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.

KINGDOM & McKnight + Stroope on “Why Do Christians Speak of ‘Mission’?”

by Scot McKnight, Pathos, 4/7/17.

Michael Stroope has a full scale analysis of the Christian usage of the term “mission” and terms associated with it, like “missionary” and now today the very happy, fuzzy term “missional.”

His study is called Transcending Mission... The big book has three essential points:

(1) to figure out why the Bible has so little use of the language of mission, and never does “mission” occur,  and then,

(2) to examine where we picked up this term “mission.” 

(3) His third point? Get rid of mission language and reframe our calling with kingdom language.

He contends the term enters the Christian vocabulary through pilgrimage traditions that soon become colonialism and imperialism and territorial conquests. He locates some of it in the Jesuits and esp in the 1910 Edinburgh Mission Conference.

Instead of mission language, Stroope proposes “kingdom” language. Ah, kingdom, but what does kingdom mean? (That’s what I’m asking as I’m reading him. I have my Kingdom Conspiracy in mind of course.)

Mission is contested language that requires continual promotion, defense, and revision, as this vocabulary is supplied language to the Christian tradition. When mission ascends to the status of sacred language, it can eclipse the kingdom and thus limit our view of Gods reign and muddle our ability to participate in his kingdom. The language of the reign of God, on the other hand, expresses an abiding theme throughout the Bible that culminates in the message of Jesus. When discovered and embraced, God’s reign forms us into pilgrim witnesses, who, though weak and afflicted, are liberated to live alongside and love those we encounter along the way. 358

He contends “kingdom” reorients us to be witnesses and pilgrims of the kingdom. His view of kingdom is largely that of GE Ladd with some NT Wright.

As language enters vocabulary, integrates with thought, and becomes the content of communication, it changes the way one sees God, it shapes identity, and it determines actions. Kingdom language prompts those who follow Christ to live as pilgrims who give witness to the coming reign of God. They are not called missionaries, and their life purpose is not named as mission. To supplant the structures of thought expressed in Scripture with the language of a modern tradition is to underestimate the power of God’s kingdom to change the world through witnesses and pilgrims. 376

Kingdom language is the better choice of language, because it is rooted in revelation, includes all types of believers, prioritizes formation of life, expands possibilities, underscores the place of the church, liberates from Christendom assumptions, and points to the Spirit’s work. 376

What of the church?

Kingdom language recognizes the place of the community of faith in the activity of God. Some view the church as the problem or an impediment, so they advocate a “kingdom orientation” rather than a “church orientation,” as if we must choose between the two. For sure, the church is not the kingdom of God, but the church, as the body of Christ, exists in the world to speak and embody kingdom values. As a community of people being transformed into the likeness of Christ, the church is able to witness to Christ’s teaching, life, and death. By the very fact that people surrender personal desires and their agenda to live alongside others, they offer a counterwitness to the pervasive individualism of modern life.

The themes of my Kingdom Conspiracy are God/Jesus as king, the king’s rule by way of redemption and governing, the people of Israel and the church who are the redeemed/governed people, the king’s instructions/law and the king’s location and sacred space. The above paragraph could have been expanded to see even more vitality to the relationship of kingdom and church and actually support most of what he is saying.

As for replacing “mission” with “kingdom”? I’m for far more stringent and rigorous biblical theology, which Stroope is doing. He’s right on the history of the term “mission” being something that has taken over, though some of what is meant by “mission” surely is involved in “kingdom” so that I’m not sure I’d make as big a difference. However, he’s right when speaks to the framing issue: which term we use matters immensely, and kingdom is the term to use.

Read more at … http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2017/04/07/christians-speak-mission/

STUDENT SUCCESS & My Grading Policies w/ More Examples of Outstanding Work

(from one of my recent syllabi)

Grading Policies

Your grading policy for your course is dependent on your school and program.  Your grading policies can be found in the IWU Catalog.

Discussions

In most workshops, there are discussion forums.  These discussions focus on either a special topic or general material from the workshop.  You will be given instructions on which discussion forums apply to the current workshop.  Complete discussions individually or in study groups as instructed. Well-thought-out postings that add something intellectually to the discussion are required for a good grade. Your initial postings should fully answer the questions posed in the course interface.  Additionally, you must reply to at least two of your classmate’s postings. Postings of the “I agree” or “Me too” variety will not suffice.

In these weekly discussions conduct some outside reading in a minimum of two to three books to support your observations. This might include a Bible commentary, other books on this topic, etc.  Customarily the graduate school student is expected to be skimming a minimum of several outside books each week and bring them into, when helpful, the online conversation.  Also bring into the conversation relevant ideas from your other course textbooks.  Thus, each week the student should be bringing into the online conversation one to two textbooks and two to three outside references as a minimum.

Also be sure to reply to any followup questions posted by your instructor. These are designed to help you dig deeper into application and theory.

End-of-week Papers

Most weeks an end-of-week paper will be due by Thursday 11:59pm. Like your discussions these end-of-week papers should cite relevant outside readings which support your observations. Similar to the discussion parameters, the graduate school student is expected at a minimum to be skimming several outside books each week and bringing them to bear upon their weekly papers (with citations).  Also, don’t forget to bring into your papers relevant ideas from other course textbooks.

And, unless specified differently by your professor, your end-of-week papers should comply with APA formatting rules and include an abstract.

An Expectation of Outside Scholarship

Therefore for B level work, the student should each week be utilizing and citing in their weekly papers and discussion forums, one to two textbooks and two to three outside references.  Remember however, this is for B level work.  A person seeking a higher grade would be expected to do better.

Letter Grade Equivalencies

Grade
Description of Work

A
Clearly stands out as excellent performance. Has unusually sharp insights into material and initiates thoughtful questions. Sees many sides of an issue. Articulates well and writes logically and clearly. Integrates ideas previously learned from this and other disciplines. Anticipates next steps in progression of ideas. Example “A” work should be of such nature that it could be put on reserve for all cohort members to review and emulate. The “A” cohort member is, in fact, an example for others to follow. Typical interaction will be 3+ times in each forum.

B
Demonstrates a solid comprehension of the subject matter and always accomplishes all course requirements. Serves as an active participant and listener. Communicates orally and in writing at an acceptable level for the degree program. Work shows intuition and creativity. Example “B” work indicates good quality of performance and is given in recognition for solid work; a “B” should be considered a good grade and awarded to those who submit assignments of quality less than the exemplary work described above. Typical interaction will be 3+ times in each forum.

C
Quality and quantity of work in and out of class is average. Has marginal comprehension, communication skills, or initiative. Requirements of the assignments are addressed at least minimally. Typical interaction will be 3 or fewer times in each forum.

D
Quality and quantity of work is below average. Has minimal comprehension, communication skills, or initiative. Requirements of the assignments are addressed at below acceptable levels. Typical interaction will be two or fewer times in each forum.

F
Quality and quantity of work is unacceptable and does not qualify the student to progress to a more advanced level of work.

EVANGELISM & How to Share Jesus Without Freaking Out #AlvinReid #BGCEfellow

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: My colleague Alvin Reid is a co-Fellow with the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College. He has written a very concise and well researched article regarding how to take the fear out of sharing our faith.

How to Share Jesus Without Freaking Out

by Alvin Reid, LifeWay Facts & Trends, 3/16/17 and author of Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out.

…How can we share Christ with the unchurched today? It’s simple: one conversation at a time. Here are some reminders for Christians to help alleviate their fears.

1. Think less of giving a presentation and more of having a conversation.

In the LifeWay Research study, 47 percent of the unchurched said they would freely discuss religious beliefs with someone who wants to talk about them. And 79 percent said if a friend truly valued faith personally, they wouldn’t mind the friend talking about it. I see this all time.

Lost people are more amazed at our silence than offended by our message! You may feel insecure giving a presentation to someone, but all of us—extroverts and introverts—have conversations every day.

Learning to talk about Jesus in everyday conversations not only communicates the gospel more effectively to the unchurched but also helps us to share Jesus without being self-conscious about it.

2. Tell them the great story of the gospel more than listing propositions.

Only 10 percent of the unchurched surveyed say they think daily about heaven and life after death. And 43 percent say they never do. I’m so grateful God gives us eternal life through Jesus. But He also gives us joy in our daily lives.

When asked if there is an ultimate purpose in life, 70 percent of the unchurched agree. You and I know the only way to find that purpose is through Jesus.

Most of us think of the gospel in its essence: the announcement of good news found in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. But in a world that doesn’t know the biblical story, it’s vital we also share the good news as the epic story it is.

When I witness, I like to share Christ by connecting our conversation to the great story of Scripture—from creation to the fall, from our rescue in Christ to our hope of restoration.

This allows me to connect the story of God’s redemption to everyday life. One way I do this is by showing how movie plotlines relate to the gospel with young adults. Look for ways to have conversations with the unchurched about their ultimate purpose in life and God’s plan for all of us.

3. Connect the story to their everyday life experiences.

In everyday conversations, people talk about their painor their passion. When we talk about these things, it allows me to relate their story (and mine) to the gospel story.

If we talk about pain, I talk about the obvious brokenness in our world through sin, and I point them to the hope we have in Christ’s work on the cross and the resurrection.

If we talk about their passion—their hopes, dreams, or plans—I point them to God’s great design in creation and how He put those desires in our hearts when He made us in His image.

Read more at … http://factsandtrends.net/2017/03/16/how-to-share-jesus-without-freaking-out/

#LEAD558

EVANGELISM & 5 Views on the Destiny of the Unevangelized: A Chart Comparing Theological Options (by John Sanders) incl. Wesley’s

by John Sanders, The Unevangelized, retrieved from http://wp.production.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/files/2017/03/Screen-Shot-2017-03-29-at-6.39.01-AM.png

John Wesley’s view on this can be seen in his letters where he stated the following (quote and commentary by Heitzenrater, Wesley and the People Called Methodist, 2013):

EXCERPT Heitzenrater Wesley & People p.176.jpg

 

 

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STUDENT SUCCESS & Why Asking Questions of Other Students is Not the Application Goal of a Seminary

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 3/30/17.

Seminaries are so-called “professional schools.” That puts them in the category with Business Schools which offer MBA degrees.  In seminaries we typically offer ecclesial-orientated, but similiar degrees: MDiv, MA and DMin. These are professional degrees, which means that the students are usually already engaged in their profession and are honing their skills.

Therefore, students are expected to weekly be “applying” what they are learning to their profession in professional schools, such as business schools and seminaries. For example, in a MBA Business School program a student might investigate how to apply an innovate financial model to their business and report back to their professor the applicability.

Papers should describe application plans.

Seminary is the same way.  Students are expected to:

  • Take what they are learning each week
  • “apply” it to their ministry,
  • Then report back to fellow students and their professor.

This is why our end-of-week papers are customarily called “Application Papers,” because they describe how the student would “apply” to their profession what they learned that week.

Discussions also should describe application ideas, not just ask questions.

For students to earn points in professional school discussions, they should do more than just ask questions of the other students. Often times students do this because they see the professor asking questions. However the professor’s role is different: she or he is there to probe the thinking and depth of understanding of the students. Other students can do this as well, but it doesn’t demonstrate to the professor that the student is understand the content. It only demonstrates that the other students can ask questions.

To earn points for discussions in a professional school,

  • Students look up research that can help the other students
  • Then “apply” that research to the other student’s context.

Here is an example:

A student stated that he thought small groups create intimacy in larger churches.  And, he asked a fellow student, who pastored a large church, if this was the case.  The large church pastor did not utilize small groups and thus did not reply.

However in a professional school, students do not earn points by asking questions, but by giving application solutions.

Let’s go back to our example.  The student’s thesis, that small groups create intimacy in larger churches, is easily supportable from research by various scholars. He could start with the “Reveal Study” that was conducted at Bill Hybel’s church.

So, to earn points for application:

  1. The student finds research on how large churches can maintain intimacy as they grow.  The student might discover that small groups help with this.
  2. Then the student shares his/her  research-supportable findings with fellow students.
  3. Finally, the student explains (and cites) some “tools” or mechanisms for fostering small groups in a large church environment. Results are …
    • The large church pastor would benefit from the application insights in the “tools” suggested.
    • And, the student would demonstrate to the professor that she/he was conversant in scholarly research and application on the topic at hand.

MUSICAL PREFERENCES & They May Crystallize Around Age 23.5 According to Research (A Leadership Exercise)

Every culture is made up of behaviors, ideas and products (Christian anthropologist Paul Hiebert defined culture as people who join together because of “shared patterns of behavior, ideas and products.”1. One of the most powerful and cohesion-generating products is music and the celebration that accompanies it.

Holbrook and Schindler’s research suggests that a musical preference begins to crystallize in the early 20s and hardens throughout the rest of a person’s life.

This is important to know when attempting to understand worship wars. Rather than trying to attract people to into adopting music from a different culture, it might be more helpful to find touchstones and points of agreement between the music of their youth and the music of your youth.

So if you’re trying to reach out to another musical generation, begin by studying the music of that generation’s 20something years.

Try this leadership exercise to see if this research can be confirmed with your team members.

A. Ask your team members to share the year in which they were born.  If do not want to do so, graciously excuse them from the exercise. Try to get at least two or three participants.  Write down their birth year next to their name.

B. Next, ask your leaders to name their favorite musical groups and/or singers. Write these down next to their name. Each person should select three or four examples.

C. With your team (or later on your own if you prefer) go online and locate in which years  those musical groups were the most popular.

D. Then correlate the year range of artist popularity with the period in time when the team member was in their 20s.

E.  Finally, ask yourself, “Was there a correlation?”

There seems to be so, about 60 to 70% of the time. This is enough to say that Holbrook and Schindler’s research may be partially reliable and valid. But of course, more research is needed. That’s why I ask my students to undertake this leadership exercise. It can add to their experience and to their  emerging theses (a thesis is basically a scholarly hunch 🙂 And at the very least, it can make them more sensitive to the musical products that are prefrered by members of their teams.

1. Paul Hiebert, Cultural Anthropology (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 1976), p. 25.

2. M. B. Holbrook & R. M. Schindler, “Some exploratory findings on the development of musical tastes,” Journal of Consumer Research, (1989) 16(1), p. 122.

MULTIPLICATION & The Next Iteration of the Black Church

by Ed Stetzer, The Exchange, 11/22/16.

…In recent interviews with several African-American church planters, three core themes arose that can give us some insight into the characteristics of what successful Black pastoral leadership will look like in our racially awakening America:

The ability to be “culturally bilingual.” Now more than ever Black pastors have to be able to speak both the language of the surrounding (urban) community and the language of their often suburban members. A high cultural IQ is critical. Successful Black pastors must be able to walk and talk in both worlds, often simultaneously.

Unusually thick skin. Because of the deeply stressed state of race relations in America, Black pastors need to be able to bring a sense of calm when necessary and be prepared to field some very, very inappropriate (and even hurtful) questions. People of all races have been wrestling silently with how they feel about race for years—even decades. Many are now experiencing a renewed sense of freedom and courage to ask previously “stuffed” questions. Black pastors need to be a safe place for curious people to ask these questions without being penalized.

A systematic theology of race and justice. In essence, the Black pastor needs to be able to differentiate between social justice (defined by society, ever changing) and biblical justice (defined by God’s word, thus unchanging). America needs pastors that can articulate a clear case for mobilizing their local churches to be God’s change agents in the area of racial justice. Unfortunately, we may once again need more feet in the streets and in places of power, and those feet have to be connected to a theological rationale for why they are there…

Read more at … http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2016/november/next-iteration-of-black-church.html

DIVERSIFIED MULTIPLICATION & Why Church Leaders Are Missing the Healthiest Growth Strategy

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: General Electric, probably one of the most siloed companies in America, is restructuring to create a “horizontal organization” that better shares its assets. This is the “diversified multiplication” model that I’ve been advocating for years (along with organizational scientists). It means rather than launching competitive organizations (such as independent church plants) or siloing departments within an organization (as we do with multiple campuses), it requires diversifying – while sharing as many assets as possible. To understand more of the diversified multiplication model and how even small churches can grow quickly by implementing it, see my books ORGANIX and The Healthy Church. Then read this article to see how the business world does it successfully.

GE is undergoing the most radical transformation in its 124-year history, by Robert Stephens, Business Insider, 1/13/15.

…A key reason for this potential is GE’s focus on breaking down the walls between its different divisions, which, in the past, have generally operated on a nearly mutually exclusive basis.

Through the adoption and focus on the GE Store, the company is intent on developing its horizontal capabilities through shared innovation, with technological advancements, ideas, and support from one part of the business being made available across all parts of the business.

Undoubtedly, such a scheme has little value when the different divisions have limited common ground. For example, GE’s consumer credit arm, Synchrony, had little to share with GE’s healthcare department, and vice versa.

However, with the company disposing of multiple financial assets, including Synchrony, as it seeks to become an industrial company that is enhanced rather than dominated by its capital arm, scope for a more collaborative, value-added approach is likely to enhance innovation, productivity, and, most important, profitability.

GE is well on the road to generating its targeted 75% of profit from its industrials division, with the remainder to be derived from its capital division.

This split makes good sense, since GE envisions a world in which financial volatility, geopolitical uncertainty, and development opportunities in the developing world are emphasized in future years.

To take advantage of those factors, GE must innovate, become more productive, and tap into the $70 trillion that is forecast to be spent on global infrastructure between 2014 and 2030…

Read more at … http://www.businessinsider.com/ge-is-undergoing-the-most-radical-transformation-in-its-124-year-history-2016-1?amp%3Butm_medium=referral

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THEOLOGY & A Theology of Ecclesial Change

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 12/22/06.

Abstract

An earlier ethnographic survey of 12 Christian congregations that were largely led, staffed and populated with adults between the ages of 22 and 35, was designed to uncover synergies and strategies that might inform further research among our master and doctoral students in the College of Graduate Studies at Indiana Wesleyan University regarding how efficacious change was implemented in these environs.

This monolith appropriates Van de Ven and Poole’s four-force model of change (Van de Ven and Poole 1995; Poole and Van de Ven 2004) and applies it to changes the early church underwent in the Acts of the Apostles as it grappled with the assimilation of Gentile converts. A five stage process-model for organizational change is proposed with an accompanying suggestion for a theology of ecclesial organizational change.

Greek Designations For a Theology of Ecclesial Organizational Change

A Scriptural predilection for personal behavioral and cognitive change largely overshadows most investigations into the organizational change that a Pharisaic and Diasporic Judaism was undergoing in a transformation into an in situ Messianic community. Laubach points out that this emphasis upon behavioral and cognitive change is evidenced in both Greek and New Testament authors in their proclivity to employ strepho, hapostrepho and strepho in contexts which suggest cognitive and behavioral changes of philosophic and moral perspectives (Laubach 1967:354-355).

A study of Greek literature suggests that morphe might be helpful. Greek writers debated the dynamic “twilight” between reality and form (Plato 1941), and in doing so they employed morphe to emphasize the outward appearance of inner change (Braumann 1967:705-706). Yet, Braumann’s Scriptural examination suggests organizational change is not encompassed in this word’s New Testament usage either (ibid.)

Metanoia might be the most well known word for change, yet it appears rarely in classical Greek literature (Goetzmann 1967:357). This leaves its focus at the mercy of the Septuagint and New Testament writers, where it too carries the force of personal rather than corporate turn in direction (Behm 1964-1974).

However, one word does come into our view carrying the connotation of outward change in appearance with an emphasis upon the form the change evolves through and into (Braumann 1967:709-710). This word, a cognate of schema, is meteschematizo and occurs five times in Paul’s writings to the Corinthians and once in his writings to the Philippians. Let us look at each, the later first.

In Philippians 3:21 the import of meteschematizo is an eschatological outward change in humankind’s appearance, or as Braumann describes “real participation in the glorified body of Christ (Braumann 1967:709). Synergy with outward organizational change is not fostered here, but rather an emphasis upon eventual and outward personal change (Ladd 1981:563-564).

In 1 Corinthians 4:6 Paul warns his skeptics that he applies (meteschematisa) certain constrictions to his outward teachings, because of his desire to be a faithful and trustful servant of Christ’s message (1 Corinthians 4:1-2). Braumann points out this connotes a thoroughness in transformation (Braumann 1967:709), while Scheider suggests here also lies an emphasis upon an outward appearance that is not the “expected or customary form” (Schneider 1964-1974:958). While this is closer to a description of organizational transformation into an unexpected form, meteschematisa here is applied personally and not corporately. Yet, the use of the term to describe unexpected or uncustomary outward changes in appearance that are due to inner enthuses will be suggested later to describe organizational change in the New Testament.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 contains the remaining instances of meteschematizo where the word is employed by Paul to describe a fallacious appearance of false apostles. The NIV describes this as a “masquerade,” while the NASB and RSV employ the less animated “disguise.” Yet, the usage here retains an external emphasis based upon an inner adjustment, but again applies it personally rather than corporately.

A scouring of theological summaries provides limited analysis of organizational change beyond the above understandings. And thus we find tantalizingly useful words, but not applied to the organizational transformations we seek to discuss in this monolith. Subsequently, an analysis of New Testament history, especially as reflected in Luke’s writings of the Acts of the Apostles (an intentional delimitation to ensure this discussion is not unwieldy), can provide an understanding of the forces for change and resultant processes employed under the unction of the Holy Spirit within the early church to organizationally transition from a Jewish sect into a widespread force for altruism, faith and change.

Scholarly Discussion of a Theology of Ecclesial Organizational Change

A Scriptural focus upon personal change may have resulted in ecclesial organizational change receiving less than adequate analysis among theologians. A search of American Theological Library Association (ATLA) databases provides less than a handful of journal articles on a theology of change. And, most investigate the personal, cognitive and behavioral change that humans undergo, rather than corporate change. A few however, bear mentioning.

Ellen Charry posits an interesting contribution to her reflections upon Jurgen Moltmann’s work, titled “Reviving Theology in a Time of Change” (Charry 1996). Though designed to address the task of theology in the elastic world of postmodernity, she none-the-less argues for new workings in theology while hinting at the importance of studying the dynamic tension between theology and changing contexts. Charry opens the door for more study on the synergies created when contextual change intersects theology. She leaves the reader standing with the door ajar, perhaps wishing her reader or students to cross the threshold. However, her contribution is not just in the observation that contextual change is a force unfairly neglected in theology inquiry, but also in her conclusion that postmodern generations eschew broad systemizations in favor of fluid and elastic understandings where change serves as a force to be reacted to and embraced (Charry:118)

In a similar vein, Martyn Percy pens a hopeful “A Theology of Change for the Church” in his contribution to a book on Anglican ecclesial management (Percy 2000). However, the result is a less than satisfying theological apologetic for Anglican polity and practices as responses to change (2000:177-178). A theology of how ecclesial organizational change occurs is not evident, overshadowed by a defense of denominational polity and actions. Nor does a Biblical theology emerge from this discussion, rather Percy tenders an apologetic for Episcopal-based structures and hierarchical controls (2000:177). Not unexpectedly, the result is better labeled a theology of changing (see my upcoming explanation), and still bears greater resemblance to a theology of leadership, with sub-sets of control and administration.

However, it is de Jongh van Arkel who hints at the potential for a theology of change in his insightful article “Understanding Change as Practical Theologian” (De Jongh van Arkel 2001). Though discussing a theology of personal change, he observes that “in theology we often talk about change as if there were little to explain or understand” (2001:31). This tendency to avoid what on the surface seems pedestrian and self-explanatory may also be the malady of any investigation of theology and its relationship to ecclesial organizational change. De Jongh van Arkel argues that “religious change …. is still an open field for research” with a potential to result in a more complex, yet holistic view of humankind and its actions (2001:58). He thus sees a requisite duty of theologians to analyze this theological step-child to elicit “a more informal understanding and theory of change (that) would become part of our basic theories in practical theology” (2001:31). While de Jongh van Arkel is making his arguments largely targeted at crafting a more holistic theology of personal change, the same should be true of the construction of a theology of ecclesial organizational change; where both are subsets of a practical theology.

A contributing factor to what de Jongh van Arkel describes as a modernist neglect of a theology of change, may be because change is a messy, uncharted and muddled arena. It has been observered that a modernist Christendom likes to have its concepts tidy and neatly packaged (Dockery 1995:14-15; Oden 1995:27-31; Grenz 1996:71-81). Yet, postmodernity seems to have no apprehension toward tackling the shadowy-side, of Christian life and community (Whitesel 2006:108-123). Mike Yaconelli penned a book popular among postmodernal young people that eschewed Christianity as a nice, codified set of principles, and rather acknowledged it as unclear, ambiguous and even sometimes hazardous to personal mental peace (Yaconelli 2002). Brian McLaren’s summative title, A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I Am a Missional, Evangelical, Post/protestant, Liberal/conservative, Mystical/poetic, Biblical, Charismatic/contemplative, Fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/Anglican, Methodist, Catholic, Green, Incarnational, Depressed-Yet Hopeful, Emergent, Unfinished Christian (McLaren 2004) alludes to this multiplicity. Hermann Hesse’s protagonist may have said it best, when he insinuates modernist man longs for the regimentation of the Middle Ages, by stating “a man of the Middle Ages would detest the whole mode of our present-day life as something far more than horrible, far more than barbarous. Every age, every culture, every custom and tradition has its own character, its own weakness and its own strength, its beauties and ugliness; accepts certain sufferings as matter of course, puts up patiently with certain evils” (Hesse 1957:22).

Subsequently, there may be little hesitation for postmodernal thinkers to closely examine and conjecture on the relationships between change, theology and organizational behavior. De Jongh van Arkel’s avoidance hypothesis, is hopefully no longer required by a generation that sees and welcomes both beauty and ugliness in God’s creation, including the church and its theology.

Even over a quarter century ago these tensions were shaping the mind of Michael Ryan (Ryan 1975). While contributing to a volume he edited on The Contemporary Explosion in Theology, Ryan suggests that life-cycle forces are causing a reevaluation of modernist institutions and their beliefs by younger generations (1975:1). Though embracing a postmodernist viewpoint, Ryan does not utilize the term postmodern. Instead he prefers to call for the contemporary theologians bursting upon the scene to contemplate the dynamic tensions inherent in change and craft an understanding (1975:10-16). Due to its inevitability, Ryan encourages that change be embraced by the church, because there are “vital forces and new institutions around them demanding that they change, that they adapt to new conditions of life” (1975:1).

Toward this cultural and theological demand, the remainder of this monolith will seek to inaugurate a discussion. While theologians such as Percy, de Jongh van Arkel, Ryan and others have scratched the surface, it is the hope that this present study will release creative new ideas for theological inquiry, and will enlarge research of ecclesial organizational change and a theology that might inform it.

 Historical Evidence of a Theology of Ecclesial Organizational Change

Download the rest of the article HERE: ARTICLE ©Whitesel – Toward a Theology of Ecclesial Change PhD

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