On the Goal of Field Research

When sharing about the One Challenge’s use of field research, it is often helpful to bring an easy-to-overlook biblical passage into the discussion that illustrates what we intend to achieve.

    “…from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do—
    200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command.…” (1 Chronicles 12:32 NIV)

Perhaps the first reading of this passage has you wondering “What great insight lays here?” But a closer look reveals that the chronicler highlights two distinctive characteristics of the leaders from the tribe of Issachar: first they understood the times; second they knew what Israel should do. This double description illustrates how One Challenge utilizes field research.

Volunteer Web Designer Needed

Are you a web designer who might be able to assist our research team on a volunteer basis? We manage several websites that we would like to upgrade – but we lack the time and/or talent to do so. Advanced skills with Drupal are necessary. If you have the ability and time to take on these projects, let’s talk! Write us at admin@OCResearch.info.

Interns Wanted: Web Design and Research Assistant


One Challenge 's research department offers flexible, four to twelve week internships in web design and research, either of which would be ideal for a college student who has completed two years of study. We're looking for curious people, willing to learn, with a strong passion for people and desire to assist with basic mission research. Both internships provide opportunities to work alongside experienced mission information workers to mobilize believers for more effective outreach and discipleship. The internship could take place in the United States or a foreign country. The intern would be responsible to fund all travel and personal expenses. But funds can be raised to cover these expenses, and additional donations received can be given for a salary. The specific details of the internship will be built around the intern’s schedule and interests. A brief description of each internship follows.

How can we serve you?

OC’s Global Research Team offers valuable services to the Body of Christ. Although the primary mission of the Global Research Team is to serve the field teams within the OC Global Alliance, we also assist outside partners and clients. These are some of the services that the Global Research Team offers.

Research Resources & Training
Evaluate Results
Survey/Interview your Constituency
Effectiveness Assessments
Analyze your Data
Reporting – Writing up Results
Clear & Challenging Look at your Reality
Help with Maps and Graphs

Is research really necessary for effective mission work?

Is research really necessary for effective mission work?

A recent bulletin of the Global Community of Mission Information Workers shares an anecdote that highlights how research supports effective mission work.

This story comes from Bob Waymire, a late 20th century pioneer in using mission information. In the late seventies Jim Montgomery and Bob gave a "research and strategy" report to their mission board. Afterward a board member, who was a dear friend, approached Bob and said half-jokingly,

    "Why don't you guys go pass out tracts on the street corner? You'll do more good than all that research stuff."

Waymire’s answer to his half-joking critic is golden:

How Can I Get Involved in Research?

“People who do global church research in OC, and in missions in general, often back into it,” Stephanie K says. Very few people go into missions thinking that research will be their focus. Many OC researchers started as engineers, teachers, librarians or church planters.

“You don’t have to be this trained mission investigator to think about doing research in OC.” The OC Global Research team recently had two new workers join, one who has some specific experience in market research, the other who has done informal field interviews. Two associates of the Global Research Team come to OC from academic backgrounds and volunteer part of their time assisting with projects where their special skills are an asset.

Stephanie says: “Doing research in OC has more to do with being a curious person and asking good questions than it does with having a specific skill set.” What’s important is to have the attitude of a life-long learner. Database manipulation and mapping skills, for example, can be learned along the way by those who need to use them.

How has Global Church Research Helped OC Ministries?

A classic example of how OC uses global church research is in the Philippines’ DAWN movement (Discipling A Whole Nation). “We’ve used strategic information greatly to see many, hundreds and thousands, of un-churched villages targeted for church planting,” says Dave W, worker in the Philippines. “Our researchers gather data on villages with churches, villages without churches. We put them on maps, we gather pastors together, we present these maps and give a challenge of adoption for an un-churched village for church planting. And by using this information, we’ve seen thousands of un-churched villages targeted and churches planted in these places because of this information that was shared.” This model has been repeated in Guatemala, Brazil, Romania and many other nations in the world. Currently, OC is helping serve the Mongolian Evangelical Alliance with a similar research project.

What Makes OC Global Church Research Unique?

Since its inception, OC has taken a servant and learner posture when it enters a new country, region, or city. OC research facilitates this learner’s attitude because, before any ministry is done, research is conducted to understand what the church in that area needs, what the leadership desires, and how OC can help realize the goals that the established church expresses.

Larry Kraft, Director of OC's Global Research team says: “We don’t go into a situation and say ‘this is what you need to know.’ We go in and ask a national pastor or church leader what decisions they are facing. We talk through with them what they need to know in order to make the wisest decision. Then we help to figure out how to get that information, look at it, and come to appropriate conclusions, as opposed to coming in with a canned product.”

Constructing a Worldview

Our friend, Dr. James Slack, who works with the International Mission Board, has been so kind to allow us to share the instruments he developed to conduct an ethnographic survey of a people group. Step by step instructions are given to describe the worldview of a specific people. A number of questions guide the field researcher to investigate family, social, religious, economic and political structures. Supplemental information is provided to help the development of chronological Bible story telling. The attached file contains all of research instruments.

A Tale of Love, Divine Openings and a Middle East Research Project

Because our projects are often carried out in sensitive locations with partners who have to be very careful what they say and to whom, we are vigilant for their safety. So, up front, we apologize here for presenting only the broad strokes of a wonderfully true tale of what God is doing in a Middle Eastern country right now. Here’s our attempt to share what’s fit to tell:

An American Farmer (we’ll call him AF) went to work with a Christian ministry in a country in the Middle East where there was war going on. There he met a gal from a nearby country (let’s call her AB- Arab Beauty) and, after extensive negotiations with her Arab family, married her. Although he wanted to remain there, it pleased AB’s family that AF agreed to move to her home country for their first two years of marriage.

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