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PODCAST 042: Church Online Cohort // The Beginning


One of the things that I (Jeff) love about Church Online is that we are basically learning about all of this, together. Big churches, small churches, traditional churches, charismatic churches… we’re all exploring this same space of being church, digitally. The best part is instead of being territorial, we work together and learn together.

Some of the happiest times I’ve had in the past year is sitting at a coffeehouse or restaurant with ministry people, and just learning from each other’s experience. This is the experience that we’re bringing to you with The Church Digital Podcast.

We’re bringing in five different online ministers from around the country… different denominations, strategies, and sizes… from a gigachurch all the way down to a church plant… all with the goal of learning from one another. And you, listening audience, get to come along for the ride.

Interested in jumping into a cohort like this, where we can learn from one another? THECHURCH.DIGITAL is setting up Coaching Cohorts, putting Church Online people together to learn from each other, just like this. For information on our Coaching Cohorts, check out

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

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Guest: Andy Mage
Bay Hope Church - Twitter // Facebook // Online Campus Facebook Group // Instagram
Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

Guest: Adrienne Feldmann
Northeast Christian Church - Twitter // Facebook // Instagram
Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

Guest: Mark Brandt
Hope Online
Twitter // Instagram

Guest: Joe Radosevich
Belgium Community Church
Website // Instagram

Guest: TJ Winters
Concordia - Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // YouTube
Twitter // Instagram

Host: Jeff Reed
Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // LinkedIn



We know these conversations are out there are hard. Even the best of churches haven't figured out... If this podcast is helping you and your church work through what Church Online is, then help us impact other churches! Take a moment and leave us a brief review!
By leaving a positive ranking and review of THECHURCH.DIGITAL PODCAST on iTunes, you're helping to get this podcast in front of new people who are most likely asking the same questions you are. Head over to that Ratings & Review section on iTunes and drop a good word for us!
Feedback on the podcast is vital as well. Leave comments on the podcast, or comment on this post! I'd love to know your thoughts and how we can serve your church better.
Love you all! Praying for your Churches and your Ministry Online.
Jeff Reed


Jeff Reed: 00:00:00 Episode 42 of The Church Digital Podcast. We get a lot packed into this episode here. You know some of the most fun we have here on The Church Digital is when we pack a bunch of people on a call or in our room somewhere and basically just talk church online stuff. What's working, what's not working, what are we going to try next, stuff like that. Well, this is essentially what we've done in this week's episode. We brought together five people from around the country who are doing some sort of church online and let them talk and basically learn from each other, figuring out what to do next. The best part is we brought in people from different denominations, different strategies, even different sizes of church together for this conversation from a 20,000 person gigachurch all the way down to a sub-100 person church, we hit on different topics in the conversation from creating community, discipleship, volunteering, micro locations, and finally, did somebody say digital church.

Jeff Reed: 00:01:02 If you want to skip around the podcast to hear certain topics, feel free. We've included the time code in the show notes so you can dive in there. By the way, these are the types of conversations we have regularly with church online. If you're interested in jumping into a church online cohort just like this, get more information at I'll let the guests introduce themselves in a minute. But for now, let's go ahead and welcome to the podcast, Andy Mage, Mark Brandt, TJ Winters, Adrienne Feldman, and Joe Radosevich and the first of hopefully many church online cohorts. Hey everybody. Here you go. Hey, Mark, why don't you take a minute, introduce yourself, your church online ministry. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Mark Brandt: 00:01:47 Sure. Mark Brandt, Digital Outreach Minister for Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines, Iowa. We're a church of around 20,000 plus members, six campuses, five microsites, about 12,000 annual worship or average worship and we started screaming about five years ago, which is about the time that I came on board with our online ministry. And, my real heart has been to start and get people connected, that can't or don't live near one of our current campuses. So the idea of those microsites is really where my heart beats is just connecting people to the larger church story and it's awesome.

Jeff Reed: 00:02:25 So Mark's up in Iowa at, arguably gigachurch up at that level. And then we got TJ, down in San Antonio. TJ, why don't you just tell us a little bit about yourself?

TJ Winters: 00:02:36 Yeah, my name is TJ winters. I am at Concordia Lutheran Church in San Antonio, Texas. And we have been around for 60 plus years. We've been streaming actually very early, so we started streaming in 2005 using windows media video and a PC for like 10 people a Sunday, you know, and it's just grown since then. We've really taken, the church online, is become a forefront over the past few years, more than just streaming. but we've gone through a lot of, a lot of hurdles, a lot of growth, challenges, you know, with, with mobile coming into play and stuff. And it's, it's awesome to be where we are today, where we can just hit go and the tech is the least of the problems. Now we get to focus, discipleship, follow up community, things like that.

Jeff Reed: 00:03:20 That's awesome. We've come a long way from windows media player, real networks. Do you remember that? That was, I don't even know if that was around in 2005 but like that was the prerequisite to some of that stuff and that was, that was crazy. And some millennials somewhere. It's like what? But that's, that's another conversation. Then we've got Adrienne, who's in Kentucky, I want to say that's right? Yes. I did something right. Kentucky. Tell us a little about yourself.

Adrienne Feldmann: 00:03:47 My name is Adrienne Feldman. I'm at Northeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Actually our very first online campus pastor. We started streaming our services like three years ago, but it's really been just pushing play and letting people watch the services for a long time. So my job actually, I started as an intern in January as in Bible college, and I wrote the plan for how we were going to go from just online streams into an online campus. And they said, Hey, do you want a job? And I said, okay. So I'm here kind of trying to translate that from just streaming to a full fledged campus and match that with kind of our churches DNA.

Jeff Reed: 00:04:29 So yeah, I mean you're beginning to see some of the paradigms here where you've got, some larger established church has been doing it a long time. Then you've got Adrienne who's coming at this, literally she was an intern what a year ago, six months ago, and now she's running her own show. and now we've got Andy Mage from the Tampa area. So Andy, tell us a little bit about your church down there, your ministry.

Andy Mage: 00:04:56 Sure. Yeah. I am the online campus pastor for Bay hope church. formerly Vandyke United Methodist. We are a Methodist Church. or, we've got what, three campuses about four micro site. we run about 3000-4,000 on a weekend, that type of thing. Like TJ, we were very early into streaming. Bay Hope's been streaming since 2006, 2007, right around there. Like TJ, the tech is the least of the worries right now. They brought me on, actually I was a worship pastor for 10 years, 12 years, but 10 of them full time. And they brought me on, to be the pastor over this, this brand new wing, kind of the, they, they saw this opportunity for digital discipleship. And that's kind of where I'm at is I've been in the job six or seven months now and it's, we're getting to form community, we're getting to form groups, we're getting to form relationships in this weird online context and it's so rewarding and it's so challenging all at the same time.

Jeff Reed: 00:05:55 So, and just to continue develop up this, this cohort here, we're putting together, I wanted to bring in a unique perspective as well because you've got different sized churches, different places and maybe ministry experience. We've got Joe Radosevich coming in from Belgium, Wisconsin. I wanted to give Joe a chance maybe to set and explain a little bit about who he is and where he is in ministry.

Joe Radosevich: 00:06:16 So my name is Joe Radosevich. I am the lead and only pastor of Belgium community church in Belgium, Wisconsin. This is a church plant. We had 55 people on Sunday and we use really online tools to extend our reach. Really all throughout our area. This is an area where most churches have closed their doors most and most, if not many towns have no Christian Church at all. It's kind of strange to be in an area where lots of people have never heard the gospel. That doesn't make any sense to them. If they wanted to go to a church, there's not a church to go to. So we, this is actually a church that closed its doors. We restarted after a year and a half. We restarted. So as a church plant, just been in conversations with Jeff because we kind of function as an online church with a physical campus because that extends our reach. And our ability to disciple all week. So because we're small and I'm the only pastor, that means that some things that would take a chain of command to do it, we can just say, Hey, that sounds good. Let's try it. So that's kind of where we're at.

Jeff Reed: 00:07:18 Yeah, I love the small church that's being willing to experiment, but we've got a really kind of rich structure here from a 20,000 person, multisite church, all the way down to 66, maybe 55 person church plant, all looking to utilize church online, and all looking to do online ministry in different ways. And so I want to open it up. I want to start talking through some things and and just see where we get to. So there were five topics that we hit on, that all of you said, Hey, these are the goals. And as I started to group them together, they were five kind of key topics that came up from it. The first one of it, was creating community, creating community. And so Adrienne, you were one of those who said that you were like, that was something that you wanted to work on. Maybe tell us a little bit about what you're hoping to do, what you're hoping to achieve.

Adrienne Feldmann: 00:08:12 As a church that hasn't really spent a lot of time with an actual online campus. We've just been doing streams, like I said earlier. online community is something, well community in general, not even online. Community is not something that we have done very well as an online campus. So for 2020, we have some really big goals to start creating. I mean, I know a lot of people are doing this, but creating Facebook groups so that we can start getting our people together on a regular basis so that they're talking to each other and really starting to get to know each other and then from there we're hoping to not far into 2020 and launched some real community groups that exist both in the digital space but also face to face from meeting in the digital space. So that's where we're headed this year. Community is something that is vital to the online church. You know, it's really easy to get in this mode where you're just watching church every weekend face to screen and not ever taking that opportunity to plug in. And I think the online church has a really cool opportunity to connect a lot more frequently than most of our people who come every weekend to our campuses really get to do.

Jeff Reed: 00:09:27 Who of you guys, who else is working on community? Andy, why don't you talk a little bit about.

Andy Mage: 00:09:32 Yeah, so it's funny, Adrienne. Back when I stepped into this position here are a social media coordinator, this brilliant, brilliant lady named Jessica. She had had that same idea, Hey, we're going to set up a group. It was just a, it was an online campus quote unquote group and it was around for a couple of months and she just started inviting people that were normally involved in any sort of chat that we had. And it was really rudimentary at the time. We had like 30 people. So it was just like this kind of core group of people I stepped in and I said, okay, that's great. We need to really start pushing that. And so we've, you know, we've grown, we have like just under 300 people right now. It's great, it's fine. Awesome. It is what it is, but it's the, how do we keep them connected throughout the week type of mentality.

Andy Mage: 00:10:16 And what I've found and what I'm trying to do in 2020 is to be less intentional about the things I say and more intentional about engaging with people on their level. Because I came in with this sort of blistering mentality. Hey, I'm gonna bazooka down this wall and everybody's going to be best friends and we're all gonna want to get coffee with each other, except we all live all over the country and all over the world. And what I've found is the organic creation of community will happen. You just need to give it time. I'm not, I'm not very time friendly. I like to, I'm very type a and very thousand miles an hour. You know, one of the things I'm trying to be intentional about in 2020 is, is letting that, that community organize itself and then pastoring into that and over that instead of, doing the thing that I did.

Andy Mage: 00:11:07 My wife and I, and this is gonna be a quick little story, my wife and I, back when I was worship leading, we stepped away from worship ministry to open a nonprofit faith-based gym. And it was kind of this CrossFit high intensity type gym. And we were very intentional about community building then. And that's how the gym grew. And gym's still around all these other things. And so we had to force meetings and gatherings and all these other things and we had this very tangible, very present present thing of, Hey, you guys are doing these intense workouts, you're suffering your brothers and sisters in arms type thing. We don't really have that shared experience in the online community around we have that maybe one hour that everybody's watching something and then we have the rest of the week where we need to let things happen. And so I just want to see things bubble up throughout the rest of the year and, and respond into that.

Jeff Reed: 00:11:52 Is there, is there an intentionality shift though when you do something like that? Like if you want to intentionally like create a community 365 days a year, but your main vehicle for creating contents that we can services that happens, you know, one hour on Sunday, like you're going to run out of content for that 365, like how are you intentionality or how do we intentionality create community 365 days a year?

Andy Mage: 00:12:18 So the plan that we've been outlining with our comms and our creative team has been to create content such that it creates conversation. And what I mean by that is we're kind of creating videos, podcasts, reading blogs, you know, things that will intentionally ask one big question each time. And that one big question is then does that, so I'll give you an example, we're making, this entire video series for the, none of the above the none is what we're calling it. This, this, this video series on sexuality and, and, and the Bible and spirituality, you know, all the thing, all the questions that's been under answering. And we have, we have, a couple of really brilliant graphic designers. One one of our junior designers, she's actually not a believer, which is really cool to have on our staff. And she's kind of just fresh out of college and all this other things.

Andy Mage: 00:13:08 And she loves her church and loves the people and loves, but she, she lives in that world, but she doesn't really believe in Jesus. And yet she still wants to be around us. And so we start asking her, Hey, what is so, beautiful? What do you, what do you like about this? And so she started answering, so our director of communications, he said, we can do a thing on that. And so we're creating a video series on that. And, and I'll be starting in, we'll have other people that are kind of answering these biblical questions. You know, what if these questions about budgeting and how to adult and how to, how to do taxes and why do we listen to this and why I've lived my entire life without a biblical biblical community. Why do I need one now? That type of thing. Three to five minute videos with one big question attached to it, designed to create engagement. So Jeff, I think you're right in saying there is an intentionality there, but I don't necessarily want to try to force an answer.

Jeff Reed: 00:13:59 Joe, you were one that I think was looking for a community as well, but in a small church, does that look different than what they're describing? Like what's the community needs that you guys are hoping to achieve there at Belgium?

Joe Radosevich: 00:14:11 So one of the differences between us and some of you guys is several of you guys, if not all of you guys are online campus pastors and so your goal ends up staying there. Although I realize some of you want to do some connections outside of that. We ended up use the online, you know, and an all night experience online campus if you will, to drive those personal connections in our community. So the purpose for us to connect people is for discipleship throughout the week. The next step for us, which has been to kind of create an online presence, if you will, an online brand for our community so that people can connect with us at any time is not just connect people with us, but the online community element is can we actually create a community where people minister to each other online.

Joe Radosevich: 00:15:01 We are really exploring what is the whole purpose of community groups, small groups, those kinds of things. And it's relevant to this because oftentimes churches, at least in my experience at large and small churches has been, we create community groups to serve the church. Our church can grow bigger if people have the community connection in a small group. And so they'll grow as a disciple and our church can grow bigger. The description somebody gave us as a of a toilet bowl where the swirl is basically to try and get everything to the middle. And that's often how we end up using smaller groups, is to serve the church. When the real purpose for any kind of group that we have is how do we actually send them out better. And so that's kinda in my mind as I think through, we want to connect people to each other but not just our church can get bigger or so that we can, you know, just reach more people. Although those are actually find goals and find reasons. But ultimately can we make them, can we equip them to be better disciples by connecting them to each other? And so we're actually sending them out rather than drawing them in.

Andy Mage: 00:16:07 And Joe, if I understand exactly what you're saying and I think the goal, you know, we talk about engagement, we talk about in these things in, in perhaps they the online campus quote unquote a space. But that looks very much like exactly what you're talking about. That looks very much like engagement, not for just time-wasting sake. And not just for, Hey we got another cool video's sake, but really delving into the discipleship aspects of, you know, make the end of the be one make one type mentality that I think we all need to have our online campuses everywhere. Yours included. Cause you know you have an online presence, you can technically call it whatever you want but the online space is such that we have an enormous quick rapid response way of discipleship and I think that's so beautiful. Not just for that, not just for a large church and not just for a small church but for churches everywhere.

Jeff Reed: 00:17:02 And that should be the challenge for church online in general. The word church online, and we've talked about this before, it's lost its meaning the majority of churches that are out there that are doing anything in an online community or just broadcasting or just doing that. That one way communication. Billy Graham did that in the 90s he preached one message, a billion people heard it as it was bounced off of 34 satellites around the globe. Online gives us that two way communication. Joe, I love what you said about connecting people to people. That's where the technology is and is now. Well let me ask you a question before we shift off of community, cause I just want to hone in here. Are you guys looking at Facebook as the main community? Are you looking to as the platform for a community, are you looking to create communities and other areas? I'm just curious like the nuts and bolts. Okay. So we say we want to create a community. We want to focus on this. How are you actually doing it?

Adrienne Feldmann: 00:17:54 Well we are starting on Facebook. I like to see Facebook as at a digital church lobby, if you will. You know, we've got all these people who are tuning into a service and never get a chance to walk into a service and have communication with other people. So we're looking at Facebook as that place where people are going to mingle and people are going to chat and all of those kinds of things. But our end goal is to push people into those face to face groups that are going to be away from the internet or if they're going to be participating in any sort of community group that's happening online. It's going to happen a lot like this and a zoom call or with other types of messaging technology that's going to get them in a little bit more face to face, you know, a Google hangout or whatever that's going to look like.

Adrienne Feldmann: 00:18:37 So I don't see Facebook as the, you know, the be all end all the solution that's going to solve all those community problems. But I think it makes a really great living room for people to start having communication with each other and start in the church lobby, like at actual, in the physical locations, you get to observe how other people act and decide who you're going to walk up to and talk to. You can do that on Facebook pretty well. You get to start to see who people are before you make that decision to step into a call with them. So I like the idea of using both of them cause you get these opportunities to observe people from a distance before he really engage. And I think that's important for people, especially our online campus. People who sometimes need a minute to observe before they walk in. A lot of people use online for that anyway.

Andy Mage: 00:19:24 Well I'll tag on that on the end of that as well. We're, we're Facebook. Yes. We're also leaning heavily into YouTube in 2020. We're finding a lot of the demographic around us, the younger demographic, they're shying away from Facebook for very righteous, very, well-known reasons. The Facebook thing is, it's kind of one side, the YouTube side, the YouTube, kind of groups. There is no YouTube group building tool. And so ideally we're funneling everybody, just like you said, Adrian, into zoom calls into discipleship groups and into, small groups like we are in right now. but YouTube is very funny. You can, it's very powerful and yet at the same time it's very expensive and that's the unfortunate part right now.

Jeff Reed: 00:20:07 It gets expensive because you're creating, you're paying for a lot of ads and things like that on YouTube to get traction.

Andy Mage: 00:20:12 Yeah. So without a group building tool, without, with, you know, Facebook groups is very powerful. and you know, you can do a lot of stuff with it and we're doing things like that, announcements and notes and discussion groups and things like that within a, a localized group that is branching off of your main Facebook page. YouTube doesn't have that. And the only way that you lately get any visibility is to throw ad dollars at it. We've been running an experiment with our, our worship side of the entire church, throwing some ad dollars at it and watching the subscriber numbers go skyrocketing, just with not meager amounts of money, but, enough money to where you get clicks and get, subscribers and things like that. Now we're going to try to transfer that to our actual YouTube, our actual main YouTube page. But again, the group dynamic is not there, so we need somebody that can speak into chat and draw them somewhere else. So that's kind of the 2020 goal right now.

Jeff Reed: 00:21:06 I had a, and you guys are, I've, we've talked about Jay Kranda on the podcast before he's been on recently. And, Jay told me this, this quote once and, and I'm, I'm curious if this is a relative to you guys, if this, if you connect with it in a, in a, in a physical church, there was a time where people would connect to Christ before they would connect to community in virtual church and church online it's easier for people to connect to community before they connect to Christ. I'm just curious, like that's, that was Jay's take, I've seen it go pro and con within your own church and ministries, like does that, do you think that relates, do you see that, what's been your experience?

Mark Brandt: 00:21:46 It's interesting that people are longing for something deeper. I think that's the bottom line, even in what you asked.

Mark Brandt: 00:21:53 You know, I get a sense that when we look at who's connecting to us online from around the country, there's a reason for why they're choosing to, to connect with us. You know, even from thousands of miles away versus finding something that might be more in their backyard. And I don't, I'm, I'm trying to discover what that is because, you know, if I can find out what that is, I think then we can best speak into maybe where they're at in life and connect them to a larger story. Well, we're really wrestling with is, you know, how can we create a sense of community that is both authentic, you know, if it's going to remain online or, opens the door to the possibility of in person, you know, so that they could find a connection in real time where they're at. I love the fact that I've got this couple that just joined our church from Redding, California.

Mark Brandt: 00:22:40 There are no other Hope folks in Redding, California, you know? And so if they're going to be in a small group, that's going to happen one of two ways and an online group, which will work great for a time. But I think even online groups have a short shelf life in the sense that eventually you're going to want to connect to people that you can have over to your house and sit on a couch with you. And, and so that's an essence. I think, you know, Joe to kind of something you were saying, you know, we're trying to actually use online to get smaller. You know, as, as a large church we want to use online to help people connect smaller. because, you know, otherwise we're just a big church and there's a bar, there's a lot of big churches and being big isn't all it's cracked up to be if you're not connected to somebody intentionally in relationship where you can grow.

TJ Winters: 00:23:24 For the folks that we have watching that we've seen, a lot of them are coming for the word. They want to hear the word, you know, we skew more traditional in general. We're, we're more traditional church. you know, from a liturgical standpoint, at least our practices. So a lot of those folks there, they seem to be less engaged in online chat. They seem less engaged in the comments, they to hear the word they want to connect. Now they will connect with somebody. Maybe after the service email they'll reach out, things like that. But in general, a lot of the people, they want to hear the word, they want to hear the gospel. That's, that's why they're there. They want to grow in their faith and they do grow in their faith by hearing that way if they don't have an opportunity to go anywhere else but I haven't seen as much community for a lot of those folks. It's, it's the word first.

Andy Mage: 00:24:09 TJ, sorry to jump in here are those are, we're kind of wrestling with that, that same thing, right now. Are those folks that are not engaging in chat and I think chat are kind of a push comes to shove type type measurement. Are those folks already engaged in something locally? Are they local to your church? Now? What is the breakdown of that? Do you know?

TJ Winters: 00:24:30 The ones I'm talking about specifically are out of town and sometimes they're shut-ins or, or snow or you know, weather or circumstance, whatever. the folks locally, we have a lot of those folks who, yes, they love the church community, can church, family. but for the, those who are out of town, they're not there to join. for the most part, they're not saying that they're there to join an online small group order, engage and have these conversations in the chat. They're there for the service.

Jeff Reed: 00:24:55 The hardest part of church online and to, to get it to be a justified, full functioning ministry is discovering the people who are watching the services and get them can, getting them connected into a discipleship pathway, into something groups, next steps, membership, you know, whatever it is. That's the thing that, that we have to work the hardest on as, as online ministers.

Jeff Reed: 00:25:21 That's not different from the physical church. By the way. The hardest thing from a physical church is as, as a campus pastor, as a multisite, okay, we just watched this, this message. Now I need my job as a campus pastor is to get these people connected into, into ministry. And you know, they're wanting to run through that lobby as quick as possible to not engage, to not talk to people, to not. and so like that's, that's the challenge before the church is to really figure out how to create opportunities for people to connect in community, to, to get that next step to, to get involved in it. And that's, that's not an online problem. That's a church problem.

Mark Brandt: 00:26:01 Then that's a robust issue. You know, when you think about, you know, obviously an online, we cannot recreate everything that, that a brick and mortar church can do and there are certain things that still I think in the church need to be experienced in person. And yet at the same time, we have an opportunity in the online sphere to, to really care for people in a unique way. You know, so when one of our growth curves for this next year is noticing that, you know, online folks have the same care needs, that folks that walk through our doors have, how do we do pastoral care for somebody who is a thousand miles away? How do we connect with local churches there that might be able to provide, you know, much needed help and resources for somebody who's in need that we can't provide from as far away as we are. So there's a, there's an inner connectedness to what we're trying to do in the online sphere as well because we never want to assume that whoever that IP address is that's watching us from Saskatchewan, Canada or wherever it might be has has got this wonderful, wow, isn't it great they stumbled upon us. This is awesome. They must be a perfect person and great have this. No, there's a reason why they're connecting with us and getting to know what that reason is also involves care, discipleship, mentorship. It's a big, big, deep, awesome challenge too beyond just, Hey, we're putting something out over the airwaves.

Jeff Reed: 00:27:24 And, and I think that's really an a, I don't know Andy, one of your goals was, was talking about that discipleship piece, but it really comes down to who had the, who is, who had the people in Redmond, California earlier. Mark. Okay, great. Mark, you've got two people in Redmond. They're all by themselves. And to your point Mark, you said, Hey, at some point they need to get into a physical relationship. Cause even talking to a zoom there, there's a a limit to that. And, and I, I agree, which opens up, you know, a discipleship relationship where now I'm going to empower these two people with Redmond, California. My job is to disciple them to the place where they can start their own group. You know, maybe they want to stay connected with, with my church where I'm at and, but my job is not to get them addicted to my content, my job is to empower them and create a, a disciple maker who's capable of making disciples in Redmond. And if that equals a small group, if that equals a micro location and some of these other things that, that we're, we're talking about, then that's awesome. If that just equals somebody who's dedicated to, to God, that's pretty cool too. but at the end of this, it's not a consumer product of church online. If anything, I think there's more, should be more intentionality and focus towards creating disciples virtually. Then there is is physically, Andy, you had, you had some questions on discipleship or, or a goal, like what's the context of what you're trying to achieve discipleship down there at Bay? Hope.

Andy Mage: 00:28:58 I mean, it's kind of like exactly what Mark was just talking to them about. It's the idea that, well first of all groups then it just groups at the base level, our church right now, we're in a weird transition phase where groups are there but they're not really there and just like, wow, you know what? I'm just going to create groups and I'm just going to do it. I'm just going to rip it apart. And that's not really healthy. And that's not really team-building. And that's not really team-oriented. We did it. I mean we've been over this the fall of 2019 we were doing kind of a test flight in the groups and how's it going to work? And I was just running kind of a test group just to see and it was great. It worked perfectly fine. The technology again was never going to be the issue.

Andy Mage: 00:29:34 It was always going to be the content and how the content was distributed. I've led small groups for 10 years of my life, so I know how to lead small group. None of that was, was the thing. It was the actual one-to-one connection with people. And what I found was, one of the guys that I was in a group with the, in the group with, he and I, we just have it started having regular one-on-ones, just call and still do, but actual physical coffee with each other. so he would drive from his house and I would drive from my house and we would meet in the middle. Luckily he lived like within 15 minutes of church. So it wasn't that big of a deal. I think right around this time, Jay Kranda put something out about microsighting and I went, ah, this is the way of the future, isn't it?

Andy Mage: 00:30:15 And I would just kind of unabashedly let my head fall and went, okay, how do we do that? How in our context, because what Jay is doing out on the West coast looks completely different than what we're doing on the East coast. His culture, his people, everybody's totally different and deservedly so. Then on our side, how do I as a pastor speak into the lives of people with the truth of Jesus, with the mission of the church, all with the love and care of the Holy spirit. How do I then make disciples, not in the name of Bay Hope, but in the name of Jesus. How do we do that? But I'm finding that I'm having to reorient my metrics as well. So gone is the, Hey man, we had this many views and this many likes and this many clicks and this much traffic gone is that, and now it's being replaced by three things that every church does.

Andy Mage: 00:31:06 Number one, love God. Number two, love people. Number three, make disciples. And it's that number three piece that I'm actually starting to put a goal around a numerical quote unquote goal. Because obviously you need, you need to have signposts and you need to have, you need to have goalposts when you're judging effectiveness of ministry or else you're just going to spin your tires a little bit. So I guess for everybody else, my question to you guys is, is how do you judge disciple-making and what are you doing to make disciples in your online groups right now?

Mark Brandt: 00:31:40 Can I suggest that the question would also be what is a disciple?

Jeff Reed: 00:31:42 Very good. Let's define what a disciple is.

Mark Brandt: 00:31:47 Our discipleship, a pastor here, the phrase he often uses is you look like a sheep from the front and a Shepherd from the back. That's, you know, in the sense that you're following somebody, but you're also leading others. You know, and you know, every, I think everybody has to be fall somewhere on that spectrum. You have to, it's a both and relationship. But being able to articulate your faith is, I think another big thing is that you have a story you can articulate. Doesn't mean it's perfect. It doesn't mean you've got it all figured out yet. But I think it's something that you recognize. You know, there's, there's a growth here. One of our core values is, following Jesus is a growing experience. You know, we haven't yet arrived. And so I think a disciple, somebody who's also, you know, constantly in that refining mode, you know, where am I pressure points now, what are the things that I need to identify that I'm working on my own personal faith, whether that's in your, in your own personal growth and quiet times or whether that's in a small group are, or whether it's in a community group of some way, shape or form that you're constantly working toward. knowing Jesus more fully.

Jeff Reed: 00:32:51 Go ahead Joe.

Joe Radosevich: 00:32:53 So we've really wrestled with this. and we define a disciple as somebody that is growing in the character and leadership of Jesus. Okay. We use an X and Y axis. Character is the X axis and Y the Y axis is leadership or practices. Because what we don't want is somebody with high character, but no, they don't live like Jesus. They're a sweet person, but nobody would ever follow them for a moment. But we also don't want somebody that has all the leadership of Jesus but not the character cause they can do great damage. And so we invite people specifically to grow in the character and leadership or the character and practices of Jesus. And we find that that helps people crystallize. Okay, I know that there's character. I need to grow. I know that there's leadership or practice does I need to grow. And so then that helps us train them to help others do the same thing. So anyway, that's how we define it.

Jeff Reed: 00:33:44 Whether it's, a bad mullet, like a sheep in the front and a shepherd in the back or more of the character and leadership, of it. there's a couple metrics there to, to look at. What's interesting is, I don't know that one hour on Sunday does a really good job of creating that type of person, which unfortunately the butts in seats metric is probably the most valued metric within a church. So what's your attendance on Sunday? Whether you're being successful or whether you're not successful? Is gauged strictly, at least in churches that I've worked with is gauged very strongly on that attendance on, on Sunday. Do you guys relate to that? Maybe like what are some other metrics that move you away from that one hour on Sunday that really start to move towards measuring maybe a more holistic view, 168 hour a week view of, of whether your church is successful or not.

Jeff Reed: 00:34:44 Okay. Just nickels and noses, right? We've got to get away from that. I mean, I'm not, but I mean that's, that's the, that's the reality of it. Let's, let's count the people, let's, let's count the money and then we, we just, we get stuck because our church, there's so much more to the church than one hour on Sunday at least I hope there is. If we're truly out there going and making disciples per Matthew 28, we got to do something more than that one hour. So, and actually Brady, what's the guy's name? Shearer. Yeah man. He wrote a great article on this. It was on pro church tools. We'll include a link on the, in the show notes. But for what he said there, and he was talking about how we shouldn't be measuring the one we should be measuring one hour a week.

Jeff Reed: 00:35:29 We should be measuring 168. And really what it comes down to is, is that to effectively measure the one 68, you don't count the people who are attending the service on Sunday. You really count like that next step. The thing that's after the one hour on Sunday cause your effectiveness in getting, creating disciples is hopefully your church has a plan for it. It's just you need to measure that next step of getting people on that pathway for it because the discipleship isn't happening on Sunday. Most churches, you know, are of the size and especially the ones that are talking year, Joe aside, like you're not going to get the intimacy, the one on one conversations, that relational equity out of a, of a giga church or a mega church service. There's, there's pros to that. There's things that you can do in a mega church service that you can't do in a small, but there's a lot of things you can do in a small that you can't do in a bit. Mark, I think you were the one that said you want a church online to be the effort to make things smaller instead of big. That was it. That was a great line as well. What is your all's discipleship? Maybe just even for your physical church, what is your discipleship process look like? Like what's the goal after the physical church service? What's next?

TJ Winters: 00:36:46 We always encourage people, we want them growing in their faith. So we want them attending more than just Sunday morning. We want them to go to a Bible class. And whether that is in person or on podcasts, we recommend people do that. We also recommend and ask them to go to a retreat. We have a annual men's women's and youth retreats to grow closer, with others and grow closer in the faith with God and just kind of have a reset. And then we also, encourage people to be in small groups and that's that community connection. and to serve, we have a lot of serving opportunities. So it's, it's, we don't have a specific step one is always this, it's encouraging wherever you are in your walk or where ever you feel called to at that moment. We, we try to provide as many opportunities as we can to do all of that.

Mark Brandt: 00:37:33 For us and I haven't seen it yet, but it's, I think it's almost ready to go live. Our adult team has developed a, an assessment tool, if you will. we offer a ton of things and it's so hard for a new, a new guest to decide, okay, where do I intersect with, what should I do first? And so what I'm gathering from what they're telling us is that this assessment tool is really simple. It takes, you know, time to fill out and it'll help give you some next steps. It isn't a one Oh one two, Oh one three, Oh one concept. It's more of a, Hey, this seems like it's going to interest you and it'll give you some categories under which you might fall within, whether it's marriage and parenting, whether it's, financial planning, you name it. It's going to help them navigate our class offerings in a way that's going to be more helpful to them with where it applies to, to what I get to do. I've asked the adult team then to take that same assessment tool or that, those same things that we're offering and helped me understand how to bring those into the, so I've asked them for a three tiered approach, with what they're going to offer. the first year being, Hey, these things should have been online yesterday, you know, and make and do an effort to start to bring those available whether on demand or in real time. The second tier are the things that we want to bring online in 2020, we're maybe not ready yet. Well we know we want to have them available to our online folks, whether they're five feet down the street or 500 miles around, the state. that's the next year. The third tier are those things that we identify. We'll probably never go online that are still best experienced in person. I can't tell you what those are, but I've asked them to give me some of those things so that we can develop a strategy, to best maximize our, our efforts, especially with regard to folks that primarily intersect with us online. Because this, this idea that, you know, we are going to have people show up at a specific time, you know, in a specific place I think is almost not possible anymore. And we have to begin to offer them chances to grow beyond just showing up on Thursday at seven o'clock in classroom 201.

Jeff Reed: 00:39:47 Joe, what do you do?

Joe Radosevich: 00:39:48 So we really spend a ton of time on trying to define what a disciple is because if we couldn't define what it was and people couldn't grab their hands around it, then we would just be doing stuff, which we've done some of. But we just decided, Hey, let's just go slow and wait until we, you know, discern what does it mean for it to be a disciple in this, in this area, 30 minutes North of Milwaukee. And so now that we have some clarity around that, around who God has made us as a church vision and values, we've actually now been able to make momentum. We, we ask everybody who's new to our church to go through an eight week small group. It's the kind of thing that could be done in person or online, but it really helps embed in somebody's life. Some just life changing DNA that we've seen multiple generations of people being changed by it.

Joe Radosevich: 00:40:38 So then we'll recruit somebody from the last generation that was really growing and just being changed by it to learn to lead it. So that becomes some forward momentum in them. And then, we have small, we call them discipleship cohorts. I don't have a good word for it. I hate all the discipleship words but it's just three guys that meet with me on Thursday morning for six months where we're growing, trying to grow in the character and leadership of Jesus. And so with the goal that after really some foundational stuff and growing in those ways, my hope is to, if not all three of those guys within be leading other groups. So that's, that's our real main discipleship pathway with the in between is more topical small groups. Cause I found in an area that's a fluent where people can travel and be in all different places.

Joe Radosevich: 00:41:31 Kids sports mean a whole lot. Asking somebody to be longterm committed to a group for the sense of the group doesn't really help. But by saying, Hey, we're going to be spending eight weeks meeting in my home on Sunday evening over dinner, learning. What does it mean for me to minister one another ministry? Kind of to another believer w it might, you could call it discipleship or counseling or whatever, but Hey, we're going to meet for eight weeks around this topic or have somebody, Hey me, eight weeks learning and looking at the issue of sexuality as we raise kids in a world where it feels like, well, you know, things are up upside down and we don't know, how do we talk about these issues? How do we think about them? From a Christian perspective, people really gravitate towards an, a time-based topical thing, and so those are kind of the three strands just growing in the character and leadership of Jesus.

Jeff Reed: 00:42:19 Well, and that's, that's where it really gets fun, right? Once you start to get people who are are set free by the gospel, that's where you start seeing things like volunteering, volunteer culture, volunteer recruitment skyrocket because they understand the personal mission of what's involved in it. That's where you start to see people wanting to really get interested in, in the, micro locations and starting to do things in different areas, which is another opportunity to create a disciple to the level that they can now start to impact other people, through a micro location or through a small group or something like that. So I know several of you, part of your goal was, was volunteering for 2020, increasing the culture of that as well as, maybe creating some micro locations and starting to do that. Mark, you're doing micro now. Why don't you just tell us a little bit of that flavor of what micro looks like up in Iowa?

Mark Brandt: 00:43:14 To be honest with you, it's so funny how God works cause we sort of stumbled into it. The rock church, miles McPherson and I didn't even know those things existed. when we first started it, it was literally a group of folks in a town North of us that had a connection to our church that were worshiping each of them online. separately. That said, what would it look like if we started to get together to do this? And then when they reached out to me, I just, and I, I've known these folks cause they were from a town that I, I did ministry in for a short time. I didn't have a reason to say no, but I didn't know what, I didn't know what it was. And I knew one of them worked at the Y in this small town and I said, isn't there a community room at the Y?

Mark Brandt: 00:43:52 You can see if you can, you know, reserve that. And sure enough that it was available. So they reserved this community room. There was a screen that they could pull down on the wall. they found a projector. They connected it to a computer. They put up a couple of speakers and boom. I had a group of about 20 people in a small town, North Iowa that were worshiping with hope online. Hmm. Didn't know what it meant other than the fact that we S it just started, we didn't have a name for it. it just was, it was there. now as I found, I found out later, this is what a microsite was, you know, but we didn't know that. We just said, here's a group of people that wanted to work for, well, fast forward a bit. There was a couple in another town, just to the South of them, that herb, we were doing this and said, man, this would be great if hope would come to our town.

Mark Brandt: 00:44:40 And now all of a sudden this little, you know, kind of organic project on the side was, was starting to gain some traction and I thought, we better get a grasp of, of what this means. And that's when I reached out to the folks at like McLean Bible church out in McLean, Virginia, and talked to the online pastor at the rock church in San Diego and said, you know, what is this idea of micrositing? And literally it was just empowering people to worship where they were, you know, developing a popup church, you know, where it didn't take a lot of overhead, you know, as far as you know, you didn't need to have the, the huge building to pull this off. We didn't need staff to pull it off. It literally was an equipping the believers to worship together. and the fact that we could do it through online was was awesome.

Mark Brandt: 00:45:21 Yeah. So now we've, we've got, currently we have five microsites or local sites is what we call them. Cause I'm not a big fan of the word micro. That's just a personal thing. I think micro field, small local just is more friendly I think. And we're hoping this year to start as many as three or four more. and then the goal of those wasn't to launch campuses. A nice byproduct of that model is that we've had one grow to a campus size, but we didn't set it up as a numerical. You know, this is your goal. You have to get to 120 people, you know, before we consider you healthy. No, that wasn't the goal. A local site can remain a local site for as long as they're, they want to be, you know, while there's, you know, there's still some growth things.

Mark Brandt: 00:46:06 We've already even talked about discipleship and many of those are happening. But our first goal in this was just to develop the small worshiping communities. We are finding that these are popping up in places where there wasn't another necessarily viable option for people to go to. So, if we can be a part of that, we, we're, we're happy to do.

Jeff Reed: 00:46:22 How do you, so you want to launch four or five? Like how do, how are you recruiting? How are you training? How are you finding like, what's, what's the plan in 2020?

Mark Brandt: 00:46:33 That is a great question because here's where, where we, kind of run into some interesting, discussions were a part of a bigger family. and so in many of these places, there have been churches that are within our denomination that have existed. Maybe they're not viable anymore, maybe they've closed but, regardless, there are times when there's, there's another, there's another player in the pool if you will. so we're trying to be, so there's denominational concerns within your questions. Yeah, there are. We definitely want to be good neighbors to our other, friends that are within our denomination. so my answer when folks say, Hey, shouldn't hope be here isn't always an automatic yes. We, and in fact the first delineator is we, we don't launch a site anywhere where we're not first invited, where there isn't somewhat of a hope connection. It's not like I look at a map and pointed it and go, man, let's go there. it starts by somebody reaching out to us. In fact, I'll just speak really quickly about our the one that's kind of on the edge right now. There's a a town that's about 45 minutes to the North and West of us and there's a couple that's been driving and she's, the wife is one of our small group leaders in our junior high confirmation ministry and they have identified that, Hey, there's a bunch of families out in this town that call Hope their church home and there isn't a Lutheran church in our town right now.

Mark Brandt: 00:48:00 could hope be a possibility. And my first thought was, gosh, this should be great. Let's talk about that some more. She and I met, I met with her husband and they went out and they recruited six other families that have said, Hey, we would love for this to happen. And so the next step for us is to get that group together and to start to build into them as a launch team. You know, what does this mean?

Jeff Reed: 00:48:19 Essentially? Yeah. You're, you're watching the service online, but part of doing that location, I, I hesitate you are as microsite now cause you don't like the word. I'm kidding but part of that microsite is that your the, these people are now at some level, spiritually responsible. Like they're, they're shepherding the people that are there. like I know people do micro that would call these volunteers, campus pastors, like they have that, that level of, of responsibility. You as a volunteer and now a campus pastor for the 20, 30, 40 people that are, that are at this location.

Mark Brandt: 00:48:52 So, and I and I meet with those high level leaders, once or twice a month. just to make sure, you know, my, my role for them is to make sure we're staying, we're staying on the, on the train tracks, you know, because there is a responsibility there. We want to be faithful to this and that, that's where, you know, the hope DNA is the phrase we use a lot. We, we infuse the hope DNA across that, that channel, so that if somebody shows up to our local site in forest city, Iowa, they'll get who we are. You know, hopefully within that first, you know, blush, you know, they'll know a bit about who we are as a church. You know, from the way that these volunteers, you know, go back to that character thing that Joe was talking about through the way that they are. They're not perfect, but what we want them to understand that they represent a bigger story than just themselves. And so we spend a lot of time pouring into those folks to make sure that we have the right folks in.

Jeff Reed: 00:49:39 I know Adrienne, I know you were, you were one that also said you're doing micro, right? You're, you're considering starting this. This would be your first, right?

Adrienne Feldmann: 00:49:47 Yeah. This will be our first. we actually, we have the full support of our elder team behind doing the microsite thing. They're really, really psyched about it because they want us to start going down this micro path as like our path toward multi-sites, but in a little bit of an unconventional way. they're kind of disenchanted with the way that multi-sites are usually planted by kind of following the money and the people that we have already. You know, we can really put all of our resources behind planting a multisite in this place or this place, you know, and so what they love about microsites is that can plant with it, you know, 60 bucks, right? Like a a Chromebook and a TB that somebody already has. It's something that is a little bit easier to do. But one of the things that we have struggled with a little bit and trying to figure out what launching micro-sites looks like for us as a church is that we have a little bit of a different DNA than most of the other churches in our area.

Adrienne Feldmann: 00:50:49 We're really super outreach focused. We we're in Louisville, Kentucky, we've been calling ourselves the love the bill church and we've got some really successful outreach efforts. We maybe have poured even a little too much into outreach over the last five years or so. And so we're trying to kind of pull that back and, and pair outreach with a little bit more intentional discipleship. And so it's been my job to figure out what it looks like to marry our really, really awesome outreach program with planting microsites. And so our big dream is to, and this is, I mean I don't know if it's going to work. We are crossing our fingers and praying a lot, but our big dream is to launch our first microsite, actually in a children's hospital here in town. we know that there are a lot of people who are there in the hospital who basically live there.

Adrienne Feldmann: 00:51:40 You know, you've got people who are waiting for organ transplants or who are living for months on end doing chemo or things like that. And there are parents of these kids who just don't want to leave the hospital, can't leave the hospital, never get to go and do church or be a part of a church community anywhere in any way, shape or form. And so by bringing church to them, we're going to give them an opportunity to start building community around something that is more positive than the medical kind of catastrophes that they're facing on a daily basis. So our hope is that we can deploy some of our high level leaders, some of our really strong volunteers to go into the hospital and bring a hot meal and create a venue where people can experience both the church service, which we think is important to bring to them. You know, the weekend service experience, but also community and also love and also outreach and all of those things married in one place. So that's our big first. You know, Q1 Q2 2020 trying to get that off the ground. But that's our dream for micro sites for for 2020s to marry outreach and the microsite in into one kind of really holistic ministry space.

Jeff Reed: 00:52:54 Yeah, that's taking a list. Some cues there sounds like from a Tyler Samson up at First Capitol Christian, their Church Anywhere program where they're doing that, they're going into, they're doing their micro locations, not in hotels or like ballrooms are there, things like that. Not that it's wrong, but they're being much more aggressive towards going to where people are in rehab centers and in orphanages and afterschool centers and prisons. Like, it's amazing what happens when you start to that environment of church, move it outside of the building and get it more engaged to where, where people are like there's a model of this from a multisite perspective, which is the win. you know, and, and I've, I've worked with multisite churches and I've launched a ton of campuses and it's, it's awesome.

Jeff Reed: 00:53:45 I love the model of multisite because it puts the power of a church and in the community. and you've got pastors that are running at the campus, pastors and they're, they're doing their thing. I honestly, I love the micro model more, sorry to use the word micro, Mark, but, we'll figure out a better term. I love the micro model more because I think it literally gives the power to the person, the ability for that church to be successful. The hero of that micro story is not a campus pastor. It's not a paid worship leader. It's not a, it's not even a staff person. It is a, is a disciple who is passionate about reaching an area, whether that's a neighborhood area or whether that's an an a, an afterschool center or a children's hospital, which is a phenomenal idea. Like I'm going to go kick that.

Jeff Reed: 00:54:36 Can somebody, Hey, we need to, well there's literally this hospital right over your children's hospital. We need to get in there. Let's figure out how to do it. So if you're in Miami, don't steal that idea. It's mine. Everybody else. Let's talk about volunteering a little bit briefly here because part of that discipleship process is volunteering. And Joe, I know you are, are, are, are as a startup like you are as a church plan, I should say, you're very limited on resources and so you're leaning a lot on volunteers. And we've had this conversation in the past too. So just share a little bit maybe about how you're utilizing the volunteers.

Joe Radosevich: 00:55:11 This sounds kind of ridiculous as a pastor, but I have to work hard to pray for volunteers because it can be easy to jump into strategies and the best volunteers that we've got, we prayed for them hard because we didn't have them. But, so one of the things that, so one, we just pray hard for them. and then we kind of do two things. One, we just tap people on the shoulder and say, Hey, will you experiment with this and help us out in this area for a little while? you don't have to do it forever if you hate it, you know. but we, but then the thing that really makes a difference is, leading with vision and the, the, the possibility of what can happen. Because then people will give extra time. They will give extra effort. They will fall over themselves to be a part of what we're doing because we don't have the budget to pay people to be involved in these things.

Joe Radosevich: 00:56:03 I think that's kind of some of what Mark's seeing, people that are excited about it in the small town where they're like this, this isn't here. There's not a Bible church for people to go to. And so in our case, by leading with vision, our people, and it always surprises me because I'm not a type a personality, but when I lead with vision, then people that I am a type a personality and so they get excited and just about jump across the table and say, I want to be a part of this. I want to use my gifts 167 hours a week to be a part of this. And so then we end up with people that are really excited and oftentimes people using their gifts paired to a passion. So that's what we've ended up doing and I want to do more of.

Jeff Reed: 00:56:47 How many of you have volunteers who live in different cities, States, countries who are not even within the city where you are? Or Andy, why don't you talk a little bit about that?

Andy Mage: 00:56:54 We're just now kind of getting the team up off the floor after, you know, six months of being here, seven months of being here, whatever it's been. I feel like I'm just now getting my feet under the desk and just now know where the other side of the building is. In terms of volunteers, we have obviously a couple of locals, a couple of people that I've just, that I'm personally able to meet with. We also have a couple people that are, one of them is out in New Mexico, that area. and we have a couple that are, I mean far enough to way far enough away to where I can drive within two hours. But that's not local. It's interesting. Those volunteers I've been able to glean have not been, you know, Joe was very much thing. We kind of have to, will ourselves to pray for volunteers.

Andy Mage: 00:57:34 I'm very much the same way. I think we all are to where those two in particular, one of them, the one who lives within an hour and a half of here, she is, disabled. she literally can't leave the house type thing, has a tube, she gets fed from a feeding tube. You know, it's one of, it's that and it's a very tragic story. And yet, well I went to her at after much prayer and much time and kind of training and all that other stuff and I said, Hey, would you help us? And she said, and I quote, nobody has ever asked me to help because they knew that I couldn't. And it was like this world earth shattering moment, two months into me being in the position that was like, Oh, we really are doing something way different. So Jeff, you talk about engaging people. I think we can engage people that wouldn't normally be, you know, I would not have that. Her name's Heather. I would not have asked Heather to serve in the kids' ministry because her immune system is constantly at negative numbers. And yet she can still host a service for us and she can still do content creation for us and she can still engage by phone call, by text, by all these other things, minister to people use her God-given pastoral heart in ways that I don't even think she's known and she's starting to tap into that potential.

Jeff Reed: 00:58:47 How do you, where do you recruit from volunteers where, where do you recruit the the pool? Are you, are you looking outside of the campus? What's the relationship recruiting on campus like what would, what are the tensions you guys feel? I just posted in our women's ministry Facebook group this week. I was like, Hey, they're telling me I have to stop having staff host services. I need your help. Somebody please volunteer. I have like 15 people were like, Hey, call me, call me. Let's make this happen. And I've been meeting with people like every hour all week long. So we're just tapping into our campus volunteers and it's really cool to see them get wrapped up in what we're doing with church online and

Adrienne Feldmann: 00:59:22 start connecting with our people who are shut in or who, we have a lot of people with social, social anxiety who don't come to church. And so seeing them start to build those connections is truly magical. It's really incredible.

Mark Brandt: 00:59:34 So obviously our local site volunteers come from local communities, but with our online service I have hosts and those hosts are kind of half staff and half, lay leaders. but as you can imagine, what we do for our hosting is, you know, we have a live camera where we cut into the service and welcome people. We do that three different times throughout the service. And so you have to have at least an ability, to talk off the cuff a little bit because once the red light goes on, you have to just start talking. And, that was a little daunting to me at first because, you know, yeah, it is what it is. You know, we all want, we all want to do over and then you can't do that in live broadcast. So one of my recruits that I, that I got for our volunteer team is actually, he's an Emmy award winning journalists on one of our local TV stations.

Mark Brandt: 01:00:25 And so he just hosted for me last weekend and I have one of my dedicated, you know, longterm online viewers and worshipers, reached out to me and said, I really love when Eric is on cause he is so good at this. Which is kind of a backhanded way of saying, you know, Brandon, you need to up your game a little bit. But you know, these are folks though that, I mean, I've known Eric for a long time. He, he's got a heart for Jesus and, and what he does is, you know, he, he's a news. any reason. Yeah, he's an anchor for our morning, local news programs.

Jeff Reed: 01:00:55 Well, he's a professional. I mean you have delegated responsibilities.

Mark Brandt: 01:01:03 He brings his own earwig like his own little thing because he's got one. I'm like, all right, whatever. Eric, you're the pro here. But but I love, you know, our other volunteers too are I tried to populate that group with people that, that bring a wide demographic into it. So our, our young adult pastor is one of my volunteers and she is great. She does our, our young adult ministry on Thursday nights. We have our, our sports ministry. A guy comes in and, and he is one of my volunteers. our alpha leader. She is, she's one of my volunteers that helps to host. And then I also have, one of my other volunteers as the, so we have two major high schools within about a 10 mile radius of us. And Valley high school is one of them. And the principal of Valley high school is one of my volunteers. So you know, Dave Maxwell, when he gets on there, I mean it's, that's a big deal for people that tune in online and see, Oh my gosh, that's our principal. And then those kids are, you know, we'll go into the high school and they'll realize there's an advocate I have on my side. This guy loves Jesus and he's our principal. You know, I just love that, that Dave is one of my volunteers. Plus he's a longterm teacher. So there's another professional know he's used to getting up in front of people and talking, you know, off the cuff. So he does a great job with that too. So, and one of my goals is, you know, with that team, I want that to be, I want that to be diverse. You know, I want to have a wide variety of voices in there so that, you know, when people tune into our broadcast, they don't just see me, they see other folks because it's important to have a multitude of voices in that volunteer pool because they all bring a unique perspective to things.

Jeff Reed: 01:02:20 Love it, love it, love it. Cool. All right, so the last thing, this is going to be TJ, but I really want to, I want to know this. Like one of your goals that you wrote here was that you were your churches interested in planting digital churches online, only churches internationally and, and I don't, I don't see that a lot. but I want to ask the question. So what does that look like? What are you guys thinking?

TJ Winters: 01:02:58 This was something that, we're in the very early stages of conversation on, it was brought to us by another organization as well that wanted to partner. So we are still trying to figure out exactly what that looks like. I don't have a great answer for you right now. Like we are still wanting to talk through it. What does it mean for us? What does it mean for them? Who do we bring in to help us do this? And, and, and what's the goal? It's, it's early conversations, but 2020 is a year that we want it. We want to hit it, at least begin starting the process of what this looks like in these conversations.

Jeff Reed: 01:03:34 Interesting. Some just interesting stats. 60% of the world has internet now as access to high speed internet. At some capacity, DSL cable, LTE, four G something at least. The next 30% of people who get internet in this in the world today will be third world countries. So like these are going to be people with cell phones because there's no infrastructure in place. So utilizing the internet, for church to start to get some churches in front of them digitally. There is several organizations who are really interested in that. And so if you're interested in that conversation, hit me up, hit TJ up, cause I know that there are some large organizations trying to figure out how to crack that.

Jeff Reed: 01:04:24 I have no idea what to say right there, how to crack that egg. That's weird. How to crack that nugget, how to figure out how to do that. That's just cheesy. Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and include all of that in there cause it'll be fun. It's a great time. And honestly, I think as you guys are working through these goals, I know that there are people who are doing church online who are listening to this, who are wrestling with a lot of these same goals. And maybe hearing some of these things I'm hearing how you're figuring out how to do it hopefully is a welcome challenge or a way to compliment them to help them with the same process. We're gonna include all your social media contacts and all that in the show notes so they can get all that and get connected with you individually. if they wanted to, to kind of compare up. But just as we're landing the plane here, any last thoughts or anything on your side?

Joe Radosevich: 01:05:13 I think the Microsites are actually going to be super relevant as churches across the country are closing? I mean I, I'm familiar with the little boy area cause I went to seminary at Southern and that whole area is filled with churches. But so many of them are dying and the small towns around it and the small towns up here. so the microsite idea, how do we use online ministry to then create physical connections and physical, churches actually is going to be a super relevant conversation.

Mark Brandt: 01:05:42 It is, I mean, your rural rural America is so fascinating because not just, not only our church is dying, but industries are dying, schools are dying. you know, whole communities, you know, farming communities. Even where I'm at are just finding that I'm, I'm just, I'm curious to see what happens, but I still feel like the church has a place in those, in those towns and how can online away. So if you've got a small church that unfortunately cannot afford to call somebody full time, can online be a way to keep people connected to the gospel where they otherwise wouldn't be able to do so. And I think that's the real awesome opportunity that we have. And it doesn't have to be one church. I mean, that's the beautiful part about online ministry is there's so many more churches are embracing this idea and you know, so you know what TJ is doing, you know, and being able to offer, you know, a more traditional expression, especially within our, within our bigger family, the Lutherans, there are many folks that that's their heart language and that's not something that we as a church offer online right now.

Mark Brandt: 01:06:46 And so in places where that matters, I mean, here's a church that can do that, you know, and that can be huge. You know, as we help these remnants, you know, that are still very viable, continue to be the church because it just, it breaks my heart to think that the opposite would be true. And we're going to have towns like, what Joe was talking about around the country that just don't have a place where people can worship. because yeah, they can connect to, to a church online, but at the end of the day, they need to have community too. And if and that community is best expressed locally and if we can help that thrive and that's, that is what my heart is for. Yeah.

Jeff Reed: 01:07:25 In 10 years. I don't think we use the phrase church online anymore. I think it's church and the, the vehicle of church, for delivery, I think you're going to see the microsite be very popular, whether it's, you know, the video being streamed via church online methods like today or whether it's just very small churches that are now at a much smaller number because persecution, because of tax changes, because of a number of different reasons, bigger churches are going to get bigger, smaller churches will continue to get smaller. That kind of mid range church is, I think is gonna struggle, to survive. And I think they're going to go to more of this, multisite, but even the microsite model in order to stay, functioning in order for impact, by the way. And that's, I mean, I don't want to like die on this right now, but that's actually more of a biblical model anyway.

Jeff Reed: 01:08:22 And so we can probably have a side podcast about that. We already have you go back and listen to some of them along the way. But yeah, I'm very excited about what micro can do in the future and what I believe it will do in the future. And, and some of you guys now Mark, Adrienne, like you guys are, are paving the way for that. The one thing, anytime I ever talked to anybody who's doing micro sites and I've talked to dozens of people, they all start the conversation with what we're doing now we may not do in three months, but we're just figuring it out. Like if nothing else, that one idea has become so experimental, in the church today because everyone's seeing that there's a need, there's a possibility, something organically is happening and we're trying to figure out if God's calling us to capitalize on it and actually utilize it and start to build more so we're going to experiment with some things and see, Jay Kranda, just had him on, a couple episodes ago. He's on version number three of his experiment. He's actually tried one thing. It didn't work. He tried. The second thing, it worked really well, but it wasn't scalable. So we tried number three, out of Saddleback. So yeah, there's going to be something here. There's a model here that our thanks going affect the church of the future. we just have to be diligent to try to figure out how it works today. So, well guys, this has been great. I'm looking forward to doing this again and, but we're going to wrap for Mark, for Adrienne, for TJ, for Joe, for Andy, this is Jeff at The Church Digital. Thanks for joining in this podcast and we'll see you next time. 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 Digital Church & Church Online.

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