MISSIONAL COACHES & How to Build Client Relationships Without Meeting Face-to-Face. #ForbesMagazine

by Martin Zwiling, Forbes Magazine, 3/4/21.

… 1. Customize and personalize every communication you can.

… a recognition and real insights into specific challenges that you know this client is facing. Couple this with a specific proposal for the next step or your solution.

3. Highlight your personal leadership values and experience.

Through frequent communication and your website, make sure clients see you as a person and a leader, rather than a robot who can do their job…

4. Make sure clients know how you manage your business.

Clients need to feel comfortable that you expect quality work from your team and technology and have metrics, modern tools, and controls in place to make it happen. Be proactive in answering potential questions about peak load scheduling, special services, and billing questions…

5. Seek out your client’s purpose, priorities, and expectations.

Nothing galvanizes a client’s loyalty and support than the feeling that you understand that their purpose is shared with yours, and goes well beyond what you can do for them…

6. Provide relevant case studies illustrating your results.

…People like to see examples of your work that they can relate to, with results, including costs and savings. Focus on proposals, rather than hourly rates.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/martin-zwilling/how-to-build-client-relationships-without-meeting-face-to-face.html

MISSIONAL COACHES & How to Build Client Relationships Without Meeting Face-to-Face. #ForbesMagazine

by Martin Zwiling, Forbes Magazine, 3/4/21.

… 1. Customize and personalize every communication you can.

… a recognition and real insights into specific challenges that you know this client is facing. Couple this with a specific proposal for the next step or your solution.

3. Highlight your personal leadership values and experience.

Through frequent communication and your website, make sure clients see you as a person and a leader, rather than a robot who can do their job…

4. Make sure clients know how you manage your business.

Clients need to feel comfortable that you expect quality work from your team and technology and have metrics, modern tools, and controls in place to make it happen. Be proactive in answering potential questions about peak load scheduling, special services, and billing questions…

5. Seek out your client’s purpose, priorities, and expectations.

Nothing galvanizes a client’s loyalty and support than the feeling that you understand that their purpose is shared with yours, and goes well beyond what you can do for them…

6. Provide relevant case studies illustrating your results.

…People like to see examples of your work that they can relate to, with results, including costs and savings. Focus on proposals, rather than hourly rates.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/martin-zwilling/how-to-build-client-relationships-without-meeting-face-to-face.html

STRATEGY & Every pastor should learn about these cognitive biases to better assess your situation & to be a better planner. www.ChurchLeadership.Consulting www.Leadership.church

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Having read most likely thousands of student papers, the most reoccurring error may be when people attribute the wrong “cause” to an “effect.”

This tendency, to misdiagnose the reason behind something, has been built into our brains because of our many experiences. Such biases to make wrong conclusions about the cause of something are called mental or “cognitive” biases. For an introduction to the 50 most prevalent see this article about Elon Musk.

Elon Musk Thinks Every Child Should Learn About These 50 Cognitive Biases

Would the world be more rational if we did as Musk recently suggested and taught kids about cognitive biases in school?



  1. Foundational Attribution Error. When someone else is late, it’s because they’re lazy. When you’re late, it was the traffic.
  2. Self-Serving Bias.Attributing all your successes to skill or effect and all your screw ups to bad luck or a bad situation.
  3. In-Group Favoritism. We tend to favor those in our in-group versus those who are more different than us.
  4. Bandwagon Effect. Everyone likes to jump on a trendy bandwagon.
  5. Groupthink. Also just what it sounds like. Going along with the group to avoid conflict. The downfall of many a large organization.
  6. Halo Effect. Assuming a person has other positive traits because you observed they have one. Just because someone is confident or beautiful, doesn’t mean they are also smart or kind, for example.
  7. Moral Luck. Assuming winners are morally superior.
  8. False Consensus. Thinking most people agree with you even when that’s not the case.
  9. Curse of Knowledge. Assuming everyone else knows what you know once you’ve learned something.
  10. Spotlight Effect.Overestimating how much other people are thinking about you.
  11. Availability Heuristic.Why we worry more about rare airplane crashes than objectively much deadlier road accidents. People make judgments based on how easy it is to call an example to mind (and plane crashes are memorable).
  12. Defensive Attribution.Getting more upset at someone who commits a crime we feel we could have fallen victim to ourselves.
  13. Just-World Hypothesis. The tendency to believe the world is just, so any observed injustice was really deserved.
  14. Naive Realism. Thinking we have a better grasp of reality than everyone else.
  15. Naive Cynicism. Thinking everyone else is just selfishly out for themselves.
  16. Forer Effect (aka Barnum Effect). The bias behind the appeal of astrology. We see vague statements as applying specifically to us even when they apply to most everybody.
  17. Dunning Kruger Effect. One of my personal favorites. This principle states that the less competent you are, the more confident you’re likely to be because you’re too incompetent to understand exactly how bad you are. The opposite is also true — those with greater skills are often plagued with doubt.
  18. Anchoring. The way in which the first piece of information we hear tends to influence the terms or framing of an entire discussion.
  19. Automation Bias. Over relying on automated systems like GPS or autocorrect.
  20. Google Effect (aka Digital Amnesia). You’re more likely to forget it if you can just Google it.
  21. Reactance. Doing the opposite of what you’re told when you feel bullied or backed into a corner. Very topical.
  22. Confirmation Bias. We tend to look for and be more easily convinced by information that confirms our existing beliefs. A big one in politics.
  23. Backfire Effect. Repeatedly mentioning a false belief to disprove it sometimes ends up just making people believe it more.
  24. Third-Person Effect. The belief that others are more affected by a common phenomenon than you are.
  25. Belief Bias. Judging an argument not on its own merits but by how plausible we think its conclusion is.
  26. Availability Cascade. The more people believe (and talk about) something the more likely we are to think it’s true.
  27. Declinism. Romanticizing the past and thinking we live in an age of decline.
  28. Status Quo Bias. People tend to like things to stay the same, even if change would be beneficial.
  29. Sunk Cost Fallacy (AKA Escalation of Commitment). Throwing good money (or effort) after bad to avoid facing up to a loss.
  30. Gambler’s Fallacy. Thinking future probabilities are affected by past events. In sports, the hot hand.
  31. Zero-Risk Bias. We prefer to reduce small risks to zero rather than reduce risks by a larger amount that doesn’t get them to zero.
  32. Framing Effect. Drawing different conclusions from the same information depending on how it’s framed.
  33. Stereotyping. Just what it sounds like — having general beliefs about entire groups of people (and applying them to individuals whether you know them or not).
  34. Outgroup Homogeneity Bias. Seeing the diversity within the groups to which you belong but imagining people in groups to which you don’t belong are all alike.
  35. Authority Bias. Putting too much stock in authority figures.
  36. Placebo Effect. This isn’t strictly a cognitive bias according to Musk’s graphic, but still useful to know. If you think something will work, you’re likely to experience a small positive effect whether it really does or not.
  37. Survivorship Bias. We remember the winners and forget about the many, invisible losers. Big in startups.
  38. Tachypsychia. How exhaustion, drugs, or trauma mess with our sense of time.
  39. Law of Triviality (AKA Bike-Shedding). Giving excessive weight to trivial issues while ignoring more important ones.
  40. Zeigarnik Effect. Uncompleted tasks haunt our brains until we finish them.
  41. IKEA Effect. We tend to overvalue things we had a hand in creating. (In my experience not true of Billy bookcases but still…)
  42. Ben Franklin Effect. We tend to think more positively about people once we’ve done a favor for them.
  43. Bystander Effect. Again, not strictly a cognitive bias but important. Describes how people are less likely to take responsibility to act if they’re in a crowd.
  44. Suggestibility. Seen most often in children, this is when we mistake an idea or question someone else said for your own memory.
  45. False Memory. Mistaking something you imagined for a memory.
  46. Cryptomnesia. The opposite of the one above. Thinking a true memory is something you imagined.
  47. Clustering Illusion. The tendency to “see” patterns in random data.
  48. Pessimism Bias. Always seeing the glass as half empty.
  49. Optimism Bias. Always seeing the glass as half full.
  50. Blind Spot Bias. The bias that makes us think we don’t have as many biases as other people. You do.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/elon-musk-cognitive-biases.html

MISSIONAL COACHES & As part of the MissionalCoaches.network these 3 African-American church planters are shadowing me (pictured w/ client church pastor In the middle). It feels good to give back the tools I’ve discovered from 30+ years of coaching / consulting & 2 doctorates. www.Leadership.church

Learn about a opportunity to shadow me and learn my tools from two doctorates and 30+ years of consulting at … MissionalCoaches.network

MISSIONAL COACHES & 3 weeks until application opens again. Here are pictured our diverse team coaching a mega-client. Learn more at MissionalCoaches.net & get your copy of the book we are using on Amazon: “Growing the Post-pandemic Church”

Amazon Links


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


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


ADVERSITY & An executive summary by missional coach candidate Mark Collins of “OPTION B: Facing Adversity, building resilience & finding joy” by Sheryl Sandberg

by Mark Collins, 2018 Missional Coach candidate, 4/17/18.

Sheryl Sandberg is most notably the COO of Facebook. Her previous book, “Lean in,” was a bestseller and encouragement to many women. In 2015, her husband Dave died suddenly while on a Mexican vacation, her world was devastated in ways most people could never imagine. She extended her pain to a friend, Adam Grant, a psychologist, author and great friend. He helped her to put the shattered pieces of her life back together. She also credits her boss and friend, Mark Zuckerberg with helping her in the melee. OPTION B: Facing Adversity, building resilience and finding joy is Sheryl’s story, her insights, and her emotions too. She combines her own narrative with research and information gathered by Adam Grant about the strength that people summon in overcoming devastating events and rediscovering their joy.

Very early in her journey, she recognized the importance of facing the elephant in the room and dealing with the realities and emotions face on. Two weeks after losing her husband she was preparing for a father-child activity. “I want Dave” she cried. Her friend Adam replied, “Option A is not available,” and then promised to help her make the most of Option B.

She reached out to her many friends and family and got solid advice on how to be prepared to answer questions about death. She entitled Chapter 2, The Platinum Rule of Friendship.

Sandberg painfully writes how they continued to work together as a family to be there for each other throughout all the emotional difficulties and in doing so, she describes that as the discipline of Bouncing Forward.

Perhaps most striking to me is her discussion about the importance of resilient communities and how much more organizations can do, and should do, to allow people time to grieve and to provide important support when their worlds become broken. 

She notes the response of Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston where eight parishioners were gunned down during a Wednesday night Bible Study, just a month after her husband died. The Pastor and the congregation made a determined effort to forgive the White Supremacist shooter. They forgave him and prayed that God would have mercy upon him. She writes how crucial it is to find strength together and then quotes Rev. Jermaine Watkins: “What unites us is stronger than what divides us.”

This book is a guide for an individual, family or even an organization who have suffered loss to be used a reference on how to be human. Death is utterly expected. However, most struggle with it when it happens to someone close. 

Through out the book she does not pull any punches and allows her inner voice to scream through the pain. As she writes; Some people say nothing, fearing they will say the wrong thing, or offer up statements like “I can’t imagine” (try) or “I don’t know how you do it” (as if we were given a choice).

It is filled with wisdom, from how to ask for help to how can I help and be more sensitive.

Grief is paralyzing and personal—facts Sandberg acknowledges throughout the book—but it has the power to weave us into the tapestry of human experience, if we let it. “I felt connected to something much larger than myself—connected to a universal human experience,” she writes. It is a silver lining none of us would choose, but one that is an inevitable, and eventually empowering, consequence.

She wrote this Facebook post in June 2015 “I think when tragedy occurs, it presents a choice. You can give in to the void, the emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even breathe. Or you can try to find meaning.”

I read this book looking for answers. What happens when Plan A doesn’t work out. Many of the leaders that we coach are asking themselves this same Question about their own dreams and those aspirations of the organizations that they lead.

This book brought to light one key reality for me. That no one ever gets to live out their Plan A. So learning to adapting and embracing the reality of Option B, or C, D, E and F…is likely how life is going to play out. 

VISION & A review by missional coach Jim H. of “Church Unique” by Will Mancini.

Review of Church Unique (Will Mancini) by Jim H. 2018 Missional Coach candidate, 4/2/18.

Over the last month, I not only read this book, I studied it.  My Life Coach recommended the book last summer and when I had the chance to read it for “credit” I took it.  Since I’m moving closer to working with churches in need of revitalizing I’ve been looking for philosophical positions and practices on the best way to reverse churches.  Although this book is not really a philosophical book, it does begin with the idea that every church has a unique role or character that makes it different from every other congregation.  

The book has four sections of which I will identify bullet points that made an impression.  The sections are:

  1. Recasting Vision
  2. Clarifying Vision
  3. Articulating Vision
  4. Advancing Vision

Recasting Vision:  The idea behind this section is to redeem the visioning process for churches.  We made it too much into a “canned” process.  Leadership can restrict vision which is the lifeline to any church.  

  • Every church is a unique, but they’re not valuing their uniqueness.  Discovering their uniqueness can be hard work and humbling.  They may have to be realistic of their uniqueness, but they need to be comfortable in their own skin.
  • Church culture is defined by a list of qualities from its people.  The uniqueness of a church is equal to its culture.  This is not defined by a church service as much as the interacting thoughts, actions, attitudes and beliefs.  The sociological impact of a church is greatly underestimated.
  • Strategic Planning can kill a church!  Things I learned:
    • Too much information can kill vision!
    • Silos in the church are killing the team atmosphere.  Finding ways to break down the competitive nature within ministries and people is critical.
    • Leadership blinders greatly hampers a churches capacity!  My big take away on this is focusing on preparation and not planning.  Also, leaders and churches can be arthritic or adaptive.  
  • Space often times defines a church and its vision which should be combated.  Four walls don’t define us, so learning to resource those four walls to serve vision is important.

Clarifying Vision:  Once we discover that unique vision, how do we communicate it and keep people attune to it.  

It will take too long to go through all these clarifying characteristics, but it does seem to match other discovery techniques.  

  • Clarifying vision is about looking to the past as much as the future.
  • Clarifying vision requires careful consideration of strengths and limitations.
  • Clarifying vision is as much about identity as it is methodology.
  • Clarifying vision is always about what God is already doing.
  • Clarity makes leadership credible

Articulating Vision:  

  • Vision Frame:  The way Will Mancini broke this portion of the book down was helpful.  I will be studying this further to possibly integrate it into my own processes.  It does help to “frame” vision since it can be all encompassing. 
  • Mountain Top + Milestones:  this was also a helpful concept to process.  It is understandable that people need to see the big picture, but to create successes along the way to keep people motivated and moral up.

Advancing Vision:  Once the vision has been clarified and articulated, the messiest part is advancing it.  Life happens and people get distracted.  

  • My job as a leader is to constantly align, attune, and integrate the vision into the minds and hearts, actions and passions, and roles and organization charts of the Church Unique.
  • This is the part that scares me the most.  My strengths lie in the previous parts and not as much in this area.  I know I need to develop these skills.  God may put me in this role again to do just that.

MISSIONAL COACHES & What separates a coach from a mentor?

“Mentors offer great advice; coaches ask great questions.”

“Coaching: The Best-Kept Secret to Growing as an Entrepreneur”

by Zack Ferres, Entrepreneur Magazine, 10/26/17.

… Up to 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies now work with executive coaches, according to consulting firm Hay Group…

What separates a coach from a mentor

I posted about this coaching paradox on LinkedIn a while back, and my post attracted a flood of comments. After reading them through, I realized that many people don’t understand the distinction between a mentor and a coach. While these positions might seem similar, there’s actually a world of difference between the two.

“Mentors,” for one thing, don’t usually follow a fixed schedule or require payment. They help with strategic issues, answering questions for founders without actively participating in company operations.

“Coaches,” on the other hand, are not afraid to get their hands dirty. They are typically paid, and operate on, a fixed schedule to help entrepreneurs make themselves better. Mentors offer great advice; coaches ask great questions…

Read more: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/303361

EQUIPPING & 8 Ideas to Help Leaders Move from Being Regarded as Experts to Regarded as Equippers

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D. and the 2017 Missional Coaches Cohort, 2/1/17.

  • Create an organizational chart that includes each area of ministry.
    • Pastor, Director(s), Volunteer Leader roles, etc.
    • Identify and write down the positional names first, then add actual names of people. If you have not yet identified the desired positions or people, then begin to pray for clarity on roles and potential leaders for those roles. Pray for your current leaders.
    • Create (and have ready in writing) expectations and core values for the individual roles to have leaders lead. This brings value to the leader.
    • You become a better leader the more you can share the responsibilities of the your particular areas of ministry. You also raise the “leadership lid” as you are able to do what you can to empower/coach others to lead.
  • Take an intentional DAWG (Day Alone With God)
    • So something that fills your tank, gets you alone with God in his presence. (Go to a park, a hike, bike ride, to a lake, to the pool, etc) You get the point, do what you enjoy.
    • Take a day monthly. Journal, read a book/Bible, pray, Listen, etc
  • Begin to meet with 6-10 potential leaders regularly to move from expert to an
    equipper. (Dan Reiland’s 5 Elements to Empower Your Leaders summarized below.)

    • 1 time per month for about 1.5hrs for up to 1 year. Be intentional to talk about
      vision, core values, and maybe do a book study, and/or leadership lifter/training.
      Then recruit a whole new group of potential leaders and repeat the process.
      During this process there are 5 key areas to help equip and empower other
    • “Trust with responsibility”
      • Like a teenager learning to drive, handing over the keys to a new leader is
        a risk. But without risk, a leader can’t feel the weight of their responsibility
        and your trust.
      • Mistakes are likely, but growth occurs in that process!
    • “Train your leaders for competency”
      • “In the same way you would not let your teens drive the family car without driver’s education, your leaders need training too. Even the best and brightest of your leaders need training in order to become better leaders.
      • The training needs to be consistent, relevant, and practical. It must also embrace the cultural values of your church.
      • Global Leadership Summit, Exponential, or other Conferences if budget permits, Web-based video (such as TedTalks or Right Now Media) or leadership podcasts if budget is tight.
      • After you finish a training, plan a specific time to debrief and evaluate the their experience, what they learned, or how they were challenged. Find specific ways to apply their experiences.
    • “Give them authority”
      • Give authority (decision-making, teaching, financial responsibility, etc) equal to the responsibility.
      • Encourage an atmosphere of boldness by encouraging risks (and
        therefore mistakes). Progress is prioritized over perfection.
      • Sharing authority opens the way for others to lead.
    • “Communicate Clear Expectations”
      • Leaders need guidelines and clear expectations. Job descriptions, goals
        and cultural values of the church make it possible for them to be
        successful. When a leader does not know what is expected, they can’t
      • While uncommon, on rare occasion it is necessary to remove
        empowerment. Perhaps the leader refuses to operate within the
        guidelines, and values or cannot keep up with the needed competencies.
        This conversation always goes easier when clear expectations were
        previously set. It’s always a tough decision to remove empowerment, but on rare occasion it needs to be done.
    • “Love and believe in each one for maximum potential”
      • “When Jesus shared His authority with the disciples, it wasn’t a
        mechanical or hierarchical thing. He mentored them, invested time with them, and loved them. He saw through the mess and believed the best. Jesus had faith in the twelve, even though their faith often faltered. Jesus believed in them before they fully believed in themselves.”
      • We have the privilege and responsibility to “see” potential leadership in those we lead, and often before they see it in themselves.

© Bob Whitesel DMin PhD & MissionalCoaches.com #PowellChurch

COMMUNICATION & 6 Ideas That Will Increase It in Your Church

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D. and the 2017 Missional Coaches Cohort, 2/1/17.

  • Tips for  General Communication
    • Intentionally tell the story of your entire church & its people- what is the common ground that makes you call Powell home? How do you communicate the same to your congregation & your community?
    • Streamline and prioritize your message. An average person sees 14,000
      advertisements per day- make yours have an impact!
    • Develop “communication guidelines” that all ministries use for communication.
      • Include appropriate language
      • No Christian-ese, using “youth” or “students” exclusively, etc.,
      • Watch length, graphics, font, etc. to create a streamlined experience.
    • Create a timeline of when information needs to go out, so that announcements do not overlap or become cluttered. Know how often your church (and all its different ministries) are sending information out.
    • Check your engagement analytics regularly to gauge effectiveness during culture shifts. A person needs to hear something 7-12 times in a variety of ways before they “get it.”
  • Bulletin
    • Choose the most important items that the congregation needs to know
    • Make them visually appealing and uncluttered, especially new guest information
  • Social Media
    • Utilize your social media platforms regularly (schedule posts ahead of time)
    • Use social media for story-telling instead of solely marketing. This makes your web presence more appealing and informative to a new guest.
      • eg. Feature posts from a past event,
      • or member experience,
      • or “behind the scenes look” instead of marketing for events.
    • Engagement goes up (and more people are made aware of your church) when people who are already connected share posts from your page- so make your posts “share-worthy!”
    • Engagement rates are 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays, and higher
      engagement occurs when posts/emails are made/sent in the early afternoon.
  • Group Texting
    • Group texting services (such as “EZ Text” or “Remind”)
    • Are great ways to keep “insiders” in the loop on sign-ups, short reminders, volunteer opportunities, etc.
  • Email
    • 66% of marketing emails are opened on mobile devices. Is yours mobile-friendly?
    • Keep the subject line short & catchy (30 characters or less)
    • The average person will spend 2-3 minutes opening emails on their mobile phone at a time- less is more!
  • Church Calendar
    • Be sure the church calendar is easily found (digitally preferably) and up to date.
    • Check language to be new guest friendly (times, locations, descriptions, etc.)
    • An online calendar should be available to everyone (but only editable by a select few).

© Bob Whitesel DMin PhD & MissionalCoaches.com #PowellChurch

UNITY & 7 Ideas That Create Unity Among Multiple Worship Services

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D. and the 2017 Missional Coaches Cohort, 2/1/17.

  • Hold unified worship services, not just around holidays & special days.
    • Hold a combined service around the 4th of July and meet offsite at a lake or
      community pool for baptisms. Hold a combined fall fest service around Halloween or Thanksgiving, and make sure it has creative elements that express thanks and gratitude.
    • Hold a combined service after the new year, and speak to the ‘state of
      the church’ or the ministry focus for the year to come.
    • Make sure to celebrate ministries that have gone well in the previous year.
    • KEY > This is not about convenience (i.e. to compensate for a low-attendance Sunday).  Rather, it is about showcasing how God is moving through each of the worship expressions by:
      • Sharing testimonies
      • Sharing music
      • Sharing prayers
      • etc.
  • Swap Sanctuaries.
    • Have the different services / congregations switch their worship space for a
      week. Speak vision for the congregation to understand why they are doing it.
    • Consider mixing up the music just a little, and have some unique service
      elements – video, live testimony, special reading, etc.
  • Swap Serving Teams.
    • Not ready to swap sanctuaries? Okay, then how about swapping serving teams?
    • Greeters, Ushers, Hospitality Teams – send them to the opposite end of the
      building once a month to serve the other congregation. A hassle? Perhaps.
    • But the interaction might add some new life or increase the perspective or
      appreciation for what’s happening at the other end of the building.
  • Recruit prayer partners for multiple services.
    • Have designated prayer partners visit the other service and pray for the service, the families, the ministry effectiveness of that unique service.
    • Think about the impact of older folks praying for the younger families in their service, while seeing younger folks praying for the older folks who have prayed and given and sacrificed to build a church of great witness and reach in the community?
  • Hold a combined marriage retreat (or any similar type of retreat).
    • February or March are optimal. Be sure to highlight older couples in the church who are modeling good marriages for those who are just starting out.
    • Partner up older and younger couples for the weekend, and have public moments of prayer and words of encouragement to each other.
  • Hold combined prayer walks.
    • What would it look like to gather 2-3 times a year as one congregation and walk around the church’s neighborhood and pray for the people living in all those homes.
    • Make sure to read up on holding prayer walks; this isn’t a demonstration.
    • But what a great opportunity to expand the bandwidth of everyone’s prayer
      concern for the neighborhoods around the church!
  • Hold a combined mission emphasis weekend / go on trips together.
    • What local, regional, national, or global ministries do you support?
    • Get everyone from both services for a night or weekend to eat food from another country, hear stories of missionaries / ministry representatives. Schedule trips where various groups can interact and serve together.

© Bob Whitesel DMin PhD & MissionalCoaches.com #PowellChurch



NEWCOMERS & 17 Ideas How to Reach Them More Effectively

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D. and the 2017 Missional Coaches Cohort, 2/1/17.

  • Create a clear pipeline of discipleship from first visit to core group.
    • Make sure you have a volunteer “First Impressions” or “Guest Services” team
      that is easily identified and easily accessible
    • Highlight/announce a connection card to be filled out by guest and taken to guest
      services/dropped in offering basket. Consider giving a nice gift (shirt, mug, coffee
      cup, Chick-Fil-a coupon, etc.) out at Guest Central.
    • The best way to be able to follow up with new guest is to get their information!
    • Create a strategic timeline to follow up with new guests, including those
      who dropped off in children’s ministry.
    • Deploy a volunteer team to write hand written note cards and mail out to new
      guest each week. (provide the cards/envelopes, stamps).
    • Email at about week 4 to follow up with new guest inviting them to “Next Steps” in
      order to get connected- especially a specific class or outreach event.
    • Fusion (Nelson Searcy)- This book lays out a very clear assimilation process that
      you can contextualize for your church with sample communication pieces
  • Institute Small Group Events.
    • One per semester or twice annually to start new groups or get connected to
      existing groups. (September and February are great start times for these events)
    • Train potential small group leaders/hosts at a time convenient for them, and
      equip them with a guide and contact information if they need help.
    • Create a “signup” event- whether during/after services or on another night for
      congregants to view potential groups, meet the leaders/hosts, and sign up for
      one in their area or that fits their schedule.
    • A great model of this is Northpoint Church’s “GroupLink” event.
  • Meet the Pastor Dinner
    • Once per month, host a dinner and invite other pastors/staff there to highlight
      ministries, connection points, and inviting to a Membership/ownership class.
    • Divide people into small groups and have 3-5 questions at the tables for icebreakers
      (Provide name tags, pens, etc).
    • Share vision, mission, “Next Steps”, etc with guests. Allow for Q/A time.
  • 7 Touches Research
    • Research shows that new guests need to be contacted 7x to help them to better
    • Some options include: Parking Lot/Sidewalk greeters, Guest Services for adults
      and at Kids check-in, Auditorium Greeters/ushers, Connect Card/Guest Services
      Gift, Letter/Call from pastor on Monday, Email from Assimilation/Guest Services
    • Team with next steps opportunities coming up, Personal handwritten note card
      mailed out a week later, One month follow up.


C3 Intl. Inc., Church Change Consulting Inc. © Bob Whitesel DMin PhD & MissionalCoaches.com #PowellChurch

RURAL CHURCH & An Executive Summary of the Book: Transforming Church in Rural America

by Jeff Larson, pastor of Life Church, Aurora, IN; missional coach 2016.

For years the whole world moved with technology while I sat on the sidelines. Everyone I knew had a smartphone. I bought a blackberry once and it sat in my dresser drawer for about six months before I gave it to my nephew. I had no idea how those new gadgets worked. I’d rather hide my head in the sand than to take the time to learn how to use them. Finally, one day while shopping for a phone for my bride that I was talked into giving it another try by a salesman. Today, I have no idea what I would do without mine.

If a person understands how something works, they are more likely than not able to be successful. Shannon O’Dell understands how the rural church works, and that is why he is so successful. In his book, that I would wholeheartedly recommend with two thumbs straight up, Transforming Church in Rural America, O’Dell walks the reader through his journey from being a successful youth pastor in a mega church in Oklahoma to pastoring a small and dying church in South Lead Hill, Arkansas, population 93.

I first picked up this book because the rural church is something I am very interested in, but what hooked me to read it was that it was endorsed by names like Mark Beeson, Ed Young, and Craig Groeschel. I thought to myself, if these mega church pastors have read this book and recommend it, there has got to be something here. Boy was I right!

What I love about this book is that O’Dell starts at the very beginning and walks the reader, step by step, through his entire process of wrestling with God over the call to pastor this church, his first days in leadership, facing opposition, and seeing his church grow to unheard of measures. O’Dell often uses Scripture to help the reader understand the concept that it is God that grows the church and He allows His followers to be used in the process.

O’Dell conviction that “rural America is perhaps more churched and more unchurched than any place on earth” and ‘A great harvest for Christ is waiting in the heartland and rural communities of America[1]” makes the reader understand his dedication and passion for the church that resides in rural America. Many people believe that because it is not found in the center of a metropolitan area that it is irrelevant or unimportant and destined to shrivel up and die. O’Dell and Brand New Church are living proof to the contrary. The world wants us to believe that bigger and newer is always better, but O’Dell explains that this is not the way that God operates.

The work that O’Dell was called to was not easy. It took much effort and dedication to see God do what He had planned for Brand New Church. O’Dell said, “I have never met a rancher who expects his herd to grow and multiply without a lot of hard work and without a lot of strategic effort[2].” Even this quote screams rural. It is not a reference toward something that most city folks would understand, but anyone who lives in a rural community would get this right away. It is again written with the rural pastor in mind.

Throughout the book, O’Dell uses the word ‘VALUE’ as an acrostic to tell about Vision, Attitude, Leadership, Understanding, and Enduring Excellence in the rural church. All five of these elements are vitally important is seeing the rural church grow to all that God has called it to be. Each of the five have intricate V.A.L.U.E. in itself that aids the other to build upon. Helping the reader to see this from the inside of Brand New Church and how God used it in their ministry helps us to see it happening and how to implement it into ours as well.

There are multiple thoughts that O’Dell shares that were exceptionally meaningful. He said, “Listen, if you aren’t casting vision, the only ones who will want to serve with you are those who are interested in maintaining control of the status quo[3].” Later he said, “Since we believe that we stand under the authority of Scripture, then, man, let’s start acting that way.[4]” Then he said, “When a pastor is leading effectively, he has everything in the house in order.[5]

This book is worthwhile to anyone who serves in the church, whether it is a paid position or a volunteer position, and also regardless if your ministry is in a rural setting or even in a busy urban setting. The principles that O’Dell share are extremely important regardless of the location. I will keep this book and refer to it again and again.

[1] Page 18

[2] Page 54

[3] Page 104

[4] Page 130

[5] Page 135

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY & Review by a Pastor of “Cure for the Common Church”

by Pastor Drew Alan Wilkerson, Lead Pastor, BridgeWater Church, Hamilton, Ohio. February 23, 2016

INTRODUCTION:                                                                                                                                                                  Pg. 11-17

This overview summarizes a book by Dr. Bob Whitesel titled Cure for the Common Church: God’s Plan to Restore Church Health (Wesleyan Publishing Hosue, 2012). This book is designed for the common sense leader and pastor who realize that the church they attend is in need of church health and revitalization. Sadly, the majority of churches in America are in a state of plateau and decline. Cure for the Common Church is a book that tackles this difficult arena of church change and gives hope for future transformation.

PURPOSE Pg. 17                                                                                                                                                                         The purpose of Cure for the Common Church is found in Dr. Whitesel’s desire to share the best advice for renewal and growth that will impact a local church and its leaders quickly, returning a church back to a path of growth. By using a term indicating a road to physical health, the author prescribes a fourfold “RX” for the church in need of restorative health.

PROCESS & BENEFITS                                                                                                                                                      Pg. 19-160

This book is designed to explain each of the four “cures” necessary for church recovery. First, Dr. Whitesel shares the reasoning behind the cure. Following a brief explanation, the steps for each cure are given in an easy to recall acronym. The four “cures” create a formula for church health and revitalization if followed by the local church in need of renewal. They are as follows:

  1. How does a church grow O.U.T.? = Observe whom you are equipped to reach. Understand the needs of those you are reaching. Tackle needs by refocusing and realigning ministries.
  2. How does a church grow S.M.A.L.L.? = Survey the small groups in the church. Missionalize all small groups. Add small groups. Lead small groups. Locate the church focus in small groups.
  3. How does a church grow L.E.A.R.N.ers? = Link learners publicly. Every small group becomes a learning group. Agreement emerges from learning. Reproduce learners. Needs are met through learning based action.
  4. How does a church grow N.E.W.? = Create a Nonjudgmental atmosphere. Explore the newness people need found only in Jesus. Walk the bridge to transformation and newness with each person.


Dr. Whitesel clearly defines the need for the “common local church” to become “uncommon” and healthy in order to reach people who can only be transformed by Jesus Christ. This must be the focus.


  1. Retrain local church leaders to focus on transformation and not simply growth by using the four cures: U.T., S.M.A.L.L., L.E.A.R.N., and N.E.W.
  2. Focus on the immediate areas of the local church in question and determine which of the four cures should be addressed immediately. Church members need to form E.A.M. groups to investigate and follow the prescriptions that are right for the church (pg.12, 161).
  3. Learn and implement the “90-Minute Annual Checkup” (p. 160-167). It will be essential to understand how to review and measure the progress and implementation of the 4 cures each year.
  4. Strategically, review the progress of the church to become “new” and “uncommon.” The local church must refocus its vision to fulfill the Great Commission and build bridges of transformation.
  5. BridgeWater Church should focus on educating its members to build new bridges to the non-churched and deliberately emphasize small groups becoming missional centers of church health.

WRITING & How to Write an Executive Summary

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I encourage my students and the Missional Coaches I train to write “executive summaries” of books and articles they read. It is a helpful way to help other students who haven’t read the book/article.

Below are some brief bulleted points describing what constitutes an executive summary. (BTW, an executive summary of a book/article is different than an executive summary of a business plan which serves as an overview of a business proposal).

An Executive Summary is:

+ Often about 10% of the length of a short document, but not over 10 pages long, + Written to provide an “executive” with,
– An overview of the document and its main points.
– A recommendation to the executive based on the overview.

An executive summary is usually written for an executive that will not read the original document, hence accuracy and a recommendation are paramount.

I suggest that students and Missional Coaches aim for a two page overview, including recommendations.

If the writer is reading the document for their own benefit, then the recommendations would be for improving their own ministry.

CONSULTING & COACHING: A Review of Gary McIntosh’s book “Taking Your Church to the Next Level”

Book: Taking Your Church to the Next Level, Author: Gary McIntosh (2009) reviewed by John (Jack) Pladdys, 4/14/15.Next level

What section of the book (pages and/or chapter) impacted you the most and why?

Much like The Interventionist, this book was filled with incredibly helpful tools as I work at becoming a change agent and church consultant. The classification of the congregational life-cycle as well as the classification of congregational size will serve me well as I develop as a pastor. However the section that impacted me the most was Chapter 7: The Dying Church. I believe this is in part because of my recent situation and being the closing pastor of a dying congregation.

All of the issues of a dying church were present in my congregation. Upkeep of the facilities was a critical problem. We had more space than we needed. As a young pastor in my first pastorate, I tried hard to bring about change. We reached a point when it was not financially feasible to keep the doors open.

One thing McIntosh said that I find baffling is, “Often in a dying church, change is perceived as a threat to the church’s existence, and people seem unwilling to try anything new” (p. 76). I agree very much with the statement, but it does not make sense. A dying congregation has no threats to their existence; they are going to die anyway. Why not attempt anything in order to turn around the status quo? This was a big issue for me in the beginning of my pastorate, and at least a quarter of the congregation left within my second year due to changes that were being made.

What were the two most helpful tools, insights or practices that you gained and why?

  1. The concept of feedback loops was insightful as I lead the next congregation God calls me to. McIntosh says there are three important clues in the feedback loop, that if I pay attention to, I will thwart off congregational closure. First, the feedback system alerts a congregation to the positive and negative aspects of the congregation’s ministry. Second, ministry capital (spiritual, directional, relational, structural, and physical) activates the type of feedback the system is reporting. Third, the feedback system helps my congregation stay within the “green zone” of growth opportunity.
  2. In order for continuous renewal, the pastor must either adjust his leadership style to fit the congregation’s stage in the life-cycle, or new leadership must be retained. Most leaders are not able to bounce back and forth. I extrapolated from this discussion that the senior pastor does not have to leave, but a leader with the skills necessary to move the congregation forward at the “choice point” must be hired.

What will you change about yourself and your tactics as a result of this reading?

In chapter 17, McIntosh says, “While planning for the future, we must be improving the present” (p. 201). As a strategic leader, I tend to always look ahead. This causes me to easily ignore what is currently happening. I do not do this purposely, but I just let it fall on someone else to deal with the present. One thing I am going to do is work to stay in the moment, rather than always think about what is next.

CONSULTING & COACHING: A Book Review of Lyle Schaller’s “The Interventionist”

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “I select the most helpful book reviews from my students and publish them here.  These snippets of some of the best ideas and tools from the book will hopefully inspire you to read it. But at the very least these reviews can help you glean a few of the important tools/principles.”

Book: The Interventionist, Author: Lyle Schaller (1997) reviewed by John (Jack) Pladdys, 4/14/15.

What section of the book (pages and/or chapter) impacted you the most and why?

It is almost impossible to find one section of this book that impacted me the most. Schaller’s book reads like a manual for church consulting. I feel as though I have taken an entire 16-week course just by reading this book! However, if I was forced to pick one section, it would be Chapter 10: Evangelism or Intervention? (Although it is closely followed by chapters 4, 6, 7, and 9.)

The first story in chapter 10 captured my attention. As a relatively young pastor and a candidate looking for a position, my first reaction to the question, “How do we attract more young people?” is to offer a solution. Schaller reminds me that taking this plea literally and offering a suggestion will only lead to frustration. The problem is not trying to reach young people. The problems are a resistance to change and lack of agreement on priorities. By dealing only with issue, I fail to deal with the real problem. Schaller then goes on to discus three levels of change. He describes first level changes as doing what is currently happening, only better. If that does not work, then second level changes are a little more intense, but incremental. Third level changes are considered radical changes as they are a complete departure from the status quo.

What were the two most helpful tools, insights or practices that you gained and why?

  1. Ask more questions. Early in the book, Schaller says, “More can be learned by asking questions than by giving answers” (p. 24). He goes on to support this thesis by helping the change agent develop a series of questions that will help the interventionist discover the problems that are keeping a congregation from growing. A change agent should ask a lot of questions. Schaller is so sure of this that he devotes an entire chapter to a list of 393 questions and says, “The questions presented in this chapter should not be viewed as a complete inventory” (p. 188)!
  2. The discussion in Chapter 7: European or American? was extremely insightful for me. As part of a “made-in-America” denomination, I understand better why my denominational leaders do not talk about the reformers as much as the European denominations do. A joke I have with a friend of mine who is a Methodist pastor is that the Methodist must not see the Holy Spirit because they never talk about Him. He responds with, “Oh, we see Him. We just don’t bath in the Holy Spirit like you crazy C&MA guys.” The distinctions between European and American congregations will be very helpful with me as I attempt to acculturate people from other denominations into my congregation. It will also be very helpful when I am asked to consult with a congregation different than my own.

What will you change about yourself and your tactics as a result of this reading?

I will be slow to offer answers and quick to ask more questions. The goal of a change agent is to understand what needs to be changed and how. I cannot achieve that goal if I enter a situation with a ready-made solution.