Archive for November, 2014

MCDC – helping businesses find more prospects

I work for The Kansas City Star and its parent company, McClatchy.  Recently, we decided to launch a new initiative, the McClatchy Consumer Data Center, also known as MCDC.  We’re able to take a business’s customer database and analyze it using the Nielsen PRIZM segmentation system.   We find out the demographics, interests and media habits of your customers. More important, we find out where your customers live and where you can find more people like them in the market.

This type of analysis normally would cost thousands of dollars but we’re rolling out this new initiative during 4th Quarter of 2014 (in McClatchy West and Midwest) and during this initial roll-out phase, we’re going to make this capability available to our business partners (clients and prospects) as Value-Added (FREE) for the next 30 days.

A minimum of about 2,000 records is needed (we need address, city, state, ZIP Code in a CSV or XLS file) and we already have a Non-Disclosure Agreement available.   Due to demand, we’re anticipating that it should take about two (2) weeks to turn this around once we receive your customer database.

To give you an idea of its popularity, we launched this new initiative/capability on November 1st and, in just one week, we’ve already had six (6) businesses sign up with us and provide us with their databases.   If you run a business operating in or around Kansas City, Wichita, Lexington, or Fort Worth and you are interested in this new capability, please contact your Account Executive or to set up a time to discuss this in more detail.

Thank you.

Mark R. Whitaker
The Kansas City Star / McClatchy Midwest


Best ever? Discuss …

I was just having a discussion about the best player EVER across all sports.  My criterion is they stand above anyone else that ever played their sport.  We also had the same discussion regarding coaches.

Muhammad Ali is the greatest boxer of all time (although I personally prefer Joe Louis) and I consider Satchel Paige to be the best baseball player of any era.   In the NFL, Johnny Unitas was the best Quarterback.  For basketball, it’s got to be Jordan.  However, the best player of ANY sport from any era has got to be Pelé … do you agree?

For coaches, I consider John Wooden, Vince Lombardi, John Madden, Phil Jackson and Coach K; however, for me, it’s no contest … the best coach of all time?  Coach Pat Summitt from the University of Tennessee’s Lady Vols basketball team is the obvious choice. What do you think?

Of course, I also need to point out that only ONE person has won the Heisman trophy twice and that’s Archie Griffin from THE Ohio State University.

Categories: Sports Tags: ,

Following baseball in the Congo was a Royal Pleasure this fall.

As much fun as I had following the Royals during this post-season, imagine doing so from the other side of the world. My friends Larry and Kristy are serving as missionaries, teaching in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and were able to share their joy of following the Royals with their students, truly making this a WORLD Series.


While we were in Kansas City the Royals (the American League Baseball team) won something like 22 of 25 games–their only home loss was the one we attended. It was great to see them in First Place in August, for the first time since 1985. However, they lost several in September, and it came down to a one-game playoff with their nemiesis, the Oakland A’s, on Wednesday, October 1.  (Yes, this is way over a month late–power and time at the same time is a rare commodity for us)

Students in our first hour class were glad to help "Mr. Larry" celebrate the Royals victory putting them in the American League Division Series playoffs. Students in our first hour class were glad to help “Mr. Larry” celebrate the Royals victory putting them in the American League Division Series playoffs.

We woke up at 5:30 am on what was Thursday, Oct. 2 here, and Larry turned on Major League Baseball where he can follow the results of each pitch. We  “watched” all during breakfast and left…

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Categories: Uncategorized

Church Music — start them young

I’m reposting this now because Adri is going to sing once again tomorrow morning.

Be Swift, Be Precise

Today I did another Michael Card song, from 1992 — “Then They Will Know”, part of his The Word album on the prophets. I will share more about that later.

But first I want to feature Adrianna Trevino, who sang her first Introit and Call to Prayer today in the 8:30 service. Here are pictures of her below, along with sound tracks for both pieces she did:


Introit: Let Us With a Gladsome Mind

Call to Prayer: Hear Our Prayer O Lord

I also have two sound tracks for the Michael Card song — one from each service.  I will put them in below the text:

Then They Will Know

Words by Michael Card, Music by Scott Brasher

I will speak

I will wait

I will send prophets among them

That they might hear

That they might see

And understand how much I love them

Then they will know that…

View original post 230 more words

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Mourning the Wesley Foundation

After initially posting my blog about the church going in the wrong direction, I was reminded by my friend/colleague Steve about one more poor decision by our conference.

A couple years ago, the conference decided to get rid of campus ministries; well, technically, they just said they were moving those ministries to local congregations but getting rid of the local Wesley Foundations.   Personally, this seemed like a terrible idea to me.

During my first two years of college at (Southwest) Missouri State University, I didn’t have a car and so the Wesley Foundation was my only tie to the United Methodist Church.  I walked to a local church of another denomination; they fed my faith but if that’s all I had, I would’ve lost my connection to the denomination of which I’ve been a member for my entire life.   Who knows … maybe that’s what they want and they’re trying to get those of us raised in the faith to go away so they can concentrate on growing NEW churches.

The Rev. Treva Hall was the director of the Wesley Foundation and she STILL remains as one of the greatest influences on my life.   I have been involved in youth ministry for the last 20 years (including 14 as a Youth Director) and every year or so, I find myself using an illustration that Treva shared with a bunch of college students all those years ago.  Here are two that I’ve used most often:

  1. Using three students’ descriptions of Homecoming weekend (one focused on the game, another on the King/Queen candidates and yet another on the other activities of the weekend) to give us insight as to why the same story can appear different ways in the Bible.
  2. Providing an important perspective on prayer (“I’ll tell you what.  I’ll pray for you but YOU still need to study.”)  to remind us that we still need to take personal responsibility even when we ask others for prayers.

Without Treva’s influence, I wouldn’t be the person that I am today.  And without Wesley Foundation, I never would’ve met her.  That makes me very sad.  And as a result, I not only mourn the Wesley Foundation but I anticipate mourning the United Methodist Church.

Project Warmth

Once again, it’s time for Project Warmth here in Kansas City.  If you have an extra coat or blanket, please consider dropping it off at one of the ten (10) area locations.  Volunteers will be at each of these locations today from 9am to 3pm.  I will be at Metro North Mall for most of the day but please visit whichever location is closest to you.

Thank you for supporting our community and keeping others warm.  To learn more about Project Warmth, please visit and/or like the organization on Facebook.  Plus, watch the TV special on KCTV5 in December and watch for the donation envelope in The Kansas City Star.

Once again, THANK YOU!



Are we moving in the wrong direction?

The comments in this blog are solely the opinions of Mark R. Whitaker and do not represent any organization of which I am now or was previously a member, officer or staff person.  I say that since I previously served as an Advisory Board member and Chair for youTheology and still serve as the Youth and Communications Director at Avondale United Methodist Church and don’t want to get either of those organizations in trouble.  However, I’m not happy with a few recent decisions by the Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church and don’t feel it’s appropriate for me to keep quiet about it any longer.

Over the past few years, I’ve heard reports that our congregations and pastors are aging so it would seem that we would want to support those organizations that help young people grow in their faith.  Instead, we cut funding/support of youTheology which helps high school students explore their faith and possibly begin a journey to purse leadership in the church as either a pastor or lay person.  Next, we close the campus of Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri.  We then follow that up by closing all of our church camps.  Now, the latest move is to drop our Youth Mission Trips and outsource them to another organization.

I hope that these decisions have been well thought out and that they lead to great things.  However, I fear that we are letting finances dictate our ministry choices.  We are essentially saying that God’s work costs too much money so we’re going to cut off funding and hope that we can find another way to make it happen.  Again, through Christ, all things are possible.  God is big enough to make this work.  I just would like for us to do our part to help make things happen.

My church is coming to the end of a year-long celebration of our 100th Anniversary; we need to look at our own congregation to determine what needs to be done to make sure we continue to do God’s work and support our community.  We need to face changing demographics, decreasing dollars in the offering plate and increased needs in the neighborhood.  The answer is not to drop missions and outreach but to figure out how to adapt to the changing needs and circumstances.  I realize that this is the same process that the Missouri Conference and Office of Next Generation Ministries is going through and I’m not sure what decisions they should be making.  I’m just concerned by a series of decisions that seem to be more focused on money and not a whole lot on much of anything else.  My vision might be blurred on this so I hope and pray for wisdom to find the right path for my congregation, my conference and the bigger church.

I’m hoping for a bright future but, honestly, I don’t think much of where things stand today.

Categories: Church Tags: ,