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PODCAST 024: Ken Schafer & The Challenge of Equipping Using Online Technologies

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Church Online definitely has strengths and weaknesses, but the power to train and to equip someone is unparalleled. But why do we struggle with the concept of equipping and discipling someone using Online Technologies?

Enter personal friend, Ken Schafer, into the conversation. Ken works with churches around the country helping create equipping scenarios in physical environments, as well as, online… and I (Jeff) credit Ken as being one of those guys who years ago told me, “Jeff, you’re wrong” but years later now says, “Jeff, you’re right.”

So when did Ken see the light? What got him to embrace Online? Come find out in EP024 of The Church Digital Podcast!


If you're enjoying this episode, subscribe for free using your favorite podcast app below:

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ON THE SHOW

Guest: Ken Schafer
Dave Ramsey Solutions, Church-Wide Stewardship Specialist
Twitter // Facebook // LinkedIn

Host: Jeff Reed
THECHURCH.DIGITAL
Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // LinkedIn

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



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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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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
THECHURCH.DIGITAL
 

TRANSCRIPT

Jeff Reed: 00:00 Hey there. Welcome to The Church Digital Podcast. My name is Jeff and I'm excited to be putting this episode together for you guys. This is episode 24 we've done 24 of these and we are not slowing down one bit. If you're relatively new here with the church digital podcast, the heart behind this is literally to facilitate a conversation about what church online can be. All of us across America doing church online. We don't have the answer yet. We're still trying to figure this out from the big churches like the Saddleback and the elevations down to the small churches that are, that are struggling to put together a broadcast. There's no clear answer of what church online is. And truthfully, our goal here is to facilitate a conversation, to talk to some people, to ask them questions, and create a learning environment so that all of us can learn how to do church online more effectively.

Jeff Reed: 00:51 And so we've got a unique episode here with episode 24. We're bringing in one of my closest friends, his name is Ken Schaffer. Uh, to the, to the podcast today, Ken and I used to work together at Christ fellowship Miami. He was stewardship pastor at the time, uh, and was responsible for a lot of things and utilizing Dave Ramsey and, and, um, uh, financial peace university in that. And so we're going to be talking a lot about that. And, and, and early on in Ken's of my relationship, cause I'm an online guy, I really challenged him to think more about doing some of his trainings, uh, virtually in an, in an online space. Um, and, and what's, what's fascinating, the reason I wanted to bring Ken back to the conversation, it was the first time I had this conversation with them. Ken Honestly looked at me and said, that's not the illogically allowed.

Jeff Reed: 01:41 You're wrong. And I'm okay. Maybe you didn't say the theological word, but he basically was like, you're wrong. You're stupid. Uh, but what I love about Ken and our relationship is I just kept pestering him over and over again until he changed his mind and he started to see the advantage doing church online. It's not really, I just wanted to wrestle with that conversation here. Okay. Here's a guy who used to think against doing community and trainings and in online environments and now he's more comfortable with that and even uses it more, um, in, in his current work space. And I'm going to let him explore it. I don't necessarily need to, to unpack it in detail because I don't give away the podcast. So here you go. I've got Ken Schaffer who actually works with Dave Ramsey now I've got ray drms online, pastor Christ Fellowship Miami and myself, Jeff Reed with the church digital in a conversation centered around equipping, utilizing online technologies. Here you go. I got to tell you, I've been looking forward to this conversation because man, can I, I love you and I really miss spending time with you and having some of these in depth conversations. Um, like we had an ed Christ fellowship and, and one of the things that I, that I love about Ken is that he's never afraid to tell me that I'm wrong. Um, because he's done that, the majority of our relationship telling me that about wrong. I'm crazy.

Jeff Reed: 03:00 And in a context, some of the, and in context of the church online stuff and the online community, um, that's been just an, an ongoing, a long conversation for someone who's been like, I'm not quite sure how that works to somebody who is kind of, uh, spun it and taken it to a, to a different perspective. And so when, when Ken and I were together and ray was, was around down Ed Christ Fellowship Miami and Ken was, was doing a lot with the Dave Ramsey stuff and, and that, and we really wrestled with what that looked like in context of doing it online and offering it online. And so, Hey Ken bet. Just take a moment. Just tell us some of that story kind of, kind of what that, what that looked like.

Ken Schafer: 03:42 Well, you know, I, the job is stewardship pastor there at Christ fellowship. So my, my basic mission was to equip people in the area of Biblical financial discipline and to give them vision and tools to achieve what God wants for them in that area. And Financial Peace University was a, was a big part of that. It's a nine week course. Dave Ramsey offered by Dave Ramsey's organization. A lot of churches use that as a building block for are there stewardship and establishing programs. And we had had hundreds or maybe thousands of people go through that at Christ fellowship. And this was when you and I started talking about, well what does it look like to do something online? I was never really a fan. I'm probably of all the people that you'll have on your podcast, I'm probably the least connected online. I, I checked Facebook three or four times a year.

Ken Schafer: 04:29 Uh, I actually received emails, summaries of Twitter accounts that I have and I, I really don't engage that much digitally for a variety of reasons. But you challenged me and your basic challenge was there's, there's people out there you can reach online, you can't reach in person. And I took that to heart. I piloted a few different ways to do some financial patient adversity groups online and actually had some tremendous and surprising success with that. Um, what I found was that in a mega church environment or really any church environment, there's physical and logistical constraints that are real. So people might want to engage, for example, in a small group discipleship environment, but simply can't, maybe their parents with kids, they have conflicts that are either legitimate or perceived. Um, but the small group environment, the way you had me set it up online actually eliminated almost all of that.

Ken Schafer: 05:25 Hmm. Yay me. Right. Oh yeah. You are you going to ask me what you, what you, you know what I did because that'd be the follow up question. Describe in detail like how some of that worked out for folks. Well, what I realized was so, and I think there's, you go through an evolution in your life, right? Where when I didn't have, when I wasn't married, I didn't understand the commitments that married people have. Right. Then I became married. We went 10 years without children and so I didn't understand the commitments that people with children had. Then I had children. I'm like, man, how does anybody do anything?

Ken Schafer: 05:58 Right? That's, that's not Sunday morning at nine o'clock for 90 minutes because like that's, that's about it. So what Jeff, what you suggested I do was actually have people watch the video content for financial piece ahead of time and then we would do like a zoom group, like the format that we're on right now recording this, we do the zoom group and do just the facilitation of the questions online. That's good. Okay. That, that's good by itself. The, the secret sauce. What I realized was that the time all of the sudden becomes the time that you hold the group becomes inconsequential so you can be strategic. So we had ours on Wednesday night at nine 30 and so I was talking about this with people. What I, what I finally came to realize like you're not competing with anything Wednesday night at nine 30, but your kids are in bed soccer practices done.

Ken Schafer: 06:49 The only thing you're competing, whatever you recorded to watch on TV later, that's the only thing. It's like are you going to hit play on game of Thrones, which you shouldn't be watching anyway or are you going to engage in a discussion, a discipleship discussion, help you grow your life. Um, so we had the last group I was responsible for, we had a, I think we had six or seven families and it looked kind of like the Brady bunch on the little zoom screen. You go to that gallery view and you can see everybody. But I, I had um, I had a stewardess who is part of this group. We one time actually joined the discussion leaving. I saw her on the jetway of a claim that she was leaving, joining the discussion with their headphones in. I don't even know what city she was in. I had a guy who worked at the Miami International Airport, never met him in person, had a, had a friend of a friend somewhere in Naples, Florida, join our Miami Group. So we found that by changing up the tea and then we also had families that had kids in bed that same, that same scenario I described. So we found that by time we, you not only can you time shift your programs, you can time shift your discipleship environments and it worked great.

Rey DeArmas: 07:55 That's good. So how did this work out as far as um, making folks feel like they were not just connected with it but really engaging in the content? Because I know and I've led FPU multiple times. Ken, you've helped me out a ton with that. For me, there's always a breakdown in the group. After week three we start to see like who's really there? Because that's for those of you who are, who are not in tune or you've not let FPU, that's after the budgeting we can. So a lot of folks tend to freak out after that. And so how did you maintain that kind of contact and communication even though your group was online and encouragement?

Ken Schafer: 08:30 Well, so that's where something happened that I really did not expect because the most common question in a full disclosure actually worked for Dave Ramsey. Now I was part of his organization. So I worked at financial peace university all the time in churches all across the United States. Uh, although this podcast is not an official, we're not, I'm not a spokesman for that organization. This is more about the kind of our experience with the church. Sure. What most churches will ask me, they will assume that because it's a zoom environment that the personal engagement will be lower. That was my assumption coming in and I was actually wrong and I don't know that this would always be the case, but I found, um, I found you've got that gallery view when you've got six or nine families and they're all in a little box. It's even better than sitting in a circle.

Ken Schafer: 09:22 And the reason is because you actually are looking at everyone all the time. So everyone has to participate. That's good. Nobody gets a pass. And the very, in my work now, I do a lot of work on zoom and so I'm like, I'm talking to you gentlemen right now and an iPad, you're about 18 inches away. It's actually much more intimate in many ways than an in person meeting. So the group calls itself out. I found the level of engagement and accountability in the last virtual group. I led to be higher than that in many of the fiscal groups that I've led. How so? I think that convert that basic conversation. I mean we just stayed in, we stayed in touch by text throughout the week, got as lube texts me if they couldn't come or whatever. But I think in a circle, one or two people are always going to dominate the conversation in a panel. When I'm looking at the, when I'm have big gallery view and it's the Brady bunch you, it's much easier. The visual cues make it much easier to know who's not participating in the call, that personnel. Um, in addition to what you're just closer, you're looking at everyone all the time. I can't do that in a circle. I can do it one on one or one on two, but in a group of of 10 families in a circle, I can't do it.

Rey DeArmas: 10:36 How did it work out in terms of, or did it work out cause you said the accountability ramped up. Was it just you to the group members or was it them to each other as well? Like how did that happen?

Ken Schafer: 10:45 A them to each other? I couldn't really speak to, uh, I think if that happens it probably happens more digitally because they largely had no context. They didn't know each other. I know would say this is a little bit different. Financial peace by its nature has a beginning and an end. I talk about it often being it's a decent sport kind of con quickly beginning and an end. My goal is in a course is to teach you some specific, some specific principles, habits, behaviors and then you're going to learn them and then the course is done at the end of nine weeks and that frustrates the snot out. A small group, pastors and, and church environments, they say, is it a small group? Is it not a small group? Do we count it? Do we not count it? And you guys are laughing cause we've all, we've all been in that environment.

Ken Schafer: 11:28 The reality is people will get helps um, on an ongoing basis. I think if we were going to do community, uh, we would probably do it a little bit differently. I have a friend who just wed a financial piece group virtually like what I just described. And he actually had a group text going with all the folks in the group and he found that to be quite good and they stayed engaged throughout the duration. Um, you're always going to have folks drop out of things. What I found with doing the virtual group the way we did it, it gives people an easier way to come online. So thinking about the environment that we had at Christ fellowship or any, any church, not just, that's the one that three of us share in common. You have, uh, some folks that are our attenders and, and really the other folks who make it happen.

Ken Schafer: 12:15 Well, the folks that make things happen, like their schedule is pretty well tapped out. They're coming for, to serve. They're serving in a service on the weekend, maybe two. They're participating, they're in a small group, maybe immense group as well. And on top of that you're saying, hey, look, I want you to engage in this content. It's going to change your life. All I need is you to pause something else for nine weeks. Well, they don't want to stop something, right? But in nine 30 at night, they can engage for 30 extra minutes as long as they can do it from their home. Coming to a small group is hard, right? You've got to drive across town, you've got to worry about your kids. You've got to dive into the thing. And I'm not saying there's not a place, I have a small group meeting right now in my house in Franklin, Tennessee and I love these folks.

Ken Schafer: 12:54 Um, but there are seasons of being able to do that and there are more efficient, there can be more efficient ways to equip people. Here's a quick trivia question for you. You're ready and do you guys are Florida guys? So if you two are the Thomas Edison home on the West Coast of Florida, uh, one time when I two or they said what his favorite and mentioned was and his favorite invention was not what you'd think it was the phonograph. And the reason was not what you think when that was invented in the 19th century. Thomas Edison thought about that devices being the democratization of education that people would have access to education inexpensively and a distance and it's taken more than 140 years. But kind of in our modern world with online education, even in the church where online discipleship where some of those ideas, um, those barriers become blurred and his vision for that spun that becoming a little bit more of a reality.

Rey DeArmas: 13:47 It's funny because I, I as, as I've studied history throughout that, and it's, it's interesting that you pointed out that that was Edison's perspective. And I know we're kind of looking at a grander conversation here, but even then, I, I've seen that over time where a lot of folks look at new technologies and they see that in terms of sex birth, but then they try other folks come along and try and restrict that and control that. So, you know, Edison events, the photograph and then, you know, eventually other, you know, copyright becomes an issue and other folks start to constrict and control. Whereas the Internet has kind of freed a lot of content up and still a lot of folks are worried about, well how do we control this, control that. But especially for those of us in the church world, should we be asking more how to leverage this for free for the sake of helping folks in terms of engaging in community and not just the content?

Ken Schafer: 14:30 Yeah. How do we release it? I mean it's depending on how far back you go in history, movable type was considered the death of education. The idea that of printed that the masses could have books was going to be an issue and a problem. So, uh, I'm all about equipping people and I'm about a mute. I'm about removing their excuses. Be equipped. I want to, I want to meet people where they are. I mean, there's the, the performance oriented part of me. You, I just want to say sacrifice, suck it up and let's get it done. And then the more pastoral, compassionate side of me wants to make it easy and to bring people along. Somewhere in that mix is a,

Jeff Reed: 15:07 is the answer. That's good. Let me shift gears on something because we were talking about the easibility of education in, in this, um, what, what about the, in context of, of online, the anonymity, the safeness, the separation in context of what you're doing with, with FPU. I can be in an online group. Uh, I'm not in the physically same space. And so because I'm not like breathing the same air, uh, there's oftentimes with online small groups, in my experience, there's a safeness where people are more open to conversations. They're more transparent because there's not this embarrassment of I'm in the same space. They can see me blushing and turning red. They're seeing my pixel turn red. Uh, but not necessarily that. And so for me, like in an online, you just in my personal life and online small group tends to be more transparent than the physical because to me the camera gives the separation that allows more intimacy. I'm just wondering kind of either both of you guys, what's your experiences? I've been in something like that. Call it you go right? Cause I talked a lot.

Rey DeArmas: 16:21 Yeah, no it's all good cause I think and we want to hear more from, from you on the situation. Um, for me it's, it's really like what Kevin was talking about. It removes a lot of the excuses and you really start to find like who's really in and who's really out seriousness of community. Um, you know, and especially with, with discipleship, you know, so much of it, and this is hard in the local church content text because we want more groups and we want people bought into groups and, but then there's folks who are always telling you, hey, I want to go deeper. I want more. And so with online discipleship I found now you remove a lot of the excuses and you start to tell him, hey listen, if you really want to go deeper, if you want to go more, this is the commitment.

Rey DeArmas: 16:59 Like you don't have to worry about like what Ken said, he worried about putting kids worried about this because we're moving all of those excuses. What we do want to know is we want to know that one year engaging with the content and two that you're ready to have real discussion with it because we've removed a lot of the other barriers from there, which means that number three there left without excuses. So now we start to get to the nitty gritty if they, especially if they've not engaged with the first two steps. So that encourages people in the group to call them out. But then also as a leader, it's our responsibility to step up our game and call them out and enter into uncomfortable situations of, hey, in this particular case with Ramsey solutions, hey, so why didn't you watch the video this week? You know, we've given you an audio and a video portion of it. Why didn't you do those things on the side where I've done a online groups where we've, where we've done scripture reading, Hey, so seriously, like what was the excuse as far as not engaging with the scripture week? You could open the Bible app, you could have put it on audio and I know that leads to a lot of uncomfortable conversations, but it's those uncomfortable conversations that leads to growth.

Ken Schafer: 17:58 Yeah, and I would add that I think, I mean all, all three of us have spent our entire lives and a variety of ministry contexts. We each have small church, large church and medium church experience. Right. What all those have in common is that when people say churches are full of hypocrites, they're largely right. I mean I'm one. Yep. And so there's like intimacy in a church and transparency in person is difficult. I remember it was with a group of pastors maybe 15 years ago.

Ken Schafer: 18:25 It was a small group kind of accountability thing and they said how you doing? And like seven guys in a row said they were doing great and just painted it know fine. Right? And then the, the eighth one, I don't remember how many, there weren't as funny. I can't even remember this guy's name. But he said, actually, he says, I'm struggling. All right, I have, I have no motivation. And I knew we'll never forget it. He would set a couple other things and then he said, and when I opened up the Bible, it says dry as dust.

Rey DeArmas: 18:51 Wow.

Ken Schafer: 18:54 Well I've never seen that happen before. And so like the and, and, and that's, that's hard, right? It's hard to do that. But here's what was interesting about those pastors. They weren't all in the same church and as a group of pastors was kind of regional and they were meeting together. I wonder how difficult it would be for that same man to the pastor. And there's nothing wrong with him. We go through those seasons, that conversation with his elders or with his peers. So I think there is, there is some value

Ken Schafer: 19:19 and anonymity isn't right, but maybe, maybe distance. And so I've known financial peace groups just because that's, again, that's my current context where they happened with, with guys from multiple time zones. I mean, you're just so what's a lot easier to talk about? What might be right or wrong with my money or my spiritual walk? Uh, uh, with people I'm never likely to meet, right? I can see tremendous, uh, I can see tremendous power in that. But if you guys have ever, if you've ever been to a, to what, to an AA or an any meeting or anything like that. The name is alcoholics. What? Anonymous. Anonymous, right? Same. Same kind of deal. But we're going to, we're going to level set something so we all can recognize that we're struggling. So to me it's, it's the right tools, the right place. There's people for whom an online group or any kind of environment like that will never work. Right? And there's people for whom it's always the next best step.

Rey DeArmas: 20:12 And that's what's interesting about financial peace university. Right? I remember when we first, when Laura and I first launched our first FPU group, we actually had a visitor come to small group that night with, with his wife. And so like it was their first time ever to our group and they weren't even coming for an FPU group. They were just coming cause hey, we were a small group and we were, we just happen to be starting FPU that day. And I remember presenting the information and tell them, hey, listen, if you want, you can engage, you know, and if not, that's cool. And I remember them clears day telling me, yeah, we're okay. We don't need this as not for us. Whatever. Well they stay throughout the group, just engaging in the content and, and um, and then after the fact about two down the road, they themselves were asking if they can host an FPU group at their house. And really what it took was it took time for them to get in that kind of community where they felt comfortable enough to reveal their finances and all that. Cause they weren't going to be open with that from the get go. They weren't just gonna let us into their world like that from the first meeting. But after a while, the wall started to come down and they felt more ready to engage in community from then on.

Ken Schafer: 21:11 Yeah. And you know, that happens independent of content, right? So if you think about, if you think about, um, I mean and like men's discipleship content, you know, encrypted guys, they're not going to get together and ensure that they're struggling until maybe the second or third time today. Right. Right. And, and that is, um, just a reality of who we are and where we are in a, in a, in our intercultural. I don't think that struggles anything new. So I want to, Satan's best a Bain's best tactics is to let us think the word divided in alum and when in fact we're all struggling.

Rey DeArmas: 21:47 Hmm. That's true. How do you get in? How do you, how did you advise leaders to get beyond, um, just kind of the face answers. Cause I imagine a lot of folks just like you're talking about, come with, hey, I'm fine at group. A lot of folks are coming with their budget and it's a total lie.

Ken Schafer: 22:01 Yeah. I've never seen that. I don't know what you're talking about. That strategy doesn't change whether it's virtual or in person, right. It's you're only gonna get out of something what you put into it. And if you're, you know, if you're distorting your mirror, if you've got a fun house mirror instead of one that's showing you a real picture, like you're never going to make progress. So I mean it's, and that's independent of financial discussions, you know, I mean that's a conversation I'll have with everybody. Like who you are right now is the sum total of decisions you've made and what you've been reading and kind of your actions. So if you like it, let's keep doing that. And if you don't like it, let's change.

Speaker 4: 22:37 Okay.

Rey DeArmas: 22:37 Yeah. How do you help folks balance out when they're leading a group? So, Hey, I got, I got two types of people in my group. I've got one guy who's got a lot of money and he's a lot in debt and I've got another guy with a little bit of money. And he's a lot in debt for him too. Just balancing out those too because especially when you're doing online, like you get a variety of characters, you know, some folks who are business folks on the go and they think that they've got everything under control, troll with leverage and debt and then, uh, we're just struggling or like, hey look, I'm just getting by with free public internet

Ken Schafer: 23:08 when I go to the library. Yeah, yeah. Um, I don't know and I guess I haven't had that in an online environment. To me that's really a pastoring question. I want to pastor both of those guys. Right. So I want to ask them. I always I have is I have a set of stock questions. I asked people about any situation, financial or otherwise. One of them is what's the biblical principle that applies to your situation right now? And most of the time people know it.

Speaker 4: 23:34 Hmm.

Ken Schafer: 23:35 Right. And so then the question is, okay, well what do we need to do related to that biblical principle?

Speaker 4: 23:40 [inaudible]

Ken Schafer: 23:42 let me ask this because with, with you, with relationship with Ramsey,

Jeff Reed: 23:46 you're working with churches across the country, you're having these conversations, uh, about doing FPU. Um, you either, you know, physically and even virtually in some situations, uh, average response when you talk about FPU virtually, uh, churches. That's awesome. That's crazy. What is virtual? Like what, what is, what's the response? What's the temperature out there?

Ken Schafer: 24:11 Yeah, I would say the average responses open. Hmm. Really? And, and, and, and I think, but I think Jeff, I learned that from you. And so I'm going to and, and here's what I mean by that. That's the, the challenge to move content online is something I would probably not have considered, but for our friendship and what you are trying to help me accomplish. So when I talk to churches about that, I always talk about both hands. I say, we're going to, you know, we're going to help you plan something for you know, all your people to go through financial peace university. And then I will ask the question, what about your online strategy? And then if they have an online pastor and you and I know some of those guys in common, uh, so they bring that person into the conversation. And if they don't, I'll say, well, you know, what do you do online?

Ken Schafer: 24:52 How do you engage? And then I tell them exactly what I told you, which is, look, if we do it this way, you have an opportunity to pick up people that you won't otherwise get. And they say, tell me more about that. And I tell them the same thing and I throw them to game of Thrones and they always drop by contacts. So I'll say, you know, once a night though, I guess game of Thrones is off now I read, I'd never watched it. So sure you need another analogy. Game of Thrones, big little lies, big little lies, big little lies. Okay. Whatever it is. I'm sorry. Quick side note. You know we had, we had a coworker one time asked me if I'd seen stranger things and my answer was that what just cause I love it. I didn't know it was a thing. Even though as far as I'm concerned, the 1980s are the culmination of our civilization.

Ken Schafer: 25:40 So all that is side I set. Um, I, what I talk about is picking up stragglers. I don't, I don't want to use this as an exit Jesus, but I've been giving thought to what does it mean when, when, um, when Jesus leaves 99 sheep and gets one sheep. And I'm not saying that online. What is is is a, is it is, it is an application of that teaching. But I will say like using whatever tools we have to reach people that need to be reached for whatever thing it is we're trying to accomplish in the church, whether it's evangelism, whether it's discipleship, whether it's community, however it is you want to draw lines around those boxes, which kind of lead together. Um, they're, they're kind of into it. And so it's a non dealing almost primarily, almost exclusively with really large churches. That's kind of what I do.

Ken Schafer: 26:25 So they have a different set of resources at their disposal. But the hilarious thing is in the last week, like, well, what do we need to do? Is it something we need from you? I'm like, no, actually you already have financial peace and zoom is free. And they go that they said there's no other smelling. No, it isn't even our thing. We don't even sell it. We just tell you, give you a vision to do it on your own. And they say, yeah, that's it. Like, I don't, that's not something we do. We just want to, we want to create multiple ways for people to access content in groups.

Jeff Reed: 26:52 It's amazing. I can't find years ago, five years ago, I don't think it would've looked five years ago, wouldn't it looked like there's no way. Yeah, I know. And I will say this personally, like I've, I've seen just even within the past two years, um, conversations going from you're crazy. Like when I had these conversations with pastors in Churches, I've literally been told, you're crazy, 18 months, two years ago, now I'm being told, you're right. We're just not ready for that.

Ken Schafer: 27:19 Yeah, I get that. And so then again, in my context, which is very discreet, I have a beginning and an end. So I'm like, you know what? You're ready to try nine weeks, like just try this and if you hate it, stop doing it. Yeah. That's very easy.

Speaker 5: 27:35 [inaudible]

Rey DeArmas: 27:36 yeah. And that, that's gotta be helpful in the same way that, that in some ways, you know, financial peace groups have helped want, I'm going communities, you know, ongoing small groups. Some of these communities are going to continue on stick. Like whether it's for the existing online pastor or whether it's for somebody who gets caught a bug for it and they're like, hey, we just like hanging out with these folks. You know, we're going to keep doing this and we're going to keep studying the word together or something else. I mean, it's just a continuation of great community.

Jeff Reed: 28:02 So let me ask this because you see the big picture. Yeah. Your context is, is centered around RAMSI and FPU, which is, which is a nine week. The thing that I've always loved about you can, is your open to the, the honest conversations and, and you speak your mind. Um, so moving beyond the nine week window, theoretically this isn't your avenue, but I want you to speak into this. What challenges does the church need to overcome to create a holistically online biblical community that solely meets through zoom x thing, other platform, digital platforms?

Ken Schafer: 28:40 Well, you know, I think that as, that's really the question, right? That's something you want Kurzweil or somebody to, to kind of throw some mindspace space at. And I know people that pay more attention to that than I do. Um, given that a lot of words and a lot of thought.

Speaker 5: 28:58 Okay.

Ken Schafer: 28:59 I think

Speaker 5: 29:00 [inaudible]

Ken Schafer: 29:01 this is one of those areas where,

Speaker 5: 29:05 okay

Ken Schafer: 29:06 [inaudible] we're, we're change will ultimately become inevitable. And what I mean is society ultimately like, like the church will track with that. As people communicate, those changes just naturally come. So I don't know the wheat, we have a complete idea of what that looks like or what the barriers are. But if you think about, I mean, and you may have these statistics like how many workers in an average week use zoom to connect for something like, I don't use just zoom in zoom just in communities. I use it to do my job. Right? Right. So, so it's becoming more and more ubiquitous, which is like all time favorite sat word. I just love that word. So those barriers, those, those um, is the barriers come down. It just becomes that much more acceptable in common. So I think maybe the answer is as community, not church community, but just as community becomes increasingly digital and legitimate community.

Ken Schafer: 29:59 I don't mean Instagram influencer, tribe, Facebook happy pseudo stuff is people legitimately connect this way. It'll happen. It'll happen more and more and I don't, there's folks are that are always going to be on the front end of that like you to want to make that happen more quickly. Um, early innovators, adopters, that kind of thing. I don't, yeah, I don't know. I'm kind of struggling with that answer. It's the same thing I tell pastors, which is like, just try it because you can, you can undo it. Like you can just stop, but see, see what value you get in the, I think those answers ultimately emerge. That's okay. There's a period in my life where it's very easy for me to meet for breakfast meeting at six or 7:00 AM in the morning and I treasured those types of personal community and Cuban toast and you know, the whole thing in the cafeteria and Miami, the reality of where I live, the community that I'm in, the job I do instead, I'm like that meeting today is basically impossible for me, but that other ones are always possible

Rey DeArmas: 31:00 right there. Right. There was a hard thing for me to adapt as a, as a campus pastor that I think, um, like when I was leading a physical location, I was also going through a change of station life and that we just had a baby and so were beforehand I was like, Hey, I'm ready and adaptable for like 6:00 AM 7:00 AM meetings. That kind of thing. Where if I would have thought through, and this was a few years ago and even though I was super into tech and all this stuff, I didn't think through the concept of hey, this is a great space to leverage for community and for all this stuff. I think it would help me out tremendously and it, and it also would have freed up the volunteer here just on a regular basis in the sense of, hey, like you don't have to, you know, take time out of your workday and show up to a random Starbucks near you or whatever else. Like we can still meet and have this kind of community and it would've provided more time for genuine questions or to dig in a little bit further.

Ken Schafer: 31:46 But I mean, again, my own current circumstance when we just recently moved from five separate buildings in my company to one giant building, it's a huge campus and 800 some 50 something. Dave Ramsey employees are all in one place. And do you know what his is? He talked about that vision. He talked about how creativity was going to be unleashed people because we were in one location and, and I kinda heard that, but you know, I was not in that, I was not in our new offices two hours before. It's able to have a conversation and make something shorter and better because of the fact that guy was in my building that was previously in a different one. So it's always going to be a both. And we're not d we are, we are analog creatures, not digital creatures. Digital is the tool. Right. Great. That's good. Yeah. Love that. It's not in to that, to that point, like church online, a healthy online isn't the abandonment

Jeff Reed: 32:40 of, of the community. Uh, it's, it's the distribution of communities and, and other areas. And within recent weeks we've, we did a deep dive really discovering church anywhere, which is out of first capital, um, their location. They're doing 16 micro locations, you know, in a really small town, rural area of Indiana. We just got off a elevation within the past week as well. And talking about their watch parties and about how they're doing this in a big way. Saddleback is pushing the micro as well. And so like there's, there's legitimacy in, in not abandoning the physical space. God causes, God calls us, the Bible calls us not abandoned meeting together. Um, and that, that isn't necessarily what's happening, but the ability to, to encourage, to strengthen, to disciple, to help others grow, utilizing, uh, the virtual space here. Like zoom, uh, you know, you mentioned a text group earlier.

Jeff Reed: 33:39 WHATSAPP definitely does that. Uh, we've talked to people, uh, Jake, who does the, the video game, what platform is it? Discord. Um, Ray, we've talked with him in the past. He used like a, it's a whatsapp discord platform for that. You know, there, there's plenty of opportunities to, uh, to connect with, with community. One of the things that I love and I, and I heard, um, play Scroggins over at north port. I heard him say this at a, at a conference I was at. Um, the business world looks at the digital disruption as an opportunity. Um, and they see all of the, the functionalities and the features and the things and the business world adopts this digital disruption, all this new technology as a way to make what they do better as a general role. The church has been more hesitant in that area. It excites me.

Jeff Reed: 34:28 Can that you tell me that, you know, a lot of the larger churches than mega churches that you're working with have been pro doing this online and FPU may be the onramping towards changing some of that culture. Um, that aside though, it's been very difficult. Um, in recent years, churches may be starting to shift and get more on board and may be asking why or how and and that. But even still, like I had a conversation yesterday with the church that was actually going south, like they were wanting to shut down their online campus because it restricted and it was taking away so much from the physical space, which to me that's the worst thing you could ever do. But Hey, hey, let's stop the thing that's working. Yeah. You know, I, sorry, I'm eating, I'm not ostrich. Head in sand kind of came to mind, kind of joked with the, the guy, but unfortunately some of that, that mentality is still out there. And so man, thanks for using your platform with Dave Ramsey to try to bring some awareness to that. And even if it's just for a nine week trial period, going through FBU man, thanks for helping churches

Ken Schafer: 35:38 adopt that and start to realize the potential, uh, for education for community and context of using online. Yeah. Well this is, I mean, I'm all about discipling people and equipping them however it is that we need to do that, right? Whatever the tool is. So sometimes that'll be in person. Back in the day, it might've been a conference call. I've been a part of email list serves and chains going back. I mean, I'm going to go, that'll bring you back, right? It's an early nineties thing. And so there's the, I mean, the tools changed. Our mission doesn't, and so we want to, we want to engage in it, but we are awesome.

Jeff Reed: 36:18 Well, hey, it's been a great podcast, ray, closing thoughts before we, uh, land the plane here.

Rey DeArmas: 36:23 No, I'm grateful for what Ken has done and how you're, and how you're encouraging churches to continue to use a digital platforms just to try it out, to test it out, which is really what all this has been about. For those of you been listening for awhile, you know, that none of us have this down. We're all testing things. And so I'm gonna encourage you, you know, even if you don't do online groups, financial peace university is a great place to start. It's a great structure. And if you've never done FPU it's changed my life. It'll change yours.

Ken Schafer: 36:49 Well that was a good plug. I'll take that,

Jeff Reed: 36:55 Ken, anything on, on your side? Anything. The land, the plane.

Ken Schafer: 36:59 But you know, here's, uh, I'll, I'll, I'll finish where I started, which is, I'm probably the least digitally engaged person, you know. Uh, and, and I still have a, I still believe that there is room for guys like me to access content in a digital or an online environment. And I've helped people change their lives this way. And when I do that in my life has changed. So there's, um, the, Paul talked about being all things to all people, so that all means he might win some. Again, we're not going to draw a theology of online church, uh, from, from, uh, a couple of random verses. But I think there's something to that idea. Uh, before W I was saying no to something, I was want to say what if it worked. That's good. Amen.

Jeff Reed: 37:42 So since you're not socially, uh, accessible because you don't even know how to spell Twitter, um, if somebody wanted to reach out to you, yeah. What's, what's a good way or, or to get in touch with Ramsey?

Ken Schafer: 37:53 Oh, signal smokes. Yeah. Smoke signals. Uh, well it's a, it's a pretty good question. Um, so I, I have an email address, which is ken.Shaffer@daveramsey.com. Email is something that people use before Instagram and Twitter and Facebook. Um, so Ken dot Shaffer Shaffer is s c h, a f. E. R. Then that's probably the easiest and fastest way to find me.

Jeff Reed: 38:16 So we'll put, we'll put that in the show notes. Um, as well as a number of articles. Why a kid needs to watch stranger things. If there's anyone on this planet can I need to watch

Ken Schafer: 38:29 you think your thanks Siri. You well maybe I'll check it out and I, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm, I felt pretty

Jeff Reed: 38:35 good earlier this year when I finally watched my first episode of the Big Bang theory about two months before went off the air. Apparently there's this new show called the office also. I might check that out. You have Netflix. It's all going to go sue. It's all going away. I'm going to speak your language here, Ken. Um, it is a, it is a, if, if you are a fan, which I know you are a venture of Bond Buckaroo Bonzai yes. He, the, the stylistic newness of that in an eighties. The randomness of it exists in stranger things. I might have to check it out. I'll see if I can, I do not. Okay. It's not like, you know, what's his name wearing the cowboy. They sell it on VHS. Funny enough, I think that, yes, like I just, I cannot believe you have not gotten into the stranger things thing.

Jeff Reed: 39:27 So we're going to Ralph. I'll see what I can do. Awesome. Thank you. So you're so, hey, this has been the church digital podcast and not the stranger things fan club. That's another podcast that ray and I will probably start sometime soon and used to be that, that speaker, hey, but this has been a great conversation on church online and creating these biblical communities. Uh, Kent, man, thanks for jumping on this and just helping us wrestle through this. Um, thank you for always telling me no, Jeff, you're stupid. But then listen afterwards and at least being humbled enough to say, hey, you know what? You may actually be right. Cause that actually is really encouraging thing. So let's say broken watches is right twice a day. So all good, awesome. Totally insulted right now. But we're going to take a whiff and I'm going to walk away. So thanks everybody for listening and we'll see you next time here at the church. Digital podcasts. Y'All have a good day.

 
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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 Church Online.

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