SOCIAL MEDIA & #NathanClark the leader of one of the nation’s first online communities tells the best thing a small church can do to connect & minister online.

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Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Nathan Clark is the online minister of Northland Church in Orlando, which was one of the nation’s first churches in the nation that embraced online community.  Here is what I learned from Nathan’s presentation at the Great Commission Research Network annual meeting Oct. 19, 2018 at Asbury Theological Seminary, Orlando, FL.

How does a large church do online ministry?

Large Church (300+).

In a large church, you can stream your Sunday service.  Northland Church does, and its megachurch stature means it can offer a level of followthrough and excellence that makes the streaming of worship work.

  • Use a live chat with church counselors to interact with the watchers during your live services.
  • Make your goal to get people into a face-to-face experience.
    • There are churches in the neighborhoods of almost all online watchers.
    • Create a system to connect online watchers to connect with Christians in their local community (which Nathan calls an “offline church.”
    • To connect people to a local “offline” congregation, Nathan suggests three steps:
      1. “We tell people to look around for people that exemplify the fruit of the Holy Spirit, ‘the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23).
      2. Go to them and hang around with them.
  • Ask where they go to church and go with them.

How does a small church do online ministry?

Small Church (300 or less)

  • A small church should not try to stream their Sunday service.
    • According to Nathan it is too expensive.
    • The support and followthrough needs to be trained and extensive.
    • And the overly large territory you will reach (potentially hundreds of watchers) is beyond the person-power and financial ability of a small church.
  • Instead a small church pastor/leader should …
    • Check Facebook 30 minutes every day.
    • Call people on the phone if you see they have a need.
      • Don’t just like their post or tweet, that means very little – only that you noticed.
      • Instead, talk to them on the phone and pray for them.

SOCIAL MEDIA & How a Toronto church plant uses gaming site Twitch to create online bible studies & community.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Here is how Waypoint Church in Toronto, CA uses the gaming site Twitch to create community and online bible study.

When we first felt the call to a start a new church in the city of Toronto we knew right off the bat that two things were going to play a major factor: space and time. In a big city find a place to meet is hard. Most shops do not have the room for people to just hang out. Not to mention that you could spend up to 30 minutes traveling to a church, or meeting place. Because of this geographical need, we said we would want to take full use of media. Our first idea was to start podcasts, which can be found on our website. With over 80 hours a week in transit alone, it is a great way to connect with scripture.

Our second idea was to have online bible studies, where people could interact. Ask questions, make comments, really dig deeper into the subject being covered. Of course we want to have groups meeting in person, but that is not always possible. Our first Waypoint (a group that meets to study scripture) will be taking place on Twitch, a gaming network. Each week we will be going deeper into the passage or topic talked about in that weeks podcast. It is a great way to interact and dig deeper. Our hope is that we will have people engaging in the faith and leaning more and more how they can be transformed by the power of Christ.
So if you know someone who would be interested let them know they can join us on Twitch starting October 23rd @ 7:30pm EST.

SOCIAL MEDIA & Questions to stimulate discussion on how churches can more effectively utilize social media.

PANEL HANDOUTS:

GCRN 2018 Great Commission Research Network, Asbury Theological Seminary, Orlando, Oct. 18, 2018

Praxis Meets Theology: A Panel on Practicing Reconciliation Electronically.

Moderator: Bob Whitesel DMin PhD, McGavran Award recipient & former GCRN president, Consultant/coach at ChurchHealth.net

Schedule: 

3:00 – 3:45 PM panel is interviewed

3:45 – 4:15 PM praxis groups study application questions speakers provided

4:15 – 4:30 PM minute break for snacks

4:30 – 5:00 PM praxis groups report on application ideas

Questions for discussion in praxis groups. Each group pick one or two to report after the break.

Questions by Clyde Taber, http://visualstory.org, Projects Worked On Damah Film Festival, “Jesus: Fact or Fiction?” DVD, the_Oracle CD Rom, Magdalena: Released from Shame (feature), Creativity Summit (event), Visual Story Network. Roles / Skill Sets Producer, networker

What God story do you have from the last week? How can you share it in the world of social media?

Questions by Matt Cruz, using Facebook and social media, his videos of witnessing and encouragement reached over 60 million people in less than one year. Doors began to open for Matt to travel and share his radical faith all over the United States by co-founding the RiseUp Movement.

How can you use live applications in social media for prayer, daily edification, teaching, witnessing, healing, or deliverance for disciple making purposes?

What ways can you build relationship online?

Questions by Dr. Jan Paron, her work reflects experience in urban ministry and leadership, diversity, strategic planning, grant writing, children and adult literacy, teaching children of poverty, differentiating instruction, and curriculum development. Currently, she is a dean and professor with the All Nations Leadership Institute. She was one of the Institute’s founding members.

In what ways can you use social media applications to support spiritual transformation? 

In what ways can you use social media applications to meet needs of non-churchgoers?

Questions by Nils Smith, Chief Strategist of Social Media and Innovation at Dunham and Company. Over the past decade he has been active online in maximizing web resources to further ministries through: Social Media Consulting and Conference Speaking, Co-Hosting the Social Media Church Podcast, Creating courses in the Church Technology Guide, Social Media Church University, & Amplify Social Media Academy. Helping to optimize churches and ministries in search results using Searchable Church.

Download the handout WHITESEL PANEL Handout.

#GCRN18 #GCRN #GreatCommissionResearchNetwork

SPIRITUAL FORMATION & Helpful vs. Hurting Disciplines: How to thrive in ministry by choosing the best spiritual practices.

ARTICLE Whitesel CR Helpful vs. Hurting Spiritual Practices

by Bob Whitesel DMin PhD, Church Revitalizer MagazineAug. 1, 2018.

Having pastored in small, medium-size and mega-churches (as well as planting a church) I realized there were certain spiritual disciplines that when embraced my life and ministry flourished. I also realized that when I ignored them my ministry became difficult and unstable.

Church Revitalizer Personal Disciplines.jpegHaving coached hundreds of churches in the past 20 years, I’ve come to believe these four areas of personal discipline are critical for not only having an impact in ministry, but for being happy as well. 

Accountable vs. Being Independent

Usually when a church needs to be revitalized, it gives the turnaround leader a great deal of control. And why not, if the church has been failing under its previous strategies and tactics, then shouldn’t the new shepherd be allowed to implement their own approach?

If the turnaround leader did not have much control in their previous ministry, this can exacerbate the situation. I’ve noticed that some leaders may undertake a turnaround because they look forward to having some independence. When congregations are desperate to survive, they may give inexperienced turnaround leaders carte blanche to do what is right the leader’s eyes.

This dual empowerment can be good if the leader is skilled, experienced and equipped to be a church revitalizer. And after all, equipping the church revitalizer with the skills necessary is the purpose of Church Revitalizer magazine. But if a leader is still learning about the dynamics of a turnaround church, the resultant independence that the congregation bestows upon the leader can be the the leader’s undoing.

Recent news stories have pointed out that ethical failures in pastors often seem to be the result of too much independence and not enough accountability. The turnaround pastor and a struggling church’s desire for someone to lead the congregation out of its marginalization, can inadvertently give the leader so much independence that the leader does not have the accountability or professional oversight needed.

Solution: If you are a turnaround leader, then seek out accountability. Don’t just seek out like-minded peers who are going through the same professional and spiritual battles. And just don’t seek out one person, but rather seek out a group of individuals that can give you guidance.

QUOTE: Recent news stories have pointed out that ethical failures in pastors often seem to be the result of too much independence and not enough accountability.

One of the thorniest questions the early church had to battle was what to do with Paul’s new ministry to non-Jews. This was a substantial and divisive issue. However, Paul submitted not to an individual, but to a council of godly leaders which we know today as the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15). Having an accountability to a godly group not only sharpened Paul’s theological insights, but also gave him a platform of accountability that would help most of his detractors overlook his former life as a persecutor of the faith.

Mentee vs. Being a Mentor

This means being a mentee, in addition to being accountable. But often turnaround leaders are tempted to be the mentor more than the mentee. In my personal life I found that as my ministry increased, others wanted me to mentor them. Not only was I honored, but I was told I had the gift of teaching and therefore I enjoyed mentoring others.

But the times when I suffered the most were when I was mentoring others but no one was mentoring me. In my town I sought out the lead pastor of a large nearby church. And though we were very theologically different, we became fast friends and he became my mentor. Later he went on to become the president of a nationally recognized theological seminary.

In the times we spent together in his kitchen, I realized the challenges I was facing he had already faced years before, and he had insights from the encounters. In much the way Paul mentored Timothy (1 and 2 Timothy), a more experienced leader can bring needed encouragement to a pastor who is encountering daily frustrations in turning around a church.

Solution: Find a mentor and submit to being a mentee. No matter how long you’ve been in ministry, there is probably someone who has encountered what you are encountering now, and can offer perspective and biblical insight. The New Testament precedent is a one-on-one relationship with someone who has already countered the challenges which a turnaround pastor is daily encountering.

QUOTE: I suffered the most when I was mentoring others but no one was mentoring me.

Equipper vs. Being an Expert

As ministry impact increases, people often start to look to the leader as “the expert.” This can be exacerbated when a church is struggling and looking for any help. The result is that the congregation and the leader may put too much of the burden upon the leader.

As a result, turnaround leaders tend to undertake the most important things themselves. They tend to do most of the preaching themselves, they tend to do most of the organization themselves, they tend to run the meetings themselves, they tend to do most of the evangelism themselves, etc. etc. An all too common result is a burned-out pastor and a church that feels even less likely to turn around.

Solution: As pastor your job is to equip the believers for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:12-16). When turning around client churches I have found it most helpful to get people’s eyes off of the pastor as expert, and start seeing the pastor as their trainer and equipper.  An important personal discipline for the turnaround pastor is to train and delegate to others important tasks rather than trying to do it all oneself. This means seeing the potential in people and even giving them the chance to flounder at times. It means having less perfection in our churches and more opportunity for participation.

QUOTE:  It means having less perfection in our churches and more opportunity for participation.

Family Time vs. Church Time

Finally the fourth area is the important aspect of carving out time with your earthly family and your heavenly family (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). During some of my most successful years in ministry my children were young. And though they had have great memories from their childhood, I wish I’d spent a bit more time with them. I could have had more deep dialogues with them. I could have known them even better. And this is good not only for our earthly family, but our heavenly family as well.

Solution: Later in my years as a turnaround pastor I found that I benefited greatly by taking two days off every week to be with my early family (recreation) and my heavenly family (in scriptural meditation and prayer). On those two days every week I did no church business. I viewed those days as a sabbatical. If God, the all powerful creator of the universe took off a seventh day to rest (commanding it upon his children as one of his 10 commands) then I need something more regular and restful than a couple of partial days off each week. 

These four principles helped me not only survive ministry, but enjoy it and thrive in it.

Bob Whitesel DMIN PhD has been called “the key spokesperson on change theory in the church today” by a national magazine and ranks as one of the nation’s most sought after church health and growth consultants. An award-winning author of 13 books, he founded an accredited seminary (Welsey Seminary at IWU) and created one of the nation’s most respected church health and growth consulting firms: ChurchHealth.net

Read the article in Church Revitalizer Magazine here … https://issuu.com/renovate-conference/docs/magazine_sample_for_everyone?e=14225198/64015141

STAFFING & 5 Alarming Statistics That Will Forever Change Your Approach to Hiring and Keeping Star Employees

by Scott Mautz, Inc. Magazine, 7/9/18.

Gallup’s latest State of the American Workplace report is eye-opening, to say the least, if you care about hiring and retaining star talent. The findings led Jim Clifton, the Chairman and CEO of Gallup, to say, “The very practice of management no longer works. The old ways no longer achieve the intended results.”

Why such an aggressive stance? For starters, the report says the majority of employees (51 percent) are now searching for new jobs or watching for openings.

The 212 page report is filled with alarming statistics. I pulled out the five most telling stats and offer advice to help with your talent attraction and retention strategies.

1. 78 percent of employees are not convinced their leaders have a clear direction for the organization.

Job one as a leader is to set a clear direction based on solid strategies and stretching (yet attainable) goals. To set especially effective goals, be certain that the goals are relevant, meaningful and have been developed collaboratively with those who will be held to them (the study also showed only 30 percent of employees said they were involved in goal-setting).

2. 88 percent of employees would switch to a job that allows flexible work arrangements.

…The desire for flexibility came up repeatedly in the study. It appeared as the top perk/job benefit desired and was even more desired among millennials (versus boomers or Gen X’ers).

While some jobs aren’t suited to working from home (like retail or assembly line work for example), all jobs can be infused with a sense of flexibility via things like pliable work schedules or flexible time periods to go to doctor appointments or pick kids up from school. If you’re a leader, it’s time to meld flexibility into your work processes.

3. Only 23 percent of employees agree that their manager provides meaningful feedback.

The lack of feedback includes praise too, with only 3 in 10 employees strongly agreeing that they’ve recently received recognition or praise for good work.  It’s worth noting that receiving feedback is even more important for millennials.

Leaders simply must prioritize giving frequent feedback to employees. Here’s help in giving feedback effectively but for starters, simply commit to the act and remember that research shows the right ratio of positive feedback to corrective feedback is about 5:1. Which should make sense since people tend to do a lot more good than they do “bad”.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/scott-mautz/5-alarming-statistics-that-will-forever-change-your-approach-to-hiring-keeping-star-employees.html

 

SHARING THE GOOD NEWS & Univ. of Illinois researcher finds the best person to share it is a friend, who listens.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Flavil Yeakley, a colleague and former PhD graduate of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, studied factors that contribute to people accepting Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Not surprisingly, he found that a friend, who listens is the most effective carrier of the Good News. He also found that sharing the Good News follows a “process” model. For more on this see the review by Dr. Kwasi Kena of my book, Review of “Spiritual Waypoints: Helping Others Navigate the Journey”.

Here are Dr. Yeakley’s words:

SOCIAL MEDIA & Don’t forget to get a ________.church URL for easy access by seekers. Thx @djchuang: “always thinking digital first”

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel:  Since my colleague D. J. Chuang made me aware of the availability of ________.church URLs I have suggested them to my clients and clinic attendees. Here is a testimony from one of my Kingswood University graduate students.

Begin forwarded message:
Subject: ffw.church
Date: August 22, 2018 at 10:20:42 PM EDT
To: “Bob Whitesel D.Min. Ph.D.” <bob@churchhealth.net>
Dr. Whitesel,

I wanted to write and let you know that I’m doing all I can to put all I learned from your class into motion.  I turned in my Capstone Project and now I’m engaging people with a whole new perspective.
I want to share with you our newest technological invention for our church.  We now have a “.church” website.  I wanted to share this with you.  I must have said check out ffw.church a thousand times at church tonight.
It is truly exciting.
www.ffw.church    

Respectfully, 

Garry W. McClendon
These URLs are available through the typical domain services (such as GoDaddy, etc.).