By Jennifer Johnson
Many missionaries manage websites, send newsletters, and post videos on YouTube. But for these resources to be helpful, potential supporters must first hear about them—and, as Reggie Hundley says, “Who’s searching YouTube for missions videos?”
Hundley, executive director of Mission Services, a nonprofit organization serving missionaries and mission agencies, recently developed a solution to connect churches, individuals, and missionaries online. The new website www.themissionsnetwork.com provides an easy way for people to learn about the missionaries they already support as well as come in contact with new ministries.
A “Missions Knowledge Base” shares audio and video podcasts on a variety of topics for both missionaries and forwarding agents; sources include the International Conference on Missions, the Eubanks Institute for Missions, and the Lake James School of Missions. Organizations around the country post their latest openings on the “Ministry Personnel Needs” page, and “Ministry Communication Network” groups missionaries and missions organizations by geographical focus.
The site also includes the best of those YouTube videos, featuring stories of churches making a difference locally and internationally.
Mission Services funds the project through donations, and Hundley compiles the information, making sure every audio and video link is ad-free.
Brigada.org, another website connecting Christians with missions resources, was started when Doug Lucas accepted the call to serve as president of the National Missionary Convention (now International Conference on Missions) in the mid-1990s. Lucas, president of Team Expansion (Louisville, KY), held dozens of focus groups across the country to ask what the convention could do to give back to the Restoration Movement.
“The resounding request was for plans and action steps for reaching unreached people groups,” Lucas says. He explored the options available for online communication at the time, including mailing list server groups, and launched the Brigada Today weekly e-mail journal in January 1995.
“We began with just three subscribers,” he says, “and now we have 10,000. From the beginning I was strongly committed to a subscribers-only model. I didn’t even add my mom to the list—she had to sign up herself!”
During its first years, Brigada.org tried to connect individuals working to reach the same people groups, but as other organizations developed more specialized websites, Lucas redefined the focus to include resources, reviews of current trends in missions, and the challenge toward greater involvement in global evangelism.
Because Brigada.org began during the web’s infancy, the site has also transitioned in format. In 2008 Lucas reposted the entire archive of Brigada Today as blog posts that can be commented on and searched.
He continues to manage the site on his own time, as a personal project that has expanded beyond his original vision.
“One company used to fill its fax machine with paper the weekend before a Brigada went out because they received so many responses from readers,” he says. “Now people use e-mail, and that company will get dozens of requests for a resource or class mentioned there. I’m just glad we can still inform Great Commission Christians.”