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Global Research

Asking How God is at Work – 2016 One Challenge Research Consultation

One Challenge Research ConsultationOne 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. Designed to help researchers, leaders, and mission workers within the OC Global Alliance, they learn how to systematically ask good questions and manage information to make wiser ministry decisions.

“Some seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge: that is curiosity. Others seek knowledge that they may themselves be known: that is vanity. Still others seek knowledge in order to serve and edify others: that is love.” – St. Bernard of Clairvaux

What is Ministry Research?

Ministry research is collecting and analyzing information to aid in the mobilization of the body of Christ and in strategic planning in order to faithfully carry out the Great Commission of Jesus to make disciples of all nations.

The purpose of field research is to perceive what the Holy Spirit is doing and where he wants to lead the body of Christ. So we can cooperate with Him and be used by God in his harvest. It is not for our own edification or personal advancement, but also so we may better participate in God’s plans and so that He may be glorified.

A Unique Consultation

Global ResearchGod prepared something special for this gathering. Perhaps because this is its first time in Asia, a third of the participants came from Asian countries. The gathering brought together 16 women and 17 men, ages 22 to 72. While most of global mission attendees serve with the U.S. Mobilization Center, workers also came from three other OC mobilization centers: Canada, India, and Brazil. The OC Global Research Team proudly hosted the consultation for the first time. For more details about the Global Research Team (GRT), see this special article.

Ambitious Agenda

Under the theme, “Asking How God is at Work,” the five days were filled with information, interaction, and inspiration. Thoughtful quantitative and qualitative data collection, analysis, and integration were major themes throughout the week.

The time began with a praiseworthy review of OC’s rich history of mission research. At first, God’s direction and provision came when data was collected on foot and recorded on index cards. Then, it went to a movement to track where churches existed and where they were needed, and then to where they were growing and why. As a result, the countless surveys, analyses, and reports profoundly shaped the ministry strategies used on OC fields.

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But it was much more than a review. Speakers shared hands-on tools for information cataloging and coding. Collaborative discussions punctuated the entire week. Discussion intensified during a table talk session in small groups focused on potential or existing projects. They emphasized the willingness and capability of the research community and the GRT to contribute manpower and “mind power” toward strategic ministry research.

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The week ended with a challenge to prayerfully imagine the future of OC research in our virtual, cloud-sharing world.

The Heart of One Challenge Strategy

One Challenge seeks to ask how God is at work in every ministry situation.
Global ResearchLarry K, global director of research, summarizes: “Together we ask, listen, discern, plan, serve, and ask again.” Stephanie, his wife and coworker, elaborates: “Research is not just the precursor to ministry, but research is ministry. It is the process of asking and listening … discerning where God is at work … then planning our servant ministries out of this humble and tentative awareness. Because God is always working, we need to keep at it. Always asking and doing our best to listen well to His voice and to the information that He reveals.”

Larry and Stephanie look forward to the next decade of research and future consultation gatherings. Their goal is to train and promote research among church leaders around the world. Embedded in that hope is their passion to mentor a committed and competent future generation of information workers to continue what they are doing and exceed those expectations.

How you can be involved…

  • Gain a greater understanding of mission research. Start with the OC Research website
  • Tap into some of the great tools generated out of missions research to broaden your understanding of the role of missions research and influence your prayers… Operation World, Future of the Global Church, GMI’s infographics and books
  • Become a mission information worker or associate with the OC Global Research Team.
  • Financially support the OC Global Research Team.

One Challenge is an international mission sending agency empowering local church ministry in more than 100 countries around the world. We provide the body of Christ with the statistical data needed to share the love of Jesus with all people in their communities and beyond in efficient and effective ways.

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