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EP284 - Simon Diercks & German Digital Church Planting



TCD EP284: Digital Frontiers - A Conversation with Simon Diercks on German Digital Church Planting

The Church Digital Podcast is brought to you by Riverside. Check out how Riverside can help your church's content-creation process - HTTP://THECHURCH.DIGITAL/RIVERSIDE

The Path of Digital Discipleship

In the latest episode of The Church Digital (TCD) podcast, host Jeff Reed delves into the burgeoning world of digital church planting in Germany with his guest, Simon Diercks. Diercks, a pastor, programmer, and an avid ultra hiker, brings a unique perspective on spreading God's kingdom through the digital landscape.

Tapping into Technological Advancements

Through the podcast, which enjoys the support of Riverside, Jeff Reed highlights the power of remote interview software and the role AI plays in revolutionizing content creation and distribution - a tool that the church can leverage for its digital missions.

Ultra Hiking and Spiritual Journeys

Simon shares his passion for ultra hiking, reflecting on his extensive expeditions over 100 kilometers. He draws parallels between these physical and spiritual journeys, emphasizing the time one can spend with Jesus during these long treks and the benefits of not hurrying in prayer.

Digital Church Planting in Germany

Simon Diercks offers insights into the establishment of digital church networks in Germany, acknowledging the support of Jeff and the Church Digital podcast in this pioneering endeavor. The discussion touches on the need for contextualization and the significant impact of digital evangelization through social media and other digital platforms, especially amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Hesitation and Hope for Digital Ecclesiology

The episode explores the dynamics of digital church and the varying degrees of hesitance among different denominations to embrace digital forms of church and discipleship. Nonetheless, both Jeff and Simon underscore the untapped potential in digital and virtual spaces for church engagement.

Beta Church - A New Model for Community

Beta Church,' a digital church plant, emerges as a focal point, designed to create a sense of community for those seeking Christian fellowship, including digital nomads and those disenchanted with traditional church models. This church operates through an app and accessible platforms like Zoom, addressing questions around digital sacraments and ecclesiology.

The Future of Faith in a Digital World

Simon illustrates the changing landscape of faith in Germany, with traditional church membership on the decline and the rise of non-Christian affiliations. He speaks of rediscovering and communicating Christianity in the country, learning from one another, and the importance of collaboration in kingdom-minded endeavors.

Lessons for Global Digital Missions

As TCD explores the intersection of technology and spirituality, Simon Diercks's experience in Germany offers valuable lessons for others considering digital church planting. His work demonstrates the potential for churches to extend their reach well beyond their physical capacity by embracing digital opportunities and cultivating innovative approaches to ministry in the 21st century.


  • 00:00 Introduction

  •  05:31 Exciting digital church movement expanding internationally.
  • 13:03 Digital church plants emerging in Germany, AI impacting evangelization.
  • 15:34 Western Europe post Christianity, new ways for church.
  • 18:38 Charismatic pentecostal movements and digital church.
  • 24:59 Digital church faces challenges but is innovative.
  • 29:49 Digital church offers continuity for migrating members.
  • 33:48 Person deconstructs faith, finds connection in church.
  • 39:11 Digital church can connect through analog points.
  • 44:55 Meeting people online feels like real church.
  • 48:06 Silently recruiting people for digital church launch.
  • 49:42 Digital church connects, encourages, and facilitates learning.
  • 53:11 Focus on reaching new audiences globally through podcasts.
  • 56:44 Church in 24 embracing digital and virtual


Host: Jeff Reed
Founder, The Church Digital

Guest: Simon Diercks
Pastor, Beta Church


  • What spiritual insights has Simon Diercks gained through ultra hiking, and how do they translate to his approach in digital church planting?

  • In what ways has Simon's tech background shaped his methods and outlook on digital evangelism?

  • What challenges does digital church planting face in Germany, and what solutions are being proposed by thinkers like Simon Diercks?

  • How can artificial intelligence play a role in evangelization strategies, according to Simon's vision?

  • Why might some denominations be hesitant to adopt digital church models, and what can be done to address their concerns?

  • Can you explain the "Beta church" model and its approach to connecting disparate believers in digital spaces?

  • How are digital platforms managing sacraments such as baptism and communion, and what are the theological implications?

  • How does the sense of community in digital churches compare to that in traditional churches, based on Jeff Reed's experiences?

  • How important is international collaboration in the growth and innovation of digital church networks?


We know these conversations 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!

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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

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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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