Embracing a Digital Ministry Mindset

The world has changed. How you lead your congregation and do ministry needs to follow!  That was pre-pandemic.  Now, with digital trends accelerated,  we need to embrace a new mindset.  This video discusses what I think this looks like.
We need to shift, at our core, from a focus on hosting weekly physical worship service and associated secondary activities to a primary focus on leading an online process of spiritual exploration, growth, and learning with a direct connection to small group exploration.  Groups that can be online (Zoom) or offline.
There are always exceptions, but I think this is the winning strategy for the majority of congregations in my training community.
This video is an excerpt from Video Ministry Academy, my digital ministry training focusing on video strategy. 
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As we're moving into this topic, for those of you who are worship leaders, religious professionals, those who are really guiding the spiritual exploration of your congregation, now that we're in this digital and very much online-oriented age, I want you to shift your mindset from someone who is preaching on Sundays and directing the spiritual life of your congregation, however, you do that, to you are hosting and facilitating an online process of exploring spiritual issues of growing, learning, and life transformation online. Okay? You are not just preaching anymore, you are facilitating a process for people who are plugged into the internet, carrying smartphones, video-oriented, are learning constantly by searching and watching videos, information on-demand. If you want to be part of that landscape, you have to bring your ministry and leadership, and your process of spiritual exploration, online. We're going to talk about how to do that. I know it's overwhelming. "No, that's not what I signed up for."

Well, our world's changed a lot since, say 50 years ago, or 40 years ago, or 30 years ago, or 20 years ago, or 10 years ago, or even five years ago, when you entered the ministry or became a leader in your congregation. It's changed since three months ago, okay. We are in a landscape now where digital is like the ground upon which our congregations and ministry are resting. That is the space within which we're doing ministry.
And so, yes, we are going to be in a position where, of course, we hope very soon, we'll have more and more in-person gatherings, but for the foreseeable future, the way you lead your congregation online is going to determine the health, vitality, sustainability, finances, and growth of your congregation.
So I just want you to just take on this mantle, like, "All right, whew, we are online now. We will have offline gatherings, offline worship, various face-to-face events, hiking trips, whatever it is, things that we did before the internet, before the COVID-19 pandemic, but digital was increasingly important before, and it's important now."

And that means you have to wrap your mind as leaders, and we have a lot of different roles here, but I want you to really try and wrap your mind around the fact that your role has changed. You're not facilitating an offline process anymore and trying to get people to participate in that. You're now running a congregation that is fully online, with offline aspects, and at some point, you will have 50/50 or whatever the split is, whatever the split is, this dual way of doing congregational life.
There are offline components, there are online components, things like small groups, people are loving doing small groups online. A lot of those are going to stay online for years and years and years, if not forever, for many, many people.

And so I want you to know that your mindset, like what's your role here? That matters. And that's going to be a key factor in your success. If you can say, "All right, what do I want my congregation or rather, what do we want our congregation to learn? What are the questions we want them to be exploring? What's the spiritual growth and learning process that we want them to be engaged in?"
Whether that includes personal reflection alone, small group conversation and exploration, small group study, whether that includes classes, whether it's online or offline, on-demand classes, or classes that are meeting through online video, all these different things.
Forgetting the way we did church and congregation life before, if you just sit down and think, "Well, what is it that we want our people to experience? What's the transformation? What's the process we want to facilitate for them, to help them move through? How do we want to support them in their lives?"

We need to ask those questions and then be looking at front and center the question, how do we do that effectively online? And you know what? What do you think the answer is I'm going to say?
Use video for a lot of it! And we can start using video to ask questions, to prompt people to reflect, to encourage people to try different things, and invite them into deeper exploration and learning with us through congregational life.
I want you to know that I recognize that this is a massive shift for many of you, if not most of you, in terms of how you conceive of your work in ministry, or your leadership role, those of you on teams, you need to support all of the people in your leadership and staff and religious professionals in what is a monumental disruption in our world, and a necessary shift in how you do ministry.

And so I'm here with you. We're going to get into specific strategies now, but I do want to encourage you as you are engaging with this topic and starting to experiment, and you feel some resistance, or you have questions, reach out to me because the more we're engaged and the more I can hear where there are challenges with your implementation, or what makes sense or doesn't, we can adjust some of the content in this program and I can offer some new additional services or trainings to really help you thrive in this time.
So just know that I'm committed to being your partner in helping you learn, experiment, and figure out how to bring your ministry and leadership online. I keep saying that, but it's an ongoing process and there is no one set way, there is no one set answer. Congregations and communities vary, and so it's just this ongoing process. So, one thing I can say with certainty, this digital aspect is not going away. It is central and we've got to figure it out together.
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