INNOVATION & Video of Simon Sinek graphing the “diffusion of innovation” & the “tipping point” at TEDxPuget Sound

Commentary by Prof. B.: As an early adopter (13.5%) I sometimes grow impatient with the slowness brought to the diffusion of innovation by the slow pace of the early majority and late majority.  As Sinek has pointed out, you cannot have a movement until you have attained 15-18% market penetration (the so-called “tipping point”) between the early adopters (me) and my colleagues/students (early majority).  Here is Simon Sinek graphing this relationship in a short 10-minute TEDx talk.

Read and watch more at … https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action and https://startwithwhy.com/

CHURCH PLANTING & Plant doesn’t have a building, only a cellphone app, linking members to church’s many parts: house groups, Taco Truck, roadside Ash Wednesday service, etc.

Commentary by Prof. B.: Having planted a church and coached perhaps hundreds of others, I believe that the current planting models are often overly dependent upon expensive strategies. Therefore I welcome this case study of a church with many ministries but no building. Instead they link the community to its many activities via a cell phone app. I coach a nearby church to this one and the pastor there told me that she thought this new model of church planting would be expanded through out her diocese (she is a bishop). Here is the article written by an editorial board at Duke University on this potentially replicable church planting model.

Church has no walls but many doors, accessible to seekers and skeptics

by Leadership & Faith Editorial Board, Duke University, 1/31/18.

…Taco Church was part of the newly launched St. Isidore Episcopal, a “church without walls” focused on small group discipleship and community service. The church didn’t have a building, and it didn’t want one, Steele said. Instead, it had a cellphone app, linking members to the church’s many parts.

As Steele explained, St. Isidore was one church embodied in many different ways. It wasn’t just Taco Church. It would eventually become three house churches, a pub theology group, a free laundry ministry, a food truck and more. It was all quite unorthodox, except the liturgy and theology, which were decidedly Episcopalian.

The Rev. Sean Steele leads Ash Wednesday services for commuters in a Houston suburb.

… This Easter, a little over a year after his first Taco Church, Mraz and his 6-year-old son were baptized in a service he helped organize as a member of the St. Isidore leadership team.

Finding new possibilities

As many mainline Protestant churches shrink and shutter across the United States, St. Isidore is finding new possibilities by marrying a denomination’s traditions with a decentralized structure drawn from the emergent-church playbook. It’s a mission church and “research and development” effort launched by Trinity Episcopal Church, a 1,500-member parish in The Woodlands, a suburb north of Houston.

“I am not trying to do something old in a new way; I am trying to do something brand-new in the old way,” said Steele, the entrepreneurial 38-year-old priest behind the experiment. “Many [church planters] feel they need to jettison the tradition. I actually think we need to be more church, not less.”

Steele holds tightly to Episcopal liturgy even as he brings it into novel settings such as breweries and laundromats. St. Isidore is aimed not just at unorthodox places, he said, but also at unorthodox people, like the formerly Daoist chicken farmer who now runs the pub theology group.

“I’m trying to think about the people who aren’t going to a church on a Sunday morning,” Steele said. “I’m not interested in getting Christians that are already Christian.”

St. Isidore (link is external) is a church with many entry points, many thresholds that even seekers and skeptics can easily cross, Steele said. St. Isidore is the patron saint of the internet (link is external) — part of the glue that holds Steele’s church together — and, as Steele likes to joke, the saint’s name conveys what the church is about: “It … is a door.”

What are the thresholds to your church? How can they be made easier to cross?

The Rev. Gerry Sevick, the rector at Trinity (link is external), hired Steele straight out of seminary in 2012 with the understanding that he would eventually plant a new church or start a missional community.

“There’s a population out there hungry for spirituality and hungry for a community of faith,” Sevick said. “While they’re skeptical about a traditional church, they are willing to explore an alternative way of being church…”

A St. Isidore member invites drivers to the roadside Ash Wednesday service. 

Church for the unchurched

…Starting in January 2015, Sevick gave Steele 10 hours a week to focus on research, dreaming, planning and working with a church-planting coach — a luxury possible perhaps only at a large multi-staff parish.

That March, a lay staff member mentioned half-jokingly that she wanted to do outreach with a free food truck. Steele jumped at the idea and started the fundraising; the food truck manufacturer became a major contributor.

The first ministry group, Pub Theology, began as an experiment in August 2015. Like similar gatherings nationwide, it attracted an eclectic mix of believers and nonbelievers across several generations. Some of them also joined other St. Isidore activities as they launched, while some just came out for the Tuesday night beer-and-discussion gatherings.

Taco Church began around the same time after Steele noticed that the group of guys he encountered at his neighborhood gym every day often shared surprisingly intimate conversations. He saw a community of trust and mutual interest that felt sort of like church.

Steele asked whether they would be interested in getting up an hour early on a Wednesday to meet across the street at Taco Bell.

“We’ll just start gathering together and praying together, and we’ll see how it unfolds,” he told them.

Four guys showed up the first time. Steele wanted to help the men recognize that their community already was blessed and that they could set it apart as sacred. Now about 10 men gather each Wednesday, including a lawyer, an event promoter and a dishwasher who was homeless for two years before he found housing with Steele’s help.

After working through a series of check-in questions, the group studies a parable. They share wisdom across generations, poke fun at each other and break bread — specifically, breakfast tacos and some Chick-fil-A sandwiches sneaked in for variety.

A few months in, one of the members asked the others where they attended church…

House churches, empowering laity

In the fall of 2015, Steele interviewed more than a dozen families from Trinity and elsewhere to find the group that would form the first house church. They began meeting in October to talk about core values and how to lead house churches. From the beginning, he wanted to empower lay leaders, whom he said churches often render impotent.

After St. Isidore was officially commissioned in January 2016, the first house church, aimed at families with young children, began meeting at the Steeles’ home. A second house church launched the following month. For several months, people would visit but not stick around. Steele, though, was patient.

Read more at … https://www.faithandleadership.com/church-has-no-walls-many-doors-accessible-seekers-and-skeptics?utm_source=NI_newsletter&utm_medium=content&utm_campaign=NI_feature

Speaking hashtags: #Kingwood2018 LEAD 558 multiplication

MULTIPLICATION & Church has no walls but many doors, accessible to seekers and skeptics

by Leadership & Faith Editorial Board, Duke University, 1/31/18.

…Mraz went to Taco Church, where a small group of men gathered for breakfast, Bible study, jokes and prayer. The group, started by an Episcopal priest and a few guys from his gym, shared vulnerability in a way that Mraz had rarely seen. Sometimes he had to step outside the fast-food restaurant to cry.

The priest, the Rev. Sean Steele, told Mraz that Taco Church was part of the newly launched St. Isidore Episcopal, a “church without walls” focused on small group discipleship and community service. The church didn’t have a building, and it didn’t want one, Steele said. Instead, it had a cellphone app, linking members to the church’s many parts.

As Steele explained, St. Isidore was one church embodied in many different ways. It wasn’t just Taco Church. It would eventually become three house churches, a pub theology group, a free laundry ministry, a food truck and more. It was all quite unorthodox, except the liturgy and theology, which were decidedly Episcopalian.

The Rev. Sean Steele leads Ash Wednesday services for commuters in a Houston suburb.

… This Easter, a little over a year after his first Taco Church, Mraz and his 6-year-old son were baptized in a service he helped organize as a member of the St. Isidore leadership team.

Finding new possibilities

As many mainline Protestant churches shrink and shutter across the United States, St. Isidore is finding new possibilities by marrying a denomination’s traditions with a decentralized structure drawn from the emergent-church playbook. It’s a mission church and “research and development” effort launched by Trinity Episcopal Church, a 1,500-member parish in The Woodlands, a suburb north of Houston.

“I am not trying to do something old in a new way; I am trying to do something brand-new in the old way,” said Steele, the entrepreneurial 38-year-old priest behind the experiment. “Many [church planters] feel they need to jettison the tradition. I actually think we need to be more church, not less.”

Steele holds tightly to Episcopal liturgy even as he brings it into novel settings such as breweries and laundromats. St. Isidore is aimed not just at unorthodox places, he said, but also at unorthodox people, like the formerly Daoist chicken farmer who now runs the pub theology group.

“I’m trying to think about the people who aren’t going to a church on a Sunday morning,” Steele said. “I’m not interested in getting Christians that are already Christian.”

St. Isidore (link is external) is a church with many entry points, many thresholds that even seekers and skeptics can easily cross, Steele said. St. Isidore is the patron saint of the internet (link is external) — part of the glue that holds Steele’s church together — and, as Steele likes to joke, the saint’s name conveys what the church is about: “It … is a door.”

What are the thresholds to your church? How can they be made easier to cross?

The Rev. Gerry Sevick, the rector at Trinity (link is external), hired Steele straight out of seminary in 2012 with the understanding that he would eventually plant a new church or start a missional community.

“There’s a population out there hungry for spirituality and hungry for a community of faith,” Sevick said. “While they’re skeptical about a traditional church, they are willing to explore an alternative way of being church.”

Read more at … https://www.faithandleadership.com/church-has-no-walls-many-doors-accessible-seekers-and-skeptics?utm_source=NI_newsletter&utm_medium=content&utm_campaign=NI_feature

LEAD 558 multiplication

STUDENT SUCCESS & Info on Makeup Work for Those Who Miss an Onsite Class

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 11/16/17.

(Note: If you are in an online course, please see the attendance parameters here: https://churchhealthwiki.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/student-success-my-expectations-for-late-postings-in-my-courses/)

Makeup Work for Excused Absences in Onsite Courses

Emergencies always occur and sooner or later they will interfere with a student’s attendance in an onsite class.  For instance, recently on the same classroom night a baby was born (congrats Thomas), a car transmission broke down (prayed for Lee) and another student was teaching at a nearby mega-congregation.

When events happen that prevent attendance at a live, onsite classroom session, here are the parameters I utilize in my courses for fairness and to continue learning:

  1. Request makeup work by contacting me.
    • Do so before the class if possible.
      • My mobile phone number is in the syllabus.
      • If you cannot phone, ask a classmate to let me know.
    • If you cannot let me know until afterward the class, do so at the earliest convenience.
  2. If there discussion points for the week (and most weeks there are) then with my approval your makeup work is the following :
    • In 400-600 words create a “plan” to implement something you learned from the required reading and outside sources you read for the missed week.
    • This plan should be actionable, meaning you describe a “detailed plan” about how you will employ it in your ministry setting.
    • Thus, it should include time-lines, due dates and delegation responsibilities.
    • You plan should include an evaluation element to show how you will know when you have met your goals of implementation.
    • As always,  use APA style including  a cover page, an abstract and (if needed) appendixes.
  3. Submit the plan within three weeks after the missed classroom period (or ask me for an additional extension if the emergency is ongoing).

Remember, attendance is different.

If you have any questions about the Wesley Seminary attendance policy, you can find it at the link below.  Just be aware that while I can give you makeup work, I ethically can’t mark you absent if you didn’t meet the official attendance requirements in the latest catalogue (available here: http://indwes.smartcatalogiq.com/en/2017-2018/Catalog_

Online has different parameters.

Class participation is different for an online course (which occurs over a 7-day week) and an onsite class (which occurs on just 1-2 days).  Hence, for an onsite class (with its limited discussion time) the parameters must be more lenient.

As stated above, if you are in an online course, please see the attendance and posting parameters here: https://churchhealthwiki.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/student-success-my-expectations-for-late-postings-in-my-courses/

STUDENT SUCCESS & Outside sources: How to use them to show you have a holistic understanding of the weekly topic

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 10/25/17.

Watch this video for my short explanation of why and how you can use outside scholarship to foster a more holistic, creative and effective leadership plan. Plus, you will demonstrate to your professor that you have a working knowledge of what scholars have said about each week’s topic.

©️Bob Whitesel 2017, used by permission only.

STUDENT SUCCESS & Bloom’s Taxonomy Explained … What It Means for Student Learning

by Bob Whitesel Ph.D., 10/23/17.

Untitled copyWhen a student is in graduate school, they are expected to “think at a higher level” than they would while pursuing an undergraduate degree.

But how do you define this higher level of thinking?

Thankfully, an educator named Benjamin S. Bloom and his colleagues devised a hierarchal way of looking at learning. They gave the “higher levels of thinking, higher numbers” in a chart called “Bloom’s Taxonomy”  It can be found in the book: Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals (1969).

Here is what I said in an article I wrote for adjunct instructors about this: “Graduate education differs to a degree with undergraduate education in that graduate education tries to foster thinking and application that is “higher” on Bloom’s taxonomy of learning domains.”

So, we as professors are trying to encourage students to think at higher levels as charted on Bloom’s chart of learning.

To see the difference, look at the words associated with the higher domains, such as “analyzing (level 4), evaluating (level 5) and creating (level 6).”  I think you can see that you can’t be analyzing without comparing 2+ views on the topic. And you certainly can’t be evaluating or creating without looking at 2+ views on each topic.

Therefore as a professor, I give my students a rule-of-thumb in my syllabi that “analyzing, evaluating and creating” in my courses requires a rule-of-thumb use of 1-2 textbooks and 2-3 outside sources for average, i.e. “B-level” work. Therefore a student who scores better than a B would be expected to use 3+ textbooks and 4+ outside sources. Students had told me this rule of thumb greatly helps.

So dig into other views on each topic you’re studying by skimming articles, books and videos on each topic.

To help you do this, I created ChurchHealth.wiki as a great place to find those articles. You can just “search” for a topic and you will find hand-picked articles I have curated for you because they are relevant to the topics I teach.

For a quick overview see this chart: http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2012/07/a-quick-guide-to-21st-century-critical.html

Also, skim over this comparative diagram developed by Andrew Churches (GlobalDigitalCitizen.org) which depicts and compares the varying levels of Bloom’s taxonomy: FIGURE Blooms Taxonomy poster GlobalDigitalCitizenFIGURE Blooms Taxonomy poster GlobalDigitalCitizen

And, here are more ideas that I have posted elsewhere (for students applying for “independent studies”) about how to create research at the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy:

(The following is by Bob Whitesel D.Min. Ph.D., 9/5/17 and is from STUDENT SUCCESS & How to create and receive approval for an independent study at Wesley Seminary. See #3 under the first set of bulleted points.)

Students often request the “independent study”  or IP option as a replacement for a course that isn’t offered within a reasonable timeframe.

However the title “independent study” can be misleading if it gives the impression that the student is going to just independently write up the assignments required in the course.

Rather the term “independent” connotes that a student will “independently” take an existing course syllabus and add to it learning activities that would equal and compensate for a 4-8 hours of classroom interaction each week.

Wesley Seminary provides students a form to fill out for an independent study that includes these stipulations. In the middle of the form are four boxes to be checked regarding additional material that must be attached to the application.

The four checked boxes and attachments indicate what additional learning activities the student has added to the syllabus to make this an “independent” study.

Remember, an independent study does not only mean that it’s done independently. But it also means that the student has “independently” created a course based on the provided syllabus which adds roughly 4-8 hours a week of student work that would have been part of the online or onsite discussion/interaction.

It isn’t hard to do, but an “independent study” does require the same amount of work as a course that has interaction with other students and with a professor. Thus, the student independently creates assignments and learning activities that compensate and equal the amount of time the student would have spent conversing with other students and faculty in a course that was taught live.

Here are ideas a student can use to create the 4-8 hours a week of work that would have been part of the online or onsite discussion/interaction in a live course.

First, remember that during a live course the interaction with students and professor would result in the following benefits:

  1. The student would be learning from other students about different contexts.
  2. From the professor they would be learning about the latest books and articles on the topic.
  3. This student would be operating in the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. These levels would include:

To compensate in an IP, a student might undertake the following ideas based upon the numbered bulleted points above:

  1. The student might interview people from various contexts (this is called primary research, where students go themselves to learn about something first-hand).
  2. The student would independently find and skim tools from the latest articles and books (that otherwise a professor might bring into class discussion).
  3. The student would demonstrate each week that they are evaluating, comparing creating and synthesizing ideas into a new, original plan that is indigenous to the student’s context. Be sure to read more about these higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

You can also download a helpful explanation of Bloom’s Taxonomy from BloomsTaxonomy.org here: http://www.bloomstaxonomy.org/Blooms%20Taxonomy%20questions.pdf

STUDENT SUCCESS & Don’t Use the First Resource That Pops Up in a Google Search

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Sometimes several students will cite the same outside resource, because it appears near the top of a Google search.  Many times this can be a relevant article. But other times, it may not be.

Let me give an example with a hint for student success.

I ask students to find scholarly research that explains the “difference between primary and secondary research.”  Usually, a handful of students will cite https://www.thebalance.com (an advertising agency). The advertising agency is not juried (i.e. does not have an editorial board of scholars verifying their explanation is reliable and valid).  But, they do correctly identify the difference between primary and secondary research.

Therefore, should students use such a source?

YES:  If students are using this source to verify that practitioners agree with scholars on the differences between primary and secondary research. This would be acceptable.

NO: If students are using these practitioners as a source of reliable and valid information in an academic course, a scholarly source should probably be utilized instead.

If you are unsure about a source, find out about their background and if they have scholarly degrees (masters or doctoral) and/or have a scholarly editorial board, they would be considered scholars. (Though there are different levels of scholarship.)

In the example above, students could find out about the ad agency’s background by clicking on the “about us” link: https://www.thebalance.com/about-us. There students could find that while they are practitioners, they’re not scholars (and it’s not juried by an editorial board).

The problem arises because in a Google search for the “difference between primary and secondary research” this link often pops up near the top. However remember, in graduate school (a research-based school) you should not choose an outside source based upon popularity, but based upon scholarship.

While I always try to be gracious and give students some leeway early on in our course, I cannot do so later in the course. Student resources should increasingly be scholarly and therefore for fairness I will usually grade down a little bit more each week for non-scholarly sources.

My students understand that fairness and academic veracity require this. It makes their degree worth more and their learning more valuable.