HOLE IN THE GOSPEL & Fewer Americans Believe Churches Solve Social Problems

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I have pointed out in the book “Cure for the Common Church” that Jesus often met people’s physical needs before he told them that he could solve their spiritual needs. Abraham Maslow, in his Hierarchy of Needs, confirmed this as the most effective approach.

Thus, churches today that are leading people to Christ do so by first meeting physical needs to demonstrate our compassion, care and good news of salvation.

Here is an important article that reminds us that most people do not see us in this, but they should! To understand the dilemma read this article. To you understand the “cure” read “Cure for the Common Church” chapters 1 and 2.

Fewer Americans Believe Churches Solve Social Problems
by Bob Smietana, LifeWay Facts & Trends, 7/28/16.

America may be facing problems, but a growing number of people say churches are of no help in solving them.

Four out of 10 (39 percent) say churches or other houses of worship offer “not much” or “nothing” toward solving society’s problems. That’s up from 23 percent in 2008, according to a new survey from Pew Research.

Six in 10 (58 percent) say churches and other houses of worship contribute “a great deal” or “some” to solving social problems. That’s down from 75 percent in 2008 and the lowest number since Pew began asking the question in 2001.

PF_2016.07.13_religionpolitics-02-02.png

White evangelicals (70 percent) are most confident of the church’s positive role in society. Nones (38 percent) are far more skeptical.

But both groups have lost confidence in the role of churches in society.

In 2008, 86 percent of evangelicals and 56 percent of nones said houses of worship contribute “a great deal” or “some” to solving society’s problems. Both groups saw a decline of at least 15 percentage points in the latest poll.

The decline cut across religious and political lines.

Read more at … http://factsandtrends.net/2016/07/28/fewer-americans-believe-churches-solve-social-problems/#.V5nqofT3aJI

Speaking hashtags: #Kingwood2018

NEED MEETING & Examples of Need-based Church Programs from Maslow’s Hierarchy

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 12/7/15.

When undertaking need-based outreach, leaders often have trouble getting their heads around the idea of “what kinds of needs” should be addressed. One student put it this way:

“A few years ago the local community needed an area of the county ditch cleaned up.  There was a lot of debris and junk in the water way that needed cleaned out and basically a lot of manual labor was needed.  Our church volunteered to do it and we ended up cleaning out the ditch for the county.  Is that more what you’re saying?”

First, let me say the most critical need of all humankind is a personal relationship with their Heavenly Father which can only be brought about by a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.  In addition in today’s skeptical environment, we sometimes need to demonstrate God’s care (and our care) for non-churchgoers beforehand by meeting their needs in the name of Christ even before they are Christians.  This demonstrates to them that they have a “good” and “loving” Heavenly Father, who sent Jesus and the Holy Spirit and who we (as followers of Christ) represent.

But what are the needs people have, that sometimes need to be met before salvation?

Cleaning out a ditch might be a need, but outreach may be more effective if it is meeting “pressing” needs that are pulling people to their need for reconciliation with their Heavenly Father.  Psychologist Abraham Maslow helped visualize this in a pyramid (see the attached pages below).

So, to help you visualize and deploy programs that meet the felt needs (that usually must be met before a person is ready to focus on reconciliation with their Heavenly Father), I have attached with permission a couple pages illustrating this from Spiritual Waypoints: Helping Others Navigate the Journey, see pages 19-26 in this draft version (footnotes for your citations are in the published version).

Here you will find church programming ideas that can address the needs that non-churchgoers have and that prevent them from investigating their relationship with Christ.

FIGURE ©Whitesel WAYPOINTS Maslow + ideas 1

FIGURE ©Whitesel WAYPOINTS Maslow + ideas 2

Download the chapter and charts here: BOOK ©Whitesel EXCERPT Spiritual Waypoints 16, 15, 14

Speaking Hashtags: #SalvationCenterTX #TransformationalLeadershipConference

NEED MEETING & How Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Helps Churches Reach Out

by Bob Whitesel Ph.D. (excerpted from Spiritual Waypoints: Helping Others Navigate the Journey (Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2010), “Waypoint 15: Awareness of a Supreme Being,” pp. 41-54. DOWNLOAD the entire chapter HERE (not for public distribution and if you enjoy it, please consider purchasing the book):  BOOK ©Whitesel EXCERPT Spiritual Waypoints 15 Maslow

Signs of Travelers at Waypoint 15

The needs of travelers at Waypoint 15 are best understood through the assessment grid of Abraham Maslow. A psychologist, Maslow was concerned that care-givers often misperceive needs, attempting to address higher needs that are not yet felt by the recipient. He suggested that the recipient may have basic needs that are unmet, and since these basic needs are not yet met the recipient is not interested in the fulfillment of higher needs. When a.

FIGURE ©Whitesel WAYPOINTS Maslow Figure 6 copyFigure 6 is a diagram of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Let us look at each level, working upward from the basic needs at the bottom (click to enlarge).

Unmet physiological needs. These are travelers with needs for the basics of sustainable life, such as food, water, etc.. People who are without work, incapacitated by illness, emotionally or mentally abused, etc. may be consumed by worry about how to meet these basic needs. For example, a need for food to put on their table (or in their mouth) will supersede all higher needs. The person at this stage may not care about housing, joining a faith community, or bettering themselves. They only want to have a sustainable and ongoing source for food, water, etc.. Churches can and should develop ministries for people at this level of need, though this will require extensive effort because these needs are pervasive and long term

Examples of ministries that churches to fulfill physiological needs include:

  • Family emergency services
  • Medical emergency assistance
  • Food and domestic hunger ministries
  • Housing and residential programs
  • Hunger/housing loan and grants programs
  • Disaster relief services
  • Addiction and recovery counseling and support

Unmet safety needs. These are needs for long-term security and a sense that the future is now predictable. Once a person feels they can meet their hunger and thirst needs, they turn their attention to Security Needs, such as a place of their own (i.e. housing), long-term employment, learning a job skill, etc..

Churches that only address short-term physiological needs will not fulfill long-term safety needs. Too often churches offer short-term places to stay, short-term food staples, short-term loans, etc.. These offers will sound hollow and incomplete for travelers at this waypoint, for they are looking for assistance that will ensure long term survival.

Examples of self-sufficiency and sustainable development programs are:

  • Job Training. A homeless person once told me “I am at home on the streets…I’ve learned to survive and that’s the only thing I’m good at.” Helping such people acquire marketable skills is key toward helping them meet long-term needs for safety and security. Examples can include:
    • Job skills evaluation and training
    • Vocational rehabilitation
    • Congregants can hire out of work individuals to give them an opportunity to learn new job skills
    • Community service work at the church can provide references for future employment
    • Scholarships provided by the church call allow for training to improve employability
  • Job Placement. Oftentimes a predictable future begins with dependable employment. Churches that help community residents attain secure and long-term employment will often help them meet long-term safety needs, including:
    • Employment counseling and networking
    • Career research
    • Mentoring for application and resume writing
    • Personal hygiene, clothing and conversational skills to help prepare for job interviews
    • Networking the under- and unemployed with potential employers
    • English as a second language (ESL) assistance
    • Support for GED and equivalency education.
  • Health programs. Insecurity about the future can arise from an illness with an uncertain or vague prognosis. Helping people at this stage means assisting them in finding adequate health care, information about their illness and specialists in their malady. One church was located adjacent to a large hospital. When patients and family visited the church in search of solace, the church prayed for them. While this was an authentic and beneficial act, the patients often left with less inspiration than the parishioners. The church discovered that in addition to prayer, they could offer a patient advocacy ministry. Soon the advocacy ministry had fostered a connection and cooperation with the hospital. The church now not only offered prayer, but also patient help for those suffering from an unpredictable future.

Unmet belongingness and love needs. These needs have to do with acceptance into a community of inter-reliance. At this waypoint, the person realizes that living in a symbiotic relationship with others will enhance their life. A person may join a faith community, volunteer for a ministry and/or seek acceptance. It is at this point that Christians often exhibit their most energetic efforts. There is nothing wrong with this, for travelers at this stage want to belong and be accepted. But, when churches focus only on incorporation they appear manipulative and self-absorbed to people who have been struggling with safety or physiological needs.[ii] Therefore churches must have a robust ministry to meet both physiological and safety needs before they can legitimately offer (and campaign for) assimilation.

At this stage of belongingness and love needs, recipients are also seeking unconditional acceptance and love. But, because they may have an unstable and inconsistent background they may have habits that test Christians’ acceptance. Foul language, addictive habits and ignorance of church traditions will often perturb Christians accustomed to a more genteel church environment. The church must not allow itself to be agitated because people are early in their God-ward journey. Instead, travelers need to feel a different love from the church than they have experienced in the secular realm. To demonstrate this, Christians must offer unselfish love. The Old Testament word for this love, chesed, conveys a “kindness, especially as extended to the lowly, needy and miserable.”[iii]

Other levels of Maslow’s needs will be explored in the appropriate chapters of this book. Thus, the reader may want to bookmark Figure 6 for future reference…FIGURE ©Whitesel WAYPOINTS Maslow 2 levels compared with ideas

  1. (Click to enlarge adjacent figure) Do you have a balance between ministries that meet physiological needs and those that meet safety needs? Use the following chart to measure your balance between physiological needs and safety needs. If they are not balanced, what will you do to ensure that both needs are met and the route of the Good News is unbroken?

DOWNLOAD the entire chapter HERE (not for public distribution and if you enjoy it, please consider purchasing the book):  BOOK ©Whitesel EXCERPT Spiritual Waypoints 15 Maslow

[i] Adapted from Abraham H. Maslow, Motivation and Personality, 2nd edition (New York: Harper and Row, 1970), p. 300-394; and Abraham H. Maslow, The Farther Reaches of Human Nature, (New York: Viking Press, 1971), p. 300.

[ii] The church’s enthusiasm for primarily meeting belongingness and love needs sheds light on how churches grew during the post-World War II economic expansion. The Builder Generation (b. 1945 and before) was basking in unrivaled prosperity and a church-friendly milieu. Thus, tactics that meet belongingness and love needs such as membership classes and assimilation standards were touted (see Finke and Starke The Churching of America as well as additional factors discussed in Laurence Iannacone’s 1994 essay, “Why Strict Churches Are Strong” in American Journal of Sociology (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1994), vol. 99, no. 5, 1180-1211.

[iii] Hebrew chesed, Francis Brown, S. R. Driver and Charles A. Briggs, A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974), 338.

Speaking Hashtags: #BreakForth16 #SalvationCenterTX

NEED MEETING & Research Shows Growing Churches “Poll non-churchgoer needs & then fill them” #ReviewOfReligiousResearch

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Here is more research that supports the premise that churches that are asking non-churchgoers about their needs are growing faster than churches that just poll their own congregants. When you ask your congregation about the needs of non-churchgoers you’re getting ‘secondhand information.’ In academia this is called ‘secondary research’ and is not reliable because it is going through the filters of an intermediary, in this case your congregants. However ‘primary research’ is preferred in academia, where a researcher goes directly to a source (e.g. non-churchgoers) and asks them about their needs. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat around in church board meetings where they guessed at the needs of the community. Sometimes they were accurate, but most times they were not because the board members had become part of a Christian culture and often missed the needs of the non-churchgoing culture. Below is more research that confirms this along with how one of my students nicely summarized it.”

The student wrote. “Vokurka and McDaniel (2004), in a study of Southern Baptist congregations of varying makeup, have found that developing programs directly based off of observed or surveyed needs is the best approach among churches that experience numerical growth (p. 145).”  Vokurka, R. J., & McDaniel, S. W. (2004). A taxonomy of church marketing strategy types. Review Of Religious Research, 46(2), 132-149.”

Read more at … http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3512229?uid=3739600&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21104811418001

NEED MEETING & What Is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

By Kendra Cherry, author of the Everything Psychology Book (2nd Edition).

- Image: J. Finkelstein

The hierarchy of needs is one of the best-known theories of motivation. Created by psychologist Abraham Maslow, the hierarchy is often displayed as a pyramid, with the most basic needs at the bottom and more complex needs at the peak.

The basic physiological needs are probably fairly apparent – these include the things that are vital to our survival. Some examples of the physiological needs include:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Breathing
  • Homeostasis

In addition to the basic requirements of nutrition, air and temperature regulation, the physiological needs also include such things as shelter and clothing. Maslow also included sexual reproduction in this level of the hierarchy of needs since it is essential to the survival and propagation of the species.

As we move up to the second level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the requirements start to become a bit more complex. At this level, the needs for security and safety become primary. People want control and order in their lives, so this need for safety and security contributes largely to behaviors at this level.

Some of the basic security and safety needs include:

  • Financial security
  • Heath and wellness
  • Safety against accidents and injury

Finding a job, obtaining health insurance and health care, contributing money to a savings account, and moving into a safer neighborhood are all examples of actions motivated by the security and safety needs.

The social needs in Maslow’s hierarchy include such things as love, acceptance and belonging. At this level, the need for emotional relationships drives human behavior. Some of the things that satisfy this need include:

  • Friendships
  • Romantic attachments
  • Family
  • Social groups
  • Community groups
  • Churches and religious organizations

In order to avoid problems such as loneliness, depression, and anxiety, it is important for people to feel loved and accepted by other people. Personal relationships with friends, family, and lovers play an important role, as does involvement in other groups that might include religious groups, sports teams, book clubs, and other group activities…

Read more at … http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/ss/maslows-needs-hierarchy.htm

NEED MEETING & Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: What Motivates Behavior? #CureCommonChurchBook #SpiritualWaypointsBook

By Kendra Cherry, author of the Everything Psychology Book (2nd Edition).

…Types of Needs

Maslow believed that these needs are similar to instincts and play a major role in motivating behavior. Physiological, security, social, and esteem needs are deficiency needs (also known as D-needs), meaning that these needs arise due to deprivation. Satisfying these lower-level needs is important in order to avoid unpleasant feelings or consequences.

Maslow termed the highest-level of the pyramid as growth needs (also known as being needs or B-needs). Growth needs do not stem from a lack of something, but rather from a desire to grow as a person.

Five Levels of the Hierarchy of Needs

There are five different levels in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:

  1. Physiological Needs
    These include the most basic needs that are vital to survival, such as the need for water, air, food, and sleep. Maslow believed that these needs are the most basic and instinctive needs in the hierarchy because all needs become secondary until these physiological needs are met.
  2. Security Needs
    These include needs for safety and security. Security needs are important for survival, but they are not as demanding as the physiological needs. Examples of security needs include a desire for steady employment, health care, safe neighborhoods, and shelter from the environment.
  3. Social Needs
    These include needs for belonging, love, and affection. Maslow described these needs as less basic than physiological and security needs. Relationships such as friendships, romantic attachments, and families help fulfill this need for companionship and acceptance, as does involvement in social, community, or religious groups.
  4. Esteem Needs
    After the first three needs have been satisfied, esteem needs becomes increasingly important. These include the need for things that reflect on self-esteem, personal worth, social recognition, and accomplishment.
  5. Self-actualizing Needs
    This is the highest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Self-actualizing people are self-aware, concerned with personal growth, less concerned with the opinions of others, and interested fulfilling their potential…

Read more at … http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/hierarchyneeds.htm

NEED-MEETING & The Social Progress Index as a Modern Version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Michael Green: What the Social Progress Index can reveal

HOMELESSNESS & The Causes Of Homelessness #HomelessHub #SalvationArmy

Reproduced from: Stephen Gaetz, Jesse Donaldson, Tim Richter, & Tanya Gulliver (2013) The State of Homelessness in Canada 2013. Toronto: Canadian Homelessness Research Network Press.

People who are homeless are not a distinct and separate population. In fact the line between being homeless and not being homeless is quite fluid. In general, the pathways into and out of homelessness are neither linear nor uniform. Individuals and families who wind up homeless may not share much in common with each other, aside from the fact that they are extremely vulnerable, and lack adequate housing and income and the necessary supports to ensure they stay housed. The causes of homelessness reflect an intricate interplay between structural factors, systems failures and individual circumstances. Homelessness is usually the result of the cumulative impact of a number of factors, rather than a single cause.

Structural factors are economic and societal issues that affect opportunities and social environments for individuals. Key factors can include the lack of adequate income, access to affordable housing and health supports and/or the experience of discrimination. Shifts in the economy both nationally and locally can create challenges for people to earn an adequate income, pay for food and for housing…

Systems failures occur when other systems of care and support fail, requiring vulnerable people to turn to the homelessness sector, when other mainstream services could have prevented this need. Examples of systems failures include difficult transitions from child welfare, inadequate discharge planning for people leaving hospitals, corrections and mental health and addictions facilities and a lack of support for immigrants and refugees.

Individual and relational factors apply to the personal circumstances of a homeless person, and may include: traumatic events (e.g. house fire or job loss), personal crisis (e.g. family break-up or domestic violence), mental health and addictions challenges (including brain injury and fetal alcohol syndrome), which can be both a cause and consequence of homelessness and physical health problems or disabilities. Relational problems can include family violence and abuse, addictions, and mental health problems of other family members and extreme poverty.

Read more at … http://www.homelesshub.ca/about-homelessness/homelessness-101/causes-homelessness

FURTHER READING

Nowhere Else to Go: Inadequate Housing & Risk of Homelessness Among Families in Toronto’s Aging Rental Buildings

The Causes of Homelessness Among Older People in England

Homelessness – Causes & Effects (Volume 4): Background Report – a Profile and Policy Review of Homelessness in the Provinces of Ontario, Quebec and Alberta

The State of Homelessness in Canada 2013

Pathways to youth homelessness

Aboriginal Youth Talk about Structural Determinants as the Causes of their Homelessness

Keeping the Homeless Housed: An exploratory study of determinants of Homelessness in the Toronto community

Causes of homelessness among older people in Melbourne, Australia

From Homeless to Home: learning from people who have been homeless in Ottawa

TRANSFORMATION & A short history of the founding of the Salvation Army

As Booth said: ‘The people must be fed, that their life’s work must be done or left undone forever.’

By Richard Cavendish | Published in History Today Volume: 62 Issue: 8 2012 

“Along with the mission went practical charity work to deal with poverty and homelessness. As Booth said: ‘The people must be fed, that their life’s work must be done or left undone forever.’ The Army organised shelters to get the homeless, the sick and prostitutes off the streets and ran its own emigration bureau. When Catherine died of cancer in 1890 the Army had almost 100,000 soldiers in Britain. Today it has 1.5 million in 125 countries.’

“William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, knew that you must improve people’s lives before they would listen to the Good News and be involved in sharing it. He famously intoned: ‘The people must be fed, that their life’s work must be done or left undone forever’.”

Read a short but insightful history of the Salvation Army by Richard Cavendish at … http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/funeral-general-william-booth

WESLEY & Helping the Poor Opens the Door for the Good News #Quote

“These little labours of love will pave your way to things greater importance. Having shown that you have a regard for their bodies, you may proceed to inquire concerning their souls.”

John Wesley, The Sermons of John Wesley – Sermon 98, “On Visiting the Sick.”  http://wesley.nnu.edu/john-wesley/the-sermons-of-john-wesley-1872-edition/sermon-98-on-visiting-the-sick/

Speaking hashtags: #BetterTogether

HUMOR & Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (from HAL’s perspective)

by Tobias Lunchbreath

Hierarchy of Robot Needs

Read more at … “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Robot Needs”,

SOCIAL ADVANCEMENT & Is the “Social Gospel” Worth Preaching?

by: Scot McKnight, 5/16/14

Jackson Wu teaches theology and missiology for Chinese pastors. He blogs at www. jacksonwu.org. Wu has also written Saving God’s Face: A Chinese Contextualization of Salvation through Honor and Shame (2013). Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

A “Social Gospel” Worth Preaching

In Christian Political Witness, how might McKnight and Gombis’ chapters practically shape the church’s ministry?

(For a summary of their chapters, see my previous post.)

1. A “Social Gospel”?

These two chapters should alert people that the gospel does indeed have a social aspect. Too many people hear the word “gospel” connected with politics, serving the poor, etc. and then immediately get suspicious or even defensive.

Conservatives worry that such a “gospel” is too this-worldly to be any eternal good.

However, because the gospel is inherently a political summons from a king, the gospel is necessarily public. Loyalty to a king expresses itself across the spectrum of social spheres. Therefore, a “gospel” that does not compel radical public transformation of church communities is sub-biblical; it is hardly worthy of the name “gospel.”

Jesus really is the king over governments, corporations, neighborhoods and families, then how can the citizens of God’s kingdom remain apathetic or resistant to ministries that seek to meet tangible needs?

How is it that a strong concern for saving people from eternal suffering can somehow lead to practical indifferent to present suffering in the world?

We may need to rethink our view of the gospel.

2. A Church Gospel?

Read more at … http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2014/05/16/is-the-social-gospel-worth-preaching-jackson-wu/