James Emery White: The Exchange Podcast #057

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Pastor and author Dr. James “Jim” Emery White joins host Ed Stetzer live via Skype for this fascinating and fact-filled episode about the cultural trend called by Pew Research “The Rise of the Nones.”

White wrote a similarly-named book, Rise of the Nones, The: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated.

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina; founder and president of Serious Times, a ministry which explores the intersection of faith and culture and hosts ChurchandCulture.org which features his messages and blogs; ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president; and author of 20 books which have been translated into 10 languages.

Mecklenburg Community Church began with a single family and has grown to over 9,000 active attenders at four campuses. “Meck” experiences over seventy-percent of its growth from those who were previously unchurched and during its formative years was often cited as one of the fastest growing church starts in the United States. White’s commitment to local church ministry also includes service as Distinguished Professor of Pastoral Ministry at Anderson University, and consulting editor to the Leadership Journal.

White holds a B.S. degree in public relations and business, along with the M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees from Southern Seminary, where he was awarded a Garrett Teaching Fellowship in both New Testament and Theology. He has also done advanced university study at Vanderbilt University in American religious history, and continuing education at Oxford University in England, including participation in Oxford’s Summer Programme in Theology. He has served as a visiting professor at such institutions as New Orleans Seminary, Southern Seminary, Southeastern Seminary and the Moscow Theological Institute. He currently serves on the Board of Reference at Union University and has served on the Board of the Boston Theological Institute, which includes such schools as Boston College, Boston University and Harvard. 

White is the author of twenty books, including Gold Medallion nominees for Serious Times and A Search for the Spiritual, Christianity Today book-of-the-year award winner Embracing the Mysterious God, as well as A Mind for God and Rethinking the Church. His recent publications include What They Didn’t Teach You in Seminary, A Traveler’s Guide to the Kingdom, The Church in An Age of Crisis, and his newly released book, The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated (Baker).

Though his family’s roots have been tied to North Carolina for generations, he was born in Chicago, and then lived in California, Utah and Washington during his childhood.  His family returned to North Carolina during his teen years. Dr. White and his wife, Susan, have four children and one grandchild.NonesCoverHires

Related Resources

Rise of the Nones, The: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated (Baker)

The single fastest growing religious group of our time is those who check the box next to the word none on national surveys. In America, this is 20% of the population. Exactly who are the unaffiliated? What caused this seismic shift in our culture? Are our churches poised to reach these people?

White lends his prophetic voice to one of the most important conversations the church needs to be having today. He calls churches to examine their current methods of evangelism, which often result only in transfer growth–Christians moving from one church to another–rather than in reaching the “nones.” The pastor of a megachurch that is currently experiencing 70% of its growth from the unchurched, White knows how to reach this growing demographic, and here he shares his ministry strategies with concerned pastors and church leaders.

 

Comments

  1. Ed, this is a great installment. I’ve heard you speak at my alma mater, Liberty, on a few occasions (all streaming video), and I used to serve Jim’s church while I lived in Charlotte. I have nothing to take you two to task on, but I have some overall thoughts.

    1) On the lack of comfort level of inviting others to church, I believe a piece of that lies in Christians being ill equipped to defend the faith in the event of objection. In church circles, I keep hearing evangelism and discipleship, evangelism and discipleship, over and over again. In my view, apologetics is the third rung in church mission, and it’s been abandoned for too long. Now it’s a fear that we’re a half generation or one generation removed from church leaders that put an emphasis on this piece.

    2) Outreach is less “business speak” than marketing. It’s understood churches don’t want to billed overtly as business, since newcomers can squirm as the offering plate passes. But, in removing marketing from the equation the church may be missing out on some human capital. Surely many churches have well educated and experienced marketing senior executives, young professionals and students in their fold, but that outreach ministry may fly well below their radar. And I have yet to find a church staffing job site that has a marketing category.

Trackbacks

  1. […] James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina; founder and president of Serious Times, a ministry which explores the intersection of faith and culture and hosts ChurchandCulture.org which features his messages and blogs; ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president; and author of 20 books which have been translated into 10 languages. …read more […]

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