I’m excited to be back on the Innovate 4 Jesus show again this Thursday, October  23, (10 PT /1 ET) for a live broadcast.

I’ll be discussing the pros, cons, and future of online church with my friend Jason Caston and host Kevin Henricks. We’ll share from our experience, and would love your input, too.

Can I answer questions about your specific situation? Leave them anytime on the comments at

 i4j.org/online or via Twitter using #I4JLIVE. I’ll be taking questions from right now until Thursday’s show.

Can’t join us live? We’ll still answer your question, and record it all at  i4j.org!

Date: October 23, 2014
Time: 10:00-10:30 p.m.
Event: Talking Online Church on Innovate 4 Jesus Show
Topic: Innovate 4 Jesus Show
Sponsor: Innovate 4 Jesus
Public: Public

Moving but NOT Leaving

New York


I have some BIG news that I’m excited to share with you all.  We are moving our family to New York!  To be more specific we’re moving to Brooklyn.  We’re exchanging our 2 story house on a cul de sac for a 2 bedroom, 700 square foot, 3rd floor walk up apartment in Park Slope.  Our lives are about to radically change!

As I have shared this news with others, the two questions that I immediately get is: What are you going to do in New York?  and Are you leaving Community Bible Church?  I am absolutely not leaving CBC.  I will continue to serve Community Bible Church as the Innovation Pastor remotely while traveling back to San Antonio monthly.  I will also continue in my role as a consultant with various ministries and organizations around the country.

Now, to the more important question that I continue to get: WHY are we moving to New York?

There are many reasons, but first and foremost this move is about our family.  This has been a dream that Katie and I have had for many years since we first went on a Spring Break mission trip to New York while dating in college.  We fell in love with the city and have been inspired by it in so many ways over the years.  We love the culture, diversity, energy, creativity, and so much more!  We desire for our daughters to gain a perspective of this world that we believe can only be gained my entrenching ourselves into the culture of the city.  Katie and I desire to gain the perspective for ourselves.

Our move to New York is not just about our family though.  Over the past year I have been meeting with a life coach and clarifying my calling.  Honestly, I feel that I’m very much in the middle of my calling, and it sounds far fetched, but I feel called to make a global impact with the gospel by maximizing technology.  As I look at all that God has done through OnlineChurch.com over the past 4 years I am humbled and overwhelmed by the global gospel impact that we are making, but also continue to believe that God is just getting started!  It is my goal to maximize our move to New York to dig into the city’s culture of diversity and innovation.  New York is a magnet for innovators and thought leaders that I plan to be very intentional and strategic to engage.  The city is the most diverse in the world and considered by many to be the “Capital of the World.”  As I strive to reach the world, I must better understand it and the uniquenesses of all cultures to more effectively impact and influence them with the gospel.

So, how did this all come about?  About 6 months ago Katie and I began to discuss and pray about this move as a serious option.  I’m not a risk taker and very much a realist, so to be honest I was very pessimistic initially.  Along the way God began to confirm this leading and open significant doors.  Most significantly were conversations with my pastors Chris Emmitt and Robert Emmitt.  While both were understandably surprised, their openness to the idea and support for our family has been overwhelming.  4 years ago they took an incredible risk on me as a leader and have empowered, encouraged, and invested in my beyond what I can describe.  I can’t tell you how blessed I feel to be able to call them my pastors and my friends.  From conversations to various practical details coming together it is clear to us that God is at the center of this move.

Now, the adventure begins.  The Budget truck has been loaded and I will hit the road in the morning.  I promise to update this blog regularly about our move and the inspiration that I gain both personally and professionally.  I ask that you will be praying for my family throughout this transition and for God to move in a powerful way through this step of faith that we are taking.


Online Church Facebook Page reaches 500,000 Likes!


A little more than 4 years ago we launched the Facebook page for CBC Online  (now OnlineChurch.com).  I had a very simple strategy:

  1. I invited all of my friends to like the page
  2. I posted over and over and over again asking for the people on the page to visit Online Church

While this is a common practice for church/ministry Facebook pages, our experience was much like everyone else who follows this strategy: it failed.  Few people liked the page and even fewer people clicked the links to go to Online Church.

So we tried something different.  We started ministering to people right there on Facebook.  We began posting Bible verses, song lyrics, sermon quotes, etc.  People responded by liking and sharing those posts.  Facebook responded to this engagement by showing these posts to more people.  More people responded by “Liking” our page.  Well, actually they “Became a Fan” of our page.

I won’t lie and tell you that it was really that simple.  We didn’t just make this one change and grow to half of a million likes.  We applied significant strategy, utilized Facebook ads, invested significantly in content development, built a team of 1,000+ Facebook community leaders, and more.  I also can’t take too much credit as it took me 2 years to grow the page to 100,000 Facebook Likes and our Social Media Manager, Nick Ovalle, has more than doubled the following of the page since he took over leadership of the platform.

So, today we’re celebrating a significant milestone in our journey of reaching, teaching, and helping people in Jesus’ name on Facebook.  I would love for you to join us in this celebration as we’re doing a bunch of giveaways and having a lot of fun.   Check out our Heyo page and join the party!

My encouragement to you when it comes to your Facebook page is to analyze and rethink how you are using this platform.  Is it a marketing tool or a ministry opportunity?  Honestly, it can be both, but it will be a far better marketing tool if you first see it as a ministry opportunity.


The Apple News You Might Have Missed

I will admit that I’m an Apple fanatic.  4 years ago, I waited in live for 15 hours to get the iPhone 4 that I felt was going to be a game changer.  While I won’t be waiting in line again for the iPhone 6, I do think Apple’s announcement last week was the biggest in years!

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus look awesome!  Better cameras, bigger screens, faster processers, longer lasting batteries, etc. are going to be a great step forward.  Even more exciting than the phones to me is the Apple Watch.  I like my Pebble, but I felt even when buying it that this was just a small step towards what the Apple Watch will now be able to do.  This will likely be the first step Apple takes towards many future wearable technologies.  In my opinion, Apple Watch still wasn’t the biggest announcement made by Apple.

So what was?  Well, I believe Apple Pay will be the biggest game changer of all of the announcements that Apple made.  I believe this will change the way we exchange money.  Just as checks, credit and debit cards, and PayPal have changed the game in the past; Apple Pay will do this for the future.  I hate carrying around a wallet and while Apple Pay won’t completely remove the need for my wallet, it sure will thin it out and allow my credit cards to be replaced by an easier and more secure form of payment.

Any business that isn’t quickly thinking about how to begin accepting payment through Apple Pay is already a step behind.  I don’t think this just impacts business though as churches and nonprofits need to also pay close attention to this development.

Have you heard from church members that they are either concerned about security when donating online or it is just too complicated?  Being ready to accept Apple Pay for donations could just meet a great need for your church or nonprofit.

Take a look at the announcement from Apple:

Becoming Emotionally Healthy


6 months ago I began a much unanticipated journey towards emotionally healthy spirituality.  I connected with Pete Scazzero who was in need of some digital communication support for his ministry Emotionally Healthy Spirituality in New York.  I was excited about the opportunity to serve this ministry that was on the verge of great break through, but little did I know that the ministry would transform me far more that I would transform it.

While getting started I naturally began poking around the website and reading Pete’s book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.  Conviction began to set in as I began to notice that much of Pete’s story was similar to mine.  You see, I work hard for the sake of the gospel, but I too often use that as an excuse to justify my workaholism.  My unhealthiness didn’t stop in my work habits and life balance, it also was a part of my inter-personal relationships and my desire to keep peace rather than address issues.  Honestly, my list of issues could go on, but the book is not about habits that we need to break as much as it is about practices we need to embrace.

Pete told me when I got started that this is more radical than I know, and now 6 months later I see it clearly.  I’m honored to be a part of this transformational ministry and hope you will join me in this journey of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality!

Curious where to start?  Here’s my recommendation:

  1. Take the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Personal Assessment - http://www.emotionallyhealthy.org/personalassessment/
  2. Experience Session 1 of the EHS Course - http://www.emotionallyhealthy.org/ehs-course-session-1/
  3. Read the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality book - http://www.emotionallyhealthy.org/product/emotionally-healthy-spirituality-new/
  4. Begin to develop the practice of the Daily Office - http://www.emotionallyhealthy.org/product/emotionally-healthy-spirituality-day-by-day/


If you are a church or ministry leader I cannot encourage you enough to integrate the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Course into the life of your church.  To find out more about this course click here.

Will you join me at iMinistry 2014?

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It’s almost time for one of my favorite events of the year: the iMinistry Conference!  If you are an Online Church Leader or thinking about doing Online Ministry this is the event for you!  The conference is less about listening and more about engaging with some of the brightest leaders I have ever been around.  You will be able to interact with leaders from Seacoast, Saddleback, LifeChurch.tv and more!

Click here to register today!

Still not sold?  Consider these 5 reasons:

1) Interactivity is Key

The iMinistry Conference is not a conference where you are spoken to from a talking head on stage for 3 days. With our Round Table and Panel format, you will get to hear from a variety of voices and interact with them each day of the conference.

2) You Will Build Lasting Relationships

While the conference is great, it is only 3 days. The relationships you will build are vital throughout the year as you continue to take steps in your ministry. We intentionally build our schedule to provide opportunities to connect during the conference.

3) You Don’t Have to Reinvent the Wheel

You will meet men and women who have been involved in doing Church Online for 5+ years, who you can have up close and personal conversations with and learn from their successes and failures.

4) You Will Meet Like-Minded People

Do you ever go to conferences and wonder who is doing ministry online in the midst of the hundreds or thousands in attendance? If you’re lucky, there will be one breakout session that is kind of related to what you do. This is an ENTIRE conference dedicated to doing church online.

5) Find Your Inspiration for Your Next Step

You will be exposed to new ways of thinking about doing ministry online. It may be exactly what you need to give you that “light bulb moment” to take your ministry to the next level!


I’m confident that you are now ready to register so go ahead and head over to http://iministryconference.org and register now!  I look forward to seeing you there!

Talking New Technology & The Church at i4j LIVE


Hey everyone, I’m excited to announce that I will be participating in an online show: Innovate for Jesus Live.  The live broadcast will be held this Tuesday, September 2, (11 PDT/ 2 EDT) on http://www.i4j.org/2014/new-technology-and-the-church-live-september-2/. Along with Jason Caston of iChurch Methods and Rich Birch of UnSeminary and Liquid Church and I4J host Justin Blaney, we’ll be discussing new technologies for sharing timeless truth.

If you are not yet familiar with Jason and Rich here is a little bit about my fellow guests:

Jason Caston is speaker, trainer, programmer, and author of The iChurch Method Series.  Additionally, he is also the Internet Church, Digital Platform, Internet Church, and Innovation Specialist at T.D. Jakes Ministries.

Rich Birch serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. He blogs at unSeminary.com and is a sought after speaker and consultant on multisite, pastoral productivity and communications. More from Rich Birch at www.unseminary.com.


You can join the conversation around this event before, during or after the event on Twitter using the hashtag #I4JLIVE.

My Interview with William Vanderbloemen discussing NEXT

I’m excited to share with you this interview with William Vanderbloemen.  William has been a good friend for several years and is doing a great work through Vanderbloemen Search Group.  I hope you will take 10 minutes to watch this conversation as we discuss church trends, pastoral transitions, retirement for pastors and more.  You will see in the first minute of the video that we had some bandwidth issues, but know that it smooths out during the second minute.  Here’s the interview:

Nils Smith interview with William Vanderbloemen about NEXT from Nils Smith on Vimeo.

I hope you will go to Amazon today and purchase William’s new book, NEXT: Pastoral Succession that Works.

Vemory automagically finds and recreates your best memories


Out of all of the projects that I have had the privilege of being a part of Vemory is probably the most fun!  I was brought into this project about 6 months ago and it has been incredible to watch it develop and now LAUNCH!  Before even reading further go ahead and pull out your iOS device and start downloading the Vemory app here or go to the App Store and Search “Vemory”.

Rather than I go into detail describing the app, take a look at this 1 minute video:

I can’t wait to see what you create and share on and through Vemory!  Expect to see many Vemories in my social networks in the coming days and weeks!

If you would also take a minute after downloading the app to give it a good review and let others know what you think.