- WEA General Assembly 2019
Bambang Budijanto can’t take personal credit for the fact that 40 percent of Indonesian Christians are actively involved in disciple making, compared to just 20 percent of U.S. Christians.
But what he can take credit for is the fact that we have reliable data on the behavior of Indonesian believers.
Budijanto has made a unique contribution to global Christianity by helping to found the Bilangan Research Center, which conducts research on Christians in Indonesia like what the Barna Research Group does in the United States.
Budijanto returned to his home country in 2016 after 20 years away, including 10 years as Compassion International’s regional vice president for Asia. “When I was outside the country, I heard a lot about how the church was growing in Indonesia, but there were no data,” he said. “After I returned here, I met with some people who said their local church had closed due to problems with Muslim fundamentalists. But again, there were no reliable data—just individual stories.”
To Budijanto, good information is an essential tool for effective leadership. “Some say,” he explained, “that leadership is about getting people from point A to point B. But how can you do that if you don’t know what point A is? Others say that the first role of a leader is to define reality. If you don’t know what the current reality is, you can’t know whether your future plans are reasonable or appropriate.”
As a result, Budijanto became convinced that starting the Bilangan Research Center could be a strategic contribution to the whole church. (Bilangan is the Indonesian name for the book of Numbers.)
“The purpose of our research center,” he said, “is to help the church in Indonesia and beyond to make informed decisions. Leadership is basically about decision making, and your leadership will be judged by the soundness of your decisions. So you can shape the future by making those decisions based on the best available information.”
Budijanto is also a strong believer in youth leadership training. “Ninety percent of leadership development is with people age 30 and above, but to me the best time is age 10 to 15,” he stated.
Budijanto will discuss some of the Bilangan Research Center’s results in his plenary session presentation on Saturday morning, November 9.
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