How A Millennial Pastor Uses Vlogging To Grow His Church | Ep. #121

Pro Church Daily is the show where - in ten minutes or less - you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus, while navigating the biggest communication shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years.

May 30th, 2018

YouTube is such a huge social media platform, especially with Gen Z. Brady shares some stories from a pastor who has blogged his church planting experience, and how these blogs are affecting people both local and worldwide.

What’s In This Session?

  • Trey Van Camp (2:21)
  • Story #1: Fan of Casey Neistat (5:11)
  • Story #2: Casey invites Dustin to come to NYC (6:46)
  • Story #3: Couple attends church on Easter (7:47)
  • End notes (9:36)

Show Notes & Resources Mentioned

The Full Transcript

Brady Shearer: Hey Pro Church daily listener, Brady here. We’re doing something that we’ve never done before at Pro Church Tools. We’re doing a weekly vlog. We’ve actually been trying to do this for several years. We finally published our first one. 

We’re going to be publishing new episodes every single Sunday. If you go to prochurchvlog.com, you can watch behind the scenes with Pro Church Tools. Prochurchvlog.com is where you can watch those episodes. 

Alex Mills: Well hey there, and welcome to Pro Church Daily, the show were in 10 minutes or less you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus while we try and navigate the biggest communication shift that we’ve seen in the last 500 years. 

I’m your host, Alex Mills. I’m joined, as always, by the boss man, it’s Brady Shearer. Today, we’re talking about three Bible verses that support technology in churches.

Brady Shearer: We wanted to give a biblical foundation, Alex, for why we care so much about digital media. So much so that we started the whole company around it and do daily content sharing about it. What is the biblical foundation for why we do this? 

In my research for this episode of Pro Church Daily, I came across a number of different articles in Google that were not exactly of using technology in churches, just to … You know, if you are a part of Pro Church Nation, this may be a given for you-

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: But I think it’s important to understand that this isn’t a given for everyone. Here are some examples.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Three different titles of articles that I stumbled across in my research trying to find favorable things about technology in church-

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: Turn Down that Microphone and Preach from your Soul. This whole article is how if you use a microphone to preach, it is somehow less valid than if you just yell without a microphone.

Alex Mills: It’s the devil’s tool.

Brady Shearer: The second article I found, my take, Technology Could Bring Down the Church. And then this one-

Alex Mills: This is the best one?

Brady Shearer: It should be noted, this was in all caps.

Alex Mills: Yes.

Brady Shearer: GOD HATES TECHNOLOGY.

Alex Mills: Yes, he does. It was created by sinful men, and therefore he must hate it.

Brady Shearer: I think it’s important to understand how many people still think that tech as a whole is dangerous.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Let’s talk about three different passages, chapters, Bible verses from scripture that create a strong foundation for why we do what we do-

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Leveraging digital tools and digital mediums to share the hope and message of Jesus, recognizing that it’s a timeless message being shared through timely mediums. 

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: We’re not saying that you should change the gospel, we’re saying that we should use the tools available to us-

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: As we’re going to see, Christians and apostles throughout centuries have done. First example, and probably the most classic example is the Apostle Paul preaching in Acts 17, and he’s preaching to stoic and Epicurean philosophers. What he does is, he doesn’t just share the traditional gospel message that he would, but he uses their understanding of Greek philosophy as a springboard to get them to the full gospel message. 

This idea of contextualization is what is observed in this chapter. In Acts, the early church, the Apostle Paul, what he’s doing is he recognizes that he’s on one side of the spectrum and these Greek philosophers are on the other side of the spectrum. They have a different understanding, a different set of basic knowledge than he does. 

He can’t just go up to them … I was driving by a car the other day, no, it was a big giant truck. It was this 18 wheeler. It had this tent over top, and on the back it said, “God is the only mediator between man,” Sorry, “Jesus is the only mediator between God and man.” I was like, well that’s a theological truth that I think most people will not understand.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Like, if you [inaudible 00:03:25] gone to Bible College, if you’re not traditionally trained in theology as Alex and I are formally trained, that is just a nonsensical statement. 

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: So what Paul did was, he was … Okay, these philosophers, these individuals, they do not have the foundational knowledge that I do. If I want to get them from here to there, I need to start where they already are. 

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: I need to start with their understanding, and then bridge the gap.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: So he quotes these Greek philosophers. He starts where they are and says, “This is how you understand things. Here’s how I understand things.” 

Alex Mills: Yeah. 

Brady Shearer: Contextualization exemplified by Paul.

Alex Mills: I think this is such a great example of using a timely medium to communicate that timeless message, and we see it all throughout scripture. That’s why so many of the parables are agricultural in nature is because a lot of the people that were hearing these stories and these kingdom truths were working in fields and working in agriculture, so it made sense. We’re going to talk about sowing seed in a minute, but it made sense to talk about sowing plants because that was their business. 

So it’s kind of like that entry point to reveal a kingdom truth and to ultimately talk about Jesus’s timeless message. But using a timely medium like Greek philosophy or agriculture to kind of level the playing field and say, “Yeah, yeah. I totally get where you’re at. Let’s speak the same language so that I can tell you the greatest story ever told.”

Brady Shearer: Second scripture that we wanted to use as an example is the parable of the sower-

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: And this parable is in all of the synoptic gospel, so it’s Matthew 13, it’s Mark 4, it’s Luke 8 and just to summarize this parable that many of us know very well, basically a sower is sowing seeds for different types of ground. You’ve got the hard ground, the stony ground, the thorny ground and the good ground.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Based on the ground where these seeds are being sold, they all yield, or reap, a different yield. So, the hard ground, nothing’s growing there. The stony ground, it grows for a little bit, then it perishes. The good ground, that’s where the good seeds are growing into [crosstalk 00:05:19] plants.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: This has been traditionally interpreted correctly-

Alex Mills: Of course.

Brady Shearer: As this is the heart of a person. So, you know you might share the same gospel to someone who’s ready to hear, and it could produce good fruit, good seed. You could share that same message to someone who’s not there yet, and it might not turn into anything.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: The whole idea is we need to keep sowing our seeds no matter the harvest because we never … We’re not in control of the harvest, we’re controlling how many seeds we sow.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: I think that what’s great about stories is that they can have multiple meanings that are equally truthful-

Alex Mills: Yeah, it’s both/and.

Brady Shearer: Exactly. 

Alex Mills: Yeah. 

Brady Shearer: That’s what’s so great. That’s why Jesus taught through stories, because he’s like, “I gotta take this crazy large eternal truth and share it through something that’s going to be timeless throughout the centuries.” 

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: What I see in this parable, alongside the, of course, popular understanding interpretation is that just as you sow a seed in the heart of somebody, it’s also where you sow the seed.

Alex Mills: Yep.

Brady Shearer: So, the hard ground might be a medium where nobody is paying attention anymore.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: But like you can sow seed on the radio, let’s say, but that might not produce nearly the yield as sowing seeds on Facebook, or on digital mediums and tools where people are paying so much attention. You could set up a billboard, and you’d have to sow a lot of seeds just to get that billboard, and a couple of people could see it and maybe one or two plants grow. But if you sowed that same seed elsewhere, where attention is being paid on scales that we have never seen before in human history, it can reap that much better of a harvest.

Alex Mills: Yeah, and in this technological and digital shift that we’re going through right now, there are so many different platforms. It seems there’s a new platform all the time. I think churches are going to have to get into this process of sowing small amounts of seeds here and there, and kind of testing it saying, “What kind of ground is this? What kind of fruit is this platform going to produce for us?” 

So, sowing seed may be into YouTube for a while, “Oh, maybe that’s not working for our church, but Facebook and Instagram is producing great fruit. So let’s double down and let’s plant more of our seed there.” I think it’s going to kind of be like this as new platforms arise and technology advances, testing this different ground and seeing-

Brady Shearer: [inaudible 00:07:23]

Alex Mills: Yeah, what is this ground even like? 

Brady Shearer: Smart. Final scripture is the classic great commission, Matthew 28, “Go and make disciples.” The operative term here, the verb, is “go”, which is an action word. It’s a verb. It requires you to actually do something. When we look at the earliest apostles going meant literally walking on a mission trip to another part of the continent.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: It meant literally getting up and walking. I think that we are so privileged in 2018 and beyond because we can now go into all the world, with just a click of a button.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: I think an emphasis for so long has been placed on “Come to our church. Get in your car and come to us.” 

Alex Mills: Right. 

Brady Shearer: And we go to them, but only on like two mission trips a year, or we’d set up that bi-monthly event where we go into the community. Well now we have the opportunity at little cost and little investment of time and creativity to go into the world using these platforms, where attention is being paid. Like I said, at scales that have never been seen before.

Alex Mills: Yeah, I don’t … Honestly, Brady, I think you nailed it. I don’t think there’s much more I can say to that because it’s just this incredible opportunity we have now to share the gospel. We don’t have to walk miles from Athens to Rome anymore, you know? We just have to get on the computer or get on our devices and use, now, the tools that are available to us. 

It’s an incredible opportunity. It’s something that’s exiting for me, and it shouldn’t be scary technology. It’s shouldn’t be controversial. This should be exciting for us because this really is a monumental shift in the way that we get to communicate this message of Jesus. 

Brady Shearer: Final thing that I want to highlight is the way that Christians and the church has embraced technology over the years. There’s always that initial phase where we reject it because it’s new, unfamiliar and thus feels uncomfortable and evil. 

But if we look over the centuries at each new phase of technology, we can see examples of Christians and churches who have seized that technology to share the message of Jesus. We say that we’re living through the biggest communication shift in the last 500 years. That other crazy communication shift 500+ years ago was the Gutenberg Printing Press. 

Alex Mills: Yeah. 

Brady Shearer: The first Bible, or the first book ever printed was a Latin translation of the Bible. That allowed the every man and every woman to have a Bible in their hands to read the scriptures themselves.

Alex Mills: Right, it changed everything.

Brady Shearer: It changed everything. Fast forward to 1844, Samuel Morse sent the first telegraph message, which contained the sentence, “What hath God wrought?”

Alex Mills: I’m not sure what that means, but it was in there. 

Brady Shearer: It was in there. 1939, Theodore Epp started the radio program, Back to the Bible. It’s one of the most successful radio shows of all time. It’s still heard today.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: 1957, Billy D. Graham, starts worldwide pictures-

Alex Mills: Of course.

Brady Shearer: As a compliment to his Billy Graham Crusade organization. This, of course, reached millions of people via television, and that wouldn’t have been possible without the [inaudible 00:10:08] of technology. It’s interesting when you look at early evangelists that kind of came before Billy Graham: Billy Sunday, Dwight Moody, and they were a lot more restricted in their outreach because during their crusades they didn’t have that type of technology.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: And so again, we are in living through this amazing, privileged time where we have access to people, and access to countries, really.

Alex Mills: Yeah. 

Brady Shearer: We can share the gospel in ways that we never could before, thanks to technology. There’s a strong biblical foundation for it. Don’t be afraid of it. Dive right in. That’ll do it for this episode of Pro Church Daily. We’ll see you next time.