SUNDAY CHURCH HACKS & On your onsite and online “communication card” start by asking for prayer requests (rather than asking the person for contact information). Contact info can follow, but show the person you are putting their needs first, rather than a need for information.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Hurting people who are seeking you out, may not yet be ready to share identifiable data. On your “connection card” (virtual or hard copy) do not require …

  • phone numbers
  • email addresses
  • physical addresses
  • even names

You can ask for this information, but do not make it required (usually identified by an asterisk “*” .

Click on the picture below to enlarge an example from a client. This example includes changes to make a communication card more focused on the needs of others.

#GuestServices101 #ChurchGuests101

reMIX & Researchers tell us what’s dramatically declining in the U.S. is white Christianity. It’s time you get serious and hire a coach to help you become a church of living color. MarkDeYmaz & I coach churches & together co-authored a practical book on how to do it.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I have taught hundreds of churches how to become multi-ethnic. And I’ve produced books and scholarly research/papers on how to do this too.

If your church is serious about becoming multiethnic you need someone to coach you. And that’s what I do.

For background why you need a coach, see this article of March 31, 2021 by Wesley Granberg-Michaelson where the author said:

“Sociologists also report that the experience of immigration increases the intensity of whatever religious convictions are held by migrants. They find religious homes in the U.S. within existing congregations and through establishing new ones, often using the facilities of declining churches. Denominations rooted in Africa and Asia now have hundreds of congregations throughout the U.S., which continue to grow. As much as Hispanics have supported Catholicism’s numbers, today there are more Latinx Protestants in the U.S. than Episcopalians.”

remix cover

DIVERSITY & Your church may need to become multicultural. But there’s a wrong way & there’s an “organic” way. Here’s a video of how I do it differently. (I earned my PhD at Fuller Seminary in the School of Intercultural Studies where I researched the best ways to diversity. If you’re interested in really integrating – contact me.)

Interested in finding out more about a consultation? And if you are in certain regions of the country where I am already coaching churches you can have a consultation very inexpensively.

But contact me now:

DIVERSITY & Do Your Congregants Know Why You Believe in Diversity?

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Having researched, written and coached churches on diversity for almost 20 years, I find that sometimes those I coach are challenged to explain the “why” and the “history” behind their beliefs. Ruchika Tulshyan, writing in the Harvard Business Review gives practical steps to embrace when explaining about your beliefs (excerpted below).

Do Your Employees Know Why You Believe in Diversity?

Ruchika Tulshyan, Harvard Business Review, 6/30/20.

… Here are some suggestions for how your team can meaningfully communicate and execute your commitment to anti-bias and dismantling racism:

Do not send communication on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts without explicitly calling out the reasoning for it…

Understand the history of bias and discrimination — which explains how these initiatives and programs are righting past wrongs. While many of us theoretically believe discrimination of an employee because of their race, gender, ability, or other identity is wrong and even illegal, in practice, bias is present in many key decisions made in the workplace. A small but eye-opening example; a 2003 Harvard study found that employers preferred white candidates with a criminal record over Black employees who didn’t have a criminal history. Professional women of color face a number of impediments to hiring and advancement that white women do not…

Invite buy-in and advice from people of color…and listen with humility.

Prioritize anti-racism efforts in-house. Leaders must do the tough work of identifying where bias shows up in their organizations right now — hiring, retention, or advancement of employees of color — and fix those issues before moving to grand gestures that could be misinterpreted as PR stunts…

Show up personally … I do wish more leaders were present and engaged in conversations already taking place right in their backyards… When those in charge don’t engage in the work personally, it gives others in the organization to also take a back seat in this important work.

Read more at …

COACHING & 15 Essential Questions To Ask Your Mentor Or Coach

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: In my coaching of church leaders, pastors and denominational leaders I ask them to look over the following questions and ask me one at each coaching session.

By Forbes Magazine Coaching Panel, 11/25/19.

1. Can you help me identify my blind spots?

2. Where are my areas of opportunity?

3. What is holding me back from my next level?

4. How can I make better decisions?

5. Which skill should I focus on?

6. How can I help you?

7. What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned?

8. Who else should I speak to?

9. What are my end goals?

10. When I look in the mirror, how should I react to myself?

11. Who coaches or mentors you?

12. What might not work in our coaching relationship?

13. What would you do if you were me?

14. What are you noticing about me?

15. Ask them your most ‘burning’ question.

Read more at …

CONSULTING & Thom Rainer on 8 Reasons Why “Revitalizing Pastors Need Coaching”

by Thom Rainer,, 3/14/19.

Having someone walking along with you in ministry is important. Today we discuss how a coach can specifically help you as you look to lead a revitalization.


  • Outside perspective helps you see your ministry impact from a different vantage point.
  • It’s important for you to have someone in your life who has been through more than you to help you process decisions.
  • If you’re coaching someone in ministry, your number one job is to encourage them.
  • Too many pastors are starving for encouragement.

The eight reasons we cover are:

  1. For an outsider perspective
  2. For wisdom and counsel
  3. For encouragement
  4. For venting
  5. For resources
  6. For a break and breather
  7. For the family
  8. For dealing with the complexity of culture

Listen to the podcast here …

Ok, ok! I’ll spend less time writing articles & more time coaching (because that’s what research says high-potential leaders want :-)

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I’ve written 1000+ articles and over a dozen books. But, research shows that “high-potential leaders” favor personal mentoring over articles and books. And that’s why I’ve transitioned to full-time coaching/consulting and speaking.

Read more at …

CONSULTING & COACHING: A Review of Gary McIntosh’s book “Taking Your Church to the Next Level”

Book: Taking Your Church to the Next Level, Author: Gary McIntosh (2009) reviewed by John (Jack) Pladdys, 4/14/15.Next level

What section of the book (pages and/or chapter) impacted you the most and why?

Much like The Interventionist, this book was filled with incredibly helpful tools as I work at becoming a change agent and church consultant. The classification of the congregational life-cycle as well as the classification of congregational size will serve me well as I develop as a pastor. However the section that impacted me the most was Chapter 7: The Dying Church. I believe this is in part because of my recent situation and being the closing pastor of a dying congregation.

All of the issues of a dying church were present in my congregation. Upkeep of the facilities was a critical problem. We had more space than we needed. As a young pastor in my first pastorate, I tried hard to bring about change. We reached a point when it was not financially feasible to keep the doors open.

One thing McIntosh said that I find baffling is, “Often in a dying church, change is perceived as a threat to the church’s existence, and people seem unwilling to try anything new” (p. 76). I agree very much with the statement, but it does not make sense. A dying congregation has no threats to their existence; they are going to die anyway. Why not attempt anything in order to turn around the status quo? This was a big issue for me in the beginning of my pastorate, and at least a quarter of the congregation left within my second year due to changes that were being made.

What were the two most helpful tools, insights or practices that you gained and why?

  1. The concept of feedback loops was insightful as I lead the next congregation God calls me to. McIntosh says there are three important clues in the feedback loop, that if I pay attention to, I will thwart off congregational closure. First, the feedback system alerts a congregation to the positive and negative aspects of the congregation’s ministry. Second, ministry capital (spiritual, directional, relational, structural, and physical) activates the type of feedback the system is reporting. Third, the feedback system helps my congregation stay within the “green zone” of growth opportunity.
  2. In order for continuous renewal, the pastor must either adjust his leadership style to fit the congregation’s stage in the life-cycle, or new leadership must be retained. Most leaders are not able to bounce back and forth. I extrapolated from this discussion that the senior pastor does not have to leave, but a leader with the skills necessary to move the congregation forward at the “choice point” must be hired.

What will you change about yourself and your tactics as a result of this reading?

In chapter 17, McIntosh says, “While planning for the future, we must be improving the present” (p. 201). As a strategic leader, I tend to always look ahead. This causes me to easily ignore what is currently happening. I do not do this purposely, but I just let it fall on someone else to deal with the present. One thing I am going to do is work to stay in the moment, rather than always think about what is next.

CONSULTING & COACHING: A Book Review of Lyle Schaller’s “The Interventionist”

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “I select the most helpful book reviews from my students and publish them here.  These snippets of some of the best ideas and tools from the book will hopefully inspire you to read it. But at the very least these reviews can help you glean a few of the important tools/principles.”

Book: The Interventionist, Author: Lyle Schaller (1997) reviewed by John (Jack) Pladdys, 4/14/15.

What section of the book (pages and/or chapter) impacted you the most and why?

It is almost impossible to find one section of this book that impacted me the most. Schaller’s book reads like a manual for church consulting. I feel as though I have taken an entire 16-week course just by reading this book! However, if I was forced to pick one section, it would be Chapter 10: Evangelism or Intervention? (Although it is closely followed by chapters 4, 6, 7, and 9.)

The first story in chapter 10 captured my attention. As a relatively young pastor and a candidate looking for a position, my first reaction to the question, “How do we attract more young people?” is to offer a solution. Schaller reminds me that taking this plea literally and offering a suggestion will only lead to frustration. The problem is not trying to reach young people. The problems are a resistance to change and lack of agreement on priorities. By dealing only with issue, I fail to deal with the real problem. Schaller then goes on to discus three levels of change. He describes first level changes as doing what is currently happening, only better. If that does not work, then second level changes are a little more intense, but incremental. Third level changes are considered radical changes as they are a complete departure from the status quo.

What were the two most helpful tools, insights or practices that you gained and why?

  1. Ask more questions. Early in the book, Schaller says, “More can be learned by asking questions than by giving answers” (p. 24). He goes on to support this thesis by helping the change agent develop a series of questions that will help the interventionist discover the problems that are keeping a congregation from growing. A change agent should ask a lot of questions. Schaller is so sure of this that he devotes an entire chapter to a list of 393 questions and says, “The questions presented in this chapter should not be viewed as a complete inventory” (p. 188)!
  2. The discussion in Chapter 7: European or American? was extremely insightful for me. As part of a “made-in-America” denomination, I understand better why my denominational leaders do not talk about the reformers as much as the European denominations do. A joke I have with a friend of mine who is a Methodist pastor is that the Methodist must not see the Holy Spirit because they never talk about Him. He responds with, “Oh, we see Him. We just don’t bath in the Holy Spirit like you crazy C&MA guys.” The distinctions between European and American congregations will be very helpful with me as I attempt to acculturate people from other denominations into my congregation. It will also be very helpful when I am asked to consult with a congregation different than my own.

What will you change about yourself and your tactics as a result of this reading?

I will be slow to offer answers and quick to ask more questions. The goal of a change agent is to understand what needs to be changed and how. I cannot achieve that goal if I enter a situation with a ready-made solution.

CONSULTING & How Great Coaches Ask, Listen, and Empathize #HarvardBusinessReview

by Ed Batista, Harvard Business Review, 2/18/15.

Historically, leaders achieved their position by virtue of experience on the job and in-depth knowledge. They were expected to have answers and to readily provide them when employees were unsure about what to do or how to do it. The leader was the person who knew the most, and that was the basis of their authority.

Leaders today still have to understand their business thoroughly, but it’s unrealistic and ill-advised to expect them to have all the answers. Organizations are simply too complex for leaders to govern on that basis. One way for leaders to adjust to this shift is to adopt a new role: that of coach. By using coaching methods and techniques in the right situations, leaders can still be effective without knowing all the answers and without telling employees what to do.

Coaching is about connecting with people, inspiring them to do their best, and helping them to grow. It’s also about challenging people to come up with the answers they require on their own. Coaching is far from an exact science, and all leaders have to develop their own style, but we can break down the process into practices that any manager will need to explore and understand. Here are the three most important…

Read more at …

CASE STUDY & The Necessity of Evidence-Based Leadership

“If doctors practiced medicine like many churches practice management, there would be more unnecessarily sick or dead patients and many more doctors in jail or suffering other penalties for malpractice.”

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Sometimes people ask why I continue to do church health/growth consulting almost every weekend, when I have a full-time position as professor of missional leadership at Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University. The reason is because when consulting I discover emerging and effective leadership practices. This is called “evidence – based knowledge.” This HBR article points out why it is critical for all leaders (and academics) to experience this. Here is my paraphrase of a paragraph from the article: “The same behavior holds true for pastors looking to cure their organizational ills. Indeed, we would argue, pastors are actually much more ignorant than doctors about which prescriptions are reliable—and they’re less eager to find out. If doctors practiced medicine like many churches practice management, there would be more unnecessarily sick or dead patients and many more doctors in jail or suffering other penalties for malpractice.”

Evidence-Based Management by Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton, Harvard Business Review, January 2006.

A bold new way of thinking has taken the medical establishment by storm in the past decade: the idea that decisions in medical care should be based on the latest and best knowledge of what actually works. Dr. David Sackett, the individual most associated with evidence-based medicine, defines it as “the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients.” Sackett, his colleagues at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, and the growing number of physicians joining the movement are committed to identifying, disseminating, and, most importantly, applying research that is soundly conducted and clinically relevant.

If all this sounds laughable to you—after all, what else besides evidence would guide medical decisions?—then you are woefully naive about how doctors have traditionally plied their trade. Yes, the research is out there—thousands of studies are conducted on medical practices and products every year. Unfortunately, physicians don’t use much of it. Recent studies show that only about 15% of their decisions are evidence based. For the most part, here’s what doctors rely on instead: obsolete knowledge gained in school, long-standing but never proven traditions, patterns gleaned from experience, the methods they believe in and are most skilled in applying, and information from hordes of vendors with products and services to sell.

The same behavior holds true for managers looking to cure their organizational ills. Indeed, we would argue, managers are actually much more ignorant than doctors about which prescriptions are reliable—and they’re less eager to find out. If doctors practiced medicine like many companies practice management, there would be more unnecessarily sick or dead patients and many more doctors in jail or suffering other penalties for malpractice.

It’s time to start an evidence-based movement in the ranks of managers. Admittedly, in some ways, the challenge is greater here than in medicine. (See the sidebar “What Makes It Hard to Be Evidence Based?”) The evidence is weaker; almost anyone can (and often does) claim to be a management expert; and a bewildering array of sources—Shakespeare, Billy Graham, Jack Welch, Tony Soprano, fighter pilots, Santa Claus, Attila the Hun—are used to generate management advice. Managers seeking the best evidence also face a more vexing problem than physicians do: Because companies vary so wildly in size, form, and age, compared with human beings, it is far more risky in business to presume that a proven “cure” developed in one place will be effective elsewhere…

Read more at …

CALL FOR CANDIDATES for 2015 Missional Coaches Training w/ Bob Whitesel DMin PhD

(50% Scholarships available for first 4 suitable candidates accepted before Jan 1, 2015. Email me today for the online application link.)

This is a CALL FOR APPLICANTS who want to be considered for the 2015 Cohort of Missional Coaches, who learn church health/growth consulting with me.

Last year’s cohort of missional coaches joined me for consultations at …

  • Ferguson, Missouri to help a Caucasian church transition to a multi-ethnic congregation.
  • Vineyard Church of Cincinnati, Ohio a mega-church to help with their pastoral transition to a new pastor.
  • 2014 cohort included (pictured below): Rev. Curtis Thompson, Dr. Leo Lawson, Dr. Lonnie Pope, Rev. Don Thompson, Dr. Mel Schnell and Dr. Nick Harvey.

Do you know someone who should be trained in Church Health Consulting? Then email me soon. As usual, only six (6) suitable applicants will be accepted before January 1, 2015. And the first four (4) can apply for a 50% discount.


Apply now for 2015 cohort & TRAINING FOR MISSIONAL COACHES (click for more info)

    • All potential church health/growth consultants and coaches.
    • Denominational Leaders, Consultants, Coaches, Church Advisors.
    • Join an elite group of ONLY six (6) trainees.
  • Missional Church Coach training by Bob Whitesel D.Min. Ph.D., professor of Missional Leadership, Wesley Seminary and VP of the Society for Church Consulting
  • Join Dr. Whitesel on three (3) consultation visits to analyze actual case-studies under supervision by Dr. Whitesel
  • If booked before the end of the year, a 50% discount on coaching fees resulting in a total of $1500.
  • But, ONLY the first four (4) suitable applicants will be accepted.

Email me today for the online application link.

In His Grace;


PO BOX 333
MARION, IN 46952

574-265-1765 І 888-C3-PLANS


Curtis Thompson receiving his 2014 MISSIONAL COACHES CERTIFICATION in Orlando, at RENOVATE: The National Conference on Church


2014 Missional Coaches in Key Largo, FL

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This email, including applicable attachments, may include legally protected information. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, you may not disclose, print, copy, save, or disseminate this information. If you have received this email in error, please notify the sender by replying to this message and immediately delete this message.

Please consider the environment before printing this email

COACHING & 5 Reasons for Hiring a Consultant/Coach by Thom Rainer

Photo on 2014-02-22 at 17:22.jpg 5 Reasons Churches Benefit From Outside Consultants
Commentary by Prof. B.: I was reminded of this relevant article by Thom Rainer as I trained in my yearly cohort of 6 new missional coaches in Miami (pic):