The Ps to Pastoring People More Productively Online

The world is changing fast around us and as pastors we must lead our congregation differently than we might have even a few years ago.  With the connectivity of social media we can shift from pastoring our congregation 1-2 hours a week to speaking into their lives on a daily basis.  Here are 4 P's to help you maximize social media to pastor people more productively online:

  • Pre-Record Videos - use your smart phone and record 5 short videos to schedule out on Facebook or other social networks throughout the week.  These can be simple 30-90 second videos where you can either follow up from your sermon the weekend before, prepare your congregation for the sermon to come or simply offer a message completely independent of your current messages.
  • Periscope Often - you can interact live with anyone anywhere through Periscope with 1 click on your smartphone.  You can share messages and interact with live Q & A through the chat interaction.  Don't miss this incredible ministry opportunity that didn't even exist a couple of months ago!  By often I mean 2-3 times each week, don't feel that you need to live stream your life 24/7.
  • Post Consistently - while videos and images are taking over social media, words of wisdom still have great power.  Use Twitter, Facebook and other networks to post scripture passages, sermon quotes, or any other inspirational messages online.
  • Pray through your News Feed - it might sound silly, but using your news feed as a prayer guide can be a powerful experience.  Whether you see posts from your congregants or just take a peak at trending topics to pray over.  I believe God can use the News Feed to draw your attention to the things He desires to put on your heart.  Don't hesitate to leave individuals messages letting them know that they've been prayed for as well.  It will mean more than you know!

I hope these are beneficial to you and something you will give a try this week!  What can it hurt?

Okay, I know what you're thinking... it will cost me time!  Let me challenge you to make room in your calendar this week and review the impact at the end of the week.  I am willing to bet that you will find the investment well worth the cost of the time.  Here's the bet: since your giving up your time, I'll give up mine.  I'm offering a FREE 15 minute consultation to anyone who takes the bet and feels it wasn't worth the time committed.  Simply send me a message and we'll setup the call.  What do you say?  Will you take me up on this bet?

Book Tour - Pinterest, Instagram, and Other Networks

Have you considered starting a blog?  Are you curious about Pinterest?  Want to know more about Google+, Instagram, FaithVillage, and several of the other networks that are out there?  In this session we will cover the basics of blogging by discussing various platforms, blogging topics, length of posts, etc.  We will also highlight the social network Pinterest as well as several other networks and why you should or should not use them. Session Interview with Kenny Jahng, Innovation Pastor at Liquid Church.

Instagram, Pinterest, and the Other Networks - Social Media Guide For Ministry Day 4 from Nils Smith on Vimeo.

If you have not purchased the Social Media Guide for Ministry you can find it on Amazon here.

If you have purchased and read the book if you would please leave a review on Amazon here.

If you have any questions about this session please leave a comment and I would love to answer any question that you might have.

Virtual Book Tour

The Social Media Guide for Ministry is coming soon and we will be launching its release with a Virtual Book Tour.  For four days we will be hosting online training events for ministry leaders based on the core principles of the book.  Beginning Monday, March 4th we will have 3 sessions daily with a new topic each day.  Each session will last approximately 45 minutes and will include training from myself, interviews with ministry leaders and social media experts, and live chat Q & A. Here is a list of the days, times, and topics of the coming tour:

March 4th – Social Media Basics

In this session we will discuss the who, what, when, where, and why of Social Media.  We will get down to the basics of where you should begin or, perhaps, begin again.  Nils will also answer some FAQs when it comes to Social Media in Ministry.

Session Times: 9am, noon, 3pm Central Time

March 5th – Facebook Foundations

Facebook now has over 1 billion users worldwide which can provide great value to almost every ministry or waste a lot of time if you don’t know how to use the platform effectively.  Understanding the capabilities of this network, as well as developing a practical strategy, can translate to very valuable ministry.  Nils will share tips and tricks for using Facebook both personally and organizationally by sharing his personal experiences and how the Online Church Facebook page has grown to over 250,000 fans.

Session Times: 9am, noon, 3pm Central Time

March 6th – Twitter & YouTube Techniques

Twitter and YouTube can both be entertaining ways to pass time but did you know they can also be invaluable ministry tools?  Twitter is an incredibly unique network and requires a unique strategy to be used effectively.  YouTube is the #2 search engine on the internet with 800 million visitors each month so understanding the basics of this network and some video best practices can greatly enhance your ministry by reaching thousands online no matter your group’s size or budget.

Session Times: 9am, noon, 3pm Central Time

March 7th- Blogging, Pinterest, and the Other Networks

Have you considered starting a blog?  Are you curious about Pinterest?  Want to know more about Google+, Instagram, FaithVillage, and several of the other networks that are out there?  In this session we will cover the basics of blogging by discussing various platforms, blogging topics, length of posts, etc.  We will also highlight the social network Pinterest as well as several other networks and why you should or should not use them.

Session Times: 9am, noon, 3pm Central Time


We are honored to have some incredible ministry partners for this event.  If you are not already familiar with these great organizations, we encourage you to get to know them and the ministry work that they are doing.

Vanderbloemen Search Group

Media Social

Rockbridge Seminary

Group Publishing


3 Questions with DJ Chuang

djchuang I am so excited to share this interview with my friend, DJ Chuang.  He is honestly the first person I wanted to interview as he has been a long time student of the church and technology.  I have learned so much from him and am excited for you to pick up a few things as well!  DJ is a freelance strategy consultant, having worked with Worship Leader Magazine, Leadership Network, L2 Foundation, and other churches, ministries, and non-profits. He's also the host of Social Media Church, a weekly podcast for conversations with church leaders about social media.  I was honored to be one of his guest on the podcast several months back.  Here are my 3 questions with DJ Chuang:


1) As you have watched the trends of churches embracing technology and the internet, what do you think that continues to keep the church a step behind and do you see this trend changing?

DJ: Firstly I confess that I'm one of those bleeding edge guys, an experimenter who loves to try new innovations even before they're proven, so my own thinking patterns may differ from the mainstream conventional wisdom. I don't think churches by necessity have to be a step behind with how the rest of society uses technology, though a majority of churches do seem to fit that description. 4 common reasons for why churches are lagging in technology use --

[i]: Churches aren't in the business of using the latest technologies, their purpose is making disciples. I think that means the church would use the tools that most of their people would use, and if the people attending the church aren't techies, neither would the church as a whole. I'd like to think that means churches located in a high-tech area like Silicon Valley would be more in-step with using the latest technologies.

[ii]: Churches are typically organized as non-profit organizations, so those tend to be organizations that run with leaner budgets than its for-profit counterparts, and couldn't afford to buy and use the latest technologies.

[iii]: Church leaders, like most institutional leaders, tend to be risk-averse and prefer to use proven technologies rather than experiment with new technologies.

[iv]: There's no time for the steep learning curve associated with new technologies. Learning to use new technologies can take considerable time and effort when the tutorials haven't been published yet.

While the tendency will remain for a majority of churches to be slower in using new technologies, I think a growing number of churches will actually stay in step with using new technologies. This new kind of tech-savvy church are motivated by some, or all, of these 4 reasons for why the church could and should be on the leading edge of technology use:

[i]: Using new technologies can reach new people in new ways. The pastor of an often-recognized innovative church,, Craig Groeschel, has said: "To reach people no one is reaching, we have to do things no one is doing." And that church actively uses new technologies as well as builds from scratch new technologies in order to reach more people.

[ii]: The people of God are created in the image of the Creator, and therefore, the church should be the place that fosters the most creativity. That would include both the arts and technology.

[iii]: The American church on the whole is in decline, so churches need to be developing new ways of doing ministry. That will require more research and development, trial and error, especially using new technologies in a technological age.

[iv]: Christ-followers are to be culture-makers that shape and influence culture, rather than merely reacting to what comes our way. The church can be the shining example for how new technologies ought to be used.


2)  As you look at all of the new churches embracing social media and Online Church, what trends really get you excited about the future of the Church Online?

DJ: I'll mention 3 things that could be trending and would be most exciting to me --

[i]: people can be the church wherever they are because they're constantly connected. The physical gathering of people attending a church service still holds meaning for a majority of church-goers, and that shared experience prompts people to stay connected on social media throughout the week. Relationships now can stay connected both online and offline, and that increased interaction can result in both deeper spiritual formation and mobilizing people to serve real needs in their community.

[ii]: The development of online education has grown fast and furious in the educational sector of colleges and universities. Even my teenage son in freshman year of high school has already taken 2 online classes. I'm starting to hear of churches developing online classes and courses for Christian education and leadership development. At the heart of the church is an educational component, and the Internet enables and empowers the maturing of Christ-followers through low-cost content distribution.

[iii]: The church has a story to tell the nations. A typical church has an amazing amount of capacity that's dormant among the many people that are gathered in the weekly attendance. Many of these people have a voice (or artistry) to communicate valuable content to the whole wide world though the world wide web. In other words, churches have more than sermons and worship songs to share with the world. Churches are beginning to share real-life stories as an integral part of their church communications, as I'd mentioned 4 examples on Social Media Church podcast episode 21.


3) Other than the Bible, what 1 book has most shaped your ministry leadership and why?

DJ: The book that I often reference when I get into those ministry leadership conversations is Andy Crouch's book, "Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling", and, for me, leadership is about defining and creating culture for a people in a particular context. The book itself is a call for Christians to engage and shape the culture of the society we live in, and yet I find the perspectives the book offers is very applicable in the church. There are a great number of books about the strategies and tactics for leading people in an organizational fashion. The a-ha moment with this book for me was: you change culture by creating new culture. And in established churches, there are times when change is necessary and quite challenging to make. The call of leadership at that moment is, thus, to create new culture.

NYC Experience and Excellence

Screen shot 2012-11-24 at 6.23.44 PM While in New York we went to see the Rockette's Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.  This was our second time to see the show and it was just as amazing the second time!  It really is an experience from the moment you walk in to the moment you step out of the door.  I take that back, the experience begins before you even walk in the doors.

There was a long line to get in, but it moved fast and this was all a part of the anticipation.  Once you enter the building the decor is overwhelming and ushers are everywhere to help you find your seat or meet whatever need that you might have.  The show flies by as there is not a moment that lacks engagement with the production and transitions flow seamlessly.  The show was an incredible experience and had the highest level of excellence in every way.

I often hear people say that the church is not putting on a "show" and shouldn't be compared to tv productions or broadway type shows.  I agree that the church is not putting on a show as what we are doing is far more important!   We lead a congregation of people in a worship experience and the level of excellence we should hold ourselves to should be much higher!

Whether you agree or disagree with this perspective, I hope you will consider these questions as you think about guests who visit your church:

Does the exterior of your church building create interest or curiosity of what occurs inside the walls?

As a guest walks into your building what do they see?  smell? hear?

How engaging is your worship experience from start to finish?  Are the transitions seamless?  Does the production enhance or distract?

As guests leave the building and parking lot what do they see?


View other posts in this series:


Under Construction

Making the Most of What you Have

Attention to Details 

Starbucks Everywhere

Different Perspective