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VLOG 002: Church Online Staffing Framework



Hey Jeff here with THECHURCH.DIGITAL and I gotta tell you I am loving the reports that we are starting to gather together, that people are starting to meet together to do physical church. Once again in this season of COVID. I know it's been very tough on some, on many, on most of us going and depending holistically on this digital only system and it's not digital's fault, it's really, there hasn't been the complimentary piece of physical coming together with it. So remember digital church online. In some situations it can work but the majority of our culture is not going to connect with a digital only expression. Just like the majority of us aren't going to connect with a physical only expression. We need to figure out what that balance is between digital and physical, how we can live phygitally. Combination of digital and physical together.

And this really gets us into the heart of what I wanted to talk about today because the number one conversation that I'm getting at this point is how do we church, how do we staff for the future? I want us to wrestle with one thing kind of upfront here. What is the structure of online? What is your view of online for your church? Because unless you have that figured out now you're not going to be able to hire the right person. Or maybe you're going to hire the wrong person because you're casting the wrong vision for what you're looking for. So really there's three frameworks that I think you as a church that's interested in doing something phygitally . There's three frameworks I think you can apply today, but the simplest one to implement today would be to hire an online campus pastor. Now, here's the mindset of this.

The online campus is essentially just like a multisite campus. Just like any of your multisite campuses where if you have a church that does multi-site, maybe you're in the, in the city, like here in Miami, the church where I attend, we've got three multi-site campuses. People attend individual campuses, they serve, they do small groups. They're, they're giving the attendance on the weekend when they're in the physical buildings. It's all centered around that one location. And oftentimes there's not competition. The majority of the times I'd save to say there's not competition among them. Sure. Occasional outliers may attend campus Y instead of campus X one week, cause they're, you know, having lunch over there or maybe travel around. But for the most part, people lock into their specific campus. So with an online campus, what you're doing is really, you're creating that opportunity for people to attend a campus online.

The bad side of an online campus is that it really conflicts with this idea of attending campus physically. You see the majority of church staff want to see ministry happen physically. Its college just ingrained nature into what we're used to over years and years of having physical ministry. It's the reason we're wanting to get back to the building as quick as we can because that's where we define where ministry happens. And so in the physical space within the city where your church is located, you know the idea that discipleship, that that ministry, that giving, that all that comes within the physical space is good. And oftentimes there's a redheaded stepchild nature that comes about from a online campus. You're not allowed to do ministry to the people within the physical location. That's delegated to just the physical campus, the physical campuses, the physical location, you online campus, you're just relegated to outside the people who are all over the country, all over the world, but not the ones who are currently on mission.

That's just within the city, so there's a really strong tension to not do church online within the city. Even though really the person who lives across the street from you, from your church location could benefit from church online. Maybe it's a sermon archive, maybe it's being part of an online Bible study. Maybe there's a serving opportunity that connects better for them online that's not in the physical space and so there's this tension that you feel with an online campus. Now pre-COVID online campus I think was actually the more popular model when COVID was just starting. If you had asked me what the future was, I would have told you this. I would have told you that the digital pastor is the model. You see a digital pastor is someone who is going to do ministry to everyone in the church regardless of where they live, because whether that person lives across the street from the church or on the other side of the planet from the church, they can benefit from a digital tool, as well as a physical.

They could, could benefit from a digital small group. They could benefit from a sermon online. They could benefit from a devotional thought being sent to them. And for many of you in this COVID season, you've discovered how to pastor, how to shepherd people digitally. So even this old framework of, Hey, we all want to separate physical and digital. COVID really just threw all that in a blender. And coming out of that, we're starting to see what it really means to shepherd and pastor people digitally, regardless of where they live. And so really, if you're looking for today in this COVID season, if you're looking for a more solid model of how to do ministry, you're looking at something like a digital pastor that is going to pastor, that's going to shepherd, that's going to care for people regardless of their location. Even even complimenting, working alongside some of the physical locations that you may have multisite or just typical church.

It's not meant to compete. It's meant to compliment digital and physical complimenting each other, and so while you may have a larger that's dealing with the physical components of doing ministry and you may have, you know, a number of people across it. A digital pastor is the arguably the one person that's kind of working with the digital tools to do the ministry across all of your church regardless of where they live. Now. It's interesting pre-COVID I would have told you that's the future of the church, but we know in this COVID season that this is a gasoline on a flame and that through this COVID season where things accelerate faster than they would have before, which actually gets me to number three. The future is not staffing a online campus pastor just to minister to the people who are not in the physical space. It's not hiring one person to do ministry across the entire church.

It's really probably more of a of a project manager or a champion that's really encouraging the entire church staff to do the ministry. Because what we're learning in this COVID season is that man, kids, there's plenty of ministry opportunities for kids to do ministry online. Even when we meet in the building, we still need to figure out how to do this stuff. Students, Oh my gosh, students, there's plenty of opportunities to connect through, through Twitch, through TikTok, through all of these things to create content to ignite people in not only in physical space, but also utilizing some of these digital tools to connect them to discipleship pathways, to get them to grow deeper in their faith so that they can in turn be an influence for them. We can do ministry outside of the building small groups, discipleship teams, serving opportunities. We all have roles.

We all have purposes in an effective, in a healthy church online. Even one in this COVID season. And what we're beginning to see is this opportunity not to have one person carry the weight of the entire church doing the entire church ministry digitally. But one person whose biggest priority as champion to rah rah to get us excited, to help us understand the purpose, to point us our staffs in the right direction, to do the ministry and then release them to do the ministry of multiplication, to build up the volunteer teams to continue to point them in the right direction. You see in this COVID season coming out of this COVID season, I believe that all of us will have a high priority when it comes to physical campuses. It's going to be a struggle for us to think digital first and having this champion, this digital champion, this guy who is going to, or gal who's going to force us to think digital first, who is going to challenge us to look at things differently.

It's not her job to do the ministry. It's all of our jobs to do the ministry. We just need someone to remind us of that. And so those are your three options. The further you go online, campus pastor is a very easy to implement. I don't know that it's as effective today. The digital pastor is really effective. You're going to run the risk of burning somebody out cause it's a big job. Your project manager called them champion, you're going to get a lot of people excited about that who are receiving content. You're going to challenge a lot of people who are going to need to think differently in this season, but ultimately when we come out of this, we do as a church, we need to think differently in this season. We've thought differently in this COVID season and that thinking differently needs to continue on afterwards. Next up for the blog, we're going to be sharing a job description detail of what an online pastor's job profile would look like. All right, thanks everybody.

PODCAST 073: Greg Aukerman, Microchurches, & Stairstepping Back to Buildings
VLOG 003: Online Pastor Job Profile

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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