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BETA05: Small Steps Towards Effective Digital Strategy



It’s easy to feel underwater with this whole phygital thing. Physical strategy is one thing... now a digital strategy is complicating things greatly. Let’s look at some practical, small steps that can help your church get on top of this whole phygital approach.

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


  • Are there practical, small improvements that will help move our church digital strategy forward?
  • Popular Questions Church Leadership Often Ask of Digital
    • Is it authentic?
      • Not numbers but names. Not names but stories. Not masses, but individuals.
      • Tell Stories from Digital. Become the Church Online Evangelist!
    • Can we afford it?
      • If it's about technology, probably not. If it's about relationships, Facebook is free.
      • Digital Missionary approach. Don't use Social Media as a tool to promote physical events. Use Social Media as a tool to engage in digital community.
    • Are we called to it?
      • Are there lay people passionate about serving helping? Get others to help cast vision & purpose.
      • Does Digital fit into your church's current mission/vision? Or is it a separate thing?
  • 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):
Hey here with the beta show, we answer your questions. Phygital, digital church. If you've got questions in context of doing digital ministry or church ministry, feel free to text us those questions at (484) 324-8724. If you'd literally speak telephone alphabet that is 4-The-Church, text us those questions here with episode five here, we're going to talk about small steps towards effective digital strategy, small steps towards effective digital strategy. Here's the question texted in from, from one of you, one of the digital pastors, volunteers, whoever is out there are there practical, small improvements that will help move our digital church strategy forward heartfelt texts. There was more that was involved there. You know, talking about like operating at a minimal level, a heart of innovation coming from kind of a minimalistic approach. So love, this are the practical small improvements that will help move our church forward in the digital strategy.

Jeff Reed (01:03):
So when I have these conversations and I have them all the time, by the way, if you're struggling with this, you're asking yourself this question you are by far not alone. There's tens of thousands of churches right now that are asking the same question. But for me, it really comes down to kind of these three things. These are popular questions that Rey and I get. We'll talk about here in a little bit popular church questions that we get often asked about this idea of digital ministry. Is it authentic? Can we afford it and really are we called to it? Is it authentic? Can we afford it? And our recall to it? Rey, just as we're walking into this, what are you thinking here about these three questions?

Rey DeArmas (01:43):
You know, the big thing that everybody starts with for some reason is number two, can we afford it? And that's always an interesting thing because tech trends to go cheaper. It doesn't typically get more expensive. Like it becomes more and more adapt to the user and it goes lower and lower and lower. So for instance, you know, once upon a time, Jeff and I were like the first people to get an iPhone. And then a couple years later, our parents were knocking on our doors like, Hey, tell me about this iPhone thing. Like, they didn't want to be the early adopters, but then it got cheaper. They had those two year contracts, you know, $200 iPhone. And they were like, man, let's get this phone, you know? And so tech tends to trend cheaper. So the, can we afford it? Question? It really just depends on the first question and really the last question, which is, is it authentic to who you are? And are we as a church called to do it? Like you're not called to reinvent the internet. You're not even called to reinvent church online platform. You're not called to reinvent a new app service. There's so many different things out there. Why not leverage the materials that are there, but only if it's truly who you are, be authentic to what it is that God's calling you to be.

Jeff Reed (02:48):
Love it. Love every second of that. So remember, we're trying to figure out small practical steps to help in digital strategy. And really, I think it comes to starting with just answering this question of, is it authentic number here? Like we're, we're not, we're not celebrating these big, massive numbers of reach the numbers that you get. It's very easy to get lost in that, but beyond even just that, that reach with these massive numbers, start to discover the names who are people that are watching and then move beyond just, just the names of the people that you're meeting. Tell me their story. Who are they? What are they looking for? What are they spiritually struggling with? You see the power of digital strategy is not really in this idea of reaching thousands and thousands of people. It really comes down to the power and the influence that we have over individuals, by the way, that's biblical. Like I don't want to get into it, open up your Bible, read John six, try to figure out how Jesus was not about reaching the masses, but instead engaged and got down to that, that individual level go on on the church. Digital there's a blog or two about that, but definitely the heart here is being authentic with people. And through that, through those relationships, doing, doing that ministry, and that's something, honestly, a lot of churches are missing today digitally,

Rey DeArmas (04:18):
So cure and be authentic to who you are. You know, we don't expect anybody to turn into a different church. One of the things that I appreciate that the church that I've been involved with is that we're not trying to be some other church online, even though there's lots of other churches that we're learning from, we have to ask ourselves, well, if this is really authentic to who we are, our pastors shouldn't dress the part to look like another pastor or, you know, we shouldn't change our music or even our presentation, just because it's really a question of does this reflect Christ Fellowship online? Does this reflect our community, but also in a digital space? That's very important.

Jeff Reed (04:54):
Yeah. And that really comes to the heart. We're going to get into that with number three, for our recall to this does, it does a really mirror who we are as, as, as a church and in our strategy, which would, there's a big part of that. And, and how do you even fit change churches? How do you change that strategy? How do you talk to, to leadership about that? For me, the churches that I've worked with, and then I've done digital strategy with honestly, the next question they ask, even, but before they get to our recall to it, that it's weird. Maybe the second question really should be, can we afford this? Like, okay, Hey, you know, Jeff, you, you, you want to write a check here? Actually, I had a leader, somebody in leadership tell me once Jeff, you're really good at spending other people's money.

Jeff Reed (05:36):
And there is a, there is part of that with digital, right? Cause you, you have this vision and you want to do things to reach people online when we're really kind of the first question to ask here with, can we afford it is if it's, if it's technology chances, if the heart of this, and I wanna unpack this, if the heart of what we're doing is, is about technology, then we're probably going to be able to ultimately the church is probably not going to be able to afford this today. But if we make it about the relationship component, well, shoot, Facebook's free. It's, it's easy when you don't make it about the bells and whistles, but when you make it about the relationships that that we're making, right, right. What's resonating with you off of that.

Rey DeArmas (06:15):
Absolutely. You know, Facebook is free. Youtube is free. There's so many different platforms that are out there that are free, that your services can exist on, but really bigger than that actually state your services can exist on. But the goal is to connect with people, right? Like what Jeff was alluding to earlier, your goal is to connect with people. It's not just to broadcast to the masses and yes, it is difficult. Yes. It is hard. Yes. Many people online prefer anonymity and it's very difficult to get them to take that next step. However, that is the goal. Just like, as a guy who led a physical campus. Yes. We wanted people to move from the back row and just being an, you know, a back road Baptist and not being known by the church. We wanted to move them into a small group so that they were known.

Rey DeArmas (06:57):
Was that hard? Yes. Did it take time? Yes. And so you have to make sure and understand that you are on these platforms for the purpose of reaching people. They are free platforms. And so leverage them, not for the sake of just growing a broadcast, but for the sake of reaching people, this is also why. And Jeff and I were talking about this earlier, Christians, shouldn't be so concerned with living in echo chambers right now in terms of digital platforms. Right. And Jeff, that's kind of popular right now. Right. In terms of man, I'm only going to surround myself with other people who are like me who think like me online, right?

Jeff Reed (07:28):
Yeah. I mean, there's this, we're in this weird season of live 2020 where we're isolated and we're surrounded at the same time where we're social media just tends to wear on you. And there's so much conflict and, and, and pain in there. And it's very easy. I've, I've had friends that are very strong in social media. That's like, Hey, I'm hanging it up. I'm taking a month off. I'm ignoring this. And sometimes getting that margin is healthy. I'll be honest. Like I, on Twitter, I have filters in place that block out a lot of topics that honestly, I just don't want to get sucked into. And probably there's nothing wrong with that, but more to the place of, Hey, let's utilize, remember that these tools are tools, not just to communicate, to drive people to a location as a church, these are tools to engage with people in digital community to meet people, to dialogue with people, whether they're circles of influence of people that you already know or people that you've never met before that you're going to meet through talking about these topics.

Jeff Reed (08:34):
There's an opportunity for us to really look at this as a digital missionary, where we're not just promoting a physical events kind of culture, this event based evangelism. I believe we're kind of moving away from that model, but really it's more of driven towards using social media as a tool to, with people, to dialogue with people, to meet people, build relationships in digital community. And this is a philosophical shift that if we can figure this out within the church, like this is a very cost-effective way to, by far extend the circle of influence that any church or even in the individual would have for the purpose of disciple-making. So, Rey, what are you thinking off of that?

Rey DeArmas (09:19):
And every opportunity is an opportunity to engage an individual. So even if somebody leaves a negative comment on your video, or if somebody is there, you know, attempting to troll or whatever else, believe it or not, we've actually flipped a lot of those conversations. We've taken like people leaving negative reviews on us, on Google or Yelp and leverage them into gospel conversations and actually invited the person back to church and leverage that as a way to restore relationship. So every digital Avenue is an opportunity to connect with somebody and to bring them the gospel. We can't be afraid of those things. And so don't be afraid of like, quote unquote, Hey, we're going to shut out the haters. No. Instead, why not engage the community at large? Those are the people that God is calling you to reach. And Hey, I've been taking my small group through acts the same, Paul that got tossed in jail for preaching. The gospel would witness to the jailer that was keeping him there. So if he can do that with a jailer, surely you and I can do that with a troll on the internet. So yeah.

Jeff Reed (10:21):
Honestly, they're there. Once again, if you go on the and search for this, within the blogs, there are two conversations. There are two people right now that I think are doing this phenomenally. And so Patrick Holden up at nouveau church, I'll, I'll tag you in the video. Patrick is so good at this because what he's doing is even he's planting a church in Ohio, he was in Michigan, he was in another state and he, and he would go into Facebook groups, into groups that were planted in Ohio or in where he wanted to plant his church. And he just start meeting with people within the Facebook group, dialoguing with them through the Facebook group and the people that he liked. He started having a conversation with them on Facebook messenger. I'll put the links in the chat for this, but we did a podcast with him, phenomenal conversation. And it all centered around this dudes, just relationally meeting and connecting with people digitally. And through those, he's building his core team to the point that he's got 50 plus people that are now part of the core team of his church before he even physically moved into the city, that he was willing to plant his church in.

Rey DeArmas (11:26):
Yeah. And ultimately Patrick's a great example of how number two, it's really a question of how you're willing to invest there because Patrick's church hasn't launched a physical location yet. If you were to ask them what their budget looks like, it's probably not what you would expect in terms of a massive amount, because their church planning, they can't do those kinds of things, but he's leveraging every resource that he has, even though it may be little, but he's doing it with excellence and he's doing it for the, of engaging people in the digital community.

Jeff Reed (11:56):
That is so true. Yeah. And talk about budgets, Tyler Sansom over at First Capital Christian, I'll make that that's not a shot, but Tyler Sansom with what he's doing through his Church Anywhere, why budgets don't exist. It's a very blue collar church. And as a result of it, Tyler is probably one of the best in the country at this point of, of realizing, Hey, it's not about the technology. It's about the individuals. It's about the relationships. And he's got this disciple-making vehicle where he's creating these things, disciple makers and unleashing them in physical and digital space. Like Tyler's literally, as him as an individual, he's engaging with people by playing Hamilton Show-tunes on YouTube. And through that process, building relationships with people around the world, funneling them into a digital church, and he's encouraging our others to utilize social media in the same way. Once again, this doesn't have to be free or this doesn't have to cost money. You can do this stuff free it's time. And if you're not full-time, if you're part-time, if you, if you're, you know, volunteer, however it scales out, there are ways to do this stuff at a very minimal cost. It just comes down to you investing in the lives of others.

Rey DeArmas (13:11):
Well, you nailed it right there. Before we get to the third question is one of my favorite Ted talks. And many of you familiar with is good, fast and cheap. You can have to edit three. You can't have all three. So if you're going to have good and cheap, guess what it can't be fast. You have to make sure and plan it out. And it's something that I'm not very good at. In fact my, one of my leaders Ben Stapley kind of took us through this creative kind of exercise to find out what kind of innovator we are. And I can be a bit reckless. Sometimes I like things rushed and I want to rush towards innovation. Guess what? If you want it to be less expensive, and if you want it to be quality, but you don't got the money, then that makes, that means that you have to make sure it can take time. And you have to emphasize on making sure that you're doing things well.

Jeff Reed (13:54):
Yep. Love me some Ben Stapley he's right. Yeah. Well maybe you're a little reckless. If you're a little reckless, I'm a train wreck waiting, waiting to happen. Just want to call that out. That's so good. Number three, here are we called to do this? This really is, is the question that I hear from a lot of churches and the third large question are we called to do this thing? And so it's experiences that I had. We actually had Eric Geiger on the podcast maybe a year ago. And I asked him this question like, Hey, you're a lead pastor. You have an opinion. How do I change your opinion? And Eric's response back was as lead pastor of Mariners Church out in California, one of the questions he asked back is, are there other people that feel the way that you do?

Jeff Reed (14:36):
Are there people that want to serve and to have a passionate about serving in this area? And my decision is preventing them from fulfilling what God's called them to do. So the question that I would ask for a lot of staff that are wanting to explore of this digital spaces, are there volunteers that want to get into that area or they want to, that want to grow? They want to explore it. That may be leadership needs to understand, Hey, there's an opportunity to do something different and maybe we should shift here. So are there lay people passionate about serving and helping by the way, get some of them to cast vision as well. Have some of those conversations start to build this thing up organically, that's the beauty of this relational thing. You don't need a bunch of system resources. It can all be done organically with just a little bit of time and influence that you probably already know

Rey DeArmas (15:29):
That's right. The other thing is, and I want a reference you guys should check out Craig Groeschel leadership podcast episode. They just came out this week. It's about leading up. Let me encourage you, because Craig talked about this from a perspective of when he was an under staff at a church, you have to number one, honor, your leaders. You have to honor your leaders. If they're not ready to go in a particular direction, don't shove them into it. Number two, you have to make sure that whatever it is that you're looking to do digitally plays into the mission and the vision of the church. This goes back to the number one question, don't be inauthentic. It all has to come together your leadership and you need to be so aligned in terms of how online and how your physical are relating, which is why we talk about phygital so much, it should be the same mission, the same vision.

Rey DeArmas (16:17):
And just like, you know, we've referenced this a whole bunch of Jeff, Carey Neuhoff said nobody should out local the local church before you're thinking about man, but we're going to reach the masses around the world with online. That's wonderful. What about your community? So in my case, the question, Hey man, we got connection cards coming in from Africa and from this place. And that's cool, but what about Miami-Dade County? Because if we didn't reach Miami-Dade this week, that's one we missed. And so that's something that we have to be concerned about. And that's something that leadership needs to hear because all they're thinking of is dollar signs, many of times. And sometimes if you're an innovator like myself, sometimes all you're talking about is man apps and this and this, and you're just thinking of building the future, but you got to talk about how it all fits into the mission and vision of reaching your community, because that's what your pastors and leaders are thinking of too,

Jeff Reed (17:08):
By the way, a phygital disciple-making process. One that operates physically and digitally towards creating a disciple maker is an incredible way to reach and influence a hyper-local area like your town or like your city. Nobody has time for disciple-making. Nobody has time for these things, do it online, make it more convenient for them to go through those processes, to have that understanding and allow them to grow spiritually. So phenomenal opportunity experience regardless of where you are to be relational. It doesn't cost money. It takes time and work with who you have. Don't brag about the hundreds of people that are watching a service, celebrate the individuals that you're building relationships through the front door of the service, and really, really start to change the way your church is operating by celebrating all the wins that you're getting through these relational approach that you're taking through online. So, Hey Rey, quickly as we're wrapping up here, any closing thoughts?

Rey DeArmas (18:14):
No, just go reach your community, the do it together with your team. You know, don't, don't just go rogue. Like that's not the win either. Right? talk to your, talk to your pastors, talk to your leadership, become aligned first go listen to that. Craig Rochelle episode that I told you about and learn how to lead up as you go through this, and then you can start to think through, okay. So maybe it's not about the big budgets. Maybe we don't need to start a completely online campus next year, but how can we be authentic to who we are? And at the same time, reach people online, go for it.

Jeff Reed (18:44):
We really don't script these things. I just want to say for the record. So we hit two or three resources today that that will put I'll go back and I'll put them into the comment sections and everywhere. Just you guys have the two podcasts and we'll hit this Craig Groeschel thing. So you'll find that in there soon. Awesome resources. Hey Rey, as always, it's great to hang out with you. Hey, church beta in this stuff, experiment with it. You know, even here talking about being relational, it's maybe take a couple people and give them the opportunity to explore, to experiment, to build relationships. Give them some, some leeway just to do it, see what happens. Staff person, if you're like Jeff, I don't have time. Two hours a week, three hours a week, figure something else out. Start to give some of your other responsibilities to volunteer. So you can go in a different direction. There's opportunities to explore at a much higher level here to do something different. So I have been called three times in this broadcast. Somebody is desperately trying to get in touch with me. So we're going to wrap right here and I'm going to figure out who's been blowing up my phone. For Rey, this is Jeff at The Church Digital and Stadia Church Planting. Awesome hanging out here with you on Beta, and we'll see you next time here at the show.

10 Ideas For Your Church's Phygital Christmas
BETA05: Small Steps Towards Effective Digital Strategy

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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