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PODCAST 030: Andy Mage & The TikTok Revolution

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I love a church that takes a risk. That’s what Bay Hope Church has done. Evidently, there’s this thing called TikTok. It’s currently the #1 app downloaded from the iOS App Store, and with over 80% of teens currently owning an iPhone, it’s quite obvious there’s a digital mission field in front of us.

Enter Andy Mage and Jessica Spivey from Bay Hope Church in Tampa, Florida. They’ve been experimenting with TikTok with some good success thus far. How’d they get started? What does the content look like? How have the responses gone? Find out here on THE CHURCH DIGITAL PODCAST.


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ON THE SHOW

Guest: Andy Mage
Bay Hope Church
Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

Guest: Jessica Spivey
Bay Hope Church
Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

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

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

SHOW NOTES

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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 Episode 30 of The Church Digital Podcast. Okay, well let's pause here for a second. I just want to tell you, I can't believe we've done 30 of these things and I wanna thank you, listening audience, for your reception and your comments and a lot of the shares that we've been getting here on The Church Digital Podcast. I hope this has been rewarding for you as together, we wrestle with what this idea of church online and digital church. What this essentially is because I don't know that we all have the answers, but together I think we can get to the answer. So here's where we are with Episode 30, I was doing an online Bible Study with some online pastors a week or so ago and just was asking the question, Hey, tell me something great that happened this week. And one of the pastors, Andy Mage from Bay Hope, raised his hand, that's weird in an online environment. But he started telling us a story about all the success that he's had through his church or his church has had in context of Tiktok. And that brought me pause cause you know, I don't hear a lot of church success stories in context of TikTok and I'm always interested to talk to a church that's doing something different. So I reached out to Andy afterwards and said, Hey, let's get on a podcast and just dig deeper into this. So here's where we are. We're bringing in a conversation on TikTok throwing in some YouTube and just a lot of, call it unconventional video strategies in context of church and church online. So we're bringing an Andy Mage, who like I said, is the Online Pastor over at Bay Hope Church in Tampa, as well as, Jessica Spivey, who is the Social Media Director there for the church, coupled with Rey DeArmas from Christ Fellowship Miami, once again, cohosting the show with myself, Jeff with The Church Digital and a conversation that I'm calling the TikTok Revolution. Hey everybody, here you go.

Jessica Spivey: 01:47 So I started the TikTok roughly about a month ago, actually on Friday is our one month anniversary.

Rey DeArmas: 01:54 Happy anniversary.

Jessica Spivey: 01:54 So back in the summer, my daughter who was seven and went to a cheerleading camp and she came home talking about TikTok and I was like, what in the world is she talking about? She's like, we really got to watch the videos and make the videos. I was like, okay, I'm going to make an account so that I can monitor. Obviously she's seven, I'm going to monitor what she's looking at. So there are certain people that we follow that she can watch only the following page, not the for you page and that kinda thing. So we did that and as I was scrolling through these Christians started to pop up in my feet and they were, Hey, here's the verse of the day, or Hey, let's pray together today.

Jessica Spivey: 02:30 Really cool positive things. And I was like, wait a second, there's a spot for a church here. And so I came into, came into work and I said, Hey, I want to do this thing. I want to start this. TikTok. And our Communications Director was like, okay, but don't like waste a lot of time on it in case it flops. Okay. Not exactly what he said, but pretty much. And so here we are, a month later, we've been repurposing content that we already had existing quotes from messages, bits of our Bay Hope Worship team, various different bits that we've been repurposing for TikTok to not spend too much time on it. We have 3,500 followers as of this morning, which is crazy. We have one video in particular of our, the Harbor Pastor, him giving, it's a bit of his sermon that he gave it a month or two ago and that video has seen over 40,000 views. So that's incredible.

Rey DeArmas: 03:25 This is one of the benefits I think of not being maybe first to market, but maybe one of the first as far as a lot of that's concerned. So, tell us, I know you said you're taking some quotes from messages. What else are you guys leveraging for content and how often are you posting content?

Jessica Spivey: 03:42 So I'm trying to post roughly once a day and I'm experimenting with does morning do better, does afternoon do better? A lot of people are on their phones at night and TikTok runs, we're seeing if I'm posting in that three to four o'clock afternoon range that we see more views through there. There, unfortunately, with the analytics not being what they should be for brands yet, I know that we will, it's difficult for me to see, you know, does the time of day matter do the hashtags that I use matter do. So it's a very labor intensive process to see why did this one do better than this one to go back to the day and time and you know, the time of day that I posted because that's not something that TikTok holds, they do hold what day you post but not what time you post. So there's some tracking that you have to do manually currently, but I think they'll get better at as they branch out into these, you know, brands and companies using TikTok.

Andy Mage: 04:33 Well, I'm a bit of a nerd on TikTok. Like I see something funny and I'm like, I want to do that. Like, I want to have, you know, a song and like it's the thing from Guardians of Galaxy and people jumping into pools and like I want to be one, you know, I want to be one of the Avengers type thing, but she has kind of tempered that and she has been able to show that like, Hey, if we post, you know, simple standups of me or some of our younger people think, Hey, it's like, we just posted one on Monday. And it was me standing in our coffee house saying, Hey, it's Andy, the Online Campus Pastor and I just want to, you know, it's Monday, it's going to be a long week. How can we pray for you?

Andy Mage: 05:08 That type of thing. And people filling up the comments and liking the thing and you know, it's not as much as we'd like. Like this video of our Harbor Pastor, Chris, 40,000 views. It's got, I dunno, 4,000 hearts or likes on it. I mean something, it's ridiculous numbers and the engagement, the surface level engagement, the comments, and she's pulling it up right now so we can actually get it. It's, 11.1K likes and 114 comments on it with 47,000 views. On just one video from less than a month ago and people are commenting and like, amen and Hey, I needed to hear this and you know, that type of thing. We've, you can see in the development of Snapchat, started as like this thing for 18 to 25 year olds, maybe 16 to 25 year olds.

Andy Mage: 05:58 Then the brands caught up to it and it expanded. And now everybody else's on board. So old people like us are onboard. So young people, brands, everybody. And that's kind of what's happening with TikTok right now. It went from being this, you know, daughters what wanted to download it. My daughter, she's 12, well, she's 13 now. When she was 12 she came home and said, I want to download this app called Music.ly, which Music.ly ended up turning into a form of TikTok. And my wife and I said, no, absolutely not. Like we, cause I was scrolling through, I was like, well there's girls in bikinis and there's dudes without their shirts on and they're singing Will Smith songs and then there's like Chiney and all sorts of stuff. Like no we're not going to have that. Right. But, but we're watching TikTok evolve from just this lip sync thing.

Andy Mage: 06:47 Like Hey, we're going to have fun into almost this other social media platform. And I'm interested, and I know she as the Social Media Coordinator. I know she's interested to see how we can actually start to draw, not just analytics but engagement out of that more than just a one way conversation. Me talking to you, how can we enter into a conversation that isn't, is more than just a heart on a screen. That's good. Are you guys engaging people with next steps to TikTok like, Hey, you know, catch this clip, watch it on YouTube or how does that work?

Jessica Spivey: 07:21 So yes, there's a couple of ways that we're doing that when they, our Bay Hope Worship Team recently released a new songs so yes, I directed them to YouTube. However, TikTok wants you to stay in TikTok. You can't link outside. Which makes it difficult, basically you're telling people to go search for something on YouTube. Now you can connect your Instagram page and your YouTube page in your profile. So, you can say go to the YouTube channel on our profile. So those two things are nice to have, but you can't direct them to a specific video. It's not like Instagram where you can say Link in bio or that, you know, it's not a direct link, so there's several steps which I as a marketer don't love because the fewer number of steps means that you know, the likelihood that they're actually going to get where you want them to get. Were trying to, especially on like Saturday, I post a video clip or a music clip and I'll say join us Sunday, you know, the next day hoping that people see it overnight at 9:30 or 11. And I include our website in text over the video of where to go see because they can't click it anywhere that I post it, they're not going to click it. So, that, I hope that that changes, but I understand TikTok wanting everybody to stay in TikTok.

Andy Mage: 08:33 And she's the real genius behind all this. Like Jessica's been, she spearheaded it. She's been the one kind of talking about all this and she's coming up with all these bright ideas and I'm going, yeah man. Like this is, you're the genius in all of this. I'm just along for the ride. It's great. It's awesome to watch.

Rey DeArmas: 08:48 That's great. And I'm glad that you guys are working together as a team on this. Jessica, let me ask how much, I don't want to call it like overproduced, but like really produced content are you guys doing? Are you just taking, you know, moments of the sermon or are you literally holding up your device and recording on the spot for a lot of this content?

Jessica Spivey: 09:07 No, so I'm downloading our, and I do this for our social media, as well. So basically it's kind of a repurpose of the content. I download our service from stream monkey and I chop it up and I pull quotes from this past weekend. Like I have a quote that's set up, pulled, that I'm getting somebody to add text to cause I don't know how to do that yet. I do, but they don't trust me yet, I guess is the short version.

Rey DeArmas: 09:29 It's better off to hand that off anyways. You're good.

Jessica Spivey: 09:31 I don't have time for that. But so I pulled the clips and then I'm using it in that way. I'm also posting them on our Facebook and our Instagram as video clips with, you know, provoking question or whatever to say, you know, what was the key point from the weekend that you caught? So I'm using it in multiple different ways. I'm assuming I'm TikTok that they probably don't go to our church. So I'm not gonna ask that question of how did you reflect on the weekend? I'm saying here's a clip from our weekend message. Go watch the full version of it at bayhope.com. That's how I'm using it on TikTok.

Rey DeArmas: 10:00 That's great because not all of us, and this is even speaking, you know, at a large mega church with a lot of sites, not all of us have that kind of swag that we're getting the swipe up feature on Instagram like seriously. And so this provides to me just based off of this conversation, this provides another method to help draw young viewers and to push them. Just some of those next steps. Now out of curiosity, the clip that's got all these crazy amount of views, what was it? What was the subject matter?

Jessica Spivey: 10:26 The subject matter, he starts off his quote and he says, get along with God. You know, we spend more time on sports center than we do in the word. And he carries it on a little bit further from there. But basically he's challenging, you know, this notion that, all these other things are important. You know, we'll wake up earlier, we'll stay up late for a game or whatever, but we won't wake up 30 minutes early to read a Bible. That was the challenge. And so I think because it was more of a challenge than it was just a passive quote. I think that's part of what it did. I also, in that particular post use a, whenever you post a video, it shows you the top three hashtags. So I used one of those hashtags and it was #makeitawesome. Not exactly related to our content, so every time that I post, I try to use one of those top three, making sure it makes sense with our context so that that engagement is a little higher. Figuring out what the rhyme or reason behind the algorithms in TikTok is a little bit of a mystery right now.

Rey DeArmas: 11:29 So tell me about that, because this right here is an interesting conversation to me because hashtags can either be very insider focused or you can leverage them to help reach folks within content that they're driving towards. And so tell me a little bit more about how you've been doing it.

Jessica Spivey: 11:44 And I agree and actually your question challenges some of the hashtags that I've been using. You know, if the goal on TikTok we're assuming that this audience is younger probably doesn't attend our church. That's the direction that we're the audience that we're speaking to. If I'm using hashtags like faith and Jesus and people are probably searching those probably already know Jesus. And so it may be, you know, using whatever the popular ones are. But even thinking through having a rough day, you know, I mean, thinking through those other hashtags that could be used to really reach that audience is a good one. I always use #Tampa, because that's physically where we are. But that doesn't mean that obviously we can't connect with somebody outside of that scenario.

Rey DeArmas: 12:28 That's great.

Jeff Reed: 12:28 Have you guys seen an increase? So like the sermon you posted, the clip for 40,000, 47,000 views, referenced YouTube, to watch the full sermon. Have you guys seen an increase in traffic on like YouTube on some of the others? Are they following through?

Andy Mage: 12:46 So YouTube is a different thing for us right now because we have two different YouTube pages. We have one for the main church and then we have one for our worship team and leadership team. And we can talk about that in a second. We've seen an enormous increase in the worship team, but, that's not from TikTok. That's from some advertising and some other things we've been doing, we've had some marketing dollars to push behind that and she's been spearheading that and I've just been able to be like, Hey, I'm gonna look at these conversations cause these are great. But in terms of actually looking at the stream monkey, the video on demand views, they've upticked slightly. I mean maybe I'm talking to the tune of maybe 10 to 20 a week. I can't tell if that's because we're also growing the Online Campus community around it. I can't tell if it's directly related to TikTok. There's no one to one that I can look at inside Stream Monkey.

Jessica Spivey: 13:38 Well it's because there's no way to link in TikTok. We can't throw up a live.bayhope.com/tiktok to track any of that traffic to see where are they actually coming.

Rey DeArmas: 13:49 Yeah, that right there is interesting because TikTok, right now it's actually young demographic. I saw somebody tweet this out yesterday, you know, yesterday, Ellen degenerates posted her thing about, Hey, how we can get along with diverse perspectives. Somebody tweeted this out, they said the people on Facebook are mad at George Bush for hanging out with Ellen. The people on Twitter are mad at Ellen for hanging out with George Bush and the people on TikTok have no idea who either of those people are.

Andy Mage: 14:15 And it's funny, I read that same thing and I laughed like I laughed so hard because it was like, A. You're absolutely right. B, if you look at the demographic of TikTok. And the interesting thing to me is that the video that has, that we're referencing here, Chris is, you know, he's a good looking dude. He's a young guy. He's what, 28, 29 30, right around there, charismatic, all that other stuff. He's 35. Okay. So he's just a little, whatever. I look weathered cause I'm bald. He, you know, like I said, a decent looking dude. The demographic of TikTok is what, 16 to 22 year old girls. I mean, for the most part, that's what you see. You're scrolling through the or these "thirsty guys" that are trying to, yeah, like trying to hook up with these girls.

Andy Mage: 14:57 It's like, man, you are on the wrong platform for this. My friend like you, talking about how good you look with your shirt off. So like I'm, delete, like get out of here. But, so that's the interesting thing. But the flip side as a pastor for me is, and this is the thing that has gotten me fired up and I think got her fired up too. I'm going back through James Emory White's "Meet Gen Z", a brilliant book. if you've never read it, James Emory White, it's like I want to high five that dude and give him a bear hug all at the same time because he's touching and this back in 2017 he's touching on something that I don't think churches for the most part, are recognizing and realizing, and she referenced it just a second ago.

Andy Mage: 15:39 We're not worried about the people that are already saved. The hashtag faith people that are Googling and searching #faith are for the most part died in the wool or you know, they're maybe newer believers and stuff like that. That's fine. I'm not worried about them. TikTok we're not worried about them. We are worried about the people that we can feasibly take and start having a conversation about God because what the, and James Emory White talks about this the Gen Z generation. So the generation just behind, she and I is open to spiritual conversations. They're not like millennials where it was just this antagonistic, atheistic or atheist stroke agnostic view. They're open to spiritual conversations and I had this like brainwave couple weeks ago, Apple released the new iPhone. I don't know if you guys knew that, but I, it's iPhone season.

Andy Mage: 16:34 It's my favorite time of the year. I've had every iPhone since the first one. I missed one. It was the 3GS. I missed it. But every single one I've had, because I'm a nerd and I was in the AT&T store trying to figure some stuff out. And I was talking with a 25, 26 year old sales rep right after I finished this Meet Gen Z book and we were just sitting there rapping a little bit and he said, what do you do? And I said, well, I'm a pastor and at a church up the road. And he, his eyes like lit up and he turned to me and he said, Oh you are, huh? And I said, yeah, like, you know, if you want to talk something spiritual. And I was just kind of throwing it out there, joking, cause I've got tattoos and stuff.

Andy Mage: 17:14 And I was like, yeah, I just want to talk about some spiritual. And he looked at me dead in the eyes and we had a 45 minute conversation in the Apple store or in the AT&T store, excuse me, about his faith journey, about the fact that he had tried Catholicism and he was, he grew up Baptist, but then he turned Catholic and then he was Hindu. And then he looked at Buddhism and then he gave me the whole, you know, I think, every religion is looking at different parts of the same God, you know, that apologetic. And I'm sitting here going, wait a minute, these are the people that we can reach on TikTok. If we can just figure it out. This guy right here, and his generation are being represented on this app that you can earn 15 second sound bytes. How do we do something with that?

Rey DeArmas: 17:59 That's good. And so you guys aren't necessarily pushing the people inside your church to follow you on, TikTok, you guys are leveraging this for more missional work. Like, Hey, we're just, we're throwing out a big net.

Jessica Spivey: 18:09 I made no promotion on our social media or anything else about, we even have one. The only discussion that we've had is internal. A few of us used to go, are you on it or you just to ask. Because half of the time, you know, I mean I'm 34, so you know, my teenager, I have a 20 year old stepdaughter, she doesn't even have TikTok. So it's this weird, some of them are on it, some of it see it as cringy. It's kind of a mixed bag.

Rey DeArmas: 18:35 But that's right there is already a shift in thinking, because you know, most of the time whenever we launch something and maybe I'm looking a little too internal in my space. We think, Oh well we're going to promote this internally as well. You know, you guys aren't really saying a word. You guys are allowing this to just continue to spread virally, literally like through different channels, through this channel and allow it to just kind of organically take on its own life.

Andy Mage: 18:59 And that might be, it's funny, I had a one on one with our, her boss, our Communications Director yesterday and we were talking about a number of different facets of online and you know, TikTok and social media and all this other stuff. And, just kind of talking about where we could line that up within the online campus realm. But what I drew from that is I think one of the reasons we're not promoting it is that we're a little scared of it. We're a little scared of the behemoth it could become, or the flop that it could be. And you know, I think the innovator, you know, who was the light bulb was invented 99 times before we thought the hundredth time was the correct one. Like, we don't want to be, but we're results oriented people, we're a results oriented society and we want to be able to hold this thing up to everybody and say, look, look how awesome it's doing.

Andy Mage: 19:50 We don't necessarily want to fail. But I think on the flip side too, she more than anybody else taking a huge risk. I mean, like I said, she's the brains behind this entire operation. She's taken a huge risk in this by even bringing it to her boss and saying, Hey, I want to try this. The cool part about the church culture we're in is that there's a lot of spaghetti being thrown at walls and seeing what sticks. And so we're allowed, we have the opportunity and the resource and the time and the managerial capacity over us to say, yeah, go ahead and try it. Just make sure that, you know, you're staying on track as well.

Rey DeArmas: 20:26 One of the things that, you know, as Jeff and I have talked to different folks, we see this in so many different spaces. And so that's where, you know, I want to encourage you guys and I think it's wonderful that you're trying that out, is, you know, a lot of us are trying to just throw the spaghetti at the wall and see if it sticks. We have, we're riding a wave, we don't know where it's gonna take. You know, and I think it's wonderful that you're doing that, as you ride this wave, in thinking, I mean, I know that it's difficult because you guys are looking at this in purely evangelistic form. Has there been somebody who is like, Hey, how can I take a next step with your church? Has that happened yet where somebody turned a corner on this?

Jessica Spivey: 21:05 It's not yet. We've had several that have commented that, you know, I went back through last night and saw several, my grandmother passed away, I'm interviewing for a scholarship and I'd love prayers for that. Several different comments in that nature. The first one popped up today or was it last night? Remember? The first one popped up recently that was, Hey, I'm in Trinity and I love seeing this in my for you page, which was really cool. Trinity Tampa is literally like 15 minutes away from where we are. Super excited. Now of course. I did open our messaging option, cause I was a little hesitant to do that. I didn't know what would come through and I did message her and just say, Hey, do you have a church home? You know, if you do, she hadn't responded yet.

Jessica Spivey: 21:47 But if you do, great, awesome. You know, we're not calling you to leave there, but if you don't, we'd love for you to be a part of our Bay Hope family. So I think, kind of there's, two-fold, listening to those comments and then responding to them if possible, is gonna be very, very integral cause to receive a comment or a somebody asks for a prayer. I haven't done this yet, but I think the next step in this prayer journey right now, I've just been commenting, we're praying for you right now. Please follow up with us. Or, you know, we'd love to hear how this situation turns out, but it's just send them a message with a prayer like literally what I'm praying written out for them. I think that would be incredible. Incredibly powerful. So I think that's kind of the next step in this engaging these folks in this sphere.

Andy Mage: 22:34 I've had a lot of conversation. It's funny she brings that up. I was having this conversation with somebody I was meeting with yesterday and they're distrusting of the, Carey Neuhoff, just released a podcast and they were, they were bringing it up with how the guests that was on Neuhoff's podcasts was saying that, you know, he's come full circle on online church and how it can't actually be an online thing because, you know, how can you, when it comes down to it, how can you really buy somebody a cup of coffee online? That type of thing. Which I think is a completely spurious. I understand what he's saying and I understand the full circle he's come on, but at the same time, and I grew up as an online gamer and some very good friends of mine that I still talk to live across the country.

Andy Mage: 23:16 And that's just for playing, you know, World of Warcraft when I was younger. So all that to say what we were talking about with this idea about the prayers and stuff. We were actually talking about it in the church online platform that we use, provided by Life.Church and all that. We stream into that and there's a live prayer button and that's become more and more active over the last couple of months as we've started to put a little bit more engagement into our chat room and say, Hey, all you gotta do is click that live prayer button. And people honestly feel like they're being prayed for because as I'm sitting there typing out prayers, or she was handling it up. She's sitting there praying this prayer that she's typing out and people are more apt in today's day and age to receive that as, Hey, there's an actual person there that's caring for me and loving on me.

Andy Mage: 24:02 Then I think they would have maybe five years ago. And so the idea of an 18 year old or whoever this was in Trinity, I'm saying 18 because that's just the kind of demographic I have in my head, this person in Trinity, if she can, if Jessica, can open a conversation and open a dialogue and, or with these prayer requests and actually pray for these people, how much more are they going to feel the spirit of God upon them even just through a text chat then they would have five years ago. I think we're in an interesting environment right now and I'm interested to see where it goes.

Jessica Spivey: 24:35 So do you guys remember, I think it was a Steven Curtis Chapman songs was, let us pray. I grew up in a Baptist church. I think that song was like on repeat for us. But I think in this day and age, people say, especially in the church, great, I'll be praying for you. Do they really? And then, you know, follow that through with, you know, sending you positive vibes and like there's a whole culture of yes, I'm sending you positive things, but until we actually do it doesn't mean anything to them. We may be going back to pray for them, but if they don't know it, the value is not there for them. And I think that it was really uncomfortable the first time I did online campus and somebody puts in the prayer. It was like, I don't even know what to do.

Jessica Spivey: 25:21 Cause I am not Pastoral background. That's not, it's just not what I'm good at but so typing out a prayer was strange and it was weird for me. I don't know on the receiving end how that feels or what that feels like, but it was weird for me. But doing it, it caused me to stop and pause to think about, okay, am I praying what they would want prayed for them. You know, am I really directing my prayers in the way that, you know, am I really representing the request accurately?

Jeff Reed: 25:58 Yeah. It's not surprising that a guy, and going back to the Neuhoff podcast, a man who is very popular in context and very knowledgeable in church growth is not going to identify with church online. Because church online is a, I think it's a new model of church. It's a whole other thing. And the thing that really struggles for church growth is, for church online, is that we're trying to get these organizations that are used to church growth first to identify with this completely separate model. You just prayed with somebody online by typing into a text box in a web browser, and the person who's watching, utilizing the chop church online platform is engaging with that and receiving that. You're, you are connecting on a spiritual level and making a difference in that person's life. And none of that is reconcilable by an organization that's counting butts in seats as the model for success.

Jeff Reed: 27:06 You know, a lot of the tensions that you're even like trying to figure out in context of, TikTok like TikTok for a church growth organization, it's not gonna you can't reconcile that. It's kind of like your communications director saying, Hey, just, you know, don't waste a lot of time on it. Okay. Because at the end of the day, the metrics to try to figure out, okay, was this a success? Did it get butts in seats? Did it get people into the next steps like that? It's hard to reconcile that because the platform is so young.

Jessica Spivey: 27:43 Right. And the numbers do help and they give you the context for it. But really I think it's going to come when we find that those people that maybe they're physically here, maybe they're not, but they start connecting with our online campus. They join in and say, Hey, I found you on TikTok or we, you know, what the conversations, the messages even within TikTok, when those start to show results of life change, I think that's gonna be our, it's not a number and that's what's different, but that's gonna be our proof in the pudding if you will. That's going to be the, okay, this is working. We're really reaching people and people are really seeing Jesus, you know, in what we're posting.

Rey DeArmas: 28:22 The thing that I love about all of this is that it's a great way. To one, we've got to ask ourselves what is the real mission and two, how are we efficiently accomplishing that? Because you guys are repurposing content. What's more efficient than that? Like it's not like you are spending.

Jessica Spivey: 28:38 I went through my phone, and I uploaded, you can upload videos as a draft. So I went to background, all of the videos that we had done in the last six, eight months and I just uploaded them as a draft. So they're all sitting there in this bucket. All I have to do is make, you know, create a caption for them to push out. That's it. Like if a church is looking to move in this direction, even if it's just as an experiment. You know, there's a lot of really cool features. The drafts is really cool cause you can, even in the draft you can already put in the caption. I didn't happen to do that. You can set up the hashtags and all of that in the caption. You can set the, like the cover photo. So the photo that people will see when they're scrolling through, so you can set all of that, have it in there. You do have to manually push it. Obviously there's no schedule or for TikTok yet, but I mean I kind of hope there will be one day integration.

Jeff Reed: 29:35 Alright, so HootSuite if you're listening, you know, make a note.

Andy Mage: 29:42 We're TMing. Oh yeah. And stories. So we're tming all of this right now. We're gonna mail this podcast to ourselves.

Rey DeArmas: 29:48 Please do.

Jeff Reed: 29:49 Awesome. So, and this has been a been a lot of TikTok, which is awesome. Where are you guys, how we're utilizing YouTube? Like what are some takeaways from that? What successes have you seen in that area?

Andy Mage: 30:01 All right, well okay, so we have two lanes of YouTube right now. Three technically, but one of them is my own personal one. So the first, the two church ones, we have our regular Bay Hope Church YouTube paid and it doesn't have a whole lot of followers. Maybe 300, maybe less than that. Maybe 400, not a whole lot for a church our size. So that is, you know, through stream monkey we stream services to chop church online platform to Facebook and to YouTube.

Andy Mage: 30:34 And it's just a way to kind of catch all. And then, on Mondays, either she or it's usually you right go in and chop up the sermon and just make sure it's there with a hashtag live or something. Hey, this is our live service, go look at it. And that provides long form content. It also is a land, the main church page is also a landing place for a lot of our short form stuff. So we're doing Bible stories with our curriculum developer who's this amazing lady named Lynn. We're using it for what, stories of care and things like that.

Jessica Spivey: 31:04 Yeah. Anytime that there's a story that's shown on our weekend, in our weekend message, I generally like to share that on our social medias, YouTube included. So that's a two to three minute video that tells a story of somebody hear at our church. So we just recently did a, care week basically is what we called it. And we had five different stories for five different days, exactly what it sounds like. And every single day I posted a new care story. It was how they were reached via the care ministry or how serving on a care team has impacted their lives. So, those stories are there. We've got some of our kid's ministry stuff there as well. It kind of lived there before I came on board, and that's the milestone. So the things that they, Bible presentation, baptism, those kinds of steps that kids take through the kids' ministry process. Those are all lived there. And I had different playlists for them. But yeah, I mean every Monday I come in and I change the title because it's just a Bay Hope Live stream or whatever string monkey pushes through. I change it to the title of the message, you know, who spoke it. I always put hashtag live because that's how our, Executive Director of Creative, he pulls all those reports for, the actual live audience views.

Andy Mage: 32:15 And so there's that lane. So that's the main church visibility lane. And then we have a separate, YouTube page for our worship team and Bay Hope Worship is becoming a thing. And it's been a thing for a little bit, for a couple of years they've been recording music and recording albums and all this. But recently, so what, back in March, they did a gigantic worship night and it was the kind of the first real Genesis of this type thing. And this is, you know, every church in the last 15 years, every big church in the last 15 years has done an album and all that. It's been special for our church, special for our congregation, special for particularly my family, cause my brother and sister are, kind of leads in the worship area. So for us it's been great, but for the church it's been even more edifying because now they're able to chop all these songs up.

Andy Mage: 33:05 We're releasing them one by one every two weeks or so. It goes up on Spotify, it goes up through YouTube and then it goes into where? Into Apple music as well, I believe, and then through YouTube we're just cutting these, videos and we've got an amazing kind of videography team. And, you know, everything's getting mixed down and it looks real professional. And we pushed that out and there's big promotion and hoorah and festivals and all that behind each single that goes out. But we're also, and this, and she can speak more to this, we're putting money behind that worship page specifically because worship music is huge. Obviously it's one of the most searched Christian things on YouTube. Christian sites, you know, the rise of Bethel and Jesus Culture could be intimately tied to the rise of YouTube as well. I can sit here and make a case for that. I'm not going to, but that there is that case. And so I don't know how much money we've been throwing at it, but enough.

Jessica Spivey: 34:04 I don't know. I did not create the ads. Our video guy really kind of wanted to lean into the YouTube, all of that. And I'm like, this is not my area of expertise. I don't mind learning, but if you want to give it a try. And so he's really been leaning into it. He's promoting specific videos, as the suggested video after you watch something. So and I don't, I've never seen the backside, so I don't know if there's criteria that you give it and you know, I'm sure there are. I'm sure there is, criteria that you give it to then, you know, it's gonna follow something of a light content. It's not going to follow something that's super inappropriate. I don't know, maybe it should

Andy Mage: 34:40 The most recent video that got released two Fridays ago has upwards of 50,000 or 60,000 views on it already. It's jumped hundreds of subscribers. We're over a thousand, well over a thousand I think.

Jeff Reed: 34:55 So you're doing it on a separate page organizationally. Why not do it on the church pages, as well?

Andy Mage: 35:02 So that's an interesting, interesting question. And I raised that as well, because that was created before I was here that split, and actually probably before you were hear?

Jessica Spivey: 35:14 The split was there before me. And so I have operated in this space of like, our students have an account of their own. Do they really need one of their own? I don't know. But when I came on board, there were multiple accounts, all of these things. So we've really tried to curtail that down because if you're throwing this, you know, if you're pushing out content on 10 different places, with these little teeny tiny audiences, your reach is obviously less, but if you've got one place, and so I would say we're doing that because it is before we arrived. I think ideally it would be a conglomeration if a church is looking to do something like this, that it would be one channel, all of that, you'd have a playlist that would be your music stuff. Now I do have a playlist on our main page that reflects the videos that they posted as well. So we're kind of circularly pointing that.

Jeff Reed: 36:05 Yeah, that's good. If, I'm putting on the online campus, the church online hat, if I'm putting on the church online hat now I'm thinking, okay, well if I can use these paid music ads to get them to subscribe to the main campus, to the main feed and then from there, funnel them into next steps or something like that. So, yeah, that would be ideal. And, you know, of course everything's a work in progress right? When you come on. You know, and Andy, you've been there four months, even even Jessica, two years, like I know that that's, it's a slow process sometimes to work through fun stories involving myself where I came on, I was working for another church and I'd been there like six months and the executive pastor called me in and said, Hey, Jeff, you're doing a great job, changing culture around here.

Jeff Reed: 36:54 And we never really thought that you'd be able to change it as fast as you are. So thanks for doing a great job. And if you make another woman cry, over something, you know, if I hear about that, you're fired. Yeah. So, sometimes, you know, valuing people in the process and, and going slowly is better than just cramming change down there. But that's completely separate podcast and I actually loved working there. So it was a great church. What are your next steps? So you're doing the thing with YouTube and pushing in that direction. You're doing the thing with TikTok, three months from now, six months from now, like where do you see yourself going with these platforms?

Andy Mage: 37:37 Oh boy. The interesting thing is that, and this is a quick little inside baseball story, when Jessica made the TikTok page, we actually had a conference like three days after that and I was helping lead worship at a conference and helping to kind of set up and tear down. And so about an hour or so away from here and she came up and she's like, Hey, I'm doing this TikTok thing. I was like, Oh my God, let's like, I'll help you. Whatever you need. Like let me know. I like, this is fantastic. And I made some short little crappy little video and it was fine. But, the, so it's been, it's been kind of this seat of our pants type stuff until really the last two weeks or so when we, she and I met probably last Monday in my office and said, okay, let's codify this a little bit. Hey, I need you to do this. I'll take care of this, et cetera, et cetera. I think once we figure out the follow up aspect to TikTok, once we start deriving a little bit more conversational tools of it, like she said, she just opened up the conversation stuff, what, last week maybe.

Jessica Spivey: 38:39 Yeah. I just opened all that up in order to sign up for the pro account and have the messaging that you have to be able to connect it to an actual phone number, that has text messaging. So we have a Google number. That was how I was able to open all those things up, for us, but otherwise you can't message people.

Andy Mage: 38:54 Yeah. So I think the, if we can continue to work the conversational tools and then work them depending on where they are, but I'm a bit biased and I have a ministry that would love to reach people all over the country and all over the world and it is doing so, I think our best bet is to start to funnel them to the online campus, simply because of the time investment that is not needed for somebody to log into a website and join us in a service or join us on a Facebook page, you know, or in a Facebook group, that type of thing. I think that could be the largest next step that we take. I think to get there though, we need to open those conversations in whatever avenue possible and so that's gonna take, she says she doesn't have a pastoral heart, but she definitely had a pastoral leading, which is a pastoral heart. And so that takes a pastoral heart to really reach out and say, Hey, I am praying for you. I do care for you. Once people can feel that, I think the ball starts rolling a little bit more downhill.

Jessica Spivey: 40:03 Yeah, absolutely. And I would say in the next couple of months, one of the things that I'd like to explore, once you hit a thousand followers on TikTik you, it opens up the door for live, kind of like the swipe up on Instagram. Now this features unlocked for us, which is a really cool thing. So does that mean that we live stream one of our services? The difficult technical thing is, okay great, we're going to put it somewhere, but how do we comment back with people and like the logistics of that are going to be interesting, but it may be something to explore this. You know, what does a live service look like on TikTok? Now there are two other gentlemen that are doing what they call TikTok church. Literally TikTok church. They do music, they'd have a word and then they pray for people. There's a guy that does it at seven o'clock central time. He does it every single week. So it's happening. I do think that we're on the forefront of it. There are other churches, cause that was one of the questions that our Communication Director asked me. He said, what are other churches doing? What other kinds of content are they doing and some of them, and I found one church in particular that is posting videos, but they have the comments turned off. And I was like, what, why, what for? Why are you here? Sorry. You can cut that part out if was too much. If the goal is not to engage with people, what are you doing? You're wasting your time or you're wasting somebody's time that's supposed to have videos. So, there are other pastors out there that are on there, Steven Furtick, but does the same thing we're doing, he's re-purposing videos from their message series on TikTok. So, I would say some curated content. So some content that's specifically for TikTok, whether we're using the fun new sounds, putting a spiritual twist on it, that would be fun. The hard part is that those sounds are popular for about 37 seconds. By the time that we see they're popular, we come up with an idea, we're working with a videographer to get it shot.

Jessica Spivey: 42:00 It's probably not popular anymore. So that's, you know, where not compromising quality, but it may be something that we look at, you know, let's create a couple of, original content videos that may be shot just with our phone and they're not shot with the big fancy cameras so that we can experiment to see if, if they're valuable. I do think the live option is something that we, we should look into. You know, we've never, we've not done a live on there yet. Unfortunately the videos disappear. Once you're done with them, they don't live anywhere, so being able to go back and pull and conversate with those people, I'm not sure how that would look, but I think those are two things that we need to look towards.

Andy Mage: 42:40 Funnily enough, I'm doing, I'm teaching a class tonight on campus here and I'm doing just setting my computer up Facebook live and then setting my phone up and doing Instagram live or just my own personal one for the teaching. So I almost wonder if we can't try something like that just to do an hour and a half class just to see what happens. I mean it might not be the best entry point, especially for TikTok. Nobody wants to sit there and listen to me talk about Gideon for an hour and a half, but who knows.

Jeff Reed: 43:07 Yeah, I mean I love the idea of experimenting with some of this stuff, just setting up a camera with a tripod. Part of me is even trying to figure out, okay, how can I gain like computer access to the phone so I can be typing on my laptop screen. Like I know there's like software SDK stuff I think that can do some of that. And forgive me for putting on my technical hat.

Andy Mage: 43:28 No, I've already been down that road. There's an Android emulator that I'm almost wondering like how can we bust that open and start using some of these tools?

Jeff Reed: 43:38 Yeah.

Jessica Spivey: 43:39 So that we could watch us live stream the service, but then also be interacting. Absolutely. I think that those tech items are extremely important to talk about.

Jeff Reed: 43:48 Yeah. I started to be a smart alec, and be like Android - WhatsApp, but Apple and I are having, a small feud right now.

Andy Mage: 43:55 Yeah I saw. It's okay.

Jeff Reed: 43:56 Yeah. It's a later conversation. So, Hey, but this has been really good. I love how you're experimenting. I love how you're, being on the edge of a lot of this stuff. And you're right, sometimes when we try to do something professional and try to get to that perfection level, a lot of times, especially in online environment, like the fads already passed, the messaging opportunity is already gone. And so had a guy on a podcast, Seth Muse a couple of weeks ago, and he was quoting, Gary V, you know, version one is better than version none. And so whatever you get, you know, get it. Yeah, throw it out and let it be used. Mark Venti quoted a guy last week that said, if you're not embarrassed by your first version, you've waited too long, just get out there, and do something with it. So church out there, while we're trying to figure out, you know, the full completion of how, TikTok and fit into your overall strategy, you're missing the opportunity to connect and engage with people. Get out there, do something with it and, and figure out how it fits later.

Jessica Spivey: 45:02 The beauty of the digital world is yes, people can screenshot things and so forth, but worst case, if it's really bad, you just delete it. Like even if it implodes and comments go crazy and cause you can't delete comments on TikTok. If it just goes down this rabbit hole that's not good, you just delete it.

Jeff Reed: 45:18 You know, and it's even, man, there's a whole other conversation about if bad comments are good comments, how to handle that. A lot of times I've seen that like the crowd will defend the bad comments. Like they will circle around the wagon and protect you. You don't even need to protect yourself. So, you know, church, get out there and do some things. Well Jessica, Andy, this has been a great podcast and I really appreciate the time. Any thoughts as we're landing the plane here?

Andy Mage: 45:47 Yeah, I think you said it best. Get out there and do stuff. The fact that as a church sometimes we get so stuck in, well our outreach looks like we're going to have somebody say yes to Jesus and then we're going to do this and then we're going to have them walk through this class and do this. I think the time has that's still there and there is still a necessity for that. But I think also the time has come upon us where we need to be quicker, more agile and we need to be less of a cruise ship and more of a speed boat as we're turning things around.

Jeff Reed: 46:12 Well cool. Hey, thank you Jess. Jessica, Andy, thank you for being on. Love what I'm hearing, from Bay Hope and looking forward to hearing more in the coming days, weeks and months. And how do I find you on TikTok, do I search for Bay Hope and you just pop up?

Jessica Spivey: 46:30 It's @BayHopeChurch. It's, they've got handles like the other social platforms.

Jeff Reed: 46:35 All right, so I'm going to download my account. I'll get my phone set up. I've got the account @deerffej. Jeff Reed backwards but I will take the time to re-institute it on my phone and keep an eye on what's happening at Bay Hope Church on TikTok.

Andy Mage: 46:50 You can be the old man on TikTok.

Jeff Reed: 46:51 I will be the old man on TikTok, the quiet old man over in the corner on TikTok.

Andy Mage: 46:56 There you go.

Jessica Spivey: 46:58 There's an older gentleman that he's been doing like dance moves from the 70s and 80s and he's, I mean, he's not old, but he's older and he's getting a huge, I mean, it's, so there's a place for, that's what I think I'm learning is that there's a place for everybody.

Jeff Reed: 47:12 I have no response to that. Okay. Hey, so it's been a great podcast for Jessica, for Andy, for Rey. I'm Jeff at The Church.Digital. Thanks for jumping on and, we'll see you next week. Have a good day.

 
PODCAST 029: Mark Venti & Churchome's Digital Culture
Six Things Your Church Needs to Know About TikTok

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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