained in the same manner they will in turn use in teaching others.” I thought about Paul’s admonition in II Timothy 2:2 and tried to imagine how we profile students that will become effective replicators of the material, behaviors, and attitudes that we’re modeling.

In fact, speaking of modeling, he added, “Modeling is very important in training. All needed teaching information must be in the lesson. Since a learning leader may be nonliterate, the lesson must be memorable for the learning leader if it must be learned orally. Simple lesson guides rich in participation activities (if culturally appropriate) are helpful. Singing is often a good way to facilitate learning and memory, though this is a cultural preference. Because the learning leader usually does not have knowledge beyond the lesson resource, question and answer activity may not be possible except for a catechism type review. In extreme cases of learning leader nonliteracy a picture illustrating the Bible story may be used to trigger recall and give focus to the lesson.” I admitted to myself that I hadn’t ever thought very deeply about how these type learners would teach others. It would be worth exploring. In that vein, Terry continued, “The learning leader must reinforce listener learning by leader repetition as needed and encouraging listener recitation. The learning leader as a peer will know intuitively how to relate to listeners with proper teaching etiquette that includes how to encourage participation among listeners and how if needed to handle incorrect responses. The use of linked or sequential lessons can reduce learning leader stress without having to introduce unrelated or unlinked new lessons. Periodic reviews by a competent teacher as well as occasional visits to a teaching venue can help to keep the Bible Storying on track and effective.”

In all of this, I realized that storying (and its methodology) was stimulating my thinking about broader discipling processes. All of which makes me wish I could go farther in my training as a storyteller — because I have a hunch that storytelling would teach me more than a bunch of stories. :-) Your thoughts? Are you able to resonate with my conclusions?

14) The BackPage: Lessons in Leadership from the Movie, “Argo”

ArgoOK, before I go any farther, I have to say — the language in this movie is horrific. On the one hand, it’s what I hear 3 times a week when I go play soccer with a couple of dozen international friends of mine from all over the world. They cuss, swear, and utter some of the worst words I’ve ever heard. It’s horrible. That’s what this movie sounds like in certain segments. Well… LOTS of segments. Don’t take your family to this movie. Don’t rent it for anyone else on Redbox until you’ve watched it yourself. But if you play soccer with the same guys I do, these words won’t be new. You just won’t like them. Honest. (Am I getting my point across?)

Having said all that, if you can get hold of an EDITED copy of this movie… like … maybe something they show on an airline?… then there are indeed some redeeming values. The story is all about a cooperative effort between Canada and our own CIA to free six U.S. State Department employees who escaped the Iranian embassy just moments before it was stormed by mobs of irate Iranians on Nov. 4, 1979. The rest of the drama describes the CIA’s attempt to free them. The title of the movie, “Argo,” gets its name, of all things, from a movie WITHIN the movie — because the lead CIA operative, Tony Mendez, comes up with a zany idea [which echoed the real life events of 1980] of trying to exfiltrate the 6 hostages by convincing the Iranian government that they’re scouting the country for a movie set — a movie entitled, “Argo.” If you want the complete plot-spoiling description [warning: Don’t read this until you’ve watched the movie], visit


OK, so now the scene is set. And now we ask about the redeeming values. If you can get past all the obscenities, it seems to me thatArgo training there are several lessons in leadership found within Affleck’s portrayal of Tony Mendez and the dynamics of the entire drama. I’d like to propose four lessons, then ask you, the Brigada audience, what further lessons YOU can find in Argo.

*** Leadership, at the end of the day, is believing so strongly in an idea — a big idea — that you’re even prepared to die for it if you have to. Once you reach that level, you can truly rise to heroic status. Anything less than that and you’ll probably be relegated to a medium performance, at best. Affleck’s portrayal of Tony Mendez has received broad acclaim partly because Mendez was indeed a leader willing to die for his cause. (Note: This Mendez guy is the real deal. Argo got a few things wrong, but MANY things it got right — and Mendez is one of them. One of the reasons the movie works is that Affleck helps us see that this guy labored over his integrity: In the movie version of the story, he realized that he had ‘outed’ these six hostages. He HAD to carry through with the rescue now. So… the question we have to ask ourselves as leaders is this: Are we willing to give our LIVES for the cause. I don’t mean — are we willing to leave our wives and children (we should be willing to take them with us). I mean… are we so passionate that this ’cause’ is more than a job. Is it a dream to which we’ll commit ALL of ourselves.

*** Secondly, there will be times, as leaders, that we will have to be so sure of our cause that we have to articulate it even when others believe it’s a dying cause. And part of the MAGIC of leadership is effectively convincing others that the cause is worth living for… and that it will succeed. My buddies and I have several friends who have  said it this way: You’ll know a leader because there will be people following her — or him. Affleck’s depiction of this in the movie is spectacular. In the movie version of the story, [plot-spoiler] the CIA calls off the rescue all together. Affleck’s character at first seems to relent and obey the order. But in a long and lonely night, he inwardly battles through the inner conflict: Does he follow through with his personal convictions even though it risks certain death, being fired and released when he returned (especially if he fails), and the possibility of being made a complete fool if his headquarters doesn’t reconfirm the airline tickets, for example. The upshot for you and me, as leaders: Can we pick our battles? Can we grow the intuition to know when to campaign for follow-through, and when to let go? Can we sort out when to stand up for what we believe and when to walk away. Those decisions, little by little on a daily basis, help shape the successes, or the failures, of us all.

Argo-the_movie*** Third, can we as leaders keep secrets? Mendez pulled all this off in 1980 — but then he couldn’t tell a soul. He couldn’t even tell his WIFE! It wasn’t until the whole thing was declassified in 1997 that the story could finally come out. Can we muster that kind of confidence and humility? “Loose lips” not only “sink ships,” as the old WWII poster says, they also can sink churches and mission agencies too.

*** Fourth, in the movie version, what did it take for Mendez to convince all six hostages to play along — especially the character, “Joe Stafford,” who said, in the movie version, ” You really believe your little story’s gonna make a difference when there’s a gun to our heads?” Tony Mendez replied, in the movie, “I think my story’s the only thing between you and a gun to your head.” [plot spoiler] 48 hours later, as they attempt to board the plane, Joe Stafford steps up to the plate and uses his language skill to tell the story of the movie to the guards, complete with story boards and sound effects. Thanks to his willingness to join the team, they make it through the gate. Our task as leaders is no different. We have to persuade those who aren’t on board either to get on board or to get off the ship. No small task. It takes constant vigilance. But if we’re successful, some of the very people who didn’t want to be involved might mean the difference between success and failure.

Now what about you? What lessons do YOU see in Argo? What did YOU learn about leadership, followership, and mobilization. Just click “Comment” below the online version of this item. Thanks in advance for your thoughts. And remember, please beware the bad language in the movie.


14) The BackPage: Reflections on a Season of Soccer —

On July 15, my wife almost always jokes, “See you in November.” You see, in addition to doing mission work at Team Expansion, I coach high school boys’ (men’s?) soccer on the side. Tomorrow (Monday), we open District Tournaments. It’s usually a great time to stop and take stock of the season. And so, because it’s happening “right now,” let’s see what lessons we can draw so far from coaching this particular team through the summer and fall:

*** Leadership finds its headwaters in a serving heart — Our two all-time senior captains aren’t bossy. They aren’t flamboyant nor do they constantly impress you with chatter about English footballers. What they DO have is a quiet strength that inspires confidence, stability, and consistency. The secret is to serve! It’s all about serving.

*** There is no “I” in Team — We were blessed this year to have TWO good goalkeepers, one a senior and the other a junior. As I tried to size them up in real competitions, I got into a habit of rotating them often (not always, but often). I’d play the junior keeper every third game or so, just to see how he did. In fact, I finally began alternating them evenly. The senior keeper didn’t like it a bit and, because he wasn’t dominating the playing time, he actually quit the team all together. I won’t try to pick apart his motives. I’ll only observe that, at the end of the day, even if he DID think he was better, if you ask me, he still needed to stay on the team. If it’s “all about the team,” then your concern isn’t for individual playing time. Rather, it’s focused on “how can we get the outcome we desire (which, in soccer, usually means to score goals).”

*** There is strength in multiple volunteers — Because I have a full-time job away from the high school where I coach, I simply couldn’t do this job were it not for a handful of extremely engaged parents who volunteer and “make the world go round.” I’ve become convinced that volunteers are the coolest people on earth. They don’t work for money; their only satisfaction is the internal, intangible fulfillment they get by knowing that they helped bring about the end-goal. If we had more people like them around the world, the earth might actually spin faster!

There are other conclusions too numerous to mention. But these 3 at least get you started. In one way or another, they all seem to focus on leadership and how it happens best, perhaps.

But what about you? What lessons have you learned from sport? How does soccer (or your favorite pastime) help YOU understand reality. When is the athletic field most like the world in which you live and how does it help you cope? Just click “Comment” in the comments below to pitch in. Thank you in advance for any comments you can share.

12) Backpage: Portrait of a Leader

I’ve been asking a number of folks… and now I should ask you: What qualities do you look for when you’re trying to find a leader for a new mission team? In other words — what are the traits, characteristics, and personality types? Here are some factors I’ve heard so far:

* Faith – Strong trust in God       * Grounded in Scripture       * Focused       * Empowering       * Servant leader — humble       * People are drawn to his dreams. In short, he/she has followers.       * Ability to cast a vision for a dream that hasn’t happened yet — Articulate, innovative, creative, a positive life force and a positive thinker, “can do” mentality       * Possesses an enduring spirit. Doesn’t give up easily. Exudes determination.       * Empathy: Creating a legitimate rapport with your staff makes it less likely that personal issues and resentment can creep in and derail the group. When your team knows that you are empathetic to their concerns, they will be more likely to work with you and share in your vision, rather than foster negative feelings.       * Consistency: Being a consistent leader will gain you respect and credibility, which is essential to getting buy-in from the group. By setting an example of fairness and credibility, the team will want to act the same way.       * Honesty: Another characteristic of leadership that lends itself to credibility. Those who are honest, especially about concerns, make it far more likely that obstacles will be addressed rather than avoided. Honesty also allows for better assessment and growth.       * Direction: Having the vision to break out of the norm and aim for great things –then the wherewithal to set the steps necessary to get there– is an essential characteristic of good leadership. By seeing what can be and managing the goals on how to get there, a good leader can create impressive change.       * Communication: Effective communication helps keep the team working on the right projects with the right attitude. If you communicate effectively about expectations, issues and advice, your staff will be more likely to react and meet your goals.       * Flexibility: Not every problem demands the same solution. By being flexible to new ideas and open-minded enough to consider them, you increase the likelihood that you will find the best possible answer. You will set a good example for your team and reward good ideas.       * Conviction: A strong vision and the willingness to see it through is one of the most important characterizes of leadership. The leader who believes in the mission and works toward it will be an inspiration and a resource to their followers.       * Committed and growing relationship with God.       * Sensitivity, ability and willingness to deal with the challenges and issues full-time missionaries encounter.       * Compassionate heart for missions and world evangelism.       * Ability and commitment to work well in teams and with other people.       * Ability to coach, mentor, and empower other workers toward effective ministry.       * Ability to lead in the establishment and implementation of team vision, values, and a strategic ministry plan.

Now, using the comment box below, what attributes would you add? Thanks for your help!


2) New Book on Coaching in a Missions Context —

Keith Webb’s new book The COACH Model for Christian Leaders is a radically different approach to leading people. Rather than provide answers, “Coach Model” leaders ask questions to draw out what God has already put into others. Learn how to create powerful conversations to assist others to solve their own problems, reach goals, and develop leadership skills in the process. Packed with stories and illustrations that bring the principles and practice of coaching to life, this book will transform your conversations into powerful learning and results. Available in print and e-book versions.



4) Pick up a Masters of Arts in Leadership without Leaving China —

Here’s a Masters degree in Leadership, taught in cohort format, starting in April. It’s designed especially for folks in Asia and the deadline for registration is March 15. Learn to…

* Practice value-based servant leadership

* Produce high morale and productive employees

* Resolve conflict and create effective teams

* Create high performance organizations

* Lead for results based change

* Make strategic and ethical decisions

For more info, see the Mandarin page at…


or the English version at…


7) Mission Leadership Training Online —

LeaderLink has been known as the most comprehensive leadership training designed specifically for missions. For over 16 years CrossGlobal Link has been providing this specialized leadership training to field missionaries and home staff. Now, you can join a web workshop from anywhere in the world. These interactive 75-minute workshops are held once every Wednesday over a six-week period where participants are instructed and guided by a recognized expert. The next session, Essentials of Leader Development, facilitated by Dr. Steve Hoke, is Feb. 2 – March 9. Go to


to learn more and register.

6) Church Planting + Leadership Development + Mentoring —

That’s what you get from these sites:



We’ve mentioned them before in Brigada, but it’s been a while. Allan, one of the guys in our Equipping Dept. at Team Expansion, sent out a note to our staff about them this past week and it reminded me it had been too long since we mentioned them here. Last we heard, the Paul-timothy materials are free and available in English, Chinese, Spanish, and various languages of India. Train & Multiply comes with a fee and, in Allan’s words, “is also in a bazillion languages.” (That must be a scientific number/term because, if I recall, he has his Ph.D. in Chemistry or Physics. :-) Thanks Allan.)

5) ACMC is cranking up the regional conferences —

It is not uncommon for the missions leadership in a church to turn over about every 3 years. Finding ways to train them quickly is key. ACMC conferences are a quick, easy, and accessible way to do that. Typically they deal with topics such as leading your church in missions well, mobilizing your congregation, choosing and preparing goers, and issues on the field. There is always something new to learn and we all need to get our jets recharged, don’t we? This fall there are conferences offered in New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Washington, DC. Check out


to download a brochure or register.

8) Leadership And Partnership Book

Working in partnership in a cross-cultural context can be quite a challenge. Often different leadership styles can cause misunderstanding and friction. Here’s a new book by Ralph Schubert that features a dialogue between Western and Tanzanian Christian leaders on their leadership styles and their impact on cross-cultural partnerships. Entitled, ” Leadership and Partnership. A dialogue between Western and Tanzanian Christian leaders,” it lets us see how leaders from both societies discover the similarities and differences, strengths and weaknesses of each leadership style in terms of character, relationships, power and conflict and what they can learn from each other. The author proposes practical action steps how to move towards a truer Christian leadership style and more genuine partnerships.

The book can be purchased through Amazon.

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