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

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

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

The problem:

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

The solution:  

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

Remember …

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

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

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

eReformation & Here is how an associate pastor is effectively ministering to a Boston congregation from her home, 3000 miles away in California.

By Paul Leighton, 11/18/20, The Salem News.

… The First Baptist Church in Beverly (MA) has hired a new minister from California. And it won’t have to pay her moving costs.

The Rev. Jaimie Crumley has been hired as a “virtual minister.” Since coming on board, she’s been preaching at online Sunday services and meeting with church members via Zoom without leaving her home in Inglewood, California.

“It is definitely unusual, especially living all the way across the country,” Crumley said. “It’s not like I run into people in the grocery store.”

Like many churches, the First Baptist Church has been holding services on-line during the pandemic. The Rev. Julie Flowers, one of the First Baptist’s two senior ministers, said virtual ministry is likely to continue in some form or another even after it is safe to resume in-person services. So when it came time to hire an associate minister, they decided to make it a full-time virtual position.

“It opened up possibilities that in-person ministry doesn’t,” Flowers said. “We posted it saying this candidate could live anywhere as long as they could work on the Eastern time zone. We got candidates from all over the country.”

Flowers said Crumley, 30, was a great candidate because of her “dexterity in the virtual space,” including experience with podcasting.

…Crumley grew up in Alexandria, Virginia, and is now working on her PhD in the department of gender studies at UCLA. She’s a graduate of Wellesley College and Yale Divinity School, where she was awarded the Mersick Prize for effective public address.

Crumley said she is trying to create as many “touchstones” as possible to get to know First Baptist Church members. She has chatted with people on Zoom coffee hours after Sunday services and hosted a virtual blessing of the animal services. She’s planning to do a weekly podcast based on the church’s theme for the year, “The Journey is Our Home.”

Read more at … https://www.salemnews.com/news/local_news/virtual-minister-preaches-from-afar/article_f4dc3824-59a9-5513-9c38-28d8e2f4afc6.html

HUMOR & Young Person Is Clueless About How People Lived Before E-Mail, And His Texts With An Older Person Go Viral

by Mindaugas Balčiauskas and
Rokas Laurinavičius , BoredPanda, 10/7/20.

Kathy Torrence, 52, learned that her son, 21, is no different. Recently, he texted Kathy, asking, “How did any of college work before email?”

Read more at … https://www.boredpanda.com/college-life-before-internet-email-son-mom-exchange-kathy-torrence/

eREFORMATION & Tara Isabella Burton on 3 ways the Internet is reshaping how people congregate. “Growing the Post-pandemic Church” in paperback & Kindle on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Bob-Whitesel/ my #14thBook. #Post-PandemicChurchBook

Tara Isabella Burto; “There are three major elements that I would point to in looking at the way internet culture led to our modern religiously remixed culture. The first is the development of a kind of tribalization that transcended geographic limitations. The idea that you could seek out people who were like you, who thought like you, and share your desires and your goals, without those things being based in your geographic community. That fostered a different way of thinking about gathering and tribe based on affinity interest rather than on, perhaps one might say, a fixed point. Secondly, I think there’s the idea rooted in consumer capitalism that our choices define us. What we buy and what we consume can be indicative in how we build our personality. The internet has made this all the more possible, especially as various algorithms determine what news we see and what movies are suggested to us. The narrower an affinity base becomes, so too our approach to spirituality becomes something that should work for us and work for our choices, or so the prevailing cultural ethos goes. Thirdly and finally, I think the internet culture of user-generated content, where we are not just passive consumers but active creators—whether it’s making memes or posting on Twitter—has lent itself to a more participatory and polyphonic understanding of spiritual life. Again, there’s a hunger for ownership; we don’t want to passively consume a text but rather kind of write our own.”

From “The New Godless Religions: An Interview with Tara Isabella Burto, by Kenneth E. Frantz | September 22, 2020. More at … https://religionandpolitics.org/2020/09/22/the-new-godless-religions-an-interview-with-tara-isabella-burton/

More insights can be found in “Growing the Post-pandemic Church” in paperback & Kindle on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Bob-Whitesel/ my #14thBook. #Post-PandemicChurchBook

ONLINE CHURCH & Research finds mature Christians will return to in-person worship. Yet “seekers” are more likely to attend online worship. “Growing the Post-pandemic Church” in paperback & Kindle on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Bob-Whitesel/ my #14thBook. #Post-PandemicChurchBook.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Looking into this Pew research it is clear to me that while faithful parishioners will be back in-person once the pandemic is over, it is “the seekers” who are more likely to seek online worship. Therefore in the future a healthy church that reaches out to unchurched people must have a robust online ministry. This is why I call it the eReformation.

“Will the coronavirus permanently convert in-person worshippers to online streamers? They don’t think so” by Alan Cooperman, Pew Research, 8/17/20.

… most U.S. adults overall say that when the pandemic is over, they expect to go back to attending religious services in person as often as they did before the coronavirus outbreak.How we did this

Few expect pandemic to permanently alter their religious worship routines

To be sure, a substantial share of Americans (43%) say they didn’t attend religious services in person before the pandemic struck and they don’t plan to start going to a church or other house of worship when it’s all over. But 42% of U.S. adults say they plan to resume going to religious services about as often as they did before the outbreak, while 10% say they will go more often than they used to, and just 5% anticipate going less often.

Read more at … https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/08/17/will-the-coronavirus-permanently-convert-in-person-worshippers-to-online-streamers-they-dont-think-so/

TRENDS & Watch this music video to see fresh expressions of the Church (and be blessed by the singing too).

From the UK, a praise video of the diverse young people choosing to follow Jesus.

#SundayChurchHacks – Continue to improve online worship after onsite worship returns. Some people may never be able to join you onsite (or choose not to).

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 5/2020.

We are entering “age of the eReformation,” an electronic re-formation of the way the Church shares the Good News.

Yet I have noticed that some churches regard online worship as a “stop-gap” measure required by a pandemic that prevents face-to-face encounter.  But, as I noted in a recent article titled, St. Paul’s guide to leading remotely, Paul faced similar challenges of guiding and discipling the far-flung churches he led.

So, use this time of forced online worship as an opportunity to begin to offer both onsite and online worship that is anointed, powerful and life-changing.

Read the entire article by clicking on this title below:

Screen Shot 2020-05-31 at 11.29.04 AM

For more ideas see another article I wrote for Biblical Leadership Magazine

eReformation: Leading post-pandemic church growth – 10 things to start doing now

#SundayChurchHacks – Record your live service & starting streaming it early Sunday morning. Don’t make online attendees wait around until it is convenient for you.

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 5/2020.

Today we are entering the “age of the eReformation,” an electronic re-formation of the way the Church shares the Good News.

But many churches wait to live-stream their worship at the customary Sunday hour (10:30 or 11 AM).  This requires online attendees to wait around until you are ready to start.

But is holding it “live” with an audience always necessary? Aren’t you hoping that people who watch it later in the week will experience the same worship encounter and connection with the Holy Spirit as you did when you recorded it?

So, why not record and post your worship service early on Sunday morning (or even Saturday night) so more people can experience it when it is convenient for them?  More people may watch it this way.

The eReformation coming upon the Church means the Good News can be more accessible through electronic means, just as it did in 1500s when the printing press allowed people to read the Word any day of the week.

For more ideas see the article I wrote for Biblical Leadership Magazine

eReformation: Leading post-pandemic church growth – 10 things to start doing now

#SundayChurchHacks – Make streaming your worship easy by featuring the access link prominently on your webpage.

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 5/2020.

Because we are entering the “age of the eReformation,” an electronic re-formation of the way the Church shares the Good News, access to your online worship should be easy and central.

Unfortunately, many churches still require several clicks or links to access their online worship streaming. In addition, churches often put the streaming link lower down on the page, rather than centrally located.

Because people are coming to your website because they are Internet savvy, put the link to streaming your Sunday service at the top and in a prominent place on your webpage.

Make access to your online worship service as easy as attending a live worship service.

For more ideas see the article I wrote for Biblical Leadership Magazine

eReformation: Leading post-pandemic church growth – 10 things to start doing now


Landing Page Example A (better) …

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Landing Page Example B (best):Screen Shot 2020-05-31 at 10.42.45 AM