GMI Connection

Turning Data into Decisions GMI Connection - Issue 5 : Article 1

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nl5-1.jpgTurning Data Into Decisions

The dominant information challenge for most decision makers today is not the scarcity but rather the overwhelming flood of information. We now have vast collections of research and information, just a few mouse-clicks away. But many leaders struggle to determine what information is credible and relevant, where to find it, and how to apply it for improved decision making. In short, how do we go from "What?" past "So what?" and further on, to "Now what?"


GMI is embarking on a new journey to pursue a next level of serving mission leaders based on our vision for "bridging the gap between data and decisions." This new project, designed by Mike O'Rear and initially supported by funding he helped secure, will seek to better understand the information needs of mission leaders, and create resources and tools to help them better use data in their daily operations and more seamlessly inform decision making.


"Having bits of information like 'how many' and 'how often' may be important but woefully incomplete when ministry plans and priorities are being realigned," said Paul Nelson, former mission training executive and foundation officer, who is volunteering his time to the project team. "Having dashboard-like access to GMI's distinctively rich ministry data bases and observations will provide multiple new opportunities for well-informed, interdependent ministry initiatives."


GMI's new Ministry Decision Support Initiative will help advance the wisdom and confidence with which Christian leaders, especially those involved with international, cross-cultural ministry, make decisions. This includes field leaders; organizational leaders, planners and strategists; professors and teachers, pastors focused on evangelism and church planting; Bible translators; funders and others. Our hope is that the initiative will lead to the development of customizable tools, resources and processes that will help them to:

  • identify the information most relevant to their specific ministry purposes, 
  • more readily access and prioritize that information, 
  • and understand its key implications for their ministries.

The first project phase will focus on research, exploring the decision-making needs of core mission audiences, including what kinds of content and delivery systems are most effective for acquiring, understanding, and applying critical information for their ministries. The second phase, when funded, will focus on the design and deployment of processes and tools. The final phase will center on development and delivery of applications to advance decision making.


If you are a decision-maker who would like to contribute your opinions and experience in this process of development – or a funder interested in seeing a more detailed project proposal – please let us know. We look forward to help leaders to better understand what information is critical for their mission, to save time in accessing information that is focused, customized and relevant to their specific needs, and to operate with greater confidence in using information to bring greater glory to God through discerning, better-informed decisions.


Return to newsletter - Issue 5