In July 2019, SIM embarked on a collaborative project with the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) to learn how data and research conducted by the Center can inform SIM’s pioneering mission in communities where Christ is least known.
The aim was to gather data on communities in gateway cities – not just about the people-groups living there, but the history, current economic and political development issues, religious trends and access to churches and Bible translations.
The first phase of the project saw several dossiers developed to research potential community locations for the Faithful Witness Initiative. They use statistical information, such as the percentage of people who know a Christian and cross-reference it with other social data such as human development, literacy rates, primary industries, number of languages spoken, food security, gender inequality, and politics.
Bringing together research and statistical information from a range of sources has brought these communities to life in a new way. A detailed picture emerges from the pages of the reports and SIM – along with other mission organisations – can tailor a response to the community. When placing multi-ethnic teams in communities where there is little or no Christian witness, it is crucial that teams understand the context they are living and working, as this enables wise planning and thoughtful use of resources.
The second phase of our partnership focused on using the information in the World Christian Database to help identify other communities and new locations where a SIM team, country, or region may consider working in the future. In July 2020, the Center presented this information to several SIM leaders and stakeholders.
You can download the final dossiers from CSGC’s website here.