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PODCAST 018: Randy Kirk, Church Anywhere, & Not My Kingdom

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Church Online has so much potential, but oftentimes casting vision to leadership is problematic. How do we overcome this? What can happen when a church not only gets behind Church Online, but bakes Church Online into the church's overall strategy?

We're in Episode 2 of a deep dive into the Church Anywhere movement at First Capital Christian Christian in Corydon, Indiana. A smallish (okay... medium) sized church in a small town, First Capital has seen huge success in using Church Online to create micro-locations across the city. What started as a simple broadcast of services online became a beautiful expression of local mission with discipleship as First Capital loved on their city.

This episode we have a heart-to-heart with Randy Kirk, Lead Pastor at First Capital Christian, talking about the steps the church has gone through in launching Church Anywhere. A humble leader, Randy's on the older-side of the equation, yet he's accepted, adapted and adopted this technological strategy for his church in order to (effectively) reach Corydon.

Join the podcast as Jeff, Rey, Randy Kirk and Tyler Samson explore using Church Online to physically impact their city in the Podcast Episode "Randy Kirk, Church Anywhere, & Not My Kingdom."

(Like what you're hearing? Check out Episode 017: Stories from Church Anywhere.)

 


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ON THE SHOW

Guest: Tyler Sansom
First Capital Christian Church / Church Anywhere
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Guest: Randy Kirk
First Capital Christian Church / Church Anywhere

Host: Jeff Reed
THECHURCH.DIGITAL
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Co-Host: Rey DeArmas
Christ Fellowship Miami Online
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SHOW NOTES

HELP ANOTHER CHURCH. LEAVE A REVIEW.

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!
 
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Love you all! Praying for your Churches and your Ministry Online.
 
Jeff Reed
THECHURCH.DIGITAL
 

TRANSCRIPT

Jeff Reed: 00:00 Welcome to The Church Digital Podcast. My name is Jeff and it is a pleasure to have you all join me today. We are on Episode 18 and this is a phenomenal episode we've got set up for you. We're in the midst of a little micro series, talking about micro-locations and micro-sites and that's one of many, many puns that are coming in this interview. You've been warned. If you're not familiar with First Capital, it's a small church in a small town in Indiana, who's had a huge success doing micro-sites and micro-locations using church online through their Church Anywhere program. Episode 17 - we talked with some of their volunteers that are basically operating as the leaders, as the campus pastors at some of these locations, reaching as many from 30 to over 300 people a week doing ministry.

Jeff Reed: 00:50 And we just heard some awesome stories about how God is moving in a big way through some of these small locations. If you didn't listen to episode 17, you definitely want to take some time to go back and listen to it later. Today, Episode 18, we're going to dive in with Randy Kirk, who's the lead pastor over at First Capital. And honestly, I was a little surprised by Randy a bit. He was on the older side. I mean, I'm not putting a number on that, but he was definitely more experienced in ministry and closer to retirement than not. But looking at him, it made me want to ask some questions. Like, how could someone at this stage of life be on board was such a non-conventional model of ministry, nontraditional model like micro-sites and micro-locations, even the church online and a lot of the things that their Church Anywhere program does. You typically don't see someone on board with somebody who's at that age and stage of life.

Jeff Reed: 01:47 So what was that like, Randy, as the lead pastor? How were you able to get on board? How are you able to turn the corner for this? The conversation, by the way, was incredible. Straight up, Randy's a humble guy, transparent. I can honestly tell you I've never heard a pastor say that thing that came out of his mouth publicly like it did here on this broadcast. What specifically that was, you're just going to have to listen to hear that one in real time. So audience, I give you Rey DeArmas, Online Pastor at Christ Fellowship Miami. I give you, Tyler Sansom, Engagement Pastor over at First Capital and Randy Kirk, Lead Pastor over at First Capital in a conversation on Church Anywhere that I'm calling, "It's Not My Kingdom." Hey everybody, here you go.

Tyler Sansom: 02:32 So Church Anywhere is a ministry philosophy that was birthed out of our online campus. We started streaming online about three years ago and we noticed that we had some viewers and we decided to look into what it would look like to gather them in physical locations. We started in a county jail and from there it expanded into more prisons and jails and then from there to elementary schools and then nursing homes and even neighborhood. That's been our ministry shift over the last couple of years and I think God has really done some amazing things through that. I'll tell you since the last time we talked that evening, we had two jail services and they had a spontaneous baptism at one of them, which was like the coolest thing ever. Yeah. So we just did that podcast and like a couple hours later my volunteer that leads that campus called me and was like floating out of the jail cause he was so excited.

Jeff Reed: 03:34 That's awesome and what I love about this is the church is getting outside of its four walls, is getting involved into the community. It's utilizing some of the content that the church is creating and it's empowering volunteers to be the ministers, to be the pastors, to be the heroes of this story. I wanted to get a little bit into Randy Kirk. By the way, if you want to hear some of those stories in the episode that Tyler was just talking about, it's Episode 17. Check that out. It's the stories of Church Anywhere and those volunteers with it. But on that episode, I said I wanted to start off by asking Randy a question. This is a loaded one. Randy gear up for this. It's coming. So Randy, and let me set the stage because I'm looking at Randy on video, but podcast listeners may not be. Randy, you're on the older side of life and I don't want to offend because I don't want you to come after me, you know, all the way from Indiana down to Miami.

Jeff Reed: 04:38 But he's closer to the retirement age than not with that. And so obviously some of the things that Tyler's doing and that Church Anywhere is doing, it's really stretching the norms of established church. You know, like, Hey, we want to do church outside in 16 locations. Normally like churches, this idea of in today 2019 churches, come to this big building. It's more attractional. It's if you build it, they will come type of thing. Let's set up these church or let's set up these micro or these multisite locations around and get people to come to it. What you've done is you kind of turns it on its ear and now you're pushing people out of your building into the community to do church where the community is. So when Tyler cast that vision to you for the first time, I just got to know what was your response? What was the first thing that went through your head when you heard about this?

Randy Kirk: 05:43 First of all, I'm old, so I'm not held responsible for anything that happened three years ago.

Rey DeArmas: 05:47 Correct.

New Speaker: 05:47 I'm not responsible for that. When we first started talking about it, my initial reaction, and again, I had no context. This was when we were talking about going online. And I told him I didn't want to give people an excuse to stay home in their pajamas and not come to church. And that's what I believed it to be, was just a way that people would start not coming to the building and engaging in our worship experience. And we dialogued about it for several weeks, back and forth. And I believe, that Craig Groeschel says that we'll do anything short of sin to help people come to Jesus and we believe that. We just said, let's give it a try and let's see what happens. We went online and about six weeks into our online experience, we had people showing up and we heard the same story over and over and we still hear it today and that is, we've been stalking you, that's their language not ours. We've been stalking you. We've been watching you online and all we have a sense and a feel for what we're going to experience when they get here and people came in a lot more comfortable and confident about the experience because of our online experience.

Tyler Sansom: 07:24 Yeah. And with that we are located in the actual worst location you could possibly be located for a church. We are in a neighborhood that's like we're the only thing nonresidential on our street and it's a dead end street on the wrong side of town, but there's no drive by traffic. You can't even see us. And we're also connected to the high school parking lot. So like nobody knows where we're at even in town, really. The big thing for us online that we noticed was even people within our own city limits were like, man, I didn't know there was a church that did the things that we do in our own town. And so they started to coming just because they didn't even know we were here before that.

Rey DeArmas: 08:07 That's powerful.

Randy Kirk: 08:07 So now picture that, I don't know if you can even picture this, but we're on the back end of a dead end street on the wrong side of town in a small town and you can't find us. When I first came here 16 years ago, my first slogan was, you'd like us if you can find us. Because you can't find us. And people didn't know we existed. And again, our parking lot backs up to the high school, but it's a half a mile from the high school entrance to our parking lot because you've got to go all the way around to get there. And so we have this unique location that we've turned into a positive and the only way people are going to find us is if we tell them and bring them with us. And so we created a culture where it's bring with not invite too.

Rey DeArmas: 09:02 Tha'ts good. Those kinds of things, they seem like small shifts in terms of language, but are big shifts in terms of perspective. And I think it's great that you guys took those shifts. Both, first, I mean you mentioned Randy that you know, hey, so we're going to open ourselves up to doing anything short of sin to reaching folks, and I've heard Craig say that too. A lot of folks, of course, get offended by that, you know, in the wrong way. They're taking it in the wrong sense. They're focusing on the sin portion of that statement as opposed to the reaching folks portion of that statement. But the other thing of being willing to encourage folks to gather as opposed to just watch. That's huge. When did you guys make that shift to encouraging people to get together and actually watch the service? That's a big deal.

Tyler Sansom: 09:47 Well that would've been about a year and a half ago. Actually, I brought that to you shortly after we started online. And it was a lot of conversation. Two years ago I put one micro site in the budget. I will never get this. That was literally the first thing that our elders cut from the budget for the year. They always go through a final check and they're like, what can we cut to cut this down a little bit? Number one was micro sites cause like nobody understood it at that point. Like, I mean go back two and a half years, like nobody's doing micro sites. This is still a fresh thing. So it's not like there was a lot of churches we could model these after or people would have heard of them or anything. So they cut that first thing. So we really didn't get to try our first one until about a year and a half ago.

Jeff Reed: 10:40 Well, I'm going to throw a number at you. You've got 16 of these locations scattered around Corydon and surrounding areas, right? You've got a prison ministry in a couple areas, and Tyler, just to summarize 4-5 prison ministries that are happening in area prisons. Hospitals, schools, homes, Rehab Centers for Huntington's, which is by far my favorite story. Huntington's disease, that's by far my favorite story of all of them. What this does is it encourages people to get out of the building. Maybe the best place for them to be any given Sunday is not sitting in a pew watching your service in your building on the wrong side of town, but instead doing ministry out in the community and being the pastor, being the campus pastor, being the representative, being the person that God called them to be right now. And you know, Tyler, you had this conversation, you guys have been on this road two or three years, like churches struggle with that today. There are many conversations that I've had where pastors, Randy, they struggle, like they're not ready to let people go out of the building. Did you struggle with that? Was your DNA already wired to go outside? Like I want to dig in a little bit to you here. How does it feel to shove people out the door?

Randy Kirk: 12:18 Jeff, you needed a little bit about who I am very quickly. My background is I was a college basketball coach and so for 20 years I coached and all I do today is I coach a Church instead of coaching a basketball team. But everything I know about church I learned in a gymnasium. And so with that, what you do, the first thing you do is you recruit people that have the potential to be all Americans. If you don't recruit talent, you're never going to be good and so we recruited talent and Tyler is one of those all Americans.

Jeff Reed: 13:04 Yay Tyler!

Randy Kirk: 13:06 We could spend 10 minutes talking about the story of how I found Tyler and how he ended up here initially with us. That's a great story, but I'm going to skip past that. But what we've done is we've put together a staff that then are all Americans or potential all Americans. And then how do you make those all Americans into a team? Because a team is better than the sum of its parts. But a part of that is you trust them and you turn them loose. You don't buy a stallion, if you're in Kentucky, you don't buy a thoroughbred and put him in a stable and expect him to be what you want him to be. You've got to let him get out and run and you got to let him run. Well, what we did is we recognized that in Tyler, we had an extremely gifted and extremely good outside the box thinker and we just turned him loose. Now that doesn't mean that was carte blanche and that we never had conversations because we had some really hard conversation. We still have hard conversations, but it is, don't recruit your staff unless you going to turn them loose to do what you've recruited them to do. And so we have created this. Again, it's just good coaching.

Jeff Reed: 14:30 Talk to me about this because and I understand like the staff is one piece. One of the things that I see a lot of or that I hear a lot of with pastors is they have to be in the people, the audience, the church has to be together, the Ekklesia, the church body has to be in the Worship Center worshiping together. So that's where, when I have these conversations about the micro locations and getting out there, like the pastor struggles with the theology of, no, we need to be gathering together. They need to be part of this larger thing. And not necessarily, I don't know if it's they don't trust the people to be the ministers. They don't feel like they've equipped them well enough. Honestly, I don't know what the struggle is. I'm just curious, like were there struggles for you because you're a lead pastor, you've been doing this for a while coming into this, and so like, did you struggle with this different way of thinking or was it natural for you?

Randy Kirk: 15:38 One of the things Tyler and I have in common is we're both outside the box thinkers, so that makes it easier for us. But one of the pieces that we have discovered, I'm gonna walk you through another piece that leads to a philosophy. Back when I was a boy, that was before you all were even thought of. But back when I was a kid in the 50s, in the 60s, the model was that you had a revival or a crusade and people came to Jesus and then out of that revival or crusade, they came to church where they identified a cause or a place where they would plug in and serve in the church. And that's the way it was. They became, it was this revival or crusade that led them to the church that led them.

Randy Kirk: 16:30 Then along came this little church called Willow Creek. And in the late 80s, early 90s, everything shifted. And it became about the church. And you became this attractional model of church where you brought people to church because they liked whether you were doing church and that's where they met Christ. So before they had met Christ then came to church, now they've come to church and they made Christ and then they find a place to use their giftedness and plug in. But along about 2010 there was another shift that's taken place and it took place outside the church rather than in the church. And that is you've raised up a generation that are looking for a cause. They're looking for a cause, a place to plug in, a place to serve, a place to make a difference. And so we use cause in order to bring people to the church to bring them to Christ.

Randy Kirk: 17:33 But sometimes in the cause they come to Christ. That's what happened Tuesday night we were out in the cause and people found Christ and they come to church. But it is understanding that our generation is, everybody's looking for place where they can use their giftedness and their passion and what we want to do is help people identify their passion and purpose and give them the opportunity to explore that and use that. Several years ago we began tracking not baptisms, we've tracked baptisms all the way through. We started tracking baptizers. Wow. How many baptizers do we have? They are responsible not to bring them to the baptistry. Baptistry is just an entry point. Their job is to take them on and mentor them beyond that. And so we track baptizers and we will have about 90% of our baptisms, about 90% of them will have a different baptizer and which is pretty cool. And our staff rarely is in the water anymore. I mean, you know, we are, it's not like we aren't leading people to Christ too, but compared to most churches, does that all make sense?

Tyler Sansom: 19:00 I'll add onto that. With that shift from like big, if you build it, they will come to let's find a cause and use that to bring people to the kingdom. It has, Randy said it a couple of years ago and it stuck with me since then. We've spent like 15 to 20 years figuring out why in the world God would plant the church on the wrong side of town on a dead end street. We realize that's cause it doesn't matter where the church building is because we are the church. And so like the walls don't necessarily matter as much as long as we're empowering people to go follow these passions and these causes. That kind of gave us our answer. It was a strange way.

Jeff Reed: 19:43 One of the things that came up in the last episode, Episode 17, talking with your volunteers was the passion that your church has to love on the community? Like I can remember Cindy, going on and on about how that's just wired into who the church is. Did that happen overnight? Obviously it didn't happen overnight, but tell me about that genesis of how, you know, a lot of times churches talk about loving the community and loving the community means passing out a bottle of water or doing yard work for a church or something like that or for a school, not to downplay those acts of service, but what you're doing is forming discipleship relationships with people in the community for the purpose of making disciples and leading them to Jesus and that's a big shift that some churches struggle with today. How did that happen for First Capital?

Randy Kirk: 20:51 I wish that we could take credit for that, but that predates our coming. The congregation was founded in November of 1990 and it's the first pastor was Drew Ashwell and Drew was a really, really young guy, 22 years old when he started pastoring here in this new church. And Drew brought in this relational piece. I believe that anytime that a guy is the lead guy for five years or more, he leaves a mark on the church's DNA, good or bad, he's going to leave a mark. The mark that Drew left was relationship and this welcoming everybody, God loves everybody and so do we kind of idea. He didn't market it that way. He didn't language it that way, but that was what was was here. And so from the get go they had this, we had the advantage of being a church that already had that here. All we had to do was build on it. All we had to do is play to it or just tell him sic 'em because they were there. Drew left that with us. The guy that followed Drew taught them about worship and that was the mark that he's left on our DNA. And then I'm the third pastor in the history of the church and I've just got to build on what they've already done.

Jeff Reed: 22:24 That's awesome. What are some ways and we're talking about this like discipleship, rich relationship, empowering the attenders of your church, the people involved in your church, the volunteers to be the hero of ministry, the Baptizers, the spontaneous baptisms, the campus pastor of these micro locations. I'm just curious, what are some other ways, maybe less technological, more physical where it's let this discipleship rich volunteer is able to thrive and lead in your church? What does that look like in a physical sense, less virtual or digital?

Randy Kirk: 23:10 In the the last six years, our shepherd's group, which is our elders.

Jeff Reed: 23:19 Your elders and that's completely volunteer?

Randy Kirk: 23:23 All of those are volunteer, but me. I'm the only one that is a shepherd that is on our staff. And I'm old enough to be one, but that room has turned over in the last six years. There's only one other than me that continued to serve the room. So what they have done is they have raised up men to take their place. Jim Collins says that in Good to Great that you get the right people on the bus and you get the right people in the right seat on the bus. But then he comes along about eight years later and he says, but then you have to recognize when I am the right person in the right seat on the bus, that I have to be ready to give up my seat even though it's the right seat fot me for the next guy and I have to be willing to give up my seat on the bus for the next guy. So we are right now, we're talking succession plan for me and I have to be willing to give up the seat that I love and the seat that I could rightly call my seat. But it's not my seat, it's just the seat that I have been given the privilege to occupy and it's not about me. And so I went to the leaders a couple of days ago and we're talking about a succession plan and we have some names in mind that could be viable. And I said, what if we hired two of those? And I step aside. I just think it's appropriate that we consider that if we get guys, if we'd find two all Americans and they can take us places that we need to go, I don't need to get in the way.

Jeff Reed: 25:17 Yeah. Just transparently. I can't believe you just said that on a podcast. I'm not saying listening audience all over 43 states, 20 countries, I don't know. But like, so this is amazing to me because of of your humility and transparency in this. I don't see, forgive me, I don't want to speak bad of the pastors I work with. But that right there, like, that's not something that transparency humility of, hey, you know what? Jim Collins, I may need to give up my seat. And by the way, if we can get better people to do this, let's look and have those conversations like that's healthy in the long stretch organizationally. Just out of respect for you, sir, like it takes a chunk out of you to be able to step aside and say, hey, you know, God must be glorified, I'm not.

Randy Kirk: 26:23 It's two pieces. The first is it's not my kingdom it's his kingdom. It's not my kingdom. It never has been. It's never been about me. And number two is we work with the homeless ministry that I can plug right into.

Jeff Reed: 26:42 So job security is in place? It's probably a little less stress.

Tyler Sansom: 26:44 That's one of the Church Anywhere sites. So to go back to your initial question about how do we empower volunteers. I would say a vast majority of our staff would have a similar answer to Randy. I have a tattoo on my arm that says not the Kingdom of Tyler. It's a constant reminder. And we were intentional about bringing people on staff that like, I don't want to just talk the talk, I want to walk the walk as well. So I'm okay if I don't get the glory for ministry being done. If that means that someone like a Brad Reed from the last podcast gets to fulfill his potential. That dude was only baptized two years ago. Before that he was living in an apartment that he couldn't even pay for the electricity because he was so on drugs and things like that. So in two years, God has taken him from that to leading a Church Anywhere site of 300 prisoners. I mean I'm okay with that if that means that he gets to further the kingdom and I think that's really important to this whole thing is that you have to have that sense of humility of it's not about you anymore. And people will follow that. We can empower people if you live that life they will want to follow and they want to do it as well.

Jeff Reed: 27:56 So like, I mean, picture your painting is you're not recruiting these leaders. You're developing, you're discipling, you're growing them. You're not coming out and saying, hey, I need somebody to do this. They are growing up within your system and they're saying, I want to go here. I mean, is that kind of where it's at?

Randy Kirk: 28:20 But here's another place and that is the people that are most hungry to serve are those that have just come into the kingdom. The longer somebody is in and doesn't serve, the harder it is to move those people. And so many churches are just filled up with those people and so the guys in our roles are trying to move people that aren't going to move, but it's if you can create the inertia where lost people are being found and they come in and they value what they have and you start working with Brad immediately upon his accepting Jesus and just say, you don't have to have experience and you don't have to know all the answers. You just have to know Jesus and be able to tell your story. And that's really all that we require. What we're trying to do is cultivate an environment where that happens. And then what happens is some of these old timers start watching these new people and they say, I want some of that. I like that. I want some of that. And the next thing, you know, you've dragged one of those in that you would've had to having kicking and screaming before and now he gets it.

Tyler Sansom: 29:42 One of the craziest parts of it is the thing that we hear the most is, even with like baptizing someone, it's well I'm not qualified to do that or even praying out loud, I'm not qualified to do that. This kind of a model gives people no excuse. We just did a story on a guy named Nick that we put on Facebook that got to baptize his very first person ever at a Church Anywhere location. So he told his story on a video and he basically just said, I didn't feel qualified to baptize somebody, but he left different because of that. Because he stepped out of his comfort zone, because we gave him permission to do that, he left different and now he was actually the guy that baptize the spontaneous baptism this Tuesday night. So he went from not feeling qualified to do ministry, to now have baptized two people in the last four weeks.

Jeff Reed: 30:32 Wow. You know, and it's that idea of decentralizing ministry, and we've talked about this in previous podcasts, but it's like, I love this idea of counting the baptizers and we talked about this with, I can't think of the guy's name, it was the Online Groups Pastor from Saddleback. Not Jay, it's the guy who works under Jay, Kevin Lee. Kevin, if you're listening, I'm sorry it took me a while. But Kevin was talking about how they've got like pages of people that need to get baptized and it's like, they're all over the country and how you baptize these people, you know. Instead of them flying all over the country to do these fly-by, literally fly-by baptisms. Let me fly into the city, take an Uber to where you are, dunk you and then fly back home. They started training people, getting them spiritually capable to the place of where they could baptize someone. By doing that it decentralizes and it allows the people to grow spiritually deeper because they're challenged to do things like pray publicly, share their faith, be able to stand up and speak towards spiritual things complimenting something that's said from the stage, like that's phenomenal.

Tyler Sansom: 31:54 I will say this, I would say about 15% or so of our volunteers are not from First Capital. So we have several other churches that we've, like we don't want this to be an only First Capital thing. This is a kingdom thing, Church Anywhere.

Jeff Reed: 32:07 Let's park their, cause like that as another thing of this collaboration in context of church. It's not often found. How did that happen? Tell me that story.

Tyler Sansom: 32:21 Yeah. Well it just goes back to the tattoo on my arm for me. It's really not my kingdom. I have never sought to make the name First Capitol famous, but to make the capital C church, the Kingdom famous. I know that there's a thriving jail ministry, a community of people that like to do jail ministry, so why would we not tap into those people? We're already going in jail every single week and these people love prisoners. So of course we want them to come along. We found out there's a homeless ministry and they already provide a meal for people every Sunday, so why not do church and the meal? So now, like we don't send hardly any volunteers there. They have recruited all their own volunteers to do church and we just provide the material, and so on. And if you can get past yourself a little bit, God makes some pretty amazing and big things happen, which has been really fun to watch.

Jeff Reed: 33:21 Wow. What has been the response from other churches when they're like, you want to do what? Or are they on board? Like the relationship that you have with the other churches, how is that fostered and grown?

Randy Kirk: 33:37 Both. You have some that value it and appreciate it and you have others.

Tyler Sansom: 33:43 That are like, what the heck are you talking about?

Randy Kirk: 33:45 I lead another thing that's completely different from this. It's large churches in small towns. We meet together and talk about the unique challenges of being the large church in a small town. And with that, one of the things that you learn very rapidly is when your church starts, becomes the large church in town. The other churches resent you. There's a resentment that can build up because you are having success that they are not having. And we faced some of that and that's just reality. You just can't focus on that. And yet those that want to partner with us, then they're welcome. And those that want to learn from us, we want to share that it. This isn't, we're not looking at copywriting material and charging you to go there.

Randy Kirk: 34:47 This is, it's not ours. It's God's. All we want to do is I'm going to stand before him someday and I want to hear, well done, good and faithful servant. That's all. Good and faithful. That's all. And it's not measured on how many we did or what numbers we did. It was were you good and were you faithful? That's what I want to be. And that's how we want to be. And it's not rocket science. It's as long as you understand that it's His, then we do what we can with what we got.

Tyler Sansom: 35:24 So with that, when somebody wants to give their life to Christ and be baptized on our online campus, we have absolutely no problem saying, man, that's awesome. Let's connect you with a local church where you're at and we'll hand you over to a physical body of people. We have no problem with that whatsoever.

Jeff Reed: 35:40 Where is this going? You're doing the micro locations and Randy, you just quit your job on air. When churches talk micro locations, a lot of times, especially in the multisite movement, multisite churches, you know, they're doing the micro-locations for purpose of one day combining them into a campus to launch maybe a satellite, multisite campus, something like that. Are you guys, like what is the next step in this or have you even gotten there yet?

Randy Kirk: 36:15 I don't know the end. I really don't know the end of where this ends. I know the things we wrestle with. I know the challenges that we are concerned about. We are concerned about engagement and we believe that, Carey Nieuwhof has said, Internet's not going away. We know that that's where the world's going. You can either set back and take shots at, well, these people aren't in a body and all that and do nothing. And they're going to be on the Internet anyway, whether you want to be or not. So we have to figure out what engagement looks like and how do we enhance engagement. And so Tyler and Jared, another guy on our staff have started a Rooted experience online.

Tyler Sansom: 37:12 Jeff was actually involved in this for a little while.

Jeff Reed: 37:14 I'm excited we're going to talk with Jared and Tyler, I think in the next episode cause I really want to dive into that. I'm actually trying to get somebody from Rooted to jump on the podcast with us to just even dive into what that online discipleship piece looks like. I didn't mean that to trump where you're going.

Randy Kirk: 37:34 All I'm saying is we're trying to gather how do we create engagement? What does engagement look like and what does community look like? How do you define community in our culture today? And we don't know the answers to all that, but we also know that we create a culture with what we present and leaders create culture.

Jeff Reed: 38:00 You're talking to a lead pastor out there who's considering some of this but may have some questions on where this is going. What's the finish line? Talk to that lead pastor out there and explain to him your stance and your take on this.

Randy Kirk: 38:15 Okay. I don't know cause I think the finish line is moving. I think it moves. But here's what I do know and that is that there are people that are lost that don't even realize they're lost. And there are people missing out and they don't even realize what they're missing out on. And there are people that are needy and we have what they need. And I can't wait till I've got it all figured out before I go to those people. I go to them with what I've got and I say, let's figure it out together. And the line is moving. And so we're already at places that I didn't see us going when Tyler came and said, let's do something, let's do our services online. We already have moved.

Tyler Sansom: 39:07 We're already moving. Like the micro sites are awesome and we're going to continue expanding but we're in talks of what is next, beyond that.

Randy Kirk: 39:17 And it comes back to this cause piece.

Tyler Sansom: 39:21 But if we tell you more, we do have to kill you.

Jeff Reed: 39:22 I'll stop the recording and we can have that conversation.

Randy Kirk: 39:30 Jeff, to answer it and that is all I know is if this is the tool that I have available to connect to people who need what we have found, then I use the tool. And that's what happened when we started with the organ in the 1500s. The organ was the tool that brought people to the assembly because that's the only place you could hear an organ and take advantage of it. That's great. Well, we have a new tool and we just want to use the tool and how can we maximize that? So we have a really creative team but the one thing they have in common is they all love Jesus a whole lot and they want people to have what they have found. So we're just going to turn this team loose and I'm going to try to stay out of the way.

Jeff Reed: 40:30 That was awesome. I literally don't even know what to say, I will utilize Church Online is the new church organ analogy for years. You know, Tyler's got his little tattoo there. I have a running joke on this podcast that whenever there's a mic drop, whenever there is a cool quote, is that tattoo worthy and will I put Randy Kirk's name on my body? That right there may actually make the cut. my wife won't let it happen and is listening to this. Don't worry, it's not ever going to happen, but my gosh, that was like, I may be tearing up here just thinking about that. This has been a great podcast. I want to thank you for this. I know lead pastors are busy and just your transparency and openness in this conversation has been encouraging for me. It's been encouraging for the listeners out there. Rey was on us and I don't know if the listening audience noticed he just disappeared, where he was broadcasting from lost internet and so he was just out of luck. He will listen in and I'm sure enjoy this as much as I did, but as we're landing the plane here, wrapping up. Tyler, Randy, 20-30 seconds, any closing thoughts, anything to add at this point?

Tyler Sansom: 42:01 Just on the talking to lead pastors, you had ask me that question last podcast and I didn't have a good answer, but, yesterday we had a pretty real crisis in the morning with a person that watches us online, in an online small group that had sent a really serious emergency text to the church. And so for a lead pastor that thinks online viewers are not people or not like they can't see them, so they're not actually there. We had to deal with a very real problem with a very real person yesterday that I only know because of the online campus. I've never met her but I know her because I'm her pastor. And so we were the first people that she came to and because she came to us, we were able to get her the help that she needed in a crisis, a very real emergency.

Randy Kirk: 42:59 She reached out to Tyler with a life threatening situation. Tyler, because of our micro-sites reaches to the Sheriff.

Tyler Sansom: 43:09 Like, I mean on speed dial, immediately.

Randy Kirk: 43:12 And he has access to the sheriff because of our relationship with the jail. The sheriff sends out.

Tyler Sansom: 43:20 He tracks her.

Randy Kirk: 43:20 He tracks her, which we couldn't do, but he can because he's got the stuff to do that. He gets then an EMT to her in time to save her life.

Tyler Sansom: 43:33 All while, Donnie, who is the other pastor on staff that helps a lot with Church Anywhere. The one I mentioned yesterday with the jails, or Tuesday, he's talking to her on the phone until the paramedics get there. So it was a team effort, but all because she is an online campus viewer. Right. That's it. If you're a senior pastor and you hear stories like that, I want them to know these are real people that have real problems that they may have a legitimate reason not to come to church. They may not. But what does it matter if you're bringing them to the kingdom?

Jeff Reed: 44:06 That's a, okay, so I've had a conversation with a pastor, I'm not dropping names, he's not listening to this podcast, but at the end of the day, I've told him a story, not a life threatening story, but a story like that and that pastor would say, yeah, that person online is not my responsibility. I mean, literally in this situation you've, it like you've saved a life and were part of not a virtual salvation, but a physical, this person is still alive today as a result of you guys being a church in a virtual space and connecting with people who aren't just sitting in a pew in your building.

Tyler Sansom: 44:52 And I'll tell you this on that though, with this online small group that she's in, we now have a couple from West Virginia who want to drive up to where she's at to visit her because they're in an online small group together. That's like a five hour drive.

Jeff Reed: 45:10 They want to visit. The relationship is so tight through talking through Zoom for the online. So talking through a webcam, using zoom software, the relationship is so tight, these people are willing to drive five hours to come and check and to be with this person in her time of need. My gosh, like if that's not the church, I don't know what is so to you guys and what you've done with embracing this church online model, with running with it, as a small church, you know, an 800, sorry, I'm using numbers again. It's big church, small town that majority of churches out there's 365,000 evangelical churches in America today, maybe 10,000 to 15,000 are broadcasting any given Sunday. So you're embracing of this technology is rare, especially with smaller sized churches and you're seeing results from it and you're using it for discipleship. You're growing your base not just to consume content, but to actually live out the disciple making disciple model that God's called us to. And so if I was wearing a hat, I'd say hats off, but I can tell you I respect and I honor what you guys are doing and have done in the virtual space by making disciples who are making disciples. And so thank you for doing that and modeling what honestly what I would call a good solid biblical model of what the Church should be in 2019.

Randy Kirk: 46:52 Jeff, your task now is to take what we given you and make us look good.

Jeff Reed: 46:57 It may take some editing, we'll see where we get to. But you don't need my help a lot for that. I'm going to keep that in and I'm going to keep this in. You guys have done, I want to encourage you, you have done a phenomenal job and the things that you're wrestling with, the way that you're marching forward with doing this, realizing, Hey God is going to say yes, it may make sense but God is being glorified through it so why would I stop? God's bigger than my problems. Thank you. My prayer, literally, my prayer is that people listening to this, that there are going to be church staff, there's going to be online pastors, there's going to be volunteers listening to this saying, my church needs to do this and they're going to forward this podcast on to their lead pastor and hopefully that lead pastor is encouraged to realize, hey, there are opportunities here to utilize technology to get people out of the building, to get people into the community where they can love, disciple, and grow people closer to God and that God can be glorified through the efforts of what's happening. Technology is not the abandonment of community, it's the birthing of new communities, which is what we're literally seeing through your Church Anywhere Program. If you can inspire one church through this, it's a win and I'm telling you, many will be inspired by what's happened here and we're not even done. We're going to come back with Jared and some guys talking about your online discipleship cause I really want to talk about how that is fostered and grows cause that's a big deal in creating a disciple who is capable of training other disciples and so I really want to explore that, which is what's coming up here in the next episode. Gentlemen, this has been phenomenal, for Tyler, for Randy, for Rey who was here for a little while and disappeared. My name is Jeff, with The Church Digital Podcast, I'm looking forward to next time. See you then.

 

 

Church Online isn't About Technology, It's About Relationships
Your Bricks Are Not Your Church

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 Church Online.

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