GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & #ElmerTowns at #GCRN at #Exponential says a secret has always been using new methods of communication, such as (increasingly) via a camera. #GreatCommissionResearchNetwork

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: My friend and professional inspiration has been Elmer Towns, prolific author (over 200 books), scholar and student of outreach. Looking back over 50 years of studying how churches grow, ne said that teaching/preaching via new methods (today online via cameras) is one of the most important secrets of church growth.

Dr. Elmer Towns at the Great Commission Research Network Annual Conference at Exponential.

Learn more about the Great Commission Research Network at https://www.greatcommissionresearch.com

ATTENDANCE & The Relationship between Live Sports and Live Church. UK researchers discover sports-from-the-couch is less “inspirational.” Church too? #GrowingThePostPandemicChurch

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel. Some interesting research has emerged from the UK. It shows that sports fans who watch live a sporting event, have a more enthusiastic experience than those who watch the same game on TV. This may have ramifications for and parallels with the hybrid church (though the research on this is still inconclusive). Read the article to consider the ramifications.

The Relationship between Live Sports and Live Church

by Robert Ellis, The Christian Scholar’s Review, 6/4/21.

… A study by UK Sport in 2011 reported that there was a very significant difference in the “inspirational effect” of watching major sports events live in a venue compared with watching it on TV.3 One of their measures was the extent to which fans agreed or strongly agreed that they felt reconnected with the enjoyment of sport itself and also inspired to be more active and to take up sport or exercise. The difference is striking: 67% of those in the stadium reported this, compared to a meagre 28% of TV viewers. Watching sport “live” gave a greater affective impact than watching it on TV.

… Some aspects of sports fan experience are comparable with (or possibly a substitute for) the kind of experience women and men might have in the spaces of organised religion. I have suggested elsewhere4 that sports embody the “dimensions” of religion identified by Ninian Smart: the ritual, mythological, doctrinal, ethical, social, experiential, and material dimensions of religion.5 It is interesting to speculate, therefore, on the different kinds of impact of enforced sporting deprivation for fans and the deprivation of church going upon believers.

Consuming recorded worship services on YouTube or tuning in live on Zoom takes some of the heat out of Sunday morning routines for many people. Worshippers are as likely to be in their loungewear as their “Sunday clothes.” For some it is not just a question of being “pandemic-safe,” it has been so convenient not having to leave the house. Many sports fans say they long to be back in the stadium: as our churches begin to open up again we will find out how many churchgoers long to return and how many have lost the virtuous habit of public worship.

There is some initial and preliminary evidence (though “evidence” might be too strong a word at the moment) that suggests that a negative impact is being had on church worshippers. In a widely reported phenomenon (though perhaps still anecdotal in status), the digital natives’ millennial generation seem less enamoured of worship streamed on YouTube or Zoom than their older counterparts. David Kinnaman of Barna, a group specializing in research on religious practices and cultural interactions, believes that the loss of in-person worship in the pandemic has accelerated the loss of younger members to churches.6 But we might also wonder whether, by comparison with the UK Sport conclusions, the effect of Church-from-the-sofa is less inspirational than the experience of face to face worship. Might we speculate that the effects of church online are less powerful than our pre-pandemic experiences? The absent younger people testify to the importance of maintaining contact with the routines, practices, and faith reinforcement of church life. Without these, as any sociologist will know, plausibility structures crumble. But if sport on TV is less inspirational than its live counterpart, what of worship on a zoom-screen?

But we might also wonder whether, by comparison with the UK Sport conclusions, the effect of Church-from-the-sofa is less inspirational than the experience of face to face worship. Might we speculate that the effects of church online are less powerful than our pre-pandemic experiences?

It is interesting to compare these two deprivations. Discerning lockdown TV sports fans complain of a lack of “atmosphere” while watching (especially without the piped crowd noise), and some also miss the “close fellowship” of the bleachers and the liturgies of match day. Our experience of a football game is not simply the passive watching of an unfolding contingent contest, it is also the hot dogs and the songs, the sense of wonder of being in the same space as remarkably skilled protagonists, the coarseness and the closeness of the stadium seating.

… Listening to people who have been prevented from attending church in person over the last year it is interesting to hear what they miss. Fellowship and singing figure prominently among evangelicals. For others, the loss of sacramental life creates a huge void. The physicality of worship, and it is not just through the sacraments that we experience it, reminds us of the stadium experience and its game-day ritual. Right down to those annoying people who sit behind you, so easily avoided when we lounge on the sofa and “go to church” on You Tube, or watch the game on cable.

Read more at …

ONLINE GIVING & Researchers found 31% of churches use online giving and their giving is increased by an average $114 per person!  If online giving is emphasized, per capita giving increases by an average of $300 person!

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Here is research by Hartford Seminary’s “Resources for Congregational Leaders” and is developed from their “Resources for Congregational Leaders.”

Ways Congregations Can Improve Their Virtual Presence to Members During This Time of Crisis

by Sarah Brown, Faith Communities Today, 3/18/20.

Online Giving

Our FACT 2015 study showed that 31% of congregations use online giving and if the congregation uses it at all, giving is increased by an average $114 per person! If online giving is emphasized by the congregation a lot, per capita giving increases by an average of $300 person!

Read more at … https://faithcommunitiestoday.org/improving-virtual-presence-of-congregations/

GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & Comparing onsite vs. online churches regarding giving, attendance, who prefers each and how the “great barrier to Church Growth” has disappeared.

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 11-1-21.

In the studies of how churches grow, we’ve always known that most (actually 68%, Kevin D. Dougherty, Baylor Univ., 2017) of chruch attendees will only drive 15 minutes or less to a church. I’ve called this the “great barrier to Church Growth” because it is a barrier churches have not been able to overcome … until now!

This is a chart from my seminar on “Growing the Post-pandemic Church” (contact me to schedule an onsite or online seminar).

Full notes are available here: https://churchhealthwiki.wordpress.com/2021/11/07/growing-the-post-pandemic-church-here-are-the-handouts-notes-from-my-recent-november-seminar-in-orlando-fl-for-the-hybrid-church-seminar/

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


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

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

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

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

And don’f forget –

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

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

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

POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & the majority (of churchgoers) think that at least some virus-related modifications are in order (58%).

By Pew Research, 3/23/21.

… While the share of religious attenders who think their congregations should be closed altogether has declined since last summer (from 28% to 15%), the majority think that at least some virus-related modifications are in order (58%). One-quarter of U.S. religious attenders are in favor of fully opening up their congregations without any restrictions.

Read more at … https://www.pewforum.org/2021/03/22/life-in-u-s-religious-congregations-slowly-edges-back-toward-normal/?

GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & Some churches experiment with Communion options

by David Paulson, 12/18/20.

…On Sunday evenings during Advent, the Rev. Ian Burch, St. Mark’s rector, consecrates take-home Communion kits during a brief service of Holy Eucharist, celebrated with just a few church volunteers. Then from 4 to 7 p.m., he greets parishioners at the front door and directs them to a path threading around the nave past prayer stations and devotional artworks. Before leaving the church, they stop at the right of the altar where a table is set up to hold the kits.

…Some congregations, after choosing to forego Communion for most of the pandemic due to the public health risks, have begun experimenting with a return to the practice.

… The Rev. David Cox, rector of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Mission, Kansas, a Kansas City suburb, felt parishioners’ longing for Communion after worshipping only online for months this year

…In Kansas, Cox is preparing St. Michael and All Angels for a unique Christmas Eve offering. Parishioners will be invited to park outside the church and tune their radios to the service of Holy Eucharist, which will be broadcast on a personalized frequency using an FM radio transmitter that the church purchased for little more than $100.

After consecrating the Communion bread, Cox will bring it outside and distribute it to worshippers in the parking lot. It may not be ideal, Cox said, but it is as close as his parishioners will get to experiencing a traditional Christmas Eve Eucharist this year.

Read more at … https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2020/12/17/after-pandemic-forced-eucharistic-fasts-some-churches-experiment-with-communion-options/

GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & Some churches experiment with Communion options

by David Paulson, 12/18/20.

…On Sunday evenings during Advent, the Rev. Ian Burch, St. Mark’s rector, consecrates take-home Communion kits during a brief service of Holy Eucharist, celebrated with just a few church volunteers. Then from 4 to 7 p.m., he greets parishioners at the front door and directs them to a path threading around the nave past prayer stations and devotional artworks. Before leaving the church, they stop at the right of the altar where a table is set up to hold the kits.

…Some congregations, after choosing to forego Communion for most of the pandemic due to the public health risks, have begun experimenting with a return to the practice.

… The Rev. David Cox, rector of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Mission, Kansas, a Kansas City suburb, felt parishioners’ longing for Communion after worshipping only online for months this year

…In Kansas, Cox is preparing St. Michael and All Angels for a unique Christmas Eve offering. Parishioners will be invited to park outside the church and tune their radios to the service of Holy Eucharist, which will be broadcast on a personalized frequency using an FM radio transmitter that the church purchased for little more than $100.

After consecrating the Communion bread, Cox will bring it outside and distribute it to worshippers in the parking lot. It may not be ideal, Cox said, but it is as close as his parishioners will get to experiencing a traditional Christmas Eve Eucharist this year.

Read more at … https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2020/12/17/after-pandemic-forced-eucharistic-fasts-some-churches-experiment-with-communion-options/

RELEASED TODAY! My #14thBook w/Biblical foundations from my PhD research to increase survivability & grow. “Growing the Post-pandemic Church” in paperback & Kindle on Amazon.

Amazon Links

Kindle

Growing the Post-pandemic Church: A Leadership.church Guide, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08F5L7S1T/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_awdo_t1_DSDlFbA5FTSM5

Paperback

Growing the Post-pandemic Church: A Leadership.church Guide

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B08FK8VMWS/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=&sr=

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B08FK8VMWS/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=&sr=