Research with Feet
"Olga, imagine that you are in charge of the entire network of
evangelical denominations in Ukraine."
Olga listened as Svetlana translated my statements in to Russian.
"What would you do with this research?"
I paused for Svetlana to finish the translation and I waited
for Olga's response via Svetlana.
"I would look and see where the churches are and how fast they
I shot an indirect look out onto the frozen canal below our window.
Olga understood my question without translation. I continued.
"What will that do to help plant more churches in this country?"
Olga thought and responded with care.
"I would look to where there are not any churches and focus there."
Research that doesn't just stand, but moves
A lot of us look at research as books full of charts, graphs,
and numbers. Unfortunately, that's all that research is for most
of us: a static picture of where we've been. Sometimes that can
be inspiring and in other cases it can be just plain discouraging.
However, research can be so much more. What would happen if we
gathered information that is prophetic? What if the data could
indicate possible results based on specific actions? What if the
research was more than just moving, but it actually caused movement?
When I began to mentor Olga last October, we set out with a long
and detailed coaching plan. About two days before my most recent
trip to Kiev I received some shocking news. The denominational
leaders wanted a complete set of research on church planting in
Ukraine by April. Needless to say, the aforementioned plan was
scrapped. In light of this new urgency, I've had Olga focus on
- What data do we essentially need for church planting?
- What type of information helps church multiplication happen
and move forward?
- How can we get this information together and presented quickly?
(Because church planting movements usually don't wait for long
research projects to be completed.)
We don't have time to put together a lengthy church planting
report with numerous maps and growth charts. Urgency has directed
us to focus on impact. I've felt us moving more towards a battle
"How beautiful are the feet..."
Olga, Svetlana, and I had just finished analyzing survey data
when our friend Rustam came into the office. In October the four
of us spent three hours over pizza designing a survey to measure
the spiritual climate of Kiev. The survey was designed to get at
how Kievites view God, Christians, and the Church... no small survey
as you can see. We had brought Rustam into the design process because
he is in the process of planting a church among students in Kiev.
It's always important to be in touch with these front line foot
soldiers when performing research.
We spent some time reviewing results together before I asked
our friend a key question.
"Rustam, what are you going to do differently based on these
Rustam was quick to answer.
"We need to explain God as more of a personality instead of a
force. Furthermore, we need to help the people here understand
that God isn't confined to the church. They need to know that God
works in their lives at home and at work too. Maybe we should consider
not using the name church."
"Rustam, what essential information are you looking for to help
multiply the church?"
"We need to know the areas of life where people are open. We
need to understand the keys to open the most open doors of their
life so that we can most effectively share the gospel."
Research is moving. Things are going to happen.
Scott Friderich, ASCP Regional Resource Team