Thank You Gary Vaynerchuk

Dear Gary,
I just wanted to say, Thank You. 
You see, 16 years ago I had my first job in Youth Ministry and my greatest ministry tool at the time was AOL Instant Messenger. I didn’t see it that way at the time because I thought it was more of a toy than a tool, but as I look back it’s very clear. Quickly that tool changed to MySpace and then Facebook. When Facebook opened up their ad platform I did what I always do and experimented. We saw our college ministry explode on pennies spent on these ads and I began getting a lot of attention in the ministry space.
Then I read your book Crush It.  Well first, I watched this video:

After watching your video and reading your book, I saw a bigger picture. You spoke my language, but opened my eyes that this wasn’t a fad or trend that had the attention of teenagers. This was a fundamental shift in our culture that would only grow. I did what you often recommend and I doubled down and went all in. 
That investment has paid off. Some financial as I’ve written a book, and had the privilege of speaking at conferences around the United States. Mostly in terms of ministry impact as the lessons I have learned from you in terms of social media directly translated into exponential ministry impact at Community Bible Church and for the ministries I consult with. 
I could tell you many stories and I would love to some day, but for now I just want to say thank you. Thank you for generously sharing your wisdom through your books, your YouTube videos, blog posts, podcasts and anywhere else that you are able to. I have purchased many copies of all of your books to both read and give away. I initially did this as a way to say thank you to you for your investment in me, but your books in turn provide even greater value to me. Your books that I have given away have turned into clients paying me thousands in return for a $15 book that I gave them of yours. Your books have proven to be a way better sales pitch for me than I could ever do myself. 
I just recently purchased many copies of #AskGaryVee and plan to buy many more. I recommend it to anyone and everyone that I can. I actually recently attended one of your events in New York and unexpectedly got to meet you (see above). This was the first time I met you face to face, but a couple years ago you were also gracious enough to do an interview for me here:

So, while I’m admitting publicly to stalking you, I know you’re okay with that. You are passionate and generous and through that generosity changed many lives like mine. I’m thankful for your generosity and transparency, as it has dramatically changed my life. That might sound strange to many that a cursing marketer changed a pastor’s life, but that’s quite honestly the truth. You spoke my language which allowed me to better communicate to church leaders the critical value points of social media and the new digital world that we find ourselves in. I wish more pastors would pay attention to your message, but I’ve taken it on myself to help translate it for you in their language. 
I wish I could give back to you way more than a few book purchases and a blog post, but for now I’ll simply say thank you in the best way that I know how. Publicly… online…over social media. If there is ever anything that I can do for you beyond buying a bunch of books, I would be honored. 
Thank You,

Nils Smith


P.S. If you haven't yet bought Gary's new book I can't encourage you enough to click the link below:

#AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur's Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness

Check out LiveNinja

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Screen Shot 2013-02-16 at 9.57.10 PM

Thanks to Social Media Guru Gary Vaynurchuk, I can across this site today and quickly felt at home.  The site oozes with creativity and innovation!  The philosophy behind the site of providing an all in one platform for people to find ninjas and for ninjas to connect with clients.  By ninjas they don't mean literal ninjas, but specialists.  Here's how the describe themselves:

LiveNinja is a live video chat marketplace that provides people with direct and personalized access to service providers, or people with expertise on a particular subject.

In searching through Live Ninja I found Yoga instructors, music teachers, Marketing consultants, leadership advisors and everything in between.  It is a free platform and they simply collect 20% commission on any fees that a Ninja charges on their time.  The payment system is clean and simple through PayPal making it easy for both the user and the ninja.

I highly encourage you to take a few minutes and check out the site!  I'm not sure that I will ever use it for anything, but the innovation behind it fuels all kinds of new ideas.  As ministry leaders I never want to stop analyzing new and creative innovations and how they might further the purposes of the Church.

Before I wrap up this post I do want to mention one other thought in regards to charging for time.  As I've recently entered the world of consulting it has been difficult for me to charge for my time, especially to ministry leaders.  I badly want to give away my time and invest in as many ministry leaders as possible at no cost.  The reality is that I can't.  I recently talked with another ministry consultant and he shared some great advice with me.  When we get something for free we often take it for granted, but when it costs us something we are much more likely to maximize the time and implement the ideas.  While I will probably always be a little uncomfortable charging ministries, I have seen this to be very true and appreciate ministries that value my time and implement the recommendations that I make.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this and LiveNinja!  What kind of Ninja would you be interested in connecting with?

Life Without Limbs Announcement

I'm continually humbled by the doors God continues to open in ministry and the great leaders I'm privileged to serve alongside.  I cannot be more excited to announce that I have most recently come alongside Nick Vujicic and the ministry team at Life Without Limbs as a consultant and adviser. My primary focus as the WebPastor at Community Bible Church will not change and the leadership at my church has been so generous and flexible to allow me opportunities such as these to take my learnings from Online Church and use them to invest in other ministries as well.  I will be working with Life Without Limbs alongside my good friends at PlainJoe Studios and iGivings in development of a new website, launch of a mobile app, Social Media strategy, and all things Online Ministry.  I look forward to sharing with you my experiences in this role and all of my learnings along the way.

If you're not already familiar with Nick Vujicic and Life Without Limbs take a look at this video:

By the way, Nick just released his new book Unstoppable that recently made the New York Times bestseller list.  Get your copy now!