TRANSITION & 51% of incoming pastors said there was no plan in place when they arrived, and 33% said the lack of planning caused problems as they took the helm. Solution: #Apprenticeship Model

by Kenneth Young, Faith & Leadership, Duke Univeristy, 7/7/20.

… Can you imagine working alongside the leader who would eventually turn the controls over to you? What would our churches, nonprofits and other organizations be like if we created such a model?

I see the apprenticeship idea supported by 2019 Barna research,(link is external) which says that planned transitions “tend to produce positive outcomes” — yet reports that 51% of incoming pastors said there was no plan in place when they arrived, and 33% said the lack of planning caused problems as they took the helm.

An apprenticeship model would allow the established leader to shape and mold the new leader, or at least work with that leader before stepping down. Institutions are well served when such a model is put into action.

For example, Bishop Paul S. Morton, the legendary gospel singer and pastor who founded the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship, stated publicly how he would transition the fellowship to new leadership — noting that he did not want to die in office — and then worked directly to apprentice now-presiding prelate Bishop Joseph Walker III, ensuring a smooth, successful transition.

Biblically, Moses trained Joshua to lead the Israelites into their next season. Elijah trained Elisha, and Jesus trained the 12 disciples for at least three years to spread the good news around the globe. If we take this model seriously, our churches, nonprofits and institutions will benefit.

Read more at … https://faithandleadership.com/kenneth-young-theres-better-way-manage-pastoral-transitions?

TRENDS & Barna’s “State of the Church 2020″ lists “Pastors’ Concerns for the Christian Church in the U.S.” = “watered down Gospel teachings,” secularization, discipleship & “addressing complex social issues with biblical integrity.”

“What’s on pastors’ minds? It’s not religious liberty” by , Religion News Service, 2/10/20.

…According to the (Barna “State of the Church 2020″) report, three-quarters (72%) of Protestant pastors identify the impact of “watered down gospel teachings” on Christianity in the U.S. as a major concern. That’s especially true for pastors in non-mainline denominations (78%). Mainline pastors (59%) are less concerned.

About two-thirds (66%) of pastors say a major concern for Christianity is “culture’s shift to a secular age,” followed by 63% who identified “poor discipleship models” as a major concern and 58% who named “addressing complex social issues with biblical integrity,” the survey says.

In their own churches, most pastors reported that the major concerns they face are “reaching a younger audience” (51%) and “declining or inconsistent outreach and evangelism” (50%), according to the report.

What doesn’t worry pastors very much: religious liberty — the stuff of Supreme Court cases, executive orders, campaign promises and a recent task force and summit. Only 23% of Protestant pastors identify it as a major concern or issue facing the Christian church today in the U.S., and 32% said it was not a concern or issue at all, according to Barna Group data.

Other issues low on pastors’ list of major concerns include keeping up with technology and digital trends (7%), online churches and other challenges to the traditional church model (11%), “celebrity pastors pulling people away from the local church” (19%), the declining influence pastors have in their communities (20%) and the role of women in the church (23%).

Read more at … https://religionnews.com/2020/02/10/whats-the-state-of-the-church-barna-group-launches-project-to-survey-local-national-church/

COMMUNICATION & Researchers find it’s getting harder to talk about God #NewYorkTimes

by Jonathan Merritt, New York Times, 10/21/18.

More than 70 percent of Americans identify as Christian, but you wouldn’t know it from listening to them. An overwhelming majority of people now say they don’t feel comfortable speaking about faith, most of the time.

… More than one-fifth of respondents admit they have not had a spiritual conversation at all in the past year. Six in 10 say they had a spiritual conversation only on rare occasions — either “once or twice” (29 percent) or “several times” (29 percent) in the past year. A paltry 7 percent of Americans say they talk about spiritual matters regularly.

But here’s the real shocker: Practicing Christians who attend church regularly aren’t faring much better. A mere 13 percent had a spiritual conversation once a week.

According to my survey, a range of internal conflicts is driving Americans from God-talk. Some said these types of conversations create tension or arguments (28 percent); others feel put off by how religion has been politicized (17 percent); others report not wanting to appear religious (7 percent), sound weird (6 percent) or seem extremist (5 percent). Whatever the reason, for most of us in this majority-Christian nation, our conversations almost never address the spirituality we claim is important.

A study in the Journal of Positive Psychology analyzed 50 terms associated with moral virtue. Language about the virtues Christians call the fruit of the spirit — words like “love,” “patience,” “gentleness” and “faithfulness” — has become much rarer. Humility words, like “modesty,” fell 52 percent. Compassion words, like “kindness,” dropped by 56 percent. Gratitude words, like “thankfulness,” declined 49 percent.

A decline in religious language and a decrease in spiritual conversation does not necessarily mean that we are in crisis, of course. But when you combine the data about the decline in religious rhetoric with an emerging body of research that reveals how much our linguistic landscape both reflects and affects our views, it provides ample cause for alarm.

Read more in the Dallas News reprint of the New York Times article here … https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2018/10/21/getting-harder-talk-god

CHANGE & Why it won’t happen unless you understand the important difference between “mission” & “vision.”

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., excerpted from an address delivered to the Great Commission Research Network (GCRN), Asbury Theological Seminary, Oct. 19, 2017.

“How Changing Generations … Change: Harnessing the Differences Between Generations and Their Approaches to Change.”

Abstract

This article will compare and contrast two leadership change strategies as observed in older generations (influenced by modernity) and younger generations (influenced by postmodernity). It will be suggested that modernist leadership strategies may focus more on command-and-control and vision. It will be further suggested that postmodern leaders may employ a more collaborative and mission-centric approach to change leadership. This latter approach will be shown to have been described in postmodern circles by organic metaphors and four conditions as set forth by organizational theorist Mary Jo Hatch. Subsequently, it will be suggested that the style of leadership embraced should depend upon the cultural context of the generational actors and the environment.

… Motivating by vision vs. motivating by mission

There is some confusion among practitioners regarding the difference between vision and mission. Kent Hunter and I, in an earlier book, sought to compare and contrast various ecclesial definitions of vision and mission and suggest an abridgment.[21]

George Barna[22] Elmer L. Towns[23]

 

Whitesel / Hunter[24]
Mission: A philosophic statement that under-girds the heart of your ministry. Your ministry emphasis and your church gifting. “What do we do” (and why do we do it, 2017)
Vision: A clear mental image of a preferable future imparted by God, and based on an accurate understanding of God, self and circumstances. Same as Barna. “Where do we believe God is calling our church to go in the future?”

My experience has been that older generations, influenced by modernity, typically emphasize the vision. By this, I mean they have a clear mental picture of the future and try to muster all of their forces to attain it. This can, and often does, result in a parade of different programs being promoted to the congregation which often – by their sheer frequency – overwhelms and wears out the congregants. Burnout is often the result.

I have noticed that younger generations are more likely to emphasize the mission that undergirds these various visions. This is perhaps because they have witnessed this in their parents’ congregations. According to Barna, a mission is “a philosophic statement that undergirds the heart of your ministry.”[25] This leads postmodern-influenced leaders to emphasize less the different programs that are being implemented and instead to motivate by stressing the mission behind them.

An interview with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s in USA Today yields a useful example.[26] In the article, Nadella criticizes founding CEO Bill Gates for mixing up the difference between a mission and a vision. Nadella states, “It always bothered me that we confused an enduring mission with a temporal goal… When I joined the company in 1992, we used to talk about our mission as putting a PC in every home, and by the end of the decade we have done that, at least in the developed world.”

“…we used to talk about our mission as putting a PC in every home, and by the end of the decade we have done that, at least in the developed world.” – Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s in USA Today

Nadella was right because “putting a PC in every home” is not a mission – it is a vision. It is something that can be reached, can be pictured in your mind and is temporally bound. You can see a vision in your mind. You can envision every house having a PC computer. That is why every house today doesn’t have an IBM PC. Instead, many have Apple Macs.

A mission, however, drives the company and its values, therefore shaping its decisions. It is much bigger and grander than a vision.

When Steve Jobs was luring John Scully from PepsiCo to become CEO of Apple, Jobs shared a mission, not a vision, saying: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?”[27]

A mission is just like that. It is exciting, world-changing … but somewhat imprecise so it could manifest in many different outcomes (i.e. visions). It is also not temporally bound, like “putting a PC in every home.” A mission drives your values and decisions through many different projects.

Apple’s mission reminds me of the trend I see in my youthful seminary students to emphasize mission over vision. They correctly understand that mission can be realized in many different visions. Apple’s mission would be realized in varied visions including: the vision to revolutionize the way music is purchased via iTunes, the vision to miniaturize the computer into a handheld device, etc. The result is that Apple devotees have a passion that IBM followers don’t. Apple has an ongoing mission that continues to be realized in various visions. As a result, the clarity of Apple’s mission, best exemplified in Apple’s 1984 Super Bowl ad, unleashes a passion in its followers.[28]

Best practices for the church: When leading younger leaders, it may be helpful to emphasize the mission while letting many subcategories of vision come and go as opportunity rises and wanes. The younger generations appear to want to be reminded of the mission but allowed to create multiple visions of how it may be carried out. They don’t want to stick to one idea or tactic, but rather one mission. Therefore, the mission becomes more important than a time and measurement constrained vision which often influenced their parents’ church.

The tip of an iceberg

These approaches to change are just the tip of an iceberg of divergences between the leadership modality of the modernist and postmodernist. I’ve compared and contrasted more areas in my Abingdon Press book ORGANIX: Signs of Leadership in a Changing Church. The reader may be interested in how I delve into the striking difference regarding how younger generations offset the disadvantages of homogeneity. For a thorough investigation of the distinctions between modern and postmodern leadership, I would encourage the reader to consult this volume.

[1] The Atlantic magazine, March 25, 2014.

[2] Generation Z has been suggested as the descriptor for this generation by the New York Times, see Sabrina Tavernise, “A Younger Generation is Being Born in Which Minorities are the Majority,” New York Times, May 17, 2012.

[3] Bob Whitesel, “Toward a Holistic in Postmodernal Theory of Change: The Four-forces Model of Change as Reflected in Church Growth Movement Literature,” The Journal of the American Society for Church Growth, Fall 2008.

[4] Bob Whitesel, Preparing for Change Reaction: How to Introduce Change in Your Church (Indianapolis: The Wesleyan Publishing House, 2007, pp. 53-56.

[5] Eddie Gibbs in Church Next (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2000, p. 23) explains that though Frederico de Onis created the term “postmodern” in the 1930s it was not until the 1960s that it gained popularity due to its use by art critics.

[6] Emil Bruner, trans. Harold Knight, The Misunderstanding of the Church (London: Lutterworth Press, 1952), pp. 15-18.

[7] Mary Joe Hatch, Organizational Theory: Modern, Symbolic, and Postmodern Perspectives (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 53-54.

[8] While Hatch utilizes the term requisite harmony, I have substituted the helpful term dissonant harmony as employed by Bruno Dyck and Frederick A. Starke, The Formation of Breakaway Organizations: Observations and a Process Model. Administrative Science Quarterly (1999), 44:792-822. I have applied the Dyke-Starke model to the church in Bob Whitesel, Staying Power: Why People Leave the Church Over Change and What You Can Do About It(Abingdon Press, 2003).

[9] Charles H. Kraft, Christianity in Culture, (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1979), pp. 113.

[10] Eddie Gibbs, I Believe in Church Growth, op. cit., p. 120.

[11] Eddie Gibbs, I Believe in Church Growth, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1981), p. 92.

[12] See for the example the hedgehog versus Fox’s comparison in Abraham Zalesnik’s book, hedgehogs and foxes: character, leadership, and commanding organizations parentheses New York: Palm grave McMillan, 2008). Zalesnik use this is a metaphor of hedgehogs who live by unwavering rules with the more long-lived foxes who adapt to their environment..

[13] Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (1776; reprint, Chicago: University of Chicago press, 1976), books 1 and 4.

[14] Quoted by Daniel Boorstin, The Americans: The Democratic Experience (New York: Vintage, 1974), pp. 368-369

[15] Harrison Monarth, Executive Presence: The Art of Commanding Respect Like a CEO (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009), p. 55.

[16] Bruno Dyck and Frederick A. Starke, The Formation of Breakaway Organizations: Observations and a Process Model. Administrative Science Quarterly (1999), 44:792-822.

[17] For more on this seek Bob Whitesel, Staying Power: Why People Leave the Church Over Change, And What You Can Do About It (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2002) and the chapter titled “Go Slowly, Build Consensus and Succeed” in Preparing for Change Reaction: How to Introduce Change in Your Church (Indianapolis: The Wesleyan Publishing House, 2007, pp. 151-169.

[18] Harvard Business Review (Boston: Harvard Business Press, January 2007).

[19] Bruno Dyck and Frederick A. Starke, ibid., 44:812-813.

[20] ibid., 44:813-819.

[21] Bob Whitesel and Kent R. Hunter, A House Divided: Bridging the Generation Gaps in Your Church (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2001), p. 107.

[22]George Barna, The Power of Vision: How You Can Capture and Apply God’s Vision for Your Ministry (Ventura, Calif.: Regal Books, 1992), pp. 28, 38–39.

[23] Elmer L. Towns, Vision Day: Capturing the Power of Vision, (Lynchburg, Virginia; Church Growth Institute, 1994), pp. 24-25.

[24] Whitesel and Hunter, op. cit., p. 107.

[25] Barna, op. cit., p. 28.

[26] Marco della Cava, “Microsoft’s Satya Nadella is Counting on Culture Shock to Drive Growth,” USA Today, Feb. 20, 2017.

[27]John Sculley and John A. Byrne, Odyssey: Pepsi to Apple: A Journey of Adventure, Ideas, and the Future(New York: HarperCollins, 1987), p. 90.

[28] The 1984 Apple commercial is available on YouTube and is best described by MacWorld writer Adelia Cellini in the following: “Apple wanted the Mac to symbolize the idea of empowerment, with the ad showcasing the Mac as a tool for combating conformity and asserting originality. What better way to do that than have a striking blonde athlete take a sledgehammer to the face of that ultimate symbol of conformity, Big Brother?” “The Story Behind Apple’s “1984” TV commercial: Big Brother at 20,”MacWorld, 21 (1), p. 18.

Download the article here… ARTICLE Whitesel 2017 Changing Generations Change GCRJ GCRN 17.10.17

Bio

Bob Whitesel D.Min. Ph.D. holds two doctorates from Fuller Seminary and is the former founding professor of Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University. A speaker/consultant on church health, organic outreach and multiethnic ministry, he is the award-winning author of 13 books published by national publishers. National magazines have stated: “Bob Whitesel is the change agent” (Ministry Today) and “Bob Whitesel is the key spokesperson on change in the church today” (Outreach Magazine). The faculty of Fuller Theological Seminary awarded him The Donald McGavran Award for outstanding scholarship in church growth and The Great Commission Research Network awarded him The Donald A. McGavran Award for outstanding leadership in church growth.

Speaking hashtags: #Kingwood2018 Theological Reflection Seminar #TheoReflect #GCRN #CLIOrlando2018

MILLENNIALS & Barna research finds they view Christians as judgmental (87%), hypocritical (85%) … and insensitive to others (70%). My “ORGANIC” ideas to address this!

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I wrote a book titled “ORGANIX: Signs of leadership in a changing church (Abingdon Press) in which I showed what churches can do to serve the needs of the non-churchgoer in a way that will offset the way they increasingly view the church as critical, judgemental and insensitive.  I pointed out that most people held similar opinions before the Wesleyan revivals broke out and i describes what churches can do to recapture Wesley’s organic methods

To find out what your church can do to help people that are increasingly skeptical … read this article and then take a look at the 8-strategies in my book “ORGANIX: Signs of leadership in a changing church (Abingdon Press).

“What Millennials Want When They Visit Church” by Cornerstone Knowledge Network and Barna GroupBarna Research, 3/4/15.

…substantial majorities of Millennials who don’t go to church say they see Christians as judgmental (87%), hypocritical (85%), anti-homosexual (91%) and insensitive to others (70%).

millennials at church

During a national, multi-phase research program among Millennials, conducted in partnership with Cornerstone Knowledge Network, participants were asked to rate how well each statement in a series describes the Christian community in America. Fewer than half of Millennials agree that the statement “The people at church are tolerant of those with different beliefs” describes the church (a lot + somewhat = 46%). About the same proportion say “The church seems too much like an exclusive club” is an accurate description (44%). Taken together, a significant number of young adults perceive a lack of relational generosity within the U.S. Christian community. Perhaps more concerning are the two-thirds of Millennials who believe that American churchgoers are a lot or somewhat hypocritical (66%). To a generation that prides itself on the ability to smell a fake at ten paces, hypocrisy is a worrisome indictment.

These negative perceptions are not limited to word descriptions. One phase of the Barna/CKN research program included visual polling, and when asked to select the image that best represents “present-day Christianity,” Millennials show the same basic pattern.

millennials at church

A majority—from all faith backgrounds, including Christianity—chose one of the two negative images. More than one-third chose the pointing finger (37%), and another one in six chose the bullhorn-wielding protestor (16%). In total, 52% of respondents view present-day Christianity as aggressive and critical.

SPIRITUAL TRAMSFORMATION & Christians more intentional, but less likly to share the message of the Good News since 1993.

by Aaron Earls, Facts & Trends, LifeWay, 5/1

… According to a new study from Barna, compared to 25 years ago, Christians today say they try to be more intentional about sharing their faith, but fewer say evangelism is the responsibility of every believer.

In 1993, 9 in 10 Christians (89 percent) who had shared their faith said every Christian has a responsibility to share their faith. Today, only two-thirds (64 percent) of Christians who had a conversation about faith agree—a 25-point drop.

When asked about how they share their faith, modern Christians are more likely to stick to a set formula or certain strategy than were Christians in the early ’90s. More than 4 in 10 Christians in 2018 (44 percent) say they use the same basic approach each time they have an evangelistic conversation, compared with 33 percent in 1993.

The most common approaches today are asking questions about the other person’s beliefs and experiences (70 percent) and sharing their faith through their lifestyle (65 percent).

Those methods were common a quarter of a century ago as well, with 74 percent saying they ask questions and 77 percent saying they share with their lifestyle rather than their words.

The most common method in 1993, however, has since fallen out of favor. Almost 8 in 10 of Christians who had a conversation about faith (78 percent) said then they spoke about the benefits of accepting Jesus. Today, only 50 percent do that.

Read more at … https://factsandtrends.net/2018/05/16/christians-more-intentional-less-evangelistic-since-1993/

SPIRITUAL FORMATION & How Black and White Christians Do Discipleship Differently (& Natasha Sistrunk Robinson’s Analysis of What Every Church Can Learn)

Commentary by Dr  Whitesel: Natasha Sistrunk Robinson is a colleague in the Mosiax network whom I once tried to recruit for Wesley Seminary. I was privileged to endorse her book because it offers great help to the Church regarding how to disciple younger generations. Here she gives an overview into what every church can learn from the immersive manner in which the Black church conducts spiritual formation. I have long been a fan and student of the Black church realizing our too long separated judicatories have left the Church universal not only more fragmented, but also less wise.

Millennials are Leaving the Church, Who Cares?“ by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson, Missio Alliance, March 6, 2017.

…Solution Three: Focus on the Group and not the Individual

This year, Christianity Today published an article titled, “How Black and White Christians Do Discipleship Differently.” In it, they focus on Barna’s recent study regarding “Racial Divides in Spiritual Practices.” Concerning the state of discipleship, Barna reports that “black Christian leaders are more likely to say that ‘deepening one’s faith through education and fellowship’ is a goal of discipleship,” and mentorship as part of a group is a crucial part of fellowship.

This education includes the study of the Bible in a group, memorizing and meditating on Scriptures. Furthermore, they conclude that “Black communities tend toward communal rhythms of spiritual development” and that “one’s personal spiritual life had implication for social justice.” Finally, the report indicates that Black Christians place a higher value on their friends.

In short, the Black church tradition and African American culture in which I was groomed intentionally offers discipleship and mentorship within the context of groups or communities, instead of focusing on one-on-one mentoring or discipleship models.

Several of these articles are consistent when reporting that millennials value relationships and authentic conversation. Because communal relationships are already a high value for communities of color, this is an area where Christian leaders from the majority group can learn from leaders of color.

This survey of the Black church and their discipleship model reveals that discipleship can indeed take place within the context of groups. More specially, discipling and mentoring within groups offers a layered approach to discipleship that includes:

  • Bible reading and study,
  • Cultivation of spiritual disciplines like scripture memorization,
  • Positive peer pressure, peer-to-peer mentoring, and accountability,
  • A holistic Christian ethic that includes the pursuit of biblical justice, and
  • Grooming and training mentees for leadership.

Read more at … http://www.missioalliance.org/millennials-leaving-church-cares/

POST-CHRISTIAN & A working definition by The Barna Group

It may come as no surprise that the influence of Christianity in the United States is waning. Rates of church attendance, religious affiliation, belief in God, prayer and Bible-reading have all been dropping for decades. By consequence, the role of religion in public life has been slowly diminishing, and the church no longer functions with the cultural authority it held in times past. These are unique days for the church in America as it learns what it means to flourish in a new “Post-Christian” era.

Barna has developed a metric to measure the changing religious landscape of American culture. We call this the “post-Christian” metric. To qualify as “post-Christian,” individuals must meet nine or more of our 16 criteria (listed below), which identify a lack of Christian identity, belief and practice. These factors include whether individuals identify as atheist, have never made a commitment to Jesus, have not attended church in the last year or have not read the Bible in the last week.

These kinds of questions—compared to ticking the “Christian” box in a census—get beyond how people loosely identify themselves (affiliation) and to the core of what people actually believe and how they behave as a result of their belief (practice). These indicators give a much more accurate picture of belief and unbelief in America…

Post-Christian Metrics

To qualify as “post-Christian,” individuals had to meet nine or more of the following factors . “Highly post-Christian” individuals meet 13 or more of the factors (out of these 16 criteria).

  • Do not believe in God
  • Identify as atheist or agnostic
  • Disagree that faith is important in their lives
  • Have not prayed to God (in the last week)
  • Have never made a commitment to Jesus
  • Disagree the Bible is accurate
  • Have not donated money to a church (in the last year)
  • Have not attended a Christian church (in the last 6 months)
  • Agree that Jesus committed sins
  • Do not feel a responsibility to “share their faith”
  • Have not read the Bible (in the last week)
  • Have not volunteered at church (in the last week)
  • Have not attended Sunday school (in the last week)
  • Have not attended religious small group (in the last week)
  • Bible engagement scale: low (have not read the Bible in the past week and disagree strongly or somewhat that the Bible is accurate)
  • Not Born Again

The Most Post-Christian Cities in America: 2017,” The Barna Group, 7/11/17. Read more at … https://www.barna.com/research/post-christian-cities-america-2017/

CHURCH PLANTING & It’s not for the faint-hearted: New England dominates list of post-Christian cities

“New England dominates list of post-Christian cities,” by Aaron Earls, Facts & Trends, LifeWay, 9/21/17.

…Research from Barna ranks 100 American metro areas by the percentage of the population it classifies as “post-Christian.” Boston and New Bedford, Massachusetts, are both in the top five.

To be considered post-Christian by Barna, a person had to meet at least nine qualifications, including things like not believing in God, having not prayed or read the Bible in the last week, and having never made a commitment to Jesus…

Here are the top 10 with the percentage of residents who are classified as post-Christian.

  1. Portland/Auburn, Maine (57%)
  2. Boston, Massachusetts/Manchester, New Hampshire (56%)
  3. Albany/Schenectady/Troy, New York (54%)
  4. Providence, Rhode Island/New Bedford, Massachusetts (53%)
  5. Burlington, Vermont/Plattsburgh, New York (53%)
  6. Hartford/New Haven, Connecticut (52%)
  7. New York, New York (51%)
  8. San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, California (50%)
  9. Seattle/Tacoma, Washington (50%)
  10. Buffalo, New York (50%)

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the list of post-Christian cities is almost the exact opposite of other Barna lists like most churched cities and most Bible-minded cities.

Seven of the top 10 post-Christian cities are in the bottom 10 of most Bible-minded, while five are part of the 10 most unchurched cities.

Three metro areas—San Francisco, Boston, and Albany, New York—rank in the top 10 of most post-Christian and most unchurched and in the bottom 10 of most Bible-minded.

Read more at … https://factsandtrends.net/2017/09/20/new-england-dominates-list-post-christian-cities/

UNCHURCHED & An Executive Summary of “Unchurched” by Barna & Kinnaman

by John E. Murray (Missional Coach) 10/20/15.

An executive summary of Churchless: Understanding Today’s Unchurched and How to Connect with Them (George Barna and David Kinnaman, 2014, Tyndale Momentum, Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois).

Churchless looks intently at the US population in a statistically precise way. The statistics in the book are not created from individual church studies, or anecdotal information, nor is Churchless a compilation of statistical charts and trend analyses without context for the Church. The authors say that churches and ministries “can benefit from a better understanding of adults who intentionally avoid Christian churches. God has called you and your faith community to expand his Kingdom in a particular place with unique features and cultural quirks. Translate the research insights you find here into practical, culturally appropriate action” (Location 1711).

The research for the book is the result of a series of 18 nationwide surveys between 2008 and 2014. The studies surveyed 20,524 adults, including 6,276 churchless adults. This study offers significant insights in perceptions, beliefs, behaviors, and experiences of a statistically significant group of individuals.

The churchless are rising in America. Churchless people were 30% of the population in the 1990s and in 2014 had risen to 43%. Barna and Kinnaman break the population up into four significant groups: The Actively Churched (49%), the Minimally Churched (8%), the De-Churched (33%) and the Purely Unchurched (10%). For the church, this means that a small but slowing growing portion of the population is truly unchurched, meaning that they do not and have not attended church at any time.

The authors rate secularization on a scale from antagonism to advocacy. The nine points on the scale are antagonism, rejection, resistance, doubt, indifference, curiosity, interest, engagement, and advocacy. The measure created by Barna is based on fifteen different variables that measure a person’s identity, beliefs, and behaviors in regards to God, the Bible, and church attendance. From these criteria, the researchers are able to place individuals on the scale from church antagonist to advocate. Using this scale, the population at large was reviewed in 2013. The survey placed 38% in the postmodern section of the scale (indifference to antagonism) with 10% falling in the rejection and antagonism end or highly postmodern. Among churchless adults these percentages rise even more heavily in this sector. One concerning trend is that as the data is separated by generations, the younger the generation the larger the percentage of it falls to the antagonist side of the scale with 48% of mosaics falling into the postchristian end of the spectrum.

One of the highlights of the book for me is the data on prayer. While all other activities related to religion have declined steadily since 2008, those indicating that they have prayed in the past seven days on the Annual OmniPoll by Barna are reversing the decline. This indicator has stayed rather high, above 80% most years. Of interest is that public prayer is a common element that leaves the unchurched feeling empty. The authors say “Public prayers seem more like scripted statements than authentic conversation with God, more like an extension of the teaching time, directed to the congregation rather than to the Lord.” This seems to indicate a possibility that true, heartfelt prayer where we are connected to God in a relationship may be one of the most overlooked tools for reaching churchless people.

The authors end the book with some strategies for reaching the unchurched. “We must not lose sight of the fact that appealing to the unchurched is a spiritual quest, not a business transaction or bottom-line proposition” (location 2413), the authors say. They lay out five strategies in the book: loving them as motivation for everything we do, having our hearts reignited for the lost and sharing Jesus with them, being selfless servants, being suffering servants who are able to show our struggles and God’s victories, being discerning of our culture and how God and the bible address the issues that culture faces, and prayer for the lost and the unchurched.
Barna and Kinnamann do a good job in Churchless of isolating the pertinent data for church leaders instead of just giving a long list of statistics. The data they isolate in the book and their guidance in applying it in real ministry in the 21st century makes this an important book for pastors and ministry leaders. They do not paint a bleak and unwinnable picture of what we face in Christian ministry, but show that with our eyes focused on the churchless around us and with a willingness to understand them and change our strategies to reach them, the churchless can be led home to a family that shares the love, life, and redemptive power of the Living God.

(Note: I am reading this book in the Kindle addition which does not have page numbers embedded at this time.)

Churchless: Understanding Today’s Unchurched and How to Connect with Them (George Barna and David Kinnaman, 2014, Tyndale Momentum, Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois).

WAYPOINTS & Barna’s Chart of Spiritualiy in America #Seedbed

Seedbed’s Raison D’Etre, by J.D. Walt, 1/6/15.

This five minute chalk board session captures well Seedbed’s founding purpose. We think you will resonate with it (you can skip the outtakes.) ;0)

So What about This “Great Awakening” Are We Sowing For?

The next great awakening will likely not come as a result of “decision” oriented evangelism built on a propositional gospel centered around an ethereal afterlife in “heaven.”

The next great awakening will sprout from the seeds of the whole gospel, sown into “good soil” of the nascent Kingdom of God, sending down deep roots into the ancient orthodoxy of the Word of God and drawing up living water from the eternal springs of the Holy Spirit.

The fruit of this awakening will be nothing less and nothing more than the holy love of Jesus Christ, mediated by the Holy Spirit and manifested in and through his followers.

It will be a slow growing and sustained awakening of global proportions built on a brand of discipleship whose means and end is holy love. It will be centered around the New Creation’s cry, “On Earth as it is in Heaven!” Equally amplified will be the longing cry for the Kingdom to come in final glory, “Come Lord Jesus!”

So Why John Wesley?

To be clear, this isn’t about John Wesley, nor is our mission to make people Wesleyans or Methodists. When we look back on our history, we search for exemplars who not only saw the vision of the Gospel but who lived into it in history making ways. Wesley considered himself and his people nothing more than Scriptural Christians. That’s why we like him. We learn from the Wesleys to be better followers of Jesus. Here are a four reasons why:

The Wesley brothers demonstrate for us a practiced theology rooted in a sovereignty shaped by the Fatherhood of God, rich with the mind of Christ and contagious with the supernatural activity of the Holy Spirit.

The Wesley brothers lead us through a structured approach to community-based gospel conversion reflecting the dynamics of crisis and process coupled with patterns and benchmarks in the long perseverance of character transformation.

The Wesley brothers show us a more excellent way of discipleship; one which subverts a shame-oriented moralism on the one hand and a prosperity based motivation on the other. They disciple at the level of our dispositions, affections and ambitions.

The Wesley Brothers impart theological truth and missional vision through the incarnational fabric of their sermons, songs, prayers, journals, and letters. These every day vessels provide a far more native habitat for theology than does that of the more manageable and yet imposed systematic constructs.

Read more at …http://seedbed.com/feed/seedbeds-raison-detre/

FACILITIES & Building a New Church Auditorium, Research Suggests Millennials Prefer This Size

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Ever since Robin Dunbar’s research suggested that the optimum auditorium size for community events is around 150, there has been a push to establish church sanctuaries is in the 150 size range for optimum fellowship. Here is more research that suggests that Robin Dunbar is right. In this Barna survey different generations were asked which church sanctuary they preferred. The more intimate space of under 200 was preferred by the Millennials.”

Taking a friend to church? Keep this in mind …

by Michael F. Haverluck (OneNewsNow.com) Monday, December 01, 2014

Even though megachurches have been receiving all the attention over the past couple of decades, many of the preferences 18- to 29-year-olds have when conceptualizing the ideal church will come as a surprise to many pastors, current churchgoers and armchair Christians alike.

After taking a handful of Americans of various faiths from major U.S. cities on tours to suburban megachurches, urban cathedrals, coffee shops and city parks, researchers from the Barna Group and Cornerstone Knowledge Network were asked about their likes and dislikes regarding different facets of worship areas.

After showing the Millennial participants four different sanctuaries, one of the selections was the hands-down favorite, drawing more than twice as many votes of the entire group of 18- to 29-year-olds as any of the other three worship spaces.

Barna survey Sanctuary

“Sanctuary 2 was the ‘Goldilocks’ space for many respondents — not too big, not too small — just right,” Barna researches disclosed. “It’s big enough to retain some anonymity as a visitor — the marginally churched (63 percent) and those who are not practicing Christians (50 percent) preferred it more strongly than the average — but small enough to feel part of a community. Parents with children under 18 (50 percent) also preferred Sanctuary 2 more than average.”

The megachurch worship area (Sanctuary 1) received the lowest — just 18 percent of the overall vote — while Sanctuary 3, which is devoid of religious symbols or screens but smaller than the previous two, received 20 percent of the vote from the overall group (32 percent of those in the group coming from faiths other than Christianity chose this option). Sanctuary 4 is also a smaller, cozy space with religious imagery and a large screen. This setting only received 18 percent of the overall vote.

Read more at … http://www.onenewsnow.com/church/2014/12/01/taking-a-friend-to-church-keep-this-in-mind

3-STRand LEADERSHIP & An In-depth Explanation of the 3 Leadership Types: Strategic, Tactical & Relational

PreparingChange_Reaction_Mdby Bob Whitesel D.Min. Ph.D., excerpted from Preparing for Change Reaction: How to Introduce Change in Your Church by Bob Whitesel (Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2007.  (Formerly I labeled this STO Leadership for strategic-tactical-operational, the terms used by military leaders. Most leadership colleagues/students find the concept of 3-STRand Leadership (Strategic-Tactical-Relational) even clearer).

Download the entire chapter here >> BOOK BW EXCERPT CR Change Reaction Chpt.2 STO Leaders ©Dr.Whitesel

Chapter 2: Why Is Change So Difficult To Manage? Strategic, Tactical and Relational Leadership

Change Reaction 1: “Our leaders are not good at bringing about change.” Congregations are cynical about church change … often because change is undertaken in an ineffective and disuniting manner.

How Church Change Drove a Family Away

It just happened one Sunday in 1962. My dad stopped going to church. Mother and I still attended, at least for the next year or so. But soon, our entire family no longer frequented the church my parents had attended since they were married.

Dad had been the head usher for the second of three Sunday services in this church of 1,500 attendees. In that role, he had organized 16-20 men each Sunday to receive the offering and help congregants find seats. Planning was minimal. Dad was supervised by Bill, the church’s Usher Supervisor who recruited, selected, trained and mentored ushers. Bill was an engineer for Delco-Remy, where he led an entire department in the burgeoning lighting division.

However, my father’s duties as head usher for the second service, were more straightforward. Dad had to ensure that each usher had enough bulletins, that ushers were at all entrances, and on occasion he had to conscript ushers from the audience is someone was missing. This was Dad’s close knit fellowship, and he often remarked that not since his World War II days had he enjoyed such camaraderie.

Dad also prayed over the offering. And because his prayer never changed, I can recall it to this day; for Gerald was an relational leader, and he liked consistency, uniformity and reliability. And because he exemplified these traits, he had been head usher of the second service for 4 years.

Why would a man of such consistency and reliability suddenly disconnect himself from his church? As a child I never understood, nor inquired. But, once grown I had occasion to ask my dad about his departure. Gerald’s disappearance was due to an honor. The faithful discharge of his duties as a head usher, had brought him to the attention of the church leaders. When Bill, the Usher Supervisor quit, Gerald was the natural choice to replace him. After all, my dad was head usher for the largest of three services. And he was faithful. Dad was honored, but also wary. None-the-less after some gentle prodding by the church leaders Dad was “rewarded” with a promotion to Usher Supervisor.

In this new capacity, Dad was now thrust into a leadership role that required oversight of 60 plus men. His duties now included scheduling and organizing on-going usher training, recruitment and oversight as well as replacing ineffective ushers. Dad had enjoyed his duties as head usher of one service, but now his responsibilities doubled if not tripled. And while his previous duties had been largely relational, now his tasks were increasingly organizational. Dad missed the interpersonal nature of his previous duties, and now saw himself increasingly isolated from the fellowship and camaraderie he had previously relished.

Additionally, the usher ministry suffered. Dad found it difficult to schedule pertinent and timely training, and Dad never felt comfortable with the recruitment and dismissal process. Dad was a man everyone liked, and he found it hard not to utilize a willing usher candidate, simply because of lack of skill, decorum or call.

The church leaders noticed this decline in the usher’s ministry. And, they subtly tried to work with Gerald. They tried to develop him into a director, who could oversee 60 plus men, and three different worship services. In the end, this was not Dad’s giftings or calling. Dad had been a successful sergeant during World War II, and he had successfully led a small team of men. But when it came to the oversight, tactical planning, recruitment and paperwork necessary to administrate a burgeoning ministry, Dad did not enjoy it, nor did he feel he had was called to do it.

The church leaders did not want to see Gerald quit, but the atmosphere of pressure and disappointment became too much. Without an avenue for retreat, one day Gerald simply called the church office and resigned. Dad was a gracious and loving man, the eldest child everyone seemed to like him. But, the feelings that he had let down his church and lost his camaraderie were too much. Dad couldn’t bear to see the looks of the other usher who he felt he had failed as their leader, and thus returning to church was too uncomfortable to bear. Dad simply faded away, and soon our family did as well.

In adulthood I began investigating leadership styles and in hindsight always wondered what happened to my Dad’s volunteerism. Dad had been so content and fulfilled as a sergeant in the military. But at church, his involvement had led to disappointment and failure. As I researched leadership abilities, I found that the military had an insightful understanding of leadership sectors, that might benefit the church. And, it has to do with three military leadership categories: strategic leaders, tactical leaders and relational leaders.[i]

Strategic Leaders

In History:

The word strategy come from the Greek word for a military general: strategoi. The generals of ancient Athens, led by the forward-thinking Pericles, undertook a grand building project to make Athens the cultural and political center of Greece. The Athenian generals’ strategy paid off, with beautiful buildings such as the Parthenon, making Athens the Greek capital.

Subsequently, in the military field the word strategic has come to refer to the bigger-picture planning that is done before a before a battle begins. Strategic leaders see the big picture, and envision outcomes before the battle commences. They intuitively know what the results should be, even though they are not experts in getting there. In the military, strategic leaders are generals, admirals, etc..

In Architecture:

An analogy from the world of art may be helpful. The strategic leader is akin to an artist. He or she seems the dim outline of the future, perhaps a gleaming office tower or an eye-catching museum. They can envision what it will look like once it is complete. But, they seek only general forms, shapes and appearances. They see the art and the results. We will develop this analogy more when we discuss shortly tactical leaders.

In the Military:

Strategic leaders are intentional, bigger-picture leaders who deal in theoretical, hypothetical concepts and strategies. For example, in World War II generals such as Dwight Eisenhower and Bernard Montgomery strategically knew that France must be invaded and wrestled from the German occupiers. The decisions to invade North Africa, Sicily, Italy and eventually France were decided upon by the generals. But, once each of the invasions commenced, leadership was put into the hands of tactical leaders.

In the Church.

Let’s look at some typical characteristics that distinguish leaders in the church. And, in my consultative work I have routinely witnessed that pastors can be drawn into the ministry by two competing roles.[ii]

  1. The shepherd. Many pastors enter the ministry due to a desire to help fellow humankind with a hands-on, relational, personal and mentoring type of leadership style. This is analogous to the guidance of a shepherd, and is reflected in scriptures about nurture, care and cultivation such as in Isaiah 40:11, “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” And, this is exemplified by Jesus who is described as, “our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep” (Hebrews 13:20). Pastors drawn by this role often become relational leaders (more on this shortly).
  2. The visionary. Pastors in this category have an overriding desire to make a significant impact for Christ and His kingdom. They are impassioned by statements such as John 4:34-38, “’My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, “Four months more and then the harvest”? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying “One sows and another reaps” is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor’.” Visionaries have what Church Growth researcher Win Arn called “church growth eyes … a developed characteristic of individuals and churches who have achieved a sensitivity to seeing possibilities….”[iii] Pastors drawn by this leadership role usually become strategic leaders (more on this in a moment).
  3. A Mixture. Oftentimes pastors and church leaders have a mixture of the two above roles, and may fluctuate between one or the other at various times in their ministerial journey. However, it is important to note the dissimilar nature of these roles. One seeks to build interpersonal camaraderie and intimacy, the other seeks to attain a physical forward-looking goal. In the former, intimacy is the purpose, and in the later the future goal is the purpose. Which is needed? They both are, but the wise church leader will employ each as the circumstance warrants and as their abilities allow. Thus, let’s look a bit more at strategic leadership.

Pastors attracted to the ministry because of a vision to make a significant impact for Christ often exhibit strategic leadership. And, they are often passionate about their work, for they see the depravity of humankind and they perceive how Christ provides the necessary answer. Subsequently, they are often highly enthusiastic and energetic about reaching people for Christ. This passionate can sometimes be misconstrued as a fervor for growth, size or power. And, such negative attributes can sneak in. However, what customarily motivates these individuals is the picture they envision of many people coming to know Christ. As such, visual and revelatory scriptures hold great sway, and they can readily perceive the “great multitudes of Revelation 7:9-10 “… a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb’.”

In the Change Process:

Strategic leaders are the first to notice that change is needed. This is because they are always looking ahead. To a degree, they live in the future better than the present. Thus, they can be frustrating to work with if not accompanied by the tactical leader. Strategic leaders thus see the need for change, and love discussing the rationale and theories of change.[iv] They know what the change should look like, but they have trouble seeing the individual steps to get there. Thus, they are critical for the change process, for they look ahead and see where the church is going and needs to go. But they are also frustrating for other leaders, because strategic leaders know what the results should look like, but they are weak at envisioning the step-by-step process.

Characteristics:

Strategic leadership is “future directed,”[v]” strategic leaders often want people to move forward, and thus they are the first to start moving in new directions. Historian Martin Marty said they “are extremely sensitive to where people are, but are not content to leave them there.”[vi]

Other names for strategic leaders are:

  1. Visionaries (George Barna,[vii] Leith Anderson[viii] and Phil Miglioratti[ix]).
  2. Role 1 Leaders (Phil Miglioratti[x]).
  3. “Top management” (John Wimber, Eddie Gibbs[xi]).
  4. “Strong, authoritative, directive pastoral leadership” (Wagner[xii]).
  5. Upper-level Management (John Kotter[xiii]).
  6. Sodality leadership, which is described as “vision setter, goal setter, strong leader, visionary, upper management” (Ralph Winter[xiv]).

Tactical Leaders

In History:

Tactical leaders compliment strategic leaders. Tactical leaders (from the Greek word taktike meaning organize) are those leaders skilled in the art of organizing, historically of an army. Such leaders are exact, accurate and specific. Tactical leaders lead the forces after the battle begins. They focus on allocation, analysis, planning, evaluation and adjustment once the strategic leaders set the direction. Tactical leaders in the military are customarily Colonels in rank on down.

In Architecture:

Returning for a moment to our architectural metaphor, the tactical leader is like a civil engineer.[xv] He or she may receive a general idea of the architectural form from the homeowner or architect. But, the tactical leader must compute the number of board-feet required, the utility needs and the component costs associated with every element of the endeavor. It is the engineer that puts together an infrastructure to undergird the artistic image the strategic leader has pictured.

In the Military:

In the World War II invasions of North Africa, Sicily, Italy and France it would have been a mistake to micro-manage the invasion by Generals far from the front. Instead, planning, adaptive tactics, evaluation, allocation, personnel deployment, and adjustments for winning the evasion are the responsibility of the tactical leaders once the battle had begun.

In the Church:

Tactical leaders receive their long-term goals from strategic leaders.[xvi] But tactical leaders contribute the critical and decisive tasks of planning, allocating, adjusting and analyzing that brings about the future envisioned by a strategic leader. And, tactical leadership fits these future plans into the ongoing life, tasks and rhythms of what church is doing presently. It has been said that tactical leadership “means fitting together of ongoing activities into a meaningful whole.”[xvii]   Tactical leadership makes the future, as seen by the strategic leader, happen in a unified manner. Management scholar Russell Ackoff’s definition describes the role of tactical leaders where “planning is the design of a desired future and of effective ways of bringing it about.”[xviii]

In the Change Process:

Thus a critical contribution that is often missing in our churches, is the tactical leader who makes change happen … in a unifying way. Here we see the answer to our initial change reaction, “our leaders are not good at bringing about change.” Our leaders do not succeed at change, because a critical link in making change happen is often missing: the tactical leader. Change does not succeed in its outcome, because the necessary tactically skilled leaders that can implement unifying change are not involved. We shall see at the end of this chapter, that we must integrate tactical leaders into the processes of change or changes we seek will not make things better … only less unified.

Characteristics:

Tactical leadership is an integrated skill. The tactical leader weds the past, the present and the future to move the church ahead. The tactical leader grasps the strategic leader’s vision of the future, but the tactical leader enjoys integrating these future plans into the ongoing and present life of the church. Tactical leaders also relish the planning process. They set timelines and allocate duties. They are delgators in the truest sense of the word. They should not be confused with relational leaders who do the work themselves. The tactical leader delegates fully, but then carefully evaluates the results.

And thus, tactical leaders are often pen and pencil (or stylus and PDA) people, who make copious notes as strategic leader expounds upon the future. Tactical leaders create spreadsheets, flowcharts, diagrams and designate work teams. Tactical leaders know who to bring big long-term projects down into easy, doable steps.

Thus, tactical leaders are the needed go-between to connect strategic leaders who grasp the big-picture, and relational leaders who get things done. Everyone appreciates tactical leaders, but regrettably they are usually outnumbered in our churches by strategic leaders and relational leaders. Thus, the organization suffers.

Other names for tactical leaders are:

  1. Administrators (Phil Miglioratti[xix]).
  2. Role Two Leaders (Phil Miglioratti [xx]).
  3. Middle-level management (Martin Butler and Robert Herman[xxi]).
  4. “Middle management” (John Wimber/Eddie Gibbs[xxii] and John Kotter[xxiii]).
  5. “Enables others to achieve goals” (Richard Hutcheson[xxiv]).
  6. Problem solvers (Gary Yukl[xxv]).
  7. Modality leadership, which is described as “enabler, team builder, ally, implementer” (Ralph Winter).[xxvi]

Relational Leaders

In History:

In the military relational leaders are the men and women who lead skilled teams on critical assignments. They have an immediate, urgent and vital task to perform. They may not see where their efforts fit into the bigger picture, but they are the masters of relational leadership. They lead an intentional and personal effort to build a team of interdependent soldiers. While the key to strategic leadership is forecasting and theorizing, and the contribution of tacticians is precision and allocation, the skill of the relational leader is his or her connection with their team and the ability to think creatively, improvise, adapt and be successful.

In Architecture:

These are the skilled craftsmen that build a house and give it the working components. They are often knowledgeable in a certain predefined field such as electrical, hearting/cooling, framing, etc., because of the complexity of the task. And, they like to see the immediate results of their hands. One relational leader told me, “I like to see immediate results from what I am doing. I do not have patience to wait for an outcome. That is why I am a painter. I like to see the results right now from what I am doing.” In contrast, the strategic leader may wait years to witness the culmination of a project, and thus may leap to a new idea before the first has come to fruition. The tactical leader is also patient in waiting for the project to be completed, but the tactical leader finds it rewarding to see that progress is being made and the end goal is getting nearer. However, for relational leaders, seeing immediate results in even small steps is one of the most rewarding parts of the process.

In the Military:

In the military, the battle is usually won or lost because of relational leaders. It is the teamwork, interdependence, improvisation, creativity and unity toward a goal that the relational leader fosters. Relational leaders lead small groups (think of a platoon leader or a head usher) and only partially delegate responsibility. In the military these are the Lieutenants, Sergeants, etc..

In the Church.

My dad was a sergeant in the military, and initially an relational leader who led his small team of second service ushers successfully for four years. Like many relational leaders in our churches, Dad enjoyed getting the job done. I often remember how fulfilled and satisfied he was after church, where he had faithfully discharged his duties with his team.

In the Change Process:

During the change process these are the church leaders who get things done. They often see things from the viewpoint of their task. If they are an usher, then as my Dad, ushering seemed like the most important job in the church. Still my dad, like many relational leaders today, knew that the church was an organic organism of many functions and ministries (1 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 4:11-13). But Dad so enjoyed the task at hand, that at least for him and his giftings this was the most important job imaginable. As a result he discharged his duties with speediness, precision, care and results.

Characteristics:

Relational leaders have the knowledge, skill, relational abilities and dedication to get a job done. Once the parameters are defined and they see how their task fits into the bigger-picture (they are helped in this by the tactical leader), the relational leader can accomplish almost anything. Anthropologist Margaret Mead observed, “Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” [xxvii] And, thus the contribution of the relational leader is critical to the change process.

Relational leaders often love their job so much, that they do not see themselves “moving out” of this role in the foreseeable future.[xxviii]

But, if the relational leader does not have the go-between of a tactical leader, the strategic leader’s vision may be too imprecise to motivate the relational leader. Thus, we see once again while all three types of leadership are needed, but it is the glue that the go-between tactical leader provides that helps the relational leader move the strategic leader’s vision forward.

Other names for tactical leaders are:

  1. Workers (Phil Miglioratti[xxix]).
  2. Role Three Leaders (Phil Miglioratti[xxx]).
  3. Foremen (John Wimber, Eddie Gibbs[xxxi]).

Relational – Tactical – Strategic Leaders: A Comparison

Let us return to our true story above. My father, Gerald, had been a successful sergeant in the military. He was known as loyal to his men, constantly looking out for their safely, but always leading them toward a visible goal within parameters that were provided to him. In such scenarios he excelled. And thus, as the head usher of the second service he flourished as a leader of a ministry team.

The disaster began when the church leadership, largely unaware of distinctives between strategic, tactical and relational leadership, “rewarded” my father with tactical leadership. Dad was an relational leader and he enjoyed leadership that was defined by relationships and connectedness. Phil Miglioratti, who describing strategic leadership as Role One leadership and tactical leadership as Role Two leadership, observed, “a mistake is made when these active dependable servants are ‘rewarded’ for their work my ‘promoting’ them to Role One or Two positions.”[xxxii]

Tactical leadership has more to do with allocation, analysis, creating tactical plans, and evaluation of effectiveness. Thus mechanical processes, of which as Gerald’s son I am more inclined, did not attract my Dad, nor where they aligned with his gifts. Dad was more personable than I will ever be, and he led a small team to success in World War II and at his church.

In Today’s Church, Tactical Leaders Are Missing

Today congregants often don’t know what to call a leader: a visionary, a realist, a planner, a strategist, a facilitator, a coach, or …? I’ve noticed that my students often lump church board leaders into two board categories: “board realists ” or “board visionaries.”

Actually my students have got two-thirds of the categories right. And, there may a better term for both groups. Who some students call realists should be called: tactical leaders. These are leaders who see the important nuts-and-bolts implication of a new idea. They see the cost involved, the human power needed and the steps that are required. They often appear not to be receptive to new ideas because they see the elaborate infrastructure and cost that will be required. Thus, they often butt heads with strategic leaders, because while strategic leaders see the future clearly, the tactical leaders sees the immediate expenses more acutely.

And the “board visionaries” are those strategic board leaders who see the bigger picture more sharply, than they see the route to get there.

Regrettably, in the past 25+ years I have seen a decline in the important tactical leaders, and instead a proliferation of strategic leaders in our churches.[xxxiii] Most church pastors have read books about visionary leadership, and our seminaries have done a better job at fostering bigger-picture leaders. But an unfortunate outcome is that tactical church leaders are often missing in our congregations. And thus, churches cannot bring about change because they are drowning under a deluge of strategic visionaries with big ideas and multiple strategies … but with little idea of how to get there. We need a return in our churches to the development and deployment of tactical leaders.

In Today’s Church, Strategic Leaders Are Abundant

And thus, congregants we label visionaries should probably better be called: strategic leaders. These are church leaders who see the bigger picture, though how to get there is cloudy. They capture a picture in their minds about what a new worship service can look like, but they are not as clear regarding the steps needed to attain it. While strategic leaders see the future, they often lack the analytical, precise and number-crunching nature to move the process forward. As noted earlier, I believe many pastors go into the ministry because they can see the strategic long term picture. They relate to Jesus’ admonition to “Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35). Strategic pastors can readily picture this image. They sermonize upon the importance of seeing the mission field, but when it comes to mounting a step-by-step strategy, analysis and evaluation … they are usually quiet.

The problem is exacerbated because strategic leaders tend to hire associate and assistant pastors like themselves: strategic leaders. Thus, a church can be full of bigger-picture people (and thus an explosion of new ideas) without having the missing tactical leaders needed to draft the budget, organize the training, recruit the volunteers and evaluate the results to make adjustments.

In Today’s Church, Relational Leaders Are Often Wrongly Promoted To Tactical Leadership

On the other end of the spectrum are the many relational leaders like my dad who keep a church humming. They enjoy the tasks they are given, often relational and thus relational in nature. But when these dear loyal saints are promoted to tactical leadership, they find their skill-set does not match expectations. And, rather than let the church leaders down (remember the relational leader’s skills are relational), the relational leader in a tactical job will stop doing their job (often by resigning, but not in person) and quietly disappearing (again to prevent further damage to relationships).

Again, the result is that our churches are missing tactical leaders. The tactical leader’s gift for analysis, number-crunching and in-depth planning is often seen as profane in comparison to the more pious duties of relationship building (relational leadership) or long-term envisioning (strategic leadership).[xxxiv] But all three are needed! We must promote both balance and holism in our management styles. We must discover, develop and deploy the important tacticians in our churches to create a link between strategic thinkers and relational leaders.

STOP! Don’t Go Any Further Without Tactical Leaders

It is permissible to read further, but please don’t attempt to bring about any of the change processes in this book (or any other book) before you get your tactical leaders in place. As we have seen from the above, these practical and precise leaders are often overlooked in a sea of strategic visionaries and hard-working relational workers.

My observation from client case studies, is that roughly 10% of a congregation are tactical leaders, another 10% are strategic (e.g. visionary) leaders, while the remaining 80% are relational leaders.

Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto is famed for saying that 80% of the value lies in 20% of the ingredients. And thus, his statement has been interpreted to infer that 20% of the people, do 80% of the work. Again, my experience with client case studies would tend to confirm percentages close to Pareto’s principle.

Thus, of that 20% that is doing the work I have observed that 8% are visionaries and 8% are workers, with 4% tactical leaders.

Now if my field observations are correct, then we are not getting 72% of our relational leaders involved. My hunch is that this is because we do not have enough tactical leaders to create suitable tactics and equip relational leaders for the task. Thus, congregational relational leaders will often lament that a church is too unorganized, when in reality they mean that the church is missing key tactical leaders to organize the strategic leaders’ visions.[xxxv]

How To Help Leaders Succeed “At Bringing About Change”

Here then is a primary reason why change is hard for churches to undertake, and congregants lament, “Our leaders are not good at bringing about change.” It is because we often do not have tactical leaders in place to successfully bring about change. It is tactical leaders who can orchestrate and oversee a step-by-step plan for change.

Church change is usually handled just by strategic leaders who make a case for seeing the bigger-picture, without giving clear insight about how to get there. The result is that church relational leaders sense a gap: between what the strategic leader pictures, and how to get it done. The result is that the relational leader resists change, because a clear route to get there has not been articulated.

            Three (3) Things Must Happen To Get Tactical Leaders Involved:

  1. Tactical leaders must be recruited and involved in the change process. Look for people who have the following characteristics:
    • They are planners.
    • They analyze needs and appropriate funds.
    • They create budgets.
    • They help obtain goal ownership from relational leaders.
    • They are hesitant about new ideas, because they can see the barriers and roadblocks that must be surmounted.
    • They are frustrated when strategic leaders try to micro-mange the tactical process, by offering too many ideas, corrections, adjustments, etc.
  2. Tactical leaders must be allowed to drop their current responsibilities to tackle change.
    • Because there is so much precision in the tactical leader’s work, they cannot juggle as many projects as the strategic leader can envision. Remember, the strategic leader sees the bigger-picture but the actual mechanics are not as clear and require more effort to create.
    • Thus, the detail needed in tactical planning prevents the tactical leader from being able to do a good job if he or she is juggling too many responsibilities.
    • Therefore the tactical leader must be allowed to drop some of their current responsibilities if these tasks are not aligned with the tactical leaders tactical gifts, or if their duties are not as crucial to the future of the church as are the new changes.
  1. Tactical leaders need a rough plan.
    • They need a general plan which the tactical leader can follow, indigenize and improve upon.
    • In my book (Preparing for Change Reaction), the plan for change is laid out in Chapters 3 – 9.

A Recap of Change Reaction 1: “Our leaders are not good at bringing about change.”

To the change reaction, “Our leaders are not good at bringing about change,” we discover the reason is because the tactical leaders, key go-betweens among the strategic and relational leaders, are missing. While both strategic and relational leaders are still needed, neither have the requisite skills of analysis, step-by-step planning, number-crunching, and detail management to bring a change to fruition. This is the contribution of the tactical leaders. Thus, typically in our churches we have:

Strategic Leaders.

They see the need and the future. They have a limited idea of how to get there, but they have been exposed to various models to accomplish change. However, strategic leaders do not typically have the patience to analyze, fine-tune, crunch-the-numbers, tweak, perfect, evaluate and adjust a strategy. Subsequently, strategic leaders often try to just apply (e.g. franchise) a strategy that has worked elsewhere. The strategic leader may purchase step-by-step manuals for relational leaders. And while this is a good starting place, because tactical leaders who can adjust the methodology for the church’s own unique scenario are not involved, the canned strategy is often abandoned with people saying “that doesn’t work here.” Again, the problem is not the strategic leaders or the relational leaders. They are both doing their jobs. The problem is created because an important linking and planning element of leaders is missing: the tactical leaders and their organizational skills.

Tactical Leaders

They then become our crucial … and missing link in effective change. If they are missing, change strategies are not adapted to the local context and the process is unorganized.

Relational Leaders

In military jargon these are the “boots on the ground,” meaning the frontline workers who must adjust the tactics they are given. They are relational teams of workers, who derive much of their satisfaction from both their teammates and their visible accomplishments. Relational leaders may also volunteer to be tactical leaders, because relationships are so important to them they do not want to see the strategic leader in a quandary. They may say something like “Pastor, I know you are in a spot here. So I’ll help you out.” If an relational leader says this, interview that person and then if this relational leaders does not have the analytical, diagnostic and methodical skills to create and manage an elaborate plan, graciously decline their offer. To thrust relational leaders into tactical positions will frustrate them, and eventually due to their gracious and relational nature, they will quietly fade away from their failed tactical task.

Change is Difficult Because Tactical Leaders Are Missing

Why then does change so often fail in congregations? It has been my observation that it is because strategic leaders (often pastors) try to orchestrate the tactical process. Often if a strategic leader in the role of a pastor or a department head tries to move the church forward with some change, the congregants will become frustrated because of a lack of precision in the plan. The plan to them will appear too nebulous and imprecise.

At the same time the strategic leader will expect the relationally-orientated relational leaders to create a plan. And though the relational leaders are the key to the success of the process, their emphasis upon relationships usually trumps their interest in the administrative details, budgeting, volunteer recruitment and evaluation that is required.

The answer is that change needs the critical link between strategic leader and relational leaders: tactical leadership. Therefore, to succeed with change, it is important that at the outset of this book the pastor look around him or her develop those tactical leaders who can map-out the change processes outlined in this book, and who will enjoy doing so.

Questions for Group Study

  1. What kind of tasks do you enjoy? Circle only those letters that correspond to tasks you greatly
    1. Dreaming about the future.
    2. Preparing a budget.
    3. Getting to know a person you work with.
    4. Graphing on paper a new plan.
    5. Analyzing what when wrong with a past strategy.
    6. Creating a visual map of the planning process.
    7. Balancing your checkbook.
    8. Sharing about your family history.
    9. Reading books on new ideas.
    10. Attending seminars on creativity.
    11. Tackling a numerical problem.
    12. Reading books on history.
    13. Researching costs associated with a project.
    14. Creating a survey.
    15. Taking a survey.
    16. Leading under 12 people on a project.
    17. Recording the minutes of a meeting.
    18. Loading and adjusting new software on your computer.
    19. Designing ways to better communicate an idea.
    20. Relaxing by sharing with friends about hobbies.
    21. Relaxing by sharing with friends about what when wrong.
    22. Relaxing by dreaming with friends about new ideas.
    23. Working on a hobby with a few closer friends.
    24. You share your personal feelings easily with others.
    25. You share your new ideas easily with others.
    26. You like to get a job done with a minimum of fuss.

For each letter you circled, put a check in the corresponding box:

For each of the following letters you circled, put a check in this BOX: C, H, P, T, W, X, Z For each of the following letters you circled, put a check in this BOX: B, D, E, F, G, K, M, N, Q, R, S, U For each of the following letters you circled, put a check in this BOX: A, I, J, L, O, V, Y
Total up the check marks: Total up the check marks: Total up the check marks:
Relational Leader Tactical Leader Strategic Leader
You may be primarily comfortable with a leader style associated with the box that contains the most checkmarks.[xxxvi]
  1. Who are tactical leaders in your congregation? And what are they currently doing? Ask yourself the following questions.
    • How critical for the future of the organization are the current jobs that these tactical leaders are undertaking?
    • Could these tactical leaders be used more effectively in other areas, perhaps helping the church move forward with some change? (This is a question that will be quickly answered by strategic leaders.)
    • Are these tactical leaders overworked and in danger of burn-out? (This is a question that will be more promptly answered by relational leaders.)
  1. What does this statement from earlier in the chapter mean, “we must integrate tactical leaders into the processes of change that this book describes or changes we seek will not make things better … only less unified and more confusing?”
    • What will you do to see this does not happen?
    • List seven tactical leaders that you will recruit and engage in reading this book.

           Tactical Leader:            Contact Information:

  1. ______________________________ ________________
  2. ______________________________ ________________
  3. ______________________________ ________________
  4. ______________________________ ________________
  5. ______________________________ ________________
  6. ______________________________ ________________
  7. ______________________________ ________________

 

[i] Within military leadership theories there are many nuanced categories. However, to keep the present discussion from becoming too unwieldy, we will focus on the three broad categories of strategic leadership, tactical leadership and operational (i.e. relational) leadership. For a good overview of the historical importance and tensions of the top levels of military leadership see, Mark A. Stoler, Allies and Adversaries: The Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Grand Alliance, and U.S. Strategy in World War II (Chapel Hill, No. Carolina: The University of North Carolina Press, 2000).

[ii] These are certainly not the only two forces that draw pastors into the ministry. However, in my consultative work I have seen these two categories appear with surprising regularity. In addition, these two categories provide a helpful framework for distinguishing how pastors with relational leadership skills vary from those with strategic leadership abilities.

[iii] Win Arn, “A Church Growth Look at … Here’s Life America,” The Pastors Church Growth Handbook (Pasadena, Calif.: Church Growth Press, 1987), p. 45.

[iv] There is an important difference in organization theory between theories of change and theories of changing (see Warren G. Bennis, Changing Organizations [New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996]). Theories of change refer to how change occurs, while theories of changing investigate how to control or manipulate change. Subsequently, strategic leaders will customarily focus on theories of change, while tactical leaders will gravitate toward theories of changing. Unless this subtle, but important difference is noted, strategic leaders and tactical leaders may talking about two different things, but using the same term. Hence, confusion in our churches often results between our visionary leaders and the administrative tactical leaders who must bring these visions to fruition.

[v] H. Ozbekhan, “Toward a General Theory of Planning,” in E. Jantsch, ed., Perspective in Planning (Paris, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 1969), p. 151.

[vi] Martin Marty, “Lutheran Scholar ‘Sprinkles Methodist Advice,” in The United Methodist Reporter (Dallas, Texas: 1986), March 28.

[vii] Christian pollster George Barna correctly emphasizes that for a strategic leader, a clear vision of the future is important. And, Barna in his popular book, The Power of Vision (Ventura, Calif.: Regal Books, 1992, p. 28, 38-39) describes a vision as “ a clear mental image of a preferable future imparted by God, and based on an accurate understanding of God, self and circumstances.” Yet, the popularity of Barna’s definition may have clouded the picture, as strategically-orientated pastors latched on to this definition, which lacks the complimentary emphasis that it is tactical leadership that will get you there.

[viii] Leith Anderson, Dying for Change (Minneapolis, Minn.: Bethany Publishing House, 1990), pp. 177-178.

[ix] Phil Miglioratti, “Putting Your Laymen When They Will Do the Most Good,” The Pastor’s Church Growth Handbook (Pasadena, Calif.: Church Growth Press, 1979), p. 146.

[x] Ibid.

[xi] Eddie Gibbs, I Believe in Church Growth (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans Publishing House, 1981), pp. 380, 383-385.

[xii] C. Peter Wagner, Leading Your Church to Growth (Ventura, Calif.: Regal Books, 1984), p. 73-74.

[xiii] John Kotter, A Force for Change: How Leadership Differs from Management (Boston: Harvard University Press, 1990).

[xiv] C. Peter Wagner, Leading Your Church to Growth, op. cit., pp. 141-165.

[xv] The architectural analogy is not meant to be wholly precise, but rather to serve as an approximate illustration. To be sure, many architects demonstrate not only strategic bigger-picture leadership, but also the tactical engineering skills to engineer a building. This is similar to how a church leader may function on several levels of leadership at the same time. Again, the purpose here is not to tender a inflexible illustration, but to give a general idea of the complimentary interplay of strategic, tactical and relational skills.

[xvi] Management scholar Russell Ackoff says of tactical leadership, “the principle complexity in planning derives from the interrelatedness of the decisions rather than from the decisions themselves” (Russell L. Ackoff, A Concept of Corporate Planning [New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc, 1970] pp. 2-3). What Ackoff means is that tactical planning has to take into consideration the connectedness of all past, present and future decisions and work out a complex change strategy that considers all of these factors. The most frequent failure in the planning process is due to a lack of tactical leaders who can integrate and coordinate multiple concerns. Often plans for change are brought about by strategic leaders who are too concerned about the future (to consider fully the present and/or past), and relational leaders who are overly concerned about the needs of the present (and the relationships involved). While in this chapter I have argued that all three types of leaders are needed (strategic-tactical-relational), it is the absence of tactical leaders that often leaves the church with a feeling that change rarely produces good results.

[xvii] Herman R. Van Gunsteren, The Quest for Control: A Critique of the Rational Control Rule Approach in Public Affairs (New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc, 1976), p. 2

[xviii] Russell L. Ackoff, A Concept of Corporate Planning, op. cit., p. 1.

[xix] Phil Miglioratti, “Putting Your Laymen When They Will Do the Most Good,” op. cit., p. 146

[xx] ibid.

[xxi] D. Martin Butler and Robert D. Herman, “Effective Ministerial Leadership,” Nonprofit Management and Leadership (1999), 9:229-239.

[xxii] Eddie Gibbs, I Believe in Church Growth, op. cit., pp. 380, 382-383.

[xxiii] John Kotter, A Force for Change: How Leadership Differs from Management, op. cit.. Kotter muddies the water a bit, by making a imprecise distinction between leadership and management. Kotter would agree with this author, that there are strategic leaders and tactical leaders. However, Kotter calls what strategic leaders do: “leadership.” And he labels what tactical leaders do as: “management.” While it is laudable that Kotter is trying to help distinguish between strategic and tactical leadership, the widespread use of the terms “leadership” and “management” probably mean they are too popular to now be more narrowly defined. Thus, Kotter’s goal is good, to distinguish between strategic and tactical leaders, but his terminology is probably too imprecise.

[xxiv] Richard Hutcheson, J., The Wheel Within the Wheel: Confronting the Management Crisis of the Pluralistic Church (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1979), p. 54.

[xxv] Gary Yukl, Managerial Practices Survey (Albany, New York: Gary Yukl and Man Associates, 1990).

[xxvi] C. Peter Wagner, Leading Your Church to Growth, op. cit., pp. 141-165.

[xxvii] Popular attestation, http://www.quoteworld.org/quotes/8891

[xxviii] Phil Miglioratti, “Putting Your Laymen When They Will Do the Most Good,” op. cit., p. 146

[xxix] Ibid.

[xxx] ibid.

[xxxi] Eddie Gibbs, I Believe in Church Growth, op. cit., pp. 380, 381.

[xxxii] Phil Miglioratti, “Putting Your Laymen When They Will Do the Most Good,” op. cit., p. 147.

[xxxiii] Though today tactical leaders are often missing in our churches, this was not always the case. In the early 1980s Peter Wagner and other leaders in the Church Growth Movement lamented that mostly tactical leaders were being trained in seminaries. Wagner would label strategic leadership as “strong leadership,” and tactical leadership he would call “enabler leadership.” Thus Wagner observed in 1984 with obvious Orwellian overtones (C. Peter Wagner, Leading Your Church to Growth, op. cit., pp. 73-75), “one reason why strong pastoral leadership is not characteristic of many of American’s churches is that in the recent past clergy have been taught just the opposite in the seminaries … They were taught to reject strong, authoritative, directive pastoral leadership….The alternative has been the model of pastor as an ‘enabler.”…What exactly is an enabler? Richard Hutcheson puts it this way: ‘An enabler or facilitator is a relatively uninvolved technician who understands the process by which things are accomplished and who enables other to achieve goals’ (Richard Hutcheson, J., The Wheel Within the Wheel: Confronting the Management Crisis of the Pluralistic Church, op. cit., p. 54).” What Wagner and Hutcheson are describing as enablers, I would define in organizational terms as tactical leaders. And I would disagree with Hutcheson on one point. I have found that tactical leaders are not “relatively uninvolved,” but only appear to be so because they enjoy the impersonal and technical tasks of planning, analysis, evaluation and adjustment.

[xxxiv] Richard Hutcheson, J. in The Wheel Within the Wheel: Confronting the Management Crisis of the Pluralistic Church, op. cit., p. 53 describes how the group dynamics movement within the Human Resource field emphasized interpersonal relationships in management. Thus, tactical leadership came to be viewed incorrectly as more profane in contrast to its strategic and relational counterparts. However, the reader of this chapter should be able to see that all three leadership skills, strategic-tactical-relational, are required for effective change to take place.

[xxxv] The 12% of the strategic leaders who are unengaged is probably due to the lack of tactical leaders as well. Church leaders often lament to me that there is no one in the church available to implement their new ideas, and thus they keep their ideas to themselves.

[xxxvi] This questionnaire is not designed to be a definitive categorization for these three types of leadership skills, but rather a general indicator. And, you may find you have scored differently than you anticipated. In such circumstances and if comfortable to do so, share with friends and coworkers your score, and ask for comment upon your leadership categorization. Remember, neither category is preferential to the others, for the proper and organic functioning of all three is required for change to take place. In addition, oftentimes leaders move from one leadership category to another based upon circumstance or time. For instance, sometimes congregants who have been tactical leaders in the past and know the great degree of energy and effort such leadership requires, may thus want a sabbatical from tactical duties. This is permissible and proper, as God Himself rested from His labors (Exodus 20:8) as well as required this of His servants (Leviticus 25:2, Mark 2:27).

Speaking hashtags: #STO.  3-STRand   STRand   #ThinkTankOH  #TTOH   #3-STR #3-STRand. #TTIN

BIBLE & Do Bible Haters Now Equal Bible Lovers? American Bible Society Thinks So

Do Bible Haters Now Equal Bible Lovers? American Bible Society Thinks So

“The number of Americans who read Scripture at least four times a week and believe that it is the inspired word of God has fallen to just under 1 in 5, according to new reseState of the Bible 2014arch from the American Bible Society (ABS).

The same percentage of Americans (19 percent) are now ‘antagonistic’ toward the Bible, reading it less than once per month and believing it is a book of teachings written by men that contain stories and advice.

Thus, the ‘percentage of Scripture haters now equals Scripture lovers,’ notes the [original] press release for the 2014 edition of ABS’s annual State of the Bible report, conducted by Barna Group. The main reason: millennials.”

Image: American Bible Society – Barna Group

Read more at … http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2014/april/do-bible-haters-equal-lovers-american-bible-society-barna.html

TRENDS

3 Trends Redefining the Information Age

56% of all adults – not just Christians – say they want to know how faith addresses their current challenges.  https://www.barna.org/barna-update/culture/641-3-trends-redefining-the-information-age#.UxXVhl7j7bN