Research that Guides Kingdom Impact

One thing that makes One Challenge's ministry of research unique is that it holds an integral and explicit part in our stated organizational strategy: “Using Research, Motivation and Training we Mobilize the Christian leaders to reach their nations and beyond.”

So, why is research found right there at the beginning of our strategy?

Perhaps Proverbs 18:15 can help clear this up: “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.” As we seek to wisely discern God’s will for our work and ministry, we recognize that we need to seek out knowledge. The process of seeking out knowledge is what we call “research.”

Research helps our ministries in several ways:

  • Research leads to good ministry strategies. Answers to questions like what is God doing and wanting to do in a certain context, where are the needs, what ministry methods are being used by God to meet those needs most effectively, what needs are not being met, and how can the wider body of Christ better cooperate to bring the transforming power of the Gospel to their nations will lead to key strategies for One Challenge and others as we seek to carry out our Lord’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)
  • Research leads to greater effectiveness in our work and ministries. As we use Research to evaluate our progress in carrying out the strategies the Lord has led us to, we learn how to do it better in the future. Our research should always point us forward as we learn from the past and present.
  • Research motivates and challenges the church. As we research the church in its context, we have information that, when shared with Godly people in those countries and contexts, will motivate and challenge them in their work for the Lord. It is our experience that as good research clarifies the situation, God moves in people’s hearts to do His will.
  • Research leads to focused intercession. God wants us to pray that His Kingdom would come on Earth. Clearly seeing the needs motivates the body of Christ to call out to God to meet those needs. Movements of intercession for the nations are built on good information that is gathered through research.

Research is the structured gathering and organization of data, which when organized and understood, becomes information. The information becomes knowledge when we begin to discern the implications of that information and it becomes wisdom as we use it to shape our outlook and plans for the future and increase our effectiveness. Within One Challenge research includes this entire process. It is not just gathering the data. We understand that gathering and organizing data can be a satisfying pursuit in itself. God created us with curious minds. The exhilaration of discovering something new is a wonderful, God-given emotion. However, as we have limited personnel and resources, as much as is practical, we seek to focus our research on the questions that will influence our future ministry strategies. So as we plan our research, we ask, “What do we need to know in order to make the next strategy decision?”

Those who hold information have a great responsibility before God to use that information for Godly purposes. So, we are very concerned about how our research is used. We seek God to reveal His interpretation of the facts and the implications it carries for the future as we seek to carry out His will. Gathering data for selfish gain or to feed our pride is condemned by God in scripture and is to be avoided at all costs.

There are many ways to do research to support the work of God’s Kingdom.

  • We can gather structured numerical data regarding the Church, the Harvest Forceand culture - the Harvest Field - along with other factors.
  • We can evaluate the effectiveness of our ministries, conferences, networks, partnership and the disciples we make - Harvest Fruits.
  • We can interview people within and outside the body of Christ to understand better their needs and perspectives.
  • We can analyze existing data in government and other databases from the perspective of the growth and expansion of God’s Kingdom on Earth.
  • We also desire to systematically observe the leading of the Lord through intercessory prayer ministries and circumstances.

We choose research methods depending on the questions being asked at the time and how they may best be answered. Different research methods often yield different perspectives, and we seek to gather information from many different perspectives in order to understand as fully as possible.

Mission research requires a balance between what we see on Earth and what we sense God is doing in the heavenly realm. Nehemiah is our example as we see in Nehemiah 2:17-19:

    “Then I said to them, ‘You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.’ I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me and what the king had said to me. They replied, ‘Let us start rebuilding.’ So they began this good work.”

May we always use the information God gives us through research to show the needs as well as God’s gracious hand upon us and may the result be the advance of God’s Kingdom.