GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & My latest article published by @BiblicalLeader Magazine: Vision Statements & How to Adjust Them to Grow a Post-pandemic Church (plus pics of 2021 Missional Coaches Reunion in Orlando).


Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: To grow the post-pandemic church you must adjust your Vision Statement, especially if you have …

  • aging buildings,
  • plateaued/declining attendance,
  • overbuilt sanctuaries &
  • underfunded staffs. 

In my newly publishing article in Biblical Leadership Magazine, I explain the importance of post-pandemic adjustments to your Vision Statements in an article called: “Vision Statements: How they are underused, overemphasized and mostly ineffective.”

Check it out.  Then, check out pictures below from our 2021 Missional Coaches Reunion in Orlando as well as pictures from my seminars from the Midwest to the South.

And don’f forget –

  • If you or someone you know wants to join 44 other grads who have shadowed me in my consulting work,
  • Only 5 shadow me each year,
  • But Missional Coaches applications are now OPEN (scholarships to the first 3 who request this)>

MISSIONAL COACHES APPLICATION > https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2022MissionalCoaches

Bob
BOB WHITESEL, DMIN, PHD
COACH, CONSULTANT, SPEAKER & AWARD-WINNING WRITER/SCHOLAR

CONTEXT & What these rappers taught me about church planting. A guest post by #theCharlieMitchell

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Someone you should follow on Instagram, who has amazing insights and a beautiful way of explaining them, is Charlie Mitchell, founder & lead pastor of Epiphany Church in Baltimore. You can find him on Instagram at: theCharlieMitchell. Below are important insights, stated exceptionally well, on the power of context in church planting and planning.

MISSIONAL COACHES & As part of the MissionalCoaches.network these 3 African-American church planters are shadowing me (pictured w/ client church pastor In the middle). It feels good to give back the tools I’ve discovered from 30+ years of coaching / consulting & 2 doctorates. www.Leadership.church

Learn about a opportunity to shadow me and learn my tools from two doctorates and 30+ years of consulting at … MissionalCoaches.network

GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & Downloadable Notes For My Seminar.

Whether you are attending live, online or watching at a later date, this is my PowerPoint presentation with downloadable notes. For more info, read Growing the Post-pandemic Church available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Growing-Post-pandemic-Church-Leadership-church-Guides/dp

Download my notes .pdf at this link:

#COGO

GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & The meaning of life, death and the afterlife will increasingly be on people’s minds and must be addressed in church teachings. #eReformation. #GrowingThePostPandemicChurchBook

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., excerpted from Growing the Post-Pandemic Church, 8/9/20.

Eschatology, the study of one’s final destiny, will be of increasing interest as the world grows smaller and waves of illnesses travel the globe at increasing speeds. 

The problem:

In recent years the church shifted away from eschatology, to topics of how to live a better life here and now. And while that may be important, it is eternal questions that will begin to dominate people’s interest as catastrophes circle the globe. 

The solution:  

Start preparing now: churches need to be prepared with orthodoxy and in clarity to address the issues of life, death and the afterlife.  

Remember …

Jesus told us, “Take a lesson from the fig tree. From the moment you notice its buds form, the merest hint of green, you know summer’s just around the corner. And so, it is with you. When you see all these things, you know he is at the door. Don’t take this lightly” (Mark 13:28-29, MSG).

Christ knew today’s catastrophes would happen. He is not surprised (John 16:30, Rev. 2:23). So, as knowledge of a fig tree tells an orchardist about the coming season, so too must Christian leaders discern the season we are in. It is time for church leaders to carefully adapt electronic tools, the way it once did the printing press, to better communicate the Good News.

Click to learn about the “9 other marks of the eReformation” in Growing the Post-Pandemic Church.

GUEST SERVICES & Your window to connect is 6 minutes according to this research.

I am writing a new ChurchLeadership.university course (hosted by uDemy) titled: “Church Guests 101.” It explains four (4) pivots churches must undertake to make guest services more effective. Check out those crucial pivots on ChurchLeadership.university.

Improving guest services begins my knowing your window to connect is very small. Here is a paragraph by Mark Collins, Certified Missional Coach, 10/1/19.

Mark Collins (right) at dinner with Bob Whitesel (left) and another Missional Coach in training (middle) Jeremy Schell.
We had an exciting day of discussing church growth and health with a client church.

Mark writes:

Your window to connect is 6 minutes. 

Research indicates that guests decide whether or not to come back within the first 6 minutes of arriving on campus (“Secrets of a Secret Shopper: Reaching and Keeping Church Guests” by Greg Atkinson).

This means that parking lot and pre-service experiences are crucial. 

Is the signage clear?

Do they feel safe leaving their kids?

Do your guest services volunteers seek to know the needs of the visitor?

STREAMING & #SundayChurchHacks: Check your streaming webpages early every Sunday to ensure they are ready to stream. This church’s streaming page was empty, up to & through the beginning of the service. Plus, add links on your streaming page to FaceBook and YouTube streams of your live worship (though their menu was truncated).

Even this client church, that has done remarkably well hosting online services, left many viewers without a worship opportunity.

Thankfully, the links to their FaceBook and YouTube streaming (in the top menu) added work around options for the technologically inclined.

HYBRID CONSULTATING & Hybrid workshops mean more people can participate. One lady shared how her housebound mother feels like a full participant when online. The future is not only a #HybridChurch but also #HybridMissionalCoaching #ConsultingLife

While consulting a megachurch, a leader came forward and told me the story about how online options had made her mother feel like a full participant in the church again. She told how her mother was able to go online and not only go to church services but also participate in a Bible study with other seniors. Because of health issues her mother was not able to attend church even before the pandemic began. For this woman and her mother a hybrid strategy had provided another venue for a subcongregation to develop and for congregants’ needs to be met.

CONSULTING & We are not a one-size-fits-all consulting practice. My 30+ years of coaching has taught me how to customize each & every consultation.

For over 30 years I’ve used my experiences, my education and my passion to coach leaders toward more kingdom impact.  

I customize every consultation.

So if you (or someone you know) needs help … contact me today: bob@ChurchHealth.net

BOB WHITESEL, DMIN, PHD
COACH, CONSULTANT, SPEAKER & AWARD-WINNING WRITER/SCHOLAR

MASKS & #SundayMorningHacks: In trouble if you do, in trouble if you don’t. How about this alternative?

I have clients that are being cautious and encouraging masks. And I have other clients that are almost anti-mask. What are best practices?

Because mask wearing has become a personal (and political) issue, two different cultures have emerged. And to reach multicultural congregations you must have leaders that relate to both cultures.

Therefore today, all other factors being equal, a Sunday Morning Hack is to have leaders and greeters equally balanced between mask-wearers and non-wearers. Make your worship experiences environments that make multiple cultures feel welcome and at home.

PREACHING & #SundayChurchHacks – Don’t bring up homiletical rabbit holes unless you are going to go down them. In the middle of a good sermon, the preacher got off track and started talking about “all the theological implications of that” but w/o elaborating.

Lesson – if you are going to bring up a topic then be ready to explain it at least for the uninitiated. If you don’t, you can inadvertently undermine your credibility and expertise. (This example that brought this to mind came from a non-client church.)

POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & Passing the plate may disappear as churches alter giving practices for safety and health.

Commentary by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D, 2/9/21.

There are new “best practices” emerging in the new normal. And, I’ve been describing them in my 14th book, Growing the Post-pandemic Church: A Leadership.church Guide.

How the offering is received is changing from passing a plate, to online giving and receptacles mounted around the church facility. While I know of no research that has compared the financial efficacy of the new approaches, there is research that shows that offering plates and the money within them carry bacteria and fungi.

For our older parishioners who are taking steps to limit their exposure to viruses, the church that practices safety and health may wish to move its giving to safer and healthier options.

Take a look at this article published by the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health titled: Dirty Money on Holy Ground: Isolation of Potentially Pathogenic Bacteria and Fungi on Money Collected from Church Offerings

WORSHIP & #SundayChurch Hacks: Don’t move music stands, microphones, etc. during prayer. It distracts the live audience and often more so online attenders who are watching through a narrow camera angle.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Distractions bother leaders, sometimes more than they bother attendees. If a microphone gives feedback, a music stand falls over or a child cries out, the church leader is often especially annoyed. But when stagehands and technicians are moving equipment behind the leader while she or he prays, that leader may be unaware of the distractions going on behind them. Because I evaluate online services for the clients I coach, I find there is generally movement behind the pastor during the prayer that follows the music. The fix is for the leader to review the recorded online services each week, take notes for improvement and address recurring distractions delicately but directly.

The story of Mary and Martha, as translated in The Message Bible, gives insight and this phrase sums it up nicely: “One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.” Read the rest of the passage to discover what this “main course” is …

38-40 As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”

The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.” Luke 10:38-42 MSG

WORSHIP TEMPO & Today’s #SundayChurchHacks & The happiest tunes are slightly faster than your average song (the happiest tunes are between 140 – 150 beats per minute on average).

By Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 12/27/20.

I’ve written an article for Biblical Leadership Magazine about tempos of worship songs that inspire and foster celebration. And though research has confirmed that personal style of music is subjective, researchers have also found that it is songs in the tempos between 140 and 150 BPM (beats per minute) that are best for inspiring celebration and happiness.

Yet, Anglo churches that I have analyzed usually have one or none of their worship songs in these happy, celebratory tempos: tempos between 140 and 150 BPM (beats per minute)

So, look at your worship song list. And while contemplative, meditative and solemn songs are needed … so are songs in tempos between 140 and 150 BPM (beats per minute) that create a celebratory happiness in worship. Consider these Biblical admonitions:

Shout your praises to God, everybody!

Let loose and sing! Strike up the band!

Round up an orchestra to play for God,

Add on a hundred-voice choir.

Feature trumpets and big trombones,

Fill the air with praises to King God.

Psalm 98:4-6 MSG

On your feet now—applaud God!

    Bring a gift of laughter,

    sing yourselves into his presence.

Psalm 100: 1-2 MSG

So, how do you evaluate tempo if you are not a musician?

  • Simple online and smartphone applications will let you see tempo of any song.
  • If you find your worship team is trending toward slower, mostly stately songs (I have noticed this trend in my case-study research) then suggest songs of higher, happier tempos.
  • Don’t focus solely on uptempo songs, but be wary of musical sets that miss the celebration and happiness that comes from an encounter (Hebrew: worship) with God.

Here is a helpful chart of the most common tempo markings (with bpm) and definitions from the previous article:

    • Prestissimo (> 200 bpm) very very fast
    • Presto (168 – 200 bpm) very fast
    • Allegro (120 – 168 bpm) fast
    • Moderato (108 – 120 bpm) moderately
    • Andante (76 – 108 bpm) walking pace
    • Adagio (66 – 76 bpm) slow and stately
    • Lento/Largo (40 – 60 bpm) very slow
    • Grave (20-40 bpm) slow and solemn

For more details, see my full article for Biblical Leadership Magazine.

More #ChristmasChurchHacks & How to Preach the Lessons of the Wise Women (Mary, Elizabeth & Anna) in addition to those of the wise men.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I’ve found that congregations enjoy the equally numerous stories of women in the Bible. But unfortunately, at Christmas time the three wise women (Mary, Elizabeth and Anna) are often discussed little in favor of the shepherds and Wise Men.

Rick Warren conducted an excellent series on these women. He emphasized overcoming fear (Mary), overcoming disappointments (Anna) and overcoming bitterness (Elizabeth).

Rembrandt van Rijn, “The Prophetess Anna”, 1639 (photo: Public Domain)
Rembrandt van Rijn, “The Visitation,” 1640 (photo: Public Domain)

Check out Rick’s series here: https://pastorrick.com/player/?id=20903

MEGACHURCH & Read the latest report by Hartford Seminary = multiple venues let you have multiple cultural expressions & smaller groups foster friendship & discipleship.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: ever since I studied one of the first megachurches that grew exponentially by moving in to multiple smaller venues, St. Thomas’ Church of Sheffield England, in the 1990s I’ve been a big advocate of multiple sites and smaller groups for almost any church.

(See the chapter I wrote on St. Thomas’ Church of Sheffield, England in Ryan Bolger’s The Gospel After Christendom: New Voices, New Cultures, New Expressions)

That’s because I’ve seen in the churches I’ve coached that multiple venues let you have multiple cultural expressions and smaller groups foster friendships and discipleship.

More research has continued to support this, including the latest exhaustive research from Hartford Seminary. 

Read the latest research here (there are valuable church health and growth insights for any size church): hirr.hartsem.edu/megachurch/2020_Megachurch_Report.pdf