Preparing the Next Generation of Researchers

OC’s Director of Global Research, Larry Kraft, shares his pilgrimage as a researcher and his heart to prepare the next generation of mission researchers.

    When we first moved to São Paulo, there was no permanent national research function in Brazil and no researcher on OC’s team. I was recruited to begin a research department for the team and, hopefully, grow it to be of use to the national church. God blessed our work and our team eventually became a trusted source of information on the Church in Brazil. Newspapers would call us and verify their information before sending stories to print. Students would ask for help in writing papers about current trends. Our services were used to deploy church planters into the most strategic locations.

    When we moved to the UK and began our work on behalf of the emerging church in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, our strategy changed from primarily providing research services for national church leaders to working with national partners to help them answer specific questions pertinent to their work. Because of security, language, and cultural concerns, we recognized that our roles should become increasingly indirect. That is, the best information was obtained by local leaders who were committed to using it for good decision-making and prayer.

    In my role now as Global Director of Research, I ask myself, “What is the legacy I want to leave when my years of service with OC are over?” For me, the answer is clear. I want to see a new generation of missionaries (workers of all sorts who go to needy places to announce and incarnate the Kingdom), English-speaking and not, effectively doing all sorts of research for good strategy and intercession. I want younger people with talent and passion, who have God’s call upon their lives for cross-cultural service, to be trained and encouraged to use their intellect and skills to help the Church make wise decisions for growth.

    To this end, I’m investing more of my time in training and mentoring others. I imagine I will still maintain some of the activities I so enjoy, like doing maps and surveys for some of our partners. But I want to be increasingly passing on the vision and skills the Lord has worked into my life these past 27 years.

    At the end of my career, it would thrill me to see every missionary endeavor assisted by equipped and impassioned strategic thinkers who gather good information for ministry.

This website is a part of Larry’s plan to train and provide resources for the next generation of mission researchers.