What's in this session?

  • What do these platforms have in common? (0:35)
  • Social media usage in 2018 (1:47)
  • Industries disrupted in 2018 (4:04)
  • The state of our churches in 2018 (6:00)
  • Fundamental idea #1 (8:22)
  • Fundamental idea #2 (8:40)
  • Fundamental idea #3 (9:10)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

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

I’m your host, Alex Mills, joined as always by the boss man, it’s Brady Shearer, and today we’re talking about Seize the 167, the ultimate manifesto for churches in a changing world.

Brady Shearer: Every single thing that we do in our company at Pro Church tools Alex, can be boiled down into this simple phrase, Seize the 167. What does this phrase really mean, and why do we care about it so much? Let me start by asking you Alex, as well as every listener and viewer right now, what do the following platforms have in common? Those platforms are Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, Uber, Google Maps, Spotify, the iPhone, Dropbox, Airbnb, Netflix, Evernote, Slack … what do each of these platforms have in common?

Alex Mills: Aside from them occupying a lot of my conscious time?

Brady Shearer: Along with that, not a single one of these platforms existed prior to 2005. The company Netflix existed, but they were still mailing people DVDs in the mail. The streaming service did not exist yet. You just alluded to this, the amount of space in our lives that these platforms take up is substantial, and yet not a single one of these platforms existed before 2005, many didn’t exist before 2010. This is the perfect demonstration of something we say here a lot, we are living through the single biggest communication shift in the last 500 years since the printing press. So many platforms that now are stapled in our day-to-day life. We cannot imagine what it would be like without an iPhone. 95% of Gen Z uses YouTube daily. 50% couldn’t imagine living without it they say.

These platforms are integral to our day-to-day lives, and yet they didn’t even exist a close 10, 12 years ago, which is mind boggling. Let’s continue talking about how much of a pervasiveness these platforms have in our lives. Social media usage in 2018, like I said, 95% of Gen Z, those 22 and younger, use YouTube, 50% say they cannot live without it, this comes from Adweek.

More than 50% of Gen Z frequent SnapChat at least 11 times a day. One out of two plus, more than 11 times a day. Seven out of every 10 American adults uses Facebook, so it’s not just young people, that’s all American adults. That comes from Pew.

Millennials spend an average of six hours and 19 minutes on social media every single week, that’s from Nielsen, those millennials spending so much time on social media. Wait, Gen Z actually outpaces millennials on social, they spend an average of six hours and 58 minutes on social.

Well, at least it’s those 50 and under, right? Nope! The adults age 50 plus spend on average four hours and nine minutes on social media every single week. The average church service is about an hour long. Even those that are 50 plus spend on average four times as much time on social media than in a Sunday service and that assumes that everyone is attending a service every single week-

Alex Mills: Right, which we know is not true.

Brady Shearer: … which is also not true. The amount of attention being paid on these platforms that just didn’t exist not too long ago is almost incalculable, and it just goes to show that we again are living through the single biggest communication shift in the last 500 years. Attention is so important, it’s crucial, because if you don’t have attention it doesn’t matter how amazing your message is, if no one’s listening they can’t hear it. Maybe you’re sharing the Gospel. Eternity with Jesus. Maybe you’re sharing the ShamWow, an efficient cleaning processes. If no one’s paying attention to the eternity with Jesus, and people are paying attention to the ShamWow, the ShamWow wins.

You need attention. You need to understand it, you need to gain it, so that you can share the message you’re trying to share through that attention. Let’s talk about people, industries, and companies that have not recognized this principle and have thus experienced a devastation within their industry. There’s no shortage of examples.

Let’s talk about ride sharing versus taxis. I remember I had a friend of mine serving in local government, and when Uber came to that city the taxi drivers marched to City Hall-

Alex Mills: I remember this.

Brady Shearer: … tore their shirts off and rioted in the city hall saying, “You have to pass legislation to prevent this new industry coming in because they will ruin all of our jobs.” Taxi didn’t really care for the last decade or two that they were tremendously under-serving their clientele. A new industry came in, a new company came in, disrupted the industry.

Music streaming versus record labels. Chance won a grammy last year, the first ever without selling physical copies, without selling really any music at all, streaming only. That would not have been possible a short decade ago.

Let’s talk about video streaming. Video streaming versus film and television. The conglomerate that is known as Netflix recently bought a video, a movie from Paramount. It’s a Scorsese flick that has Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in it, it’s called the Irishman. We’re talking about three legends of film making over the last 50 years, Netflix bought it, they’ve got the rights, they took it from Paramount. Netflix, a streaming service, stealing a movie with Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, directed by Scorsese and distributing it on their own terms. Again, not possible, the disruption.

Food delivery versus grocery stores. I don’t need to go to the grocery because Blue Apron and Hello Fresh are delivering meals directly to me.

Amazon versus retail. I will never go to a mall again, I just found out I can get LaCroix delivered through Amazon Prime before we hit record-

Alex Mills: It’s God’s plan.

Brady Shearer: … I’m never going across the border now, I’m getting it Prime delivered to my door. Every industry is being disrupted, churches are not immune to this, and this whole communication shift, this drastic change in the way that we do everyday life, unlike anything that we have ever seen in the history of human kind, is becoming even more exacerbated by the current state of churches.

Here’s what I mean by that: In 1968, 55% of pastors were under the age of 45. In 2017, just 22% of pastors under the age of 45. In ’92 the average age of a lead pastor, 45 years old. Fast forward to 2017, 15 years, the average age of a lead pastor in the Protestant world, 54 years old, a full decade older. Our pastors are continuing to get older, despite this not being the trend in generations past.

There’s a number of different reasons for this, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s only a bad thing if we’re not seeing young people also take up the mantel, or if there was a shortage of young people. Is there a shortage of young people?

Alex Mills: I don’t think so.

Brady Shearer: Millennials are the single largest cohort in the American workforce. More than one out of three workers in America is a millennial, and yet the majority of pastors according to Barna still say that despite doing everything correctly, they cannot find suitable replacements for their ministerial roles. So what that means is, in a world of communication shift unlike anything we’ve ever seen in the history of humankind, our pastors are continuing to age, and age, and age, not being replaced. There are many different reasons for that, despite younger generations being larger than they have in generations past. This presents a very vulnerable and dangerous situation. This presents a situation not too dissimilar from the taxi drivers. Living through a communication shift, being in a vulnerable position, Uber comes along and disrupts everything.

Now, it’s unlikely that another religion is going to come along and disrupt everything, but what it does mean for our individual churches is that if we’re not making the changes necessary, we are going to be put in a very vulnerable position, as the generations that are now younger suddenly become the ones that are not just one in three, one in two in the American workforce its projected for.

What are some principles that we can take away? Things that we can do as churches to actually figure out this communication shift, and navigate it as we say at the beginning in the intro of every single episode of Pro Church Daily. Fundamental idea and principle number one, attention is the most valuable commodity your church can possess. Do not prioritize tradition over attention. Sure, maybe this is the way that we’ve always done it, but if your church wants to go somewhere you’ve never been, you’ve got to be willing to do something that you’ve never done.

Fundamental idea number two, every church mission statement can be distilled down to the greatest commission, and or the greatest commandments, love God, love people, and make disciples. For a century plus in North America, we have deemed the best way to accomplish this mission statement be through a single, one hour service-ish on a Sunday morning. You do not now only need to use that one hour service. You can seize the 167 hours beyond your Sunday service, and that is fundamental idea and principle number three.

You have 167 hours every single week beyond your Sunday service. Jesus, the disciples, the early church, the printing press, every single generation in the centuries prior to the one we’re living right now did not have the ability to access people unless they came to us. Now we can go to them, where they spend time, where their attention is being paid in massive doses unlike anything else we’ve ever seen, and most of these platforms Alex, are free. Seize the 167 hours beyond your Sunday service.

Every single industry is being disrupted. Our churches are not immune to this. We have to stop demanding everyone comes to us, we have to go to them. There is historical precedent that will show that churches and Christianity as a whole can figure this out.

In the late 1400s the printing press was created, and the first book that was ever printed in the printed press was a Latin version of the Bible. We took advantage, despite early detractors. When all new media comes out, we don’t like change, so we resist it. Despite that, we took advantage of this new media, the printing press, and the Bible is the single most widely distributed and sold book in the history of humankind.

We are living through another communication shift similar to that, perhaps even greater. We took advantage of it last time to share the message of Jesus, to give people hope, purpose, community, and finding the love of Christ. We can do it again. Seize the 167.

That’ll do it for today’s episode of Pro Church Daily, we’ll see you next time.

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