Using Mission Information to Transform Nations...Together!


OC Research is a department of One Challenge (OC International).
This site showcases some of the best research of OC workers and offers information, training, and resources for all mission information workers. This site features:

  • A blog about Mission Information work - scroll down this page for recent posts
  • Research Mentoring - Information about SearchLight, Breakthrough and Internships
  • Research FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions about OC's research ministries
  • Research Wiki - practical "how to" information about missionary field research
  • Resources - reports, case studies, training resources, and useful research websites.

For more information about the innovative, world-wide ministries of One Challenge, visit www.OneChallenge.org!

Numbers Help us Understand the World


Presently our research team is reading the book Factfulness by Hans Rosling. Rosling's life work focused on using data to understand our every changing world. Check out his TED talks on YouTube to catch his creative use of numbers to help audiences grasp how the world is changing for the better. Likewise in mission work, we need good numbers to guide and evaluate our efforts. But we also need to talk to people to gain a deeper understanding of all the factors impacting mission work.

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Effective Strategy and Research go Hand in Hand


This quote by Donald McGavran highlights the relationship between effective mission strategy and quality mission research. It also calls attention to the investment required to produce good research that guides Kingdom impact. What valuation do you place on mission strategy and research?

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Why Counting Churches is Fundamental but not the Whole Deal

The idea of Saturation Church Planting/DAWN-type ministry was birthed by Donald McGavran, the father of the Church Growth Movement. Here is a brief excerpt from his landmark Understanding Church Growth (page 7):

"The multiplication of churches nourished on the Bible and full of the Holy Spirit is a sine qua non in carrying out the purposes of God. . . Though God's triumphant reign will not come in its fullness until Christ returns in power, it is clear that in this era the more who love Christ and live “in him” as part of his body, the more goodness and truth will prevail in their communities. Righteousness and peace will surely spread as sound churches multiply throughout the more than three billion persons who feel no allegiance to Jesus Christ".

The Example of Brazil


How was this manifest in Brazil? The Protestant church began to grow vigorously in the early 1980's, averaging 2-3 times the population growth. At the Global Congress on World Evangelization (the AD2000 Movement in 1995 in Seoul), the Brasil 2010 Project, later renamed Brasil 21, officially set the goal to see an evangelical church within easy access of every Brazilian. Brazil is immense and its regions very diverse-- with small river villages in the Amazon basin to mega-cities in the Southeast. It would be hard to set goals and carry out processes in all parts of the country simultaneously.

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Understanding the Remaining Mission Task

What is the remaining mission task? Rebecca Lewis, daughter of Ralph Winter, released a video that describes the remaining mission task in just six minutes. Click here to see this amazing video.
A member of the Global Research Team worked for nearly a year to compile the data supporting the graphs in this video. An article in the International Journal of Foreign Mission, "Clarifying the Remaining Task," explains the new pie chart in detail and provides all the data. Click here to read the IJFM article.
Lewis' statement, "Out of 30 missionaries sent, roughly ONE goes to the unreached and frontier people groups," challenges us to consider our deployment of mission workers and to pray fervently that "the Lord of the Harvest to send out laborers into His harvest field" (Luke 10:2).

Understanding the Times, Knowing What to Do

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the others find themselves equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” -- Eric Hoffer

We live in a rapidly changing world where North American mission organizations, like One Challenge, face significant issues as we look to the future. Realizing that change impacts the effectiveness of mission work as we know it, OC leadership invited the Global Research Team to facilitate a two-day Futures Think Tank. Here are several significant highlights from the Futures Think Tank and some of the tools you can use to understand our changing world.

Understanding the Times and Trends

How exactly can a mission organization prepare for the future? A key biblical passage that provided a blueprint for the Futures Think Tank is 1 Chronicles 12:23-40, which describes how all the tribes of Israel came together with a “whole heart” and “single mind to make David King” (v. 38 ESV) “according to the word of the Lord” (v. 23 ESV). In the middle of a list describing each tribe, a significant comment is made about the leaders of the tribe of Issachar who, “understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (v. 32). These two characteristics set them apart from the others. Following their example, we must strive to understand the times and know what to do. Read on to learn how this is done.

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Helpful Resources for Developing a Prophetic Message from Research Information

While producing a short instructional video for workers in Asia, it seemed that it would be useful to provide links to resources that have been proven most helpful in developing a “prophetic message” from research information. A “prophetic message” is also known as the national challenge or call to action. Click here to view the video.

These resources are at the top of the list:

  1. DAWN 2000, by Jim Montgomery
  2. The DAWN Research Handbook by Roy Wingerd
  3. The Church Growth Survey Handbook by Bob Waymire and C. Peter Wagner.
  4. The Omega Course by the Alliance for Saturation Church Planting

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Research Courses Available on the OC Learning Center

The OC Learning Center strives to produce effective and relevant training so that harvesters are fully prepared and equipped for every good work that the Lord has prepared. Several of these free online courses are about research. Although the heading says "Finding Your Way with OC Research" much of the training is broadly applicable, such as "The Biblical Basis for Research" or "Spiritual Warfare" found in Level One or "An Overview of the Research Process" in Level Two.

You can review all ten of our course offerings at https://oclearningcenter.org. If you want to take a course, register as our guest. One of our instructors will accompany you as learn.

Looking for some training that you are not finding? Send us an email, and we will try to connect you with the training you desire. Also consider the research mentoring services we provide.

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Insights from a Veteran Mission Information Worker

A guest post by Jeanie Curryer, formerly Director of OC Research

I am writing this one week before I retire after 45 years of involvement in missions, over 30 of which were focused primarily on research. Before becoming a researcher, I was an English teacher at Faith Academy outside of Manila, not the most likely background for an information worker. Nevertheless, in 1985 at the prompting of the president of my mission, I was assigned to a new ministry in research. After a few weeks of training in church growth research at our headquarters, I returned to Manila and found myself suddenly involved in a survey focused on locating every church in Metro Manila, which at that time was comprised of four cities and 13 municipalities with a total population over eight million.

The Disciple A Whole Nation (DAWN) saturation church planting movement was underway, and many denominations were heavily engaged in starting new churches in support of the goal of seeing a church in every barangay (village or neighborhood) or a total of 50,000 churches in the Philippines by the year 2000. My agency was fully involved in supporting this movement, but two pressing questions nagged at us. How can the Philippine Church monitor the progress they’re making toward this goal if we don’t know which barangays do and don't have churches? And, how do we go about answering this question? The 1985 Metro Manila Church Survey was our first attempt to address this dilemma.

Mission, Research and Applied Scholarship

In May, several from the Global Research Team visited Africa International University, a Christian college in Nairobi, Kenya. In the stacks of the library there are tall blue books on nearly every shelf. These are bound dissertations by Africans documenting ministry challenges faced in Kenya and beyond. There is so much we can learn from one another!

Several mission training academic institutions from around the world have launched a new initiative called the MRAS (Mission Research and Applied Scholarship). It aims to engage institutions of higher learning involved in mission studies to catalog their research so that students who work for advanced degrees can focus on topics of greatest need to the global church's mission enterprise.

MRAS has the potential to create energy and shared commitment between the academy and applied researchers. It could encourage Christian students to ask questions that field workers actually face. It could put what gets shelved in libraries to effective use in the field.

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