Research

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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A Cry for Intimacy: Insight for Training Christian Leaders

What are the training needs of South Africa’s Christian leadership? The need for training Church leaders in South Africa has been apparent for many years, but an accurate and comprehensive picture of the needs facing Christian leaders across South Africa has previously never been adequately researched… until now!

A Cry for Intimacy documents the responses from 800 South African pastoral leaders. OC workers in South Africa helped facilitate this extensive research project conducted by TOPIC (Trainers of Pastors International Coalition) Southern Africa involves ten years of scientifically verifiable research. Authors Willie Botha, David Bulger and Karl Teichert provide vital information for the future of the church in South Africa. It answers a number of key questions, including what gaps exist and what urgent needs face Christian leaders in various locations, denominations and cultural segments. It lays a critical foundation for addressing these needs and provides stimulus for further research.

The surprising discovery of the research was that the greatest felt need of South African Church leaders was intimacy with God. This was mentioned twice as often as the next felt need.

God is Doing Amazing Things Around the World Through the OC Global Alliance!

The Global Research Team recently finished the 2015 Annual Report for the OC Global Alliance. Based on the information submitted by our field teams working in over 40 countries, we took a close look at three areas: personnel, countries impacted and ministry results. We found surprising outcomes in each of these three areas.

  • With regard to ministry results, over 5,200 churches were started through the ministries of OC workers in 2015, almost double the number of churches started in 2014.
  • With regard to personnel, the number of workers associated with the OC Global Alliance surpassed 1,000 persons for the very first time. The news here is the large increase in the number of ministry volunteers serving alongside our teams outside of the United States. The number of volunteers working in the United States is up too, and it is interesting that our United States Mobilization Center has called 2016 the “Year of the Volunteer.” This link tells more about the "Year of the Volunteer."
  • In 2015, God opened doors for OC Global Alliance workers to minister in 103 countries – the largest number in history and one more country than last year.

We are in awe of God’s unprecedented work!
Speaking of volunteers, we have several persons who serve with the Global Research Team as volunteers. If you would be interested in serving as a volunteer, write us a message. We'd love to explore the partnership!

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