Moving People Online To Offline with Nick Runyon of CV North America | Episode 26

For today’s episode of the Future.Bible Podcast, Kenny and Dj sat down with Nick Runyon, the Executive Director of CV Outreach and Media Tractor.

Listen as Nick shares some of his experience in Digital Evangelism and ways on how to enlarge the Kingdom through technology.

Did you know you can catch-up on past episodes of the the Future.Bible Podcast, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher Radio, TuneIn and wherever else you go to download great podcast content.

Contact details:

Twitter: @runyonski

IG: @nicholasrunyon

Facebook: @runyon

LinkedIn: @nickrunyon

Websites: mediatractor.com

TRANSCRIPTION:

Dj Chuang:    Welcome to the Future.Bible podcast today. And this is the place where we can get to interview and connect with theaters, innovators and entrepreneurs at the intersection of the Bible and technology. And this is my co host, how are you doing?


Kenny Jahng:    I’m really good. All the time. Whenever I’m with you, Dj.


Dj Chuang:    Well, today we have a special guest. His name is Nick Runyon. Welcome, Nick. How are you?


Nick Runyon:    Very good. Good to be with you guys.


Dj Chuang:    Well, Nick has a lot of experience. He is currently the executive director of CV outreach and the CEO of Media Tractor and he’s had it over a decade of experience in digital evangelism, leading a team that is tackling one of the biggest problem in the space. So we’re going to touch on that. And Nick, how we connect people with the people reached online into local church, CV outreach has solved that problem. Well, that’s a provocative description there.
Nick Runyon:    Well, thanks. My team wrote it. I don’t know if this problem’s ever solved. So just a disclaimer there, it’s a hook. Maybe it works to get me on this show at least.
Kenny Jahng:    Well, and it’s also the title of your presentation at an upcoming event called the NRB digital media summit. And that’s one of the things we’ll be talking about. Also, although we’re not going to reveal your entire talk. Right.


Kenny Jahng:    Well, let’s get right into it, Dj. So the NRB is national religious broadcasters convention, it is a huge affair. And, as we were talking in the pre-interview section, nick loves to hang out at these types of things, right, Nick?


Nick Runyon:    Yes, it’s great. It’s good being with you guys and people like you, anytime I can make it.


Kenny Jahng:    So NRB, I guess, I think it’s built as the largest Christian media events in the country or North America, which is, I think true is typically how old’s in Nashville at the Opry land and that Gaylord Opryland centers, huge. And, Nick, we’ve been there before. And I think that space just lends itself to meetings and meetings and meetings and you see that people are connecting, getting introduced to each other, networking, etc. This year it’s changing venue, to the west coast to good old Anaheim, one block south of Mickey’s address. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the Anaheim convention center. Have you ever been there?


Nick Runyon:    I’m not. No. And my kids found out that I’m going out there, so now I’m being lobbied to visit Disneyland. We’ll see.


Kenny Jahng:    Fun fact, I posted the fact that, you know, we were going to be out at NRB this year and now it’s actually kind of, um, poking a little fun at Disney land because Disney land in California is literally, I think it’s a quarter mile, square, quarter square mile. Whereas, Orlando is something like, I don’t know, 50, 60 square, I don’t know how many miles it’s like it’s own planet. Right? They don’t compare and yet all these Disney fanatics came to the defense of the West Coast Disneyland saying that there’s actually more rides there than Orlando and there’s more features and there’s certain things, etc. So I’m with your kids. I’m going to lobby with them for you to bring them out there. But I think it’s going to be a good time for everybody. Right? So I’ve never been to the convention center, but what I do suspect is that we’re going to find a little bit different crowd this time than the usual, and I’m looking forward to interacting and engaging with new, I guess the new community that’s hanging out on the west coast. So you’ve been to the digital summit before. What do you make of it? What do you like about it? What, tell us a little bit about it.


Nick Runyon:    Yes. I mean, my personal, like I don’t come from a radio background like a lot of the attendees to NRB. And so the digital summit, it’s always kind of been my entry into it and I think that they do an incredible job attracting the right kind of people, some innovative thinkers, really kind of pros in this space. I agree with you. I’m going to be interested to see who shows up on the West Coast. Cause let’s see, two years, last year was Nashville, two years ago they were in Orlando and they had a great now in Orlando and that was kind of a new venue for them as well. So, we’ll get a little West Coast love and see who shows up. Maybe Dj can make it, you know, it’s just down the road.


Dj Chuang:    Yes, I’m commuting from home. I’m gonna sleep in my own bed.


Nick Runyon:    Well, we’re sleeping at your house too. I don’t know if Kenny told you that.


Dj Chuang:    Oh, you’re welcome to do that. A lot of floor space.


Kenny Jahng:    A lot of floor space. Digital media summit is the last day of the conference this year. Just to set everyone and framing. The 26th of March 27, 20 and 29th, 29th is a Friday. And so there’s a morning session and there’s an afternoon session. And if you look at the website and the speakers this year, I actually think Carl and the committee did a great job of curating the conversations that are going to happen today. You’re going to be speaking again this year. Can you tell us a little bit about, without giving away the whole show, just the topic that you’re going to talk about and maybe the felt need that some people who are going to be in the audience, you know, might be interested in listening to what you have to share.


Nick Runyon:    Yes, sure. Well, we, personally, this is a space I’ve been in for awhile, digital evangelism and the digital media summit I think kind of splits into two camps. It’s those that are speaking to Christian audiences and then it’s those ministries, churches, other practitioners that are trying to reach people, more of evangelistically. I think the intersection of those two and really the connection between those two and how that impacts the local church has been a topic of conversation for awhile.


Nick Runyon:    And from my perspective, we’ve seen for several years now the ability to share the gospel on a massive scale using technology, the internet and that’s now evolving into all sorts of things that, you know, we all have discussed together from time to time, virtual reality, some of these new technologies emerging. But there’s always been kind of this inverse relationship between the amount of people that you can reach and the depth of engagement or depth of discipleship that you can have as you reach more people. So, reaching more means that there’s this problem of follow up that exists. And the goal has always been to help people become established in a local discipleship relationship, ideally with their local church or fellowship, depending on what part of the world you’re in. That’s been a huge challenge and it’s been, so I think that our team has been focused on for about four years and I’m really excited about this speaking opportunity because we just want to share what we’ve been learning.


Nick Runyon:    I heard recently Elon Musk is releasing his patents, making those public. I don’t know if you guys saw that or not, but, I love that idea. There’s this sharing economy that I think has existed in the corporate world for awhile and that’s just the most recent example of kind of helping accomplish the mission. In his words, they started Tesla to make a dent in carbon footprints, you know, and to help in their view, save the world. That’s not going to happen if they keep those patents all in house. So they’re releasing them for other people to use. I love that idea in a very small way. I realize halfway through this that it might have seemed, I’m comparing myself to Musk, but what we are trying to do is just propagate and disseminate some of the things that we’ve learned in this space so that others can benefit. And hopefully apply.


Dj Chuang:    Yes. And that’s one of the things I love about the open source space. So Elon’s not the pioneer in sharing knowledge. I mean, a lot of the Internet runs on open source software, like WordPress over 30%. And Linux runs a lot of the servers that’s open source as well. So it would be great to see Christian organizations and ministries share more openly. And I know that’s a challenging proposition to make because of old organizations, institution and maybe conference we’ll go into is 75 years old. And it’s expanded way beyond radio. It’s now television, it’s movies, it’s Internet, and the digital media summit focuses on internet. So, share a bit of what it is that your CV outreach is doing to reach those non Christians digitally. And then what are your next steps in terms of follow up into the offline?


Kenny Jahng:    I want the the CV patents exposed right here on the Future.Bible podcast, right now!


Nick Runyon:    Well, you’re going to be disappointed because one of the things that we’ve done from the beginning is really tried to, I mean, in a sense, bootstrap this thing where it’s a light footprint. We kind of, this journey began for our team by sitting at a whiteboard and saying, “okay, if the problem is difficulty connecting people on a local basis at scale, how would we solve that problem?” And we very quickly realized we have to get the local church involved. The very next sentence was probably something along the lines of your average local church in America is 120 members. It’s usually a single pastor, you know, working as the lone pastor, maybe some admin, it’s not the huge churches that we’re all familiar with. It’s this small model. How do you take that organizational context and really kind of upskill them, bring them into the digital space, make them effective, and you start to run into some roadblocks right away.
Nick Runyon:    So what we said was, if we want to get that person in that local context to be the first contact that a seeker has following a gospel presentation, how would we do that? What we’ve done is we’ve created a system really where we do all of the reaching, we do all of the content creation, the evangelistic videos, we do all of the promotion. We build out the websites, the landing pages, we have all that operational capacity and we make that available to the local church as if we were working for them. It’s kind of like an agency model except we don’t charge anything for it. Because we have common mission, we will do all this work for the church because we recognize that their mission is mission. And so we can do that really and still accomplish what we set out to do.


Kenny Jahng:    And how are you funded for all of that work?


Nick Runyon:    So CBE is funded from an endowment that was set aside in the founding of Christian vision in the UK in 1988. We recognize that that’s a kind of a unique situation. It’s an incredible blessing and I think allows us to operate maybe with a bit more freedom from at times. It’s also not just endless deep pockets. What I found after joining this team is that in some ways we’re much more physically responsible and even tighter than other organizations that I’ve seen. But I like that rigor. I think that makes you sharp and I think it keeps you lean. So we try to balance that really wealth, but it does allow us to partner with whom we’d like to partner. And so we’ve developed a profile when we find a local church pastors or ministries that are outwardly focused, their Kingdom minded, they’re engaging their local community. They just need kind of more swings of the bat, if you will. That’s what we provide. And we helped to facilitate that conversation so that when somebody responds to the Gospel, the very first person that they speak with is a pastor in their local community.


Kenny Jahng:    Amazing. Rope in the local pastor, the local church. In one sense, you’re doing all the heavy lifting, but in another sense when you transfer the relationship there, they need to receive them and actually meet the expectations, right? Someone who’s really questioning if they’ve got a gospel presentation and they’re intrigued, they’ve got all these big questions. That’s not something you, that’s not something to be taken lightly either. Right?


Nick Runyon:    No. So actually transfer the relationship. It’s interesting that you say that. So, and traditionally the people that have been doing the reaching digitally have some type of response or triage or initial touch point and then there’s a handoff that occurs to the local church. So we kind of act like an operator. We take you know, responses in, and then we tried to say, “oh, this, this church is in your town. Let me connect you with them.” And that relationship has to transfer. One of the things we’ve found is that that typically breaks the chain. It’s very difficult, not even to make, it’s difficult to make that hand off, to kind of build that network to where I know somebody in every location. And there’s something that happens in those initial moments when somebody used the gospel, but I believe it’s fueled by the Holy Spirit.


Nick Runyon:    When the Lord touches somebody’s heart and they reach out kind of in this moment of real need, there’s a connection that’s made, even if it’s digitally with the person on the other end of the line. Trying to transfer that relationship is very, very difficult and often does not work. So what we do is we don’t insert ourselves. We take that initial response and the very first person to reply is the local pastor. So, I think that online and offline are no longer distinct. It’s all about relationship and people are just aligned in relationship. So if I can begin that relationship with a local pastor, even though it’s digital, it very quickly goes face to face and back and forth. And people just continue to communicate and they began to relate. The pastor can work out his calling, which is ministry in a local context and that person receives the help and support there. Insert Jeff,


Dj Chuang:    That’s fascinating. So you’ve been at this for four years and you’ve learned some things along the way. Can you describe some statistics or a story of how this process has worked for some people? Particular local church?


Nick Runyon:    Yes, so one of the things we found, so we started, I would say we really started this effort maybe two and a half years ago. But something happened in the fall of 2017 so we were doing some data modeling. We were looking at kind of where are we reaching people and where do our church partners, pastor network, where do they exist? How much of an overlap is there? And we started thinking about what if we can accomplish this concept that I’m talking about where the first contact is the last contact, you know. The first contacts, the right person in your local contacts.


Nick Runyon:    And we found that with a relatively small number of churches in our network, we were able to match people with a local response about 90% of the time. That was very surprising to us. But when you stop and think about it, it kind of makes sense. You want to reach everybody everywhere. But the majority of people are in the majority of where people live, which are like urban areas, you know? So what we found was that there’s an opportunity to establish a network by targeting the right locations and this localized connection can happen more easily. And so we flipped that switch on January 2nd 2018. so we’re really just over 12 months into this experiment. This is an art data point, and it’s likely one that you and your listeners have heard, I think it was a pew research came out with a study and they said something like 86% of people surveyed there were non-churched said that they would attend church at the invitation of a friend.


Nick Runyon:    So if your friend asks you to go to church, 86% of the time, that person will go to church. Even if they come from an unchurch backer. That’s incredible. So we’re like, “oh, we just got to get people asking more.” Well, what happens whenever you have this moment of need? You know, following a Google search for something, like, you know, what’s the meaning of life? Or how do I save my marriage? Or something like this. When the person that you’re connecting with received help happens to be a pastor and just, I’m using air quotes happens to be in your own neighborhood, and then asked you to attend church, you’re even, we, I think more likely to follow through on that. So what we’re seeing is in a very short amount of time, not only are people connecting, following a gospel presentation, but they’re receiving ministry and they’re showing up in local churches.


Nick Runyon:    They are joining small groups. There’s one of our partners in Georgia, um, just a couple of weeks ago told us that they have a marriage counseling ministry at their church. They have 45 couples involved in this ministry, 20 of them were connected through CPB outreach. Oh wow. So this is just in one town. So like the problem of can we get people reach them online and get them plugged into a local church? That is happening. It’s happening rapidly and it’s happening at scale, which is something we’re really excited about.


Dj Chuang:    That is indeed very exciting. Kudos to your team. And do you have a team that’s like virtual or are they all based there in Mckinney, Texas?


Nick Runyon:    Most of us are here in McKinney. We have about 13 in this office and we have a couple of remote team members as well. Primarily we’re all here.


Dj Chuang:    Great.


Kenny Jahng:    So this is a great success model. It seems like you are scaling and I believe you are, last time I talked to someone on your team that you, I think you are active in all 50 states at this point.


Nick Runyon:    Yes. We have church partners in all 50 states and the teams built, these guys are incredible. We have an awesome group of men and women here working on this. They’ve built a like a coverage map that shows where people are coming from and also how does that overlap with our partner network? And then where are the hotspots? Where do we need to recruit people? We’re giving this away all the time. We’re helping to train other ministries on this. So we were in a little hole just a couple of days ago and kind of have a full day meeting helping this team think through how can they apply to some of these learnings in their context.


Nick Runyon:    And I pulled up the coverage map and we just happen to have an excess of responses coming from Louisville, Kentucky. And that’s like our number one need for where we need a church. And so we were able to kind of check that one off the list. We said, okay, we need a you some contacts here, you know, in town that we can tell about this with. So, that’s fun there. These guys are always thinking about how do we optimize this? How do we make it better? And the team has really rallied around this idea that in partnership we define success as our partner defines it. And in this case it’s the local church. So how can we build tools and strategies that help our partners continue to be successful in their own ministry?


Kenny Jahng:    One of the things that we are constantly looking at here on Future.Bible is that intersection of technology, innovation and scripture in terms of the gospel presentations, and this connection, what’s your sense in terms of the relevancy of the book, the actual Word? Is that something that’s a hook anymore? You know, one of my hypotheses has been that we’ve gone from assumed interest to something that we need to establish relevancy for the Bible and religion and faith in someone’s life today in our post textual and post Christian worlds that we’re entering. Can you tell us a little bit about that? What’s your, what would your gut say or insights or maybe some of your Gospel presentations, some of your content is very explicit, Biblical or not. Where’s it on the spectrum and then, you know, what’s your sense given everything that you’ve learned, the place of the Bible in that early stage of that, you know, relationship formation, invitation, outreach?


Nick Runyon:    I think that the Bible is incredibly relevant and timeless. And so I’ll be, you know, right up front there with my opinion or answer to your question. My friend Laura and I saw the other day posted on Facebook something where she was talking about that the Bible is incredibly relevant but probably the most understood. So we have a Biblical literacy problem, even a mon young Christians in the church. So, I don’t know if you saw Barna reported this week, that reports that it’s real fresh. I’m going to misquote a bit, it’s over 40% of millennial Christians believed that it’s morally wrong to impose your beliefs on somebody else. That’s my paraphrase. So go like, go look at the Barna study, read it. It’s fascinating. But they also think that they’re most equipped than any generation before that. So there’s a little bit of a disconnect here.


Nick Runyon:    I think this kind of magnifies what Lauren was talking about. And she’s a great voice on this subject by the way, Lauren McAfee. And Biblical literacy and getting people engaged with the Bible. We’ve done work with museum of the Bible together and, I love her view of this. But, we need to, I think do a better job connecting the dots for people. So what we’ve found is that there’s about a hundred thousand people a month that search on Google, something like what is the meaning of life? I think the most recent numbers I saw were like 120,000 people a month are Googling something like infidelity and my marriage. A lot of relationship problems, a lot of loneliness, a lot of anxiety problems. The Bible can speak to all of these things. I think in the past we’ve said, here’s how to know Jesus, here’s how to follow him.


Nick Runyon:    Say this prayer, be baptized, let’s go to church. The world has shifted you to know and we need to, I think, translate that message a little better, and help people understand it’s a love story. It’s pursuing us as His children through His only son. And so there’s this reconciliation that the Lord is initiating in pursuit of us and,


Kenny Jahng:    That framing of a narrative is lost on so many people today. Right?


Nick Runyon:    Right. But it makes a lot of sense in the context of what’s my purpose? Is there meaning to life? Why are my relationship’s failing? You know, there is a heart problem. So when we restore our relationship with our Heavenly Father, it doesn’t fix everything. But it helps I think to bring meaning and help make sense, provide structure, and then we can walk into how do we reconcile these relationships and this brokenness that does exist in our life, which is a very real, very tangible thing.


Nick Runyon:    So the content that we are putting out there when we share the Gospel, when I say Gospel presentation, we have a full spectrum. It’s everything from, you know, short video talking head. You’re looking into the camera. You know, making a solid Gospel presentation, kind of like the invitation that you might hear. Franklin Graham or Billy Graham present all the way to maybe more artistic, less direct but still full animated videos. One of our, one of our content partners is the Bible project. These guys out of Portland. They do incredible work. We went deep on research on one particular video, speaking to the issues of loneliness and why are we alone. It’s rich in Biblical truth, and it’s a beautifully created video and it just draws people into the conversation to the point of connection.


Nick Runyon:    And so one thing that has shifted and that we’ve seen, so we’re not asking people to make a decision for Christ in the moment we want to. And our mission and also by the way, is to touch people with the Gospel and encourage them to become true followers. This is where the partnership with the local church I think is really key and works well for us, is that when I touch people with the Gospel and my call to action is talk with someone and I can connect them locally to a pastor who can walk with them. I’m taking a 30 second or like a 3 minute video view and we’re immediately transferring that into a potential of like a 30 year walk with the world. So how do you move people from, you know, page view moments and to long term discipleship. I think that’s the key is in that local relationship all rooted in a Biblical context.

Nick Runyon:    So that’s trying to provide Biblical relevancy. And here’s the thing, here’s some more data for you. We’ve tested all kinds of calls to action on this. When you say talk to a pastor, nobody clicks on it. When you say you know anything about his or her go to church or find the church, nobody wants to do that because they don’t see that as the solution to their problem, right? They want to know how do I save my marriage? When you say talk to someone that, that someone just happens to be a pastor, they just happened to be in their town and they just happened to be involved with the church and invite them in, nobody complains. In fact, everybody wants that.


Kenny Jahng:    People hang up because they think it’s a bait and switch or anything like that, “Oh, you’re a pastor or you’re a church.”


Nick Runyon:    Well, we’re very open about like what this is. You know, it’s, you’re on the church’s website. We’re sharing the Gospel. We’re saying that these things, when we say Gospel presentation, we want to present to the person and work of Jesus and how that applies. So our spectrum includes that as a key point. So, and you know, with best practices in digital advertising, like you want to tell people what’s on the other side of this button click here. But no, we don’t get kicked back there. They just don’t know. They can’t verbalize in that moment what it is that they need. But when they experience it and it’s a caring, nonjudgmental, loving relationship where somebody welcoming them in to a church body, some powerful things begin to happen.


Dj Chuang:    That is really, really amazing. As I hear you talk, it reminds me of how the Apostle Paul did it in his time that he spoke the language of the people. He related to the people where they’re at. And he explained what the meaning of Christ’s life and resurrection, life, death and resurrection meant. And in the same way we have to do that translation into the 21st century and you’re using some of the best tools of online and what people are doing online and connecting them with human people, which I think is very much the unique value proposition that the church has to offer because everything’s becoming more and more automated with self checkout on in the supermarket and everything becoming robots and self driving cars probably happened in our lifetime. So, great work. Look forward to your presentation at the NRB digital summit. What are you looking forward to at the media summit there?


Nick Runyon:    I do love the program that they put together. I saw that my friend Nona is on the list, Nona Jones from Facebook.


Kenny Jahng:    Yes.


Nick Runyon:    She’s incredible. Every time I hear her speak I walk away inspired and also just kind of with a fresh perspective of how the Lord is working in and through some of these, you know, the world’s major companies to bring the Gospel forward. I’m also a Podcaster, so Rob Walch from Libsyn is going to be there. We use Libsyn to host social media church podcast, which Dj your super, the founder of Social Media Church podcasts. Were you on Libsyn when you launched it?


Dj Chuang:    No, no, no. I went like low budget, no budget. And it was just the web host or actually no, I use the archive.org. I use stars archive where it’s really slow but it works and it’ll be perpetually there. But you’ve really taken it to a whole another level. So great work to you.


Nick Runyon:    I was going to say Nils Smith is largely responsible for that. I’m like the fourth generation of a co host here on that thing, so,


Dj Chuang:    Well, I’m Kenny’s sidekick, so that’s fine.


Kenny Jahng:    Nick is like the latest James Bond and the whole movie franchise basically.


Nick Runyon:    That’s right.


Kenny Jahng:    But yes, and Libsyn. I think podcasting is something that, you know, in my agency we use for, it’s an authority building tool and it’s something that you can provide trust and relevancy through that medium and it does things that not many other form factors of media allow you to do today. I’m looking forward to that and I’m really encouraged that more ministries are going to be exposed to podcasting. You know, we manage and produce podcasts for a lot of other consultants and nonprofits, etc. The results and just the anecdotal stories. I’m sure Nick, you’ve seen the power of podcasting on the publishing side has just been great with social media, .church.


Nick Runyon:    It’s funny, right? Podcasts have been around for a long time, but there’s like this resurgence that’s happened recently, so that should be a great presentation. I think that NRB does a great job of gathering the right people in the room, like I said earlier and especially around the digital media summit. So just, you know, rubbing shoulders, comparing notes with guys like yourselves and time that we’ll spend together either over dinner or in the hallway. And that’s always very beneficial.


Kenny Jahng:    Well, we will definitely be there and I’m looking forward to grabbing a selfie in person with you and Nick, with you and Dj. And so it’s March 29th is the Friday before the digital media summit. You can buy a one day pass or you can buy a full registration. So the entire Shebang, the NRB convention, that whole week we will have the links in the show notes for you know, how to get tickets and registrations. And last year we had a meetup that was plans at one of the restaurants. I think we’re going to do the same thing here. Even if you don’t come to the show, if you’re in the Anaheim area, we would love to meet you in person and Dj and I would love to share stories and learn more about what you are doing in the Kingdom worlds. And that’s just an open invitation for you to reach out to one of us so that we can loop you in on the meetup details.


Kenny Jahng:    As we leave Nick, if someone, first of all, I think just hearing today’s presentation is going to get people to lean forward and really consider coming to the digital media summit to hear more of your work. If someone wants to reach out directly to you and the CV team, what’s the best way that they can do that?


Nick Runyon:    Site has all that contact information, cvoutreach.com. It’s a great resource to do that. For me personally, I’m active on Facebook, Twitter, Facebook, it’s @runyon R U N Y O N. And Twitter is runyonski, R U N Y O S K I. So it’s where you can hit me.
Kenny Jahng:    Awesome. Dj, you are on mute.


Dj Chuang:    Okay, we’re unmuted and we’re closing out. That concludes our episode of Future.Bible. Thank you Nick for joining us. And Kenny, thank you for being there for me to coach me along. I’m still new at this medium. We would love to hear from you as we are always looking for suggestions regarding future shows and the topics that you want to talk about. And I think that’s what’s magical about this digital world is that everyone gets a voice and we get to build the Kingdom together. And let’s see. And we want to talk about how we can apply, always applied the ever evolving world of technology to the never changing message found in the Bible of for real life change. So until next, be blessed and remember to be a blessing.

HIGHLIGHTS:

04:37 And so the digital summit, it’s always kind of been my entry into it and I think that they do an incredible job attracting the right kind of people, some innovative thinkers, really kind of pros in this space. I agree with you. I’m going to be interested to see who shows up on the West Coast. Cause let’s see, two years, last year was Nashville, two years ago they were in Orlando and they had a great now in Orlando and that was kind of a new venue for them as well. So, we’ll get a little West Coast love and see who shows up.

07:00 we’ve seen for several years now the ability to share the gospel on a massive scale using technology, the internet and that’s now evolving into all sorts of things that, you know, we all have discussed together from time to time, virtual reality, some of these new technologies emerging. But there’s always been kind of this inverse relationship between the amount of people that you can reach and the depth of engagement or depth of discipleship that you can have as you reach more people. So, reaching more means that there’s this problem of followup that exists. And the goal has always been to help people become established in a local discipleship relationship, ideally with their local church or fellowship, depending on what part of the world you’re in. That’s been a huge challenge and it’s been, so I think that our team has been focused on for about four years and I’m really excited about this speaking opportunity because we just want to share what we’ve been learning.

10:13 “okay, if the problem is difficulty connecting people on a local basis at scale, how would we solve that problem?” And we very quickly realized we have to get the local church involved. The very next sentence was probably something along the lines of your average local church in America is 120 members. It’s usually a single pastor, you know, working as the lone pastor, maybe some admin, it’s not the huge churches that we’re all familiar with. It’s this small model. How do you take that organizational context and really kind of upskill them, bring them into the digital space, make them effective, and you start to run into some roadblocks right away.

11:01 So what we said was, if we want to get that person in that local context to be the first contact that a seeker has following a gospel presentation, how would we do that? What we’ve done is we’ve created a system really where we do all of the reaching, we do all of the content creation, the evangelistic videos, we do all of the promotion. We build out the websites, the landing pages, we have all that operational capacity and we make that available to the local church as if we were working for them. It’s kind of like an agency model except we don’t charge anything for it. Because we have common mission, we will do all this work for the church because we recognize that their mission is mission. And so we can do that really and still accomplish what we set out to do.

16:03 so one of the things we found, so we started, I would say we really started this effort maybe two and a half years ago. But something happened in the fall of 2017 so we were doing some data modeling. We were looking at kind of where are we reaching people and where do our church partners, pastor network, where do they exist? How much of an overlap is there? And we started thinking about what if we can accomplish this concept that I’m talking about where the first contact is the last contact, you know. The first contacts, the right person in your local contacts.

20:32 And I pulled up the coverage map and we just happen to have an excess of responses coming from Louisville, Kentucky. And that’s like our number one need for where we need a church. And so we were able to kind of check that one off the list. We said, okay, we need a you some contacts here, you know, in town that we can tell about this with. So, that’s fun there. These guys are always thinking about how do we optimize this? How do we make it better? And the team has really rallied around this idea that in partnership we define success as our partner defines it. And in this case it’s the local church. So how can we build tools and strategies that help our partners continue to be successful in their own ministry?

26:37 And so one thing that has shifted and that we’ve seen, so we’re not asking people to make a decision for Christ in the moment we want to. And our mission and also by the way, is to touch people with the Gospel and encourage them to become true followers. This is where the partnership with the local church I think is really key and works well for us, is that when I touch people with the Gospel and my call to action is talk with someone and I can connect them locally to a pastor who can walk with them. I’m taking a 30 second or like a 3 minute video view and we’re immediately transferring that into a potential of like a 30 year walk with the world. So how do you move people from, you know, page view moments and to long term discipleship. I think that’s the key is in that local relationship all rooted in a Biblical context.

28:34 our spectrum includes that as a key point. So, and you know, with best practices in digital advertising, like you want to tell people what’s on the other side of this button click here. But no, we don’t get kicked back there. They just don’t know. They can’t verbalize in that moment what it is that they need. But when they experience it and it’s a caring, nonjudgmental, loving relationship where somebody welcoming them into a church body, some powerful things begin to happen.


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