Professor of Christian Ministry and Missional Leadership

Ministerial and Professional Background

Bob Whitesel (D.Min., Ph.D.) is a speaker, award-winning writer and popular professor on organic outreach, church management and church growth; whom a national magazine has called: "the key spokesperson on change theory in the church today." He serves as Professor of Christian Ministry and Missional Leadership for Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University. He holds two earned doctorates (D.Min. and Ph.D.) from Fuller Theological Seminary and is the 2007 recipient of the prestigious "Donald McGavran Award for Outstanding Leadership in Church Growth." He is the former president of the Great Commission Research Network as well as the current vice president for The Society of Church Consulting.

His books include: "Preparing for Change Reaction, How To Introduce Change In Your Church" (2008), co-winner of the 2008 "Resource of the Year in Leadership" by Outreach Magazine, and "Inside the Organic Church, Learning from 12 Emerging Congregations" (2006), Outreach Magazine's 2007 finalist for "Resource of the Year in Postmodern Outreach." Two additional books: "Waypoint: Navigating Your Spiritual Journey" (2010) and "Spiritual Waypoints: Helping Others Navigate the Journey" (2010), include personal interviews Whitesel conducted with national leaders on their spiritual transformation, including Tony Campolo, Shane Claiborne, Dan Kimball, Sally Morgenthaler, Len Sweet and 11 more. This latter book was runner-up for Outreach Magazine's 2011 "Resource of the Year in Evangelism."

His book, "ORGANIX: Signs of Leadership in a Changing Church" (2011), was called by Scott Thumma of Hartford Institute for Religion Research "a wake-up call and transformational challenge for all those clergy still embracing a 'modern' approach to congregational leadership. Whitesel offers an insightful and well-researched recipe for the cultivation of authentic, organic leadership for this new reality."

Dr. Whitesel's most recent books, "Cure for the Common Church: God's Plan To Restore Church Health" (2012) and "The Healthy Church: Practical Ways To Strengthen a Church's Heart" (2013), are practical guides not only to turning around aging or plateaued churches, but also are vital resources for keeping growing congregations spiritually and physically fit.

When not teaching or writing, he is researching the leadership secrets of John Wesley at libraries across England. Whitesel is at the forefront of understanding how Wesley's "leadership method" can grow and revitalize churches today.

Dr. Whitesel also curates a research site,, with links to over 1000 practical articles on leadership and evangelism. You can search by word or topic.

Awards and Honors

Donald McGavran Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Church Growth - Fuller Theological Seminary
Donald McGavran Award for Outstanding Leadership in Great Commission Research - The Great Commission Research Network

Personal Information

Dr. Whitesel has been married to his college sweetheart since 1974 and together they are the parents of four daughters. Never one to be inactive, Dr. Whitesel is a professional ski instructor, a mountain bike enthusiast and an avid surfer.


B.S., Psychology, Purdue University
M. Div., Fuller Theological Seminary;
D.Min., Church Growth, Fuller Theological Seminary
Ph.D., Church Change & Growth, Fuller Theological Seminary


He is a sought-after speaker known for humor and applicability. In addition to keynoting many events each year, he is also a guest professor for universities and seminaries including Wheaton College, IL, Talbot School of Theology of Biola University, CA and Fuller Theological Seminary, CA.


He is the author of many scholarly and popular articles as well as 11 books in 13 years, including:

Whitesel, B. (2013). The healthy church: Practical ways to strengthen a church's heart. Ind. Wesleyan Pub. House
Whitesel, B. (2012) Cure for the common church: God's plan to restore church health. Ind. Wesleyan Pub. House
Whitesel, B. (2011) Organix: Signs of leadership in a changing church. Nashville: Abingdon Press.
Whitesel, B. (2010). Waypoint: Navigating your spiritual journey. Indianapolis, Ind: Wesleyan Pub. House.
Whitesel, B. (2010). Spiritual waypoints: Helping others navigate the journey. Indianapolis, Ind: Wesleyan Pub. House.
Petersen, B. L., Thomas, E. A., & Whitesel, B. (2010). Foundations of church administration: Professional tools for church leadership. Kansas City, Mo: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City.
Whitesel, B. (2007). Preparing for change reaction: How to introduce change to your church. Indianapolis, Ind: Wesleyan Pub. House.
Whitesel, B. (2006). Inside the organic church: Learning from 12 emerging congregations. Nashville: Abingdon Press.
Whitesel, B. (2004). Growth by accident, death by planning: How not to kill a growing congregation. Nashville: Abingdon Press.
Whitesel, B. (2003). Staying power: Why people leave the church over change (and what you can do about it!). Nashville: Abingdon Press.
Whitesel, B., & Hunter, K. R. (2000). A house divided: Bridging the generation gaps in your church. Nashville: Abingdon Press.

Last updated: 11/02/2016