Highlights from the 2016 OC Researchers' Consultation

One Challenge workers seek to serve the global body of Christ by gaining knowledge through research. To better accomplish this, 33 workers gathered together recently for the One Challenge Research Consultation in SE Asia. The event takes place every five years to help researchers, leaders, and mission workers within the OC Global Alliance learn how to systematically ask good questions and manage information to make wiser ministry decisions. The first Research Consultation took place in 1984.

A Unique Consultation
The gathering brought together 16 women and 17 men, ages 22 to 72. While most participants serve with the U.S. Mobilization Center, workers also came from three other OC mobilization centers: Canada, India, and Brazil.

An Ambitious Agenda
Under the theme, “Asking How God is at Work,” the five days were filled with information, interaction, and inspiration. The focus of the first day,"Building on the Past," began with a review of OC’s rich history of mission research. Day two focused on how Quantitative Research or numbers can help us discern how God is at work. The third day focused on Qualitative Research or recording and analyzing people's stories. Each day featured a demonstration of various tools used for collecting data, coding, and analysis. Collaborative discussions punctuated the entire week. The week ended with a challenge to prayerfully envision the future of OC research in our virtual, cloud-sharing world.

Easy Access to Consultation Documents
Those with an account for this website can use their user name and password to log on and view many of the conference documents, These are found in the "OC Research Archive" in the "2016 Research Consultation" folder. If you are not yet have an account, you can request one by clicking the link "create a new account" in the upper right hand corner of this page.

Infographic Features Global Research Team

This infographic features the work the Global Research Team of One Challenge.

Three Eras of OC Research

In September 2016, 33 OC workers met in Asia for a Global Research Consultation. Upon reviewing the 50+ years of OC’s work in mission research, we realized that we are in a third and new era of OC research. This article will provide an overview of the three eras of OC research and highlight what we envision for the next five years.


Five Quotes for Mission Information Workers

Five researchers from One Challenge participated in the Mission Information Workers Conference, 23-25 August 2016, in Texas. This gathering was sponsored by the Community of Mission Information Workers (CMIW), the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL), Harvest Information System (HIS) and the Seed Company. The program included 14 TED Talks (Technology, Entertainment & Design). A number of the speakers included insightful quotes in their TED Talks. Here are five thought provoking quotes that apply to mission information work.

Let’s start with two quotes attributed to Albert Einstein.

Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

Second Level of Training for Mission Information Workers Now Available for BETA Testing

The first two modules that make up the second level of training for Mission Information Workers are now available for BETA testing. These modules, which address The Purpose for OC Research and The Research Process, are downloadable from this page.

Level 2 of Finding Your Way with OC Research has in view Mission Information Workers, Field Researchers and Team Leaders already involved in field ministry. Mission Information Workers and Field Researchers are included because they are providers of strategic information. Team Leaders are also included in this training because they are users of strategic information and thus need to understand the purpose and process of mission research. As leaders, they also need to encourage the entire ministry team to value, gather and use good information.

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” – Isaac Newton

Why is research important to Christian missions? Why should we make an effort to count the believers and number the churches? What does a mission information worker do anyway?

Over the years these are some of the questions that have come my way about mission research. Based on my limited experience and understanding, I’ve tried to explain how research is helpful to Christian missions. But in recent years I’ve discovered that One Challenge has numerous “research giants” who have greatly helped me understand and articulate the importance of research to Christian mission.

In this article I will focus on the contribution of two of these research giants, whose complementary insights, though made a generation apart, have greatly shaped my understanding of missionary research and what a mission information worker does. Like Isaac Newton, I can see further by standing on the shoulders of these giants! By reading this article you will learn about four categories of mission research, the Mission Information Pyramid and how the Mission Information Pyramid informs the practice and application mission research.

Research Empowers Global Church Planting Network

For the May 2016 meeting of the Global Church Planting Network, the Global Research Team prepared maps and graphs that focus on the state of Christianity for every country of the world and the need for church planting, especially among Unreached People Groups. These country summaries are grouped into 21 regions of the world. This information helps intercessors, local churches, mission agencies and mission workers to see the big picture of what it will take to fulfill the Great Commission in each country in every region. Follow the links below to view these summaries on the GCPN website.

Africa North Africa Central Asia Asia Europe and Russia Latin America Western World
Eastern Africa North Africa & Middle East North East Asia Eastern Europe Central America Oceania
Southern Africa Central Asia South Asia Russia and satellites Mexico North America
West Africa South East Asia Western Europe Northern South America Caribbean
Central Africa Brazil Area
Nigeria Area Southern

20 Ways Research Can Help Church Leaders Mobilize God’s People for Good Deeds

Within One Challenge, we view research as foundational to all effective ministry. We define research as gathering information to make good decisions that ultimately result in the mobilization of God's people. This article identifies 20 ways that research can be used to identify needs, create relevant ministries and mobilize God's people.


Research can help make community outreach more effective.

1. Read the local newspaper seeking to understanding the community. In the formal research world, this would be called "library research"

2. Familiarize yourself with the demographic data for your community. Governmental agencies do a good job at tracking social indicators related to ethnicity, employment, education, household structure, poverty, economic, crime and other demographics. This information, I have found, is often "eye opening" and challenges our conceptions about a community.

The Art of Asking Good Questions

OC workers engage in what we call short term “impact ministries” in approximately 60 countries per year. These “open doors” provide a marvelous opportunity for workers to interact with church leaders in these countries. Generally OC workers enter a country at the invitation of local church leaders and thus should have opportunities to interact with them. Taking the role of a learner, a mission worker can use interactions with church leaders as an opportunity to learn about: (1) the history of the church; (2) the present status of the church; (3) the leader’s vision for the future of the church; and (4) how God has workers and is at work in the country.

One of the best ways to learn about the church and what God is doing in a country is to ask good questions. Pondering all this, it occurred to the author that the Book of Acts provides a wonderful outline of questions to ask about the growth of the Church. Since it is likely that mission workers likely have a good understanding of the Book of Acts, this knowledge can be drawn upon to guide the questions posed to local church leaders. This article, then, suggests the types of research questions that mission workers may use when interacting with local church leaders. Click here to learn more.

God is Doing Amazing Things Around the World Through the OC Global Alliance!

The Global Research Team recently finished the 2015 Annual Report for the OC Global Alliance. Based on the information submitted by our field teams working in over 40 countries, we took a close look at three areas: personnel, countries impacted and ministry results. We found surprising outcomes in each of these three areas.

  • With regard to ministry results, over 5,200 churches were started through the ministries of OC workers in 2015, almost double the number of churches started in 2014.
  • With regard to personnel, the number of workers associated with the OC Global Alliance surpassed 1,000 persons for the very first time. The news here is the large increase in the number of ministry volunteers serving alongside our teams outside of the United States. The number of volunteers working in the United States is up too, and it is interesting that our United States Mobilization Center has called 2016 the “Year of the Volunteer.” This link tells more about the "Year of the Volunteer."
  • In 2015, God opened doors for OC Global Alliance workers to minister in 103 countries – the largest number in history and one more country than last year.

We are in awe of God’s unprecedented work!
Speaking of volunteers, we have several persons who serve with the Global Research Team as volunteers. If you would be interested in serving as a volunteer, write us a message. We'd love to explore the partnership!


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