TRENDS & The primary challenge facing pastors … is how to invite nonmembers into an authentic experience of God rather than persuade them to join or rejoin a religious organization.

… The decline of membership in churches, synagogues and mosques cannot be equated with decline in religious curiosity or practice. When nones are asked why they have disaffiliated from any religious organization, only 22% say it is because they do … Continue reading

GALATIANS & The rarely known Celtic background of its inhabitants is another example of Paul’s custom of reaching out to rebels and outcasts.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: When we talk about the Galatians, we think of them as the inhabitants of just another city in the region. But they were a city of displaced rebels, who after attacking and failing to subdue the … Continue reading

STREAMING & #SundayChurchHacks – Ensure you have a pastor interacting in the “chat room” of your streaming worship. A technician might be tasked and capable. But ensure it is someone with pastoral skills. Ck out this example.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Online guests can have a more interpersonal experience if they can dialogue with others before, after and when appropriate during an online service. But, there should be a pastoral “moderator” who can answer questions, guide and … Continue reading

eReformation & Here is how an associate pastor is effectively ministering to a Boston congregation from her home, 3000 miles away in California.

By Paul Leighton, 11/18/20, The Salem News. … The First Baptist Church in Beverly (MA) has hired a new minister from California. And it won’t have to pay her moving costs. The Rev. Jaimie Crumley has been hired as a … Continue reading

CULTURAL HISTORIES & How “hush harbors” carved out black sacred spaces where God could be worshipped in the majesty (and safety) of His creation.

“The Message of the Hush Harbor: History and Theology of African Descent Traditions” by the Rev. Angela Ford Nelson, South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, 3/1/19. Today, I serve as the second female pastor of Good Hope Wesley Chapel UMC in … Continue reading

ATTENDANCE & “Never on Sunny Days.” Researchers confirm what pastors know: people are less likely to attend church when the weather outside is just right.

“Never on Sunny Days: Lessons from Weekly Attendance Counts” by Laurence R. Iannaccone and Sean F. Everton, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion Vol. 43, No. 2 (Jun., 2004), pp. 191-207 (17 pages) Published By: Wiley https://www.jstor.org/stable/1388122 Abstract Congregational attendance data are … Continue reading

CHURCH HISTORY & Lessons/Warnings From the Church Growth of Willow Creek Community Church. #ScotMcKnight

by Scot McKnight, Christianity Today, 10/4/20. …In the middle of this story about the 20th Century evangelicalism will be Willow Creek Community Church [WCCC] and its innovative seeker-friendly church services. At the heart of Willow Creek’s innovation was Bill Hybels. … Continue reading

DMIN & Black pastors reach new heights with Indiana Wesleyan ministry program.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Here is an article about the Doctor of Ministry program I designed. I created it to be innovative, rigorous and diverse. I am proud that my former doctoral students are now finishing their work and attaining … Continue reading

MULTICULTURAL & In multiracial churches, pastors of color hitting ‘the same white wall.’ #AmericanReligiousDataArchives #ARDA

by David Briggs, ARDA, 7/20/20. … New findings from the Religious Leadership and Diversity Project suggest white pastors of multiracial churches receive disproportionate resources, have greater authority and are valued more by their congregations than clergy of color. In their … Continue reading

CHURCH HISTORY & Statistics for each of the largest denominations. #ARDA #AssociationOfReligiousDataArchives

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: If you are coaching churches (or just connecting with leaders of a different denomination) it’s helpful to have one place where you can get reliable statistics on their number of churches, their growth or decline, etc. … Continue reading

TRANSITION & 51% of incoming pastors said there was no plan in place when they arrived, and 33% said the lack of planning caused problems as they took the helm. Solution: #Apprenticeship Model

by Kenneth Young, Faith & Leadership, Duke Univeristy, 7/7/20. … Can you imagine working alongside the leader who would eventually turn the controls over to you? What would our churches, nonprofits and other organizations be like if we created such … Continue reading

CHURCH HISTORY & Here are “Denominational Family Trees” – visual depictions of the history & relationships of most denominations. Created by the #ARDA, American Religious Data Archives.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel. With a plethora of different denominations today, it’s sometimes hard to grasp how they relate to one another. People within a denomination can usually cite their denominational history with ease. But they often don’t know the … Continue reading