Exit Interview with an Online Pastor
I grew up watching the Lakers with my grandpa, and at the end of every season, they had something called exit interviews. No matter how good or bad the year went you sat down in front of cameras and got asked a series of questions about the season. It was always a frank conversation. When everything was going great, the interviews were kind of pointless, but bad years kicked off the started of a rocky offseason. I especially enjoyed watching Kobe's exit interview because he never held back.
I found out a few weeks ago a friend of mine was transitioning into a new season of his life. He was leaving a thriving online ministry to help more churches go to the next level. I pitched him the idea of the exit interview and said he was game (pun intend).
Jeff Reed was the Online Pastor at Christ Fellowship in Miami for the last three years. Currently, he is helping churches with online ministry and much more over at thechurch.digital. I ask Jeff a series of questions relating to his role as an online pastor. I ask how his leadership could have better helped him be successful and what he would have done differently in retrospect. It's a fun conversation that I know you will enjoy, but more importantly, find helpful.
I want to thank Jeff for your openness and make sure you to check out thechurch.digital.
TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW:
Jay: Okay, so I got my friend here, Jeff Reed, who was an online pastor and, just recently transitioned, and we're going to have a fun exit interview style. So Jeff, thanks for much for hanging out with me.
Jeff: Hey Jay. My pleasure. Thanks for having me on.
Jay: Yeah. So, so I, I've kind of pitched this to you. We were talking about a kind of this transition for you and you can go to thechurch.digital. I'll put kind of links there, but you can kind of see what he's doing. Jeff is a great mind in the online space and in and beyond that kind of and now he's moving into this phase where he's helping ministries and all these different ventures. So if you kinda like what you're hearing, you can kind of reach out to him to kind of learn more on how to kind of partner with him and a bunch of ways. But I just like randomly when you were telling me about what was going on and were you thinking about this next phase with your family and kind of your career. I was like, dude, would you be up for an exit interview as an online faster? And you were like, yeah, let's do it.
Jeff: Yeah. It's an interesting concept. There's a lot of stuff. I was worked in a church is an online class, the role for probably three years and if there was stuff that I knew today that if I knew that for years ago, man, things I believe would've gone a lot different. So take, take some, some wisdom advice here from somebody who's been in your shoes, who's, uh, who's fought for church online. And let me, let me help you out a through, through this interview, but also, man, anything that I can do through the church that digital, I would love to do that.
Jay: I love it. I love it. So, so the concept of an exit interview, if you're not familiar with it, if anybody's listening to this and not sure, it's the whole idea, is that usually on your last day of work, if you're not been terminated and inappropriate way, most large organizations will interview you to kind of like, Hey, what could we have done better? And it's usually just input to kind of help kind of grow the organization my church does that. I think you had told me, even your church did something that with you where you could share some stuff. Um, and the same thing's true. I actually have a visual of this with um, with sports a lot of times on the day after a sporting event and the season ends, there'll be like a, something like a, an interview that happens with the team. So like the Lakers, the, you know, the end of the season or even the warriors who just one, there'll be like this as an interview. So this is the format that I was envisioning and I'm really excited. So like with this, uh, first off, tell me a little bit about Christ Fellowship. How long you Christ Fellowship in Miami because there's a lot of the Christ Fellowships out there. Um, how long. So you were there for three years and kind of tell me a little bit about your role and the scope of things there.
Jeff: Sure. I've had been off and on with a on staff at Christ Fellowship for 20 plus years, believe it or not, and most recently I was on stretch for about three years where I came on board as a digital strategist. Basically helping the church develop a digital strategy of understanding, you know, communications, but also digital missions, how to create a strategy of biblical community online, grew from that into an online campus pastor role or operated in conjunction doing that as well as other, um, random jobs that would pop up and have a strong background in it and live production. So it was involved in that. And at one point it was weekend experience interim for a while and just, no, no all over the map helping Fellowship. But in my heart of it all roads kind of fed back into that online experience to the online campus to grading online communities and context of, of the church.
Jay: Gotcha. And I know that's something as we kind of, we, we've hung out a couple times in person and that's something that I very very clear as one of your strengths is that you kind of have this breadth of knowledge, not only on the pastoral but also the technical and a lot of that live production too. Because I know that something, you know, as I talked to churches about even how we do stuff at my church, I'm like, you know, I have team members I rely on for a lot of this stuff and you're, you had, you have way more knowledge and you really can help a church from kind of start to stop. Really. I'm not just high level stuff and that's something I remember. I just saw that. Is that something that you just kind of picked up or is that something that you were kind of forced to figure out?
Jeff: You know, what's interesting is over 10 years of my life as I've worked in different churches doing ministry, my job title should probably be problem solver. It's just been church acts would be like, hey, we're having problems in production. Can you dive into that? Sure. I can. Let me go later on. It'd be, hey, we're having problems in creative. Do you mind being creative director and fixing some of that? Sure, I can. Let's go. Hey, we're having problems with communications. Can you tackled communications and dive into that. Sure, let's go. Uh, and so really just have been very, you know, tried to be humble in that environment, but also moldable and flexible to what the, what the church wants. You know, I, I've had passions and things that I've wanted to work on and, projects and directions that I've wanted the church to go. And interestingly, like churches sometimes don't align with the vision of what a staff wants to. And this is going to be a later conversation, but realizing at what point do you abandoned the desires that you want to do and instead help the church reach the goals and its mission and that vision. And so really over the past 10 years, man, I've probably had 10 or 11 job titles is just. And that's not know. Normally when you hear that, it's like, oh, that's just a bad employee. They're bouncing around from left to right. You know, I don't know that that's, that's the case for me. It's been, you know, just problem solving and helping plug in holes of ministry teams that were getting established and learning along the way. Learning is so critical.
Jay: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense here, that makes a lot of, especially with specifically where you were, where you kind of were positioned the last couple of years where the whole, like there's just a lot of problem solving generally with online ministry. And this is kind of where we're going here with some of these questions because it isn't this, hey, Google this or like type into, you know, like a couple of days a week ago I had to, we got a new dishwasher and I just went to youtube and I was like, how to install a dishwasher, you know, and I figured it out, you know, it's like, oh, okay, this is how I did. And I, and I, I did it where like with online ministry, there wasn't necessarily that plugin play when you kinda stepped into this role. And so I could see why your church, I, you know, there's a, there's a benefit to that. So let's, let's, let's do this. So that, my next question here on this official exit interview interview with Jeffrey to have the church.digital is a, would you, what would you change if anything, of how you were organizationally positioned as an online pastor?
Jeff: I tell you what, I have yet to meet a church that I think truly has a solution for that answer. It really depends on the district. You know, at some point, early on in the process, you know, I answered to the, to the executive pastor and the executive pastor gave me free reign to kind of run and just give him updates, but he really didn't have specific direction or insight or coaching to kind of help me along. And, uh, and for me that was okay because I had but vision in my head of where I wanted to go, but it didn't come to find out down the road. It didn't align. I was kind of running out and a doc on, on my own. I've seen churches where it's fallen under the weekend experience director or somebody more on the worship side, which leads to more of a, a church environment that's more directed towards the worship service at broadcasting services, but you're probably not going to get much direction or guidance on Greeks or it falls center discipleship pastor who's very strong on online groups and online discipleship. But it doesn't give as much feedback or direction or cohesive a cohesiveness with the worship song. And so we're, it's a creative guy. That's, that's the fault is, you know, driven by more creativity in context of the Ui or the environment or the experience, but sometimes struggles to see the mission implications, uh, for that. And of course I'm generalizing across all of these pieces, but we're all driven by defaults and uh, you know, sometimes it's the leader is the one who understands all of those defaults and can, can work above that environment. And so for me it was a lot of, okay, let me figure out how I can do this for the weekend experience, how I can do this for the groups, how I can do this for the Ui, for the creative. And, and even though all these different groups were sort of, lead by their own desires and wants, finding a solution that, uh, exceeds across all of them, create, create an environment that does foster I strong, weakened department that does probably awesome, very strong. I'm in. And also a strong user experience
Jay: would do you, would you have rathered been treated more as a campus or less of a campus? Now, looking back, I'm curious about this because I think this is a big wine for the one that I get a lot is, are you a campus or you just kind of some kind of hybrid or are you not treated as well as the campus?
Jeff: You know, what to, uh, maybe three years ago, uh, I always asked that question and I fought tooth and nail to be a campus and if I were to do it all over again, I wouldn't. I think that the, the physical campuses, they have their own way of thinking, their own model, their own, their own skill sets, their own practices, their own processes. And as a result of that, after doing it for almost three years, I could not get the online banking and that's not a negative on Christ Fellowship. It's just, it's a different bird completely and trying to make it fit within this online campus mode. Why not just call it Christ Fellowship, you know, why not just call it church x and it's just part of the brand and experience, uh, of, of what it is. I tell you know whether it's utilizing social media. Well, no, social media is only for, you know, the, the church brand. It's not for the online, online campus. Well, it could be for both or you know, what you've got to completely separate discipleship strategy. That's, that's different than what we have here at the main campuses. Well, why don't we combine it and do it for both, you know, and instead of trying to create something that would never really fit as a campus, uh, because the physical campus environment is so different. Yeah. Let it just be part of what the church is and how the church looks outward. You know, one of, one of before I got on this interview, I was just working on a blog. So by the time this is published as you go to the site and see it, but it's wrestling with the difference between digital communications and digital missions. You know, I think we as a church, the church at this point across the board has some form of digital, whether it's a website, a mobile app, social media, you know, somebody, you know, some churches do it better than others, but at this point we're all doing something on a digital scope, but through it, through your, through your online campus, through your online church, which is just kind of the language that I use instead of campus. Now you have the potential to do missions, to do evangelism through the discipleship completely separate from that. And so to move that missions component tighter to the main church to be in, to be able to execute the main churches mission and vision. I think the accountability, the awareness and the leadership perspective that you could get a is going to help you in the long road. It may be more painful up front, but to get to the finish, trying to get to the end game of what the church needs a, it's not this separate thing. It's just the one entity that you have. It's your,
Jay: That's well said. And I think it's funny, I was just thinking about this with yeah, with my role, I'm always teetering know do I want to be treated more as a campus or less as a campus and I just was, I just posted something myself about like full assimilation for online ministry because of that very topic that I feel like we're, we're, we're pushing things like facebook, you know, like I'm part of the facebook live experience for our church, but somehow that's not directly tied into my community outside of just, it's, it's a stream, but like I want all that followup. And so there's this. Why is the online pastor just part of this part? But now that, the other part in that, that's the, that's the big thing is if you're making it a campus then you're saying all this is theirs. But really I liked the way you said that digital communication and communication overall, that there is more of a merge. It should just be, it's the place you go. It's, it's saying advertising. You don't need to say online advertising anymore. Really. You just say advertising and people assume when you're talking about facebook ads in this, but that's a, that's an, that's a good perspective. Okay. So the, so the next thing, kind of maybe not covering what we've already talked about positionally, but is there anything you leadership could have done different to make you more successful and I'm assuming they did a lot to make you successful of course, but is there anything you kind of just like now looking back of this would have been handled differently? This probably would have happened in sometimes that stuff you can't really see, but like we can evaluate it. So I'm, I'm curious if there's something you would. Oh yeah, this was handled differently. If I, if, if money would have been here like this would have been able to vent, like we, we would have been able to capitalize more here.
Jeff: Yeah, I'm Christ Fellowship is a, as a, as a church was, was phenomenal, uh, in my time spent there all across the board. I think the one thing, and this is, this may sound a little counter intuitive here, but, but some of what I think that, that actually I have wanted to improve or something that, that may be hurt was the amount of freedom that I was kind of given up front. There was a, there was a season of the church where they basically took my leash off and they said, you know, just go to town, do whatever you can do. And that was a lot of, uh, there was a lot of expanse of ministry, uh, at Christ Fellowship. At one point we were doing online services in English. We were doing online services in Spanish, online services for the American sign language and deaf and we were even doing a kids a service. And so there was online groups in English, Spanish death. There were, uh, we didn't do kids groups for online for obvious kind of stalker reasons, uh, but we did create, you know, all of these specific environments fully functioning within that. And, uh, and it was, it was incredible. It was phenomenal. Uh, but, but what we were doing also with stretching the resources that we had for online too thin and at the same time we weren't necessarily looking at the mission and the vision of what the church was doing at the time. Uh, we were, we were creating, man, I hate to use the word silo because I just hate having siloed systems, but we were really creating a silo separate from the church. Yeah. We had the lead pastor but, and, and the teaching and English and it was translated into Spanish and interpreted for asl. But it was separate from the vision. It's, you know, of, of what Christ Fellowship is doing. And so as a result of that, we can honestly, we had to even reevaluate some of the ministry we were doing. We aligned some of the things in and restructure it in ways that it could help, uh, more towards the mission and the vision of what it was doing. Probably the, probably the thing that they could have done for me just clearly stated is to hold me back in line or to what they really wanted and not kind of what my passions was coming into it.
Jay: That makes sense that we try to. I remember the first time I kind of stumbled across what you were doing, because you were making noise for sure. Your church was in. I saw, I saw all these online experiences. I was like, are they supporting this because I don't look at just this, you know, it's one thing to kind of get a service up, but then you got to take care of followup and pastoral care and groups and I, you know, that's one thing. Like we did it a Spanish service like years ago. We tried it and it ended up not working because ultimately we had the numbers on the weekend, but we didn't have any small group material translated. We didn't have classes translate and I and I, I kind of, we learned the hard way of like, oh wow. It's not just, you can't just get the weekend, but you got to do this other stuff. So I remember when I saw your, your experience like that, I was like, how are you supporting this? This seems like a lot
Jeff: Run for a short period of time, but, all things do come, come to an end and you know, and aligning and, and truthfully, we still do. We still do Spanish at Christ Fellowship. And so we kept that environment on. The reason we do is we as a church is uniquely positioned here in Miami, Florida, uh, with global impact. We've got a campus in Columbia, Jamaica, a Guatemala and Nicaragua and 70. There's 70 different nationalities basically comprised within people who are active at Christ Fellowship, at least seven different nationalities. So we're very much a blended melting pot and if you want to, if you want to reach not only my Auntie, but if you want to reach internationally, you have to have a Spanish arm. And what better way to have a, you know, to be able to reach out there to ministry and to resource the people in Latin and South America then through an online campus. And so that was honestly, that was one of the huge wins was recreated this Spanish campus at, along for online at the same time as they started doing the church, started doing things globally and all of a sudden we're able to send resources and an equip, a teaching pastors and uh, and uh, in other situations with video teaching or discipleship material in different languages and resources. And so like there's wind for that. And then there's also times to kind of reevaluate and say, hey, this really is doing the purpose that we wanted it to do. The metrics don't really show that it's getting the engagement for what it's worth. And then being, you know, man enough to those situations to made, okay, we sailed, it was wrong to do what we wanted to do. There's nothing wrong with daily. And then kind of moving onto the next thing.
Jay: Yeah. Which, yeah, so much. Yeah. So much there. So, okay, let's, let's, let's keep this going, this exit interview with, uh, I keep picturing like lights flashing, taking photos of you like at a desk with like a branded, you know, like that's what I'm envisioning this, this exit interview, a very specific way with the church.digital branding. You know, I'm a repeated logo. Okay. So this is kind of kind of hits in the same vein, but I specifically, is there anything that you would do different looking back at your role? So not your leadership, none about your positioning. Is there anything that you would do different that, okay, if I, if I would have handled this this way, is there something we haven't covered that you kind of like? Yeah, this probably would have helped me be a little bit more successful in my role.
Jeff: I don't, I, yeah, I, I, and it's all kind of loosely tied together, but this idea of creating the siloed effect versus, okay, I'm going to literally implant myself among the central staff of the church. I'm going up, I'm going to align myself so closely with the creative director, with the communications director, with the, with the worship guys, just even more so, not there was a lot of times where I was like, hey, you know what, I trust you guys Kinda so to make it work and I do trust them and even today I still trust him. It's a great staff and it's a great environment. But to put myself in the midst of that and say, okay, let's collectively make this decision together. And not that it's something separate from but, but something that of really, I think that would be the wind. Just man, stay away from silos, stay away from not from creating something separate from Church Dna and do everything you can to, uh, to celebrate the wins when, when you get a, when you get victories, when you did that, that online small group that's covering two to three continents when you launch it. And, and as exciting as it is when you, when you launched that small group in Africa, Nigeria, man, celebrate that. Screaming from the rooftops that, that, that happened, that, that existed. And, and, and let your church knows so that they can celebrate with you. If you separate it, you're wins and losses are yours. They're not, they're not churches. You do it together. The wins and losses are there, the churches and you're better off that way.
Jay: Yeah. I don't think people, especially starting out, you know, you can't overstate that. Building those partnerships with other teams is so essential because yeah, the, your, your campus, your community, however you want to define it as an online pasture. It, everything is important. The brand name to the way the website works to the streaming provided to the video team to what's actually happening during service. All that stuff. And I, I, and that's something we are still wrestling with in my ministry and it's like, well, part of it is just, have I even talked to that person or do I just, do I have a relationship with that person? It might just asking, that, that, what you just said there, that's so important. Not to be siloed. I know for me the hard part is always been is that I don't really go into the office a lot inherently because I can do my job from anywhere and so I've had talks with my team about, hey, you know, I know we don't have to go in the office every day but we need to be around those people were, were you in the office a lot or did you find yourself in seasons?
Jeff: Yeah, I was in the office a lot but, but my story is that I was more on the ics, on the far extremes of the office. Got Ya. Was kind of like in the, in the, in the offices on the far right or the far left and, and the, you know, the creative department was in another building or up the stairs and I didn't interface with them. Wardship was in a completely different building and, and I just, I didn't pure confession here. I just didn't make the effort to necessarily engage with them as much as I probably should have. You know, I was more of just respectfully, I don't want to step on your toes. I know you're busy doing a lot of different things, but engaging with them to me, I think not only gives more credibility to the ministry that you're bringing in, more awareness to them, but I think it gives them value. Hey, you're a busy guy too, online campus pastor, you're busy with what you're doing and you're taking your time to value and to breathe on this moment, to breathe on this service, to breathe on. Uh, the creative elements, the environment. Uh, and it's, it's a, if it's done in a collaborative way, it's incredibly powerful. If it's done in a, in a dictator way of my, it's my way or the highway, you know, you're not gonna get anywhere quickly with that.
Jay: Yeah, that makes sense. Okay. So the next question here is kind of out there, because there's not a lot of people doing this. So you're one of the few people that just kind of. I will say this, there's a lot of people thinking about this. There's not a lot of people that have actually tried it, and specifically using online ministry to kind of facilitate, start care for house churches and yeah, there's been tons of theory. I read a book years ago about this where somebody like church planting mentioned it and actually it was really negative about it. I've had all sorts of people come up to me because we, we've tried different things saddleback has. And but you guys were doing this and you're kind of on the inside view. So I'm curious, what do you think needs to happen for ministries to really specifically churches to really leverage online ministries to kind of start house churches? What are some of the barriers? What needs to push forward with? What are some of the things need to happen to make this more of a mainstream strategy? Not like on the, on the side?
Jeff: Yeah. So I've been in, in my new role now with the church that digital doing consulting. I've actually had this conversation with other churches and, and the, and the question that I typically ask them to discover this nugget is what type of worship experience is valid in this church? And so is the worship experience that happens in a building and a worship center. Is that valid? Is that, is that the only way? Obviously it's valid because that's churches do it, but it's that the only way is, is a guy a worshiping on a, on a computer screen watching on a laptop or an iphone? Is that a valid worship experience? Is 18 people huddled up in a, in a living room watching on a Roku or an apple TV watching worship and teaching? Is that a valid a worship experience? And honestly, the churches that I've been talking with lately, like they haven't had never considered that they've never stopped to wrestle with, okay. For our church, for the mission and vision of, of who we are within our context of our strategy. Is that, is that valuable? Do we think that that's an acceptable form of worship? And if the answer is yes, then by all means, like push forward, a part of it also is, is do we, does the church want to do ministry outside of its circle events? Wilkinson, you know, if you're, if you're, uh, a one church, you know, you're not multisite, just a single location, your circle of influence is probably 20 to 25 miles around your basically 30 minute drive. The majority of your audience, probably within that 30 minute. If you're, if you're a multisite church, then you know, if you got a lot of locations are probably covering pretty much the entire city at this point. So that's your circle of influence. But what happens if a guy 90 miles away, two cities away, uh, accepts Christ, watching your online broadcasts or you drive by evangelism where, hey, have a nice life, hope that you figure out who Christ is and can actually get someone to help you go through discipleship or do you help them go through the process? Christ Fellowship recently, just maybe a month ago had somebody except Christ watching the online broadcasts from the Netherlands, like here in Miami. I may know a guy in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm beach that I could connect to and say, hey, you know, Jimmy here is in Fort Lauderdale. He's 15 minutes away from your church. A man could you just like meet with them and this may help them get connected into your church. Like there's agencies to Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, 90 miles away. Even on a big church staff. There's probably churches all over the country. We know that we can connect people to. I'm willing to bet not too many people in America know a church in the Netherlands that we can connect something like you have to be. You have to recognize that that's a problem. Your church, your church leadership has to recognize that that's a problem and wants to come up with a solution of some churches. You know, God bless them. They don't look at online, at digital as a mission field. They look at it as digital communications out the mission field is there, is there. Their city is their circle of influence around their church. And so the biggest struggle that I encouraged churches to wrestle with is, is do we want to do ministry where we're reaching that guy in Netherlands, the person in Nigeria, the person, uh, in, in Hong Kong, and once we do reach them, what do we do with that person? Like what systems, what discipleship process online do we have to help that people grow deeper in their faith? That's that. That is the big question because it's really easy
Jay: I know I, I use this example all the time is that if you're in Dallas and you're looking for a church, it's simple, straightforward. But when you get onto this fringes, it's, it's, it does get really. It gets hard. And even in America there's places people don't really realize that, you know, I think it's like less than 12 percent of America is actually populated with people. Most of America doesn't have people on it like geography wise. And so you have these huge areas that are dense with people that have all the churches, but when you get super remote, there's just not a ton of options. And then you got to figure out what are those options that exist and it might not be a biblically, a biblical church that aligns with what you believe. And then on top of this, and I know Jeff, you know this, is people are responding to your, your, the way you do worship, the way you do preaching. And they want a church similar to that. And so now what you're saying is maybe your church is super dynamic. That's why it's online. Maybe it's, you know, it's doing these things and now you're pushing them maybe to the only option within 30 miles is this super conservative church, which is not a bad thing, but the thing that, that they're going to easily assimilate it. It's, it's, it's not as easy as like, oh here, there's tons of churches in the world. It's, there are, but they're usually in very dense areas and the online outreach that most ministries are doing, it's, it's, it's everywhere. And so I was just talking yesterday with somebody in Panama City and they were actually needed some help and I was trying to find them a church that might know more of the local resources and I'm just like, I was doing some google searching. I'm like, this is stuff that nobody else on my staff has to finding. Okay, wait, what churches are there, what are their options? And it's just, it's a, it's a very unique thing. And so I love what you're thinking about is potentially using something like this to kind of train people, start movements and think about what does that look like? So you guys had one of these, right? That wasn't too far from you. What was it in the keys kind of area, right? That kinda got Roland. Can you share a little bit about that?
Jeff: Let me, let me share it. Let me share that story. So maybe two years ago, went down and we just, we had this idea and this, this was, this was a pipe dream back then of what does it look like to start a house church? And we had a, uh, a mutual friend from Christ Fellowship that moved down to key west, which is three hours away from our, our main campus in all of our campuses in Miami. It's about a three hour drive from Miami. And so, she, she moved down there to the keys, had a conversation with some of our church leadership, uh, possibly doing something down there. Long Story Short, I found myself on, on a car ride down just to talk with people down there in the keys. And I probably did three or four trips down to the keys and we'd meet one, one person, one trip, tell them about our church, tell them about, you know, the theological style, the teachings, the worship style, listen to them, listen to them, talk about their experience of church in the keys, uh, and just engage with them and listen and allow them to process through where they're at. So one trip we met with one person, the next trip we met with to the next trip, we met with eight. And at one point it was a, it was a Thursday night football. It was a Thursday night football game was on, we were at some Mexican restaurant, it was way too loud and I'm sitting in front of 18 people and I'm doing this pitch and I'm talking about doing Alice Tripp in the Mexican restaurant. So we're in the keys. Yes, they do serve Mexican food in the Florida keys. Uh, and so I'm in there and I'm talking to them about God. I'm talking to him about Christ Fellowship, about church, about the idea of starting a house church. And My sales pitch that night didn't go too long because they were, this group has already bought hook, line and sinker. And literally I was like, okay, so here's what we're going to do. Why don't we want to come back down here in a couple weeks? And, let's, do a house church service and anybody want to volunteer their house. And before I could even get that far, uh, some guy raises his hand and says, look, Jeff, I haven't been at church in three years. I don't have two weeks to wait to go back. We need to, we need to start now. And so it was, it was a Thursday night and I told the guy, I was like, Hey, I'm, I'm supposed to go on vacation next week. And he's like, please is there. And so my vacation, which was supposed to start my day, ended up starting Tuesday and Monday night we did a house church service down in the Florida keys out of the House church service man. It looks, uh, it looks different. They got together at 6:00 PM on a, on a Sunday night. They get together and do a potluck dinner. They made it at somebody's home every week. The guys name was Darryl's the nominal, a man of God and a great leader. Uh, but he would do dinner for 18 people and they would, they'd sit around in a living room, sometimes they would watch the worship from one of our services. Sometimes they would watch like youtube lyric video worship. Uh, and sometimes they had like an acoustic guitar and a gym bag jamming out, you know, really tied flies in the living room. It just depend upon whatever the week was a, it's kind of surreal. We're watching people raised their hands in worship watching a TV screen, but it happens like they're 18. You engaged in this. There are 18 people who are writing notes as the, as the lead pastor is preaching his message and who are saying eight men when the pastor says something, you know, impactful like engagement level, what we experienced at the online, uh, at the, at the house churches, it was, it was real. And so for Christ Fellowship, they kind of followed that model and started creating some other house churches in key areas. We actually started in New York City next because we had a leader who is up there in that area and it started even gathering and starting to really create second generation house churches in groups from there. Uh, and we started a, a house church recently in Orlando. Kind of the same situation where there was a strong leader in the area. And that's now we're working towards gathering people together and clustering them into the idea of, of, of starting more. Now, the, the method that Christ Fellowships taken is to use this for a potential, uh, campus launches or church launches. And that's the good thing about that is as Christ Fellowships has found a way to tie this into their mission and vision, uh, we kind of, what was a siloed thing you'll pay online campus is going to create their own things. When we looked at what the mission and vision of the churches, we just had to kind of realign that to what the, uh, what the actual church has mission and vision was and what they wanted to do and as a result, like it's going well. It's not been gangbusters. It's hard. The biggest challenge I think that the church, the sending church will have is to replicate the DNA from places that are far away. You know, when I needed to have a face to face conversation with Darryl, I would drive down to the keys a three, three days, three hours down, three hours up, have time for a two to three hour meeting if necessary, and just flesh suit things occasionally to see how he's doing. Now, of course, you know, zoom and video conferencing is a great thing, but, but even still in, in situations like our Orlando Group, which is four hours so close, but you know, New York City, which is eight hours, like it's, it's a, it's a much more, uh, it's a much more difficult challenge and, and that's been the thing that just requires due attention to continued to lead at the level that you can equip and empower leaders to lead online campus isn't about us, it's about empowering others, uh, to do ministry, to lead, to share, to disciple others. And so it's empowering that next generation, however best possible.
Jay: And, and I would encourage you, if you're listening to this special about that house church stuff, you know, stay connected to the church.digital because I know that stuff that year be writing about and, and you kind of can help in more detail because there's definitely something that a lot of theory out there, a lot of thought process, but it's kind of like spotify. I don't think it's happening on a large scale yet. And I don't think there's been this cracked code. And so I, I think a lot of those, there's a few people out there messing around like that, but fall, fall, continue to follow jeff to kind of see what he's doing and stuff like that. But I wanted to one last question. Is there anything else that you would say to a, an online pastor is somebody who is kind of served in that role for three years now in this next season you're helping ministries. There's anything you would tell somebody, hey, if you're going to do this, here's, here's, here's the one other thing I would just mention is, is there another thing? You mean
Jeff: just add, take the time to get leadership on board with you are and where you're going, where you want to go. You know, it's, it's very, it's very easy to kind of run off into assume they don't under your fancy technology. And even if they say just go, it's okay. It's still take the, take the time to bring them along. Because as you get leadership, buy in, buy in equals budget equals staffing equals resourcing that down the road. And, and you may find yourself quickly on a road, you know, basically just take it from somebody who was there. I kind of ran myself out to the end of the dock, turned around and was like, hey, where is it buddy? I'm out here all by myself. And there was a season of alignment for me. I literally spent probably four to six months stopping stopping the road that I was on, backing up and bringing leadership, bringing know the leadership of the church up to par with where I was and I found out once I got to that point, kind of the knowledge and expertise that they brought into the equation was phenomenal. It truly was, was game changing with that because they weren't, they were looking at everything, hang that up, was doing technological perspective, but what I really needed was a pastoral perspective and an insight from that and bringing them up to par with where I was brought them a much more a pastoral leadership and Guidance and quality coaching than I ever had when I was just out there by myself. So much as the desire is to run ahead, don't run ahead, bring them along with you in that process and grow them at the same time as you're growing yourself.
Jay: So good. So good. Well Jeff, thanks for doing this exit interview. I hope, uh, I hope the lights weren't too much the flashing and the pressure of all the, of all the cameras on you. I, you, I hope. I hope it was reasonable,
Jeff: It's great to talk with you and if there's anything that I could do to help the churches out there with coaching, which direction, guidance, technological help, a software help, anything, reach out to me. Let me help your church take it to the next level.
Jay: Yeah. So go to thechurch.digital. I'll put links for sure, but check out all his stuff and he's riding a bunch now too, so there's, I've been following along so make sure you're on his list and so forth. But thanks Jeff.
Jeff: Thanks Jay. Have a good one.