Two recent books have been particularly useful to me as one who cares about engaging local church planting from a global perspective. One is JD Payne’s Stranger Next Door: Immigration, Migration and Mission. This 2012 publication explores the evangelistic possibilities inherent in globalization. It encourages the Church in the West to pay attention to the shifts taking place today around, and to respond to a new diaspora with heartfelt urgency. The second book I would like to recommend is Bob Robert’s newest book, Bold as Love. Written so that almost anyone can understand and respond, this book points the way for ordinary Christians to practice the extraordinary love of Christ among their Muslim, Hindu, or Sikh neighbors. It is rich, real, and vital.
For those who would spend time researching various population groups in their midst, here are a few online resources I like:
Issuu offers all kinds of free publications. I especially appreciate the Atlas of Global Development (Third Edition): A Visual Guide to the World’s Greatest Challenges. It delves into global economies, health, injustices, poverty, population growth, life expectancy, child labor, education, gender equity, and child mortality. For me, it provides a rich background that helps me better know how to love my neighbor.
On the Issue site, also check out other World Bank publications, many of which are specific to certain regions.
The U.S. English Foundation’s material is dated, still using the 2000 census, but still really good. Select states, counties or Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and discover which languages are spoken there by people over 5 years old. For each language listed (and there are many) discover not only the number of speakers, but also how that geography rates in its state and in the nation. For example, Santa Clara County, California ranks #1 in the United States for people who speak Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Kannada, and Yapese. In response, a group of local churches has adopted some of these peoples and are praying to start church among them.
Another fantastic resource is the Ethnologue, available in both print and web editions. It calls itself “An encyclopedic reference work cataloging all of the world’s 6,909 known living languages.” It identifies all of the known languages and language families spoken in every country, and maps them out, including diaspora countries. It offers a catalogue of data about each language without providing encyclopedic type information. It is especially good for people group type work. http://www.ethnologue.com additional ethnographic assistance may be found at the website of the American Anthropological Association, where various links may be explored. http://www.aaanet.org/resources/practitioners/Ethnography.cfm.
Supplement your study at http://peoplegroups.org, http://www.joshuaproject.net, http://www.aaanet.org/resources/practitioners/Ethnography.cfm, or http://www.pioneers.org/Connect/Caleb.aspx. Each site is designed specifically for churches and individual Christians to reach some of the world’s least reached peoples, and to help them start indigenous churches.
Let me know if these resources are helpful to you, and if you have any others you recommend, please leave a comment!