OUTREACH & 5 Practices for Fruitful Congregations in a Post-Attractional Era

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I’ve read with enthusiasm Bishop Schnase’s observations of practices that move churches from an inward focus to an outward focus. I recommend his books highly.

Here is how I have explained in one of my books the difference between an attractional strategy and an incarnational one.

INCARNATIONAL vs. ATTRACTIONAL & What Is the Difference? 

Here is a list of differences between an attractional outreach strategy and an incarnational one (excerpted from ORGANIX: Signs of Leadership in a Changing Church, Whitesel, Abingdon Press).

7Systems.church explains the “systems” behind each practices. 


5 Practices for Fruitful Congregations in a Post-Attractional Era

by Robert Schnase in Leading Ideas, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, October 17, 2018.

(Attraction is Not Enough)

… Most congregations, consciously or unconsciously, operate with attractional assumptions. They imagine that a person, couple, or family becomes aware of their church, perhaps through:

  • the invitation of a friend,
  • an advertisement on a billboard,
  • or by driving past the sanctuary.
  • Churches then hope that what the new persons hear or see will draw them toward the congregation.

…Attractional models worked in the past

  • when the culture expected people to attend worship
  • and people wanted to be members of churches.
  • What happens when people no longer trust institutions in general or the church in particular?

(Incarnational [Whitesel] Outreach is Needed)

…Today, fruitful congregations have discovered that while attractional models are helpful and necessary to fulfill the mission of Christ, they simply are not enough… (it requires) a different posture toward our neighbors, a more deliberate outward focus, and a willingness to carry Christ’s love to where people already live and work and play, rather than hoping for people to come to us.

1. Radical hospitality

Radical hospitality is not merely focused on getting people to come to church. Rather, it focuses with greater intentionality about how we carry hospitality with us into our neighborhoods, work life, and affinity networks. What good is Christian hospitality if it’s something we only practice for an hour on Sunday morning while failing to form relationships with people who live next door?

2. Passionate worship

Passionate worship extends beyond improving what happens on Sunday morning in the sanctuary. Worship becomes mobile, portable, on the move, going where people live, and work, and play.

3. Intentional faith development

Intentional faith development includes more focus on experiential learning, mentoring, spiritual formation, and forming relationships in addition to traditional content-based education in Bible studies and Sunday school classes.

4. Risk-taking mission and service

Risk-taking mission and service explores relationships more deeply and offers examples of shifting from doing ministry for to less patronizing, more relational models of doing ministry with those who suffer hardship or injustice.

5. Extravagant generosity

Extravagant generosity involves helping people learn to love generosity as a way of life not just a way of supporting the church.

This shift of energy, focus, and imagination is life-giving. When the church leaves the building to offer ministries that matter, we view ourselves as part of Christ’s mission in a whole new way, as sent into a mission field uniquely prepared by God that uses the talents, gifts, and relationships God has given us.

Read more at … https://www.churchleadership.com/leading-ideas/5-practices-for-fruitful-congregations-in-a-post-attractional-era/

GUESTS & How to Lose a First Time Guest in 10 Minutes or Less. #CareyNieuwhof

 , Nov. 2018.

,,, Recently, on Episode 132 of my Leadership Podcast, I had a far-ranging conversation on a guest’s first ten minutes at a church with Greg Atkinson, author of Secrets of a Secret Church Shopper. You can listen in the player below, or better-yet, subscribe to my pocdast for free on

What’s surprising to me about the factors Greg outlines is that they’re actually simple hospitality, people and facility-related things.

Conclusion? Often the barrier to Christ isn’t spiritual—it’s us.

1. HAVE A BAD ONLINE PRESENCE

… When was the last time you thought about your website from the perspective of a first time guest? Same for your social media accounts or pages.

Most people will check out a church online long before they check out a church in real life. It doesn’t matter whether you live-stream your services or not, a simple website with basic information for a first-time guest is helpful. (Here’s an example from our site at Connexus Church.)

2. MAKE PARKING FRUSTRATING

,,, Want a clear, short expression of a great guest services vision? Check out Gwinnett Church’s Guest Services video.  The team at Gwinnett Church even takes pre-schoolers into the building on wagon rides. 4 year olds love it. 🙂 I’ll bet parents do too.

3. UNDER-GREET GUESTS

Many churches say they’re friendly. But what they mean is they’re friendly to each other.

… First-time guests need an appropriate welcome, clear directions to what’s next and the sense that there are people there who knew they were coming and are able to help them.

4. OVER-GREET GUESTS

… One rule that’s helped us at our church is simply this: greet people the way they want to be greeted.

Recruit emotionally intelligent guest services people who can sense if someone is an introvert and merely wants a ‘welcome’ or if a guest is an extrovert looking for a warm embrace and a conversation.

5. MAKE KIDS CHECK-IN COMPLICATED

… Two quick hacks can help this. Spend a bit of money on good technology. Get some updated tablets or computers that actually work (kids ministry usually suffer from hand-me-down syndrome) and give them meaningful wifi bandwidth so they run quickly.

Then, overstaff your check-in area. Have check-in people meet parents while they’re waiting in line and take their information so when they get to the front of the line they just need to get tags for their kids and go.

6. KEEP YOUR FACILITY TIRED AND DIRTY

The problem with your church is the same problem you have with your house: you become blind to the imperfections and problems.

7. CONFUSE THEM

… You may have clever theming for your kids environments or student environments, but make sure your signage is still clear for first-time guests. So while we call our pre-school Waumba Land, the sign in the main foyer says “Ages birth – five.” It’s just simpler that way.

Similarly, with the main auditorium or sanctuary, restrooms and other areas guests need to access. Just be clear.

… The interview with Greg Atkinson gives many more insights. I hope you check it out!

Read more at … https://careynieuwhof.com/how-to-a-lose-first-time-guest-in-10-minutes-or-less/

 

GUESTS & 3 Creative Ways Churches Can Engage Them

Commentary by Professor B: Several times I’ve keynoted the “Creativity Conference” in Orlando, FL alongside Disney executives. I learned how Disney gets all of their employees involved in making visitors feel at home. Our conference explained how these ideas from Disney can revolutionize a guest ministry. Here is it helpful article summarizing actions that your congregants may be able to undertake to better engage the visitors the Holy Spirit is drawing to your faith community.

“11 insider facts about working at Walt Disney World only cast members know”
by Áine Cain, Business Insider Magazine, 3/18/18

… Business Insider spoke with former Disney College Cast program attendee and “Devin Earns Her Ears: My Secret Walt Disney World Cast Member Diary” author Devin Melendy, Susan Veness, author of “The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World” series, and Mike Fox, author of “The Hidden Secrets & Stories of Walt Disney World” and founder of the site Disney-Secrets.com.

Here’s what they had to say about the secrets of working at Walt Disney World:

You learn quickly that it’s all about the guests

The guest experience is everything at Disney. That’s drilled into you from day one. Melendy said that, even though her job consisted of working in retail in Frontierland, she was encouraged not to stand behind the register whenever possible.

Instead, cast members are directed to spread some magic by passing out stickers, fast passes, birthday pins, and free bags and shirts…

Name tags are an absolute must — even if you’re using an alias

Melendy said it’s considered “bad show” for a cast members to not wear a name tag. But if you lose your tag, no worries. There’s a whole stockpile of gender neutral names like Chris, Sam, and Pat to choose from.

“I lost my first name tag, so I was Chris from New York for two weeks while I waited for my new one,” she said…

If the guests can see you, you’re technically ‘onstage’

And all cast members, from the person dressed as Mickey Mouse to the person working the register at one of the park’s gift shops, must stay “in character” onstage.

“That would mean that your costume is correct, your name tag is on, and your pin lanyard is on — we would trade pins with guests,” she said. “They very much stressed that this is an experience. It’s not your experience, it’s the guest’s experience. You have to provide the best show that you can. It’s stepping into a role.”

Fox said that, for cast members, talking about your personal life and arguing is not an option. Anything that will “break the spell” of the Disney experience, so to speak, is out…

Read more at … http://www.businessinsider.com/walt-disney-world-cast-member-secrets-2018-2#if-you-get-a-gig-at-disney-world-youll-start-noticing-things-that-others-dont-11

GUEST MINISTRY & Why Disney Cast Members Never Say ‘I Don’t Know’

by Stacey Leasca, Travel & Leisure Magazine, 1/8/18.

According to a former cast member, if a guest approaches a cast member inside the park with a question they are not allowed to answer with “I don’t know” even when they don’t actually know the answer. Instead, cast members must go to any and all lengths to find the answer, including calling other cast members around the park. This way, guests never have to wander around looking for something.

Read more at … http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/disney-staff-know-everything

CHOOSING A CHURCH & Americans look for good sermons, warm welcome

Choosing a New Church or House of Worship, by Pew Research, 8/26/16.

About half of U.S. adults have looked for a new religious congregation at some point in their lives, most commonly because they have moved. And when they search for a new house of worship, a new Pew Research Center study shows, Americans look first and foremost for a place where they like the preaching and the tone set by the congregation’s leaders.

Fully 83% of Americans who have looked for a new place of worship say the quality of preaching played an important role in their choice of congregation. Nearly as many say it was important to feel welcomed by clergy and lay leaders, and about three-quarters say the style of worship services influenced their decision about which congregation to join. Location also factored prominently in many people’s choice of congregation, with seven-in-ten saying it was an important factor. Smaller numbers cite the quality of children’s programs, having friends or family in the congregation or the availability of volunteering opportunities as key to their decision.

Perhaps as a result of the value they place on good sermons, church leadership and the style of worship services, many people – even in this age of technology – find there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction when seeking information about a new religious home. Fully 85% of those who have looked for a new house of worship say they attended worship services at a church they were considering, and seven-in-ten say they spoke with members of the congregation or to friends or colleagues about their decision. Looking for information online may be growing more common, especially among young people and those who have looked for a congregation recently. But online information still appears to be far less important to potential congregants than experiencing the atmosphere of the congregation firsthand.

The single most common reason people give for having looked for a new congregation is that they moved: Roughly one-third of adults say they have searched for a new place of worship because they relocated. By comparison, fewer people say they sought a new congregation because of a disagreement with clergy or other members at their previous house of worship (11%) or because they got married or divorced (11%). About one-in-five adults (19%) volunteered that they have looked for a new congregation for some other reason, including other problems with a previous church, changes in their own beliefs or for social or practical reasons.

These are some of the key findings from the fourth in a series of reports based on Pew Research Center’s U.S. Religious Landscape Study. The study and this report were made possible by The Pew Charitable Trusts, which received support for the project from Lilly Endowment Inc. The first report on the 2014 Landscape Study, based on a telephone survey of more than 35,000 adults, examined the changing religious composition of the U.S. public and documented the fluidity of religion in the U.S., where roughly one-third of adults now have a religious identity different from the one in which they were raised. The second report described the religious beliefs, practices and experiences of Americans, as well the social and political views of different religious groups. A third report drew on both the national telephone survey and a supplemental survey of participants in Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel to describe how Americans live out their religion in their everyday lives.

Read more at … http://www.pewforum.org/2016/08/23/choosing-a-new-church-or-house-of-worship/

HOSPITALITY & Church Transforms Into Coffee Chain #LarkNews #Humor

Church transforms into coffee chain 

Church transforms into coffee chain DENVER — Connection Metro Church, which used its foyer coffee bars to attract visitors to its eight satellite churches in the Denver area, has decided to abandon ministry altogether to focus on coffee.

“People liked the coffee a lot better than the ministry, according to congregational surveys, so we’re practicing what we preached and focusing on our strengths,” says former teaching pastor and now chief marketing officer, Peter Brown.

Many in the congregation seem downright relieved.  Read More

 

SPIRITUAL GIFTS & Links to the Most Popular & Diverse Inventories #WaypointsBook

Excerpted from Bob Whitesel, “Waypoint 2: Ministry Emergence” in Spiritual Waypoints: Helping Others Navigate the Journey (2010, pp. 195-197).

Spiritual Waypoints [104KB]The Scriptures describe a variety of God-given gifts. Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4 along with secondary lists in 1 Corinthians 7, 13-14, Ephesians 3 and 1 Peter 4 describe many of the “gifts of the (Holy) Spirit” that God uses to empower people for service and ministry. Here is a brief, yet annotated list:[i]

  1. Administration: Effective planning and organization (1 Cor. 2:28; Acts 6:1-7).
  2. Discernment: Distinguishing between error and truth (1 Cor. 12:10; Acts 5:1-11).
  3. Encouragement: Ability to comfort, console, encourage and counsel ( 12:8; Hebrews 10:25; Timothy 4:13).
  4. Evangelism: Building relationships that help travelers move toward a personal relationship with Christ (Luke 19:1-10; 2 Timothy 4:5).
  5. Faith: Discerning with extraordinary confidence the will and purposes of God. (1 Cor. 12:9, Acts 11:22-24, Hebrews 11, Romans 4:18-21)
  6. Giving: Cheerfully giving of resources without remorse (Romans 12:8; 2 Cor. 8:1-7, 9:2-8; Mark 12:41-44).
  7. Hospitality: Creating comfort and assistance for those in need (1 Peter 4:9, Romans 12:9-13, 16:23, Acts 16:14-15, Hebrews 13:1-2).
  8. Intercession: Passionate, extended and effective prayer. (James 5:14-16, 1 Timothy 2:1-2; Colossians 1:9-12, 4:12-13).
  9. Knowledge: To discover, accumulate, analyze and clarify information and ideas which are pertinent to the well being of a Christian community. (1 Cor. 2:14, 12:8, Acts 5:1-11, Colossians 2:2-3).[ii]
  10. Leadership: To cast vision, set goals and motivate to cooperatively accomplish God’ purposes (Luke 9:51; Romans 12:8; Hebrews 13:17).
  11. Mercy: To feel authentic empathy and compassion accompanied by action that reflects Christ’s love and alleviates suffering (Romans 12:8, Matt. 25:34-36; Luke 10:30-37).
  12. Prophecy: Providing guidance to others by explaining and proclaiming God’s truth[iii] (1 Cor. 12:10, 28; Eph. 4:11-14, Romans 12:6; Acts 21:9-11).
  13. Helps: Investing time and talents in others to increase other’s effectiveness (1 Cor. 12:28, Rom. 16:1-2, Acts 9:36).
  14. Service: A tactical gift that identifies steps and processes in tasks that results in ministry to others (2 Tim. 1:16-18, Rom. 12:7, Acts 6:1-7).
  15. Pastor: Long-term personal responsibility for the welfare of spiritual travelers. ( 4:1-14, 1 Tim. 3:1-7, John 10:1-18, 1 Peter 5:1-3).
  16. Teaching: Communicating relevant information that results in learning (1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11-14, Rom. 12:7, Acts 18:24-28, 20:20-21).
  17. Wisdom: To have insight into how to apply knowledge[iv] (1 Cor. 2:1-13, 12:8. Acts 6:3, 10; James 1:5-6, 2 Peter 3: 15-16).
  18. Missionary: Using spiritual gifts effectively in a non-indigenous culture (1 Cor. 9:19-21, Acts 8:4, 13:2-3, 22:21; Rom. 10:15).
  19. Miracles. To perform compelling acts that are perceived by observers to have altered the ordinary course of nature (1 Cor. 12:10, 28; Acts 9:36-42, 19:11-20, 20:7-12; Rom. 15:18-19, 2 Cor. 12:12).
  20. Healing. To serve as human intermediaries through whom it pleases God to restore health (1 Cor. 12:9, 28; Acts 3:1-10, 5:12-16, 9:32-35, 28:7-10).
  21. Tongues. There are various explanations of this gift. For instance it can be to speak (a) to God in a language they have never learned and/or (b) to receive and communicate an immediate message of God to his people.[v] Another option is that this can mean an ability to speak a foreign language and convey concept across cultures[vi] (1 Cor. 12:10, 28, 14:13-19, Acts 2:1-13, 10:44-46, 19:1-7).
  22. Interpretation: To make known a message of one who speaks in tongues.[vii] And/or it can mean “those who help build bridges across cultural, generational and language divides.”[viii] (1 Cor. 12:10, 30, 14:13, 26-28).
  23. Voluntary poverty. To renounce material comfort and luxury to assist others (1 Cor. 13:1-3, Acts 2:44:45, 4:34-37, 2 Cor. 6:10, 8:9).
  24. Celibacy: To remain single with joy and not suffer undue sexual temptation (1 Cor. 7:7-8, Matt. 19:10-12).
  25. Martyrdom: Ability to undergo suffering for the faith even to death, while displaying a victorious attitude that brings glory to God (1 Cor. 13:3).

Download the chapter here: BOOK EXCERPT Spiritual Waypoints on GIFTS

[i] Adapted from the United Methodist Church’s Explore Your Spiritual Gifts (http://www.umc.org/site/c.lwL4KnN1LtH/b.1355371/k.9501/Spiritual_Gifts.htm, 2009), Jack W. MacGorman’s The Gifts of the Spirit (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1974), Kenneth C. Kinghorn’s Gifts of the Spirit (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1976), and C. Peter Wagner’s Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow: How to Find Your Gifts and Use Them to Bless Others (Ventura, Calif.: Regal Books, 1994).   For an extended discussion of these gifts see Waypoint 2.

[ii] For this gift there are several interpretations, c.f. Donald Gee Concerning Spiritual Gifts (Springfield, Missouri: Gospel Publishing House, 1972) and Wagner, Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow.

[iii] Here again there are several perspectives, c.f. Donald Gee, Concerning Spiritual Gifts and Kinghorn, Gifts of the Spirit.

[iv] Varied perspectives exist here as well, c.f. Donald Gee, Concerning Spiritual Gifts, Kinghorn, Gifts of the Spirit, and Wagner, Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow.

[v] For varied interpretations, see Wagner, Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow and Gee, Concerning Spiritual Gifts.

[vi] The United Methodist Church, “Explore Your Spiritual Gifts,” http://www.umc.org/site/c.lwL4KnN1LtH/b.1355371/k.9501/Spiritual_Gifts.htm, 2009.

[vii] See Wagner, Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow, p. 256-257 for the Classical Pentecostal viewpoint.

[viii] For another viewpoint of this and other gifts see the United Methodist Church’s definitions in “Explore Your Spiritual Gifts,” http://www.umc.org/site/c.lwL4KnN1LtH/b.1355371/k.9501/Spiritual_Gifts.htm, 2009

HOSPITALITY & Lessons From Walt Disney: Perfecting the Customer Experience #IncMagazine

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Over the past three months I’ve spoken three times at conferences in Orlando. Each time I was impressed by people associated with the Disney organization and their enthusiasm about meeting customer needs. To understand why the Disney organization has been so successful, and to learn lessons regarding how Christian ministries can focus more on those they serve, read this helpful article from Inc. Magazine.”

Read more at … http://www.inc.com/disneyinstitute/james/leadership-lessons-from-walt-customer-exp.html