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BETA04: It's Christmastime



We got past Halloween. It's not even Turkey-time yet, and here in America we may not even know who the President is, but dang it, it's Christmas-time. Crank out the Christmas Playlist. Put on your favorite Christmas Sweater, and let's start to figure out how in the world we are doing Christmas in this mid/post-COVID 2020 season... Like the BETA SHOW? Check out more episodes here.

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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Co-Host: Rey DeArmas
Christ Fellowship Miami Online
Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

Host: Jeff Reed
Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // LinkedIn


  • "A subscription box/crate to make the experience interactive for families at home, as well as, make it easier for our people to invite their friends to. The boxes are printed like presents with 'do not open till...' and a QR code for the stream." - Justin Piercy, Connexus Church
  • We're doing a totally digital approach. We're producing a 30 minute Christmas Eve service that will premiere on our Facebook (and YouTube) page and we're asking our entire congregation to make sure to share the experience with someone in their life. We're making clear they should not simply share the link to their profile, but to share the experience with another person. - Nathan Martin
  • Next steps? What are we connecting guests to?
  • How are we collecting information? How are we following up?
  • BETA: Even as late in the year as we are, there's still time to PLAN & PREPARE for Christmas 2020.
  • Don't forget about December 26/27.
  • Text your Digital/Phygital Church questions to 4THECHURCH - 484/324-8724


We know these conversations are out there are hard. Even the best of churches haven't figured out... If this podcast is helping you and your church work through what Church Online is, then help us impact other churches! Take a moment and leave us a brief review!

By leaving a positive ranking and review of THECHURCH.DIGITAL PODCAST & THE BETA SHOW on iTunes, you're helping to get this podcast in front of new people who are most likely asking the same questions you are. Head over to that Ratings & Review section on iTunes and drop a good word for us!

Feedback on the podcast is vital as well. Leave comments on the podcast, or comment on this post! I'd love to know your thoughts and how we can serve your church better.

Love you all! Praying for your Churches and your Ministry Online.

Jeff Reed

THE BETA SHOW Transcript

Jeff Reed (00:00):
All right. Welcome to Beta Show Episode 04. It's Christmas time here. Jeff here with TheChurch.Digital and Stadia Church Planting and joining me today for the show is Rey De Armas. Listen, if call, Halloween is passed, it's done. It's not even Turkey day. We don't know who the president of the United States is at least today when we're doing this broadcast. But I can tell you right now that break out your Spotify playlist, bring out the Christmas movies, put diehard on, repeat over and over again. And let's embrace this idea of a phygital Christmas here on a The Beta Show. So once again, here with the beta show, we answer your questions, the questions that you guys have in ministry. And so text us your questions. (484) 324-8724. we do this, I feel so silly wearing this hat. I don't think I could wear this hat, the entire I'm going to try to wear it the entire show.

Jeff Reed (00:59):
We'll see how we get, but text us your, your questions on online ministry, church, online, phygital church, this online discipleship, whatever that is, send us those questions. We'll answer them in future episodes here of the beta show. And for today, in case you haven't noticed by my ridiculous hat or the t-shirt, you can't see, which is in fact, Darth Vader writing Santa's sleigh with the, at being the reindeer, chasing it, heading into the moonscape of the death start. Yeah, I do own that. T-shirt and I wore it for this, and honestly, I wear it regularly throughout the year. Not even during Christmas season, it's just, it's awesome. So we really want to focus on this idea of Christmas and excited to drill into it. And you know, even to just get into the holiday spirit, you may be thinking to yourself, it's beginning to look a lot like phygital Christmas, you know, you can hear that, that Christmas song, just resonating out there. I'll be home for Christmas assuming my zoom account works, you know, this may be the Christmas for you kind of doing that social distancing thing.

Rey DeArmas (02:05):
Sharing that same zoom account with like four or five other people. So it depends on how that's working out for you, right?

Jeff Reed (02:10):
Definitely. Hey, my, one of my favorites is little drummer. Boy, you remember that time when the little drummer boy presented that gift to Jesus of high-speed internet, giving them that extra boost to allow, Oh my gosh, that, that, that that's the gift that keeps giving it even in the 2021.

Rey DeArmas (02:28):
And 5g in the name of Jesus, let's go.

Jeff Reed (02:31):
I'm dreaming of a phygital Christmas. I mean, there's, there's so much we can really get into, but honestly I just, I, I want it all spotlights here on my friend, Rey, as he presents, it's the most stressful time of the year. Rey, are you ready for this folks

Rey DeArmas (02:47):
Sing along? If you know it at home, here we go. It's the most stressful time of the year. What with COVID still growing, the elections now slowing and doom seem so nice here. It's the most stressful time of the year.

Jeff Reed (03:08):
Man. We are really missing out. We should be like marketing that, that, that publicly, like we get, get, get Tyler Sansom. Let's do a cover of that and put it on YouTube and like start bankrolling or something. We're not utilizing all of that.

Rey DeArmas (03:22):
Tyler got a million streams on Spotify. No problem. Me. Five things he's got.

Jeff Reed (03:29):
Oh, so cool. Well, Hey for us here, we really wanted to dig into what Christmas looks like. Obviously Christmas is going to look different here in, in 2020. you know, Easter was a struggle. Easter was a lesson for all of us, as we wrestled with this idea of how to do Easter digital only. And so really it was like the apex. It was the peak of church online where so many people came and viewed an online service. Now here in, in December, 2020, it's it's starting to look a little different. It's not like it's all online. Some of you may be thinking physical. Some of you may be thinking digital. Some of you may be thinking phygital some of you, okay. Maybe not those of you who are up North. Some of you may be thinking outdoor venue again. I know that was kind of the go-to, during Easter, as a fallback for physical was that outdoor venue. Some of your venues, you can use a full capacity. Some, some you can't. And so it's really a mixed bag kind of heading into, 2020 until this Christmas, Christmas Eve service season Rey, any thoughts on this?

Rey DeArmas (04:32):
With so many different options. And, you know, we talk about this a lot at your show, on our shows, w you've got to think through strategy, you've got to think through what's your ultimate goal, and then allow, allow the strategy to meet that goal, right? Like, don't try to force back into physical just because you have the capability of reopening. I know some churches have already done that and you're hoping and praying that we can go to some semblance of last December, but as we're all already identifying for those of you have opened, you, you already recognize this and see this. It's not going to be 2019. And so we have to prepare and think through how to meet 2020 problems with 2026,

Jeff Reed (05:08):
Totally, and completely, and recognize what your venues are capable of space-wise and what they're not going to be capable of. And so having a more distributed approach, either multiple days, multiple services online and in micro and watch parties. And we're going to get into all these different options here in a little bit, but it obviously is not going to be a carbon copy of what 2019 is, and we need to be comfortable with it even upfront that just like the rest of 2020 has been a messy year. I mean, look, I'm wearing a freaking hat with antlers 2020 has been messy, and it's going to continue to get messy, even heading into 21, even questions like, and I know we're all asking these questions, right? Do we do a live broadcast of Christmas Eve? Do we do a prerecorded of Christmas Eve? And, and honestly, like for me, my knee-jerk would be go with what you're comfortable with.

Jeff Reed (06:01):
If you've never done a live broadcast, let's not use Christmas Eve as the opportunity to do something new. If all you do is live broadcast, then you're not comfortable necessarily with the workflow of doing the prerecorded service. So maybe evaluate if it's really worth it. I think that the big win of a Christmas, like this is to create an experience where you are able to preach to people specifically in the room, if they're in the room, and if you're doing it online, you're creating an experience where you're able to preach to people specifically online. There, there are opportunities where you can look straight into that camera when you're doing the broadcast, but when you're preaching to the room, now you're looking in different directions, connecting with people in that way. I, I see wins like that in, in this holiday season and how best you can set up that engagement, where you're creating the video content that speaks, literally speaks to the people in the room versus speaking to the people online.

Rey DeArmas (07:05):
That's right. And it's so important to remember that, you know, if you've determined this strategy that you continue to communicate it clearly, so don't do live broadcast for the sake of, Hey, we're going to have this up Christmas Eve night at seven o'clock, you'll be able to do it alongside with folks or whatever else don't be. So consumed by that last year. what we did is we took, here at Christ fellowship, we took our broadcast or excuse me, we took our service that was recorded at seven o'clock. And we had a team of editors that we contracted out to make sure that we could get it up online by nine o'clock. We just kept it beginning and end. And we made sure that the, that the in-between was set up in such a format so that it wouldn't look weird and require a whole lot of editing online. The big thing for us has always been the quality of mix, especially since so many of you are consumed with putting in music experiences that don't always place a wall online, right? Jeff, like we've talked about that in terms of worship online, Christmas plays off a little bit differently because families just like to get together and sing Christmas songs. And so that can work a little bit more in an online experience, but a poorly mixed online experience is a rough one, either way, whether it's Christmas or Christmas Eve or not

Jeff Reed (08:08):
Definitely. And so wrestle with those ideas. And we've created a lot of content and have addressed those questions on how to do the audio mix and solve that problem. If you're still asking those questions, feel free to put it into the comment fields, you know, ask that or reach out to us at the church digital, and we can kind of help you get pointed in the right direction. But you know, more, more than you're at Christmas, Christmas carols, that's, that's a part of, of doing a Christmas Eve service or a Christmas service, but there's other things that, that start to get weird. Like how do you do a phygital candle lighting like candle? Lighting's a big part, you know, for me growing up, being in churches, you know, my Christmas Eve service had the candle lighting. And, and so, you know, you'll do that at the end.

Jeff Reed (08:51):
You'd raise the light up, you'd see all the hundreds of candles across the room being lit and, and what, well, dang it, you know, like a digital service doesn't quite have that same effect or, or can it, you know, a lot of times when we're really defined the word phygital in things like this, it's, it's meant to be, maybe there's an opportunity to draw physical objects into what you're doing online. Like, I'll be honest, you're here at my desk, 24 seven, I have a fidget cube. That's what you call these things, right? And so like for me, this, even when I'm on zoom meetings or doing broadcasts, or even naturally just even as I'm talking with you, I'm interacting with this to keep me grounded, to keep me aware of what's happening physically. And so during your phygital broadcast during your sermons, maybe start to bring in outside objects that maybe somebody has within the house and use it as part of the storytelling.

Jeff Reed (09:52):
So maybe you're inviting people to go get candles and even in advance, Hey, we're going to do a, a phygital candle lighting service, get your candles, bring them in. You're not seeing the massive number of people, but people even distributed digitally are, are connecting with it. Maybe there's, parts of the sermon elements where you're talking about a Christmas ornament or a Christmas gift or things that they would visit raps that they would have physically within the room that you can start to connect fidget, really this idea of what's in the physical world with what you're teaching digitally. And so it's, it's a lot of that kind of multi-sensory approach. That's really going to tie into this idea of creating a real phygital experience. Yeah.

Rey DeArmas (10:38):
You know, and this is difficult. This is going to be hard for so many characters, right? Because part of our metrics, when it comes to character online has been in the number of streams or the number of views that we receive on the backend. But the reality with a phygital candle lighting experience, if the people that we're going to feel most comfortable with this holiday season and coming around is our family. And some people may have larger families and other adults that they, that they grew up with. And the season, if you equip them through digital means to have a candle lighting service where they're at, and Hey, we'll provide the content. You guys provide the candles. And however many of them on the table, whether it's 12, 15, 20 in your backyard, whatever else, you know, do this along with us. And you'd be surprised at what kind of response you might get now, will it show up in the stream numbers at 12 or 15 or 20 people were there watching it?

Rey DeArmas (11:22):
No, but if you encourage your folks to, Hey, take a photo of it, share it on social media, encourage other folks to do the same, you know, put, put up a hashtag for it. You know, our church Christmas in whatever it is, you'd be surprised the kind of feedback that you would get for your folks because you equip them to have the service where they're at. And the other thing is, and this is always a struggle for those of us that hold those services in physical environments is that we feel like we're taking church members away from their families on those days to help enact experiences where we're at. Right. Like I know in Miami, Christmas Eve is bigger than Christmas day. And so whenever we hold the Christmas Eve service, Christmas, you know, we're taking away volunteers from family events where they could be impacting non-believers. This provides an opportunity to equip them, to go reach their non-believing friends, where they're at and to share the gospel with them, right. It, their own family event. It, it really can be a solid thing that can bring the family together instead of seeing the church as something that takes your family member away.

Jeff Reed (12:16):
Yeah. The it's, it's a different strategy there, but it's this idea of we're creating this digital service as the glue to connect families together. It's not a separate event that you're bringing them to, but it's, it's a central piece essential part of what's happening through the, through the holiday, through the Christmas Eve, the Christmas day, it experienced celebration that that's happening at the house. And so in, in families, in inviting others to come together, neighbors, other, other family members, whatever social distancing allows, she huge evangelical opportunity, huge opportunity for us to reach out to our, our ones, our individual ones, and, and start to connect with them in a new way. Well, Hey, we, we reached out and so we asked some churches in some Facebook groups, Hey, what are you guys doing for Christmas? And got, got a lot of good feedback. Cause I mean, listen, 2020, if nothing else is a big giant experiment.

Jeff Reed (13:12):
And so it's really interesting to see some different approaches out here. Justin Percy from connection church, Hey, so we're, we're creating a subscription box or crate to make the experience interactive for our families at home, as well as to make it easier for our people to invite friends to the boxes are printed like presence with do not open till and a QR code for the stream. You know, I love and, and you know, they're, they're there, they're up in Canada. So, you know, they're, connects this church. So they've got all sorts of cold up there. It's just, and hope you're staying warm with what you're doing. You're welcome to come down to Miami anytime you want and thought out, but love this idea. You know, I mean the subscription there's pros and cons. Yeah. It can be inward facing, but if you're communicating in advance, you know, almost looking at it like the RSVP for the seats, towards that, not making the service exclusive to only if you have the box, but as a way to once again, provide some phygital, touch points, some physical touch points that tie into the service.

Jeff Reed (14:14):
You know, I think there's lots of positives with that. Rey, you think anything?

Rey DeArmas (14:18):
Yeah. there's a couple of things, right? Like insider can actually be so much so cool that you can make a kind of FOMO to something to where even outsiders would want to be part of it and they may want a box as well. So I think if you can just then just make sure that you got your boxes ready early enough. So that for those who aren't part of the church that want to take part in this experience that may or may not be believers might want to actually get a box and that their friend can hook them up with a box. Like, man, I can't go over your house. Or maybe I don't feel comfortable with that right now, but you think I get a box from my family. Absolutely. You know, or even there's just, and we all recognize this. There's a lot of churches that aren't offering any experiences right now. And it's not that you're trying to steal sheep from one church to another, but man, if you can help out a brother in Christ in this season, just by providing a digital experience for them and their family at home, why not do it so kudos to you? Justin sounds very creative. Sounds a lot of fun.

Jeff Reed (15:05):
Love, love that level. What's happening up at Connexus. Hey, we've got Nathan Martin here. We're doing a totally digital approach now. applause with that, just one sentence right there, a totally digital approach we're producing a 30 minute Christmas Eve service that will premier on Facebook and the YouTube page. We're asking our entire congregation to make sure to share the experience with someone in their life. and so very, outward-facing very, evangelic with that. We're making it clear that they should not just simply share the link to their profile, to the these people's profiles, but to share the experience with the other person. Now, what you're hearing is like a, a physical invite. Come watch this with me, that, that type of thing where it's either been doing it's happening in physical space, let me invite you over to my house. let me invite you into a watch party and do this experience, you know, through Facebook or a number of platforms that are doing it at this point.

Jeff Reed (16:03):
Like I love the intentionality Nathan, towards the, towards the evangelism, towards using this digital content to connect with people through the Christmas service season to create an experience, to, to dialogue, to have conversations. And so the ability to not just create that 30 minute piece, but to also maybe have some prep questions, follow up questions, dialogue questions. Hey, so I just shared this service with my friends. What do I need to talk about afterwards? Do I, as, as the person who sharing the service with someone else, am I equipped to kind of even take that next level? Those are recent questions that I would dig into. Don't just create the experience, but help me as the person who's sharing. It helped me with some wisdom to facilitate the conversation, towards it wisdom in I'm wearing an antler hat as anyway, what do you got, Rey? What are you thinking about?

Rey DeArmas (16:55):
No, I think that's, I think that's great. some of the things that I know we're going to cover this in a little bit, Jeff, but even thinking through, so what, what is that next step for the person who's watching that isn't so connected to church? Right. that's, that's kind of the big thing that I was wondering is, all right, so now how do I interact with you and what is that going to mean for me as a believer as a non-believer, if I'm watching your broadcast and I've loved it, and I want to take that next step, just making sure that that's very clear that it's baked into the message that it's even baked into the hosting, ahead of time having one clear next step for the entire broadcast of, Hey, listen, this is your next step. Go to this website, you know, click on this form, fill it out, let us know that you watched it, let us know what questions you have, et cetera, but give way to get feedback from those folks.

Rey DeArmas (17:37):
And then encouraging those church members that are going to be sharing this to encourage others, to sh to fill out that form, like, Hey, you watched it awesome. Did you fill out the form? No meant here. Let me go ahead and send you a link, you know, following up to make sure that that's a place that next step form really it's, it's so much for those of us who do church online. It really is. It's the way that we, that people move from anonymity to being part of the church. And so they have to take that next step. So if you're designing this, you got, you know, six, seven weeks right now is the time to make sure that it's baked in as best as possible. And have it clear as day. And one, one please, one next step. Yes.

Jeff Reed (18:12):
And so a lot of that really comes into like the, just the clarity of the service, where there is one thing I want these people to do and try to get that judge, that business term conversion rate, judge the successfulness off of that, that one thing, you know, I, I tell the story of Easter 2020, we're a church. That's a friend of mine had 500,000 views, online and on TV, but they only had a 11 connection card just filled out. and some of that really comes down to there's so much others going, other things going on, they didn't clear communicate the connection card, or it just got lost in the shuffle of everything else and a number of issues. But for, for y'all who are starting it in doing this out, make sure the connection card is clear, that it's very simple to fill out. It's not overly evasive and judge the successfulness of the service based on your ability to get people connected and into something else. Maybe if it's whatever that next step is for your, for your church and your engagement pathway, whatever you want to drive them to, I would suggest your Christmas Eve service for 2020 is only as successful as whatever it drives those people to at the next level.

Rey DeArmas (19:29):
Right? And, and then the last thing with that is being realistic about, you know, what, what the expectations are of that, you know, your church is only so large and especially during the season where so many of us are unsure as far as like, who's still part of the core of the committed the congregation and the crowd, right. And so make sure that your expectations are right for whatever that experience is going to look like and what next steps that you're communicating towards.

Jeff Reed (19:52):
Definitely definitely there. Hey, so even though we're we're as late in the year as we are normally, you know, most, some churches will start talking Christmas. Like June, July, there were seasons as creative director was like, if I'm not talking about Christmas in August, there's something wrong. Well, 2020 is weird, like, and we know that coming in and I guarantee you probably weren't talking about it in August, but even as late as we are in the year, there's still time to plan and prepare for something to be done creative in this holiday season, heading into Christmas to connect with it. So take the time, talk with your teams, develop a strategy that, that envelops, I mean, all the things that we talked about, how to be, how to be, phygital, how to reach out and really utilize this as an opportunity to connect with once and create a very powerful, evangelical tool for your, your people and make sure that they understand how to do these things. So, so lots of wisdom here in this broadcast and Oh, by the way, don't forget about December 26th and 27th that literal next week, you know, I know re Christ fellowship, Miami, like you guys, aren't doing any physical services that week you're, you're shutting down and only doing online. You want to talk a little bit about that?

Rey DeArmas (21:05):
Yeah. Much like other churches have done in the past. I mean, we learned a whole lot from COVID and especially in a year where our max capacity right now down here in South Florida is 25% of our physical venues. That's our, that's the maximum amount of people that we're allowed to hit. And so the reality of it is as many of our staff are going to be putting in a lot of work that week, Christmas week, even leading into the 24th, we're going to do a physical experience on Christmas Eve. But because of that, because of there's so much expectation, we want them to give as much as they can to those services. But also understanding that staff volunteer staff and volunteers are going to have a weekend where they can spend time with their families and especially Christmas day, you know, we don't want them worrying about Christmas that weekend in the sense of church, we want them experiencing it.

Rey DeArmas (21:49):
And then also sharing that experience, that special online digital experience, sharing that with their unbelieving friends, you know, or experiencing it together with them after they've unwrapped their PlayStation five, why not stop by CF Miami dot Oregon, that terrible Sony web browser and watch a service, you know? So if they have the key, we don't have a PS5 app yet you guys weren't that cool. So anyways, you know, if they've got the capability of doing that, then why not leveraging that weekend, especially a weekend, which typically pre COVID was a poorly attended weekend for us. We can leverage it as an opportunity to maximize our results on digital. And when I say poorly attended, I meant physically digitally, it's always been off the charts.

Jeff Reed (22:27):
So yeah. So there's an opportunity here to rethink some things, you know, like evaluate how those services post-Christmas works is, is it worth the effort? Is it worth the, the stress that that puts on, on the staff? And so wrestle with some of these things where you may not have considered digital being an option 2018, 2019. Digital certainly is an option in 2020 to help, maybe spread the stress or put it more on the Christmas instead of what's happening there the week after. So, Hey, love conversations like this and love what we're doing here with beta, helping churches like yours, answer some of these questions. Once again, text your questions that you have to 4-the-church 484/324-8724. And, we'll most likely address them in a future episode here, at the beta show with the church digital and Hey, we're going to wrap with this. We may talk about Christmas again. We've got other questions that we want to hit that are getting texted in as well. So text us your stuff. And, thanks for jumping on here with the beta show. For Rey DeArmas, this is, Jeff who's evidently lighting up the holiday, with the church that digital and Stadia Church Planting. Thanks for being here, for the show and we'll see you next time here at beta. Y'all good day.

PODCAST 102: Essential Ecclesiology Enabling Digital Church Planting
The Battle to Save Our Disenfranchised Church? It's Not in Our Buildings. It's Online.

About Author

Jeff Reed
Jeff Reed

With about 20 years experience serving the church in the digital/technological realm, Jeff loves working with churches. As passionate about Discipleship as he is Technology, Jeff uses his passion to help Churches develop technology systems to bring people far from God closer to him. Oh, and he loves Digital Church & Church Online.

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