Telling God's Story in 2016

How is God at work in the world today?

This is a question that the Global Research Team of One Challenge strives to answer. During the first quarter of 2016 we will gather information about what the 40 plus teams in the OC Global Alliance accomplished in 2015. In addition to determining what they accomplished, we also want to discover how God is at work in and through these ministries. Indeed this is a more difficult task that requires divine insight.

In 2016 we look forward to discerning how God is at work in the world today and sharing “God stories” of how He has been at work within the OC Global Alliance.

The rest of this article outlines a biblical framework we use for discerning how God is at work in the world today and how these insights apply to mission work.

Maps Show the Need for Church Planters in Japan

In October of 2015, the Global Research Team of One Challenge assisted church leaders in Japan by producing maps that show the state of Church in Japan and highlight the work that remains to disciple the whole nation. Japan is one of the least reached nations in the world. Just 0.43% of the Japanese are church members and about half of these regularly attend church. This means over 126 million people in Japan most likely have not understood the Good News about Jesus Christ.

One of the more intriguing maps produced by the GRT shows the percentage of cities and towns by prefect that do not have a church. In 29 of Japan’s 47 prefectures at least 50% of the towns do not have a church. Two prefectures have no churches at all. Just one prefecture has a church in every town. Thus we can conclude that not only have a large majority of those in Japan never heard the Good News about Jesus Christ, but they have little opportunity to hear the Good News, since there are so many towns that do not have a single Church. This particular map, then, highlights the areas that need workers to preach the Good News.

Celebrating 150 Years of Protestant Mission Work in Taiwan

2015 commemorates the 150th anniversary of Protestant mission work in Taiwan. This infographic highlights four fruits of Protestant mission work as well as a task that remains to disciple the whole nation. We can celebrate:

    1. 4,101 Protestant Churches
    2. 1.3 Million Church Members
    3. 5.6% of Taiwan’s population is a member of a Protestant Church.
    4. Protestant Church Membership nearly tripled between 1989 and 2013.

These are impressive accomplishments, built upon the foundation of the first pioneer missionaries and the generations of workers who followed. Still there is much to do as 22 million people in Taiwan are not yet members of a Protestant church. So the included map casts vision for the task that remains.

These are impressive accomplishments, built upon the foundation of the first pioneer missionaries and the generations of workers who followed. Still there is much to do as 22 million people in Taiwan are not yet members of a Protestant church.

This map shows how many new churches are needed by district to attain a church to population ratio of 1:1,000 or one church for every thousand people. From the perspective of Saturation Church Planting (SCP), attaining this church to population ratio would provide every person in Taiwan with easy geographical access to a Protestant church and is a significant milestone to reach in the process of discipling a whole nation. For more information about growth of the Protestant church in Taiwan and the task that remains, see Taiwan Church Growth Report 2015.


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

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.


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