ONLINE CHURCH & Research finds mature Christians will return to in-person worship. Yet “seekers” are more likely to attend online worship. “Growing the Post-pandemic Church” in paperback & Kindle on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Bob-Whitesel/ my #14thBook. #Post-PandemicChurchBook.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Looking into this Pew research it is clear to me that while faithful parishioners will be back in-person once the pandemic is over, it is “the seekers” who are more likely to seek online worship. Therefore in the future a healthy church that reaches out to unchurched people must have a robust online ministry. This is why I call it the eReformation.

“Will the coronavirus permanently convert in-person worshippers to online streamers? They don’t think so” by Alan Cooperman, Pew Research, 8/17/20.

… most U.S. adults overall say that when the pandemic is over, they expect to go back to attending religious services in person as often as they did before the coronavirus outbreak.How we did this

Few expect pandemic to permanently alter their religious worship routines

To be sure, a substantial share of Americans (43%) say they didn’t attend religious services in person before the pandemic struck and they don’t plan to start going to a church or other house of worship when it’s all over. But 42% of U.S. adults say they plan to resume going to religious services about as often as they did before the outbreak, while 10% say they will go more often than they used to, and just 5% anticipate going less often.

Read more at … https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/08/17/will-the-coronavirus-permanently-convert-in-person-worshippers-to-online-streamers-they-dont-think-so/

OUTREACH & A book review of Rebecca Manley Pippert’s follow-up to “Out of the Saltshaker” titled “Stay Salt.” #MustRead #ShareYourFaith

Book review by Sam Chan, Christianity Today, 6/29/20.

… Pippert, of course, is best known for her classic book on evangelism, Out of the Saltshaker and Into the World: Evangelism as a Way of Life. First published in 1979, Out of the Saltshaker was written to equip believers for evangelism in a culture that was drifting in post-Christian directions. Four decades later, those forces have only accelerated, but Pippert hasn’t lost any confidence that the gospel message can break through walls of hostility and indifference, even in the context of everyday conversations. As the subtitle of Stay Salt puts it, “The World Has Changed: Our Message Must Not.”

A Multi-Pronged Approach

There are three sections in Stay Salt. In the first, Pippert looks at what she calls the means of evangelism—in other words, you and me, the “evangelists.” None of us feels adequate when confronted with the juggernaut of hostile Western secularism. But Pippert reassures us that this is precisely how God works our circumstances. God uses us not despite but because of our smallness, weaknesses, and inadequacies. We are supposed to depend upon God for the courage and strength to evangelize.

In the second section, Pippert takes us through the message of evangelism—the gospel. Here we might roll our eyes. Don’t we already know this stuff? But Pippert got me excited about the gospel with the fresh language she uses. She skillfully presents the gospel as both a rebuttal to the accepted doctrines of secularism and a positive message our friends will want to hear.

In the final section, Pippert outlines the method of evangelism. This might seem like another occasion for eye-rolling. Surely not another formulaic technique! But Pippert instead motivates us to love our friends and to “proclaim” the message through questions and conversations rather than a pre-rehearsed monologue.

Read more at … https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/june-web-only/rebecca-manley-pippert-stay-salt-evangelism.html

ONLINE CHURCH & 4 things leaders should do immediately if a virus prevents your church from meeting.

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 3/12/19.

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Stream your services online.

Streaming is becoming more popular, but too often it is treated like an afterthought.The current pandemic means this cannot be the case anymore. Streaming can be easily accomplished via Facebook streaming, YouTube Live streaming or streaming services such as SermonCast.And you can post them as videos to video hosting sites such as Vimeo or YouTube.

But, don’t limit the streaming to just the sermon. It is also important to allow those watching to enter into worship. It is called a “worship service” because worship literally means drawing people into a “close, face-to-face connection with God.” Therefore, when streaming becomes an alternate to church services, it must not just carry the message (sermon) but also seek to foster a worship experience in which people can feel God is present and moving.Therefore, include prayer in your online services too. Your primary focus should not be to encourage people to stay home (though illness or legality may dictate they do), but to encourage people who stay home to experience God’s presence.

Don’t forget funding.

Oversized churches may have oversized budgets. And thus, when services are not convened a lack of income can impact a church significantly. Online giving tools have been a helpful option. In the nonprofit sector online giving has increased 15-20% each year. It seems logical that giving may increase when people can do it easily through texting or giving online.

Because many new tools have emerged for online giving, be sure to compare the cost (they vary widely). Also check with your denomination, since many offer an official tool for online giving. An online giving portal allows people to continue to support the church even though their presence isn’t possible.

Also explain to congregants how many of the church’s expenses continue.Salaries, some facility costs and benevolence spending are just a few of the expenses that will continue. Helping the congregation understand the nature and size of ongoing expenses will remind them why consistent giving is needed to support a faith community in its efforts to do good.

Expand congregant support through online alternatives to small groups.

Though smaller groups of 10-25 may still be permitted to meet, wise church leaders will increasingly emphasize that Sunday school classes, small groups, prayer groups, etc., can have online alternatives. This will address any hesitancy attendees may have about catching a viral infection.And online small groups allow people who self-quarantine to still receive support during this time.Just like streaming and giving, be sure to compare the many online tools that make online small groups productive and meaningful.

Many people may still resist online groups because they feel face-to-face fellowship is more effective. I once was one of those people. But, having taught classes both onsite and online for 24 years for a large university, I’ve found that online small groups can sometimes be as deep and robust as face-to-face groups. There are many reasons for this including not judging by appearance, allowing reticent people to speak up, choosing one’s words carefully rather than blurting them out, etc. Yet regardless of the reason, online fellowship reminds a congregation that a church is a community that communicates two ways, and not just an audience.

Use it as a teaching opportunity about the Great Commission.

Jesus commissioned us in Matthew 28:16-20 to “go and make disciples.”The term “make disciples” can be misleading today, because when people hear “disciples” they immediately think of a title, like “the 12 disciples.” But in the original Greek, the words “make disciples” was a verb that meant: “to make active, ongoing learners.”Donald McGavran said, “It means enroll in my (Jesus’) school…” And Fuller Seminary professor Eddie Gibbs stated, “(it) is an apprenticeship rather than an academic way of learning. It is learning by doing.”

If nurturing others to become “active, ongoing learners” is the Great Commission’s goal, then we must seriously consider online leaning environments which are increasingly being confirmed to be excellent learning platforms. By utilizing discussion forums, downloadable resources, online Bible studies and other tools you can develop more robust learning avenues for your church.

Use this as an opportunity to remind congregants that while technology changes, God’s Word does not. Recount how the printing press democratized the reading of the Word amid protests over the feared loss of hand-written Bibles. And today, there are those who prefer an ink-and-paper Bible (I am one of them) to an electronic version. But such changes in technology present opportunities for church leaders to discuss that though methods may change, “our God’s Word stands firm and forever” (Isa. 40:8, MSG).

Read the original article at …

https://www.biblicalleadership.com/blogs/4-things-leaders-should-do-immediately-if-a-virus-prevents-your-church-from-meeting/

OUTREACH & Excited to see how friends Al and Pam lead a church of 400 that weekly feeds 4,000 people. #TurnAroundChurch #Enthusiast.life

OUTREACH & This is how a church of 400 serves 2,000 hungry people each week.

By Bob Whitesel, D.Min. Ph.D, 5/23/19.

Al & Pam Goracke are pictured with Rebecca and me in front of their church yesterday. It is a Thursday afternoon and behind us you can see people lining up two hours early for the food pantry at the Hope Church.

Al and Pam lead a Wesleyan church in Blaine, Minnesota that is ministering to over 2000 hungry people each week with a congregation of only 400.

Ministering to the needs of the community is how many churches today are finding they can best reach out and begin sharing the good news with people in a increasingly skeptical environment. “When these people go to the hospital they consider me their pastor. They ask me to visit,” said Al Goracke. “They attend our Thursday food pantry, and though they may not attend our worship services, they consider us their church family. It’s our way of beginning a relationship with them.”

“A lot of churches don’t like to have a food pantry, because so many people coming through their building tears up the carpeting. So we ripped up the carpeting,” said Al.

“And here we are a church that runs almost 400 in attendance, but we’re meeting the needs of thousands of lives each week.”

“But people often ask me, ‘Where do you get the volunteers to run it?’ At first we asked our congregants to do it. And they did. But over the years the people in the community who have been served by this come to appreciate it so much, that many volunteer. And they come to consider our church family, their family.”

Al is one of my students and a friend. To learn more about how they are building bridges to people in need, check out their website at https://everybodyneedshope.org/

And, if your church would like to launch such a ministry, Al can explain how even a small church can begin a ministry that will touch thousands of lives every week.

ONE WAY & “Truth by definition is exclusive. If truth were all-inclusive, nothing would be false.” -Walter Martin

Read more here … https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/may/one-path-evangelism-scandalizing-exclusivity-of-jesus.html

ONE WAY & The Scandalizing Exclusivity of Jesus #ChristianityToday

by John C. Richards, 5/12/17.

In today’s culture, claims of exclusivity are met with the resistance of a tired toddler pushing back a plate of broccoli. This is especially true of religious claims. Religious pluralism is more palatable for Western society and this worldview rules the day.

Pluralism posits that there is more than one valid religion and that no single religion has a monopoly on truth. It asserts that there are many paths up the same mountain. Ultimately, so the claim goes, we’ll all meet at the top in our respective spiritual journeys.

When it comes to religion, the word exclusive is synonymous with bigot. Even worse, Christians who communicate the exclusivity of their faith are castigated and dismissed.

When a religion claims to have the market cornered on divine inspiration, its disconcerting. Our culture is more comfortable with the blind men and the elephant analogy—where each religion represents a blind man touching a different part of an elephant, never having the whole picture. This analogy positions those who take the pluralist position as having the full view of the “elephant.” Ironically, this position leads to its own truth claims. In fact, the pluralism perspective finds itself steeped in the same intolerance and exclusivity that it despises and rejects. We know the truth…and it is found in a little bit of every religion. Embrace it. Live it.

Sharing the Exclusive Jesus

Anyone who thinks differently is closed-minded. And Christianity finds itself in the dead center of religious critics’ bullseyes. Why so much antagonism toward the Christian faith? It may stem from the words of Christ. Perhaps the nine most disorientating words in Scripture are found in Jesus’ words in John’s Gospel: “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Jesus makes a no-doubt statement about His position and role in God’s redemptive story. “I’m the only shot you’ve got,” he is essentially saying. We like choices, but when it comes to our redemption, Jesus doesn’t give us any. The gospel is an exclusive message in an inclusive world. And we’re called to share that exclusive Jesus with others. Truth and exclusivity are not mutually exclusive. As Walter Martin notes in his seminal work The Kingdom of Cults, “Truth by definition is exclusive. If truth were all-inclusive, nothing would be false.”

How might Christians best communicate this exclusivity in our religiously pluralistic context?

First, we must embrace the scandal of the gospel. The gospel is scandalous. There’s no getting around it. In fact, Paul talks about this scandal in his letter to the Corinthian church. He uses the Greek word that we derive the English word scandal from in writing to the Corinthian church. He writes, “We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block [Greek scandalize] to Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles” (1 Corinthians 1:23).

Every Christian must embrace this truth to effectively witness to others. The gospel will offend. There’s no need to apologize about that or deviate from sharing the gospel in its entirety.

Because of the scandalous nature of the gospel, some of our faith conversations with others won’t go so well. And that’s okay. Or role in the process is the plant and water gospel seeds, trusting God with the results (see 1 Corinthians 3:6).

Second, we must serve the gospel on a full platter. Truth is always best served with a side of grace. Our culture grants exclusivity where it sees value. Apologetics—a systematic defense of one’s faith—isn’t about winning an argument; it’s about winning hearts. If that’s the case, then asserting Jesus’ exclusivity might begin at the head, but it should always end at the heart. Our goal should always be to look for winsome ways to share the scandalizing truth of the gospel with a broken and hurting world.

Start with listening. The old axiom is true. There’s a reason we have two ears and one mouth. Listen carefully to people’s reasons for rejecting the Christian faith. Listen attentively—without formulating your response in your head as they speak. Only then will you respond with the grace necessary to share the gospel effectively.

The Beauty of Jesus’ Exclusivity

Ultimately, our role in sharing the gospel is showing the beauty of Jesus’ exclusivity…

Read more at … https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/may/one-path-evangelism-scandalizing-exclusivity-of-jesus.html

ONE WAY & Robert Jeffress on the Exclusivity of Jesus

by Matthew Haag, New York Times, 4/18/18.

Mr. Jeffress, who leads one of the largest Southern Baptist churches in the country, suggested in a 2010 interview with the Trinity Broadcasting Network that some churches might shy away from saying “anything that’s going to offend people” to try to grow their congregations. He made it clear he was going to preach what he believes the Bible says.

He added: “Judaism — you can’t be saved being a Jew. You know who said that, by the way? The three greatest Jews in the New Testament: Peter, Paul and Jesus Christ. They all said Judaism won’t do it. It’s faith in Jesus Christ.”

In the past decade, Mr. Jeffress has assumed a prominent role in conservative politics, appearing frequently on Fox News and urging in sermons and on television to elect a Christian as president. Non-Christian religions are sending their followers to hell, he preached in a September 2008 sermon.

“Not only do religions like Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism — not only do they lead people away from the true God, they lead people to an eternity of separation from God in hell,” Mr. Jeffress said. “Hell is going to be filled with good religious people who have rejected the truth of Christ.”

Read more at … https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/14/world/middleeast/robert-jeffress-embassy-jerusalem-us.html?module=inline

ONLINE CHURCH & 9 takeaways from recent research

by Thom Rainer, ThomRainer.com, 3/11/19.

Research is from Vanderbloemen, Pushpay, and Jay Kranda. All of the 176 churches participating in the study have an online church, so we are hearing from those who are presently very active in this ministry

Some of the key findings of this study? Here are nine insights:

  1. The plurality of churches have a volunteer lead the online ministry. This ministry is led by a volunteer in about four of ten churches. Another 35 percent give the leadership to a full-time staff person who has other responsibilities.
  2. The dominant broadcast method is live streaming. Among these churches, nine of ten congregations broadcast through live streaming. But over half also have the full service on demand.
  3. The opportunity to reach local community members is significant.Over four of ten of those attending online are people within a reasonable driving distance of the church. Most of the churches view the online community as a first step to move them toward the in-person gathering.
  4. Most of these churches do count online attendance. Of the churches surveyed, 72 percent report online attendance, but keep it separate from in-person attendance. Fewer than 10 percent include online attendance as part of the overall total weekly attendance.
  5. There is little consistency on how churches count online attendance.The most frequent response, but only by 26 percent of the churches, is “concurrent streamers at a given time.”
  6. There is anecdotal evidence that indicates the online church is actually a growth source for the in-person church. Some of the church leaders see the online church as part of a process that may progress from social media to online church to community groups to in-person worship services.
  7. Over half of the churches are considering using the online church to launch future churches and sites.Already, 17 percent of the churches are embracing this strategy. In total, over 60 percent are considering this strategy, or they are already doing it.
  8. More older churches are using an online church strategy than younger churches. For example, churches over 50 years old accounted for nearly 30 percent of the total, while churches under five years old accounted for less than 15 percent of the total.
  9. Five ministries are offered online by a majority of the churches. They are: prayer (81%); giving opportunities (72%); pastoral care (58%); serving opportunities (54%); and online groups (52%).

I am thankful to Vanderbloemen, Pushpay, and Jay Kranda for providing this information. You can get the full study here.

Read more here … https://thomrainer.com/2019/03/new-research-and-insights-on-the-online-church/

OUTLOOK & How to Move Beyond a Victim Mindset

by Terina Allen, Forbes Magazine, 10/1/18.

… A victim mindset is formed over time and determined by the aggregate of what we regularly think, how we speak, where we focus our attention and the language we choose to use. Avoid allowing your mind to obsess over all the wrong that may have been done to you and channel that energy into more effectively overcoming obstacles and removing barriers.

Just as you can find many people who have had it better than you, if you look objectively, you will also find many people who have had it worse than you. While your feelings and thinking about the wrongdoing may be valid, dwelling on it too much will surely prevent you from realizing your potential. You can spend so much time lamenting the horrible things in your past that it prevents you from taking the steps you need to create a better future and advance your career.

Before you advance your life and career, you will need to change your mindset. Here are some things that can help you do that.

    Surround yourself with uplifting and supportive people who will offer a listening ear. Turn to these friends from time to time for your pity party (we all need these sometime) but then allow them to nudge you through it so you don’t get stuck.
    Intentionally choose to use more positive and forward-thinking language in your communications.
    Adopt a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset. Those with a growth mindset tend to better prepare for and respond to change. They also tend to be better equipped to overcome challenges and persevere through them.
    Read inspirational material and resist the temptation to wallow in regret. Regret can cause you to inadvertently become trapped in a cycle of negative thinking and speaking that holds you back.
    Utilize any employment assistance programs or services your organization may offer, or reach out for professional advice and counseling as necessary – especially if you just can’t move beyond the negative thinking or forces in your life.

Read more at … https://www.forbes.com/sites/terinaallen/2018/10/01/4-unmistakable-signs-you-have-a-victim-mindset-and-how-you-can-move-beyond-it/#64663fe3e0f0

OUTREACH & 3 ways to engage the “spiritual,” but not “religious” millennial

by Chris Martin, Facts & Trends, LifeWay, 1/25/16.

The latest U.S. religious landscape study published by Pew confirms much of what has been reported about millennials in recent years. But the study also sheds new light on this “spiritual, but not religious” generation and can help churches understand how to reach them.

According to the study, millennials have not completely abandoned spiritual beliefs or practices. Millennials maintain a sense of spiritual peace and interest in the universe beyond what is simply seen on earth.

One of the most interesting data points regarding millennials from this latest Pew survey is the large portion of who feel a sense of spiritual peace and well being, while being less affiliated with religion than any other generation. Most young adults also feel a sense of wonder about the universe.

This should lead pastors and church leaders to ask, “How does this affect how I reach out to unbelieving millennials in my community?” Here are three things to keep in mind when attempting to engage young adults.

1. Engage the sense of wonder.

… As Christians, we can engage the wonder of millennials and point to the source of that phenomenon: the Creator God of the Bible. Use this wonderment and point people to the starting point and the upholder of it all.

2. Probe for the source of “spiritual peace.”

Why do such a large portion of people who claim no certainty in the existence of God say they are at peace spiritually? Perhaps they are at peace because they do not think God exists. Regardless, one of the ways churches can engage with unbelieving millennials in their community is by recognizing these young people are likely content with where they stand spiritually.

Christians should talk with them, ask questions, and identify the source of this “spiritual peace,” then figure out in what ways it may fall short in comparison to the gospel.

3. Provide a better way.

Finally, when we engage the sense of wonderment and spiritual peace among millennials, we must work to provide a better way—the only Way, the gospel of Jesus.

The research shows these young people are not hard-and-fast naturalists who only believe in what they can see in front of their face. They ponder the spiritual. They wonder about the universe. Engage these feelings and point them to their ultimate fulfillment…

Read more at … https://factsandtrends.net/2016/01/25/3-ways-to-engage-the-spiritual-but-not-religious-millennial/

OUTREACH & Need-meeting: A poignant fable by a Millennial

“I’m not particularly attracted to a religion where someone approaches me in the parking lot of a grocery store with a tract in hand, telling me I’m going to hell, without ever once considering the possibility that I might need help carrying my groceries.”

Commentary by Professor B: This was a short fable shared with me by a former student. It illustrates succinctly why we should utilize a need-based approach to outreach. Larry wrote:

Prof. Whitesel, I’m doing a response for Bible as Christian Scripture and recalled a quote from a friend of my son’s some years that reminded me of your book, Cure for the Common Church, and in particular, your prescription for growing O.U.T.

The response touched on how we want to world to see us, as a source of judgement or a source of the Good News. The quote I recalled from my son’s friend: “I’m not particularly attracted to a religion where someone approaches me in the parking lot of a grocery store with a tract in hand, telling me I’m going to hell, without ever once considering the possibility that I might need help carrying my groceries.”

Thought you might enjoy that. Larry

OUT-GROUP MEMBERS & My Video Introduction to Strategies That Reach Them (part 2)

This is another video introduction I have recorded for my colleagues, students and clients regarding how to reach out to people who feel like they are not part of a group.  Called “out-group members” these are often people in our churches and on our boards that are estranged from the group.  Thus, they see themselves as “outside” of the group and not fully accepted by most members of the group. The responsible and effective leader will reach out to these individuals, rather than exclude them.  For an introduction to strategies that will help you connect with out-group members, watch this video. (This video will be especially helpful mini-lecture if you are a student in one of my courses.)

©️Bob Whitesel 2017, used by permission only.

For more on out-group members, see this additional video I recorded: https://churchhealthwiki.wordpress.com/2017/11/03/committee-leadership-my-introduction-to-leading-out-group-members/

keywords: LEAD 600 out group out-group video intro introduction

OIKOS EVANGELISM & Examples, resources and a definition @CharlesArn

Commentary by Prof. B: Oikos evangelism is loosely defined as how the Good News (Gr. εὐαγγέλιον or euaggelion) often passes through households (Gr. οἶκος or oikos).  An advocate of this approach is Dr. Charles Arn Ed. D. of WesleySeminary.com

Below are resources from Dr. Arn (10/22/16):

A church practicing oikos evangelism: http://highdesertchurch.com

A pastor practicing oikos evangelism: http://highdesertchurch.com/about-hdc/staff/member/1325302/

Training for oikos evangelism: http://highdesertchurch.com/resources/oikos-workshop/

Book on  oikos evangelism: https://www.amazon.com/World-Smaller-Than-You-Think/dp/0984036407/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477161113&sr=8-1&keywords=tom+mercer+oikos

Article on oikos evangelism: http://www.sermoncentral.com/Articles/Article_PrintFriendly.asp?ArticleID=728

(personal email to the curator from Charles Arn, 10/22/16)

 

ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR & A video intro to LEAD 600 assignment on leading a complex org.

Commentary by Prof. B: For 15+ years of online teaching my goal has been to make these online courses personable and engaging. Toward that end, I often record video introductions to the weekly homework, which students tell me they appreciate.  Here is a 10-min. introduction to the LEAD 600 week on “Organizational Behavior.”

©️Bob Whitesel 2017, used by permission only.

OUTREACH & The 4 Basic Tools (to Cure Church Apathy)

by Bob Whitesel DMin, PhD, January 17, 2017. A colleague asked for a simple process to help a new church reach out.  Here it is:

4 Simple “cures” for church apathy which will help a church reach out:

Cure 1: find a need (among non churchgoers) and fill it.

Cure 2: disciple in interpersonal small groups, rather than the anonymity of large venues.

Cure 3:  your goal should be “making learners” (i.e. disciples or as McGavran said, “enroll in Jesus’ school”).

Cure 4: make conversion the apex of the process.

You can tell I use these simple four aspects with church planting (and growing church) clients.

OUTREACH & “School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it!”

Colossians‬ ‭2:7‬ ‭MSG‬‬, Paul admonishes:

“School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.” ‭

Read more at … http://bible.com/97/col.2.6-7.msg

ORGANIX & An Executive Summary of the Signs of Leadership In a Changing Church

by Jeff Lawson, Life Church, 5/12/16.

A few years ago my church sent me to Dallas, Texas to attend a Catalyst Church Conference. I remember thinking at the beginning of the week that I felt more like I was at a Spring Break party in Florida than I did at a church conference. Folks were texting all through the events. Beach Balls were bouncing around the room. Lots of interaction, even while the speakers were on the stage. I felt it was so sacrilegious.

By the end of the week my feelings had changed. I saw that these young people were worshiping Jesus in ways that were more comfortable for them. It was without a doubt genuine and I remember feeling that I wish I could understand more what I was experiencing.

I wish I had been able to read Dr Bob Whitesel’s book, Organix: Signs of Leadership in a Changing Church (Abingdon Press) prior to attending the event. If I had read this work, I am certain that my experience would have been much more complete.

In my opinion, Organix paints a picture for the Modern Leader to better understand tomorrow’s Millennial Leader. I would highly recommend this book to be read by all pastors and then re-read together with their leadership team.

By using an acronym with the word Organic, Whitesel teaches the reader the difference between the modern leader and the millennial leader. Early on Whitesel explains his use of the ‘x’ in Organic instead of a ‘c’. He says, “There is a millennial propensity to alter the spelling of words to create distinction with like-sounding letters.” Whitesel intrinsically breaks down the differences in a very astute way each chapter. He also begins each chapter with a brief true to life story that helps the reader dig into the important differences (which was extremely helpful for me).

O stands for ‘Others’. Whitesel says, “Among tomorrow’s leaders there is a passion not for themselves or their own accomplishments but for helping those most in need.” This spoke loudly to me. My generation is quick to write a check to make a problem go away. Tomorrow’s leaders are more ready to roll up their sleeves to help to solve the problem long term. Whitesel says, “A key to knowing the needs of others is to experience life with them.”

R stands for the Rx in ‘Prescription’. Whitesel says, “An R with a slash through the right leg is a Latin abbreviation for ‘recipe,’ which has come to indicate a recipe or prescription for health.” This is a bit of a twist on the idea that healthy organizations produce healthy people to the idea that when you have healthy people, you will find a healthy organization. The shuffling of words is subtle, yet true. The first idea is true sometimes, but more times than not, the second option is more reliable. This chapter talks about small groups. Whitesel introduces the idea of MissionalNets which are a gathering of two to five small groups that can produce quicker and easier results when one small group tries to tackle a mission alone. It also encourages fellowship among the different small groups in a church.

G stands for ‘Graffiti’. Whitesel says, “While modern leadership often disciplines itself to keep colors and lines in their place, millennial leaders create a leadership collage of colors, symbols, and statements.” He opens the chapter early by a profound statement that I have found true, “Millennial leadership is not for the fainthearted or the small-minded.” I laughed out loud at the statement with my previous experience with the Catalyst Conference mentioned earlier. It doesn’t always make sense, but we must ask ourselves, does it always have to make sense? After all, God says, “Your thoughts and ways are not like my thoughts and ways.” We must get over ourselves and embrace the idea that we don’t always have to be in control of everything we experience.

A stands for ‘Recycle’ with their triangle symbol. This in my opinion was the most creative and thought provoking chapter. Whitesel helps the reader to see that we are not only to be concerned with recycling precious natural resources, we must also be mindful of people and that they are just as precious as a resource. Many people have been cast away as useless because of a past mistake, but with a quick glimpse of the Bible we can see that God regularly used murders, prostitutes, thieves, and adulterers, to name a few. This does not mean that we are to gloss over sin, but it does not show that sin means that you must be doomed to everlasting ministry purgatory.

N stands for ‘Networks’. With the popularity and growing use for the internet, networks are growing by the thousands. In my own life, I have dozens of people who are close friends who I have never met face-to-face, but because of our work together online, we have daily contact and interaction. 30 years ago prayer requests could take up to a week to go from the mission’sfield to the local church, now it happens instantly.

I stands for ‘Incarnate’. Whitesel describes it this way, “Incarnation describes how God sent His Son, Jesus to earth in the flesh and in person in lieu of sending a surrogate or just speaking through a prophet as He had done in Old Testament times.” This chapter shows the idea of tomorrow’s leaders as not depending on someone else to send, to teach, or to minister, but to take matters into your own hands and jump in and be involved. There is much power in being present and able to witness face-to-face.

X stands for ‘Measure’. Whitesel says that the ‘X’ is the Jerusalem cross and “Represents four types of measurement observed in Jerusalem which at their core point to Christ’s work on the cross.” This chapter helps the reader to better understand how tomorrow’s leaders measure spiritual growth and its relationship to effective leadership. It is not close to accurate to measure a church’s health by empty chairs on Sunday morning. There are so many other factors involved.

Organix: Signs of Leadership in a Changing Church answers so many questions. It is a book that I will refer to again and again. I am very thankful for the insight that I gained from reading it.

ONLINE & Criteria, Strategies and Research Issues of Context-Aware Ubiquitous Learning

by Hwang, G.-J., Tsai, C.-C., & Yang, S. J. H. (2008). Criteria, Strategies and Research Issues of Context-Aware Ubiquitous Learning. Educational Technology & Society, 11 (2), 81-91.

ABSTRACT: Recent progress in wireless and sensor technologies has lead to a new development of learning environments, called context-aware ubiquitous learning environment, which is able to sense the situation of learners and provide adaptive supports. Many researchers have been investigating the development of such new learning environments; nevertheless, the criteria of establishing a context-aware ubiquitous learning environment have not yet been clearly defined, not to mention the strategies of conducting effective learning activities. To resolve these problems, this paper presents the basic criteria, strategies, and research issues of context-aware ubiquitous learning, and identifies the necessary check items as well for the development of such learning environment. Illustrative examples of conducting context-aware ubiquitous learning activities and the requirements of setting up such learning environment are also presented at the end of this paper.

1. Introduction

In past decade, the rapid advance of broadband and wireless Internet technologies has promoted the utilization of wireless applications in our daily lives. A variety of invisible embedded devices and corresponding software components have also been developed and connected to the Internet. Ubiquitous computing is referred to a new technology which enables people to seamlessly utilize huge amounts and various kinds of “functional objects” anytime and anywhere through network connections (Rodríguez & Favela, 2003; Minami et al., 2004). Another feature of ubiquitous computing is the use of wireless communication objects embedded with sensors to detect users and environment information for the provision of personalized services (e.g., RFID, Radio-Frequency Identification).

In recent years, e-learning researchers noticed that the progress of wireless communication and sensor technologies have evolved the research issues of e-learning to mobile learning (m-learning), and now is evolving from m-learning to ubiquitous learning (u-learning). Several significant characteristics of u-learning, which make it different from conventional e-learning, have been discussed, including seamless services, context-aware services, and adaptive services (Bomsdorf, 2005; Hwang, 2006; Yang et al., 2006; Yang et al., 2007). In an ideal u-learning environment, computing, communication, and sensor devices are embedded and integrated into learners’ daily life to make learning immersive. Based on this concept, Yang (2006) proposed a learning environment facilitated with context aware peer to peer search to empower learning resource finding and sharing. Nevertheless, as learning environments change so quickly, u-learning has not yet been clearly defined, not to mention the strategies for conducting learning activities in such an environment. To cope with these problems, we attempt to propose the criteria for establishing a u-learning environment in this paper; moreover, the characteristics of m-learning and u-learning are compared in order to more clearly identify the features and potentials of u-learning.

2. Characteristics of a Ubiquitous Computing Environment

To develop context-aware and seamlessly integrated Internet environments, a variety of new techniques and products concerning ubiquitous computing have been developed in recent years, such as sensors and actuators, RFID tags and cards, wireless communication, mobile phones, PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) and wearable computers.

From the system designer’s point of view, physical integration and spontaneous interoperation are the two main characteristics of ubiquitous computing systems (Kindberg & Fox, 2002). Physical integration means that a ubiquitous computing system involves some integration between computing nodes and the physical world. For example, … The room contains digital furniture such as chairs with sensors, whiteboards that record what is written on them, and projectors that can be activated from anywhere in the room, using a PDA.

In the meantime, a ubiquitous system must spontaneously interoperate in changing environments. A component interoperates spontaneously if it interacts with a set of communicating components that can change both identity and functionality over time as its circumstances change (Kindberg & Fox, 2002). A spontaneously interacting component changes partners during its normal operation, as it moves or as other components enter its environment; it changes partners without needing new software or parameters (Feeney et al., 2001). For example, to seamlessly hold a video conference, the system needs to immediately locate the nearest functional objects, such as a CCD camera and display equipment, for each attendee. If the attendee moves toward another room, the system will change devices according to the user’s context, so that the video conference can be seamlessly continued. If the attendee switches his or her device from a notebook with a 100 Mbps local area network to a PDA with a lower-speed wireless network, the system will locate additional translation coders or drivers accordingly.

From the user’s point of view, in a ubiquitous computing environment, anyone can make use of computers that are embedded everywhere in a public environment, at any time. A user equipped with a mobile device can connect to any of them, and access the network by using wireless communication technologies (Uemukai et al., 2004). Moreover, not only can a user access the network actively, but computers around the user can recognize the user’s behavior and offer various services according to the user’s situation, the mobile terminal’s facility, the network bandwidth, and so on (Cheng & Marsic, 2002). User assistance via ubiquitous computing technologies is realized by providing users with proper decisions or decision alternatives. That is, a ubiquitous computing technology-equipped system supplies users with timely information and relevant services by automatically sensing users’ various context data, and smartly generating proper results (Kwon et al., 2005). Therefore, by employing this new technology in education, the learning system is not only adapted to the individual’s needs, but is also actively involved in his or her learning activity…

Read more about uLearning here: Hwang, G.-J., Tsai, C.-C., & Yang, S. J. H. (2008). Criteria, Strategies and Research Issues of Context-Aware Ubiquitous Learning. Educational Technology & Society, 11 (2), 81-91.

ONLINE & The death of “online” learning in higher ed?

by Craig Weidemann and Karen Pollack , University Business, March 2016.

… by 2025, the phrase “online learning” could disappear from the common vernacular. How could such a good thing die so young? Two words: ubiquity and integration
In the 15 or so years that online learning has been with us, numerous studies have found that learning outcomes in an online environment are the same, if not better, than classroom-based learning outcomes. The question is no longer how online education compares to face-to-face learning, but rather whether the pedagogy enables the student to achieve the intended learning outcomes. The delivery mode is irrelevant…

We have moved from classroom-based learning to electronic learning (eLearning) to mobile learning (mLearning) to ubiquitous learning (uLearning).

Fully immersive learning

What does ubiquitous learning mean to a research-based institution, as we strive to support a vibrant student learning community?

Ten years from now, we will be wearing our devices and experiencing the world around us through a variety of other technologies. We will be talking simply about learning—an immersive experience that is not necessarily live and not necessarily tethered to a physical classroom space. It may not be a wholly online environment, either. The label “online” will fade from existence.

What are the implications of these ubiquitous, integrated learning experiences?..

Diverse and mobile faculty

In the United States, public and private four-year nonprofit institutions showed the largest growth in the number of students taking at least one distance education course, with a 7.2 percent and a 12.7 percent increase, respectively, since 2012-13.

Penn State World Campus is attracting growing numbers of traditional-age students, reflecting a national trend. Although 18- to 24-year-olds are not our target audience, their numbers have increased by 60 percent since 2012-13.

That’s a small percentage of our student body, but one that is clearly growing. Online education is becoming a routine part of the undergraduate college experience.

We might anticipate that by the year 2025 our faculty will look different, too. A tech tool that may be foreign today will be second nature to the faculty of tomorrow. Our faculty, just like our student body, will be increasingly mobile and diverse.

Craig Weidemann is vice president for outreach and vice provost for online learning at Penn State University and Karen Pollack is assistant vice provost for online undergraduate and blended programs.

Read more about uLearning here: Hwang, G.-J., Tsai, C.-C., & Yang, S. J. H. (2008). Criteria, Strategies and Research Issues of Context-Aware Ubiquitous Learning. Educational Technology & Society, 11 (2), 81-91.