MULTIPLICATION & The Problematic ‘Creative Class’: When a Generation of Church Planters Only Reach White People

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: In my book “The Healthy Church” I describe five models of multicultural churches and show how two of the models are better than all others at breaking down racial walls and creating physical, as well as spiritual reconciliation. Readers often ask me if this is really necessary. And, I believe it is based upon the reasons cited in this important article.

The Problematic ‘Creative Class’: When a Generation of Church Planters Only Reach White People

Written by Doug Paul, Missio Alliance, on January 26, 2016

So I have tried to make it clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends. —Martin Luther King, Jr.

Scholar Stephen Hayes has long noted that Sunday mornings are the most segregated time in America. There are many reasons for this, most of which I will not delve into in this post. Instead, I want to explore one, perhaps hidden force that may be perpetuating this trend.

Closing in on 10 years ago, my wife and I, along with some close friends and a few pie-in-the-sky ideas, started the process of planting a church.

Around this time, a book came out of nowhere, capturing the imagination of America and finding a spot on the New York Times best seller list: The Rise of the Creative Class (by Richard Florida).

In a nutshell:

This book quickly achieved classic status for its identification of forces then only beginning to reshape our economy, geography, and workplace. Weaving story-telling with original research, Richard Florida identified a fundamental shift linking a host of seemingly unrelated changes in American society: the growing importance of creativity in people’s work lives and the emergence of a class of people unified by their engagement in creative work. Millions of us were beginning to work and live much as creative types like artists and scientists always had, Florida observed, and this Creative Class was determining how the workplace was organized, what companies would prosper or go bankrupt, and even which cities would thrive. –Description of the newly revised and expanded The Rise of the Creative Class

Not only was this book a best seller, but it changed the way people started talking about vocational desire. This was injected straight into church planting conversations in ways that went something like this: “What if we had churches that reached the creative class? After all, these will be the people who are shaping culture!”

The missiological question that came to dominate these conversations was essentially, “What if church (in structure, in practice and in ethos), was built to reach this cooler-than-thou group of culture makers that so many suburbanites aspirational?”

Seemingly overnight, church plant after church plant after church plant popped up…all looking somewhat similar taking their cues from the concept of reaching the”creative class.” It would be difficult to describe the impact of this book on church planting in the last decade. Not just the church planting world…but our country as a whole.

In fact…it’s gone mainstream. Today, the core principles planted with these concepts have born the fruit that is lovingly, ironically, and sardonically called Hipster Church (a purposeful over-generalization). And Hipster Church? Well…it’s everywhere in church plants. If you’re reading this post, chances are you’ve visited such a church. You might even be part of one.

But there was one thing that always seemed to be missing in the description of this creative class. Yes, they want to be part of something bigger than themselves. Yes, they like flexibility in workspace and dress. Yes, they want to tap into and blend all of the various creative avenues in their life. (I could go on with these descriptions.)

But the one unspoken?

The creative class is disproportionately WHITE.

Because of the racialization of America, the vast majority of people who have access to the experiences one would need to become a part of this class means that most of these people are:

Disproportionately affluent
-1 in 3 earn over $100,000 per year, 9% earn over $150,000
-48% are members of what is called “the Investor Class”

Disproportionately educated
-Over half have college degrees (compared to 30% nationally)

And disproportionately white
-65%, according to Forbes, but I think this is significantly off (but is still 2/3rds!)

Just so I am 100% clear, I’m not saying that there aren’t loads of creative voices who are minority voices. Rather – and this is how race and class come together in a subtle way – the sociological distinction known as the “creative class” means things that include economic realities and educational realities. And study after study shows that white people have more access to these opportunities than anyone else.

So it’s not, “Who is creative?” It’s about who fits the sociological description of “creative class.”

Now, I’m not going to spend lots of time proving the point above. Chances are, if you don’t believe the creative class is mostly white, and the ability to access the creative class is far easier if you’re white, even if I try to prove the point, I doubt you’ll agree with what I’m saying. So no need to take up any more space. 😉

So herein lies the problem: What happens when a generation of church planters buy into a core concept that, almost by nature, is seeking to reach one group of people? White people.

If you’re not white and you walk into one of these churches, even though they are trying to reach the “creative class,” my sneaking suspicion is that it still feels distinctly white. And if you’re a minority voice in America, something that feels white doesn’t tend to feel safe.

Read more at … http://www.missioalliance.org/the-problematic-creative-class-when-a-generation-of-church-planters-only-reached-white-people/

CHRUCH PLANTING & When the Mother/Daughter Church Becomes Cultural Apartheid?

by Bob  Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 10/3/16.

The following is excerpted from my upcoming keynote at The Great Commission Research Network Conference (Southern Baptist Theo. Sem., Ft. Worth, TX) and my article for The Great Commission Research Journal (Biola University, La Mirada, CA).

The Multicultural Mother/Daughter Church: Cultural Apartheid?

A multicultural mother daughter church often arises when a subculture becomes polarized from the dominant culture of the church. The dominant church often decides it’s best for the subculture to “start their own church.” And, in the name of “planting” a church, cultural apartheid occurs. While this does offer a community more church options, as mentioned above they are often too small to survive. And, this model does little to reconcile cultural differences, because the subculture is often seen as second class and as a result has little influence upon the mother church.

SEMINARIES & Is Wesley Seminary the Seminary of the Future? #EdStetzer #DanielIm

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: As a fast growing, young seminary (now ranking in the top 6% of seminaries by size) we have many things in common with church plants. We literally are a seminary plant, e.g. we created a fully-accredited (ATS) seminary from scratch. In doing so we designed our model to better integrate practice with theory, than did the seminaries we all attend.

The key is integrating what is learning in the classroom with what they are doing during the week.

Hence, the homework in my courses gives the student assignments then can apply to their local ministry each week.  Students tell me they love this approach for it allows them “to take seminary to work.”

Now, as you know I have argued that in addition to planting churches we need to be revitalizing churches too (preserving the social capital and assets of these dear communities of saints). Similarly, we also need to revitalize existing seminaries. In fact, I have spoken at many seminaries on this.

Recently a board member of my alma mater (Fuller Seminary) was co-leading a national conference with me.  He asked me, “Bob, what is the secret sauce to Wesley Seminary’s success.”  I told him, “We are unashamedly willing to integrate practice and theory into every assignment.”

Check out this excerpt on “seminaries of the future” by Daniel Im from his updated book with Ed Stetzer: Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply and ask yourself, “Is there something more I should be doing to integrate practice and theory in ministerial education?”

By Daniel Im, 4/16, the post Tomorrow’s Church Planting appeared first on Daniel Im.

… these trends were the focus of Ed Stetzer’s and my writing in the newly updated edition of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply... I want to focus on three of the major trends …

Trend #3: Residencies and Theological Education

When it comes to theological education, the pendulum has swung back-and-forth a few times over the last couple of centuries. From theological education being birthed out of the church, to it then being handed over to educational institutions, then back to the church and so-forth, we are at a time in history where the two sides are beginning to move towards an equilibrium. Seminaries are realizing that ministerial training happens best in the context of a local church, while churches are discovering that training someone theologically is completely different than training someone for practical ministry. Both seminaries and churches are looking to one another for help and for partnerships because both sides realize they cannot take on the task of theologically educating and pastorally forming an individual by themselves. The bridge that is being formed between churches and seminaries is called, “residencies.” While there are many different ways that churches and seminaries are approaching residencies, they all seem to share a common goal – to do a better job at integrating theology with praxis. Where they all differ in their model is their starting point. Let me share three out of five of them. You can learn more in the new edition of Planting Missional Churches.

Starting Point: Multiplication

In this residency model, tomorrow’s church planter will develop the knowledge, skills, and ability to infuse multiplication at every level of their church. They will be developed with the gradual release of responsibility model, so that their development is personal and hands on. By the end of this residency program, they will have developed a plan, not just to multiply the leaders and groups within their church, but also their church as whole.

Starting Point: Sustainable Ministry

In this residency model, tomorrow’s church planter will develop the five characteristics of a healthy sustainable pastor,.. They will grow in spiritual formation, self-care, emotional and cultural intelligence, marriage and family, and leadership and management.

Starting Point: Leadership

In this residency model, tomorrow’s church planter will develop the leadership skills required to successfully plant and lead a church. These leadership skills include vision casting, hiring practices, team ministry, strategic development, and conflict management…

*This was originally published in March-April 2016 issue of The Net Results magazine.  The post Tomorrow’s Church Planting appeared first on Daniel Im.

PLANTING & Tomorrow’s Church Planting by #DanielIm w/ #EdStetzer

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Daniel Im and Ed Stetzer have updated their book which I use in my courses titled,  Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply. Read this overview of the updates in Daniel Im’s posting.

By Daniel Im, the post Tomorrow’s Church Planting appeared first on Daniel Im.

Church planting today is not what it used to be.

Before, church planters were the ones who couldn’t get a “real ministry position” at a church, so they started their own. Albeit, there were those entrepreneurial few who defied all odds and started churches on their own, by and large, being a church planter wasn’t what it was today.

Now, being a church planter is the thing to do.

Church planting is getting the attention of the masses. In fact, many church planting conferences are now larger than typical pastoral conferences…

…There are a few trends … these trends were the focus of Ed Stetzer’s and my writing in the newly updated edition of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply. ..For this article though, I want to focus on three of the major trends …

Trend #1: Kingdom Collaboration

Together we can accomplish more than we can ever do alone.

This is the buzz phrase of the new generation of church planters. Tomorrow’s church planter will be less focused on building their kingdom and more focused on seeing Jesus build God’s kingdom. They will be less focused on denominational lines and rules, and more focused on reaching their city. They will be less focused on the superman model of leadership, and more focused on team leadership.

A Focus on God’s Kingdom.

Tomorrow’s church planter will have a strong foundation in missiology. They will understand that their mission in life is not to plant a church and grow it by sheep stealing, but rather, their mission is to join God on his mission, and do whatever God wants them to do to reach and disciple the nations. As a result, instead of turning to church growth books, they will read missiological books like, The Mission of God by Christopher Wright, Transforming Mission by David Bosch, and The New Global Mission by Samuel Escobar. For tomorrow’s church planter, when someone mentions the name Ralph Winter, they will think of the missiologist, rather than the X-Men movie producer…

A Focus on Reaching Their City.

Tomorrow’s church planter will be so focused on reaching their city, that they will not allow denominational lines to keep them from discerningly working together. In

A Focus on Team Leadership.

Tomorrow’s church planter will understand that their greatest contribution to the kingdom will be when they focus on their strengths, and manage their weaknesses. As a result, they will lead with their strengths, and staff to their weaknesses. They will build a team around them, and treat them as co-equals, rather than as hirelings…

Trend #2: Bivocational Ministry

A Missiological Strategy.

Tomorrow’s church planter sees bivocational ministry more as a missiological strategy, rather than as an alternative way to fund themselves…

First Resort, Not Last Resort and Reversed Tier Funding.

There will be church planters who will initially plant their church fully bivocationally, but then slowly transition to taking a salary as the church grows. I talk about this in Planting Missional Churches as an alternative way to approach church plant funding.//

Trend #3: Residencies and Theological Education

When it comes to theological education, the pendulum has swung back-and-forth a few times over the last couple of centuries. From theological education being birthed out of the church, to it then being handed over to educational institutions, then back to the church and so-forth, we are at a time in history where the two sides are beginning to move towards an equilibrium. Seminaries are realizing that ministerial training happens best in the context of a local church, while churches are discovering that training someone theologically is completely different than training someone for practical ministry. Both seminaries and churches are looking to one another for help and for partnerships because both sides realize they cannot take on the task of theologically educating and pastorally forming an individual by themselves. The bridge that is being formed between churches and seminaries is called, “residencies.” While there are many different ways that churches and seminaries are approaching residencies, they all seem to share a common goal – to do a better job at integrating theology with praxis. Where they all differ in their model is their starting point. Let me share three out of five of them. You can learn more in the new edition of Planting Missional Churches.

Starting Point: Multiplication

In this residency model, tomorrow’s church planter will develop the knowledge, skills, and ability to infuse multiplication at every level of their church. They will be developed with the gradual release of responsibility model, so that their development is personal and hands on. By the end of this residency program, they will have developed a plan, not just to multiply the leaders and groups within their church, but also their church as whole.

Starting Point: Sustainable Ministry

In this residency model, tomorrow’s church planter will develop the five characteristics of a healthy sustainable pastor,.. They will grow in spiritual formation, self-care, emotional and cultural intelligence, marriage and family, and leadership and management.

Starting Point: Leadership

In this residency model, tomorrow’s church planter will develop the leadership skills required to successfully plant and lead a church. These leadership skills include vision casting, hiring practices, team ministry, strategic development, and conflict management…

*This was originally published in March-April 2016 issue of The Net Results magazine

The post Tomorrow’s Church Planting appeared first on Daniel Im.

PLANTING & New Churches Outpace Dying Ones #LifeWayResearch

by LifeWay Research, 4/15/16.

America is launching new Protestant churches faster than it loses old ones, attracting many people who previously didn’t attend church anywhere, new LifeWay Research studies show.

insights-newchurches

More than 4,000 new churches opened their doors in 2014, outpacing the 3,700 that

closed, according to estimates from 34 denominational statisticians.

On average, 42 percent of those worshiping at churches launched since 2008 previously never attended church or hadn’t attended in many years, LifeWay Research finds in an analysis of 843 such churches from 17 denominations and church planting networks.

Read more at … http://factsandtrends.net/2016/04/15/new-churches-outpace-dying-ones/#.VySVSsj3aJI

 

CHURCH PLANTING & Thoughts from Alfredo Barreno at #WesleyanChurch “Ignite” Pre-conference #Exponential

by Bob Whitesel D.Min. Ph.D., 4/25/16.

In partnership with the Exponential East conference, The Wesleyan Church holds an “Ignite” pre-conference sponsored by their Department of Church Multiplication and Discipleship.

alfredo-pi_focus.jpgAlfredo Barreno is a Hispanic American church planter. He discussed how he was thrust into church planting (selected by his pastor) and found “intentional discipleship” the most challenging. “I selected a group of 10, with core principles such as investigate the scriptures, pray together, sermon discussion, fellowship and reach out. Soon were were only five left. With those five I continued a small group with the goal that each would start their own group eventually. Several months later we opened five more small groups started by those five group leaders.”

CHURCH PLANTING & The Important Challenge of Largely Agnostic Metros

The Top Two Religious Groups That Dominate American Cities

By Joanna Piacenza, Robert P. Jones, American Values Atlas, 8/30/15.

Earlier this year, we took a look at the top three religious traditions that dominate the U.S. Now, using the metro areas variable of the American Values Atlas (AVA), we turn to our country’s cities, where we find a similar trend: Catholics and the religiously unaffiliated dominate.

Here’s the breakdown:

* Catholicism is the top religious group—or tied for the top religious group—in 15 of the major metro areas.
* The religiously unaffiliated is the top “religious” group—or tied for the top religious group—in 10 of the major metro areas.
* And don’t forget about white evangelical Protestants, who take the top prize in six of the major metro areas.
* Atlanta is the only metro area that doesn’t have Catholics, the religiously unaffiliated, or white evangelical Protestants in the number one slot; that prize goes to black Protestants.

 

Here are a few other facts we learned:

* Urban areas attract the unaffiliated; the religiously unaffiliated are among the top three religious groups in every metro area polled.
* Catholics also love cities; Catholicism is among the top three religious groups for nearly every metro area—only Nashville, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Kansas City, and Atlanta don’t have Catholics among the top three.
* In every metro area where Catholicism takes number one, religiously unaffiliated takes number two.
* All but nine metro areas have Catholicism and the religiously unaffiliated in the top two.
* Nashville has the largest percentage of one singular religious group: nearly four in ten (38 percent) residents identify as white evangelical Protestant.
* Portland has the largest percentage of one singular “religious” group: 42 percent identify as religiously unaffiliated.

Explore more of the AVA here.

Metro areas are based on U.S. Census Bureau definitions of Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). The metro areas may include both urban and non-urban populations. For instance, the Boston metro area encompasses the Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Read more at … http://publicreligion.org/2015/08/the-top-two-religious-traditions-that-dominate-american-cities/#.VcLLEpNVikq

MULTIPLICATION & For Church Planging Here’s the fastest growing town in every state #USCensus

by ANDY KIERSZ, Business Insider Magazine, MAY 21 2015.

The US Census Bureau just released estimates of the population in every town, city, and village in the United States as of July 1, 2014. Using those estimates, we found the town in each state with the largest per cent increase in population between 2013 and 2014.

Here’s the map of the fastest growing towns in each state (click to enlarge):

image.jpg

There’s an asterisk next to Honolulu, and this is because that city is the only town in Hawaii measured by the Census Bureau, making it win by default.

Here’s a table showing the fastest growing towns in each state, ordered by their year over year population growth rates (click to enlarge):

image.jpg

Read more at … http://www.businessinsider.com.au/fastest-growing-towns-map-2015-5

CHURCH PLANTING & For Founders, Preparation Trumps Passion

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “In church planting, passion is overrated and preparedness underrated. This has been my observation after coaching and educating hundreds of church planters. This research confirms that preparedness rather than passion leads to successful founding of new endeavors.”

by Harvard Business Review editorial board, 6/26/15.

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2015/07/for-founders-preparation-trumps-passion

MULTIPLICATION & 40 Business Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read Before Setting up a Startup #BusinessNewsDaily

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Having coached many, many church plants, I’ve discovered their mistakes were often made due to a lack of basic business and management skills. This list of business books will provide the business foundation that ministry entrepreneurs need. Business News Daily put together this list of 40 books after asking management professionals what every entrepreneur should read. You will find many of these are recommended readings for my Doctor of Ministry cohorts.”

Read the list at … http://mostread.in/40-business-books-every-entrepreneur-should-read-before-setting-up-a-startup/

CHURCH PLANTING INTERNALLY & A Student Responds: If They Invested Church Planting Money In Us … We’d Be Growing Too!

by Bob Whitesel, 5/19/15.

A student once shared how he felt offended by the cold shoulder he received from pastors of nearby churches of the same denomination, when he went to raise money for a church plant.  He said, “When I visited with local church pastors to introduce myself and share my vision, almost immediately I sensed these pastor’s turn their focus on (their)self by their behaviors (the cold shoulder kind of treatment)…We heard statements like, ‘If they invested that kind of money in our established churches we would be growing too’.”

I responded with the following:

Healthy Church Cover smLet me explain what I see from the other side of the fence 🙂  And, please hear me on this, I do not feel this is often the fault of these pastors.  They are laboring for years in the field, and they need help. Then the denomination plants a church of the same denomination nearby.  This can overnight, decimate the older church’s long hard work.  That is what they fear.  They fear the sense of abandonment they see in the eyes of dear long-suffering and long-working saints, who are now eclipsed by a denomination that gives up on them.

I have worked with hundreds of these aging congregations, and many, many have life in them.  They just need the right leader to revise them.  One of my friends took a dying church in Tipp City Ohio with 40 people and grew it to a mega-church.

So, I do not doubt they have said these hurting things to you and others.  But, I don’t feel the problem is them … but the problem is our strategy.  In the business world we would never start a competing organization when we already have a product in that market that is on life-support.  It takes more money (and work) to start a new product line (or church plant) that to revitalize an aging one (aging churches have experienced leaders, assets, facilities, social capital, etc.).

But, granted planting a church is faster, for you don’t have baggage to deal with.  But in the process we jettison many senior saints who have labored for years in the field, robbing them of some steadfastness in their latter years.

I know you are a sharp student, and a gifted leader.  And, I ask you to look beyond those who have hurt you to those senior saints in these congregations that are finding their churches undercut and left behind.  They have great resident power, if only we will work with them too.

Now, I’m not suggesting we don’t do external plants.  I think we should!  But, we also must do internal plants.  Both are needed for healthy ministry.  Resentment only comes when one receives emphasis more than the other.

NEED MEETING & Find a Need and Fill It – The Erstwhile Motto of a Mega-Catastrophe

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel:  “While probably not the originator of the phrase “find a need and fill it,” this was the principle that built The Chrystal Cathedral (formerly Garden Grove Community Church) in its early stages before other (and less organic) building and media emphasizes became the foci. In his book, “Your Church Has A Fantastic Future” (1986) Robert Schuller tells of planting a church in Southern California on the principle of: “find a need and fill it.”  This attention to “need-meeting of non-churchgoers” grew the church.  One day their usual rented space was no longer available to them and they had to temporary use a outdoor movie theatre.  The media soon latched on to this emerging church seeming to play to the California image of automotive worship. Though fame and notoriety ensued, this interview with Robert Schuller shows he still credits “find a need and fill it” as the reason for the church’s growth (not the attractional lure that most people associate with it).  Read this interview to learn more.

Dr. Robert Schuller: A Legacy of ‘Power’

By Cheryl Wilcox and Michael Little
The 700 Club

CBN.com He is known all over the world as a possibility thinker. Robert Schuller was ordained in 1950 by the Reformed Church of America. In 1955 he headed west at the urging of his pastor and mentor Norman Vincent Peale. Schuller set his sights on California.

He preached his first Sunday service to 100 people all sitting in their cars. With only $500 to begin his ministry, Schuller rented out the Orange Drive-in Theater to have Sunday services. The location was affordable, available, and unconventional. It was perfect – church at a drive-in under the canopy of the California sun. Heaven smiled on their inauspicious beginning.

Fifty years later the sun is still shining on the believers worshipping at the Crystal Cathedral. The future holds great promise as the ministry team of Schuller and Schuller, father and son, work towards an eventual leadership transition.

Michael Little (CBN President): What is the key to your success?

Robert Schuller, Sr.: Anybody who succeeds is helping people. The secret to success is find a need and fill it; find a hurt and heal it; find a problem and solve it.

Little: What’s the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn in 50 years?

Schuller, Sr.: The hardest lesson is to continue to stay focused on the emotional needs of the non-believers…

Little: You’ve been the friend of many presidents of the United States along with heads of corporations? Has power been a temptation?

Schuller, Sr.: Oh no. Only if I need it to achieve my goal. Keep your eye on your goal and if you’re a Christian, as I am, then for God’s sake — literally, not profanely — you ask, ‘What is my calling?’ And then ‘What am I to do? What do I have to do?’ I want to build friendships. I want to come across as being a good illustration of what Jesus is like…

You can read more of this interview here by clicking:  http://www.cbn.com/700club/Guests/Interviews/Robert_Schuller050505.aspx

CHURCH PLANTING & How Conflict Avoidance Often Leads to Church Planting

by Bob Whitesel, 3/10/15.

The following are notes gleaned from my consultative work, where I have found avoidance of conflict to be one of the main struggles among pastors of churches that are stalled in growth in the medium and large size ranges.  Interviewing staff, key volunteers and board members I have noticed the following five (5) results often emerge when leaders avoid conflict.

Outcomes when senior leadership avoids conflict:

1.)  Conflict avoidance often leads to burnout in the leader. This is because the repression of stress creates internal turmoil in the leader which does not get resolved. It usually simmers under the surface until an alarm event (Whitesel, 2002, p. 94ff) pushes it to the front. The leader has repressed it so long the leader will often overact and congregants/staff will wonder why the leader is so upset. The level of irritation is often so great that sides will be formed (Whitesel, 2002, p. 109ff).

2.)  Conflict avoidance often leads to a great deal of external church planting (you will see shortly that because conflict avoidance is the rationale, these plants aren’t often given a healthy start). The senior leader avoids conflict for so long, that staff who are in conflict with him/her wind up leaving the church to plant another church. The planting of the church is actually a conflict avoidance behavior by the senior leader and planter, for in the name of multiplication this tactic distances discordant and innovative ideas from the mother church. The result is that churches become mono-cultural congregations, while at the same time feeling self-satisfied that they are planting churches (Whitesel, 2011, p. 61ff).  But, often the plant becomes mono-cultural too because the avoidance of conflict is a behavior the planted pastor has seen modeled for her/him and often adopts as a coping mechanism as well (Whitesel, 2007).

3)  Conflict avoidance often creates an uncomfortable staff relationship with the senior shepherd, because they don’t know how or when to address conflict. Often the senior leader will cancel or postpone meetings with staff, if the leader perceives it might involve conflict. Inside the leader may be thinking, “If I cancel this meeting the conflict will get resolved after the person has had time to think about it.” As a result, the staff will feel at the best disregarded and as the worst detached. The result is turnover among staff who are innovators and entrepreneurs.

4)  Conflict avoidance results in the staff who remain in the conflict avoidance environment are often those who are accommodators, usually with a high degree of tactical or operational leadership style. The strategic leaders, who are usually those that help churches grow and help the church diversify by reaching out to varying cultures, will go elsewhere. The result is that churches have only a few strategic thinkers, are more mono-cultural and are not able to diversify by reaching multiple cultures at the same time.

5)  Finally conflict avoidance often leads to a less innovative and cohesive personality for the organization.  Outsiders get the impression that change proponents leave that church and entrepreneurs are stifled there.

But, in most of the circumstances above the senior leader is well liked. In my case study research, the more a leader is liked, the more apt that leader is to be a conflict-avoider.  Subsequently, they may be popular among other leaders and asked to share their insights into church growth.  Most of that insight will have to do with planting churches.  But, if you talk to the pastors of many of those plants, as I have, you will find that they feel leaving the mother church was the best way to avoid an awkward situation where conflict was avoided.

Thus,

>  His/her avoidance of conflict creates an “uncomfortable” and “awkward” feeling among the staff when they are in conflict with the leader’s ideas.

> So, because the senior shepherd is well liked, the creative person will usually try to graciously distance themselves by going elsewhere.

> And, a new plant is launched – but with a wrong motivation and the wrong coping-mechanisms for handing conflict.

Thus, we can see from such case studies, that conflict avoidance can lead to a proliferation of small/weak daughter churches, less diverse mother churches and less satisfied work environments.

FOR FURTHER READING:

Whitesel, B. (2002). Staying power: Why people leave the church over change and what you can do about it. Nashville: Abingdon Press.

__________ (2007). Preparing for change reaction: How to introduce change in your church. Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House.

__________ (2011). ORGANIX: Signs of leadership in a changing church. Nashville: Abingdon Press.

PLANTING & Soong-Chan Rah Challenges Urban Church Planters to Find a Non-white Mentor

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel,: “Soong-Chan Rah is a friend and colleague, who has important advice for church planters. Citing Walter Brueggemann, he points out that churches which sponsor planting often operate under the context of ‘celebration (those who already have good things)’ as opposed to those in urban areas who who ‘have little and operate under a context of suffering.’ To demonstrate ways to offset cultural myopia I describe a new model in my book The Healthy Church” called ‘The Multicultural Alliance Church’.”

By Richmond Williams, 07/13/11

Soong-Chan RahSoong-Chan Rah challenged a General Assembly audience to break free from stagnation and captivity and recognize the “changing face of Christianity” in Tuesday’s “Be The Change” lecture at the General Assembly.

Rah, a professor of church growth and evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, pointed to dramatic demographic shifts and changes in American culture over the past 50 years to demonstrate that diversity is no longer a matter of choice. In 1950, Rah said, the “typical face of a Christian” was a white male from an affluent metropolitan suburb, but today’s Christian is likely to be a peasant in Nigeria, a teenager in Mexico City or a woman in South Korea.

Rah cited statistics illustrating a change from 1900, when more than 80% of Christians in the world were in Europe and North America, to a projected 29% on those same continents in 2050. America has seen similar shifts, Rah said, since the 1965 passage of the Immigration Reform Act. These trends are accelerated in the church, marking “one of the first times church is ahead of society.”

Christianity has an advantage over other large religions like Islam, he said, because of its adaptability to new cultural contexts, including language translations of sacred texts.

At the same time, mainline Christian denominations that are historically European and predominately white – such as the Lutheran and Episcopal traditions — are the ones facing sharp declines. Baptists and Pentecostals, by contrast, have been able to ride waves of the new multi-ethnic reality.

Energized, Rah painted a picture of a church at a crossroads – one that faces the “danger of becoming imprisoned by white Western culture, which has been more influential than the Bible itself,” citing historical individualism, materialism and racism.

Outlining Walter Brueggemann’s work, Rah contrasted those who operate under a context of celebration (typically those who already have good things) as opposed to those who have little and operate under a context of suffering.

Congregations who celebrate tend to focus on stewardship and being thankful to God, Rah said. They also prefer the status quo and think heaven is “more of the good things they already have.” Those who operate under the lens of suffering talk about survival and injustice, and hope heaven will be the opposite of their lives on earth.

Rather than operating under one of these distinct contexts, Rah went on, the church should find a way to learn from each context. He warned against exceptionalism and tokenism, which does not allow room to learn from those operating under the context of suffering.

“If you give someone a seat at the table and then expect them to act white,” Rah said, “that’s tokenism. If you give me a seat at the table, you’d better be ready to change your ways. Can you learn as much from me as I’ve had to learn from you?”

In closing, he challenged all Disciples to find at least one non-white mentor by the end of 2011, even if they started with just a book by a non-white author.

“If you are a missionary preparing to go overseas and you’ve never had a non-white mentor,” Rah said, “you are not a missionary, you are a colonialist.”

Read more at … http://disciples.org/general-assembly/soong-chan-rah-challenges-disciples-to-learn-from-the-changing-face-of-christianity/

PLANTING & Urban Church P̶l̶a̶n̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ Plantations #ChristenCleveland

Urban Church P̶l̶a̶n̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ Plantations by Christen Cleveland.

If you are preparing to do [urban ministry] and you’ve never had a non-white mentor, you are not an [urban minister], you are a colonialist. – adapted from Soong-chan Rah[i]

Last week I had the honor of meeting with a group of urban pastors who’ve devoted their lives to serving Buffalo, NY. While discussing the challenges they encountered while doing urban ministry in a predominantly non-white, socio-economically oppressed[ii] city, the black, Hispanic and Asian pastors with whom I met raised a familiar issue, one that I’ve heard and witnessed all over the country. Same story, different city.

Buffalo, like many other urban centers, has faced a shrinking population and declining business interest for decades[iii].

But things rapidly changed in December 2013, when NY Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the Buffalo Billion Investment Development Plan in which he pledged to invest $1 billion in Buffalo, with the goal of transforming the beleaguered city into a high-tech center. Not surprisingly, suburban folks who’ve long abandoned the city are suddenly eager to return and participate in (cash in on?) the urban renaissance.

This doesn’t surprise me one bit. This is how capitalism works in the U.S. empire.

WHEN THE CHURCH WORKS LIKE THE EMPIRE

The urban pastors reported that, in the wake of Governor Cuomo’s announcement, many predominantly white, wealthy suburban churches in the area have expressed renewed interest in Buffalo’s urban center. But rather than connecting with the urban pastors who have been doing ministry among the oppressed in Buffalo for years, and looking for ways to support the indigenous leaders who are already in place, they have simply begun making plans to expand their suburban ministry empires into the urban center. In other words, they’re venturing out into the world of urban church planting…

Read more at … http://www.christenacleveland.com/blogarchive/2014/03/urban-church-plantations?rq=plantations

MULTICULTURAL & 5 Models of Multicultural/Multiethnic Churches: A New Paradigm Evaluated & Differentiated

by Bob Whitesel, D.Min. Ph.D.

Published by The Great Commission Research Journal (La Mirada, Calif: Talbot School of Theology, Biola University), vol. 6, issue 1, 2014, pp. 22-35.

Abstract

This article puts forth a comprehensive and reconciliation-based paradigm through which to view multicultural congregations as one of five models or types. It updates the historical categories of Sanchez, adds contemporary models and then evaluates each through a 10-point grid of: nomenclature, mode of growth, relationships, pluses, minuses, degree of difficulty, creator complex, redistribution, relocation and reconciliation. The five models are: 1) the asset sharing Multicultural Alliance, 2) the collaborative Multicultural Partnership, 3) the asymmetrical Mother-Daughter model, 4) the popular Blended approach and 5) the Cultural Assimilation model. The result is a comprehensive five-model paradigm that includes an assessment of each model’s potential for spiritual and intercultural reconciliation.

Article

This article assesses the strengths and weaknesses of different multicultural[1] church models. Daniel Sanchez offered some of the earliest depictions of such models,[2] but 35 years later they beg to be updated. And despite the proliferation of books on the topic, no significant updating or additions to Sanchez’s categories have been offered other than the Sider et. al. partnership model.[3]

In addition, there is a vibrant discussion today regarding how John Perkins’ intercultural goals of redistribution, relocation and reconciliation are being addressed by churches.[4] Therefore, it can be helpful to assess how well different models of multicultural congregations are addressing each of Perkins’ intercultural reconciliation goals.

The following five models of multicultural congregations suggest a new and contemporized paradigm. I will analyze each through a 10-point grid of: nomenclature, mode of growth, relationships, pluses, minuses, degree of difficulty, creator complex, redistribution, relocation and reconciliation…

Download the full article here: ARTICLE ©Whitesel – GCRJ-Published Multicultural MODELS

[1] Though the term multiethnic church is often used today, I will use the broader term multicultural, since culture is a more accurate way to describe people who share similar behaviors, ideas, fashion, literature, music, etc. [c.f. Paul Hiebert, Cultural Anthropology, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1976), p. 25]. Ethnicity is a type of culture often based on biological connections to a geographic area of origin, such as Sri Lankans (from the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka), Yemenis (from the Republic of Yemen) or Chinese (from the People’s Republic of China). But the term ethnicity is very imprecise, because there may be dozens of different ethnic groups that hail from the same area of origin. Since ethnicity is so imprecise, culture will be utilized in this article.

[2] Daniel Sanchez, “Viable Models for Churches in Communities Experiencing Ethnic Transition.” (paper, Pasadena, CA: Fuller Theological Seminary, 1976).

[3] Ronald J. Sider, John M. Perkins, Wayne L. Gordon, and F. Albert Tizon, Linking Arms, Linking Lives: How Urban-Suburban Partnerships Can Transform Communities, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2008).

[4] John M. Perkins, A Quiet Revolution: The Christian Response to Human Need, a Strategy for Today (Pasadena, CA: Urban Family Publications, 1976), p. 220.

This article is excerpted and reedited from The Healthy Church: Practical Ways to Strengthen a Church’s Heart (Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2013).

CHURCH PLANTING & Unauthorized Immigrants: Who they are and what the public thinks #PewResearch

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Where should we be planting multiethnic churches? How about in the six states which account for 60% of unauthorized immigrants along with those states where the trend is increasing. Regardless of your feeling about their status, they are here and within our care.”

By Pew Research, 2/25/15.

While the number of unauthorized immigrants leveled off nationally from 2009 to 2012, there were increases in seven states and declines in 14.

Unauthorized immigration populations rose or fell in 21 states.Six states — California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois — accounted for 60% of unauthorized immigrants in 2012. But illustrating the shifting trends in immigration patterns within the U.S., five East Coast states were among those seeing increases in the number of unauthorized immigrants from 2009 to 2012: Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Meanwhile, the unauthorized immigrant population declined in six Western states, including California and Nevada, which have been popular destinations for those immigrants. In 13 of the 14 states where there were declines in the unauthorized immigrant population, the chief factor was the drop in the number of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico.

Read more at … http://www.pewresearch.org/key-data-points/immigration/

VENUES & Nursing Homes Should Be The Next Church Venue According to #WesleySem Student & Nursing Home Director

by Wesley Seminary student Christopher Herman, MMLO41 Building a Multi-Generational Ministry Course, 2/3/2015.

Dr. Whitesel, I have seen that a sub-congregation in seed form already resides in nearly every U.S. nursing home – all 16,100 of them (CDC, 2013).  Yes! Yes! Yes!  Most churches should use nursing homes as a venue.

Nursing homes are prime locations for planting sub-congregations, especially low-income skilled nursing facilities financed primarily through Medicaid.  These are going to be the most common type, to be certain, because of the anticipated tripling of the U.S. elderly population, and quadrupling of the population over age 90 we can expect over the next 25 years (He & Muenchrath, 2011).  They are good places for “good deeds” but “good deeds” through occasional, intermittent entry into the facility are simply not enough to build relationships.  One of the charges the Bishop made when I was ordained was to the priesthood was to gather the scattered sheep of Christ Jesus in the midst of this sinful world.  I have been compelled by the Holy Spirit to search for them at a nursing home.  We found out over the years that the deliberate presence of people in the lives of people living in nursing homes is of paramount importance (after prayer).

I can say with confidence that I am an expert in this particular type of ministry – and I have seen many churches come and go, flashes in the pan, providing worship services for a time, but eventually leaving.  I think the reason could be that the leaders do not fully understand that the most important aspect of nursing home ministry is faithful presence through the whole process of arrival, orientation to the new culture, learning there is hope for the future and that life has not ended, and being invited to be part of the lives of fellow residents and the local expression of the Body of Christ in the place.  A sacramental approach to life, including Holy Communion, is helpful.  Clergy who rely upon oration alone are often frustrated because about half of the residents have dementia and are therefore unable to comprehend phrases longer than five words, let alone a whole sermon.  I have seen pastors try to minister but leave because nobody complimented their sermons.  Nursing homes need a different ministry emphasis, but any church can do this (Shamy, 2003).

A culture has to be established – the local Christians must unite, cross denominational lines, and impact the lives of others through loving God, one another, and their neighbors in the small world in which they live.  This sort of ministry cannot be done well with merely having an occasional worship service.  Those are not bad, but they are not what is really needed.  It takes years to gain the trust of the management, the staff, and the residents.  Most American churches are not willing to sacrifice for several years because it is not in our instant access cultural mindset to be faithful for long periods of time to build relationships in the community.  The payoff is huge, though, if we are faithful for longer periods of time.  I can go into the facility and go anywhere I desire, any time I want without any sort of escort, and anybody I endorse in that place is immediately given the same privileges because the management knows I have gone through the effort of checking peoples’ backgrounds, and I have vetted them carefully before endorsing their presence.  This is because there is trust.  Trust is like the oxygen in a relationship.  Once a church has trust in a venue, that church is very effective.  I know that more than half of the people who come into the facility we serve will either rededicate his or her life to Christ after as many as 70 years of estrangement, or seek to be baptized.  I have seen it happen hundreds of times, even in a facility with an average total population of only 81.

The answer to your question is YES!!  (I apologize for yelling, but I cannot stress this enough).  Yes sub-congregations can be developed.  I have seen it.  We have done it…Well, God did it and let us help.  Every church should adopt at least one nursing home, making it a venue.  I would give anything, anything to help large churches adopt several!  A nursing home is a prime venue for the Church of the 21st century if we can but see reality.  I am not exaggerating – before the end of this Century there will be more than 400 Million people who live in nursing homes (Vincent & Velkoff, 2010).  The Church is largely absent today.  Nursing homes want the support of churches and they will welcome us if we will but be faithful.

Yes, Dr. Whitesel, nursing homes should be a venue for most churches.

If anyone wants help doing this, we will give it.  We will support such endeavors with everything we have!  In all truth, my ministry exists to help the Church do this!

Thank you for your question, Dr. Whitesel.

Chris

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  (2013).  State of aging and health in America.  Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/features/agingandhealth/state_of_aging_and_health_in_america_2013.pdf

He, W., & Muenchrath, M. N. (November 2011).  90+ in the United States:  2006-2008 American community survey reports.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Shamy, E. (2003).  A guide to the spiritual dimension of care for people with Alzheimer ’s disease and related dementia: More than body, brain and breath.  Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Vincent, G., & Velkoff, V.  (May, 2010).  The next four decades: The older population in the United States: 2010 to 2050.  U.S. Census Bureau, Administration on Aging.  Retrieved from http://www.aoa.gov/AoARoot/(S(2ch3qw55k1qylo45dbihar2u))/Aging_Statistics/future_growth/DOCS/p25-1138.pdf

CHURCH PLANTING & The Frappuccinco Effect: How Starbucks knows the next hot neighborhood

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Ever since Rick Warren set out to plant a church in the fastest-growing suburb of Southern California, church- and venue-planting has looked at growing neighborhoods as ideal locations to launch new ministry. This article tells how Starbucks does it with some lessons for the church too. But let me say that we shouldn’t simply plant churches because the trendy place is the place to be – but rather because of call, prayer and our desire to meet the needs of a community.”

Read more at … http://qz.com/334269/what-starbucks-has-done-to-american-home-values/

CHURCH PLANTERS & What Do We Give Up When We Become Freedom-Seeking Entrepreneurs & Church Planters? A Lot, Actually.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “David Blanchflower and Andrew Oswald in their classic research paper titled ‘What Makes an Entrepreneur?,’ discovered that: ‘The probability of self-employment depends positively upon whether the individual ever received an inheritance or gift.’ This research needs to be applied to church planters, but seems to forecast that successful church planters may have a member of the family that is gainfully employed and able to support the family so the church planter does not have to. For more details see the link to Blanchflower and Oswald’s paper as well as this overview in the New York Times.”

Read more at … http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/12/what-we-give-up-when-we-become-entrepreneurs.html