MUSIC & Jesus, Country Music, and the Spiritual Classics.

by Tom Crenshaw, Presbyterian & Vineyard pastor, Certified Missional Coach, 1/25/22.

What am I going to write about? Each morning I wake up early with the goal of writing something worth reading, something that will encourage you, challenge you, and hopefully point you to Jesus. Sometimes words come easy, and I know right off what I want to say. Sometimes, however, I struggle, and I am not sure what to write or where to begin.

This morning was one of those days. I lay in bed wondering what to share and the thought of music came to mind. Not just any music, but country music and specifically the spiritual side of country music.
Those who know me, are aware that I am passionate enthusiast of classic country music. I’ve attended concerts of Reba McEntire, Don Williams, Randy Travis, Merle Haggard, Travis Tritt, Brooks and Dunn, and my favorite concert of all, George Strait’s Farewell Tour. There is something about country music that speaks to me. I suspect it’s the stories in the music that moves my heart.

I have been rewatching Ken Burns 8 part documentary on Country Music, and if you haven’t seen it, it is must watching. I promise you that whether you enjoy country music or not, watching this documentary will give you a new appreciation for this music genre. I bet by the time you finish watching it, some of you will be up and dancing to Boot ‘Scootin’ Boogie by Brooks and Dunn.

But as I lay awake this morning, I started reflecting on country songs that carry a spiritual message, ones that have drawn people closer to Jesus. I scrolled through a number of songs, listened to a few of them- and while I knew most of them, there were a few that were new to me. Having done so, I came up with “Crenshaw’s Country Spiritual Classics,” songs that I thought you would enjoy, but more importantly that would point you to Jesus.

They include Carrie Underwood’s, “Jesus Take the Wheel,” recently voted the 4th best country song of the decade and the song that kicked off her career as a country music super star. Also on the list is one of my favorites, “Three Wooden Crosses” by Randy Travis whose music career was sadly cut short by a stroke. Included on my list is Brooks and Dunn’s , powerful rendition of “Believe,” and Alabama’s “Angels Among Us.” On that list is Steve Wariner’s “Holes in the Floor of Heaven,” one of my all-time favorites. And who could forget the gospel classics, “The Old Rugged Cross” and “The Family Bible” by two of country’s greatest singers, the late Johnny Cash and George Jones?

I can guarantee listening to Vince Gill sing “Go Rest High on That Mountain” will bring tears to your eyes. It was written for the funeral of the late Keith Whitely who died far too young, and it was sung at the funeral of George Jones by Vince and Patty Loveless (bring the tissues). Josh Turner, a strong believer, has two of my favorites on the list, “The Long Black Train” and “Me and God.” George Strait has a powerful rendition of “I Saw God Today,” and included on my list is “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts
I listened to a few songs that I had never heard before that are worth listening to: Brad Paisley’s “When I Get Where I’m Going,” John Michael Montgomery’s “The Little Girl,” “New Again” by Sara Evans and Brad Paisely, “Thy Will” by Hillary Scott and the Scott family, “Something in the Water by Carrie Underwood and one I especially loved, “When I Get Where I am Going,” by Brad Paisely and Dolly Parton.

And when you have listened to all of them, I suggest the following: Garth Brooks, “Unanswered Prayer,” Merle Haggard, “Pray”, Tammy Wynette, “Precious Memories,” Willie Nelson, “Uncloudy Days,” The Carter Family, “Can the Circle be Unbroken,” Dolly Parton, “He’s Alive,” Kris Kristofferson, “Why Me Lord,” Hank Williams, “I Saw the Light,” and the all-time country classic, “The Great Speckled Bird” by Roy Acuff.

That’s enough to get your day started with a little “singspiration.” Let me know what you think about my choices, and be sure and include your all time spiritual country classics.

STREAMING & #SundayChurchHacks: Stream your services so viewers can watch them on their TVs, not just on their computers.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Do you have a vision of people gathering around a computer screen and watching a church’s worship service? Have you tried it? It works, but some of the power and majesty can seem minimized by a minimal screen. Most would agree this experience would be enhanced by gathering around a larger screen such as a household TV.

Recently, an ice storm made the roads impassable in our area. We began watching our local church online, before realizing our FireTV device might make it easier to participate via a larger household TV. After searching on YouTube for our church, we found that among the (probably) hundreds of congregations with similar names as our church, only a dozen or so offered live streaming on YouTube.

Too often when choosing a streaming platform churches opt for computer-focused streaming options. Instead, to increase your outreach:

  1. Investigate and then use platforms (e.g. YouTube Live, etc.) that allow your services to be easily watched on viewers’ larger screen TVs.
  2. Explain on your webpage how to access the services on larger screen TVs.

BLACK CHURCHES & What My Black Students Told Me About Their Preference for the Baptist Movement 

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., Biblical Leadership Magazine, 1/17/22.

Numerous times over the years I’ve tried to help unaffiliated students who were pastors to become affiliated with The Wesleyan Church or another denomination. My rationale was not to grow any specific denomination, but because I believed accountability was good for unaffiliated pastors. Many of my students were pastoring independent churches with little accountability. I didn’t sense they needed accountability then, but I was worried they would need it sometime in the future and it would not be available.

All of my efforts were usually unsuccessful with African-American students. I often asked why. And their answers helped me understand why Baptist historians have pointed out that many black churches have affiliated with the Baptist movement. The Baptist movement was, in part, a reaction to the hierarchies found in many denominations. In hierarchal (Episcopal or Presbyterian forms of denominational government) a group of denominational leaders outside of the local church would often decide who would be ordained. 

But not so in much of the Baptist movement. They embraced an organic and indigenous route to leadership. This meant that a person first distinguished themselves inside of a congregation and then after being mentored with the local pastors might be ordained. This natural and field-based route to leadership had at least three advantages in my mind.

Firstly, you could see how a pastor led a flock from a longterm experience with that pastor. Their strengths were known, as well as their weaknesses. In many ways the congregation was the accountability factor for the pastor in training.

Secondly it created mentor/mentee relationships between senior leaders and upcoming leaders. This fostered an environment of apprenticeship and training for future leaders. Another benefit was that if a volunteer saw a senior pastor training younger leaders, the church volunteer leader might start training others under him or her. In my clients I have seen that the mentorship model runs very strong and deep in the African-American church.

And thirdly, it was less likely that powers outside the church would make decisions about the leadership suitability of people immersed in the local church culture. In many denominations, including my own, the highest leadership positions are held by people who are mostly of one ethnic culture. African-American students whom I encouraged to connect with our denomination often told me that they preferred to be independent rather than to be accountable to people who might not understand the culture celebrated in their local church.

In hindsight, this third aspect is exceedingly important for judicatory leaders to grasp. And I’ll admit that I missed the mark. These churches need to develop their own culturally relevant systems and ministries. To draw them into a bigger denomination that is largely of a different culture may, in my view, undermine their uniqueness and cultural relevance.

But what about the argument that “They need to join us and influence our leadership culture?” I believe there is an answer for this. It’s a lesson to all judicatory leaders. We need to intentionally balance our leadership diversity by promoting and hiring at the highest levels of our denomination more diverse leaders. Just having a department or a director will not change the perception that a denomination is led by those of a specific culture. And, often leaders are elected because they have a family or professional history in a denomination. We must move away from these habits and affirmatively welcome, hire and promote the “other.” If not, we may unintentionally harden those invisible denominational boundaries that further divide the Christian landscape.

Read more at … https://www.biblicalleadership.com/blogs/what-my-black-students-told-me-about-their-preference-for-the-baptist-movement/?

Read more articles by Bob Whitesel published by Biblical Leadership at … https://www.biblicalleadership.com/contributors/bobwhitesel/media/

MERGERS & If you do not sell you church buildings & start over by building new; within five years, your total attendance will be less than the larger of the two merging congregations.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel. I have facilitated many mergers in my three+ decade career of coaching churches. And I’ve come to a conclusion that:

In a merger if you do not sell you church buildings & start over by building new; within five years, your total attendance drop to less than the larger of the two merging congregations.

Bob Whitesel PhD

I was encouraged the other day when one of my former clients sent me this note. He said,

“I’ll close with a statement from somebody I found to be my friend when he told two merging congregations; ‘(In a merger) if you do not sell you church buildings & then build new; within five years, your total attendance will be less than todays larger congregation.’ FYI = True words. Came true ☹! Today, the Pastor’s bible study has about three people & the attendance on Sunday’s averages 15 to 20 people in a sanctuary/balcony with seating for 300!” Chuck Miller, church board member.

MINISTERIAL CAREERS & Archbishop of Canterbury says pastors are ‘hard-working, normal people’ rather than ‘depressing’ depictions seen in TV dramas.

Rogues or idiots’: Justin Welby condemns TV portrayal of clergy.

by Harriet Sherwood, The UK Guardian Newspaper, 11/21.

… fictional depictions of vicars were “depressing”, Justin Welby told the National Farmers’ Union. Departing from the text of his speech, Welby said he had “got into” watching Clarkson’s Farm on television during the pandemic.

He told the audience: “Maybe for you watching Jeremy Clarkson feels a bit like for me watching anything with a vicar in it. Either you can’t stand it or you get completely addicted. I generally find depictions of vicars on TV to be depressing – they are portrayed as rogues or idiots … the reality is very different – it is actually of hard-working normal people, caring deeply about what they do and working all the hours there are to do it.”

Welby has said that being a parish priest, for seven years in rural Warwickshire, was the most stressful job he had done. He was ordained as a priest after 11 years working in the oil industry. “The hardest work I’ve ever done, and the most stressful, was as a parish priest – mainly because it was isolated, insatiably demanding and I was on the whole working without close colleagues – and that wears people down,” he told the Church of England’s General Synod in 2017

Read more at … https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/nov/24/rogues-or-idiots-justin-welby-condemns-tv-portrayal-of-clergy?

MINISTERIAL CAREERS & Archbishop of Canterbury says pastors are ‘hard-working, normal people’ rather than ‘depressing’ depictions seen in TV dramas.

Rogues or idiots’: Justin Welby condemns TV portrayal of clergy.

by Harriet Sherwood, The UK Guardian Newspaper, 11/21.

… fictional depictions of vicars were “depressing”, Justin Welby told the National Farmers’ Union. Departing from the text of his speech, Welby said he had “got into” watching Clarkson’s Farm on television during the pandemic.

He told the audience: “Maybe for you watching Jeremy Clarkson feels a bit like for me watching anything with a vicar in it. Either you can’t stand it or you get completely addicted. I generally find depictions of vicars on TV to be depressing – they are portrayed as rogues or idiots … the reality is very different – it is actually of hard-working normal people, caring deeply about what they do and working all the hours there are to do it.”

Welby has said that being a parish priest, for seven years in rural Warwickshire, was the most stressful job he had done. He was ordained as a priest after 11 years working in the oil industry. “The hardest work I’ve ever done, and the most stressful, was as a parish priest – mainly because it was isolated, insatiably demanding and I was on the whole working without close colleagues – and that wears people down,” he told the Church of England’s General Synod in 2017

Read more at … https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/nov/24/rogues-or-idiots-justin-welby-condemns-tv-portrayal-of-clergy?

CRITICISM & Casey Stengel’s advice on what to do with the critics on your team.

by Tom Crenshaw, church leader, author and soon-to-be certified member of the http://www.MissionalCoaches.network, 1/18/22.

How does one become wise? The answer is simple. He walks with wise people. The Bible reminds us that, “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20).

… I love the old story told by the late Casey Stengel, who managed the New York Yankees to numerous World Championships. One day, Billy Martin, a former player and manager himself, asked Casey the secret of managing success.

Stengel’s response to this rookie manager was classic. He said,

“On any team you will have 15 players who love you and who will run through a wall for you. You will also have five players who will hate your guts and fight you every step of the way, and finally you will have five who are undecided about how they feel about you. The secret of success is to keep the five guys who hate your guts away from the five who are undecided. When you make out your rooming list, always room your losers together. Never room a good guy with a loser. Those losers who stay together will always blame the manager for everything, but it won’t spread if you keep them isolated.”

Casey Stengel, famed NY Yankee manager.

What was Stengel saying? Simply this, “Bad company corrupts good character,” or as one pastor friend of mine puts it, “Holy friends hinder bad behavior.”

The Bible teaches, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17) Putting ourselves in touch with wise, stimulating, faith building, positive thinking, moral living, people will help us move ahead in our own Christian life.

Thomas Fuller was right when he said, “it is best to be with those in time we hope to be with in eternity.”

If you enjoy this you may want to follow Tom Crenshaw’s articles on Biblicalleadership.com at https://www.biblicalleadership.com/contributors/tomcrenshaw/ Tom is a certified Missional Coach and part of the MissionalCoaches.network

NEEDS OF GUESTS & #SundayChurchHacks: Before and/or after worship services set up tables in your gathering spaces with signage inviting attendees to meet others with similar hobbies & interests. Guests will find people like themselves.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I heard about a church that offered tables in their foyer with signs above each with the names of various hobbies. The tables had titles above them such as: gardening, fishing, traveling, etc. including many actives popular in the local community. The result was that people didn’t shuffle out of the church with comfortable smiles and nods to others. Instead, those who felt passionately about an interest found others with whom then could share that interest and begin building a relationship.

Create opportunities for guests to not just learn about the church through pamphlets and bulletins, because it is even more important to help guests start deeper relationships which will lead to friendship, interdependence and discipleship.

#SundayChurchHacks, Bob Whitesel DMin PhD

#SundayChurchHacks

WELCOME & # SundayChurchHacks: Don’t exaggerate for online viewers, the size of an onsite audience. Leaders can make it seem that there are hundreds in attendance, when there may be dozens. This creates dismay & disappointment when an online viewer visits in person.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Part of my ongoing research is to visit churches online before I visit them in person to evaluate the online perception versus the onsite reality. One of the greatest discrepancies is in the number in attendance.

Charles (Chip) Arn, a writer, colleague and friend, told me about his experience attending a megachurch with a famous TV ministry that had now shrunk to a few hundred attendees. He noted, “They acted like they were still on TV with thousands in attendance. It not only made me uncomfortable and it gave the impression that they were untrustworthy. They should be themselves.” I noted that, “honesty is what will grow a church, not deception.”

Don’t exaggerate the size of an onsite audience for online viewers. Some leaders make it seem that there are hundreds in attendance, when there may be dozens. This will create dismay and disappointment when an online viewer visits in person.

Sunday Church Hack: When you are streaming, there are hundreds and could be thousands watching. Accept it, pray for them … but don’t hype it.

#SundayChurchHacks

GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & As COVID-19 Death Tolls Rise, More Americans Want Religious Funerals

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: one of the results of previous pandemics throughout history was an increased interest in our eternal destiny (heaven, hell and judgement). I pointed out in my book it’s important for churches to address these questions now. Focus more of your preaching and teaching on these topics to meet the needs of the post-pandemic population.

Here’s a reminder from some recent research that the topic of the afterlife is increasingly important to people in a post pandemic period.

As COVID-19 Death Tolls Rise, More Americans Want Religious Funerals

The trend toward secular memorials reverses for the first time in a decade.

by DANIEL SILLIMAN|CHRISTIANITY TODAY, DECEMBER 13, 2021.

Death abounded in America in 2020 and 2021. According to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 570,000 more people died in 2020 than in 2019, with about 350,000 of those attributable to COVID-19. Another 350,000 people died from the coronavirus by the fall of 2021, bringing the death total to 700,000—and counting.

When roughly that number died over the four years of the Civil War, it had a widespread impact on American culture. Historians such as Drew Gilpin Faust, author of This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, say changesincluded increased attention to cemeteries, the rise in the importance of family photographs, and rapid growth in the popularity of practices of spiritualism, a new religious movement that claimed to help people communicate with the dead.

What impact today’s pandemic deaths will have on American culture remains to be seen. But one shift is notable now: The percentage of people age 40 and older who say that religion is “very important” in the funeral of a loved one has gone up for the first time in a decade.

Read more at … https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2022/january-february/religious-funerals-rise-covid-memorial-study.html?

CHANGE & My video introduction to “The 4 Forces that Control Change” 

Here is a video introduction to articles I have written (for anyone) and assignments (for students in LEAD 600, etc.) that deal with controlling change (which we call theories of changing). It introduces the viewer to “The Four Forces that Control Change” and how to manage each.

https://video.wordpress.com/embed/IXdD6Gvt?hd=0&autoPlay=0&permalink=1&loop=0&preloadContent=metadata&muted=0&playsinline=0&controls=1&cover=1

©️Bob Whitesel 2017, used by permission only.

Articles mentioned in the video as well as additional articles are available at the following links:

Download the Church Executive article by Bob Whitesel here:  ARTICLE_Four Forces-Whitesel (Church Executive Article)

Fownload the article in the Journal of the Great Commission Research Network here: article-whitesel-gcrn-toward-a-holistic-and-postmodernal-theory-of-change-in-cg-literature-gcrn . To subscribe and/or receive more information about The Great Commission Research Journal (the new name) click here: http://journals.biola.edu/gcr/

And find more “theories of changing” articles on ChurchLeadership.wiki here: https://churchhealthwiki.wordpress.com/?s=four+forces

HIRING & Researchers find interviews are useless, unless you test candidates on the actual skills and competencies required to do the job. Here is how. #ShowDontTell #IncMagazine

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I spent many years on search committees in higher education. I’ve since discovered that one of the most important tools to ask potential candidates is to actually create a syllabus for a course they might teach. Many candidates may not know how to create a syllabus, but they can research it and create one.

By doing this, they show that they would be able to find information for which they did not yet have experience. And, the resultant syllabus will show the quality of their thinking.

This approach, what the author in the article below calls “show, don’t tell,” helps compensate for applicants that are good talkers or any biases of the selection committee. Read the article below about how Thomas Edison utilized a similar aspect when interviewing potential research assistants.

Thomas Edison Made Job Applicants Eat Soup in Front of Him. It Sounds Crazy But Modern Science Suggests He Was on to Something

by Jessica Stillman, Inc. Magazine, 1/12/21.

… First off, it’s important to know that study after study shows that interviews as they’re usually conducted are pretty close to useless. Asking people questions (even expert-recommended behavioral or hypothetical questions) tends to advantage slick talkers over the actually competent (though there are some tricks to minimize this effect). Interviewers are also notoriously swayed by biases and irrelevant details of self presentation.

What does modern science suggest instead? Perhaps not so surprisingly, just testing candidates on the actual skills and competencies required to do the job. A trial assignment, sample work project, or domain specific test far outperform just talking with candidates about their previous work experience, character, and goals.

Show, don’t tell.

… If you want to really understand who candidates are and what they can do, design ways to observe them solving relevant problems. You’ll always get a better sense of a person based on what they do than on what they say.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/hiring-job-interviews-thomas-edison.html

RESIGNATIONS & The top five predictors of attrition and four actions managers can take in the short term to reduce attrition. #MIT #SloanSchoolOfBusiness

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Many of these predictors (discovered in an extensive study by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology M.I.T.) are similar to pressures that come to bear when leaders leave the church. Read on to learn more.

By Donald Sull, Charles Sull and Ben Zweig, MIT Sloan Management Review, 1/11/22.

… To better understand the sources of the Great Resignation and help leaders respond effectively, we analyzed 34 million online employee profiles to identify U.S. workers who left their employer for any reason (including quitting, retiring, or being laid off) between April and September 2021.3

…Let’s take a closer look at each of the top five predictors of employee turnover.

Toxic corporate culture. A toxic corporate culture is by far the strongest predictor of industry-adjusted attrition and is 10 times more important than compensation in predicting turnover. Our analysis found that the leading elements contributing to toxic cultures include failure to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion; workers feeling disrespected; and unethical behavior…

Job insecurity and reorganization. In a previous article, we reported that job insecurity and reorganizations are important predictors of how employees rate a company’s overall culture. So it’s not surprising that employment instability and restructurings influence employee turnover.9 ..

High levels of innovation. It’s not surprising that workers leave companies with toxic cultures or frequent layoffs. But it is surprising that employees are more likely to exit from innovative companies. In the Culture 500 sample, we found that the more positively employees talked about innovation at their company, the more likely they were to quit. The attrition rates of the three most innovative Culture 500 companies — Nvidia, Tesla, and SpaceX — are three standard deviations higher than those in their respective industries. 

Staying at the bleeding edge of innovation typically requires employees to put in longer hours, work at a faster pace, and endure more stress than they would in a slower-moving company. The work may be exciting and satisfying but also difficult to sustain in the long term…

Failure to recognize performance. Employees are more likely to leave companies that fail to distinguish between high performers and laggards when it comes to recognition and rewards. Companies that fail to recognize and reward strong performers have higher rates of attrition, and the same is true for employers that tolerate underperformance. The issue is not compensation below market rates, but rather recognition — both informal and financial — that is not linked to effort and results. High-performing employees are the most likely to resent a lack of recognition for their results, which means that companies may be losing some of their most productive workers during the Great Resignation.

Poor response to COVID-19. Employees who mentioned COVID-19 more frequently in their reviews or talked about their company’s response to the pandemic in negative terms were more likely to quit. The same pattern holds true when employees talk more generally about their company’s policies for protecting their health and well-being.

What can managers do to offset these forces? Read prescriptive solutions here … https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/toxic-culture-is-driving-the-great-resignation/

HIRING & Elon Musk’s Brilliant Hiring Strategy Uses The ‘2 Hands Test’–Instead of Degrees. #IncMagazine

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: The first consultation I ever conducted (over 30 years ago) was to help an embattled pastor transition out of a church that wanted to fire him. I was successfully able to do this and not surprisingly afterwards most of my clients were pastors or churches who needed or wanted to transfer.

As a result, I’ve been interested in pastoral transitions since a majority of my consultations over three decades may have been involved coaching ministerial transitions.

Two things I have found and utilized while serving as a senior member of a seminary faculty was 1. An applicant should have hands on experience. 2. Hands-on testing, whereby the applicant should be able to create something (e.g. a syllabus or preaching series).

To my surprise, Elon Musk uses the same formula. Check out this article for more details.

How Tesla and SpaceX discover top talent through this expertly-engineered process

by Kelly Main, Inc. Magazine, 1/11/21.

…Musk holds his conviction that skills matter more than degrees. In doing so, his companies, Tesla and SpaceX, attract and retain some of the brightest minds of our time from across the globe-no degree required. But the hiring process does require two things, which comes down to one thing: the ‘Two Hands Test.’

1. First-hand experience… In other words, education is not limited to what is taught within the walls of a classroom, but what is learned through first-hand experiences. And because of this, first-hand experience is sought as means of discovering talent with deep knowledge.

2. Hands-on testing … Sure, a job interview is a test, but rather than actually examining a candidate’s capabilities, many companies simply work to evaluate a candidate’s knowledge. However, this is a fatal flaw as there is a major difference between memorizing and parroting information and actually understanding how something works. To overcome this challenge, put candidates to the test with highly relevant hands-on testing.

To test candidates effectively, give tests (e.g., a task or assignment) that most closely matches what the role itself may encounter. To yield an accurate measurement of one’s ability to effectively perform the position’s tasks, be sure that the test’s scope is limited to the resources necessary to perform said test or task.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/kelly-main/elon-musks-brilliant-hiring-strategy-uses-2-hands-test-instead-of-degrees.html

WORSHIP & #SundayChurchHacks: The worship singers should be skewed toward the age group you are seeking to reach. Nonetheless, they also should be skilled.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I regularly evaluate online and onsite worship services for clients and colleagues. A reoccurring experience is when a skilled worship leader is backed by supporting vocalists who have been faithful churchgoers for some time. However, if you are trying to reach younger generations (see the list of generations here and here) you should include backup singers from missing generations too.

Yet don’t err on the side of participation, and ignore skill. In many churches there is a community music leader, e.g. current or former school music teacher, etc. that can help. Seek out these musical coaches and ask them to work with your supporting vocalists, relieving the music director of having to work with novice vocalists.

Regarding getting younger people involved, see the chart below for the generational names and years (in addition, you will find an explanation of “Early Boomers,” “Generation Jones,” “Generation Alpha” and “Generation Beta” here).

Following the “Millennials” born between 1982 and 2009, the next two generations are now “Generation Alpha” from 2010 to 2024 & “Generation Beta” from 2025 to 2039. 

(chart retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/03/here-is-when-each-generation-begins-and-ends-according-to-facts/359589/)

CHURCH REVITALIZATION & For dying congregations, a ‘replant’ can offer new life.

By Bob Smietana, Religion News Service, 1/7/21

…LA City Baptist Church is what’s known as a “replant,” an attempt to restore an older, dying congregation to health using some of the lessons gleaned from startup congregations known as church plants. Replanting often involves adding a new pastor who has been trained in how to do outreach, as well as funding and sometimes an influx of volunteers. The idea is to provide resources and new energy to an old congregation, rather than shutting the church down and starting over.

Although not widespread, church replanting is growing in popularity and the approach has been adopted by denominations such as the Southern Baptist Convention, whose North American Mission Board is supporting Lee’s work to replant LA City Baptist. In 2020, NAMB helped fund 50 such replants, according to the latest data available. The agency hopes to work eventually with about 200 replants a year, said Mike Ebert, a spokesman for NAMB.

According to data from the Faith Communities Today 2020 survey, there are lots of churches in the same boat as LA City. The median worship attendance for congregations is 65, down from twice that number in 2000 — leaving many congregations wondering what their future will look like.

Read more at … https://religionnews.com/2022/01/05/for-dying-congregations-a-replant-can-offer-new-life/?

CONFLICT & A video intro to church conflict resolution & handling power-plays.

The video was recorded at the annual conference of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) which I was attending in Detroit. Dr. John Perkins (founder of the CCDA) has greatly influenced my thinking as evident from these excerpts that reflect Dr. Perkins’ influence on my articles and books.

©️Bob Whitesel used by permission only.