You got questions. You're new to this whole digital church thing, and you need some help. You're heading back to the building, but 50-70% of your attenders are staying home. What are you going to do? That's the topic on the inaugural episode of The Church Digital's BETA Show. Pre-COVID we were doing the whole physical church service thing. COVID hit, physical shut down, and we poured all our resources into Online. Now, how do we do physical and digital at the same time, without more resources? This is the question we're answering here on BETA000.
Answering Your Questions: THE BETA SHOW
We are launching a new show over here at THECHURCH.DIGITAL. But we need your help. Text your questions to 4THECHURCH (484/324-8724) and we'll answer them here on THE BETA SHOW. Seriously. Grab the phone. Text 484/324-8724 and tell us your questions. Where you're stuck. What questions you're asking of leadership. What questions leadership is asking of you... and let TCD help your church take some practical next steps, and give you some advice on how to BETA the situation at your church.
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THE BETA SHOW Transcript
Jeff Reed (00:00):
Hey. All right. Hey, welcome to beta. We're trying something new over here at the church in digital and we're experimenting. Yeah, you can run some fun parallels. We're baiting with a show that's called, called beta. It'll make sense down the road. Just stick with us. Of course, Rey De Armas here, digital pastor over at Christ Fellowship Miami, anytime I'm going to experiment and play around with some like new technology or try to do something different, you know, I gotta bring Rey along just to kind of make fun of me as we're doing whatever we're doing over here.
Rey De Armas (00:26):
It's just too easy. There's always some new technology that Jeff is really just trying to tap into. But the great thing about this is that we want to hear from people, right? I mean, that's kind of the big thing is we want to build the same community that many people are trying to build with trucks online. We want to hear it from our church, digital community, as far as some of the questions that they may have. And we felt that podcast wasn't going to do it. We felt like we had to beta. We had to try something new. Yeah,
Jeff Reed (00:51):
That's exactly right. You see with, with the church digital podcast, which is coming up on our 100th episode, it's phenomenal. It's been an awesome time, but we get so heady, so theoretical. So kind of future oriented in that there's like we can't even see practical in the conversation. And so we wanted to kind of do something that was a little more grounded as well. So here's what we're doing. Texts your digital phygital church questions to this number here on this screen for the church. Don't you love this? I literally have a phone number 4THECHURCHbv, (484) 324-8724, texts, those questions, and we want to answer them. We're going to list them, catalog them, and then do beta episodes here on the channels that you're watching. And we're going to put this on YouTube, on Facebook, on Periscope, Twitter you know, wherever we can land this stuff.
Jeff Reed (01:40):
And of course we're going to tie it in to the church digital podcast as well. So write that number down (484) 324-8724. Right now, go ahead and spam me. Okay. Don't spam me. Well maybe. Yeah, spam me. That's okay. Send me some messages. Send me some questions that you guys are struggling with in context of, of doing online ministry and we're going to do short, I promise you we'll do some sort of a shorter conversation here to answer those questions. So, and here we go.
New Speaker (02:14):
Number one, and I'm doing this. Okay, look, we're just starting this. We're calling this episode zero beta double low. We're just starting this thing, right? We don't, we don't know, but here here's what I do know. Nobody's texting me this question, but I've had this question come to me. I don't know, at least a dozen times here within the past week, how do we do creative digital church services for online at the same time as doing physical services? Like, okay. Hey, great. We can do physical pre COVID. Oh wait, no physical shut down entirely. Let's do all digital. Okay. I can pour all those resources. And now hundreds of thousands of churches across America are now trying to wrestle with this idea of how do we do both at the same time? How does this even, even work? And so man, Rey, just, what do you think of this question? Have you heard, have you had people ask you this?
Rey De Armas (03:05):
Yeah. I mean, and this is something that we're even trying to wrestle with, right? Because as many of us similar, similar, if you're trying to recreate the physical experience online, like you're losing, right? You're like, you're not necessarily catering to an audience or you're kind of going after an audience or trying to do things that you're noticing aren't working like they did in person pastors, your jokes, aren't landing the same way. You're getting word that some of your people aren't singing along with the worship music. And so that's a bit of a struggle and why is it so different and why is it so hard? And, and listen, it's, it's almost like live comedy, you know? I'm pretty sure if Jerry Seinfeld were to tell you yet doing things in this corporate environment is different than me packing a club in New York and just kind of catering to the audience that's in the room. And so the reality is, is you probably can't do both at the same time. Right? Like you kind of have to think through who your primary target audiences. Right. Jeff, and think through how you're going to kind of craft some of your content in towards them, right?
Jeff Reed (04:03):
Yeah. It's, it's really targeting this idea of, of who you're trying to reach and how are you trying to communicate them? So, and this is, this is really one of the weaknesses of live streaming, a physical service, because when you're doing that physical service, you're really communicating you're, you're preaching. You're, you're really talking in the season to your 90 nines. Now we do this analogy of the ones in the 99, you know, the parable of the shepherd that goes after the one lost sheep leaving the other 99 behind that parable. So within your church,
Jeff Reed (04:36):
Within your buildings, you're not getting people cold to Christ coming to a physical building. And if you are congratulations, those are like the few stories out of the many, because what we're really seeing is is this 99, the people that are engaged into your church that are really going into the building for that. And they need to be ministered to, they need to be discipled. They need some of that communication. But if we're really looking at online as our opportunity to reach ones, I don't know that we're going to get that out of live streaming in our building. Now throw that aside, this whole idea of, Hey, you know what? I'm going to preach a 40 minute in the building. Well, we already learned in this COVID season that 40 minute sermon doesn't land online. The, if we're looking at it towards evangelism, that the ones aren't giving it to them, Hey, those like five songs that you want to sing online, that's not going to land or excuse me, singing the building. That's not going to land online. Like you would want it to. And so we've seen a lot of churches in the season really paired down the experience of what they're broadcasting online instead of being that 70, 80, 90 minute service, making it more like a 40, 50, maybe 60 minutes, but a much smaller experience.
Rey De Armas (05:50):
Yeah. And I'm more curious for a lot of characters as to how they're asking, as opposed to, how to take their physical service online, how to take their service back into the building, you know, that same experience that you're creating for your digital experience. That was kind of the way that it should have been. You know you know, everybody talks about our add culture there. The reality of it is, is that human attention span has always been about 20 minutes. I remember watching a message from Erwin McManus about 20 years ago. Now it was about 15 years ago. I'd watched him at a Saddleback worship conference and he made mention of this as it was happening to me. And this was before I had an iPhone in my pocket. He said some of the already been checked into my message right now. He's like, I work the same way I check in.
Rey De Armas (06:29):
I'm here for five minutes. I check out for a few minutes. I checked back in and he's talking about this to pastors as he's preaching through this, but he was a hundred percent correct. Many people aren't watching a 40 minute experience, especially with a smartphone device in their hand and listening all the way through every detail of the pastor's message and legit like on pace with them the entire way now, is it happening to one or two people? Absolutely. But for the rest of us, we're checking in, we're checking out. And so in order to help avoid that, we kind of have to ask, okay, so we got used to recreating some of our experiences in shorter formats for an online audience who yeah. They can watch this year, but they're probably also going to go pour some cereal in a bowl, or they're going to go check on the kids to make sure that they're not killing each other or something else along those lines. And so in the same way, we have to figure out how we're going to take those experiences back into a physical environment, because especially for non-believers, I don't think they're going to be on an hour and a half to two hour services anymore.
Jeff Reed (07:25):
Yeah. It's, it's really interesting. Like even Craig Grochel with the video teaching and some of the Don, you know, video teaching has worked at multisite campuses for a decade. Like it was, it was early to 2010s when, when I started video teaching and creating that through churches that I was on staff, but gross shell, whenever he would go visit, like he would preach Saturday night, record the message, the canned for life church, and then go out when he would visit other campuses on Sunday, that was getting the video teaching message. He would never actually stand on stage and preach in, in the physical space. He would sit on the front row and then they would play the video teaching message of him preaching. Yeah. Okay. Maybe it's awkward to see yourself preach, but it's this really fascinating thing that comes out of it where he didn't want to preach live because he didn't want to devalue the video teaching that was happening.
Jeff Reed (08:17):
And so he felt if he preached live, that meant that live preaching was better than video. And he didn't want to do that because video was the thing that was solidifying all of the life church campuses together. And so in this season, I wonder if there's not a lesson here to take away that may be doing that prerecorded message. Maybe it's even that, that 20 minute message using it, not just in the digital space, but also in physical space as well, man, that really simplifies a lot of the scariness. A lot of the monster that is creating the second service because you're double using the content and physical space as well as digital because where we're going here is this idea of creating the second thing. You can often be a beast unto itself because we're putting all this work, all this effort, all this energy into creating this.
Jeff Reed (09:06):
And this is where churches were before we went back into the building in the middle of COVID mid COVID, because they were creating this monster of a thing and it was done with excellence. It was done with perfection. It was a thing to be proud of, but it utilized all the resources that were in the physical building to get there. And now, Oh my gosh, you want me to do both? How am I supposed, I need to communicate something different to the online buildings, into the physical, but I do it, but I can't do both with excellence. And by doing both, like, I don't know what to do. I need, I need the double, my teams. I need to double my staff, write me a bigger check. And you know, in this cobot season, bigger checks just don't don't seem to be common.
Rey De Armas (09:46):
Yeah. You know, this kind of goes back to, if you listen to the pod, you've heard me talk about that, touch this Ted talk before, and you've probably even seen it yourself. You know, the three things that you can only have two at a three good, fast or cheap, right? Good, fast cheap. You can have two of three, you can't have three at a three. And so part of the question that I think a lot of us are asking, and maybe a lot more of your teams are probably like knocking on your lead pastor's door. Like, Hey, during COVID you were farther out with your message, like you were ready to record on Thursday. Can we get back to that? And he's thinking to himself, no, man. Now I've got those extra three days to kind of work with and play with and toy around and tinker with stuff.
Rey De Armas (10:19):
And, and that's where some of the challenge can be in terms of the difference between prerecorded and want it to go back to live in the room is just the thought process of when are we going to push that content out, right? Jeff, because that kind of puts you at a timetable. And then that timetable also determines your budget because if you're going to do last minute edits, if you're going to do last minute shots or reshoots or whatever else, that's where things get complicated and get very expensive, as opposed to when you're thinking further in advance and thinking a little bit further out and working with your teams a lot more within their allotted hours, you avoid burnout, you avoid so many different things and it allows the rest of your ministry teams to make sure that they're administering to the congregation, which is huge.
Rey De Armas (10:58):
You know, you mentioned Craig Grochel earlier, Craig got to the point where pre COVID he was recording on Thursdays, the message. He wouldn't even appreciate that Saturday nights. And so then he would show up at all locations, just there to shake hands, kiss babies, and pRey for people, which is where he determined his greatest value was on a Sunday morning. And for some of us, we think our greatest value is just the content we put out. But even Greg will tell you, Hey, it's gotta be content married with community. And that's where church comes into play.
Jeff Reed (11:30):
Yeah. And, and really it's funny, the Thursday night with the gross shell, it kind of leads me into where I wanted to go next with this thing. I almost think that the Thursday night service being for the online recording, that capture service for online, I think that's the Gitmo solution. I didn't realize this was going to become the Craig Groeschel hour, but wasn't aggressive shell who used the gizmo out global leadership summit this year, 2020 and 2020. It was this year. And so like this idea of get Mo is, is, is phenomenal where, and listen, I like we've, we've, we've talked about this on the podcast where we've got crossroads in Cincinnati, Uber creative services. This church has got tons of resources. I'm literally watching the, the lead pastor, Brian Tome preach a sermon while wakeboarding.
Jeff Reed (12:21):
I just, if there was a, if the proverbial shark tank in the Lake, he would have jumped it like, this is unbelievable. He's literally preaching while wakeboarding now let's, let's face it. And this, unfortunately there's a standard, like remember comparison is the thief of joy. We talked about that in this COVID season. And it's like, Oh, I'm a church of a thousand. I got to compete with this. I got to, I got to figure out, Hey, can you preach a sermon while actually jumping at shark tank on the wakeboard, don't do that. And so here's kind of the tension of it, where we bring this GETMO back into it. And so early on what you're talking about with life church, where they would capture the service Thursday night, now they would change the language. The host would be able to say what the host needed to say for online. The teacher was able to drill into those cameras and look at it and communicate the type of message needed. But online worship was maybe a simpler set, a smaller set that was more appropriate for the online environment, but we're doing this digitally, exclusively for the digital audience. And I personally think this is a great way to utilize the resources that your venue that your church has and find ways to make it effective.
Rey De Armas (13:36):
Yeah. And then the last thing that they utilized as part of that was recycled worship. And I, and some of them aren't gonna like that tag on of recycled, but they would prerecord the worship and then they would cut like some of the songs and like mix and match them throughout in terms of their online services. Now I understand, Oh man, we want everything to be fresh week to week. Okay. But listen, your online audience, isn't really going to engage as much in song. That's it. That's not the experience that they're receiving at home. They're not having the lights hit their face. They're not there with the fog and the stuff happening on stage. That's not something that they're experiencing in real time as much. And so if you actually want a little bit lighter on worship and like one or two songs that were prerecorded, like let's say that you just, didn't one day recording with your worship team, you recorded 10 songs and then you just had them out.
Rey De Armas (14:21):
I mean, think about this. You can either have your best musicians all in one day, they're shooting getting the best of the best of everything. And this way your digital audience gets something amazing. And then for the rest of your teams, they have to put these online stuff together. They're not looking to get everything week to week. It helps them facilitate and it helps them build a system so that they can get great content out there so that they can spend the rest of their time ministering to people, which is what it's supposed to be. And so, you know, if we get caught up in like, Jeff, you nailed it on the head comparisons, thief of joy. Yeah. So that means that we can't pivot week to week to be like North point this week, it'd be like a life church next week. No, let's be who we are. Let's set a plan and then we can tweak along the way.
Jeff Reed (15:01):
Yeah. So good. And even just to close up this vein here, do not burn out on the one hour on Sunday, do not pour every ounce of resources you and your organization have in order to create this duality of the church service. There's more to church than the one hour on Sunday. There's, there's a larger purpose of what your church's resources need to do to not just create a follower of Christ, but at disciple maker. And as much as we, the church are used to creating these awesome physical and digital experiences, that's really just the beginning of the life of the church. And so don't spend all the resources, creating those experiences that you're not doing intentional steps and having some of those resources to create the disciple makers that the Bible calls us.
Rey De Armas (15:52):
Yeah. You know, hitting the brakes and having everybody take a break from Sunday morning is scary. Right? Because we don't know what we're kind of coming back into is, or as we're looking to reopen church services. And even as those who have reopened are kind of already reporting, Hey, listen, it's not like we're seeing an extreme rush for people to kind of come back on Sunday. Some are fearful because of the virus and others have just been out of routine for so long that, you know, they're like, man, we found a new routine. We thought a new thing. And so we're just kind of going to stick with it, but it does remind us that this entire time, this isn't new, this isn't because of COVID the 167 hours during the week that you heard here. A lot of people in this kind of world reference that matters a ton more than just what happens on Sunday morning.
Rey De Armas (16:34):
I mean, if you're, if you're in youth ministry and if you're in kid's ministry, you know this because parents often will just drop off their kids saying, Hey, change them, change them, make them better. And you're sitting there thinking to yourself, Hey, listen, within three months, this kid's life will probably turn around, but you can make a bigger impact around that dinner table at home than I ever can through a message a week and a few worship songs in a game. And that's a hundred percent correct. And in the same way with online church or just with church in general, right? We're supposed to be raising up believers. We're supposed to be making devoted followers of Jesus. And that doesn't just happen on an hour on Sunday now worshiping Jesus super important, coming together as the body of believers here for it.
Jeff Reed (17:14):
It's not physical. It's not digital. It's not weekend. It's create that disciple maker. And if that is first and foremost and everything else is just a tool to get us to that point. So very, very well said, Rey, Hey listen. So, so we're going to wrap here with this, this, this was golden. We want to do this weekly. And what's the next episode going to be? I have no idea because I haven't gotten your questions yet. So here's what we're asking. Text these questions right now. Your questions. What are you struggling with? What's the next step? Where are you lost? What do you have no idea on what are you thinking about whatever it is texted to me over here at (484) 324-8724, the numbers literally for the church and send me your questions. We'll maybe we'll talk about it next week and you'll be able, w maybe we mentioned your name.
Jeff Reed (18:03):
Maybe we're not, I don't know. We'll figure it out, but send us your questions and give us something to do. By the way you can access this beta and a bunch of other free resources over at THECHURCH.DIGITAL. So if you're not at THECHURCH.DIGITAL, Even not checked out our other podcasts and what we're doing, all that, what up bro? Come on. Like go some love. We're freaking hundred episode coming up here in a couple of weeks. What do you mean you haven't? You haven't watched it. Come on, jump, jump on this thing. And you can do that over at the church.digital/podcasts. So Hey Rey, man, thanks for jumping on this. Looking forward to doing the next one for Rey I'm Jeff with the church. Digital. Thanks for being here. And we'll see you in the next time here on BETA. Have a good day.