Mission leaders gather to discuss landmark ‘access’ study.

By October 20, 2006

USA (MNN) — Putting knowledge into action for the spread of the Gospel…That took place this week at a strategic conference at Mission Aviation Fellowship headquarters in Nampa, Idaho. Mission Network New’s Faith Maguire was there covering the event.

For the past five years, Mission Aviation Fellowship has undertaken a major study of remote, unreached regions of the world through their Operation ACCESS! project. The research compiled information from a number of regions and sectors around the globe.

This week, missions leaders from organizations working around the world gathered to discuss the findings and implications of this landmark study. Over the two-day conference, representatives from 15 organizations discussed how Operation ACCESS! might be used to serve their particular organizations and the missions world as a whole. Some of the organizations represented were JAARS, OMS International, Mission to Unreached Peoples, Talking Bibles International, New Tribes Mission Aviation and Global Mapping International.

The potential long-term impact for the global church and worldwide missions is significant, says New Tribes Missions’ John Mark Estelle. “As far as the global strategy, I really believe that with the input of different mission organizations – MAF has started this. It’s only a beginning. Only the start of something that could be really useful in the long run as far as with other organizations that chime in or get involved with this.”

Far from being conclusive, this study is the beginnings of a compilation of information to help make missions more effective in today’s world. Estelle says, “Although huge amounts of data, it’s not conclusive in saying that ‘because of this data, this is the way it is, for sure.’ This is the input of individuals and how they view that, but what it does is that it brings questions to mind of ‘what do we need to do here? This is a question I have, so let’s research this further.’ So it’s a start, but it’s not a conclusion of the data. It’s just simply a start in a direction pointer in how we should proceed.”

MAF’s Dave Bochman is excited to be able to release the findings of the study to the missions community around the world. But since it’s just the snapshot of information, he says that it’s something that will be ongoing and also something that other missions leaders can contribute to. More help is needed to carry it on, and that’s what the conference dealt with, as it helped cultivate greater collaboration among missions groups. It’s a tool that encourages strategic partnerships and cooperation between agencies.

Jerry Hogshead with OMS remarked that the study will be a tremendous benefit to help assess the current effectiveness of work, determine barriers to the Gospel and identify areas of need.

Transforming lives and overcoming barriers to the Gospel are Mission Aviation Fellowship’s key goals, and the Operation ACCESS! project is helping to fulfill that mission. For more information, go to www.operationaccessmaf.org.

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