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Reflecting on Envision ’96: 20 Years and Counting

By Doug Lucas

In the fall of 1995, I was asked by the National Missionary Convention (NMC) to serve as President for their 1996 annual gathering in Lexington, Kentucky. With some great help from co-workers at Team Expansion, the organization that I lead, we started brainstorming about how to maximize the impact of the event. We persuaded convention leadership to allow us to use the name, “Envision ’96.” We also started a little weekly email newsletter called Brigada. You can read the archives at www.Brigada.org — all the way back to those first few editions in 1995. The mandate for Brigada was to share motivation, resources, and trends for fulfilling the mandate of reaching unreached peoples and cities throughout the globe. Thousands read it via email and on the web each week. It’s free of charge, though we do run a limited fundraising drive each fall to help with tech costs and a part-time assistant.

Back at Envision ’96, God blessed us with an incredible team of innovative and visionary thinkers who helped us stage a major missions event. To help our delegates picture the immense needs among unreached peoples, we prepared a series of placards, one for each of the 1,739 unreached people groups on the list that was currently being promoted by the A.D. 2000 & Beyond Movement at that time. We placed these placards, one per seat, in Rupp arena where main sessions took place. We set up an “adoption center” at the base of those seats, from which each delegate could select a group for which to pray. Many participated — and from those small beginnings, we saw initiatives and networks come to life that ended up sending teams of workers which, in turn, raised up new believers in places people had never heard of before.

Team Expansion, the organization I’ve led since its start-up in 1978, ended up shepherding most of those PACE Projects, with dozens launched (and some completed) to date. The initiative is still ongoing today. Out of that convention eventually came ideas like the Wall of Unreached Peoples, a traveling exhibit featuring all 6,900 unreached people groups on a Vietnam-Memorial-styled portable black wall. The network that coordinates it is called “Unleashed for the Unreached” (UnleashedForTheUnreached.com or simply U4theU.com). You can go there directly to reserve the Wall for your next mobilization event.

We’ve also launched a similar site called MoreDisciples.com to highlight, in particular, the principles associated with disciple making movements (DMM). You can sign up there for a “30-Day Challenge,” which sends you a daily email to dare you to tackle the next skill or take the next courageous step to share your faith in DMM fashion.

So what became of the National Missionary Convention? It has now become one of the largest annual missions mobilization events of any kind in the entire USA — operating under the new name of International Conference on Missions (ICOM) — with attendances currently running well above 10,000 — and many of those are college students, looking for a place to serve.

As for Team Expansion, it’s been an amazing ride as well. We now have some 300 full-time workers serving on 79 teams in over 40 countries. Attendance in churches (some traditional, some simple) now averages way over 20,000, with over 1400 baptisms last year alone. We give God praise for the way he’s working through all our front-lines workers around the world. Join us in celebrating the many other workers, with many other agencies, seeking to make disciples who make disciples globally.


Team Expansion, a Mission Nexus member, provided this article. Member organizations can provide content to the Missio Nexus website. See how by clicking here.

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