Elevation Church's Different Approach to Church Online
The most natural thing is to do the same thing forever. Evolving is scary. I get inspired by talking with people in my same field but doing things a bit different. These types of conversations lead to positive microevolution in my ministry. I got the chance to speak with Chad Zollo the Online Pastor at Elevation Church about how they leverage online ministry in their context. Elevation's approach is unique. They do some things on YouTube and Facebook like no other. A bit into the interview he threw out this campus approach idea that still is ringing in my ears. I hope this talk challenges you. Listen to the interview or read the transcript.
TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW:
Jay Kranda: Okay, I want to welcome my friend Chad Zollo from Elevation Church. Chad, thanks so much for hanging out and having a conversation about online ministry.
Chad Zollo: Yeah, happy to be here. Thanks for inviting me. Honored to be here.
Jay Kranda: Yeah. We got connected. We hung out together for about like a day and a half in the Boston area.
Chad Zollo: Right.
Jay Kranda: We got exposed to each other and hanging out. I want to first off set off the ... I want to know, how much can you bench? Okay, that's my first question. How much can you bench?
Chad Zollo: How much can I bench? That's a good question. You know what? It's funny. I've been working out because I'm very inspired by my pastor-
Jay Kranda: Of course, man.
Chad Zollo: Who is very thick. I can't even tell you. I would say probably less than what you would think. I mean maybe 240, 250 maybe. I'm not that strong, you know what I mean? Like I'm not like 350, something like that. I will admit though, I haven't done like a max in quite a long time.
Jay Kranda: Yeah. Well, I'd just say that's more than me. I had a runner's body, so I stay to running.
Chad Zollo: Yeah.
Jay Kranda: Rick inspires me to run. That's all I'm going to say.
Chad Zollo: There you go.
Jay Kranda: Okay, so let's talk a little bit online ministry. Obviously Elevation, you guys I believe were one of the first churches ... For those who don't know, when the Church Online Platform, the CHOP platform that a lot of ministries use, Elevation was one of the first churches that were part of that round of churches that helped launch it.
Chad Zollo: Right.
Jay Kranda: There's a bunch of churches that funded it, and now there's 4,000 churches uses it every month. It's crazy. But Elevation was one of the initial churches that was kind of part of that seed to get going. You guys were on that. You guys have had all levels of iterations, but talk a little bit about how Elevation does online ministry, because I bet it's not just limited to the Church Online Platform. I bet YouTube's part of that. How does that look like in your context with your role?
Chad Zollo: Yeah, absolutely. A couple years ago, we really decided to kind of go all in on the online church thing, whatever that is for everybody. Before that, yeah, we had partnered up with Life Church to be one of those first people, but we weren't doing a whole lot with it. Honestly, we weren't even really utilizing it much. We were just kind of broadcasting. We had this Elevation Network 24/7 where we'd show past messages and videos of albums or whatever.
Then a couple years ago, we decided, “You know what? We have a lot of people who are tuning in and care, and it seems like that they care, so what are we going to do with these people?” We're like, “Well, let's invest in this online church thing.” I came onboard to help with that. Certainly we already had kind of started utilizing more to its potential the Life Church Church Online Platform. We started chat posts and all of that stuff, and volunteers helping out to do that on the weekend, but that's pretty much where it stopped for us.
Our pastor was really like, "No, I want to kind of do it a different way. Like I don't want that to be like the end of the road for us." Like, "Well, let's see how far we can get with Church Online Platform." He was like, "There's so much available to us, why wouldn't we use what's available?" As is typical here, he's kind of like the pusher, driver, "Hey, let's do this. Let's do this." We started to explore what it looked like to go live on YouTube and on Facebook.
Currently, just to make a long story of what we do short is we're live on the Church Online Platform, we're live on Facebook, and we're live on YouTube, and those are our primary streams. Now, we're also pushing those feeds to our app so people can watch live there. We're pushing a feed to Roku so people can watch there. Things like that, which are great and they work too, but where we can really engage with people is certainly Church Online, YouTube, and Facebook.
But then we also broadcast across all of our platforms. We're broadcasting on Pastor Steven Furtick's channel for YouTube and Facebook, we're broadcasting on Elevation Worship's channel, and we're broadcasting on Elevation Church's channel because for us they all have such a different platform. So many people know about our pastor who don't necessarily know that he's connected to our church. Same thing across the board of Elevation Worship. A lot of people know of Elevation Worship but don't know that it's connected to a church called Elevation Church. I hear those stories all day long.
Anyway, we're just trying to get as much reach as we can as quickly as we can and engage where there's already platforms built. I mean you know the stats, right? Billions of people on Facebook, and YouTube's the second most used search engine. We're just trying to go and use these platforms to not necessarily do what they were made for, but we can utilize it for sure.
Jay Kranda: Which I love, and I think that's ... I've been a little bit of this movement, and I think you guys have pushed it, and we've started to do that too where a lot of online pastors really limited their space to that sub domain of the Church Online.
Chad Zollo: Right.
Jay Kranda: It's like that's a whole nother job, but it's like then what happens is I've noticed it with like I was listening to something recently about like Apple. They said one of the problems when you put something like Siri for example under the iPhone department where their development is limited towards whatever the boss sees as their priority.
Chad Zollo: Right.
Jay Kranda: Siri can't be a big, audacious thing. It's limited to the boss. If you're so worried about the Church Online Platform, then you're like, "Well, if YouTube numbers are bigger than my numbers, and that might kill this thing," it kind of gets ... I love that your church is forward thinking. It's like, "No, it's about all this, and it's about-"
Chad Zollo: Right.
Jay Kranda: That makes a lot of sense. My natural followup is what does a response card look like, what does engagement look like, or how do you drive people on Facebook Live and YouTube? Like how do you do it? The beauty of the CHOP platform is everything's there and you can have very clear next steps, but what does that look like on YouTube and Facebook Live for you?
Chad Zollo: Yeah. It's looked different on each platform and it's looked like ... That's kind of where we've had to become creative and just figure out how do we adapt and develop each platform. I'll back up a little bit just to give you the framework as to how we think about these platforms, and then that'll help with just how we actually utilize them. When I kind of started looking at this, what's our model going to be, how are we going to start doing this across different platforms, I just had to back up and look at it just like our campus model where it's very much seen like in Charlotte we have our main location, which is in our Ballantyne area, but we knew that so many people were driving from our University City area. Instead of saying to those people, "You've got to drive so far to be a part of this," "We're going to launch one right in University City. That's where you are. You're going to get the same experience. Yeah, it might look a little bit different, different diverse culture, things like that."
That's the way I view Facebook for instance is it's simply a campus for me. I don't necessarily feel like I need to send people from my Facebook campus to get a better experience somewhere else. I don't want to do that to them, because then I feel like what I'm telling them is where you live, where you interact in your life is not good enough for us to be there. I don't want to do that. I want to say, "Okay, I know that's where you live, that's what you're familiar with, so I'm going to tailor what I do to where you are." Now again, that does not mean water down the gospel. That does not mean anything. I'm just saying mechanics of I'm going to tailor how I connect with you to where you are.
What that's looked like, it gets into a lot of different technical things that we do with our production, but we are feeding each platform different graphics that promote people to connect with us in different ways, right? For Facebook for instance, there's a different way or different steps that they're going to take than when somebody responds to Christ on Church Online Platform, they're going to click the Respond Now button. Well, that's not available on Facebook. This might sound just real, "Yeah, well duh, of course you would do that," but like our graphics say, "Click the link that's in the chat window."
Jay Kranda: Interesting.
Chad Zollo: We'll pin a link in the chat window to the top of the post, like in the chat window, and when they click on that link a form pops up. It says, "Hey, you just accepted Christ. Great. Fill out this information. We'll connect you." Well, we know that they've clicked that on Facebook, so we know how to talk to those people when we're following up with them. Same thing across YouTube, right? Same thing also when we know did you click that on Pastor Steven's Facebook or did you click that on Elevation Church's Facebook. Again, I know how to follow up with you based on that. I know that you're very familiar with pastor. You might not know that there's a church behind this. You know what I mean? Things like that.
It gets pretty sophisticated like that, but we're really utilizing currently what Facebook has in its building currently, and that's not a lot of fancy buttons. It's not a lot of fancy like a give button. It's a lot of encouraging people to click on a link. For us, that really works right now. Now, we are developing more of how does ... That's part of us saying like how do you continue to push that forward with a company that you have no control over. Well, again it's kind of like where we're trying to either develop something in house that can work with Facebook or try to work with Facebook to help develop more that is congruent with what we need.
What's really cool, and this is kind of like an inside look, and some of y'all might know this anyway, but Facebook has just hired somebody recently to oversee their whole faith based community. Because what they did is they did research into their going this whole community based, community is what we want. Well, who has the best communities? They did some research and found out with all of their people that the most significant and important communities to people and the ones with the most impact are actually faith based communities. That's not a shock to us of course. They said, "Well, how do we tailor what we're doing to them?"
This lady they hired, and she got in contact with some churches. We've been in very close communication. She's actually in our building today. We're meeting with her, and she's talking about, "What do you guys need to do this better online?" We're able to say, "Hey, these are the things that we want to be able to do on Facebook to make a better online community for church in general."
Anyway, I say all that to say right now we're just using what Facebook has, but I think we're also getting a voice into what Facebook will be as well, which is great. Again, just tailor that to then YouTube as well. They have cards that can be put up in a video. We'll utilize those. We'll utilize links as well. Does that answer your question?
Jay Kranda: Yeah, yeah. No, I mean I love that you're thinking of it as a native experience. I think the campus illustration, it makes a lot of sense. Yeah. I mean it's funny. I bet you guys see a very clear engagement increase when you keep people there too.
Chad Zollo: For sure.
Jay Kranda: I mean that probably has to. Yeah. I mean it's a lot of work. You guys are working really hard, and I bet it's not like there's an easier way for you to do it, but you guys are doing it for a clear purpose.
Chad Zollo: Right, exactly. You know, I know that a lot of thought and a lot of things that I've heard from different people are like, "Well, really like our whole goal is to get people to Church Online, because that's where we can best interact with them." I understand that. I really do. I mean there's a part of that that makes sense. Just for us, again, it's just that feeling of I don't want to take somebody out of their native environment, and just knowing that becomes ... Especially for Facebook for us, like Facebook is the only kind of organic platform that people can find us, aside from running ads and things like that. I mean people aren't going to just like happen across Church Online. People aren't just going to happen across necessarily those websites.
Jay Kranda: 100%.
Chad Zollo: That becomes just a really big open door for us, but we just don't push them somewhere else.
Jay Kranda: Yeah. No, it makes sense. I was just talking to somebody about this, that like we haven't spent ... It kind of says a lot about where our church is at, but we haven't really done a huge ad budget ever. Like I've never really had money to go out and do that. A lot of our growth has been slow and steady, and primarily the reason is because it's all by people starting small groups and inviting.
Chad Zollo: Right.
Jay Kranda: Again, I think if you're listening to this and you're kind of engaging in this, something you're going to hear over and over again is what's really important is that you have to figure out what your church does well and replicate that. This is why I like talking to other ministries, especially larger ministries because each other, we get asked like, "Here it is," and the immediate thing is to go replicate it, but you've got to figure out like how Elevation does church. We have the same mission and vision in general, like the end goal, but the methodology's going to look a little different.
Chad Zollo: Right.
Jay Kranda: I can't be Elevation, and you can't be Saddleback.
Chad Zollo: Right.
Jay Kranda: Because we have two different pastors, and two different elder boards, two different ... I love that. I love that. But I will say, you're pushing, you're challenging some of my thoughts about like I do have a goal where I'm trying to push them off of certain platforms. You're kind of stirring up something in me like, "Oh, I've got to revisit that."
I'm curious. Talk a little bit about like generally where do you guys see the most engagement. Is it Facebook, YouTube, then your Church Online Platform, or like what's the general? I know it's 2018 right now. Stuff might reorder. There might be something else, but generally how do you prioritize that?
Chad Zollo: Definitely Facebook, then YouTube, then Church Online. I think that that kind of just goes back to what I was talking about of the organic reach of what Facebook has become for us and just the amount of followers that we have within our Facebook pages. But then if you're talking even break it down further than that, like we're talking Pastor Steven's channel is going to be the most engaged.
Jay Kranda: I was going to say that.
Chad Zollo: Then it's the church's, and then it's Elevation Worship. But then interestingly enough, on YouTube we haven't done a whole lot until recently with Pastor Steven's YouTube channel, so he's one of the lowest engaged channels for YouTube, but our church's channel is the highest and then it's everything Worship. But in terms of just as a whole, you're going to talk about Facebook is certainly the most, then we go YouTube, then Church Online Platform, and the app, and other things that's hard to track that engagement. There's not really much engagement happening. But that would be where it's happening the most is on Facebook.
Jay Kranda: Talk a little bit about like, you've kind of alluded to this, but do you guys ... You specifically, like are you positioned as more of a traditional campus, or are you a little bit of a hybrid, or are you just kind of like an anomaly, like you're positioned in a very unique way?
Chad Zollo: Yeah. Within our organization, it's probably more of a hybrid honestly. I'm considered a campus in some regards. I was just talking about this with our team, because we're in a little bit of a tension right now because we're in everybody's meetings. I'm in all the campus meetings, but I'm also in all the comm meetings, and then I'm in all, you know what I'm saying, then I'm in all the digital meetings, because we're kind of everything. Honestly as an organization, we're trying to figure that out, what that looks like for us, because we do consider it a campus, but we're just not.
We're more digital, and the stats and what we're measuring doesn't match. You know what I'm saying? We can say the same words in terms of like what we call VIPs, our first time guests, but numbers wise in terms of like who's attending, they're just not the same. They're not even the same as how we measure them and all of that stuff. I wouldn't say there's an easy answer to that. We're, I would say, a hybrid. It really is a hybrid right now, but it's certainly a tension because I'm in meetings all day long every day.
Jay Kranda: I was going to say, yeah. I've been through phases of that, and generally I just tell people that I like it complicated, and I think until it gets defined ... I do try my hardest to get out of every meeting I can.
Chad Zollo: For sure.
Jay Kranda: Question on stats wise generally, and I know this is probably a moving target a little bit, but how do you measure weekly health in your online community? Like what are the top three or two or five or whatever things?
Chad Zollo: Yeah, that's great. Certainly attendance, and I can break that down at least briefly, because a lot of people ask us what do you track and how do you track it and what's important. There's a couple things that are very, very important to us. One is certainly attendance. Now, it's different within each platform. Attendance on Church Online, we utilize what they provide for us, which is your viewers, your overall viewers, how many people are coming. That number is typically a much higher number than you see at one time on your platform, right? We understand that. We get that. It just is what it is. We use that number knowing that number's pretty high. Same thing with the app. It's a unique viewer number. It's going to be very high.
But where we're given a lot of information is on Facebook and YouTube. What we utilize from them is a peak live viewer number. The reason we do that is for a couple reasons. I'll just be honest. The main reason that we do that is because it's as close to when we monitor the post. We have people monitoring our feeds at all times. It's the closest number to what we see as a consistent number that is on our feed the entire time.
Jay Kranda: Interesting.
Chad Zollo: It is also the most conservative number that we're given from those platforms. We as a church just tend to not try to blow smoke about anything. We just are very much like, "Listen, if you think that that's a vanity stat, I don't even want to hear it. Tell me what you actually think it is." Luckily I love that, because I think our leadership has promoted that feeling and that language. You don't need to blow smoke. Just tell me what it is, but don't tell me it's vanity and then me find out it was way less than that. Now I'm upset about that. Anyway, peak live is typically the most conservative.
To give you percentage wise, if viewers at three seconds is my highest number at 100%, for us typically you go from viewers down to ... I'm sorry, reach. Let's just say it's 100%. That doesn't really mean anything. Maybe none of those people even saw it. Then viewers, which is three seconds. Ours will typically drop about 50% from there, from like reach to viewers. Then from viewers for us to 10 second views drops about another like 40% from there, and then from 10 second views, the next stat they give you is peak live views. For that, that's typically pretty low.
I know from other churches that I've talked to that's almost too low. It's like, "I don't want to use that number. Like that number's too low to use." I get that, so that's where it's like for us that's what makes sense for us, but that might be what makes sense for you to use based on how you're measuring things. Peak live if you don't know is just basically at its highest point how many people were tuned in at one time. At any given time, what was the peak amount of people who were showed up at one time. I like that number because it kind of accurately represents how many people might have watched a full experience.
Jay Kranda: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Chad Zollo: Because what I tell our staff and just different people is at your local campuses you are not measuring how many people pulled into the parking lot and turned around and drove away. You know what I mean? If you did that or how many people drove by and saw the building, you're not measuring that. You wouldn't. That's stupid. It's pointless to do that. You're measuring how many people came and stayed the longest period of time. You know what I mean?
Again, that's a difficult number to get to online. It takes some work that either you might do it or you might not. I don't know. Anyway, that's what we measure. That's very important to us. We just had to pick something though to start measuring, right? You've got to pick something to then give yourself a point to say are we growing, are we dying, what are we doing. Then that number's very important to us.
Sharing is incredibly important to us. If you were to watch Elevation any weekend and it's myself hosting the welcome or whoever hosting in the pre show and the post show, one of the biggest calls to action that we're doing is telling people to share the experience. We know that you get exponential reach with doing that, but then that also tells us a couple things. It tells us if you care, you're going to share. If you just think about it in terms of your own life, you do not share things on your social media platform that you do not connect with or that you do not want people to know that you identify with, because there is so much crap that you might like, but you're like, "I would never repost that thing. Like this stuff is so funny, but I don't want anybody to know that I'm liking this. I don't want anybody to know that I do this."
If you share something, it's because it's done something for you and you want somebody else to know about it. You don't share a ton. At least I don't, the people I talk to don't. If you're sharing our content, I feel like it's made some sort of impact on your life. That's very important to us. We know that there's exponential increase, and we hear story after story after story of people who found out about our church through somebody sharing a post. That's important.
The other thing that is extremely important is giving, how much giving is coming in through this. Now, it's not because it's just about the money. It's just because that's the highest form of engagement that we have to measure. I know that nobody in their right mind is going to give to Elevation Church from online just because, "I was happening across, I saw it, and I decided to give 300 bucks." No way. You're giving to it because you've been impacted by it. those three things are really what's important to us. We know that we have a lot of metrics that get people to that ultimate golden egg of like, "Hey, they gave. Wow, okay. That meant something to them."
We have volunteers. We have e-groups. We have like opportunities for people to be a part of events that we do for what we call our e-fam. That's what we call our online community. We have lots of opportunities for people to engage, which are important to us, but not as important as knowing is it connecting with people enough to share or give.
Jay Kranda: Yeah. Those are great. I mean essentially you are measuring it like a traditional. I mean you're thinking about core metrics of health, which I love.
Chad Zollo: 100%.
Jay Kranda: Which is smart and I would encourage. I know we have a similar type of metrics. You also do some kind of measurement on your Church Online streaming side. Is it like a 45 minute or isn't there something that you did for a while like you're looking at even deeper retention there?
Chad Zollo: Yeah. I mean like to be completely honest with you, I mean we look at everything. I mean we really do.
Jay Kranda: Yeah. I love it.
Chad Zollo: I mean if I gave you access to our spreadsheets and stuff, if it's available, we will measure it, and try to understand it, and look at how long people are staying. Not even just how long people are staying. Maybe what you might be referring to is we want to know when are people dropping off the most. Like do people leave during the welcome? Is that not what they care about? What's cool with Facebook at least is you can go and scrub through your actual video and see the highs and lows of when people are actually sharing your experience and when people are commenting.
Jay Kranda: Yeah. They're super honest with that data.
Chad Zollo: I love it, because I'll see, "Oh, man. When I talked about sharing and really encouraged people to share, our shares spiked to whatever in that moment." Yeah, I mean honestly we gather as much data as we can. Again, it's just to inform us. Like some of it matters, and some of it we don't really care about but it's cool to look through. But we do want it to drive us. Our organization as a whole is very, very data and results driven, and that's kind of just the way we've always been. We do understand that data doesn't tell the whole story. There's always more going on, but it is a big story that we have. You know what I mean?
Jay Kranda: Yeah, yeah.
Chad Zollo: Like I do have that story though, so I do want it to inform me.
Jay Kranda: No, I love that. I've got two final questions.
Chad Zollo: Yep.
Jay Kranda: The first question, I think just kind of generally what is your big goal for assimilation? What does it look like for somebody? It sounds like somebody who lives close, obviously you kind of help them potentially get into one of your campuses. What do you do with somebody far from your church or a campus? What does that look like assimilation wise within your online strategy?
Chad Zollo: Yeah. We had to decide a year and a half ago. Our pastor kind of had to decide are we okay with like calling this church and are we okay with somebody staying at their house. What we did is pretty much what you said in a sense of if you live close to a campus, I'm always going to encourage you to go. I mean why wouldn't you want to go there?
Jay Kranda: Of course, yeah.
Chad Zollo: I mean you know, like just go. But we know that there are reasons people don't. They're home bound, they can't, whatever. But if you're outside of a campus, really what we decided, can we replicate what for us are, if you want to say, like our core values? Can we replicate those online? But for us, they're called the four Gs. You wouldn't really hear them talked about like that, but they're four things that are really important to us.
It's giving. It's groups, like e-groups, small groups, whatever. It's using your gifts. We would consider that to be though part of volunteering. Like are you using what God's given you? Then growth, which are you helping our church to grow by inviting people, are you growing, things like that. What we decided is can we do that online? If we can, we feel good about that.
Now blanket, we just call our online community our e-fam. This is a side note that you didn't ask me about, but I think it's very important to give them an identity, give your online community an identity. When our pastor did that, he just did it randomly one day. He was on Facebook Live and was like, "Hey, e-fam! Hey, everybody. Thanks for tuning in. I know people are joining us from all over the world. I want to start calling you our e-fam. You're our extended family here." From that moment, it was almost a shift with our online community to where they were like, "Okay, I belong there. Like they've given me a name, so I must be a part of it."If you've got a big community who's trying to identify with your church, the best thing that you can do is actually give them an identity.
Jay Kranda: I love that.
Chad Zollo: What are they, and how do they connect? But then what we would say is, "Hey, e-fam, you can be a part of this." We don't do your traditional membership. We don't have like a membership class, but what we would say is, We want you to be involved in the four Gs. Are you giving?" Hopefully. "Are you in an online e-group?" We have that whole system. "Are you using your gifts?" "Well, how do I do that?" "Well, we have volunteer opportunities. Come and volunteer with us online." "Oh, you do?" "Yeah, yeah, yeah." We tell them about that. Then, "Are you helping the growth of our church? he primary way we do that is through sharing. We want you to share the worship experience. Keep on sharing. Share the post. Share the social media. Share."
those would be the ways that I would say if you're not here near a location, you can still be a part of Elevation. We still consider you family. We just want to encourage you to do these four things and do them really well. That was really what made it a thing for us.
Jay Kranda: I love that. I love that identifying them, because I do think that a lot of ministries, it's so easy to feel displaced if you're watching online.
Chad Zollo: Right.
Jay Kranda: Especially, and I think this is a little bit probably of a generational thing, the younger you are, the more you're integrated with technology, the more you understand that this stuff can be used a certain way. I mean I notice it when I watch your pastor that he's talking to the audience. I've noticed it too. I tell this story all the time that like I remember when Craig Groeschel came and spoke at our church. The weirdest thing for me was as with my pastor, my pastor talks to the crowd in the room primarily, where like Craig did this thing where he talked directly to the camera. It was like such a like ... I'm like, "Oh, this is so interesting, because he's done this mental shift of like no, he realizes more people are watching this." I noticed this with your pastor where he'll make call outs to people watching online, and it's just like-
Chad Zollo: Yeah.
Jay Kranda: I know some of that is just like seminary training and it's seeing where the growth is, just understanding like those people too. Rick has been amazing at it, but you see the shift of like, "No. Hey, how do we engage this person?" I love that. With the group stuff, does that mean are you encouraging people to do online groups or actually starting something in their homes and kind of making it? Because I know you guys have done extension stuff. You've done all sorts of things. You really have led in that area.
Chad Zollo: It's a little bit of both. We do online e-groups where we're encouraging people, and they're mostly done over Zoom, Skype, whatever, whatever they want to use. I actually kind of learned that from you when we talked with you a while ago and you were like, "Hey, we tried our own thing. People use what they want." That's what we're doing. We have people ... Again, if you do it, you know. There's people all around the world who connect on Zoom or Skype, and just they're in an e-group and meet weekly, or biweekly, or whatever it is.
We provide that, we have in person e-groups, but then just kind of just something that has organically happened for us is we've had these watch parties, [inaudible 00:33:21] normal name or whatever, that have just been popping up everywhere. I mean like literally that we don't even know about and we're finding out about like, okay, 20 people in this area, 20 people in this area, 30 people in this, 150 people up here that we were like, "What?"
Jay Kranda: That's crazy.
Chad Zollo: Like this dude connected with me and he was like, "Yeah, there's 150 of us that meet. We have a salon that we meet in, and we stream the services." I was like, "Wait a minute. What?" He was like, "Yeah, we just love it." We have these things that are popping up everywhere, so it's kind of this thing where we're trying to figure out what do we do with these people. Right now what it is is we're really just using it to inform my decisions basically and our decisions as a church.
Yes, we do online e-groups. Some of them are in person. We have these watch parties popping up everywhere. Just trying to how do we steward all of these people who are like tuning in and wanting to be a part at their homes and stuff like that.
Jay Kranda: Well, okay. Well, so many things, but the last question, the last question because you guys are killing it in so many areas, but my last question is around what gets you most excited in like the near future that you guys are thinking about like, "Okay, we need to nurture that moving forward"?
Chad Zollo: Yeah.
Jay Kranda: What's a thing that you guys ... You guys are a forward thinking church. I mean again, we were talking before we even started recording, I think you were one of the first churches ... I mean you're one of the only churches I know that's killing it on YouTube, like literally like you guys actually have a YouTube ministry. It's not just posting stuff up there, but like the amount of views and everything.
Chad Zollo: Yeah.
Jay Kranda: You guys are thinking about that. What's something that you guys are kind of thinking? It doesn't mean you have to know what it is, but like you're kind of, "That's going to be a thing we need to process"?
Chad Zollo: You know, I mean honestly I'm letting you see a little under the hood here of what we're like really in the process of doing right now, but it's really we're building out what does this look like to actually staff each channel.
Jay Kranda: Wow, yeah.
Chad Zollo: For instance, what does it look like to have a Facebook pastor, to have a YouTube pastor, to have a dot-online pastor? I am the online pastor, but if these are actual campuses and these people aren't leaving these hubs, can we care for them on their platform and what does it look like to build a team around doing that? Even on a Sunday morning when you're tuned in if you were to tune into Elevation on any given weekend during the welcome or pre show or whatever, during the welcome it comes to me, right, typically. I'm speaking to our whole online community. Well, this would split into four different channels. At that time, again just like a campus goes, we've got a Facebook pastor talking to Facebook, a YouTube pastor talking to YouTube.
For us, really it's been something we've been thinking about for a while, like how does this look, and I think that we're just kind of ready to take a step in that direction and say, "Let's try it. Let's start going down that road and see what happens with that." I think that it's a shift in mindset for sure, and I think that it's something that probably ... I mean, it's one of those things where you're like, "Man, will this just become the norm of what it is in the future?" Nobody's doing it yet, but let's just try it, and see what happens, and see if it makes a difference.
I'm really, really excited about that though, not necessarily because, "Oh, man. Wow, there's somebody talking directly to me on Facebook," but again I think it almost validates where they are even more and saying like, "Hey, we care so much about the community that you are in, we're going to put even more effort to connect with you." Really, that's what it's about. At the end of the day for us, it's how do we connect the best with people where they are?
Here's the deal. Today's day and age, I talk about this a lot where you can either ... I heard a teaching before where somebody said you can receive, redeem, or reject whatever culture throws at you. You can just accept it for what it is, you can reject it, or you can redeem it and make it something better. That's what we're trying to do with all of these platforms.
Honestly, we know that people are attending church less. We know that people are living on Facebook, living on YouTube. We know that there's billions of people. Instead of saying, "No way, I'm never doing that. Like those people need to be in a building," maybe true. I'm not even saying that, but maybe true, but you saying that is not going to get them there. You know what I'm saying? Like let's go to where they are. Let's meet them where they are, minister to them where they are. If some day we have a building there, fantastic. If one day in the future there are no more buildings and this is how we're doing it, well let's utilize it to the best of our ability. I just think Jesus would be like, "What are you guys doing? You have this huge opportunity. Why not utilize it? Yeah, so what they're not there? Talk to them where they are." I'm getting on a train here- But that's just where I'm at with that.
Jay Kranda: I love that.
Chad Zollo: That's kind of just a little under the hood of a direction that we're headed as a church.
Jay Kranda: Dude, that's awesome. It's funny. I just emailed somebody this morning that reject, receive, redeem thing. I was like cracking up in my head.
Chad Zollo: You did? That's funny.
Jay Kranda: I literally just was ... Somebody was asking me a theological question about media, and I was like talking. Anyways, I was like-
Chad Zollo: That's funny. That's great.
Jay Kranda: No. Hey, Chad, I want to thank you for giving up time. Really I mean if you've made it this long and you're watching, listening to this, like you need to check out what they're doing. Because what I love is I think the easiest thing to do is to replicate, and what I've always appreciated about Elevation is that you guys will replicate if something's good, but you guys are pushing. Even that thought of like staffing, that is like ... I mean, yeah. I mean there's all sort of things there I'm thinking through. I love what you guys do, and I love the evangelistic, but not just that. You guys aren't just like an evangelistic ministry. You're also wanting to pull people. You know the value of a local experience.
Chad Zollo: Right.
Jay Kranda: I think it's with intention, and you guys rock that. Thanks for giving up some time and connecting. Are you writing at all? Are you blogging? Are you sharing anything you're learning? Okay, okay. Well, we'll talk about that another time.
Chad Zollo: We'll get on that. We can work on it for sure.
Jay Kranda: Okay.
Chad Zollo: But you know, there's only limited hours in a day.
Jay Kranda: That's true. That's true. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, thanks for hanging out, man, and we'll talk soon.
Chad Zollo: Great.