At the heart of Christian ministry are the goals of announcing the coming of the kingdom of God in the person of Jesus (making the gospel understandable) and manifesting aspects of the kingdom here and now (being the church in the world). This is what it means to witness to Christ in word and deed. That’s our nutshell definition of mission, but it’s anything but simplistic. All kinds of activities go into accomplishing the above in and for every country and people group on the globe. There’s Bible translation, preaching, teaching, discipling, serving, counseling, reconciling, reading, cooking, writing, transporting, healing, praying, and others.
Larry, Director of OC Research, shares how managing information is critical to spreading the Good News of Jesus to everyone everywhere. Are you thinking, what kinds of information? …Geographical information in maps, cultural and linguistic information in ethnographies, contact information in directories and catalogs… facts, opinions, and preferences in databases of all sorts and sizes. And OC is not alone is doing research work…
Larry says: “We call one rank in the corps of missions work around the world Christian information workers. They make the maps and graphics of data, create the atlases, do interviews to obtain cultural and linguistic insights, type responses into spreadsheets, maintain files, and respond to requests for information for strategic decision making. You don’t usually see these folks preaching at big festivals, but without their input, festival evangelism would be far less effective than it is. The same goes for discipling activities, church planting, and mercy ministries.”
What is the CMIW?
The multi-cultural Community of Mission Information Workers (CMIW) brings mission information workers together from all over the world, both virtually and, when possible, face to face. They seek to welcome, help, and encourage their members. CMIW shares information about information. It mostly functions remotely, equipping God’s people to handle information and giving attention to global, regional, and local responsibilities. Right now, Larry, Stephanie, and Chris shepherd this community.
So what’s going on?
Currently CMIW has about 450 members around the world. Some are from the West; others are not. Some speak English; others don’t. They connect through Skype, Facebook, and by a quarterly bulletin. As they celebrated their second anniversary recently, they reflected on some highlights of their activities:
• Disseminated information about new information sources
• Started online discussions about new mission concepts and ideas
• Started voice groups that use Skype to build long-distance friendships
• Reflected together on what the Bible teaches about the use of information
• Connected some information workers with others interested in the same things
• Arranged some face-to-face meetings in remote places
• Passed on requests for help, collaboration, know-how, and insights
• Began a database of mission information workers: what they do, where they work
What people are saying?
Here’s some of the feedback they’ve received:
- “Blessings and thanks so much for your hard work on this. May God increase it 100-fold in His kingdom.” Mark Avery (ZCC, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Pioneers)
- “This is one very important missing piece in missions collaboration.” Ariel Abadiano (Partners International)
- “Thank you very much indeed for this excellent initiative. May God bless you indeed.” Ian Benson (International Mission Training Network, WEA Missions Commission)
“We exist to offer encouragement, care, and motivation for collaboration among our members,” says Larry. “We pray God will use this community to break down barriers of competition, confusion, and ‘aloneness’.” One plants, another waters (1 Cor. 3: 6), and some of us measure the soil content and count the beans. Please pray we’ll do our jobs well because often the ‘success’ of others depends on it.” Would you please pray for CMIW as they seek the Lord’s direction into a new year of service together in and for the kingdom?
If you would be interested in reading an issue of the CMIW bulletin, please visit: http://www.globalcmiw.org