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PODCAST 052: Coronavirus & Preparing for Emergencies




Whether coronavirus is a legitimate fear or not is not the topic of conversation here. Fact is, we face all sorts of city-wide emergencies on a regular basis. Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Earthquakes, Bitter Cold... Institutional churches face challenges like this on a regular basis in situations that prevent them from gathering.

So what's the plan? How would your church respond in a situation where you weren't able to gather? It's 2020. You should probably have a plan.

That's where we are with this podcast. Whether coronavirus is a thing or not isn't the point. Your church needs a plan, and we're providing you, well, at least the start of that plan! So join Jeff, Rey, as well as, Kevin Lee from Saddleback Church, Jason Days from Outreach Magazine, and Andrew Statezny from CDF Capital, as we discuss the Church and Preparing for Emergencies. 

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

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Guest: Kevin Lee
Saddleback Church
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Guest: Jason Daye
Outreach Magazine
Twitter // Facebook // LinkedIn

Guest: Andrew Statezny
CDF Capital
Twitter // Facebook // LinkedIn

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

Co-Host: Rey DeArmas
Christ Fellowship Miami Online
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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!
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):
Well, Hey, welcome to The Church Digital Podcast. This is Episode 52 for those of you that are keeping track at home and we're doing a special edition here for the episode. Normally we were supposed to have this awesome conversation about, the biblical functions of a digital church. We're just not gonna go there cause I really felt like we needed to head in a different direction as we're looking more and more at coronavirus and what's happening with that. And this is not meant to be an alarmist episode. I probably actually do lean a little bit more to the alarmist side, but honestly the conversation of how church online, how can reinforce and help the church and maybe helping churches develop a strategy for how to handle situations, when catastrophes are happening or when they're about to happen or after they happen.

Jeff Reed (00:00:54):
It's kind of important. I, myself, the church that I was at First Baptist Church of Perrine, 1992 got hit by Hurricane Andrew. The roof fell within the church. I, myself, in the house where I was at, I spent the majority of that hurricane, that Sunday night to Monday morning, huddled in the minivan in my garage as the rest of the house around me, was exploding and literally exploding because the pressure was more inside than out. And then it just kind of exploded. But what the fun part of it was my entire family, my dog, and my 87 year old great aunt were all huddled in this van because that was the safest place and then it took us 18 months, to get our lives back together. It took the church probably 16 months to reopen and we can, we know that tragedies like this happen.

Jeff Reed (00:01:48):
So whether corona happens or if you're in, you know, the East coast, Southeast, like I am, hurricanes, or if you're in the Midwest dealing with tornadoes, I.E. Nashville, even this week, or if you're on the West coast, dealing with the earthquakes and everything that's there. I do think it's important for churches to have a strategy up front to try to figure out how to respond in those situations. Oftentimes when you do it after the fact, especially when you're talking technology, you don't have that infrastructure in place, but even a couple of conversations up front can help you go a long way in the midst of the "storms of life". So I wanted to bring together a panel of some guys and really just wanted to talk through some options about this. So I've got four people jumping on here, Andrew Statezny from at, well, Andrew, why don't you just take a minute and introduce yourself?

Andrew Statezny (00:02:42):
Yeah. I work with CDF Capital, I do a lot of online consulting, work with churches, worked at Life Church for nine years and and have a small tech startup as well.

Jeff Reed (00:02:55):
Andrew is a great guy working in the church and online circles and I've loved rubbing shoulders with him and had some of these conversations as well. I'm bringing in Kevin Lee from Saddleback. Kevin's no stranger to the podcast. Kevin was on probably episode eight or nine. It's been a while talking about a lot of the perceived issues that people have with church online. But Kevin, why don't you just a little bit what you specifically do a over there

Kevin Lee (00:03:18):
Saddleback. Yeah, Jeff, good to be back. Thanks for having me. And, I'm the small groups pastor for the online campus at Saddleback. I've been doing that for two years and I just, I just want to thank you for having me because this was, this episode was born out of my Facebook posts, kind of crying out for help. So thanks. Thanks for doing that, Jeff.

Jeff Reed (00:03:43):
Awesome. Yeah, Kevin, Kevin posted on, well, we're going to get into that here in a little bit, listen to introduce the rest, but I do want to spend time on that post. We've got Jason Daye, from Outreach Magazine. Probably my newest friend. I met Jason over at Exponential Conference and I've loved spending some time with him. So Jason, man, just tell us a little bit about what you do for outreach.

Jason Daye (00:04:04):
Yeah, for sure. thank you so much Jeff that decided to be on here with you guys. yeah, the vice president of mobilization and outreach. So I oversee our major ministry initiatives. Also host the church leaders podcast, serve as Executive Director of National Back to Church Sunday and so do a lot of speaking and training and kind of strategizing with denominations and ministry organizations, church planting networks, local churches on how to be more effective in sharing the gospel.

Jeff Reed (00:04:35):
And of course to wrap up the panel, Rey DeArmas, Digital Pastor from Christ Fellowship Miami is in the midst of travel, so he's phoning in. Rey, you want to say, Hey?

Rey DeArmas (00:04:44):
Hey everyone it's great to be here with you and I'm glad to be joined by these great guys from all over the place. Pleasure to have you all on.

Jeff Reed (00:04:50):
Yeah, the awesome thing is like we've got like Rey and I are here down in Miami and Kevin and Andrew are in California, so we've got the hurricanes and we've got the earthquakes covered. Jason's in Colorado and I'm not actually sure what the natural disaster there is except for a glorious snow and skiing. But I'm sure there's some bad, you know, does it get so bad in Colorado that you can't actually go to church? You literally, you get snowed in, right? That's a thing.

Jason Daye (00:05:19):
Yes. Snowed in. Would be snow and ice might be the big thing that would keep people, keep people home.

Jeff Reed (00:05:26):
Kevin, you've reached out, you wrote a post maybe Sunday or I think it was Monday by the time that it had really hit me, because you were in, you were talking about what. Kevin why don't you describe it?

Kevin Lee (00:05:38):
Yeah. So, just to share a little bit of background, I was born and raised in Korea and came to the States when I was 11. So, you know, Korea is dear and near to my heart and I have a close connections and all my extended family are in Korea. And when this outbreak of coronavirus happened, started in China, but very quickly, some people in Korea had been infected. And it just, because of the nature of the virus being epidemic, it kind of shook the country, as a whole. So, and I've started to see a lot of posts on my Facebook feed, who are pastors in Korea saying, Hey, we are going to now turn to online service, for, their gatherings. And I saw that I've seen couple of online church services that they were doing.

Kevin Lee (00:06:39):
And Korea is a much, very much of a conservative, like culture and that is reflected on Christian or any, any religion. So, not a lot of churches have online ministries and figure it out. So I've seen a lot of churches, even the big churches kind of struggling to do online ministry. And I just wanted to, even though I'm at Saddleback and we've been doing online ministry for awhile and I'm learning a lot of things, I just wanted to get more resources and information about how other churches do online services in small group ministry and giving. So those things I just want, I just gather my thoughts and posted, and then this, this group of people came together. So, I'm here to learn from a lot of people here.

Jeff Reed (00:07:34):
That's an awesome, well let me ask this, like, you know, here in America, I, I'm speculating, but the number of churches versus the number of churches that are probably doing something online, and I don't know, one of you may have better stats, but it feels like it's one to 2% of churches that are broadcasting something. You know, I'm looking at 350,000 evangelical churches. Maybe there's 25,000 at this point that are, think are there on church, online platform. So I mean even if it's 3% it's a very small percentage and I think we can safely say that. What is that that are already doing church line? Is it like that in Korea? Is there more or less? What does it look like? Do you know?

Kevin Lee (00:07:52):
I don't know the exact stat, but I know there aren't that many. It's probably less than 1%. Yeah, I can see is, I've seen over the last year, over the last six months, some bigger churches and there are a lot of big churches in Korea, bigger churches turned to YouTube live to do online services, but it was very limited. There was no chatting, no really ministry involved other than live streaming because all before that, even before live streaming, it was all just recorded and putting up on their website and was the extent of online ministry. So this is all new. A lot of churches are, and this is very like an emergency for a lot of churches. Yeah.

Jeff Reed (00:09:07):
And, once again, I really don't want to be alarmist or anything like that, but like what, what's, what's the state of Korea in this like our, quarantine, inability to gather together in groups. Like, as you know, people who were over their friends and family. Like what are you, what are they reporting out to you?

Kevin Lee (00:09:29):
All the, not all, but majority of churches, and I say this in a church perspective and majority of the churches are turning to online and not many meeting physically. And that that's also some other, you know, political campaigns, or their social kind of gatherings are all being canceled and churches are probably the biggest because they meet regularly.

Jeff Reed (00:09:58):
So then, you know, as, as we look and learn some lessons from the Korea aspect where, where they're having to go to church online, how, how long have they been enabled to meet in groups and is there any, is there any like future, what, what are they expecting? Like what's, what's the government saying over there?

Kevin Lee (00:10:17):
You know, actually it's been about two Sundays, I think it's two Sundays that churches have kind of replaced their physical gatherings with online church and it was just announced, that there we're just gonna do it for two weeks and then they'll probably meet again but all the, all the churches that kind of embraced online ministry art extending that, indefinitely until it gets better. Which people are speculating, it could be two more weeks, but it could be another two months. And what's really hurting the church over there is because online ministry and online churches, so new, online giving wasn't an option before. So you would imagine a lot of churches on, that are on loan and there that have hard money, have no really way to do giving. So, I've heard that a lot of churches are, if this continues to two months and three months and a lot of churches could close down and that's a sad news for Korea and for the body of Christ. Yeah, it's crazy.

Jeff Reed (00:11:33):
Thank you. Know something every, every operationally the city is fine. Like it was, it was funny, even my wife and I, we were, we were dialoguing through like our house. Like what do we need to go by? And I immediately went to like, okay, buy meat for the grill. Cause I can cook with propane when the pot, when the power's out. And she's like, but the power will be fine like, we'll be able to watch Netflix all day long if we were, you know, had to, we had to be, you know, locked in for some reason or something. So it's a completely different paradigm than even what I'm used to in context of this. And so one of the things that I'd love to do just with, with the guys that are on here is just to start to dialogue through, you know, there are some things that I think and Kevin brought up, the thing about, giving and honestly in my knee, knee jerk reaction was, man, I really feel like a lot of churches here in America, like understand the online giving component piece.

Jeff Reed (00:12:32):
But I also deal with churches that are primarily already doing church online and are probably more of that tip of the spear when it comes to technological. And so I don't really want to assume like adoption rates or some of that. So wanted just maybe talk through what are some options, what are some easy ways, where for giving, for broadcasting, for even trying to figure out how to help ramp in the groups and things like this. Because possibly speaking, the American church could be dealing with something like this. Secondarily, not that it's born in new order, but Korean church could probably use some resources and directions for how to do this, especially if they're trying to figure out how to do this for, you know, a couple more months. And then thirdly, we're all going to need some guidance at some level because if it's not Corona, it'll be another disease or it'll be in another, you know, earthquake or tornado or hurricane or the zombie apocalypse could one day in fact come that, you know, everybody watching Syfi network is fearing.

Jeff Reed (00:13:28):
I'm kidding. although a friend of mine actually is preparing, but that's for another podcast. So, but let's, let's, let's dive into this like, you know, let's talk about giving. It's the thing that he said, he said up front. So like it does once again, stats, ideas. Even even theories. I'm not looking for hard facts here as, as much as gut. Like is there a large adoption rate here in America when it comes towards online giving? Have we already solved this problem and for this, for the Korean people? Like what would be, are there solutions at this point to help them onboard? What, what's involved?

Rey DeArmas (00:14:03):
Yeah, I feel like online giving, has become a thing in the United States for quite a bit and I think some of the other folks that are on this podcast would agree and for churches, I mean, for churches that would be in a rush now to adopt, online giving, I think they'd, I think they'd find themselves stretched at this point because obviously the big thing is just helping walk your people through the process of actually logging onto the website, you know, tying your bank account to it, etc. So it's not that it's too late for some folks, but it's, it's that increases the difficulty of onboarding people. If you've not already gone through some of that process, the tools are there. It's already laid out and there's a lot of competitors in that space. It's just the onboarding of people and the education of helping others along in terms of getting them on online giving that I think is, is to be tough if you're just starting out.

Jason Daye (00:14:52):
Yeah, I would agree with Rey on that, Jeff, because, and one of the things that we're really encouraging churches to think through is if you do not have online giving, set already two to one, get it going, but then make sure that over the next few weeks that you have it, you know, you're, you're communicating this in your church as you're able to, if you're able to publicly gather at this point, that you are communicating this, you are kind of onboarding people. You are making this something that you're talking about. You know, you don't want to wait until, public gatherings if that happens, you know, are no longer available to suddenly try to, as Rey said, onboard people. You want to go ahead and be proactive right now and it's going to be beneficial, you know, regardless if if it closes, you know, your gatherings or not. So, but you want to be thinking of not just the online giving platform and what that looks like and thinking internally, but you want to definitely be thinking about that external communication piece to your people. What does it look like, you know, have a kind of sort of a help station, in your foyer, in your lobby, kind of talking with people already over the next few weeks to help them understand how it works and kind of get on.

Andrew Statezny (00:16:08):
and I, I'm following up on, Jason as well. I would, I would fine tune my language when it comes to giving. when you're receiving an offering or when you have a generosity moment, if you have your offering in the back or you don't or you pass the bucket, whatever it is, fine tune the language now to just say, and obviously the easiest and simplest way to give, the safest way to give is online and have that on a screen. Pop it up, make it super simple for people to understand. So many of the platforms have text to give so that you can just simply send a text and get right into kind of their giving pipeline. I would even have, you know, I'd be looking at simple things in addition to my giving platform. I'd be looking at a Venmo account.

Andrew Statezny (00:16:59):
I'd be looking at a PayPal account just to have it as a backup so that if there's people that are ease or that it's easier for them to do that and that's what they're comfortable with, man, make it available. But the language, language sets culture, we know that. So repeat it over and over and over again. And if you know, three weeks from now, if you're a senior pastor or a campus pastor somewhere or you do stage time, you should almost see people mouthing the words with you. You know, the easiest and safest way to give is online. And then in addition to that, I would simply say for me, it's super simple once you do this that you can set up recurring giving. And for me, I don't have a faithfulness problem. I have a forgetfulness problem and I forget all the time.

Andrew Statezny (00:17:43):
So we just automate the important things in our life. My wife and I, we automate our life insurance, mortgage, a car insurance, and we automate our, our tithe and our giving because it's just that important to us. I think doing that Jeff, is significant in the fact that if there is a disaster, the last thing on people's mind is going to be giving. you know, the, even if we have a digital way to give it, the last thing is going to be, Oh yeah. But if we automate it, it makes it a whole lot, a whole lot simpler to say the least. And anyway, just a couple thoughts there.

Jeff Reed (00:18:22):
Well, yeah, and as you're solving that automation process, as you're getting people that are tithing regularly through the system, I mean, that just doesn't solve your hurricane issue that solves your summer dip in attendance, summer dip in giving as well. And like there's, there's a number of things that helps with. You know, it was funny, like I, I was, I was at a church, you mentioned the Venmo thing. I was at was at a church and they put up a slide during the offering time and they literally, they had like the cash app, you know, whatever the handle, the log in, whatever it was, because that was what they did for for giving. And this is, this is a while back, but I said to the person, I was like, I was like, and there was like, what'd you think of our giving?

Jeff Reed (00:19:05):
I was like, that was great, but you didn't, you're not able to capitalize on a recurring giving cause I don't think at the time like cash app had to like, you know, suck it out of your account withdrawal from your account every, every couple of weeks or so. And the person's like, you can do that. And I was like, well not through cash app, but there are platforms, you know, that that can certainly help. One of the questions that I get and I'm just curious cause I know, I'm sure we've all dealt with this type of password or this type of person and I appreciate the heart in this but the guy who says, yeah, we don't do, we don't do online giving because online giving means that people can put it on their credit cards and we don't believe in the church incurring debt. So we're not even going to go there. I'm just curious. Anybody have like a response? How do you guys handle situations like that? Or how would you handle situations like that if, if a pastor said that?

Andrew Statezny (00:20:00):
You know, I think I just, the, the saucy side of me would just simply say, you probably haven't done a great job teaching people how to handle the money that God's entrusted them with and maybe you need to go back and do a series and do a deep dive with Dave Ramsey or whatever. It just seems to me like that whole piece of it, is, I can't, I can't remember the last time somebody actually said to me outside of a pastor, can I, is it that if I give with my credit card, most of the time it's miles and it's paid off and those kinds of things, they're doing it to kit to get miles. I don't know. I just, I'm a little bit, you know, obviously for me, we, we go straight out of our checking account. It makes it simple and easy for us. But, I just think, the best that you can do is probably get on the front end of it and teach people how to handle and be responsible with what God's entrusted them with more than anything else. I mean, you can't control other people's money and nor should you try. I think once you start doing that, it's manipulation and you gotta be careful with that kind of stuff too.

Jeff Reed (00:21:12):
Any other thoughts? Yeah, honest to God, I heard this two weeks ago and I, it's literally like, it took me a minute. I was kind of was like, okay, well like you have a website but people can use the internet browser to go to porn. So you trust them to go to your website but, and that was what I came to and I said porn in the worship center and that was awkward and maybe like I said, but earlier, like my filter sometime doesn't work. Hey, so, but I mean, and let's remember part of this is that we have the opportunity to help the church, your church, the churches that are possibly preparing for a situation ahead. You've got a situation to help the church long run.

Jeff Reed (00:22:02):
So moving to online giving will definitely help the, especially as recurring donations coming or making it easier for people to tie them. Like these are great steps to, to move in that right direction. All right, let's shift gears and let's head off of giving. Let's head over to broadcast. So we're, we're looking at at what the weekend service, when you're in this type of situation, you're unable to meet because the coronavirus or your worship worship center got blown away in a tornado or hurricane for whatever reason, your broadcast center, your worship center, your church is not doing services on Sunday. Well, what are some solutions, how do you handle that? What could the church do?

Jason Daye (00:22:43):
And we see this already in churches and in this actually has happened in Colorado when church, whenever there's a large snow storm or something and people can't get out, there are times when pastors actually share the message, from the living room really and do either via Facebook live or on YouTube, kind of streaming it out. I think one of the things that we need to think through, there are a couple of things I would recommend that we consider. One is how do we broadcast those and, and oftentimes, it'll be something that's that simple and we need to think that to have a simple way to go about doing this. And so if it is a Facebook live or something like that, or YouTube and kind of streaming it, you really want to have some sort of connection though to your website here at Outreach.

Jason Daye (00:23:34):
Our team is, right now we've, we've been doing some kind of a brainstorming and kind of a task force coming together to try to pull some resources together. We're trying to steward our, our influence here to help churches and we're providing some free streaming options that our team is building out right now. So that specifically so that if a church is streaming, like on Facebook that it will also be appearing on their website because not everyone will know or understand to go to Facebook to see your message. And so that's one thing. Whenever it's not imperative for you to be solely streaming, Facebook is a good place for it to also be right. it's a good extra place for it to be. But if we're in a situation where, the only way that someone is going to experience a worship, and you know, hear a sermon and be able to kind of be praying, praying kind of corporately, virtually it, when, when it's the only way that they can connect, then you want to make sure that it's not just on Facebook or not just, you know, on YouTube.

Jason Daye (00:24:43):
But that is also on your churches website. Cause some people, again, that's the only place they'll know to go. And that's where they'll likely turn. It's your church's website. So, we're putting into something together. It'll be, it'll be ready in probably about another week or so, at which for free, we'll just, it'll just kinda connect in with your, your churches website, and through, through a subdomain and whatever your you're doing on Facebook live or on YouTube, it's going to show up there. And so you'll have a place if you don't have a place under website now where people can see that it will be available for you. And that's just something that we're, we're trying to do to help churches that are wrestling through this. but I, I think that a couple of things you want to think through as well.

Jason Daye (00:25:26):
It's not only your, your sermons, you wanna you want kind of keep that worship experience going and connecting with people. But I would recommend you also have a, a set time that you are communicating with your people outside of the worship gathering. so a set time where people know that, you, you're going to be alive and you're going to be sharing updates and you know, maybe more kind of family matters for the church itself, right? So really kind of connecting with people and having that, that separate kind of communication channel, this is helpful for pastoral care as well. That's one of the things that we really want to think through. It's not just our, our worship gatherings, but how are we going to handle pastoral care? you know, if we're not able to, to be corporately. So, just really being thoughtful through that.

Jason Daye (00:26:14):
One of the things that we even recommend is thinking through, you might even want to prerecord, a few messages while you have your facilities and you know, prerecord, a four week sermon series or something. and you can even have your worship team come in and you can do it on a Thursday night or whatever. Do it in your church facilities. Now have, you know, a sermon series put together because if churches are closed, they might, they might be close for a short, short amount of time. It may be only, you know, three or four weeks. So you already have these pre recorded and you're kind of preparing that way. You've prayed about this and you're being very intentional, tried to honor God in the midst of that. To have those ready to go, might be just enough. You need to bridge before you're able to gather physically again. So, that, that's one thing that we're really encouraging churches to think through as well as what does that look like to put together a short sermon series, actually have your live worship team together. Film them all, prerecord them, get them ready so that you can just upload them and go and then personalized connection with people, right?

Jeff Reed (00:27:16):
There's a lot there, man, that that was rich. everything you're so you're throwing together real quick. A software that's going to create a sub domain to, to move. If people aren't smart enough to go to Facebook. And I mean, no disrespect to the people, but having it on the website to link to, not to mention Facebook is a huge, you know, distraction. Oh, squirrel. You know, trying to do everything they can to get you off that content because they want you to process other content so that all the stats go up, not just yours. And so the ability to do that on your website, even YouTube on your website, in a control environment, as Facebook and YouTube are trying to distract you and pull you away, your domain is going to allow you to control and for those people to engage at a much longer level and I love this idea and it, but what I really want to park on is, is maybe like this, the controlled updates, what you're communicating. I can tell you it's just to end the churches that I've worked in different situations, dealing with the tornadoes, when I lived in Texas and, and, in the hurricanes in Miami. Sometimes I feel like I'm talking sports a little bit, but what do you communicate? Like, what types of things would we regularly communicate out to people? What, like what are some thoughts there? What are people looking for messaging wise from their church in seasons like this?

Rey DeArmas (00:28:43):
Well, I mean for you know, you know, this just doing church in Miami, especially in hurricane season it was whether or not we were going to be open on a particular weekend, whether or not we were going to gather. And that right there is, is big for everybody. just to know whether or not the doors are going to be open on a Sunday morning, is a big deal and how you communicate that. I strongly suggest for a lot of churches if you don't have a texting strategy, texting for us, especially in recent times for live updates, to the minute has been such a big deal and it's not something that we use for. And we're very careful about this. I, I'm the guardian of the gate on our texting strategy cause you don't want to inundate people like you do with emails. I'm sure all of you that are listening out there, your church is probably inundating a lot of folks with a lot of emails and therefore your email open rate is not that great. But the text open rate is actually really good. People will check text messages, especially in emergency situations on this stuff. So whether or not going to be open or, even if you're ready to help people is another great way to communicate via text.

Jason Daye (00:29:47):
A couple of other things that I would, kind of think about in these types of communication are obviously, health updates. If, if, if there are things going on in your community, in your state or within your people themselves, you know, your, your, your congregants that kind of help health updates with them, but also be thinking about, your missions, connections around the world, what's going on in, in air, different areas of the world at the time, and sharing updates in regard to, you know, if you have missionaries out from your church or serving in different areas. and just really helping people to feel like they're informed but not just, like, what they're getting from the news. But from a, kind of a church family perspective, like we're, we're part of the, you know, the church and this is an opportunity I think, I think something like this is a huge opportunity for the church.

Jason Daye (00:30:45):
We see this whenever there are natural disasters, right? When the church steps up and the churches being a part of helping to bring healing and wholeness to the community, we can see this. And so if we are championed this idea of hope and opportunity, that, that, you know, God is at work in the midst of crises like this. I, I think those are the additional things, aside from the, you know, important things of, of just like, Hey, are we gathering, what snacks where places where you can get support, where you can get help. whatever those types of things look like, but what are the things that the life of the church is doing in the midst of a crisis? Cause we're not, we're not stopping church. Just, just if, if we're not able to gather, physically, that doesn't mean that church is stopping. Right. So what is the church and how are we connected to the greater church across the country, around the world? And what are some of those stories that we can be sharing with our people?

Kevin Lee (00:31:44):
Yeah. Just to add on that, I think if, if a crisis is happening at a church, the chances are the whole city that the church is in is suffering. So, waits to communicate and just empowering the, the whole church member to, to help the community would be a big thing and practical ways on how, how the church can help the community and maybe do a research on what the city is suffering with. And what are some areas that, that if there's any, maybe just like war waters or other research resources that are needed. it can be a, a place where, churches can help the community and let the communities know, that the church is helping.

Jeff Reed (00:32:40):
I think there's a huge opportunity, for, for the church. And I'm even resorting back to 1992 Hurricane Andrew. Rey, were you in Miami '92? Rey, were you alive at '92? I'm not even sure. You may be that young.

Rey DeArmas (00:32:46):
I'm trying to unmute. I was totally alive in '92. I like Jeff was sitting, in my house that was imploding around me and, running, we actually had to leave in the middle of the storm. We had to leave our house and we were out of it after the storm for a year and a half, you know, living with my aunt and uncle, we actually lived, at a hotel for a week post-storm and all of that. And I'll tell ya, I mean, and so many folks are dealing with this now over in East Nashville and I think of all the different disasters that have struck both churches and people are like, finding ways to mobilize your people after the fact. Oh man, the church in action when we've seen it is so powerful. In our circles, we're so grateful for Southern Baptist relief because typically they've been boots to ground like the day, the day after a storm hits. They've been there with food truck, they've been there with everything ready to go to serve the community and just collaborating with churches, on, on how to get a community back on its feet. And we've been the beneficiaries of that. I mean, at least in my lifetime, I could think of five instances with Southern Baptist relief actually came through and served characters, churches, and people in our community both to give the gospel but also in practical ways, to get boots to the ground immediately for volunteers. And it was awesome.

Jeff Reed (00:34:10):
There's a huge opportunity for the church to be on mission, in the midst of and, and after tragedies like those. Like I can remember I was in school freshman, literally, high school freshmen and, I skipped out of football practice to, for the first couple of weeks. my football coach wasn't happy when I finally came back, but I, I literally was running like the, Red Cross, the Baptist, you know, health, all of like the food distribution and clothes. I was, was part of that because for me as a high school freshman and yes, I got out of two-a-days that was maybe part of it, but it was also this idea of let me be, let me be on mission, let me help people who are in greater need and the opportunity for the church to have a presence in some of those situations and in the midst of it.

Jeff Reed (00:35:02):
But what's interesting is you, if you don't have that culture beforehand, it's a lot harder to fall back on that culture when you need it. You know, that there are churches that are, that I've personally have attended at, worked at that have that huge serving culture, selfless serving, serving the community culture. And then there are others that, that probably struggle with that. And so like, there's, there's huge opportunities for the church to tap into that. You know, it's kind of ironic where, and Rey, you may appreciate this on the podcast, we always talk about how church is more than the nickels and noses and the things that we've talked about at this point is literally like a giving and broadcast. I didn't totally didn't mean to do that, but we accidentally like, you know, stumbled into that but these are two big components, but there there's more to church than just like those two components, right? At least I hope there is. What does like groups look like? What is gathering together in environments where you can't gather together? What could that look like?

Kevin Lee (00:36:00):
Yeah. for us at Saddleback, we have a lot of online groups that meet through zoom just like we're doing for us. how an online group looks like is they would, you know, share screen of a teaching that's about 15 to 20 minutes long. And we would have study guides with some questions that people can discuss. So it's something that we are doing already. and it's something that I believe will come in very much benefit when it, you know, in times of crisis and other churches can do it. It with, on just the weekend messages, as pastors and preachers, we, we are creators, right? We create content all the time and we can put to a great use by just putting some questions in and having people come, coming together in a zoom call or even just in chat chat functions and messengers and people can discuss after watching the preaching so that that might work for a lot of churches.

Jeff Reed (00:37:10):
So the one thing that I've learned in recent days is there are a ton of free platforms or virtually free platforms that allow for, you know, this zoom functionality seems like most churches and even a lot of the businesses are falling back on zoom. Like that's becoming more and more of the preferred. but Skype's free, FaceTime. Obviously FaceTime requires everybody to have an iPhone or an iOS device that that's free and they've now got groups up to like eight or 10. I think that that, that can be on and doing that Google Hangouts, I know is another one that for me has been a technological nightmare in the past, but more and more people are telling me that it's, it's become more stable. I think Google Hangouts has a limit of like six or seven people that may have even have, have grown past that. actually I think it was somebody at Life.Church that, that connected me with that, that's a, a zoom competitor that's 100% free. Even thanks. Like, discord I know has, has a free video chat that's built in Slack. I don't use that one a lot, but, at least a video chat, but it's, it's their Facebook. I got a Facebook audio call from a guy today. I was like, Oh, okay, I'll talk to you now. I can't tell you the conversation went well, but it, it, he at least tried to call me. What other platforms that are out there? that would be an option for somebody, you know, free or nearly free. That a church could dive into, to experiment with.

Jason Daye (00:38:44):
Yeah. If you're looking for synchronous activity, so, so together talking at the same time, you mentioned Facebook message. I know with Facebook messenger you can have up to 50 people on a call. So that's, that's a pretty significant size. So if you're, you know, now you can visibly see, you can video, I think it's up to eight, but audio you could have up to 50 people. So a lot of people have Facebook, have Facebook messenger set, might be a, you know, kind of a, a simpler one to, to jump on.

Jeff Reed (00:39:13):
Have you had, I'm literally asking this and I don't mean anything rude. Have you had good luck with Facebook on audio and video? I personally have had bad luck.

Jason Daye (00:39:21):
I have more recently, I have more recently. it seemed to, it seemed to be relatively stable.

Jeff Reed (00:39:33):
I know they, they just came out with a, at least with time of this recording, wherever we are, March, they came out with the new Facebook messenger app. I dunno if there was like, it was just superficial design or if there is anything under their hood, but hopefully they've changed some of this stuff. Rey's messaging me, he's having problems with his zoom on his phone so maybe there's four bugs in this that were really dissipated, but you know, he's, he's saying what's happened. I can tell you like we, we've used WhatsApp. which really also brings in, you know, WhatsApp for, for audio, with that. But that also brings in this idea of text-based groups and how like, you know, and Rey and I, we've, we've had conversations about this and other podcasts talking about how being in a text community or a community of friends, people that we know, keeping in touch with each other via the text groups, everything from like the sarcastic jokes and the constant trolling of one another, even to the place of like, how can I pray for you? What's going on in your life? What, when you read this scripture, what are the things that come out becoming more pastoral as well as, you know, just more relaxed. Like have you guys experienced, I'm just curious him within the group that like texts engaging relationship where maybe it's six or eight people in a WhatsApp group or a, you know, a group me app or something like that. Anybody want to share a story from that?

Andrew Statezny (00:41:02):
Yeah, I mean, I, I do, quite a bit of work with, groups of people and inevitably it takes one quick conversation like here's the rules for our text and that keeps you on the right track so if somebody doesn't get in. To any memes, I'm like the King of memes. So I'm usually the one calling myself out. some of those things are, are, you know, you just, you just can establish here's, here's how we're going to communicate and here's, here's the pathway that it goes. I would even encourage you, I'm following up on what Rey said earlier about a texting strategy. I think I would also begin trying to figure a ways to, I'm always a proponent of taking what happens in the real world and making digital a piece of that from, so if you're attending church this Sunday, how is your congregation going to act in a digital way and when they're in person.

Andrew Statezny (00:42:02):
So it could be, Hey, if you want the latest updates, the best way to do that is simply sign up for our texting service. And you could do it right here. Just text this number and it's, and it's done. So you begin that kind of communication pathway that here's how we're going to communicate, and when you need to know the latest of what's happening here at church, this is the fastest way for us to get it out. I would be trying to figure in a couple of digital elements along the way too. So anyway.

Jeff Reed (00:42:30):
Yeah, I love the idea of, of like the phygital approach where your, what you're doing in phygital you're doing in the physical world also matches the digital and utilizing that as a community piece. And, and even in the chase we'll get to in a second, but even the idea of doing your, your announcements in a way during a season and when it's healing where people need to know, do them in an area where they can respond and ask questions or, or ask poignant questions like how can we pray for you in the midst of this and give people an opportunity to, to voice. I mean we, we talk about how engaging the word engagement is lost a lot of it's meaning for me, engagement means not talking but listening. It's better to ask a question than make a statement and for a church and an organization to ask the question and allow the church body to respond. Like at an upper and allowed the church body to minister to itself through that group. Man, that would be powerful in a situation like this where there, where there would be a lot of pain and hurting. I'm sorry, Jason, I took you a little off topic. You were going to say?

Jason Daye (00:43:39):
Oh no, no, no. That's all solid stuff. I was going to say two platforms, that, that I would really try to consider a focus in on one is, is a platform that probably more than likely for most churches will be new. so you can only do this if you're going to spend, you know, a few weeks right now upfront getting people onboarded, but that's Slack. we use Slack, here at outreach, all the time. And Slack, you know, for free you can have unlimited channels. It can be private channels, can be public channels. You can create channels for different groups, whether it's small groups, discipling groups, whatever it might be, general, you know, general groups you can invite people in. It's, it's very, very, helpful. Are there apps for it so you can get notifications as people are sharing and you got back to back conversations pretty, pretty easily and it's a real, real simple system to use and it has, you know, some different add ons that you, that you can integrate and it's just, there's lot of flexibility in Slack.

Jason Daye (00:44:46):
So if you have time to, you know, to, to help onboard people to Slack, then then that's something, if you don't have time or just another really good option, Facebook, Facebook groups, almost everyone's on Facebook. whether you like it or not, I'm not a massive, Facebook user myself, except that I have to use Facebook because I run groups on Facebook, you know what I mean? So, I have responsibility with people there. So, but Facebook groups, are one of those things that you can set up. Again, you can set public groups or private groups. You can invite people into the groups so you can really structure them. you can upload videos and different things. You could do life teaching in the groups. So for your small groups, your life groups, you know, to cycling type things, really, really functional actually.

Jason Daye (00:45:38):
so that's, that's an idea. And like I said, a lot of people were on Facebook, so it's, it's not, whether you love Facebook or hate it, it happens to be where a lot of people are hanging out. So, or at least have an account, right? So if you have to go to something, at least a lot of people move, they'll spend a lot of time there. A lot of people have an account so they can, if you say, Hey, we're all going to Facebook, there's going to be an invite in your notifications for, you know, your small group or whatever. So Slack

Jeff Reed (00:46:05):
Is, Slack is free up into, you know, X number of posts and it just, it's like goes through like it doesn't archive your entire life on it. And it's like I've got, through my business, I just, I use a free account and I've got a number of select people that, that I'm on it and it's, and it's awesome and I think it's, I think it's more powerful than the discords this gorgeous, it's like Slack for video gamers. I like it better than WhatsApp because WhatsApp just seems to be a lot of like noise, not as structured, but I'm also like, I don't want noise. I want structure. I'm like, like Andrew, except I don't do the memes. I yelled to the people who do the meme. So like I'll just have to Andrew, I'm not giving him my cell phone number cause I don't want the memes.

Jeff Reed (00:46:50):
that thing that, that I've always, it was funny, like in my head, like Facebook workplace where it's like the, the, the separate version of it. I always thought that would be a great idea. Like more churches should take advantage of that where they're the only ones that are in there. They're not worried about the algorithm. They can really control it, and Stadia. I love Stadia. Stadia uses it, but I gotta tell you it, it's become another inbox. It wasn't like, Oh, I'm already in this Facebook workplace app all the time, so I'm naturally just getting this information. It's become, Oh yeah, that's the app that's got like X number of notifications. Just going to ignore that from now. I'll look at it later. And I only get two at once, every, you know, once or twice a week, which is enough for how Stadia is using it.

Jeff Reed (00:47:37):
But if I was a church, I would want somebody to engage in it more than that. So that's one of those things. There's like, man, we should really do that. But when I actually tried it was like, nah, not really. but this, this is good. So like, I'm just curious like what other, are there any other areas of church when we're looking at, okay, so we have to prepare for a Corona virus or we have to, you know, prepare for a future natural disaster or emergency. What are some other tools or thoughts, some holes that we need to fill in, for a church to function?

Andrew Statezny (00:48:10):
Can I, can I just give two overarching like thoughts that I want to make sure that, that we communicate? The first thing is, is like, Kevin and I are out here in California. I'm in San Diego, he's in LA. I'm back and forth to Palo Alto. So the Bay area quite a bit. If you'd ask them two or three weeks ago, are they worried about this current crisis? Not a bit. They're not at all. When your community has one or two infections that happen are positive tests, all of a sudden people start going, Oh this we're going to stop gathering. So if you're out there today and you're listening to us going, Hey, this is great, these guys are, you know, doomsday profits and, and that kind of stuff, just know that it would take one case, one positive case in your community before your church population starts going, Oh, are we going to go to church on Sunday?

Andrew Statezny (00:49:06):
Cause a lot of people are going to be there. Okay. So that's, that's the first thing to just kind of keep that in mind, not to panic over it, but to just plan for it. But if it does happen, you want to be prepared. And then the second thing, and Jeff and I offline had talked briefly about this the other day, as any responsible pastor and if you're in charge of content or development of content, I would be preparing for Easter as well. Like what happens the biggest day of the year, our Superbowl, if two weeks before, a week before you get a case in your area and we know there's going to be more cases, don't know how many, but I would just prepare to develop all your content for Easter. You've got plenty of time to do it. If you start now going, what's our plan when that happens? So those kinds of two overarching things that are things that I just, I want to make sure just philosophically people are, are thinking about, not necessarily tools, but we really should be thinking that way.

Jeff Reed (00:50:03):
Yeah. Collectively you just made every creative director for a church in America's head explode. Like it's just all over the place.

Andrew Statezny (00:50:11):
All right. You know, if they gave me their cell phone number, I'll send them a meme as well and we'll just double it up.

Jeff Reed (00:50:17):
Okay. But I mean there's, there's, there's some validity, at least in the awareness of, we're, we're, we're not that far away. there, there could always be an issue, especially, you know, you guys live in literally on the edge of a, of a, you know, the tech tech tutorial plates. I think it's called. I'm going back to like my elementary geology. Is that the tech Toro? That's not the right word. It's something I'll plates. What is it called?

Andrew Statezny (00:50:45):

New Speaker (00:50:45):
What you just said? There's something, is it? What, what's the term?

Jason Daye (00:50:51):

Jeff Reed (00:50:51):
There you go. Thank you Jason. Saving the day, man. That's awesome. Seeing those tectonic right there on the edge of that. It's just, it's, it's an awareness to this. Right. And then, and it's, it's flexibility. No. Okay. In those situations, we got to have her figure it out.

Jeff Reed (00:51:08):
You know, I actually last year a friend of mine, and this is like the creative purpose, but they did, their church did a good Friday service and it was entirely shot off a single camera in somebody's living room. Like it was an acoustic unplugged set and they had thousands of views and it was centered around my man's living room with a single camera and eight people doing a musical slash worship stuff and not overly produced nothing. you know, crazy just to a single camera stream. But it was immensely powerful. And so it's, you know, and given especially where we are, at least let's take the time to ask the question, you know, what could we do? What's the plan? what would it be? Should we have to explore it? Don't write it in stone, don't even write it in ink, but at least have in pencil.

Jeff Reed (00:52:00):
Okay, Hey, this is the path that we're going to go on. This is the gear that we have, this is how we can use it. We need to acquire this. and honestly, and this isn't being like, like crazy, but I, I think have some of that gear in place. Like know that, Oh, I've got to buy a Mevo camera and so it's a $300 purchase, let's go ahead and buy it because you're going to need it at some point. Then be prepared for these situations so that when you have to respond, you can respond quickly with the best foot forward for the kingdom as opposed to scrambling and regretting things along the way.

Jason Daye (00:52:41):
Specifically the coronavirus, which is, you know, this, you know, pandemics, a little different than a natural disaster in that natural disasters may be knocking out our internet access or our power acts. You know, that could be a whole different thing. But with this, I think the way people will react, like Andrew said, it, it doesn't have to be that our government says, okay, people can't gather publicly. I mean, if we look at our churches today, average attendees are showing up, you know, two times a month, maybe, you know, three times a month. If you're, if you're really, really, you know, have a really engaged congregation. And so, it's not going to take necessarily the government say, Hey, you know, you can't gather publicly. It's going to take just a little bit of extra concern that, you know, a family does not want to, to have their kids out in a public space because you know, there's, you know, been some, some virus has been reported in, in, in the area or even in the next city away or, you know, next big city. And we're seeing this already in, in churches like in Washington. You're already seeing this happen. So it really, it's, it's one of the things that we want to think about, again, not to be alarmist or whatever, but just be prepared. what, what is this going to look like if there are people who have some, some bigger fears and who are just going to save, you know what, we're just going to voluntarily, stay at home and watch worship online, right? Because we just don't want to take that extra risk of exposure for whatever reason. And people have different levels of, fear and anxiety over these things. You know what I mean? so, so I think it's one of those things that again, you know, we're not saying that the sky is falling, but we're saying let's just think through this because there are going to be people who are not going to to show up simply because of concern of being in public places gathered with people. So you want to keep that in mind.

Jeff Reed (00:54:43):
We haven't even touched on, there's a whole other group of people that aren't interested in coming into your building to be spiritually fed. But if you moved some of your resource and your discipleship online, you'd reach a whole lot more people. Like all of these conversations that were tastefully having centered around in the framework of coronavirus or you know, impending other natural disasters. The reality is is that, and I believe this, maybe it's not the reality, but I believe that churches are going to get smaller churches is going to get bigger and more and more that the church is going to be engaging with content online and our ability to disciple, to help people grow deeper in their faith, to keep people on mission utilizing online tools. They're going to be very effective, not for the church at post Corona, not even for the church, post natural disasters.

Jeff Reed (00:55:34):
I think they're effective for the church today. You've got people in your, in your audience, and I used the word phygital earlier, like it, they are a mixture of physical and digital. There are a mixture of physical engagement and online engagement. And for the church to truly be effective, we need to start transitioning away from online only discipleship or excuse me, a physical only discipleship, physical only small groups and start to move into a world where people can engage more, ask more spiritual questions, grow deeper in their faith and be on mission through some of these digital tools. I believe the church will look far different if it opens up and if it changes in embraces culture, not just in the physical front, but if embraces it on the, on the digital too. But I got a little, like I'm a little jaded there.

Jeff Reed (00:56:22):
It'll kind of like, that's a pet peeve. So that's a thing. but Hey, this is, this has been a great podcast. I want to ask one more question. sSo dealing, and this is actually a Rey question. Rey had the thread to step out, he's got a thing tonight at church, but ministering to fear, driven culture. What do people need need to hear spiritually after going through something like corona, after going through something like a natural disaster? What, what are the elements pastorally is put on your pastor hat here for a second. Like what, what are they looking to hear? What do they need to hear in situations like these?

Andrew Statezny (00:57:07):
I think for me, I look at it, number one, they need to know and understand here the assurance that God is still God and he's still in control. and then what they need to see from leaders is his calmness and trust in God and not panic from a leader, but somebody that is, is steady in what they're, in how they're leading and, and how they're, connecting with people still that the, you know, what God's called us here and until Christ comes back, we're going to occupy and continue to move forward. And, you know, the yes, will we have times where things are up, down, questionable, not understanding everything. Absolutely. but we should be, not only men and women of faith, which obviously is the opposite of fear, but also like that should show a little bit, not in a cocky way, but just in an assurance way to go, we know God has this and we want to let you see that. We understand that.

Jason Daye (00:58:05):
I would say that we really need help, our people and not just our people, but the world to see that God is present with us, in the midst of tragedy. I think that's super key. that, that we know that there is hope within, difficult times and challenging times that we're not left alone, that we're not, God has a deserted people. but God is actually, you know, suffering through this alongside of us and, and walking with us through it. So I think, I think that's key. I think one of the other things, especially for our people and even preparing moving into this, you know, like potentially, cause we talked about some of the opportunities, I remember I preached the Sunday after nine 11 and I'll never forget that Sunday as long as I live. Right. and, and just with my people and just, there was a lot of brokenness, but it ended up being also not just the time of, you know, coming together and, and, and kind of embracing one another in, in talking about hope in the midst of crisis, but also incredible opportunity.

Jason Daye (00:59:16):
God is a God of redemption. And, what the enemy means for evil. God redeems for his purposes and for good. And so whenever there are crises light like these, we have the opportunity to say there are people who are living broken lives and, they're looking for wholeness. And in the midst of this, there's even more brokenness. You know, your life's already broken and yet, and then there's some sort of calamity or tragedy. And, and so we as the church had the opportunity to engage people, in a way, that, that oftentimes only come through these difficult circumstances. Right? And, and we see this in individual people's lives, but we're, I think we're going to be seeing this in the lives of nations around the world, in the lives of cities and communities, that there is this hunger for something true and something real. And, we have the opportunity. So we want to encourage our people that as much as we're going through this and we want to be here for one another in the midst of this, this is also an incredible opportunity for the mission of God, for people to experience the hope of Jesus maybe for the first time in their lives. And we want to be a part of God's, redemption in the midst of, in the midst of all of this.

Jeff Reed (01:00:36):
Hey, Kevin, as we're wrapping up, you know, I know part of this we wanted to create some resources for Korea. Do you have any messages or anything for the people there? Like, like what would you say to the Korean audience right now?

Kevin Lee (01:00:49):
Yeah. I just want to echo what Andrew and Jason said. Just encourage them that, you know, the spirit that is in us is stronger than the spirit of the road. And you know, one thing that I know about Korea is it's a very enduring country. It has endured a lot and I know it's going to, overcome it. So the resources, I think our conversation was very helpful because a lot of churches are only looking at how to stream services, but we are giving different dimensions of how we can express church online. And it's been incredibly beneficial just to hear it. And I can't wait to share it with some churches in Korea.

Jeff Reed (01:01:31):
Hey gentlemen, thank you very much. We're going to land a plane here. This has been a great podcast and I'm honored to be with you guys to touch on this very sensitive project. Just we didn't say it up front like health concerns. Listen, I'm the last person to, to want to give advice to somebody on how to do, like, you know, wash your hands. Don't touch your face. Like, I was funny, I was watching comedy central and they lined up all these politicians who are making these announcements of do the smart thing, don't touch your face. And then like five seconds later they'd cut to a clip of them like rubbing their face over. And I know not to touch my face, but I'm sitting here with my hands on my chin and doing everything I can not to do it.

Jeff Reed (01:02:15):
So don't listen to me on the physical stuff and I'm not even going to talk to you about, listen to like you, whatever the new sources around that are that are hopefully giving wise sage advice in that situation. But I do know this, there's more to the church than what happens for the one hour on Sunday and there is more to the church than, than what happens when it hits the plate. So as you're looking at preparing a strategy for, for what church needs to be, how we need to care for and shepherd people, who are going through tragic situations like this, don't just look at the one hour Sunday replacement. Take a deeper dive, look at really what the heart of ministry is, and then look at the heart of what churches and then figure out how to replicate that digitally. It's going to help you plan for the emergency situations that that will come and chances are it's going to help you with your day to day ministry. Today, for Andrew, for Kevin, for Jason, for Rey, who had to step off, this is Jeff with The Church Digital. Thanks for joining us and we'll see you next time here on the podcast. Y'all have a good day.

Coronavirus & Simple Setups to Live Stream Church Services
Pastoring in the Midst of Coronavirus

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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