As project manager, I would like to express my gratitude to the individuals and organizations that provided financial, material, logistical and moral support for this important and strategic project.
My friend and mentor, Dr. Ralph D. Winter, founder and General Director of the U.S. Center for World Mission (USCWM) in Pasadena, CA, and one of my former professors at the School of World Mission at Fuller Theological Seminary, provided me with the initial inspiration and motivation to undertake the development of this project. His basic question to me in the late 1980s was, "We don't know who the unreached peoples are in the Los Angeles area, could you help us find this out?" Since I had already been doing this kind of research in Latin America and the Caribbean since the early 1970s while serving as a missionary with the nondenominational Latin America Mission (with headquarters now in Miami, Florida) on loan to the International Institute for In-depth Evangelization (San Jose, Costa Rica), I told Dr. Winter that, yes, such a project was feasible but would take several years and at least $50,000. He said that he would talk to some of the heads of other mission organizations, denominations and service agencies in the Los Angeles area to see if he could rally some interest in supporting such a project, which he believed would be of strategic importance to mission-minded leaders.
Within six months we held a planning meeting at the USCWM with a small group of potential supporters, where I presented my project proposal and answered questions from the participants, hosted by Dr. Winter. During that first meeting we raised the first $25,000 needed to begin one of the most extensive research projects that I had ever managed. Soon we had an office in Townsend Hall at the USCWM that we furnished with donated office furniture from a variety of sources, and we purchased a basic computer with a DOS operating system--you must remember that in 1990 there were few IBM-PC options available and the MS Windows 3.1 operating system was not yet available.
During these first few months, beginning in November 1990, I had to set up an office, open a bank account and post office box, visit the potential donors and jump over a series of hurdles to be qualified to receive donations via IDEA Ministries (incorporated in the State of California as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organiztion in 1982) for this project. At the same time I was actively recruiting a staff of people to work with us as volunteers in accomplishing a series of tasks: office management, public relations, computer dbase management, word processing, computer mapping technology, logistics and fieldwork.
Two of my first associates were Mr. Ben Capps of YWAM (Youth With A Mission, Sunland), who worked with me in the development of the GLAMA database and became the principal trainer using Dbase and ATLAS GIS computer software; and Mr. Alan Young, a high school physics teacher at Bolsa Chica High School in Fountain Valley (who also worked part-time with the Alberto Mottesi Evangelistic Association in Santa Ana), a self-taught computer programmer who provided us with technical support and basic computer training. I worked with Alan in the design and production of IDEA's Church Directory Software (ICDS) and the ICDS User's Manual, using Clarion Professional Developer. Alan and Ben (a graduate of Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona) worked together to integrate the Dbase management system with the Atlas GIS software so that we could map Los Angeles and Orange counties by 1990 census tracts, zipcodes, and composite regions and subregions, using 1990 census data on race/ethnic groups for the two counties. Then Alan and I provided technical support for users of the ICDS program, while Ben and I provided training to other associates in the use of the Atlas GIS software, utilizing our newly created IDEA-GLAMA database of religious groups with associated geographical coordinates (longitud & latitude) and census data. In addition, Mr. Reagan Zogby of Western Economic Research Company in Panorama City provided us with valuable technical assistance in the use of TIGER files for the 1990 Census.
By late 1997, the ICDS program was operational in more than 24 locations in the Los Angeles 5-Country Region, but there were only about ten locations where information was available from the IDEA-GLAMA database using both the ICDS and ATLAS GIS software:
Note: Mr. Robert Gordon (Director of Research for Mission Aviation Fellowship in Redlands) worked as a volunteer with the Inland Empire A.D. 2000 Committee in the development of an Inland Empire Database (the urban parts of San Bernardino and Riverside counties) of religious groups, using the ICDS and ATLAS GIS programs. This database was later integrated with the IDEA-GLAMA database to form the Los Angeles 5-County Database of religious groups in 1997.
Other staff members who provided us with valuable assistance during part of the project were:
Most of the fieldwork for this project was actually done by a small group of associates: Ben Capps, Andy Toth, Enrique Danwing, Don Dorr and myself. This involved searching through denominational directories, yearbooks, phonebooks, theses and dissertations, books and magazines, etc., to obtaining names and addresses of all known religious groups, first in GLAMA (Los Angeles and Orange counties) and then in the Los Angeles 5-County Region (Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties were added later). Remember, there was no Internet in those days! Several organizations helped the project along by sharing their own mailing lists with us, including: The Korean Frontier Mission (Mary Park, director), The Church On The Way/Love L.A. (Pastors Jack Hayford and Phil Starr), The Hispanic Association for Theological Education (Dr. Jesse Miranda), The Hispanic Association for Bilingual-Bicultural Ministeries (Pastor Danny de Leon, Templo Calvario, Santa Ana), and the Sunrise Center for Buddhist Studies (James Stevens, Pasadena).
My special thanks to Dr. J. Gordon Melton, Director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion (ISAR) in Santa Barbara, who served as an advisor for this project. Our database of religious groups includes over 12,500 listings (Los Angeles 5-County Region), which are linked by classification codes to The Encyclopedia of American Religions (5th Edition, Dr. J. Gordon Melton, editor; Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research, 1996).
Individual and corporate donors included:
My own personal support team included the following churches:
I would like to add a special thanks to members of the IDEA Ministries Board of Directors who served between 1990 and 1997 and who offered valuable assistance to the project by their encouragement and wise counsel:
Chairman: Mr. A. Eugene Talley (Laguna Nigel), a quality assurance engineer for Southern California Edison at the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, and later a project manager at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, CA.
Secretaries: Mr. Donald Dorr (Pasadena), professor at Azusa Pacific University; and Dr. Charles Van Engen (Glendora), professor in the School of World Mission at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena.
Treasurers: Mr. Robert Gordon (Mentone, CA), director of Research for Mission Aviation Fellowship; and Dr. Juan Carlos Miranda (Pasadena), supervisor of Hispanic churches for the Brethren Church (Ashland, Ohio).
Clifton L. Holland, Executive Director of IDEA Ministries