14) The BackPage: ION’s Thoughts on Best Practices; Let’s Join Them

ionI think Samuel E. Chiang is doing a great job leading the International Orality Network. I usually always glean something from each of his monthly ION Newsletters. (Learn more at


For example, his latest newsletter carried a brief article by Jerry Wiles on “Discovering Best Practices” in the field of orality. Much of his summary you can read in sites like




where you’ll find many links and resources. He reminds us that there is no single method that is the best for all people and every place. And, fittingly, in the same issue, Mark Snowden’s brief article suggested five research techniques that one can utilize to learn more about what’s working and what’s not in a particular culture or sub-culture:

*** Existing research — what’s already been done and what bearing does it bring on the Main Thing
*** Observation research — looking specifically for literate media, oral media, who reads what on the bus/subway
*** Quantitative research — random sampling as much as possible
*** Qualitative research — dialogue groups filtering the survey data
*** Interviews with leaders

Since the days of Donald McGavran and the Church Growth Movement, I’ve been fascinated by the simple concepts of trying to study how God seems to be moving in and among a certain people group and/or nation. It just makes sense that, in each sphere where we work, we ought to be looking for those common threads to find out what will help knock down obstacles for the Spirit to move among the people He wants to reach.

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