EPISODE #79 - Church Trends with Keelan Cook Part 1
Jimbo does a solid favor for Bob and Kyle of the Replant team and then they guys get down to the serious business reflecting on trends in the church with our good friend, Keelan Cook, from the Union Baptist Association.
Church gatherings have fundamentally changed through the use of media (online, drive-in, Facebook, Youtube etc.)
The “Netflixification” of church is occuring, people are watching worship services when it fits in their schedule – not when the church is live streaming the in person gathering
There are positives and negatives with this practice (homebound, special needs populations)
Consumerism and Self-focused decisions are on the rise
“Embodied Practice” = we expect you to be present for gathered worship is going to be a tension point for us as we moved forward.
We have to evaluate every piece of media we put on social media and ask: “Who is this for?”
What churches put online should shift to be a primary means of outreach, shared by church members
Pastors and Leaders will need to work hard to transition their folks back to the gathering as a practice.
Check out part 2 next week.
See where Jimbo stopped to pick up Dr. Pepper @ the great travel stop Bucee’s – check it out!
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Josh Ellis and Keelan Cook from the Union Baptist Association stopped by The Bootcamp to visit with Bob and Jimbo about considerations in re-opening and leading the church after the Covid19 quarantine ends.
Pastors are all over the board in terms of their plans for resuming church gatherings.
Pastors are asking: “What steps should we take in phasing in a return to gathered worship? “Should we go back to normal?”
Our advice: No! Don’t go back to normal. Don’t return to a pre-Covid19 state. There have been so many good things taking place and ministry successes, so keep moving forward.
One concern is that some churches will want to knee-jerk and go back to life as it was pre-Covid19.
This moment of disruption, due to Covid19 is a real godsend to the church. Capitalize on this moment and move forward.
From a leadership standpoint focus on the needs of the people who are in our church, look at the entire system and structure of the church and ask: “Are we rushing back into live services because I want to? Because our people want to? Should we wait for the benefit of our people?”
Regarding lists that you see online for returning to gathered worship know this: it’s just that-a list, a point of reference. Your local context and the needs of your congregation must be considered uniquely.
We suggest getting key leaders together and processing everything logistically and programmatically. Divide them into categories: don’t do this again, start this now, wait to start this later.
We are not post Covid19 yet, the peak is not the goal. The goal is the decline of the infection rate. Officials are talking about opening up the economy to meet the financial needs of businesses and people. This is different from our needs as a church.
We should anticipate that people will likely want to avoid handshakes, hugs, coffee stations, doorknobs, classrooms.
We need to really evaluate what core actions; practices are required to help us fulfill our mission. Our rush to get back together in the building may cause us to overlook the gains we have made during the pause of ministry as normal.
Anticipate that upon returning to gathered worship you will have two groups: those that want to return to community as normal (hugs, handshakes etc.) and those that are afraid to come back and attend worship. Pastor both groups.
One of the most important leadership actions Pastors can take and need to take in this time is this: multiply yourself, invest in leaders who can share the weight and responsibilities of leading in the local church.
Some encouragement for Pastors right now: let others lead, let others preach, develop them and take time to rest.
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Episode #23 - Using the Fourfold Panorama with Keelan Cook
Keelan Cook, of the Union Baptist Association stopped by the bootcamp to give us some great insights on how to understand your church and its context.
It is important for Replants and Revitalizations to know themselves and their communities-one of the reasons why they are in decline is that they no longer understand themselves and their context.
Every church needs to understand
The Biblical Mission
The Congregation itself
The Context in which it exists
The church usually understands the Biblical mission, they may have blindspots in knowing themselves and knowing their community.
The Fourfold Panorama seeks to help churches understand themselves and their contexts from the view of the insiders and the outsiders.
A lot of churches are “nose blind” to their condition.
What is one reason why churches are in decline? They put their own preferences over cultural engagement.
An important question to ask: Do the activities of your church match the needs of the community?
A community is more than a geographical location-it is also a moment in time. Instead of a rock in the field-think a rock in the current of a moving stream.
If we struggle to gain traction-we may be aiming at the wrong target (meaning our understanding of the community)
What are some of the initial core actions we need to take in order to use the Panorama window?
Data Discover (ACP, Demographics)
Churches often suffer from “aspiration bias” believing they are what they wish they were.
Can you do this assessment by yourself? What are my best next steps?
Most often it’s best to get someone outside the church to facilitate the process
Association staff, area pastors.
Build a team of influencers (a leadership team) inside the congregation.
Conduct the work and then unpack the information for the congregation in ever widening circles.
How do you handle the reality of people pushing back and disagreeing with the data of the discovery process?
Typically, if the church team is the one who presents the data their relational credibility and influence often help the rest of the church accept reality.
In some cases when you have someone on the team who disagrees or rejects the realities-discover the real reason behind their disagreement. It’s usually something related to control, preference or fear of change.
Treat this as a discipleship moment; “Help me understand…” asking why they are having a difficult time hearing the report.
Are there people who shouldn’t be on your Panorama Team?
You want the team to be diverse in perspectives and social circles
Use caution in choosing “gatekeepers” and “stakeholders” who may want to be guardians of the present and their preferences.
Consider saying; “If you are not able to consider ideas or opportunities outside of your preferences-this may not be the team for you.”
Often, fear mitigation is an important part of this discovery process. Communicating that the initial steps in this process are devoted to trying to understand the realities of the church and its condition and that recommendations will follow may help.
Call the congregation to understand the beauty of the Great Commission-help them rekindle a love for the mission of the church. When that happens fear often subsides.
Key Resource: Pick out a key third place ( a coffee shop, a restaurant etc.) and get to know the people in that space and learn about them and the community. Engage them through conversation and relationship.