SPANISH & 9 Reasons Why The Spanish Language Isn’t ‘Foreign’ In The United States (or to @WesleySeminary)

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Our seminary is the only seminary in North America that offers an entire MDiv degree in Spanish. We do so to serve our Spanish-speaking colleagues. Yet few people realize that Spanish was spoken in the United States before English and that there are more Spanish speakers in the United States than in Spain. For seven more reasons why Spanish is an important language for church leaders to learn, read this helpful article.

Why The Spanish Language Isn’t ‘Foreign’ In The United States

by Roque Planas, Huffington Post, 8/9/16.

Anyone who’s ever enrolled in a Spanish class knows that schools generally refer to it as a “foreign language.” Most of us repeat the phrase uncritically, as if it were actually true. But is it?

Take a look around. Spanish isn’t “foreign” to the United States, at all. The names of many of our states and cities are Spanish — a testament to the fact that Spanish-speakers colonized many areas that later became part of the United States before English-speakers. Many of us use Spanish words when speaking English, often without being aware of what we’re doing. According to a 2013 Pew report, Spanish is the second-most spoken language in the country and many people, both immigrant and native-born, were raised speaking it.

When you really think about it, Spanish is no more “foreign” to the United States than English. Still not convinced? Allow us to break it down for you a bit. Here are nine reasons why Spanish is really is not a foreign language in the U.S…

Read the nine reasons at …

SEMINARIES & Is Wesley Seminary the Seminary of the Future? #EdStetzer #DanielIm

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: As a fast growing, young seminary (now ranking in the top 6% of seminaries by size) we have many things in common with church plants. We literally are a seminary plant, e.g. we created a fully-accredited (ATS) seminary from scratch. In doing so we designed our model to better integrate practice with theory, than did the seminaries we all attend.

The key is integrating what is learning in the classroom with what they are doing during the week.

Hence, the homework in my courses gives the student assignments then can apply to their local ministry each week.  Students tell me they love this approach for it allows them “to take seminary to work.”

Now, as you know I have argued that in addition to planting churches we need to be revitalizing churches too (preserving the social capital and assets of these dear communities of saints). Similarly, we also need to revitalize existing seminaries. In fact, I have spoken at many seminaries on this.

Recently a board member of my alma mater (Fuller Seminary) was co-leading a national conference with me.  He asked me, “Bob, what is the secret sauce to Wesley Seminary’s success.”  I told him, “We are unashamedly willing to integrate practice and theory into every assignment.”

Check out this excerpt on “seminaries of the future” by Daniel Im from his updated book with Ed Stetzer: Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply and ask yourself, “Is there something more I should be doing to integrate practice and theory in ministerial education?”

By Daniel Im, 4/16, the post Tomorrow’s Church Planting appeared first on Daniel Im.

… these trends were the focus of Ed Stetzer’s and my writing in the newly updated edition of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply... I want to focus on three of the major trends …

Trend #3: Residencies and Theological Education

When it comes to theological education, the pendulum has swung back-and-forth a few times over the last couple of centuries. From theological education being birthed out of the church, to it then being handed over to educational institutions, then back to the church and so-forth, we are at a time in history where the two sides are beginning to move towards an equilibrium. Seminaries are realizing that ministerial training happens best in the context of a local church, while churches are discovering that training someone theologically is completely different than training someone for practical ministry. Both seminaries and churches are looking to one another for help and for partnerships because both sides realize they cannot take on the task of theologically educating and pastorally forming an individual by themselves. The bridge that is being formed between churches and seminaries is called, “residencies.” While there are many different ways that churches and seminaries are approaching residencies, they all seem to share a common goal – to do a better job at integrating theology with praxis. Where they all differ in their model is their starting point. Let me share three out of five of them. You can learn more in the new edition of Planting Missional Churches.

Starting Point: Multiplication

In this residency model, tomorrow’s church planter will develop the knowledge, skills, and ability to infuse multiplication at every level of their church. They will be developed with the gradual release of responsibility model, so that their development is personal and hands on. By the end of this residency program, they will have developed a plan, not just to multiply the leaders and groups within their church, but also their church as whole.

Starting Point: Sustainable Ministry

In this residency model, tomorrow’s church planter will develop the five characteristics of a healthy sustainable pastor,.. They will grow in spiritual formation, self-care, emotional and cultural intelligence, marriage and family, and leadership and management.

Starting Point: Leadership

In this residency model, tomorrow’s church planter will develop the leadership skills required to successfully plant and lead a church. These leadership skills include vision casting, hiring practices, team ministry, strategic development, and conflict management…

*This was originally published in March-April 2016 issue of The Net Results magazine.  The post Tomorrow’s Church Planting appeared first on Daniel Im.

LEADERSHIP & Wesley Seminary Offers Doctor of Ministry in Transformational Leadership w/ International Experiences

Watch the video introduction.

Upcoming DMin specializations include:

  • Doctor of Ministry in Transformational Preaching (2017),
  • Doctor of Ministry in Spiritual Formation (2018),
  • and another cohort in 2019 of a Doctor of Ministry in Transformational Leadership (2019).

For more info:

DMin ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN for Wesley Seminary’s Innovative Doctorate in Leadership

Ministry is dynamic and world-changing. Your leadership should be too.

A Doctor of Ministry in Transformational Leadership from Wesley Seminary will equip you to tackle today’s most pressing problems.

Each summer for three years, you will study under the mentorship of award-winning author and scholar Dr. Bob Whitesel.

But that’s just the beginning.

For two weeks each year, you’ll travel to locations across the world with a diverse group of students to learn from 24 top leaders, experts, and thinkers in leadership.

FLYER DMIN Flier 15.11

You will learn about urban, suburban, and rural leadership in Atlanta; church multiplication and renewal in London and Oxford; and multicultural leadership in San Diego.

The program leads to a capstone project that brings together 3 years of study and life-changing experiences to transform your ministry, and transform lives — while earning a Doctor of Ministry in Transformational Leadership from Wesley Seminary.

Visit now to apply!

CLICK HERE > FLYER DMIN 15.11 < to DOWNLOAD the brochure (pictured above)

CLICK HERE > FLYER DMIN Booklet 15.11  < to DOWNLOAD the Booklet.

ACADEMIA & The Principles of Shared Governance by IWU President David Wright

Shared Governance, excerpted from a presentation by President David Wright PhD sponsored by the University Faculty Relations Council, Bob Whitesel PhD chair.  This presentation was given to new senators of the Faculty Senate, Nov. 2013 (full PowerPoint presentation available from IWU University Senate).


“The AAUP recognizes the de jure authority of the governing board—and, secondarily, of the president—for governance of all aspects of the institution. However, according to the 1966 Statement, faculty judgments should ordinarily prevail in three areas. These areas are (1) curriculum, subject matter and methods of instruction, and research; (2) matters of faculty status (e.g., hiring, dismissal, retention, tenure, and promotion); and (3) those aspects of student life that relate to the educational process.  Although the president and the governing board may override the faculty’s judgments in these areas, standards dictate that they should rarely do so.”  (Indicators of Sound Governance, American Association of University Professors [AAUP])


Handbooks, Policy Documents (Primary Responsibility: Determined by scope and context)

•Faculty Bylaws, Faculty Handbooks/Policy Manuals, University Catalog

Academic Personnel  (Primary Responsibility: Faculty Peer Review and Recommendation, Final Decisions by President)

•Faculty hiring, contracts, rank promotion, review

•Selection, review, and retention of academic administrators

Budget/Advancement/Infrastructure (Primary Responsibility: President,  Administration)

•Tuition Policy, Advancement and Fund Raising, Faculty and Staff Compensation and Benefits

Intercollegiate Athletics (Primary Responsibility: Administration)

Student Development and Discipline (Primary Authority: Administration)

Shared governance works best in a community with shared values:

•Informed and inclusive decision-making
•Transparency and clarity of operations and decision-making
•Open lines of communication between and among all components and members of the VSU community
•Mutual respect and trust

(more at


If you want to be incrementally better: Be competitive.

If you want to be exponentially better: Be cooperative.

See also

SEMINARY & Seminaries Set 6 Enrollment Records

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “I wonder how much Wesley Seminary at IWU helped fuel this … at least we contributed! Good job everyone.” 🙂

Seminaries set six enrollment records

by Tom Tanner, The Colloquy Online, 2/15.

In the midst of unprecedented enrollment declines in higher education and a gradual decline in theological school enrollments that began in 2007, the latest figures from The Association of Theological Schools reveal six positive trends. Read more.

COMMUNICATION & In cross-cultural ministry, silence sends multiple messages #KwasiKena #ReMIXbook

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel:  “The following is an insightful posting on cross-cultural communication by a friend and colleague, Dr. Kwasi Kena who serves as a professor at Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University.  As I write with another colleague the book ReMix: Transitioning Your Church to Living Color (Abingdon Press, 2016) Kwasi’s advice on what to say when a cultural eruption occurs is very helpful.  Read this excerpt from his Wesley Seminary blog post.”

How Would You Fill in the Blank?

by Kwasi Kena, Associate Professor at Multicultural Ministries at Wesley Seminary

For several years I taught an oral communication course. In that class, we examined a communication phenomenon called “filtering and completing”. Here is a brief explanation of these two concepts. When we are bombarded by too much information, we make conscious and subconscious choices to filter out what appears to be extraneous information in order to make sense out of what we hear or see. Conversely, when some of the message is missing, we complete or fill in the blank to create what we think is the intended message. We complete the message based on our own perceptions, life experiences, biases and worldviews.

For example, if you heard “Mary had a little _____, its ___________________________”, you would be able to compete the sentence based on your previous knowledge of nursery rhymes. If, however, you heard the following phrase “When elephants fight ________________”, you may not have enough previous knowledge or experience to fill in the blank correctly. While a person living in West Africa would recognize the proverb “When elephants fight the grass suffers”. Without context, shared memory, or the intention of the speaker, we are clueless.

Silence in Multicultural Ministry: Friend or Foe?

When engaging in multicultural ministry, when should you speak and when should you keep silent? The answer perplexes many people. It is not unlike the feeling one gets when reading the book of Proverbs where one verse urges you not to answer a fool, while the next verse contradicts the previous advice and states that you should answer a fool (Proverbs 25:4-5). If you find yourself struggling with such a decision, remember in cross-cultural ministry, silence sends multiple messages.

I sometimes use the following scenario to illustrate the effect of silence when attempting to reach people from a different ethnic group. We are all familiar with churches whose neighborhoods have shifted from one dominant ethnic group to another. Members of “drive-in churches” who often want to open the church to everyone usually don’t understand why community members do not come and join their congregations. Perhaps this issue of silence holds a clue to the answer.

In the midst of your congregation attempting to become more multi-ethnic, suppose a major disturbance occurs in the ethnic community you want to reach. Perhaps the local news airs a special report noting that an absentee landlord failed to maintain his apartments causing the ethnic residents to suffer unnecessary illnesses due to poor heating and insulation. Or, what if you learned that community members live in a food desert and their children’s cognitive development is stunted due to malnutrition? Or, what about the recent 911 caller who reported that a twelve-year-old boy was playing with a gun that was “probably fake” resulting in Tamir Rice being shot and killed by a policeman four seconds after the squad car arrived? If some tragedy like this occurred in which members of the community were angry, hurt, distraught, and outraged—how would your congregation respond?

If your church responded to any of these incidents with silence, how might the ethnic community you wish to reach “fill in the blank”? How would your congregation’s reputation in the community inform the way outsiders complete the void left by your silence? If visitors came to church the Sunday following a tragic event, would they hear anything in the sermon or pastoral prayer or any portion of the service that addressed the sorrow experienced by the parties involved? Can your church afford the cultural baggage of a silent response?

Read the original article here …

WESLEY SEMINARY & 5 Must-Read Tips About How We Are Building An Identity (and you can too)

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 2/25/15.

In an article in Forbes Magazine (Forbes Magazine, 2/2/15), David Lariviere outlines five steps to building an identity for your organization. It applies well to Christian organizations, as my friend retired Major George Hood has done for the Salvation Army. Below I have given examples of how these five steps apply to ministry, by describing how we are doing it at Wesley Seminary.

1) Build a brand you’re passionate about. All of us at Wesley Seminary are excited about the idea of making more effective ministers in the Body of Christ. Our purpose is to introduce more people to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through more effective Christians. We all have spent many years in seminary and graduate schools which has made us passionate about what they do and about doing it better.

2). Be your brand’s biggest advocate. We enjoy wearing Wesley Seminary polo shirts, sweatshirts and logos as well as having Wesley Seminary stickers on our cars and even computers. We want everyone to know we are passionate about this new model of seminary education.

3) Find investors that are both an industry and a cultural fit. To illustrate this I will discuss our faculty. Not only do we look for faculty members who are respected throughout their disciplines, but also we look for those fit our culture. We often say, “Who would we enjoy having lunch with?” This has created a high degree of community among our faculty.

4) Know your weaknesses and be honest. Here at Wesley Seminary we realize we must constantly train and improve our adjunct teachers. These are people who are often extremely skilled and knowledgeable, but because there is a rotating pool educating them is a major part of our efforts. In addition, advertising is something for which we do not have a lot of dollars. So we encourage our students, adjuncts and faculty to spread the news about the exciting work we are doing.

5) Engage a philanthropic component. Every organization should make sure it is primarily serving others and not serving itself. We are reminded daily of this, as we seek to utilize God’s word and the history of His Holy Spirit moving in people’s lives, to equip tomorrow’s world changers.

Read the original article here …

5 Must-Read Tips For Building A Brand, by David Lariviere, Forbes Magazine, 2/2/15.

DIVERSITY & DOE says school enrollment shows minorities now majority, plus more masters/doctoral degrees sought

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “This DOE report states that Hispanics, Asians, African-Americans, Native Americans and multi-racial individuals will account for 50.3% of all students in the fall of 2014. In addition the report found there will be a 38% increase in the demand for doctoral degrees and a strong increase in the demand for masters degrees.”

Download the full report at …

SEMINARIES & Their Future: My Interview w/ #OutreachMagazine #Forecast

Rphoto 5ecently I was asked by a writer for Outreach Magazine to talk about the future of seminary education.  Since, I’ve written on this since the 1990s, I’m often asked my thoughts.  Here are my (unedited) replies about what I think the future seminary will look like:

Outreach Magazine:  What shifts or trends are you seeing in culture, in the Church, or in your students that challenge you to change the seminary experience for today’s students?

Whitesel:  Christian leaders today want accessibility, practicality and economy. That is why we designed our seminary from the ground up. We are like a church plant, we started with a clean slate. And that is why we’ve been able to be so innovative. All of our courses our team taught by a theologian and an application (praxis) professor. That is probably why we’ve grown in a little over four years to over 400 students.

Outreach Magazine:  How are seminaries meeting the needs and challenges of emerging leadership?

Whitesel: Many seminaries are experimenting with online education. But often there’s a great deal of pushback from the professors and even the administration. Seminaries have not historically been organizations that embrace innovation.

However our seminary, because it is a new and growing young seminary, has established innovation as one of our founding principles. And, we are part of Indiana Wesleyan University with over 10,000 students that has utilized online education for over 15 years. So we have an experienced with online education that most seminaries just don’t have. That’s allowed us to led the innovation of tomorrow’s education of seminarians.

Outreach Magazine:  Anything else you could say about this?

Whitesel:  You didn’t ask this, but here is a good question: “what will the seminary of the next 20 years look like?”  I believe it will use virtual reality to bring to life some of the great historical seminary minds, either through holograms or video. You will be able to have George Ladd appear in your class on New Testament theology, and then have Geoffrey Bromley appear in your course on church history. Those were two of the famous professors from Fuller Seminary in the 1970s. And so the seminary professor of tomorrow will be more of a curator. I’ve already begun to do this by curating with almost 500 articles on church leadership and growth, curated for tomorrow seminarians.  So the future the seminary will be much more virtual and relevant with videos of historical and contemporary theologians – but curated for their practical insights by practitioner professors.