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GMI World

A Publication of Global Mapping International

Serving Evangelical Ministry Leaders Around the World

Winter 2005


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Mission Views and News

Mystery shoppers hit mission websites

H ow the next generation of Christians sees mission will depend largely on what they see on mission websites. Mission agencies know it. Their websites are becoming media channel #1 in connecting with prospective new missionaries. But how can they see their own websites through the eyes of those with whom they are trying to start a relationship?

Recently, GMI enabled the mission community to hear candid opinions from a large group of prospective missionaries regarding 36 leading agency websites. In all, 451 people completed a total of 518 agency website reviews. These "mystery shoppers” were already motivated toward direct missions involvement: all had indicated an interest in cross-cultural service through either the Urbana student mission convention or the Finishers Project.

Participants were randomly assigned agency websites to browse and review via an online survey. “Shoppers” evaluated the site’s usability, content, and image; indicated their intention to revisit the site, recommend it to others, and pursue opportunities with the agency; and provided open-ended comments regarding their specific likes and dislikes.

“It looked hip, incredibly modern and relevant for a Christian group’s website . . . I was easily able to learn about a missions agency that I had never heard of before.”

Meanwhile one prospective missionary was assigned to complete the online information form on each of the 36 websites, asking the agencies to contact her with more information. The agency response varied widely. Some responded by email, some by telephone, and some by sending a printed information packet. Surprisingly, 20% did not respond in any way. One agency responded so compellingly that this mystery shopper’s heart was captured and she traveled to the agency headquarters to interview in person.

Survey participants rated the usability and appeal of mission websites. GMI intern Karine Lepillez went a step further, filling out online forms to track agency responses.

What did agencies learn?

Among many things, they discovered that:

The full research report consists of a 60-page PowerPoint presentation. In addition, agencies investing in the project received 20 pages specifically comparing and contrasting their website with the others.

To learn more, or to order a copy of the Agency Web Review, go to www.gmi.org/web.htm.

What difference is it making?

One agency came to immediately understand why people seem to “like” their site, but are reluctant to follow through. One agency realized how they had been frustrating the people they most wanted to attract simply by failing to place a visible “About” button on their home page.

Another agency discovered the critical difference it makes for their “service opportunities” page to begin by describing the impact a missionary can make rather than describing qualification hurdles and corporate needs.

God is raising up an incredible new generation of men and women eager to enter into His mission. Helping agencies listen to and learn from them is a ministry that reflects GMI’s core values.

Agencies benefitting from a customized
Agency Web Review report include:

  • CAM International
  • Grace Brethren International Missions
  • Greater Europe Mission
  • HCJB World Radio
  • Navigators
  • World Gospel Mission

 

GMI World       Winter 2005    Page 1
From the Founder

One must even take a step back to the days when we heard Donald McGavran voicing the vast challenge India presented to the forces and faces of world evangelization. Dr. Mac always knew the task was doable, but that it would take special tools, special people, special understanding, and strategies.
—Bob Waymire.

GMI responded to God’s vision for India

President’s note: This month, read personal reflections from GMI’s founder.

Looking back to GMI's early days, we see "Dr. Mac" (Donald McGavran, who spent 30 years in India) envisioning and challenging the ministry’s leadership regarding India.

During a recent trip to India, I witnessed first hand the fruit of twenty years of GMI interface and relationships with key mobilizers of church planting movements in India. I sat in on an advanced mapping workshop led by GMI, and its associate, Olive Technology of Hyderabad.

I watched as the twenty capable students absorbed new cutting-edge technologies. I observed them generate highly informative grassroots level maps depicting people groups, villages, and urban neighborhoods. I was struck how God is bringing the task into the light so his people can fulfill his mandate for world evangelization.

I met with key Indian statesmen who’ve played key roles in mobilizing the planting of tens of thousands of house churches. They extolled the virtues of maps and mapping, and the vital role that GMI was playing in India.

GMI has been instrumental in providing maps for all of the administrative entities in India, including 600,000+ villages, and also the ethnographic distribution of languages and more than 3,400 “communities” (castes and tribes). It has also held several mapping seminars over the years and has been sensitive and responsive to their information and information management needs.

GMI has been faithful to the vision and blessed by God to see the India dream coming true.

- by Bob Waymire


GMI Current Project

Aviation research takes flight

Photo courtesy of Mission Aviation Fellowship

Navigating mission efforts toward the future (much like flying an airplane) requires the ability to accurately see, interpret, prioritize, and respond to vast amounts of data—and especially to changes over time.

Recently, a consortium of mission aviation leaders, scholars, and donors asked GMI to lead a research project to gather and interpret data to help the mission aviation community chart a wise course for the future.

The project includes three phases:

Phase One

Documenting the status, dynamics, and trends of the mission aviation environment.

Phase Two

Understanding the future needs, challenges, and opportunities in mission transportation/logistics.

Phase Three

Envisioning the best possibilities for the future of mission transportation/logistics.

Substantial progress has already been made in the first phase. A team of staff, volunteers, and interns has invested hundreds of hours searching, reviewing, and documenting available information in several areas: training, activities, technology, finances, models, and outcomes.

This foundational data will serve as the backbone of the Phase One report.

Meanwhile, GMI has worked to develop the resources—both human and financial—to complete this important project. With several team members and a substantial budget, the aviation project promises to be a major focus for GMI Research Services in 2005.

 

GMI World       Winter 2005    Page 2
GMI Ministry Impact

Promising developments for the emerging church in India

A week-long seminar in Hyderabad, India in November marked a major milestone in computer mapping becoming integral to Indian Christian ministries. The advanced Geographic Information System (GIS) consultation demonstrated how things are moving to a different level. Key indicators include:

  1. The ten organizations represented were each using GIS in well-defined projects central to their organizational purposes.
  2. The trainees accomplished all three major goals of the training: solidifying skills taught in previous training, working through practical problems they have encountered in their GIS projects, and learning new technologies and approaches for gathering and visualizing research data.
  3. Two of the three instructors were Indians, who are available for continuing coaching of GIS users.
  4. Six organizations represented attended as multi-person teams, indicating a significant long-term commitment to the use of GIS.
  5. They included a wide range of ministry types: church planting, unreached peoples, Bible translation and distribution, and education.
  6. The technologists also interacted with some of the key strategic thinkers in Indian mission and several of the pioneers in the application of GIS to mission research in order to shape their research strategies for maximum effectiveness.

The future looks bright for the Indian Church. The leaders are deeply committed. And the vision is clear and invigorating.


Faces at GMI

Interns impact mission research

Paul Kuen, GMI intern

Paul Kuen, a French graduate student at The National School of Geographic Sciences (just east of Paris), was looking for a place to serve God while serving his required academic internship.

Meanwhile GMI needed help in understanding how to deliver better mapping products and services to missions leaders.

Paul spent most of the summer of 2004 at GMI, researching the ministry’s mapping clientele through two dozen in-depth interviews followed by an email survey of over 1000 people. The result was an extensive report and PowerPoint presentation providing new understanding and insight, along with specific recommendations for how GMI can better serve. Already, his work is having an impact on GMI’s planning, production, and communications.

In addition to Paul, recent interns at GMI include Karine Lepillez (George Washington University), Dan vanAswegen (John Brown University), Noah Sloan (Baylor University), Stephen O’Rear (Wheaton College), and Daniel Zastrow (University of Minnesota).

Do you know a college student or recent graduate who loves Jesus Christ and wants to make a difference in the world through mission research and information technology? Imagine the impact they could make, and the experience they could gain, serving short-term with GMI.


GMI Recommends... superb new mission resources

Peoples of the Buddhist World

by Paul Hattaway (Piquant, 2004).

This 480-page full-color book profiles 250 Buddhist people groups, with beautiful photographs, articles and maps. GMI Associate in Singapore Valerie Lim produced the book’s 238 maps showing the homeland of each people group.

Transforming the Indian Cities

(India Missions Association, 2004).

This 230-page work, available in both book and CD-ROM (.pdf) formats, provides profiles of 100 selected cities, including information on language, history, church and ministry, and ethnic groups of each city. GMI’s cartographic staff created the maps locating each of the cities.

To learn more about these resources and/or to order, go to www.gmi.org/recommends.htm or email

 

GMI World       Winter 2005    Page 3
GMI Ministry Connections

GMI asked to coordinate AIDS research project

An orphaned family in Zambia, headed by a 12-year old boy.
Photo (c) 2002 Dr. Emmanuel Dipo Otolorin, courtesy of Photoshare

The Oxford Centre for Mission Studies asked GMI to prepare a global research report for presentation to several dozen global mission leaders at its Summer 2005 Mission Briefing on the Churches’ Response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

In partnership with research centers in the Philippines, India, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Honduras, and Peru, GMI is focusing on two questions:

  1. At the congregational level, what are churches effectively providing to persons and communities affected by HIV/AIDS?
  2. How does their contribution compare and contrast with the efforts of non-Christian groups to address the AIDS pandemic at a community level?

The contribution of the church is occurring at many levels and through the initiatives of many called and committed individuals. However, the uniquely Christian contribution to the prevention, treatment, and care of AIDS and all those affected by it is not always understood by those inside or outside the church.

This research project, therefore, aims both to tell the ministry success stories from several countries and to challenge churches everywhere to make a greater contribution. In the process of participating in the global survey, the regional centers also increase their own research capacity and gain a better platform from which to speak to their own countries on AIDS issues.

AIDS is horrific, but as one writer has put it, “There has never been a greater opportunity for Christians in every country to work together to show the love of Jesus in action.” (Andrew Tomkins, The Hope Factor).

 

GMI World       Winter 2005    Page 4


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