EVENTS: October Classes and Conferences

Source: Missions Events Calendar

October 1-3, Open B4T Expo (Minneapolis, MN, USA). Transforming Nations through Business.

October 1-3, Oasis Conference West (Brentwood, CA, USA). Crescent Project annual conference held on the west coast.

October 2-3, Mission Next Forum (Tulsa, OK, USA). Find your fit in missions.

October 5 to February 15, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement Course (online). Provided by the Perspectives Study Program.

October 6, Mobile Ministry Training Course (online). Start of six-week class, repeated several times a year. Learn how to use mobile technology for evangelism.

October 7, Evaluating and Recalibrating Your Ministry (online). Start of web workshop from Missio Nexus; four Wednesdays in October.

October 8, Missions Funding and Global Missions (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

October 9-10, Missions Fest Seattle (Edmonds, WA, USA).

October 10, Bridges Seminar (Huntington, WV, USA). Building bridges to reach Muslims. Provided by Crescent Project.

October 11-16, ABIDE (Joplin, MO, USA). Re-entry and debriefing for singles, couples, and families provided by TRAIN International.

October 14, Missionary Care: Making It Practical (online). Free webinar for sending churches, part 1 of 3 from Sixteen:Fifteen.

October 15, Hospitality and the Great Commission (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

October 16-18, THARS Security Seminar (Mi-Wuk Village, CA, USA). Provided by Morton Security Solutions.

October 19-20, Support-raising Bootcamp (Rogers, AR, USA). Provided by Support Raising Solutions.

October 19-22, Thrive Retreat (Rimini, Italy). Refreshment and renewal for North American women serving cross-culturally.

October 19-23, Kairos Course (Louisville, KY). Intensive one-week version.

October 21, Missionary Care: Creating a Missionary Nurture Team (online). Free webinar for sending churches, part 2 of 3 from Sixteen:Fifteen.

October 24, Bridges Seminar (Des Moines, IA, USA). Building bridges to reach Muslims. Provided by Crescent Project.

October 27, Evaluating and Managing Risk on Your Short-term Mission (webinar). Provided by DELTA Ministries.

October 28: Missionary Care: Creating a Missionary Crisis Management Team (online). Free webinar for sending churches, part 3 of 3 from Sixteen:Fifteen.

October 29, When Helping Hurts: Cross-Cultural Leader Development (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

October 29 to November 1, International Conference on Missions (Richmond, VA, USA). Conference of the Christian Church/Churches of Christ.

October 31, Heart for Muslims Conference (New York, NY, USA).

» View the complete calendar and/or submit an item. It’s time to start putting together our 2016 calendar. We’d appreciate your help!

Help us help our friends at Brigada


Dear readers,

Do you know about Brigada Today?

Founded in 1995 in the same initiative that birthed Missions Catalyst, this free, weekly web-and-email journal offers resources, mission trends, motivation, strategy tips, and tools for Great Commission Christians. I use it to keep up with new resources and upcoming events. Maybe you do, too.

This month, editors Doug and Tina are asking us to pray for Brigada. Among other things, they ask us to pray that during these last months of 2015, the Brigada community would grow from 6,000 participants to 7,000.

So I prayed. I also started to wonder if we could help them reach that goal. That’s why I’m writing. If you haven’t seen it—or haven’t seen it lately—I’d encourage you to check out Brigada.

  • Browse through recent editions. Troll the archives.
  • If you like what you see, subscribe.
  • Tell your friends. Share it with others!

Thanks for reading and considering this request. Next week we’ll be back with the September edition of Missions Catalyst Resource Reviews.


Marti Wade
For the Missions Catalyst team

World News Briefs

Missions-Catalyst-no-tagline_largeIn this Issue: Sometimes the news is not what you expect

  1. INDIA: Witch Hunts Not a Thing of the Past
  2. INDONESIA: Attack Unites Muslims and Christians
  3. NEPAL: The Day Jesus Invaded a Buddhist Monastery
  4. GERMANY: Hundreds of Muslims Turn to Christ

For additional news, see our Twitter feed.


A new film about the life of Muhammad is causing a stir in the Muslim world.

Dear Readers,

Have you noticed that sometimes the news is just plain confusing? For example, the recently released film Mohammad: The Messenger of God (trailer above) is causing a stir in the Muslim world. It took me by surprise to read that Iranians made the film, while the fatwa against it is coming from Muslims in India. Wouldn’t you expect people in India, home of Bollywood, to support the project, while Iran, with so many hardliners about the arts, to object? But it’s not so simple. I had the same weird feeling when I read about that Pakistan is one of the top exporters of bagpipes: a challenge to my sensibilities. And maybe that’s a good thing!

I am wired to try to see connections and often God seems to use this gift. But I have to be careful how I use it and avoid any kind of “witch hunt” (see India story below). Some see a connection between the tragedy this week in Mecca and God’s judgment. My heart, though, hurts for those who sacrificed to seek God and were met with injury and death in their most holy place.

I do see a connection between the Muslim Hajj (September 21-23) and Jewish Yom Kippur (September 23) as they overlap this year. That means that, this month, many of the world’s people will be seeking to be cleansed from sin by a pilgrimage to their most holy places. Don’t miss the opportunity to pray for their cleansing—by the blood of Christ.

May they enter the true Holy of Holies with Jesus,

INDIA: Witch Hunts Not a Thing of the Past

Source: Mission Network News, September 3, 2015

It’s easy to assume that the extreme superstition that fueled historical tragedies like the Salem witch trials is a thing of the past, but Mission India says that’s not the case. Fear-driven witch hunts are a very real and disturbingly common part of society in many of India’s states. The problem is especially serious in Jharkland, where 37 percent of all witchcraft-related murders occur.

For example, in early August, five women were killed in the state of Jharkland when villagers claimed they were witches. The entire village contributed to the angry mob that blamed the women for many of the community’s issues, including illness and poor crop yields.

Last August in the state of Assam, a 63-year-old woman was beheaded on the basis that she had cursed the village with an illness. In July, a couple and four of their children were killed in their sleep when their own relatives accused them of causing the sickness that was spreading among infants in the village.

» Read full story, which links to a 2014 article with analysis of the phenomenon (Washington Post).

» Also read the secular coverage of the same event, Five Women Killed in India, and a story on witchcraft in Afghanistan, The Fortune Teller of Kabul, both from The Guardian. And check out Occult Beliefs on the Rise among Chinese Communist Leaders and Satan Has Come to Detroit: Try Not to Worry (Christian Today).

INDONESIA: Attack Unites Muslims and Christians

Source: Missions Network News, September 11, 2015

Muslims and Christians aren’t known for working together. But in rural Indonesia, Muslims and Christians in a small village are going “against the grain.”

Four radical Muslims brutally attacked Pastor Yuda, an indigenous church planter in Borneo supported by Forgotten Missionaries International (FMI).

“The local people [Muslims] are coming together with the church members to try and find out who the person [was] who hit and attacked Pastor Yuda, and bring that person to the police” [reports FMI’s Bruce Allen].

Pastor Yuda’s village is 98 percent Muslim, and “the leader of that village, although he’s Muslim, does not want any conflict between Muslims and Christians or the church members in that area,” Allen shares.

» Read full story and prayer points.

NEPAL: The Day Jesus Invaded a Buddhist Monastery

Source: GodReports, September 4, 2105

Tyler Connell, with Ekballo Project, is currently in the Himalayan Mountains in one of the most unreached places of the world, distributing Bibles, praying for the sick, and preaching the Good News. A month ago, Tyler and his team trekked to one of the highest villages in the Tibetan region of Nepal. They split into groups of four and prayed for the Holy Spirit to direct their paths. Tyler’s group felt led to walk to the highest point of the village where they observed ancient ruins protruding above them.

At the moment they reached the promontory, a monk appeared, smiling as he approached them. “Hi, I’m Jems,” he said in perfect English. “We’ve been watching you guys; it is rare for anyone foreign to come to our village. Would you like to come inside our monastery?”

“We are followers of Jesus, the man and God greater than any other god,” Tyler told the monk.

“Oh, I once heard of Jesus, in India, but wasn’t able to do any reading on who he was,” the man replied.

“Can we introduce you to him through the power of the Holy Spirit and the presence of Jesus?” one asked.

» Read full story and watch related video series Life in the Himalayas. The Ekballo Project uses film as a mobilizing spark on college campuses and churches to send believers into the unreached, unengaged regions of the world. See also Tyler’s recent article in Mission Frontiers.

GERMANY: Hundreds of Muslims Turn to Christ

Source: Christian Broadcasting Network, September 13, 2015

In Germany, hundreds of Muslim refugees are turning to Christ at a Berlin church. The Evangelical Trinity Church has swelled from 150 to 600 members in just two years, and many are Muslims fleeing Iran and Afghanistan.

Mohammed Ali Zonoobi, an Iranian asylum seeker, was recently baptized.

“I feel like I am born again,” he sobbed.

Many of the refugees are seeking asylum in Germany, and converting to Christianity can increase their chances of staying. If they’re sent home, converts can be persecuted—even put to death—for leaving Islam.

The church’s pastor said he believes the power of Christ is changing their lives.

“I know that sometimes people also come here because their hope is that they will be granted asylum status,” he said. “I invite these people in because I think that coming here does change people, despite their original motivation for doing so.”

Pastor Martens said only about 10 percent of those who are baptized do not return [to the church].

» Read full story and watch video report or read At a Berlin Church, Muslim Refugees Converted in Droves (Associated Press).

» See also this 16-minute video about Syrians that decided to walk to Germany (The Guardian), and read The Significance of Syria in the Bible History and Civilizations (Rev. Peter Sadid).

Say “Yes” to the Pope: Could You or Your Church Host a Refugee Family?

By Shane Bennett

If your head’s spinning and your stomach hurts a little when you look around these days, you are not alone. There’s enough craziness afoot to make the most stoic among us reach for the antacid. If it were just the wacky run up to the U.S. presidential election, that would be enough (for those of us living in the States). But big issues on many fronts lobby for worry space in our brains. The Bible says not to be afraid, so there must be a better way.

In addition to prayers and tears (which might be among the best responses), I’d like to pass on a huge, but eminently doable challenge. It will not be easy, but the payoff could be fantastic.

Say “Yes” to the Pope

You’ve probably heard what Pope Francis asked of Europe recently: “May every parish, every religious community, every monastery, and every sanctuary in Europe host a family, starting with my diocese of Rome.”

He went on to say, “Before the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees fleeing death in conflict and hunger and are on a journey of hope, the gospel calls us to be close to the smallest and to those who have been abandoned.”

He also underlined his challenge by saying his diocese in Rome would be first in line!

Putting the question of papal authority aside for a moment, let’s ask: What about you and me? What about your stream of the faith? Your church? Your town? What if this challenge caught hold throughout the church in our country or even the global church? It’s more of a hassle than the ice bucket challenge (see our article on the power of slacktivism). Imagine, though, what could happen as a result!

The First Six Months

I currently live in a little mountain town of a few hundred people. As part of our church’s facility, we have six RV sites for campers. My pastor and I are scheming about finding an RV, putting it on one of the sites, and using it to house a refugee family for their first six months in the U.S.

What about your church? Do you have the faith, creativity, and energy to catalyze this among your people? Can you forward this to your denominational or association leaders?

In all honesty, when I raise my hand and say, “Our church will take a family,” I don’t know who to say that to. I’m pretty sure the Pope’s not counting, although I can’t wait until he lays this challenge on U.S. Catholics during his visit here in a couple of weeks. For starters, at least, go to We Welcome Refugees (World Relief) and ask for more info.

Yes, There Will Be Problems

Refugees will have difficulties, some will do bad things, and all have walked down paths most of us cannot begin to imagine. Our example is Jesus, who set his face toward Jerusalem, knowing at least in part the pain that awaited him there. Who defied social taboos by touching lepers, hanging with tax collectors, and extending grace to the guilty. Who for the joy set before him endured the cross.

Three Ways to Respond

  1. Can I ask you, with all seriousness and sobriety, to pray and consider what it would take for your church to house a refugee family for their first six months in the U.S.?
  2. Can I ask you to share this article with your pastor and ask him, as I asked my pastor last night, “Is it totally dumb for us to think about doing this?”
  3. Finally, would you consider forwarding the article to three other people in three other churches with a comment that says, “We’re thinking and praying about this. Will you do so as well?”

» Please comment on this article on our website or Facebook page and share relevant information and updates. This is a complex and fluid situation. We can all benefit from all our wisdom.

Subversive Mobilization: Family Mission Trips

Maybe it doesn’t work for you to bring a refugee family to where you live. No shame. What about flipping it around and taking your family to where refugees are?

I flat out love the thought of family missions trips. And I especially love them when they happen among unreached peoples. Granted, that adds complexity, but also a powerful pay off.

Consider this: You, your spouse, and the kids take five days or a week to sweat and toil, interact with people who are different from you, try new foods whose prices don’t make sense to you, and return home tired but changed. Yes, that could describe a trip to Disneyland. But I’m thinking something further afoot. What would it take for your tribe to participate in a family mission trip?

A Closer Look

Two big red flags snap and crackle in the wind of that question: Safety and cost. A third flag often hangs limp until you decide to go, then it flies: Is there relevant, helpful stuff for us to do? So let’s take a closer look.


Yes, you’re safer at home. At least in the short run. And yes, it’s easy to mock someone’s desire for safety when it’s not your kids and wife. And yes, I assume we’d all agree in principle that wisdom and faith are often in tension when we think about our family in the kingdom of God. Jesus said both, “Follow me” and “Be shrewd as snakes.”


If your family mission trip includes getting on a plane and you actually have a family, things get pricey in a hurry. Three things that could help:

  1. Drive to where populations of unreached refugees are gathering. This is getting increasingly easy in the U.S. and many other places.
  2. Just take some of the family. I can already hear echoes of the chaos and fights this might engender, but it could be your solution.
  3. Receive grace from God to spend a chunk of change in a way that will change your family for the rest of its history.


Honestly, what can a foreign family do in a short-term time frame?

Be there. You can be there. My simplistic model for any mission trip right now is this: Hear their story, tell your story, share God’s story. Most anyone can do this with a mite of training.

Add to it some praying for sick people, some contributory labor, and some intentional learning, and I’ll argue with anyone on the worth and relevance of a family mission trip.

Finding Opportunities

The cool organization I work for has groups living in some of the coolest (and hottest) places in the world who would gladly welcome a bold, humble, servant-minded family to hang out with them for a week or two. I’d be happy to link you up. Many other groups would say the same.

I’m also pulling together a family trip to Sicily to care for refugees there. Looks like it will happen around March 21-25. If that’s your kids’ spring break, or if you home school and can flex the school calendar a bit, I’d love for you to think about coming along. Shoot me a quick note and we can talk about it.

Editor’s note: See also this article on family mission trips and the links it includes (