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BETA07: Experiment - Learn to Fire BBs before Bullets before Bombs



Can you relate to this question by a church volunteer? “I talked my church leadership into trying a live, viewer-interactive service this Dec 20. I’m a volunteer tasked with creating the format; staff will execute logistics. How can I start small and set us up for hopeful success to build on?”

Join us here as we talk about how to support a culture of iteration within the church. (Side note: LOVE that the volunteer is driving the innovation!) // Got questions on Online Ministry, text them to 484/324-8724.

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


  • Question: I talked my church leadership into trying a live, viewer-interactive service this Dec 20. I’m a volunteer tasked with creating the format; staff will execute logistics. How can I start small (shoot BBs before bullets before bombs) and set us up for hopeful success to build on?
  • Analysis Paralysis. Stuck in a rut. Working Sunday to Sunday. Comfortable. No time to experiment.
  • Understand the Situation
    • For Volunteers - Have a Staff Contact
  • Play in the Sandbox
    • Test technology often. Learn all aspects, even ones you won't need (today).
    • Write small checks before big checks.
    • Establish Culture - Invite others to play with you.
  • Go Public Before You Go Public
    • Find ways to test technology publicly, in lower impact environments.
  • Evaluate, Celebrate, Iterate
    • Celebrate wins & losses
  • 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, welcome to The Beta Show. Episode 07 here with The Church Digital Podcast, Stadia Church Planting. Jeff here, once again, joined by Rey DeArmas, the Digital Pastor over at Christ Fellowship Miami, you want to say Hey to anybody, Rey?

Rey DeArmas (00:13):
What's going on? Everybody. Can't wait for you. 2021. You're right around the corner. Can't wait to give you a big old hug.

Jeff Reed (00:19):
So here with the beta show, at least towards the end of 2020, you know, Rey gave it a tease to it. I don't know about you, but we're tired. It's been, it's been a long stretch. And so occasionally we're going to do a little something different. We did the Cray show last week. We talked about the greatness of Thanksgiving. You can go back and check that out on YouTube. If you're really interested.

Rey DeArmas (00:40):
Ribsgiving, guys, it was amazing.

Jeff Reed (00:43):
Ribs-giving. Mine was hashtag salmon. I ate at a restaurant at Disney world, which was awesome, but that's, that's another conversation entirely, but here for The Beta Show today, we want to answer your questions and that's what we do here at The Beta Show. We answer questions on online summit ministries submitted by people like you. So go ahead and text your questions in (484) 324-8724. We'll answer them, in a future episode, by the way we are live and chances are, we can see and interact with you with Facebook, at least in the comments. So if you're on Facebook comment in there, it'll pop up. I already see a comment here right now, Dan Teebo what up guys? Okay, well done, sir. Or moving on by the way, Dan Teebo was that was that this week or was that last week? The Liberty university interview it's this week, Dan Teebo is on our podcast here at The Church Digital Podcast.

Jeff Reed (01:40):
He and Professor Lowe who's a Liberty University Professor. Awesome. Talking about academia and church online. Great stuff there. Hey, Dan. good to know you're out there. Here's what we're going to talk about this week. Episode seven here, experiment, learn to fire bb's before bullets, before bombs. I always liked this bb's before bullets before bombs, let's get to the heart of the question here. I talked to my church, I talked to my church leadership. This is a question texted into us. I talked my church leadership into trying a viewer interactive service. This Christmas I'm a volunteer tasked with creating the format. Staff will execute logistics. How can I start small shoot bbs before bullets before bombs and set us up for hopeful success to build on. Okay, interesting question. you know, it's funny, even Rey and I were talking off air here a little bit here.

Jeff Reed (02:37):
Not exactly sure what a viewer interactive service would, would, would look like. There's just some interesting words. and I'm hoping there's some culture within the church of, Hey, like we're used to doing this sort of thing, and it's not just somebody trying something ridiculous out of, out of left field in a, in a very terrifying, maybe like it is like it is with Christmas, but I love the heart of this. I love the fact that it's a volunteer. That's challenging the church, maybe, Hey, we can do this. What if we did it this way? Like so often I entered some key volunteers that are in my life. There's still friends that are still pushing me in certain ways. And so I love that relationship where volunteers can maybe push the church into challenging and to trying something different. So, Rey, what are you thinking when you look at this question,

Rey DeArmas (03:29):
I love that folks dream big. and, and we want to continue to dream big. Jeff and I love during big, and we love like experimenting. However, and this is something to kind of key into as we key into what a BB or what a bullet. And then what a BB looks like is you got to make sure that the fundamentals are done no matter what dunking a basketball is. Fantastic. If you're not able to dribble though, you're not touching the league. And so you got to make sure that the fundamentals are still very, very important and crucial in terms of testing, because this is, this is big because especially with COVID, everybody keeps thinking high-tech bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger, but if some of the fundamentals and basics of creating community and all that, aren't there, then really you're going to do one great experience. Everybody's going to be like, wow, that was awesome. But then it w you're gonna see a little return on the backend. You're gonna ask yourself, well, what is it really worth it? And we don't want, we don't want you to experience that

Jeff Reed (04:21):
Love that that's actually a sets up. One of the things that I was going to say, and I didn't even tell Rey, I was going to talk about, this was last minute, drop somebody out in the Twittersphere, tweeted this this morning. And I forget who it was. So if it was you, I'm sorry. Be consistent before you innovate. don't be the guy that's just coming out of left field. Oh, I want to do this. And then go, go and do it be consistent with the regular create that, that culture create that standard. Get more people involved with you before there be consistent. Don't be afraid of innovation of, of experimenting of doing it. But to the point of, if you can't, you know, run, if you can't even walk, why are you going to try to run? If you, if you can't run, where are you going to try to run that marathon?

Jeff Reed (05:03):
Like do some simple steps, make sure you're, you're good at that, that your, your team, your group is good with that. And move on. The ultimate thing you want to do is, you know, analysis paralysis stuck in a rut working Sunday to Sunday. You're just trying to, the church is just trying to be comfortable. They're in that groove and they're afraid to experiment, try something, or, you know, the average church, I hear time and time again, we just, Jeff, we just don't have time. There's not enough hours in a day. We're, we're so busy doing the stuff that, that we're doing, that we don't actually really want to try to do anything different. And that that's the challenge, you know, from a guy that's been on church staff for years, and talking and helping churches in the season, that so often that I tell people, church staff, people think they're the busiest people on the planet.

Jeff Reed (05:54):
And I don't know if it's actually true. Sometimes they are, they aren't, but that Sunday morning, 9:00 AM, it's 167 hours away. There's so much work. There's so much preparation that goes into that one hour talking here in the U S church model that sometimes we're afraid to, to set goals for higher standards to try to change, to do something different because we've got that routine that's in place. And, and I love the fact with, with this question that we've got a volunteer, that's challenging that and challenging the church to kind of step through that. Right. Rey, any thoughts on it?

Rey DeArmas (06:29):
Yeah. So, you know, you talked about analysis paralysis and being stuck in a rut there. the hardest thing I think is to stay focused on whatever your goal is with this online broadcast or with, with what it is that you're trying to do. And so you want to make sure, mr. Volunteer person, that you don't get a whole lot of chefs in the kitchen, you take input from folks, but ultimately there has to be an overarching decision maker. Who's saying we got to stay focused on our goal because if not, and this is my experience with online stuff. This has been Jeff's experience. I mean, listen, you got a great dream, but a lot of other people got a great dream for your dream. And so they're going to want to start pulling it in different directions. And the next thing, you know, the whole thing ends up lost and nothing's been done.

Rey DeArmas (07:08):
And guess what the service is tomorrow. So you want to make sure and have whatever is the focus of that, and then continue to drive towards that. And then if at all possible pick one platform, whatever your church's best platform is, whether it's Facebook, YouTube, but pick one, don't go all of them, pick one platform and aim for that. This way, communication wise, you can be very, very clear to your church, especially like if you don't have clear good communication in your church, a lot of this is going to get lost in the mix. Like if you're sending them six or seven emails a day, they're going to ignore this. So I'm telling you right now, you have to be very, very clear. This is what we're doing. This is where you can go. And this is how you can find it because I guarantee you, your staff is going to evaluate this by how many people engage with it. So that's going to be very important.

Jeff Reed (07:53):
Yeah, it is. It's very, very true there for, for the volunteer or the staff person. You know, like Rey was saying, understand the situation that you're walking into more, not only like the opportunity that's available to try and to do something different, but even the situation of, Hey, the production director, the tech guy who's on staff for the church, just had a second kid and his really busy office hours time-wise and it may be a headache or, or the lead pastor is struggling with the idea of, Hey, you know what? We're seeing 30% attendance in our building. I'm really not sure on this whole digital thing. And maybe I'm questioning, or maybe even the financial stress, the church may be under because they're seeing a 20 to 30% dip in giving because of the economical situation. All of this feeds into the experiment, because what you are doing is you are wanting to change the situation.

Jeff Reed (08:48):
You're wanting to change the rut. Meanwhile, everyone else in the church is trying to get back to the, they want to get a hundred percent of people back in the building. They want to get the giving up. They, they, they want to get back to their normal work environments. And sometimes, you know, they're, they're hesitant to try different things. When in fact, in this season, you need to try different things. So really understand that situation. And, and even to the point that will, Rey was saying, if you're a volunteer, trying a different thing, have a single staff content content who you are working through because so often in these staff environments, Oh, I gotta talk to this guy about this, this guy, to this, this guy about this. And all of a sudden you're three, four, five, six, nine people along. And I've just seen it time and time again, where the volunteer gets fried and gets, gets lost because different people have different responsibilities to check out.

Jeff Reed (09:42):
So, so find that one person who's on staff who's bought into it and run with it. Or if, if you're at a small church, talk to those volunteers that are key holders, that, that are stakeholders in what you're trying to do and get them to own some of this responsibility as well. Do not be the guy who's trying to do a church experiment in a vacuum. It takes, more than that, let me, let me segue here at number two, play in the sandbox. know the technology, know what you're experimenting with long before you get to the broadcast. So whatever you're trying to do the day when it, when it, when it's going live, don't don't get any surprises. Don't be like, Oh, what does this button do? I've I've been that guy in the middle of the actual thing. I've never actually seen this button before. Let me cloak dang it. It's all gone. What do I, what do I do now? Don't be that guy play in the sandbox long before you get to that point, work out all the, all, all the kinks. So when you're actually going into the day of, there's no surprises in what's happening. Right. What do you got? Yeah.

Rey DeArmas (10:48):
And then along with that, like, so play in the sandbox for sure. Test out all your AAV stuff in advance. Cause that's usually the stuff that kind of poops out and then keep it simple. Keep your programming super simple. especially in regards to shooting a BB or bullet, like have one place where you're shooting, don't say, Hey, we're going to go here and then we're going to go here. And then we're going to shoot over to this person's phone and they're going to take over on live. Don't do any of that. And same thing with your chat situation. Like if you're going to talk about like interacting with people, do it all through chat, like encourage people like to interact with the chat, have chat volunteers on, you know, onsite, like to type in and to take part in it below the zoom experience and all this stuff.

Rey DeArmas (11:27):
I've seen a lot of churches do that. And I, and I know that a lot of churches are, are taking a look at that. The tough thing is, is that when you talk about interaction and to talk about like table interaction, we don't do our services that way, where it's like, all right, we're going to pause the message right now. And we're going to hear from our audience, you know, kind of like Donahue used to do, or like, you know, your, your daytime talk shows, right? Like that's not what we're there to do. We're there to, you know, give content, but then to engage with them through the content. And so as you're playing through the sandbox, think through what that experience is going to be like, and then use the kiss strategy, keep it simple, stupid, right? Like as simple as possible, and then roadmap it out. If you're going to have discussion questions, roadmap it out, have your chat volunteers aware ahead of time and help them guide the conversation along the way.

Jeff Reed (12:10):
Yeah. Plan everything out in advance. And then let me just roll through some bullets here, test the technology, often learn all aspects of, of the technology that you're testing, experimenting. Even the ones you don't need today, know what it can do so that you can grow so that it can scale with you. And if, and if a platform is way over engineered and there's a simpler solution, don't be afraid of the simpler solution for today. Don't necessarily buy the platform you need for tomorrow by the platform you need for today. Write the small checks before you write the big checks, make sure that your, your organization has bought into the culture into the DNA that wants to own the responsibility of what you're stepping into. And if you can do that on a free platform or a cheap platform, as opposed to an enterprise level platform, well, it's better to learn those lessons at 1999 a month, as opposed to, I don't know, $500 a month or whatever the, the higher price point is.

Jeff Reed (13:08):
You know, all those things can grow up. And so number three here, established culture, invite others to play with you. And especially if there's dollar figures that are, that are involved, invite other people into the sandbox, let them play, get their feedback, get, get it's one thing to have. And this is a mistake. Honestly, I've made this mistake in, in church life. It's one thing to be the owner of an idea. It's another, to be a catalyst of an idea that now other people own. And so the more that you get other people to own the technology, to own the experiment, to own this, whether it's staff or whether it's volunteers is where you get buy-in. This ownership of that idea is going to allow it to become part of the culture of, of what your church is. And the idea will solidify much quicker.

Jeff Reed (13:55):
It will be far more effective, and you're going to be able to utilize other people other than just yourself to execute it on a regular basis. So don't be afraid to invite others in the sandbox. Even if you don't know all the details, you don't have the finished solution for it yet. Bring them in, let them be part of this. So let love where this conversation is going. Let's move on to the next one here. Go public before you go public. Here's what I, here's what I mean by this. If you're, if you are wanting to do something on a Sunday morning, you're wanting to experiment with something on a Sunday morning. A Sunday morning is a horrible time to go public with an experiment for the first time. So find ways to go public with the technology, with the experiment, with this adjustment, with this new idea, before you get to the Sunday morning service. Now, now, Rey, you were talking about like a, you know, a Tuesday or a Thursday. Like what, what are some examples of some ways maybe that we can roll out and do something here about going public before public.

Rey DeArmas (14:59):
It's really easy to have a test run ahead of time on an off night that will allow for you to get all the kinks out of the system, but at the same time to cast some vision. So, you know, you can even tell people, Hey, listen, and you can invite them into this process. We've done this. We have legit done this when we've done like Instagram live sessions, Hey, church, family. We are testing this out. And so we want to thank you for joining us here on Instagram live. And so if you've got any comments right now, go ahead and drop them in because we are testing this out. We've legit done that because number one, we don't want to set a false precedent, our account, like we're not going live with the express purpose of that, but then all even use that to promote, Hey, but ultimately we're testing this out for Friday night, Friday night, we're doing our live service, you know, right here on Instagram live.

Rey DeArmas (15:43):
We want you to join us here. So make sure and test this out with us and let us know if it's working on your end and you'd be surprised how many people give the thumbs up loud and clear. Everything's great. No, you're you sound a little distorted, Rey, your wifi is a little bit off. You know, your signal's not good. That's a great way to go public before you go public. And guess what? People will be very forgiving about this because they're looking forward to something that you're going to do next. And then afterwards, the great thing with live streams is you can delete them. That's the great, awesome thing. You can go back and delete it. So it doesn't have to live forever on the internet. You know, you can go back and delete it once you're done going public before you go public. But it's another great way to point forward doing that test run. It's a great way to point forward at what's coming next.

Jeff Reed (16:22):
Yeah. I mean, things like, a Monday or Tuesday, devotional thought by the lead pastor utilizing the technology that's pointing towards the Sunday morning service, or you're doing an advent countdown for five weeks where you're, you're using this technology in a way to lead up into the Christmas holidays. There's lots of, there's so many easy ways right now. And it really just look, look at how your church operates and utilize the technology to, to communicate. But what you're gaining from this is, Hey, when all the eyes are on Sunday or whatever, the, you know, the 20th, the 22nd, whatever the Sundays before, or that Christmas Eve service, w w obviously the 24th on that date before all the eyes are on the high pressure situation, everyone is comfortable with the technology. They're rolling because they've done it at least once earlier in the week, if not multiple times, right?

Jeff Reed (17:16):
So you're walking into that Christmas Eve service with a much higher level of confidence lead pastor is knowing, Hey, that camera's going to work. Hey, this is how I need to address the audience. This is how I handle that situation. Everybody's got a couple of repetitions they're more comfortable as opposed to if it was the first time it would be, Oh dear God. If you're out there, please, no offense on there, out there. He's out there, dear God, please let this work. Cause that's the worst thing that, that, that you want to have to happen, work with, be comfortable with it, take it public before you're really wanting to take it public. And that's going to lead us in to this. I love this. Anytime that you experiment here, evaluate, celebrate, and, iterate. Evaluate. Did it work? Did it not work?

Jeff Reed (18:08):
Is this the right platform? Is it the wrong platform? Did the technology work and fail to the people, buy into it? Does it really fit into our culture with any experiment? we need to be comfortable with the idea of asking questions and by the way, we need to become comfortable with celebrating the wins as well as the losses. Hey, that that did not work. And that's not a bad thing. That's a good thing because that failure is going to take us a step closer to the next thing. That is the win it's going to help us get past this area where we potentially could be stuck. Don't get stuck there. Keep moving to the next thing. So like this, this, this, person here, this volunteer, who's doing this idea with, this interactive new thing. I don't know if it's going to work.

Jeff Reed (18:58):
I don't know if the people are going to buy into it. I don't know if, Hey, you know what, it's it's, it's the first shot. Maybe that first shot is going to be horrible. Maybe that second shot will get better. Maybe the third will get better, but roll through time to really evaluate what's happening, celebrate the wins, celebrate the losses of it, and then take the time to iterate experiment. do another version of it. A revision of it changed something that you've learned from the first section into the second section and see if it gets better. That's how we grow and experiment to the point of where we eventually get to the success and the church man in the season. There's so much we can learn from this type of thing, right? What do you think?

Rey DeArmas (19:40):
Totally. And document, document, everything, all your evaluations, all your celebrations, all that stuff, document it so that you can know better for, Hey, so we're going to do this again, or, Hey, we're never going to do this again. And here's why, but yeah, at least need to have a good understanding of what worked and what didn't work. And then of course we, you know, we've talked about, on our podcast, the feedback sandwich, don't give the feedback sandwich of, Hey, great thing, that thing, great thing, like go through all the good document that then go through all the bad and document that and be as specific as possible. Oh, this didn't work. Why didn't it work? How could it have been better? what will you do next time if you do this et cetera, and it has to be specific, you have to ask a lot better questions and then make sure that you're not the only person who's evaluating it. And please, please, please, because we do this too often in church world. Don't accept, bro. It was awesome. Or bro, it sucks as an evaluation. No, that that's not, it, it has to be more than that. What about it was great. What about it was bad? How can we improve? We got to get better.

Jeff Reed (20:40):
That's awesome. Dan Teebo is still out there. Amen. We need to learn more from our failures and so well, w one account that out. That's man, that's a serious look and Facebook profile photo over there. Yeah, it's just right, right there. By the way. I just want to give a shout out. Jamie, Robins Robinson over on Facebook. another podcast guests in recent weeks. Hey friends. Hey Jamie. that was good for the plug there. That, that was great. So the challenge really for us is, is to learn how to evaluate, celebrate, iterate, and, and document. you've been hanging around Ben stapling a lot with a laptop.

Rey DeArmas (21:22):
It helps no it's that, that right there, because at least for us, and it's not just in the, in the services cause we do document celebrations and things that we need to change week to week. But everything from last week, we did some grateful news for Thanksgiving. we, we need to know where we're doing well and where we're not. And the only way we can do that is by having some kind of a visible scorecard with sports, you can know where you are just by looking at the scoreboard with church, man. We're so fast Sunday to Sunday that sometimes it's easy to forget where we goofed and how we can make sure that it doesn't happen again. And I've been in on church staffs where it's like, Oh man, why are we repeating the same mistake? Well, we never stopped evaluated and then decided, okay, this is how we're going to improve to ensure that that, that we don't go back to that. So it's important to document

Jeff Reed (22:10):
Recognize culture of your church is going to fight against the change. as, as a general rule, maybe your church is, is the exception to the rule. You're the needle in the haystack. But as a general rule, church is going to fight against that change. that doesn't mean you're wrong. It just means that you need to be aware that there's going to be that tension pushing against. And so take the time to evaluate, take the time to celebrate iterate document and, and grow through this. take the time to experiment that that is so key for the church today. And for our friends here, wrapping up, I'm really intrigued what a live viewer interactive service experience is. And so if, if you are watching this, let us know. and, and I, I'm really kind of, I'm curious to see how it actually goes.

Jeff Reed (22:59):
The person didn't give their name, on the text. but it's, here's what, and once again, I want to salute you whoever this is because you're the volunteer who's, who's pushing the church. You're, you're the guy who's not paid, to be there. And you are, you're owning the ministry to the level that you're challenging them to do things different. by the way, staff people watching this, celebrate these people in your church, listen to them, Hort them, challenge them and let them lead your church. the, your department, your organizations, your ministries, whatever, cause these are the people that can take your organization to a place that you can't. this is another, it's a weakness of me in ministry life. I was the gatekeeper and I realized at some point that me being the gatekeeper became a lid and I needed to start to empower people like this guy, sending the text and let them be the leaders of it. And as they grew and as they expanded, you know, all the other boats Rose that I, my leadership Rose to a higher level and as a result, so much more was done for the kingdom. Not because I held the gate gate keys, but because I released them out and empowered other staff, as well as other volunteers to really one run with that. So whoever this is a mysterious texting person, thank you for what you're doing for the kingdom. Hey Rey, as we're wrapping up, any, any last thoughts?

Rey DeArmas (24:28):
No. keep pushing the envelope, mysterious volunteer person, as Jeff said. And then, you know, it's one of those things where don't forget, you're not going to change your church in terms of like how you come across to the internet, no matter what kind of tech you use. And so be who you are. and it's better to be who you are because that's what your people want you to be anyways. So have a great time. I hope you drop us a link man, so that we can check it out alongside you

Jeff Reed (24:51):
Be a lot of fun. Definitely, definitely excited about that. Future questions. Text us here. (484) 324-8724. Hope this was helpful for you every week. I'm like, Hey, we're going to keep this, keep this one under 15 minutes. And right now we're at 25. So failure. I'm closer to success maybe one day, but right now I can't do a 15 minutes of these lives. So Hey for Rey, this is Jeff at The Church Digital and Stadia Church Planting. Thanks for hanging out with us once again on The Beta Show and we'll see you next time.

Rey DeArmas (25:20):

PODCAST 106: Liberty University & the Academia of Online Ministry
PODCAST 107: Jate Earhart, Twitch, & Reaching a Different Type of Person

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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