INNOVATION & Creativity Conquers Uncertainty. Here’s How To Hire For It

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: years ago when I began my PhD work I began by finding and analyzing churches that are creatively sharing the Good News. One of the most important factors is hiring creative people. But hiring committees often err on the side of the safe bet. Here is an excerpt from a new research-based book that explains how do you spot someone that’s creative and get them on your team.

by Chaka Booker, Forbes Magazine, 6/1/20.

…According to an annual global study conducted by IBM, 80% of CEOs anticipate this increase in complexity, but only 49% believe their organizations are prepared to deal with it. The same research shows that creative thinking has become a prerequisite for success. Clearly, organizations need talent that see things differently than others. They need creative thinkers who can help move organizations in unanticipated and ultimately successful directions.

Interviewing for creativity

Determining if someone is creative isn’t easy. Even when asked to describe their own creativity, people find it difficult to do so. Steve Jobs echoed this sentiment during an interview for Wired magazine in 1996, “When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.”

Most interview questions don’t acknowledge this reality and instead ask candidates to give examples of creative solutions they’ve generated in their work experience. These types of questions focus primarily on ideas and results, not on the process. Assessing ideas and results, however, requires understanding the candidate’s context. A candidate may describe something that was creative within their context, but to you it may seem lackluster. Or, vice versa, it may seem creative but was par for the course.

This is a problem you cannot solve. Regardless of your understanding of the candidate’s context, your opening question still needs to be a traditional one. Start by asking any of the following standard creativity questions: 

  • Have you had a project which required you to think “outside the box”? If so, what ideas did you generate and what was the result?
  • Have you come up with an innovative idea or solution recently at work If so, what resulted from the idea?
  • Have you faced a problem at work that you solved in a unique way? If so, what was the outcome?

Asking one or two of these questions is still valuable because it sets the foundation for addressing the challenge that Steve Jobs identified. Next you need to ask questions that specifically help you understand the candidate’s mental process.

The link between artistic and professional creativity

Creativity is hard to assess because it is a mind state that people enter to generate results. It is often more recognizable when examined via the artistic creativity exhibited by musicians, poets, dancers, or other artists. For this reason, a considerable amount of research on creative mental processes has been done with artists. Fortunately, artistic creativity and the creativity needed in the working world are related. Studies have shown that whether a person is a chief operating officer or a sculptor, a similar mental shift occurs when they think creatively. Dr. Joel Lopata, a Professor of Psychology and Creativity at The Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, found that, “When artists—or people in general—work across domains…they are in what can be called a distinct creative mental space, which is distinct and different from a rational, logical, and analytical state.”

Read more at … https://www.forbes.com/sites/chakabooker/2020/06/01/creativity-conquers-uncertainty-heres-how-to-hire-for-it/#c928e4c7607d

INNOVATION & How a bishop and a mathematician wife instilled in their children a desire for curiosity and innovation, not profit. #WrightBrothers

By Shilo Brooks, Scientific American Magazine, 3/14/20.

… The Wright brothers’ success at solving an engineering problem that captivated the human imagination for millennia was not a fluke. Flight is far too complex an undertaking merely to chance upon. To see what made the Wright Brothers successful and what we can learn from them today, we must consider what made them different. What qualities of character, curiosity and temperament did the Wrights possess that enabled them to conquer the air when specialists couldn’t? And what kind of problem was the problem of flight such that unique minds like theirs were required to solve it?

Thirty-one years after their famous first flight, Orville Wright reflected on what made the Wright brothers different. A journalist told him in an interview that he and his brother embodied the American dream. They were two humble boys with “no money, no influence, and no other special advantages” who had risen to the heights of fame and fortune. “But it isn’t true,” Orville replied, “to say we had no special advantages. We did have unusual advantages in childhood, without which I doubt we could have accomplished much…. The greatest thing in our favor was growing up in a family where there was always much encouragement to intellectual curiosity. If my father had not been the kind who encouraged his children to pursue intellectual interests without any thought of profit, our early curiosity about flying would have been nipped too early to bear fruit.”

The Wrights’ father, Milton, was a Protestant bishop with a zeal for books and inquiry of all sorts. His wife Susan was a mechanical whiz who studied math, science and literature in college, and who often built toys for the Wright children. The bookshelves in their home were filled with novels, poetry, ancient history, scientific treatises and encyclopedias. They encouraged their children to read widely and to take responsibility for their own education. When the Wright brothers were asked about their early interest in flight, they always said they got interested in it “for fun,” and that they wanted to use their profits to fund future scientific explorations.

In his late 20s Wilbur Wright began reading books on the anatomy of birds and animal locomotion. These investigations would eventually lead the Wrights to develop their innovative three-axis control system, which mimicked the torsional movement of bird wings. Wilbur soon wrote a letter to the Smithsonian Institution to request pamphlets published by Samuel Langley and Octave Chanute on aerodynamics. “I am an enthusiast, but not a crank,” he said, “in the sense that I have some pet theories as to the proper construction of a flying machine.”

Shortly after the brothers began conducting their experiments in North Carolina, they discovered that the tables of air pressure data provided by Smithsonian scientists were “unreliable” and riddled with errors. They promptly set about building their own wind tunnel to acquire accurate measurements. “We did that work just for the fun we got out of learning new truths,” Orville said in retrospect. They also built their own motor with the aid of their chief bicycle shop assistant when no engine manufacturers responded to their inquiries about building one small enough to fit the flyer…

The Wrights’ insatiable curiosity and love of truth enabled them to bring to bear on the multifaceted problem of flight the full range of their capacities as human beings in ways that others could not. They began to see that it was, as Wilbur put it, “the complexity of the flying problem that makes it so difficult.” It was a problem that “could not be solved by stumbling upon a secret, but by the patient accumulation of information upon a hundred different points some of which an investigator would naturally think it unnecessary to go into deeply.”

Read more at … https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/why-did-the-wright-brothers-succeed-when-others-failed/

#InterimMinistry & “It is not about spending too much time on the past, but to unite the people so the next pastor can start mapping out the future” – Dr. Rob Voyle from my #DMin #Course: Foundations of Transitional & Interim Ministry

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IMAGINATION & @FullerSeminary ‘s #TreyClark on imagination, symbols, dreams & how the Dominicans used them to share the Good News.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel (6/15/18):  I enjoyed Fuller Seminary PhD theology student Trey Clark’s presentation on how art, aesthetics, imagination and story were combined as early Dominicans shared the Good News in the new world.  It was given to the AETE (Academy for Evangelism in Theological Education), an academic community which I serve as president emeritus.

Below are some takeaways:

  • The Dominicans sensed they lived in the end times, which motivated and energized their efforts. As Trey researched further, I asked him to look into if there is a correlation between a theological eschatology and a motivation/energy invested into evangelism.
  • Interesting fact: the Dominicans sometimes took a year to communally create the sermons to create relevance and apologetic impact.

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INGROWN & 4 traps of ingrown churches & how to avoid them. @BiblicalLeadership magazine article by @BobWhitesel

Slowly over time most churches grow primarily inward in their focus, rather than focusing outward to meet the needs of those outside the church.The result of this inward focus is that churches stop reaching non-churchgoers because they are less frequently meeting the needs of those outside of their fellowship. 

Most non-churchgoers will avoid an ingrown church all together because it does not appear to be sensitive to their needs. Even newly launched and emerging churches are not immune to becoming ingrown. The close fellowship created in new church plants, multiple-site churches, cell-churches, art churches, café churches, and house churches often subtly redirect the leaders’ attention inward and away from their mission field. 

Ask yourself, “How much of my volunteer time at church do I spend on meeting the needs of the congregation rather than meeting the needs of those who don’t go to church?” If you do not see a balance, then the church you attend may be ingrown. 

Good churches have this problem too

Ingrown churches actually arise for a good reason. A church’s fellowship often is so attractive, compelling, and beneficial, that before long most of a congregation’s attention becomes directed toward these benefits. Donald McGavran in Understanding Church Growth summed up these positive/negative attributes by saying a good church will create “redemption and lift.”By this he meant that once a person is redeemed (restored back to a relationship with God), the person’s fellowship with other Christians will lift him or her away from previous friends who are non-churchgoers. The cure, according to McGavran, is to realize that this lift is good (it raises your life to a new level of loving Christ) but also bad (it separates you from non-churchgoers who need Christ’s love too). McGavran argued that balance is needed in meeting the needs of those inside the church and those outside of it, and so does this post. 

Good reasons that trap churches into ingrown behavior

Let’s look at four common church characteristics characteristics that when left unattended can unintentionally redirect a church into a closed, inward focus:

History Trap—A church with a long history. 

A church that is focused internally will eventually lose sight of its original mis- sion and gravitate toward being an organization consumed with helping itself. Years and years of internal focus will result in a church that knows little else. Leaders raised in an internally focused church will think that the volunteer’s role is to serve the existing congregation, perhaps to the point of burnout. Time erases the memory of the earliest days of a church conceived to meet the needs of non-churchgoers. 

The Organizational Trap—A sizable congregation that must be managed. 

Have you ever noticed that when new churches are started, they often have an outward focus? This may be because a newly planted church is often keenly aware that without reaching out to others, the new church will die. However, I have noticed that once a new church is about eighteen months old, it starts becoming so consumed its organizational needs, that it spends most of its time internally focused. Thus, any church with a history over eighteen months long will usually be internally focused. 

The Experience Trap—A church with a talented and long-serving team of volunteers.

 When a church has a cadre of talented and gifted leaders, these volunteers are often asked to stay too long in their positions. They thus become regarded as experts by others and newcomers. The result is that leadership unintention- ally becomes a closed clique, which newcomers with innovative ideas will often feel too intimidated to penetrate. 

The Infirmity Trap—A church with a ministry to hurting people.

Hurting people are often seeking to have their hurts healed by the soothing balm of Christian community. A church that is offering this is doing something good, because to help hurting people is what Christ calls his church to do (James 1:27). And a ministry to hurting people must be conducted with confidentially and intimacy. 

An unintentional result of such confidentiality is that these churches can become closed communities too. Subsequently, churches often thwart their mission to reach out to the hurting and instead gravitate toward a closed fellowship where outsiders find it increasingly harder to get in and get the help they need. 

There is a difference between an internally focused church and one that is balanced with equal emphasis upon internal and external needs. Check all that apply to your church. The column with the most checks may indicate whether your church is growing in, growing out, or is equally balanced (the goal of an uncommon church).

Is your church ingrown?

Check all that apply to your church:

More curated ideas from professor, award-winning writer and consultant Bob Whitesel DMin PhD at ChurchHealth.wiki, WesleyTours.com, MissionalCoaches.com & ChurchHealth.expert

Excerpted from Cure For The Common Church: God’s Plan to Restore Church Health,by Bob Whitesel (Wesleyan Publishing House 2012).

Read more at … https://www.biblicalleadership.com/blogs/4-traps-of-ingrown-churches/

 

ISLAM & #PewResearch video offers a look inside the beliefs & attitudes of Muslims in No. America

Video: Being Muslim in the U.S.

This video offers a look inside the beliefs and attitudes of Muslims in America; it features data from Pew Research Center’s 2017 survey, as well as the personal stories of Muslims from across the United States.

For more information, read the survey report: “U.S. Muslims Concerned About Their Place in Society, but Continue to Believe in the American Dream.

INNOVATION & Steve Jobs quote: “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/16-top-quotes-to-inspire-a-rare-remarkable-type-of-leadership.html and https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/this-classic-quote-from-steve-jobs-about-hiring-employees-describes-what-great-leadership-looks-like.html

INNOVATION & What you can learn about fostering it from the most watched TED talk of all time.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: (Sir) Ken Robinson’s TED talk is not only the most watched TED talk of all time and a wonderful model of good communication, but it is also shows how to tap into the creativity and innovation of unlikely people. It also shows how to nurture an organizational environment where innovation flourishes. If you are tackling a church turnaround, a church plant or any other type of innovative ministry, watch this video from time to time.

 

INNOVATION & Video of Simon Sinek graphing the “diffusion of innovation” & the “tipping point” at TEDxPuget Sound

Commentary by Prof. B.: As an early adopter (13.5%) I sometimes grow impatient with the slowness brought to the diffusion of innovation by the slow pace of the early majority and late majority.  As Sinek has pointed out, you cannot have a movement until you have attained 15-18% market penetration (the so-called “tipping point”) between the early adopters (me) and my colleagues/students (early majority).  Here is Simon Sinek graphing this relationship in a short 10-minute TEDx talk.

Read and watch more at … https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action and https://startwithwhy.com/

INTERNET & A Mature and Biblical Response to Trolls & Cyberbullies #HaleyBodine #ChristianityToday

“We Are the Light of the (Cyber) World: Let’s Act Like It” by Haley Bodine, Christianity Today, 1/10/18.

… internet troll is a person who intentionally posts inflammatory, divisive, or otherwise upsetting messages and comments online with the goal of inciting quarrels and provoking emotional response. A cyberbully is an individual who attacks another person or people group directly, using shame, threats, and intimidation.

According to a recent study conducted by YouGov, 28% of Americans admitted to online “trolling” activity. The same survey showed that 23% of American adults have maliciously argued an opinion with a stranger, and 12% admitted to making deliberately controversial statements.

Most of us have witnessed this type of behavior. A new Pew Research Center survey found that 41% of Americans have been personally subjected to harassing behavior online, and even more (66%) have witnessed these behaviors directed at others. Nearly one in five Americans (18%) have been subjected to particularly severe forms of harassment online, such as physical threats, sexual harassment, or stalking.

This is a major behavioral problem, especially when 70% of Americans still claim to be Christian. If we profess Christ as King, we have a high calling to demonstrate character fitting for children of the Living God. We are to live as a sent people everywhere we are, including the cyber realm. Antagonistic, divisive, abusive, attacking, or otherwise harmful and destructive words have no place in the online lives of anyone who says they are a follower of Jesus…

Here are four things to ask yourself before posting anything online:

Will my words be useful for building others up (Eph. 4:29)? The power of life and death are contained in the tongue (Prov. 18:21)…

Is my post truthful?

Will my words reflect the character of Jesus? Before posting anything, we should run our words through the filter of the fruits of the spirit. Do our words come from a place of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? We will never regret choosing to withhold words that do not pass this litmus test.

Do my words honor the image of God imprinted on the people who will read them?Contentious online arguments and dissension will probably never cause someone to change their view on a hot topic issue. When we post our thoughts online, we must keep people as the priority, not our positions…

Read more at … http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/january/we-are-light-of-cyber-world-lets-act-like-it.html

INNOVATION/ADAPTION & A video explanation of LEAD 545 assignments/homework

I provide my students with short video lectures/explanations of their homework for clarity and to create a “live classroom” experience.  Here is the video introduction to the LEAD 545 assignments on “innovation and adaption.”

©️Bob Whitesel 2017, used by permission only.

INNOVATION & A Comparison Between Red Ocean Strategy & Blue Ocean Strategy

by Sage Growth Partners, 3/17/09.

Read more at … https://www.slideshare.net/mobile/SageGrowthPartners/blue-ocean-innovation-bli

creativity need-meeting needs safety needs

INNOVATION & Where Good Ideas Come From: Colliding Hunches #StevenJohnson #YouTube

Commentary by Prof. B: Invocation usually results when people who have “hunches” collide with people who have other hunches. See this video for an entertaining explanation of the process.

INTROVERSION & A tale of two introverts.

by Bob Whitesel D.Min. Ph.D., 1/21/17.

People often think of introversion as a weakness. And there are aspects of introversion that can keep you from collaborating with others and/or withdrawing from others when under pressure.

However intoversion is also a positive trait. Let me share a short story of two introverts … and extrovert.

The introverts were both INTJs on the Myers-Briggs scale. The “I” stands for introversion. They were close friend with an ENTJ where the “E” designates introversion. All three were working on their doctorates while teaching a heavy work load.

When an introvert (I-NTJ) on the Myers-Briggs scale feelS a need to relax they withdraw and recharge their batteries by being alone or with a very select group of close friends.

All three received very positive teaching reviews from their students. Remember, introverts are not necessarily shy but rather people who prefer being alone when they need to recharge their energy. All three had the gift of teaching ( 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11-14, Rom. 12:7, Acts 18:24-28, 20:20-21) and all three came to life and energized their students. Students subsequently thought all three must be extroverts. But the three friends knew that two of them were not.

You could tell who are introverts and who is the extrovert because at the end of the day, when they were done teaching, the introverts would withdraw to their studies and work on their research. At the end of the day when the extrovert had finished teaching, he would usually retreat with many of his friends and spend the evening shooting the breeze. This is one difference between how introverts and extroverts relax and recharge.

Not surprisingly, the introverts finished their PhD studies. And the extrovert? He went on to an executive position within his organization. But he never finished his doctoral work. To this day, people love hanging out with him. But his first career path was hampered when years of work did not culminate in the degree he sought.

Most people think I am the extrovert in this story.

But I was one of the two introverts. I love people and enjoy being around them. But often when introverts need to recharge their energy they do so through quietness/solitude … perhaps withdrawing to their books, their Bible and just a few very close friends.

This tale of two introverts can remind us that extroversion AND introversion can be assets … when applied to the right careers.

INFLUENCE & A Review of “Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change”

Reviewed by Rev. Jeff Lawson, Aurora, IN, candidate for Missional Coach, 2016.  Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change, Second Edition, Joseph Grenny – McGraw-Hill – 2013

The authors use at least a dozen different ‘Influencers” to make their point. They readily argue that just about anything (aside from gravity) can be changed if handled correctly. In fact, they state early on that, “Success relies on the capacity to systematically create rapid, profound, and sustainable changes in a handful of key behaviors.” The book is divided into the philosophy that there are six sources, or key behaviors of influence: Personal Motivation, Personal Ability, Social Motivation, Social Ability, Structural Motivation, and Structural Ability.

The goal for Personal Motivation is to help people to love what they hate. There are four tactics that should be utilized in order to do that. 1) Allow for choice 2) Create direct experiences 3) Tell meaningful stories and 4) Make it a game. I was moved by the idea that “almost any activity can be made engaging if it involves reasonably challenging goals and clear, frequent feedback.” The truth is that no one enjoys cleaning bathrooms, but when there is a story behind the cleanliness and how it might have saved a customer or made a client feel more comfortable, it changes the dynamics of the necessary chore.

As the discussion moved to Personal Ability the goal is now to help people to do what they can’t. The authors state, “When leaders and training designers combine too much motivation with too few opportunities to improve ability, they rarely produce change.” It is important that those people that we lead have the opportunity to put their skills to work. If not, how will they ever improve. Also, if we fail to give them the opportunities, there is a decent chance that someone else will and we could lose valuable people. The author states that, “Influencers carefully invest in strategies to help to increase ability.” Influencers know that people are their greatest commodity.

The idea behind Social Motivation is to provide encouragement. The authors say, “To harness the immense power of social support, sometimes all you need to do is to find the one respected individual who flies in the face of what everyone else has done and model the new and healthier vital behaviors.” People are copycats, plain and simple. This happens in just about every area of life. When do we start putting up Christmas Lights? The day after the neighbor does. When do the farmers start planting seed in the ground? The day after the neighbor first rev’s up his John Deere tractor. We are motivated by what we see and we are greatly influenced by what we see works well.

When it comes to Social Ability, the goal is to provide assistance. The driving force here is to come alongside each other and spur one another on. The authors say, “groups made up of people at all intellectual levels often perform better than any one individual.” Most folks would agree with this statement, yet there are millions of ‘lone rangers’ out there that insist on going the road on their own and never soliciting advice from others. Through multiple sources we see in this chapter that other people can motivate us in profound and countless ways.

The chapter that covers Structural Motivation challenges the reader to change their economy. This chapter truly pushed me and my earlier convictions on the subject. They write, “Your goal with structural motivation and using incentives should not be to overwhelm people to change. Rather, it should be primarily to remove disincentives.” They would advocate that rewards should not be the first and only tool in your work belt. Not that you never reward with incentives, but they should be used a lot more sparingly than they typically are. On page 219 they used a tremendous illustration about rewards in a daycare system with rewards and the outcome was shocking. Youngsters gave up playing with their favorite toys when they did not see the reward in it. Extremely interesting!

The last of the key behaviors was Structural Ability and we learned that the key was to change their space. “Information affects behavior. People make choices based on cognitive maps that explain which behavior leads to which outcomes.” We tend to react more to what we see and most folks do not dig to find more details. The mainstream media truly guides our thoughts and beliefs and many never challenge that. An Influencer will use that fact to alter the edge in their favor.

Again, there was a lot of helpful information in this book. I would admit though that it was not a ‘fun’ read. There was just a lot of data and stories work through. Also, throughout the book were small stories inserted called, “Act Like An Influencer” with a short story. They were all very interesting, but misplaced in my opinion. The reader was forced to choose between stopping his train of thought in the chapter to read the story or to come back at the end of the chapter and read them individually, which is what I ended up doing.

I think it is a worthwhile read for most people in leadership. Again, my opinion would be to read it without trying to read a second or third book at the same time. It deserves and demands your full attention.

INFORMAL FALLACIES & Why we tend to hold other people to different standards than we hold ourselves

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: The “correspondence bias” (also called the “fundamental attribution error”) means we typically think other people’s behaviors are the result of personality flaws, but when we do the same thing we attribute it to circumstances beyond our control. This results in a bias to view our shortcomings as easily explainable by circumstances, but to criticize other people’s shortcomings as a result of their personality flaws.

For instance if a person shows up late for a meeting, we tend to think, “They should’ve planned ahead better.” We might even (regrettably) say that. But when we are late for a meeting ourselves, we often attribute it to circumstances beyond our control. We might think, “The traffic was crazy tonight. I can’t believe it didn’t take longer to get here.”

The result is that we typically take a more negative view of others’ actions, than we do of our own actions in the same circumstances. Correspondingly, we have a more positive view of our actions than we do of others’ actions.

This error results from a lack of compassion and a seeing things from other people’s perspectives. It is important for Christians to recognize our fundamental propensity to attribute others’ actions to personality flaws and our shortcomings to circumstances beyond our control.

For more information read this research about the corresponded bias by Dr.s Gilbert and Malone at the University of Texas at Austin.

The Correspondence Bias

Daniel T. Gilbert and Patrick S. Malone University of Texas at Austin

Abstract:  The correspondence bias is the tendency to draw inferences about a person’s unique and enduring dispositions from behaviors that can be entirely explained by the situations in which they occur. Although this tendency is one of the most fundamental phenomena in social psychology, its causes and consequences remain poorly understood. This article sketches an intellectual history of the correspondence bias as an evolving problem in social psychology, describes 4 mechanisms (lack of awareness, unrealistic expectations, inflated categorizations, and incomplete corrections) that produce distinct forms of correspondence bias, and discusses how the consequences of correspon- dence-biased inferences may perpetuate such inferences.

Read more at …http://wjh-www.harvard.edu/~dtg/Gilbert%20&%20Malone%20(CORRESPONDENCE%20BIAS).pdf

RELIGION & Here’s What Evangelical Experts on Missions & Muslims Think of Wheaton’s ‘Same Go d’ Debate

by Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra, Christianity Today, 1/22/16.

Nearly two dozen evangelical experts on missions and Muslims have compiled their thoughts on how the answer affects Muslim missions, why it’s a bad question to begin with, and propose better questions to ask instead.

A 32-page, special edition of the Occasional Bulletin from the Evangelical Missiological Society (EMS) seeks to constructively contribute to the highly publicized dispute over whether Wheaton College should discipline professor Larycia Hawkins for stating in a Facebook post that Christians and Muslims “worship the same God.” [Arab evangelical scholars weighed in last week.]…

Robert Priest, a mission and anthropology professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) and current EMS president, has “watched with interest” the unfolding Wheaton-Hawkins debate because, for evangelicals worldwide, “what Wheaton does affects us all.”

“As I’ve observed the unfolding drama, I’ve had concerns over the way Wheaton has framed the issues, over the repercussions of this for Christian witness, and over the failure to include missiologists and missionaries as interlocutors,” wrote Priest. “That is, for most evangelicals in America, our encounter with people who are Muslim is relatively recent, relatively superficial, and all-too-often infected by American culture-war impulses.

“The one category of American evangelical that has long nurtured close relationships with people who are Muslim is missionaries and mission professors (missiologists)—many of them Wheaton graduates,” he continued. “However, these individuals, who represent the heart of evangelical gospel concern, and who represent a unique mix of professional expertise and accumulated wisdom acquired over decades of study and ministry experience, do not appear to have been adequately consulted.”

… For Priest, it was an opportunity to ask 21 missiologists and missionaries: “What are the missiological implications of affirming, or denying, that Muslims and Christians worship the same God?”

Their answers—which intentionally do not comment on the Wheaton-Hawkins situation directly—were published by EMS this month. (Most respondents are evangelicals, while one is Eastern Orthodox and one is Roman Catholic.)

In short: the answer is both simple and complicated.

“What other God is there?” asked Miriam Adeney, a world Christian studies professor at Seattle Pacific University. “In all the universe, there is only one God.”

Paul Martindale, a professor of Islamic studies and cross-cultural ministry at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, agreed. “There is only one, true, creator God. The Bible is clear there is no other God.”

However, the experts agree that there are fundamental differences in the way that Christians and Muslims understand God.

“In contrast to Buddhism and Confucianism, for example, the Abrahamic faiths affirm God’s mercy expressed through his gifts in nature, human community, and scriptural wisdom and ethics and general guidance,” wrote Adeney. “Yet such mercy is a pale shadow of the shocking mercy that propelled Jesus to earth and to the cross. That radical mercy we call grace. If indeed the incarnation and death of Jesus are essential expressions of God’s nature, then Muslim and Christian understandings of God are truly very different.”

Acknowledging those differences is key, wrote David Cashin, an intercultural and Islamic studies professor at Columbia International University. “If there are no differences, then there is nothing to be learned and nothing to convert to.”

Understanding the differences—having a solid theology—must come before missiology, wrote Fred Farrokh, an international trainer with Global Initiative: Reaching Muslim Peoples, who was raised as a Muslim. “If we conform our theology to a pre-determined missiology, then we get the paradigm backward. Error will ensue, and we actually become incapable of missionally assisting those whom we yearn to help—in this case Muslims.”

Equating the way Christianity and Islam view God opens up other questions, wrote Sarita Gallagher, a religion professor at George Fox University. “For example, if Allah is God, then is the Islamic religion from God? Did Yahweh speak to Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullāh through the angel Gabriel in the Cave of Hira in 610 C.E.? If so, does the Quran contain new revelations from God?”

Different understandings of God might be compared to different understandings of Jesus, wrote Mark Hausfeld, president of Assemblies of God Theological Seminary and professor of urban and Islamic studies.

“Is the Jesus of the Church of Latter Day Saints’ Book of Mormon and Doctrines and Covenants the same Jesus of the Bible? How about the Jesus of the Jehovah’s Witness New World Translation of the New Testament?” he wrote. “Both books spell the name of Jesus the same, but the person and work of Jesus, as He [is] known in the Bible, is heretical. The use of the word Jesus is not wrong, but the context of the word Jesus is corrupted by the error of the context and meaning that defines the Person and work of Jesus as revealed in the Bible.”

The same is true for God, he said. “The word God is not misleading in itself, but the context of the Qur‘an defines a different God in nature and character.”

Practically speaking, though, it can be easier to reach out to Muslims if there is some common ground.

“Conversion studies have shown that the greater the degree of congruence between Islam and Christianity that is perceived by the Muslim inquirer, the more likely it is that he or she will seriously consider Christianity as a viable alternative to Islam,” Martindale wrote. If differences between the two are emphasized, the barrier to conversion grows.

Read more at … http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2016/january/do-muslims-christians-worship-same-god-wheaton-hawkins-ems.html?paging=off

INNOVATION & Research shows you don’t want to be too slow to adopt it… or too quick!

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: This article from the Academy of Management points out that when innovations arise it is usually unhealthy to be too slow to adopt innovation … or too quick. Most of the “diffusion of innovationdiscussion has centered around organizations that are too slow to adopt innovation. But this research also points out that “innovators” who move too quickly also often become weak because of the lack of market support for the new idea. So the lesson is: don’t be too slow to adopt innovation… or too quick. A moderate pace of “early adoption” rather than the lauded “innovator stage” may be best.

How Established Firms Respond to Threatening Technologies
by Arnold C. Cooper and Clayton G. Smith
The Executive, Vol. 6, No. 2 (May, 1992), pp. 55-70. Published by: Academy of Management Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4165065

Abstract
Major product innovations that create new industries are considered from the perspective of established firms for whom the innovation poses a substitution threat. Based upon a study of eight young industries and twenty-seven leading “threatened firms,” common patterns of industry development are considered, as are the participation strategies of those companies that decided to enter the new field. The challenges and pitfalls that were often encountered are examined and implications are developed for firms that choose to enter threatening young industries. While there are no assured success formulas, the discussion highlights some of the problems that can be encountered and suggests possibilities for avoiding them. [image1.JPG]

Graph retrieved from http://innovateordie.com.au/2010/05/10/the-secret-to-accelerating-diffusion-of-innovation-the-16-rule-explained/

ISLAM & Engaging Your Muslim Neighbors

Commemtary by Dr. Whitesel:  I am a big fan of Seedbed.com ‘s “7-minute Seminary.”  These are short videa snippets of wisdom from my colleagues. Here is an especially poignant seven minute video with ideas about how to help meet the needs of your Muslim neighbors.

Engaging Your Muslim Neighbors by Matthew Friedman, 6/17/15

INNOVATION & These Churches Influence You More than You Realize! #LeadershipNetwork

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Two of my research colleagues, Dr.s Elmer Towns and Warren Bird have just released an interview discussing innovative churches of the 20th Century and how they have impacted how we do ministry today. Dr. Towns has been a mentor to both myself and Warren, and I think you will glean historical insights from this interview.

Watch the video interview here … https://youtu.be/xnT8nha9v74

Read more at … http://leadnet.org/these-churches-influence-you-more-than-you-realize/

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