#SundayMorningHacks – Worship leaders should minimize their talking before or between songs. These interjections often become mini-sermons & detract from the primary preaching of the Word.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel:  I love the passion, wisdom and commitment of our worship leaders. But, in analyzing worship services as well as polling congregants, I have found that speaking between worship songs can have three unintended consequences.

  1. It can interrupt the flow between the songs.
  2. These mini-sermons often head in a different direction that the eventual sermon.
  3. The mini-sermons can make listeners weary of listening to a speaker before the sermon begins.

STRATEGY & Setting priorities is not the same as setting strategy via #HarvardBusinessReview

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel. Church leaders have improved greatly in establishing Biblical values and mission statements. But strategy, real strategy which is actionable plans, is less clear to most congregants. http://www.LEADERSHIP.church has for 30+ years been helping churches create doable and successful plans for church health and growth. And, this includes bottom-up input from frontline leaders. Read this Harvard Business Review article to learn why.

Many Strategies Fail Because They’re Not Actually Strategies

One major reason for the lack of action is that “new strategies” are often not strategies at all. A real strategy involves a clear set of choices that define what the firm is going to do and what it’s not going to do. Many strategies fail to get implemented, despite the ample efforts of hard-working people, because they do not represent a set of clear choices.

Many so-called strategies are in fact goals…

Others may represent a couple of the firm’s priorities and choices, but they do not form a coherent strategy when considered in conjunction. …

It’s not just a top-down process. Another reason many implementation efforts fail is that executives see it as a pure top-down, two-step process: “The strategy is made; now we implement it.” That’s unlikely to work. A successful strategy execution process is seldom a one-way trickle-down cascade of decisions…

Stanford professor Robert Burgelman said, “Successful firms are characterized by maintaining bottom-up internal experimentation and selection processes while simultaneously maintaining top-driven strategic intent.” This is quite a mouthful, but what Burgelman meant is that you indeed need a clear, top-down strategic direction (such as Hornby’s set of choices). But this will only be effective if, at the same time, you enable your employees to create bottom-up initiatives that fall within the boundaries set by that strategic intent.

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2017/11/many-strategies-fail-because-theyre-not-actually-strategies?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=hbr

#SundayMorningHacks – Continue to improve online worship after onsite worship returns. Some people may never be able to join you onsite (or choose not to).

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 5/2020.

We are entering “age of the eReformation,” an electronic re-formation of the way the Church shares the Good News.

Yet I have noticed that some churches regard online worship as a “stop-gap” measure required by a pandemic that prevents face-to-face encounter.  But, as I noted in a recent article titled, St. Paul’s guide to leading remotely, Paul faced similar challenges of guiding and discipling the far-flung churches he led.

So, use this time of forced online worship as an opportunity to begin to offer both onsite and online worship that is anointed, powerful and life-changing.

Read the entire article by clicking on this title below:

Screen Shot 2020-05-31 at 11.29.04 AM

For more ideas see another article I wrote for Biblical Leadership Magazine

eReformation: Leading post-pandemic church growth – 10 things to start doing now

#SundayChurchHacks – Record your live service & starting streaming it early Sunday morning. Don’t make online attendees wait around until it is convenient for you.

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 5/2020.

Today we are entering the “age of the eReformation,” an electronic re-formation of the way the Church shares the Good News.

But many churches wait to live-stream their worship at the customary Sunday hour (10:30 or 11 AM).  This requires online attendees to wait around until you are ready to start.

But is holding it “live” with an audience always necessary? Aren’t you hoping that people who watch it later in the week will experience the same worship encounter and connection with the Holy Spirit as you did when you recorded it?

So, why not record and post your worship service early on Sunday morning (or even Saturday night) so more people can experience it when it is convenient for them?  More people may watch it this way.

The eReformation coming upon the Church means the Good News can be more accessible through electronic means, just as it did in 1500s when the printing press allowed people to read the Word any day of the week.

For more ideas see the article I wrote for Biblical Leadership Magazine

eReformation: Leading post-pandemic church growth – 10 things to start doing now

#SundayChurchHacks – Make streaming your worship easy by featuring the access link prominently on your webpage.

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 5/2020.

Because we are entering the “age of the eReformation,” an electronic re-formation of the way the Church shares the Good News, access to your online worship should be easy and central.

Unfortunately, many churches still require several clicks or links to access their online worship streaming. In addition, churches often put the streaming link lower down on the page, rather than centrally located.

Because people are coming to your website because they are Internet savvy, put the link to streaming your Sunday service at the top and in a prominent place on your webpage.

Make access to your online worship service as easy as attending a live worship service.

For more ideas see the article I wrote for Biblical Leadership Magazine

eReformation: Leading post-pandemic church growth – 10 things to start doing now


Landing Page Example A (better) …

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Landing Page Example B (best):Screen Shot 2020-05-31 at 10.42.45 AM

SMALLER GROUPS & 4 Attitudes to Cultivate in a Small Group by @BobWhitesel published by @BiblicalLeader Magazine.

By Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., Biblical Leadership Magazine, 09/12/18.

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Keep these in mind when leading a small group to promote trust and maturity.

1. Trust and candidness 

Patrick Lencioni, a well-known author on business management and leadership, was right. Before any team can thrive, it must at its core be bound together by trust. He defines trust in a specific way, saying, “Trust is the confidence among team members that their peers’ intentions are good, and that there is no reason to be protective or careful around the group.” In other words, Heart Attitude #1 means I trust that I can be vulnerable, open and exposed with the group regarding my fears, hopes and failures.

Regrettably, such vulnerability and trust do not characterize all groups, such as groups that are focused on tasks or administration. But, what if it did? What if most of a church’s small groups could transition into heart-to-heart groups. What if administrative boards, such as trustees who meet together regularly and iron out difficult problems, could begin to develop a trust where “there is no reason to be protective or careful around the group?”

2. Accountability to one another and the mission 

Another important component that Lencioni emphasizes is “the willingness of team members to call their peers on performance or behaviors that might hurt the team.”

However, the Christian has another accountability that is even greater than team accountability. The Christian is held accountable by God for their participation in the mission of God (the missio Dei), i.e., to participate in the loving heavenly Father’s quest to reconnect with His wayward offspring. Therefore, this attitude stresses an accountability not only to one another, but also for increasing our accountability to God’s mission of reconciling humanity to himself.

3. Discussion with conflict resolution

While chitchat is unbridled in many small group settings, it has been my observation that conflict resolution is not. Lencioni bemoans that most people avoid conflict, and “the higher you go up the management chain, the more you find people spending inordinate amounts of time and energy trying to avoid the passionate debates that are essential to any great team.”

He has also observed that healthy small groups encourage open and freewheel discussion with give-and-take, disagreement without disparagement and challenge with compromise.

Scripture, along with John Wesley, reminds us that such interpersonal conflict is part of life:

Proverbs 27:17 observes, “You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another” (MSG).

And, John Wesley said about this passage that a non-churchgoer can be sharpened by “the company or conversion of a friend.”

Scriptures also remind us that unresolved conflict among Christians is not healthy, nor God’s intent. Paul writes in Ephesians 4:2-3, “Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together.”

And the psalmist portrays unity with wonderful poetic imagery:

“How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down head and beard, Flowing down Aaron’s beard, flowing down the collar of his priestly robes. It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon flowing down the slopes of Zion. Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life” (Psalm 133:1-3 MSG).

Amid such depictions and exhortations, unity in the church is still not common and will require the ability to openly discuss and resolve conflict.

4.  Results

If heart-to-heart groups don’t have clearly defined results or outcomes, then the group may drift aimlessly until it degenerates into self-seeking and cliquishness. Lencioni calls this the “ultimate dysfunction of a team.” The reader will be all too familiar with church groups that have deteriorated into self-serving rumor mills and self-preservation societies that are unwelcoming to outsiders. The key to heart-healthy small groups is to define the specific objectives of each group and then to measure it until it has attained them.

Thus, the final key to helping groups transition into heart-to-heart groups is to ensure that each and every group creates specific objectives and then at least yearly checks to see if they attained them.

Excerpted from The Healthy Church: Practical Ways to Strengthen a Church’s Heartby Bob Whitesel (Wesleyan Publishing 2013)

Photo source: istock

Read the original article here … https://www.biblicalleadership.com/blogs/4-attitudes-to-cultivate-in-a-small-group/

 

STAFF & How Respecting Others’ Time Results In Better Performance For Everyone #ForbesMagazine

by John Hall, Forbes Magazine, 3/8/20.

Entrepreneurs are said to have egos. That’s a fair assessment — I don’t know a single founder who doesn’t have a need to be seen, to leave a mark on the world. But the entrepreneurs I know need something far more important than that: respect. They want people to understand how valuable their time is. The problem is that many of them fail to extend that same respect when it comes to their team members’ time.

As noted in a previous Forbes article, respect is the third most important thing employees look for when seeking a new job. While that may not be top of mind for you, it certainly is for others. Eighty percent of employees surveyed in a study cited in the Memphis Business Journal said that “lack of respect is a serious problem in the workplace” — and that it was getting worse. Another study found that 63% of those who don’t feel respected intend to leave their present job within two years.

You may think you don’t “waste” anyone’s time. Intentional or not, here are some common ways we’ve all done it:

  • Scheduling unnecessary or last-minute meetings
  • Going over the allotted time for a meeting 
  • Tardiness, such as arriving late or missing deadlines
  • Not respecting boundaries, such as calling a colleague at 11 p.m. or emailing at 6 a.m. on a Saturday 
  • Interrupting people when they’re speaking or clearly focused on their work — cues like wearing headphones or closing their office door signify interruptions aren’t welcome
  • Assigning or delegating a task to someone at the last second or when he’s already working at full capacity
  • Filling a person’s inbox with messages that have no real value
  • Not responding to important messages or keeping people updated on your progress
  • Breaking promises, such as having a reputation for canceling meetings at the last minute
  • Being unprepared, like arriving at a meeting without having reviewed the agenda

Not only are these actions disrespectful, but they’re also impacting others’ performance. 

Read more at … https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnhall/2020/03/08/how-respecting-others-time-results-in-better-performance-for-everyone/#b94d40e252f6

SACRIFICE & How a Lowly Monk Ended Rome’s Bloody Gladiator Duels – celebrated Jan. 14th.

By Lawrence W. Reed, author of Real Heroes: Incredible True Stories of Courage, Character, and Conviction.

… Fought in stadiums before tens of thousands of boisterous onlookers, ancient Roman gladiator duels are well known today—more than 1,600 years since the last one was fought. Too few people, however, know of the one man who deserves the most credit for bringing those bloody spectacles to an end. A lowly monk from either Turkey or Egypt, his name was Telemachus.

By the old Julian calendar of Telemachus’s day, he performed his famous duel-ending deed on January 1, 404 A.D. You can wait a couple of weeks and celebrate it on January 14 if you choose, because that’s the corresponding date in the Gregorian calendar the world uses today.

…By January 404, the remaining days of the western Roman Empire were numbered… The place had largely become a moral cesspool run by brutal and often megalomaniacal tyrants

…In this environment, Telemachus made his appearance. Rome was his destination after a long sojourn from Asia Minor. A stadium packed with raucous, sadistic pagans may not sound like a place that would attract a pious pilgrim, but Telemachus was on a mission. What happened on that fateful January day in 404 was recorded as follows by Bishop Theodoret of Cyrus in Book V of his Ecclesiastical History:

There, when the abominable spectacle was being exhibited, he went himself into the stadium, and stepping down into the arena, endeavored to stop the men who were wielding their weapons against one another.  The spectators of the slaughter were indignant and inspired by the fury of the demon who delights in those bloody deeds, stoned the peacemaker to death.

When the admirable Emperor (Honorius) was informed of this he numbered Telemachus among the victorious martyrs and put an end to that impious spectacle.

Another account claims that as he raised his arms between dueling gladiators, Telemachus repeatedly cried out, “In the name of Christ, stop!” Yet another, though likely spurious one, reports that the spectators fell silent at the monk’s murder and then, one by one, quietly filed out of the stadium. There’s no real dispute over this central fact, however: Moved by those last, courageous moments of Telemachus’s life, Emperor Honorius immediately stopped the killing games of ancient Rome—forever.

One man made a difference. He was a man of little note before January 1, 404. We know almost nothing else about him but what I’ve told you here. It’s likely that few, if any, in the stadium that day noticed him when he entered, but they all knew afterward what he came for and what he did.

Read more at … https://fee.org/articles/how-a-lowly-monk-ended-romes-bloody-gladiator-duels/

#SundayChurchHacks: Don’t let architects or city regulations dictate how many parking spaces you have. You should have a surplus of 25% on the busiest day of the year. Today (January) and parking was completely full two minutes after the service started. I watched car after car drive around the parking lot and just leave. #MissioMisstep

SECULARISM & Church of England has ‘swallowed political correctness wholesale’, Queen’s former chaplain says, as he converts to Catholicism.

by Izzy Lyons, The UK telegraph Newspaper, 12/22/19.

Dr Gavin Ashenden, who served the Queen from 2008 to 2017, said that the Church is increasingly bowing to the “non-negotiable demands of secular culture” and has remained “astonishingly silent” when it comes to defending Christian values…

He has now chosen to convert to Catholicism because he believes it has the “courage, integrity and conviction to hold the Christian ground”…

“Freedom of speech is slowly being eroded; those who refuse to be ‘politically correct’ risk accusations of thought crime and Christians are being unfairly persecuted,” he wrote in the Mail on Sunday. “And where is the Church of England in this crucial culture war? Is it on the front line? Not that I can see. If anything, it has switched sides.

“This isn’t just a shame, it’s a calamity…

“In each generation, Christianity has a choice: convert its surroundings or be converted by it. Regrettably, I have come to believe that the Church of England has given up on the essentials of the faith at points where it really matters,” he added. 

Read more at … https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/12/22/church-englandhas-swallowed-political-correctness-wholesale/

STAFF & Ditch the Annual Performance Reviews. Do this Instead (and Unite Your Team). How Successful Companies Do It.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I suggest most of my clients initiate at least quarterly one-on-one meetings with their staff instead of an annual performance review. Read the article below to see why annual performance reviews have shown to be ineffective about 80% of the time. Discover instead how one-on-one meetings at least each quarter (where you discuss goal setting, growth opportunities and how you can assist one another) grows better employees.

by Marla Tabaka, Inc. Magazine, 11/30/19.

This SHRM study found that as many as 72% of companies still conduct yearly reviews even though 87% of both managers and employees find them ineffective. 

A Gallup study revealed that employees whose managers regularly communicate with them are nearly three times more engaged than those with managers who don’t communicate regularly. The benefits related to frequent feedback, goal setting, and growth opportunities far outweigh the value of an annual review. 

 Here are a few tips on how to make your transition smoothe.

Take notes.

Doing away with annual reviews does not preclude the need for documentation. Keep ongoing notes on your discussions and the action steps that result from them. In the case of an underperforming employee, this is especially important.

Discuss reward and compensation.

Tell employees when and if they can expect a raise. The absence of an annual review could leave employees wondering about their financial future with the company.

Don’t slack. 

It’s great when you stop someone in the hallway to acknowledge an achievement, but a scheduled meeting still needs to take place. I have one client who meets with each of her five employees weekly, some of my clients hold meetings with employees monthly, and some quarterly. Determine your schedule by considering goals for your culture, the stage of growth the company is in, and how employees are performing. Avoid putting off a meeting with an employee for any reason; this sends the message that they don’t come first.

Listen.

These meetings aren’t about you; they are about the employee. Your time together is the perfect opportunity to ask them questions about their ideas and vision. Ask them for feedback about your leadership and communication style and let them voice their general concerns should there be any. 

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/marla-tabaka/ditch-annual-performance-reviews-this-is-how-progressive-companies-do-it.html

STAFFING & The Vanderbloemen Search Group and Leadership Network Method for Analyzing the Cost Efficiency of Your Staff (FTE, full-time staff equivalency)

by Tim Stevens, Vanderbloemen Associates, 5/30/18.

… Below are three key factors to consider when answering the question, “Are we spending too much on staff?”

1. Percentage of Budget Designated for Staff

…Generally you will hear that your staff expenses (salaries, benefits, training, etc.) should not exceed 50% of your total general operating budget. That is a good rule-of-thumb, but there are several variables that you’ll want to consider, as each situation will be different.

  • Established multi-site churches with several sites often see staff costs as low as 35% to 40% of their overall budget. This is because they can find efficiencies with a central support staff, and if they utilize a video venue model, they don’t have to pay teaching pastors for every location.
  • If you believe in hiring proven leaders who can grow their ministry, you will likely have a higher percentage of your budget going toward staff. High capacity leaders cost more.
  • If most of your hires are internal (hired from within your congregation), you might be able to keep staff costs lower. These staff members might be in a dual-income family (thus reducing costs of benefits), and might be willing to work for far less than the national average due to their connection to the church and belief in the mission.
  • How well you leverage your volunteer base will make a difference in how much you spend for staff. I’ve worked with many churches that have a history of hiring staff way too quickly. Their first impulse is to hire, rather than to organize and equip volunteers. I think that is wasteful, both of the church’s money, but also of the giftedness of the congregation members, many whom would step up and serve if asked…

2. Staff-to-Congregation Ratio

The second benchmark is to look at how many staff you have compared to the size of your congregation (measured by average weekly attendance). Vanderbloemen Search Group and Leadership Network published a joint study of large churches (defined as 500+ in attendance) that took a deep look at salaries and trends in church staffing. That study indicates that the attendance to staff ratio is 76:1. That is, for every 76 persons in average worship attendance, churches have one full-time staff person. Those numbers consist of all staff, including pastors, directors, administrative staff, custodians and others. (It would not include staff devoted to non-church functions like a school).

Other studies have reported similar findings. Paul Alexander, who works with The Unstuck Group, reports that they see the average ratio of churches they consult at 86:1.

How to calculate your ratio:

Example Your Numbers
1. Add the total weekly hours of your part-time staff

(Example: 2 staff x 10 hours (20), 2 staff x 20 hours (40), and 1 at 30 hours would equal 90 hours)

90
2. Divide line #1 by 40 2.25
3. Add total number of full-time staff 6
4. Total Full-Time Equivalents (add lines 2 and 3) 8.25
5. Average weekly attendance (include kids) 950
6. Divide line 5 by line 4 115
7. The result is your attender-to-staff ratio 115:1

If your ratio is higher than 90:1, that means you are more efficient with your staff than the typical church. This might be a good sign, demonstrating a highly efficient team or showing an unusually good usage of volunteers. It also might mean your team is showing stress cracks. If you are in this category, and you have noticed your team is working unusually long hours and finding it difficult to balance family with work, then you probably need to work toward a solution that may involve bringing on additional staff. If you have high turnover, it might mean the expected work level is unsustainable.

If your ratio is lower than 70:1, then you are blessed with more staff than the average church. Start-up churches often have low ratios since they begin with a core of staff (worship, teaching, children, etc.) and initially don’t have any people. Their staff ratio can get closer to the average as the church takes root…

3. Combining These Two Benchmarks

For a deep dive into your numbers, consider both of these benchmarks together. What percentage of budget are you spending on staff and what is your attender-to-staff ratio?

  • If your ratio is low (staff-heavy) AND your percentage is low – you have room to increase salaries. Make sure you are paying your core staff what they are worth. It costs a lot more money to replace a high-performing staff member than it does to keep one. Consider this as you set next years’ salaries.
  • If your ratio is low (staff-heavy) AND your percentage is high – you need to consider reducing staff over time through attrition. You likely have too much staff. If your offerings are okay, you probably don’t need to lay off staff. But every time someone decides to leave, you should consider moving people around and avoid replacing them – that is, until your attendance or offerings increase.
  • If your ratio is high (lean staff) AND your percentage is low – you have room to hire additional staff, and may want to consider doing this for the health of your existing staff. They are likely feeling the stress of long hours and wearing multiple hats. Get them some help!
  • If your ratio is high (lean staff) AND your percentage is high – you likely have limited income and need to work hard to engage and equip your volunteers to help carry the load. Consider getting a copy of my book, Simply Strategic Volunteers, and focus on getting more of your laity engaged in the work of the ministry.

This article provides some broad categories that will hopefully give you some direction. If our team at Vanderbloemen Search Group can be helpful in providing customized consulting for your team, we’d love the opportunity to partner with you.

Read more at … https://www.vanderbloemen.com/blog/cost-efficient-employees-church

STAFFING & A History of FTE (full-time staff equivalents) and How Many Staff Members Do You Need? #Staffing/MembershipRatios

By Susan Beaumont, Ministry Matters Magazine, 6/29/13.

… Faith Communities Today (Fact 2008, 2010) is a study out of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, that looked at, among other things, how 3,000 congregations allocated their budgets. Researchers discovered that the average U.S. Protestant congregation allocates 45 percent of its total operating budget to payroll-related costs. Mainline churches spend considerably more (49 percent) on payroll-related expenses than either the Evangelical Protestant (31 percent) or the Catholic/Orthodox communities (41 percent)

… A Leadership Network study (which focused on staffing costs in larger congregations) found that the following factors were related to staff costs:

  • Whether the church is growing. Staffing costs are leaner for churches whose attendance is growing, perhaps because growing churches have not “caught up” with emergent staffing needs.
  • The dominant age group of the congregation. Staffing costs are leaner, but only slightly, for churches where the average person’s age in the congregation is lower.
  • The year in which the church was founded. The younger the church, the leaner the staffing costs.
  • The location of the church. Staffing costs are lower for residential and new suburban locations and slightly higher for older suburb and downtown churches.
  • Race. Staffing costs are leanest for predominantly African American churches and highest for Anglo European churches.
  • Use of paid part-time staff. Staffing costs have no relationship to the percentage of paid part-time staff in relation to full-time staff, until a congregation employs three or more paid part-timers for each full-time staff.
  • Economic level of the congregation. Staffing costs are leanest for churches whose internal constituency is described as poor and highest for churches with an internal constituency described as wealthy.

Staffing/Membership Ratios

Perhaps the longest standing rule of thumb about staffing structures is the ratio of program staff to average worship attendance. In 1965 Martin Anderson wrote one of the first books to address staffing models in the larger church, Multiple Ministries. He recommended a staffing ratio of 1 pastor for every 500 members (1:500) . Looking back on that number, it is hard to believe that congregations ever functioned with such lean staff teams, but in fact they did. Remember that this book was written during a time when worship attendance and membership were more closely aligned, when membership meant different things than it does today, when volunteerism in the church worked differently, and when church programming was more homogenous and standardized than it is today. No church today would ever dream of targeting a 1:500 staffing ratio and expect to meet the needs of its congregants.

In 1980 Lyle Schaller wrote The Multiple Staff and the Larger Church in which he introduced average worship attendance as a more reliable indicator of staffing needs. Schaller proposed a ratio of 1:100 as a guideline for the typical ratio of full-time paid professional staff positions in mainline Protestant congregations. In 2000 Gary McIntosh wrote Staff Your Church for Growth and suggested that a 1:150 paid professional staff ratio was a more realistic and affordable guideline. Both Schaller and McIntosh focused on the combination of professional clergy leaders and professional program staff leaders. Their ratios did not include administrative or support staff. Both assumed that the staffing ratio remained constant across size ranges.

So, given these conflicting guidelines, what is the most effective way to think about the size of the staff team relative to the active membership base of the congregation? The same 2010 Leadership Network Study that looked at the characteristics of a lean staff team created an alternative way of thinking about staff size relative to attendance. Rather than thinking solely about program or clergy staff in relationship to attendance, the Leadership Network study looked at the ratio of all full-time staff equivalents (FTEs) to attendance. Furthermore the study looked at how that ratio changed as the percent of budget devoted to staffing expense increased and decreased. Here is what they found.

Staff Costs as a Percent of Budget              Ratio of Staff to Attendees

10-19%                                                1:108

20-29%                                                1:91

30-39%                                                1:73

40-49%                                                1:73

50-59%                                                1:70

60-69%                                                1:59

The conclusion here is obvious. If you spend more of your budget on staff, then you have more staff per attendee than other congregations do. The results also suggest that churches with higher staffing budgets don’t necessarily pay their staff better; they just hire more staff. The ratios are helpful benchmarks as to how many staff congregations employ. Given that the average congregation spends between 48 and 50 percent of its operating budget on payroll, we can assume the average congregation employs one full-time equivalent staff member for every 70 to 73 people in average weekend worship attendance.

Determining how large of a staff team that you need depends upon your mission and your context. No benchmark can answer the question for you. It should never be your objective to match the averages quoted in this article. However, these averages can be used as a starting point for good dialogue between you and your leaders. Do you lie inside or outside of the normative parameters outlined here? In what ways does the unique nature of your mission and your context require something outside of the norm?

Read more at … https://www.ministrymatters.com/all/entry/4094/how-many-staff-do-you-need

#OD723 #FTE

SOCIAL MEDIA & Archbishop of Canterbury, warns against ‘alternative facts’ online & launches “social media guidelines” for the church. #GoodModel

by Alex Hern, The London Guardian Newspaper, 7/1/19.

The archbishop of Canterbury has said “there is no such thing as an alternative fact” and called on Christian social media users to engage with an attitude of “truth, kindness and welcome” online.

Speaking at Facebook’s London office to the social network’s European head, Nicola Mendelsohn, Justin Welby expressed his concern at how “savagely social media can be used”.

“Look at any article, and then look at the comments below it and very quickly you find stuff that is just poison,” he said.

Screen Shot 2019-07-01 at 12.39.49 PM.png

In an effort to counter the problem, the Church of England announced a set of social media guidelines, a first in the organisation’s history, built around the three precepts – truth, kindness and welcome – articulated by the archbishop.

“When you’re talking on social media, put the truth out. There’s no such thing as an alternative fact: there are opinions, and there is truth.

“When you are expressing an opinion, do so with kindness. And be welcoming: don’t throw out stuff, tweet or post things, that is a shut-out. That’s not the point of social media. It is social media.”

The Church will be following the guidelines in its postings on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere. Welby said: “We don’t want people to lie, to act with cruelty, or to use religious jargon in a way that ontologically results in some epistemological confusion – to use some religious jargon… it’s the golden rule that Jesus Christ talks about: treat others as you would like to be treated.”

A livestream was broadcast to an online audience of 300, a small group compared with the larger crowds who tuned in to watch the archbishop leading bible studies when Facebook Live was a newer platform. The select audience may have missed Welby apparently coming down on the side of reform of Britain’s upper chamber of parliament, when he said that, sitting in the House of Lords, “you just think: why am I here?”

Read more here … https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/01/church-of-england-publishes-social-media-guidelines

Here are the guidelines:

Our community guidelines have been created to encourage conversations that reflect our values. They apply to all content posted on the national social media accounts run by the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Archbishop of York.

Social media is a very public way of enabling us as Christians to live out our calling to share the good news of Jesus Christ. One of its many joys is that it is immediate, interactive, conversational and open-ended. This opportunity comes with a number of downsides if users do not apply the same common sense, kindness and sound judgement that we would use in a face-to-face encounter.

While written specifically for all users who engage with the Church of England’s and Archbishops’ national social media channels, these guidelines are built on universal principles. They are a resource for Christians, people of other faiths and people of no faith. Dioceses and local churches across the Church of England are welcome and encouraged to adopt them.

By engaging with the Church of England and Archbishops’ social media accounts, you agree to:

  • Be safe. The safety of children, young people and vulnerable adults must be maintained. If you have any concerns, ask a diocesan safeguarding adviser.
  • Be respectful. Do not post or share content that is sexually explicit, inflammatory, hateful, abusive, threatening or otherwise disrespectful.
  • Be kind. Treat others how you would wish to be treated and assume the best in people. If you have a criticism or critique to make, consider not just whether you would say it in person, but the tone you would use.
  • Be honest. Don’t mislead people about who you are.
  • Take responsibility. You are accountable for the things you do, say and write. Text and images shared can be public and permanent, even with privacy settings in place. If you’re not sure, don’t post it.
  • Be a good ambassador. Personal and professional life can easily become blurred online so think before you post.
  • Disagree well. Some conversations can be places of robust disagreement and it’s important we apply our values in the way we express them.
  • Credit others. Acknowledge the work of others. Respect copyright and always credit where it is due. Be careful not to release sensitive or confidential information and always question the source of any content you are considering amplifying.
  • Follow the rules. Abide by the terms and conditions of the various social media platforms themselves. If you see a comment that you believe breaks their policies, then please report it to the respective company.

How will we respond to people who breach our social media community guidelines?

The Church’s and Archbishops’ Communications teams may take action if they receive complaints or spot inappropriate, unsuitable or offensive material posted to the national social media accounts. This may include deleting comments, blocking users or reporting comments as appropriate.

Who do I speak to for further advice?

If you have a safeguarding concern, please follow the policies and procedures on this page or use this contact form.

 

Read the guidelines here … churchofengland.org/guidelines

SLIDES & 6 dos and don’ts for next-level slides, from a TED presentation expert

by Amanda Miller, TED.com, 6/13/19.

 “We’re living in a visual culture,” says Paul Jurczynski, the cofounder of Improve Presentation who works with many TED speakers to overhaul their slides. “Everything is visual. Instagram is on fire, and you don’t often see bad images on there. The same trend has come to presentations.”

Here, he shares 6 specific tips for creating the most effective slides.


1. Do keep your slides simple and succinct 

“The golden rule is to have one claim or idea per slide. If you have more to say, put it on the next slide,” says Jurczynski. Another hallmark of a successful slide: The words and images are placed in a way that begins where the audience’s eyes naturally go and then follows their gaze. Use the position, size, shape and color of your visuals to make it clear what should come first, second and so on. “You don’t just control what the audience sees; you have to control how they see it,” says Jurczynski.

2. Do choose colors and fonts with care

…While it’s fine to use a variety of colors in your presentation, overall you should adhere to a consistent color scheme, or palette. “The good news is you don’t need a degree in color theory to build a palette,” says Jurczynski. Check out one of the many free sites — such as Coolors or Color Hunt — that can help you build color schemes.

With fonts, settle on just one or two, and make sure they match the tone of your presentation. “You don’t have to stick to the fonts that you have in PowerPoint,” or whatever program you’re using, says Jurczynski. “People are now designing and sharing fonts that are easy to install in different programs. It’s been an amazing breakthrough.” Experiment. Try swapping a commonly used font like Arial for Lato or Bebas, two of many lesser known fonts available online. Most important: “Use a big enough font, which people often forget to do.” Your text has to be both legible and large enough to read from the back of the room, he recommends — about 30 points or so.

BEFORE: Weak font, muddy colors 

 

 

AFTER: Strong font, color that’s striking but not jarring

 


3. Don’t settle for visual cliches

When you’re attempting to illustrate concepts, go beyond the first idea that comes to your mind. Why? The reason it appears so readily may be because it’s a cliché. For example, “a light bulb as a symbol for innovation has gotten really tired,” says Jurczynski. Other oft-used metaphors include a bull’s-eye target or shaking hands. After you’ve come up with your symbol or concept, he advises people to resist the lure of Google images (where there are too many low-quality or clichéd choices) and browse a free image site such as Unsplash.

One potential source of pictures is much closer at hand. “If it fits the storyline, I encourage speakers to use their own images,” says Jurczynski. “Like one TED Talk where the speaker, a doctor, used photos of his experience treating people in Africa. That was all he needed. They were very powerful.”

BEFORE: Fake-looking stock photo to illustrate teamwork 

AFTER: Eye-catching nature photo to illustrate teamwork


4. Don’t get bogged down by charts and graphs 

Less is also more when it comes to data visualization. Keep any charts or graphs streamlined. When building them, ask yourself these questions:

What do I want the audience to take away from my infographic?

Why is this important for them to know this?

How does it tie into my overall story or message?

You may need to highlight key numbers or data points by using color, bolding, enlarging or some other visual treatment that makes them pop.

Maps are another commonly used infographic. Again, exercise restraint and use it only if it enhances your talk.“Sometimes, people overuse them — they put a map because they don’t know what else to show,” says Jurczynski. He suggests employing labels, color schemes or highlighting to direct your audience where to look. He adds, if you have the skill or know an artist, “you may even consider a hand-drawn map.”

BEFORE: Yikes! What’s important?!? 
AFTER: The takeaway is clear


Read more at … https://ideas.ted.com/6-dos-and-donts-for-next-level-slides-from-a-ted-presentation-expert/

SUFFERING & 5 Biblical Reasons Why God Allows Suffering

by Lesli White, BeliefNet, 5/29/19.

… It’s common to wonder if our suffering is God’s Will. People often hold only one view of suffering; however, the Bible does not have one approach to suffering but many.

Here are five biblical reasons why God allows suffering. 

To Prepare Us For the Trials and Complexity of Life

… Scripture tells us, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). In these verses, Paul is referring to multiple types of suffering – mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. What makes this experience complex is the fact that when suffering comes, several of these types of suffering are often involved which can take a major toll on our spirit. It’s important that we recognize that suffering is a battleground.

The book of Job offers great insight on the two ways we can choose to respond to suffering. One way is to curse God because of our suffering and the other is to praise God, even in the midst of our suffering.

To See the Magnitude of His Love

When we think of suffering, we often think of God being far away from us. Yet, God will carry us through some of the darkest seasons of our lives to show His incredible love for us. Sometimes the emotional or physical pain of suffering is prolonged. It can continue for weeks, months, even years. This pain can be intense. We may hurt so badly that even those who try to bring comfort feel the pain. If you’re going through a tough time, take heart. The Lord is sovereign and He controls all adversity in our lives. That’s why it’s imperative that when we are going through a time of trial and suffering that we remember how much God loves us. If He allows us to go through pain, suffering and loss, then He has something good He wants us to accomplish.

It Reminds Us of the Reality of Sin

Each of us knows firsthand what it means to suffer as a result of someone else’s sin. We have all been the victims of the evil choices of others. Evil words and actions have left great marks on our hearts, minds and bodies. Because of this, some people will get angry with God, believing He did nothing to stop the sin that unfolded. Yet, none of us is innocent. We too have played the role of sinner, harming others with the choices we make. Sin lurks at each of our doors. We, like Cain must battle our fear, insecurity, shame, resentment and anger. Failing to recognize or master these things often creates suffering for others.

To Help Us Grow in Community

Suffering happens in community and we have a responsibility to be of support and aid to those who are suffering around us. Paul alludes this in Galatians 6:2, when he writes, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ…”

It Allows Us to Minister

The comfort of God that we can extend to others isn’t limited to the church and is not limited to shared experience. Paul writes, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose,” (Romans 8:28). Paul’s idea is not that we must suffer the same thing as another person in order to minister the hope and comfort of God. What is needed is an experience of deliverance from affliction, comfort in grief and restoration in brokenness. These experiences remind us of who God is and what He can do. They are a silent testimony of healing and wholeness that enable one to invite God to be present in the pain of another.
Read more at https://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/christianity/5-biblical-reasons-why-god-allows-suffering.aspx#UK3ER2cFcAEmSMEz.99

SYMBOLS & St. Augustine’s evangelistic rationale for depicting Christ on the crucifix

by Phil Kozlowski, Aleteia, 3/22/19.

St. Augustine in the 4th century offered a perfect summary of why Catholics use a crucifix.

The death of the Lord our God should not be a cause of shame for us; rather, it should be our greatest hope, our greatest glory. In taking upon himself the death that he found in us, he has most faithfully promised to give us life in him, such as we cannot have of ourselves.

He loved us so much that, sinless himself, he suffered for us sinners the punishment we deserved for our sins. How then can he fail to give us the reward we deserve for our righteousness, for he is the source of righteousness? How can he, whose promises are true, fail to reward the saints when he bore the punishment of sinners, though without sin himself?

Brethren, let us then fearlessly acknowledge, and even openly proclaim, that Christ was crucified for us; let us confess it, not in fear but in joy, not in shame but in glory.

Read more at … https://aleteia.org/2019/03/22/why-do-catholics-use-crucifixes-that-show-jesus-on-the-cross/

SPEAKING & Your Audience Tunes Out After 10 Minutes. Here’s How To Keep Their Attention.

by Carmine Gallo, Forbes Magazine, 2/28/19.

Cognitive scientists have a reasonably good idea of when audiences will stop listening to a presentation. It occurs at the 10-minute mark...Neuroscientists have found that the best way to re-engage a person’s attention when it begins to wane is to change up the format of the content.

1. Introduce Characters

There aren’t too many commercially successful one-person plays. Few people can pull it off…. include members of the team. Hand off a portion of the presentation…

2. Show Videos

If you can’t bring someone else along, do the next big thing and show a video… Apple does this with nearly every keynote when they show a video of chief designer, Jony Ive, describing the features of a particular product…

3. Use Props 

Steve Jobs was a master at using props. In 1984, Jobs didn’t have to pull the first Macintosh out of a black bag like a magician. But he did. In 2001, Jobs didn’t have to pull the first iPod out of the pocket of his jeans. But he did. In 2008, Jobs didn’t have to pull the first MacBook Air from a manila envelope. But he did. Props are unexpected. They get attention.

4. Give Demos

Former Apple evangelist and venture capitalist, Guy Kawasaki, says demonstrations should start with “shock and awe.” In other words, don’t build up to a crescendo. Show off the coolest thing about your product in the first sixty seconds…

5. Invite Questions

A presentation shouldn’t be about you. It’s about your audience and how your product or service will improve their lives… Change it up by pausing and inviting questions before you move on to the next section.

Read more at … https://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2019/02/28/your-audience-tunes-out-after-10-minutes-heres-how-to-keep-their-attention/#15109dee7364

SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION & Acknowledged a great sinner (though likely not the prostitute some claimed her to be), Mary Magdalene offers a narrative of salvation, conversion, and unswerving devotion to Jesus that is one of the most beautiful portrayals of discipleship in the Bible.

by David Ives, Aleteia Magazine, 4/12/19.

While the look of the film (Mary Magdalene) is fine and the acting is uniformly good, any viewer with an ounce of respect for the actual biblical narrative will find themselves far too distracted keeping track of all the little ways the film butchers history to enjoy any of it…

Worst of all, though, is what the film does to Mary herself. The Magdalene is justifiably considered one of the greatest saints in the history of Christendom. She followed Jesus throughout his ministry, was present when he was crucified, and was there for his resurrection. More importantly, as the woman

… possessed by seven demons, and in tradition and art an acknowledged great sinner (though likely not the prostitute some claimed her to be), Mary Magdalene offers a narrative of salvation, conversion, and unswerving devotion to Jesus that is one of the most beautiful portrayals of discipleship in the Bible.

None of that applies to the woman in this film, however. Instead we are presented with an insufferable “Mary Sue” Magdalene

Read more at … https://aleteia.org/2019/04/12/this-films-modern-take-on-mary-magdalene-will-disappoint-devotees-of-this-great-saint/

SERMON & Jesus Commissioned You to Reach This 1 Important Goal …

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 4/15/19.

What is the Goal of a Church?

I often ask my client churches to honestly tell me what they perceive as their church’s primary goal…. Look at their responses:

Our primary goal is to survive as a church 38 %
Our primary goal is to provide a warm and caring fellowship. 22 %
Our primary goal is to win souls to Christ. 21 %
Our primary goal is to influence community morals for the better. 11 %
None of the above 8 %

…Yet, a cure for the common church is much bigger, for it is a church-wide refocus back to Jesus’ goal for his church

Jesus’ Goal for the Church

The right answer for Figure 5.1 is actually “none of the above” and comes from Jesus’ own words[I] … To understand this, let’s look at Jesus’ last and most poignant instructions to his followers (Figure 5.2 which has been called the “Great Commission”)

Figure 5.2 Jesus’ Great Commission (Matt. 29:18-20 CEB, commissioning verbs are underlined)

Jesus came near and spoke to them,

“I’ve received all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.”

What makes this a Great Commission[ii]?

The Great Commission is the label that has been given to these final and central instructions Jesus gave his followers in Matthew 28:18-20. In this phrase Jesus is literally “commissioning” or “recruiting” all followers down through the ages into his mission. This commissioning is akin to an “official directive,” a “direct order” and a “command,” such as a military conscript might receive upon entering service…

Christians, too, are called to put their lives on the line in Jesus’ great commissioning. Here is what others have said about this passage (Figure 5.3):

FIGURE ©Whitesel CURE 5.3 Comments on Great Comm copy.jpg

The Four Verbs of Jesus’ Great Commission

Because this Great Commission is so important, it is not surprising that each word, each phrase that Jesus uttered in Matthew 28:19-20 seems to have been chosen carefully to convey his message. Jesus undoubtedly knew that believers down through history would return to this passage as they contemplated the goal of their spiritual community.

…Because the Greek language (in which much of the New Testament was written) is much more precise than today’s English, Jesus was able to use a special wording that stressed one verb as the primary verb over the other three…

FIGURE ©Whitesel CURE 5.4 Four Verbs Great Comm copy.jpg

Finding the main verb

In the English, the four verbs seem equal. But, when Jesus spoke these words, he pronounced one verb with a special spelling, thereby indicating that this verb was the main verb or “goal” of the passage. Which verb was Jesus pointing to as the goal of his Great Commission? You must wait a few paragraphs to find out.

3 verbs tell “how” – only 1 verb tells us “the goal”

Three … verbs are called participles, which means they are “helping verbs” that tell “how” the main verb will be accomplished.[iv] Jesus chose specific spellings of the participles to show that three verbs are participles telling you “how” to accomplish the main verb.[v]

So, which three verbs are participles (telling us “how”) and which one verb is the main verb (telling us the “goal”)? The spelling of the Greek verbs indicates the following:[vi]

FIGURE ©Whitesel CURE 1-2 Verbs Great Comm copy.jpg

FIGURE ©Whitesel CURE 3-4 Verbs Great Comm copy.jpg

Therefore, the uncommon church’s goal must not the “going,” the “baptizing” or even the “teaching.” These are the “hows.” In the words Jesus chose he made clear that for the uncommon church he was founding, it was “making disciples” that was the goal.

What Do Disciples look like?

Picturing a Disciple

…Begin with the Greek word matheteusate, which means “a learner, a pupil or an apprentice.”[i] It carries the image of a trainee or a student still in school more than it depicts an expert. Christ is commanding his followers not to produce experts, but rather to foster a community of authentic learners. Following Jesus should feel like you are enrolled in his school of learning. Therefore, a church is not a cadre of experts, but a collage of fellow learners.

Theologians have sought to convey the rich and multifaceted meaning of the verb: “make disciples” in several ways.

Donald McGavran[ii] said …… “It means enroll in my (Jesus’) school…”

Eddie Gibbs[iii] stated ………… “It is learning, not simply through being given information, but in learning how to use it. Discipleship is an apprenticeship rather than an academic way of learning. It is learning by doing.”

James Engel[iv] summarized…“In short, discipleship requires continued obedience over time…. Thus becoming a disciple is a process beginning when one received Christ, continuing over a lifetime as one is conformed to His image (Phil 1:6), and culminating in the glory at the end of the age.”

An Up-to-date Image of a Disciple

From a closer look at the words Jesus used, we see that the goal of every church is to help people become “a community of active, ongoing learners.”[v] It is not just to baptize or to teach as we are going out (though all of these are “hows” of the disciple making process). The goal, toward which a church should focus its attention and its resources is to produce people that are actively learning about their heavenly Father.

Still, this goal includes binding up their wounds, meeting their needs before they even know who Christ is, standing up for their justice and righting their wrongs. But all of these worthy actions if they become the goal, will make your mission misdirected. God’s goal, the purpose he has for every church, is to reconnect his wayward offspring to himself (the essence of the missio Dei). And, the church’s goal (Figure 5.6) is to foster this reunification by helping people become learners about a loving, seeking Father.

The Goal of the Church Defined

While the common church has mistaken many “hows” for the “goal,” Figure 5.6 is the goal against which the uncommon church will be measured. In our commissioning, Jesus has handed us a different measuring stick.

Figure 5.6 The Goal of a Church

The goal of a church is …

To make active, ongoing learners.

(i.e. learning about a heavenly Father who loves them, sacrificed his Son for them and who wants to reunite and empower them.)

Jesus wants the uncommon church to focus upon reuniting his wayward offspring with him by making active, ongoing learners about his great love, sacrifice and future for them. And so, be careful not to make some of the following common missteps.

  • Teaching without learning: If a church is teaching many people, but few are actively learning over a long period of time, the church is not “making active, ongoing learners.”
  • Having learned once, but not learning now: If a person has learned once, perhaps in the past at school or as a child but is not learning now, then the church is not “making active, ongoing learners.”
  • Baptizing without ongoing learning: And, if the church is baptizing many souls, but there is little ongoing education about what it means to follow Christ, then that church is not “making active, ongoing learners.”

Excerpted from Cure for the Common Church: God’s Plan for Church Health, chapter “How to Grow Learners.” Download the chapter here: BOOK ©Whitesel EXCERPT – CURE Chpt 5 WHY LEARNers

Footnotes:

[i] Walter Bauer, trans. William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957), pp. 486-487.

[ii] Donald McGavran, Effective Evangelism: A Theological Mandate (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed Pub. Co., 1988), p. 17.

[iii] Eddie Gibbs, Body Building Exercises for the Local Church (London: Falcon Press, 1979), p. 74.

[iv] James F. Engel, Contemporary Christian Communications: Its Theory and Practice (New York: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1979), 66.

[v] The “ongoing” emphasis in making disciples is created by both the preface of Matthew 28:18-20 (whereby Jesus declares his command is a result of non-temporal authority, v. 18) and by the aorist tense of make disciples, which can convey the sense of an action that should commence at once.

[i]I am not saying that winning souls to Christ is not important and central to God’s mission, for it is. As I have stated in the first chapters of this book (and in every one of my previous nine books) reuniting wayward offspring to their heavenly Father so they can receive salvation from their sin, gain new purpose and enter eternal life is the mission of God (i.e. missio Dei) in which we are called to participate (Matt. 28:19-20). However, the point I am making here is that “winning souls” is a supernatural connection that though we can help facilitate, is something only God can accomplish (see for instance Acts 2:47 where Luke writes, “The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved”). Jesus, in the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20, gives his church not the task of soul-saving (he reserves that right for himself), but rather gives the church the task of “making learners about him.” If a church is making learners about God, then he can supernaturally connect with them through their growing knowledge of his love and bring them into a reconciled relationship with himself. Thus, in this chapter I will show that “making learners of Christ” is the task for which the church should aim, and when we connect people with their loving Father this way, he can add “daily to the community those who were being saved.”

[ii] David Bosch has rightly pointed out that you cannot fully understand the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20 without an understanding of Matthew’s gospel as a whole. The reader who wants a fuller appreciation for the power and influence of the Great Commission in context should see David J. Bosch’s chapter “Matthew: Mission as Disciples-Making” in Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission, 20th ed. (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2005), pp. 56-83.

[iii] Hudson Taylor quoted by Stan Toler, Practical Guide to Solo Ministry: How Your Church Can Thrive When You Lead Alone (Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2008), p. 136; C. T. Studd quoted by David l. Marshall, To Timbuktu and Beyond: A Missionary Memoir (New York: Thomas Nelson, 2010), p. 87; William Carey quoted by A. Scott Moreau, Gary B. McGee and Gary R. Corwin in Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical and Practical Survey (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), p. 201; and C. S. Lewis, The Complete C. S. Lewis (New York: HarperOne, 2002), p. 96.

[iv] Daniel B. Wallace, The Basis of New Testament Syntax (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000), pp. 274-275. A good way to think of this is that the participles (go, baptizing, teaching) tell “how” making disciples is done. Thus, to the question, “How do you make disciples?” one could answer “by going (means) and baptizing (manner) and teaching” (manner).

[v] The relationship between the three participles and the imperative “make disciples” has been described by Robert Culver as “the words translated ‘baptizing’ and ‘teaching’ are participles. While these participles are immensely important the imperative ‘make disciples’ is of superlative importance.” “What is the Church’s Commission,” Bibliotheca Sacra (Dallas: Dallas Theological Seminary, July 1968), p. 244.

[vi] Daniel B. Wallace, The Basis of New Testament Syntax (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000), pp. 280 states “a greater emphasis is placed on the action of the main verb than on the participle. That is, the participle is something of a prerequisite before the action of the main verb can occur” (italics Wallace). In other words, the “going,” “baptizing” and “teaching” are prerequisites that must occur before the action of the main verb (“making disciples”) can take place.

Speaking hashtags: #PowellChurch #GreatCommissionResearchNetwork #RenovateConference #NationalOutreachConvention #Kingswood2018 #sermon