The short answer is COVID-19. It forced me to innovate. Some churches were not ready for what hit the world, others are holding on, and then there are those anomaly churches. We didn’t set out to be an anomaly church, but it happened. Opportunity came knocking, and we we’re poised to make the jump.

Every week we average over 5,000 people in attendance – online! As people fill our digital auditoriums our number one goal is asking ourselves the question, “how do we help someone take their next step in their discipleship journey?” Becoming a digital mega church pastor isn’t enough, nor do I think God is pleased with that. Jesus is after disciples and not just converts.

One clear way that we are helping people to go from attenders to family members is having them join our online community. It’s when they join our online community that we have a greater chance of helping them take another step – a mission group. Currently, our Mission Church Community Group (A Facebook Group) has 1,798 people in it. In this online group this is where life happens. As people enter our online community they are greeted, affirmed, and embraced.

If your church does not currently have a Facebook Group you are missing out. In our Facebook group we have a weekly schedule, events, and community activities that unite us around our vision, “to unleash unprecedented hope in every inner city around the world.”

“Unleash unprecedented hope in every inner city around the world.”

Since COVID-19 hit I’ve been repeating one phrase, “church is not a place you go to, but a family that you belong to.” If you want to form a community, make disciples, and launch more churches then you have to begin innovating within the current limits placed on us. One of the cool things about forming a Facebook Group, is all of the things you can do within a group. For example you can what I call “Pin The Important” you know all those announcements you typically share from the stage – well our group has a feature where you can pin the most important announcement. Another cool feature is the analytics in the Facebook Group. You can find out who’s the most active, how many people have joined by percentage, who’s new, and so much more. What’s amazing about that is that you can create content, form new strategies, and help people on their discipleship journey.

“Church is not a place you go to, but a family that you belong to.”

Even though I now pastor one of the largest inner city churches in America, I’m still not satisfied. I’m convinced that what God is interested in me stewarding my influence to, “lead people into a hope filled life in Christ.” My new book “Digital Ministry” is a great starting point to wrestle through how to pastor in this pandemic. We’re all in this together, and I’m definitely still learning, but I truly believe the harvest is ripe!