Let's Talk Mobile Commerce

Mobile CommerceMobile Internet revenue will hit $700 billion annually in less than three years, according to the research firm, Digit-Capital. The keys to this explosive mobile growth are mobile donations, mobile shopping, mobile advertising, and in-app purchases. Mobile donations and mobile shopping are leading this growth with mobile shopping vastly outpacing all other categories. As we continue to thrive in the digital age, there are many people coming to church who don’t carry a checkbook. This new approach to managing finances has given the church an opportunity to embrace new, convenient ways to allow their members to support the ministry financially. One method that is growing quickly is giving via mobile devices.

Text-to-Give Since we carry our mobile devices with us everywhere, they are great ways to stay connected and support online giving. One of the important giving methods is Text-to-Give. One of the most important benefits of implementing a text-to-give program is the abundance of smart phones that people have nowadays. Received texts are opened 98% of the time. This is one of the most reliable communication methods available today.

Text-to-give is the process of using texting as a way to give a set amount to your church. Usually, the process begins with you texting a keyword (“Give,”) and an amount (“50”) to a short code such as “313131” (Give 50 to 313131). This allows the online text-to-give software to capture the cell phone number and dollar amount from your device and associate your device with a mobile giving account. Lastly, the software may send you a link to set up an online profile and store your credit card information for even faster SMS transactions in the future.

Additional benefits of a text-to-give program are the options that can be featured such as recurring automatic giving, advanced security, recorded giving history, email receipts, and more. How can you implement this? Well, a great provider for this is

Mobile App Giving In Chapter 5, we will get more into the Mobile App aspect of The iChurch Method, but let’s look at the giving/eCommerce aspect of mobile apps. If your church or ministry has a mobile app, it’s a good option to have a donation tab or button. Once the donation button is tapped, a nice, mobile friendly donation form should appear, allowing people to easily donate in a few step. But, there is one caveat.

When you are doing any type of financial transaction inside an iOS (Apple) app, Apple will take 30% of the transaction! Android (Google) does not have this stipulation for their apps, but, unfortunately, Apple does. For financial transactions, the way to get around this restriction is to send people to a website outside of the app for them to complete the transaction there. Make sure to read the “Mobile” chapter to learn more about the mobile app options that will help take your organization to the next level.

Apple Pay / Google Wallet These built-in digital wallets are becoming the new way to conduct transactions. Whether it’s an Apple iPhone or a Google Android phone, you can store your credit card information in your digital wallet and simply wave your phone at a preset terminal to complete a transaction. Walgreens is a great example of this. They accept Apple Pay and Google Wallet. Churches can get terminals that are enabled with Google Wallet and Apple Pay capabilities for sales of after-service products and even donations.

To learn more about this topic and others get your copy of The iChurch Method Vol. 3 TODAY!

Social Media Commerce - Making Money via Social Media - Part 2

Facebook Offers Button Part 1 is available here

On your Facebook Fan page, you can click the “Create an Offer” option to create an online offer that sends people to a preset website to redeem the offer. As you build the offer, you will be able to see exactly how it looks on users’ screens. You choose a title for your offer, a description of your offer, upload or choose an image for people to see, choose a start and expiration date, how many people can claim this offer, and the website you are sending people to claim the offer on. Once you have completed these steps, you click “Create Offer.”

Facebook Buy button With this feature, people on desktops or mobile devices can click the “Buy” call-to-action button on ads and Page posts to purchase a product directly from a business without leaving Facebook. Facebook built this feature with privacy in mind, and they have taken steps to help make the payment experience safe and secure. None of the credit or debit card information people share with Facebook when completing a transaction will be shared with other advertisers. Plus, people can select whether or not they would like to save their payment information for future purchases.

YouTube Fan Funding YouTube has a new feature called "YouTube Fan Funding" that allows viewers to send voluntary payments to support the channels they love. As long as your channel is in good standing, you are a partner, you have an AdSense account associated with your YouTube Channel, and you have activated the feature in the creator studio channel section of your YouTube account, you’re good to go. The money from your account is deposited into an associated Google Wallet account, which is Google’s online payment feature.

Vimeo Tip Jar Vimeo Tip Jar enables Vimeo Plus and PRO members to receive small cash payments from people who like their videos. It’s a simple three-step process to enable Tip Jar. Step 1, Join Vimeo Plus or Vimeo PRO. Tip Jar is available only to Plus and PRO members. Step 2, Once you’ve signed up, connect your PayPal account. Step 3, Turn on Tip Jar for individual videos, or all of them.

Snapcash A vast majority of Snapchat users never log out of Snapchat. SnapCash is built upon the Square Cash platform. The sender and the recipient, however, are not associated with an email address, but a Snapchat ID.

SnapCash is really a wonderful integration of the Square Cash platform that utilizes the Debit Card network to simply send cash. The process to associate a Snapchat ID with SnapCash is almost precisely the same as Square Cash:

  • Once the sender registers a debit card associated with SnapCash, the sender simply types in a recipient’s SnapChat ID for a stated amount.
  • The recipient will receive the message as a new notification and will either register a debit card to receive the funds or accept the transaction into a previously registered debit card.

There are two key social commerce options quickly arising. One is social shopping and the other is social payments. The social payments option has seen much success in China with a number of chat/communication platforms integrated with payments. The key to making social buying a popular option will be to build great experiences around those buttons because simply placing buttons on social pages will not change habits. Currently, people do not associate social networks with shopping. They are more comfortable with leaving the social networks and going to the seller’s website to purchase in a secure environment. If the previously mentioned social networks, and others, can create a cohesive online experience that integrates our online connections opinions/recommendations, a secure shopping process that keeps our financial information safe, and a shopping method that doesn’t feel like it’s more complex than a few clicks, social commerce will become wildly popular, especially via mobile devices seeing we are always connected.

To learn more about this topic and others get your copy of Social Connections TODAY!

Social Media Commerce - Making Money via Social Media - Part 1

The initial rise of social commerce, in my opinion, was a result of the social aspect of shopping. Shopping, in itself, has always been a social activity, whether it was people shopping together, a parent with a group of kids in tow, a spouse shopping for their entire family, or someone getting sales tips from a friend about products or services they are looking for. Social Media made the shopping process more social because, as we are able to shop offline or online, we can share our experiences with our social networks. Take a look at these key statistics:

  • 70% of marketers have been successful in gaining new customers via social networks.
  • 57% of users trust more in the opinion of his/her contacts than in what the brand has to say about its product or service.
  • 47% of social networks users state that Facebook has had a bigger impact on their decision to buy than any other social network.

The early phase of social commerce was led by users sharing their shopping experiences with their networks and companies providing social features to enhance the shopping experience. Enhancement included adding Social Media Sharing buttons to products or on eReceipts so people could easily share these things. was one of the initial online stores to provide these features. Key networks that these Sharing features initially resonated on were Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Another example were offline stores providing Social Media advertising inside of their stores or on receipts, letting customers know that these stores were active in the Social Media space. Once people connected to these companies online, they would receive incentives such as online coupons and early sale notifications. The sharing of web links to online store’s coupons or websites was the key driver of early social commerce.

Fast-forward to the current phase of social commerce, and the actual social networks are leading it. Certain social networks see the benefits, engagement-wise and financially, of making the eCommerce process easier for consumers and sellers. Here are some of the key advancements in social commerce:

Twitter Offers When users see a Twitter Offer in their timeline, they can add the offer to their credit or debit card in just a few taps and redeem them in real-time by using the card at the store. Because the offer is tied to their card, redemption is seamless and easy. There are no coupons to redeem at the point of purchase. After the purchase, the cash-back savings appear on their card statement within a few days.

With Twitter Offers, advertisers will be able to attribute redemptions directly to their campaigns on Twitter. That way, they can effectively measure the ROI from their promotions, even when redemption happens offline. Additionally, we make it easy for merchants to get up and running. Because they can use their existing payment network, there’s no change to the consumer purchase process, no employee training, and no new hardware or software to install. By leveraging Twitter’s robust targeting capabilities, advertisers can tailor their promotions and campaigns to the right audience all while optimizing for performance.

After users add a Twitter Offer to their credit or debit card, that card information will be encrypted and safely stored to make it easier for them to claim other offers or make future purchases on Twitter. This option also gives users the ability to remove this information from their account at anytime.

Part 2 is coming on July 30 - Click Here to View

To learn more about this topic and others get your copy of Social Connections TODAY!

Make Online Donations for Ministry Easy

Picture-4In 2013 there were 191 million people who used the internet for ecommerce, in 2014 we are on track for 197 million and in 2015 the projection is 202 million people. These numbers show that ecommerce (online giving, online shopping, online transactions) is here and it’s usage in increasing rapidly. When I was hired by the first church I worked at, I remember them basically telling me that my job as the webmaster was to fix their website. That was all the direction I received, they didn’t tell me what was wrong with it, they didn’t say what they wanted it to become, they just said “fix it”. Thus I set out looking for ways to improve the online experience for the users. As I went down my iChurch Method checklist of websites, multimedia, ecommerce, social media and mobile, I found the ecommerce or more specifically, the online donations process of this church was a huge issue. And with the ecommerce opportunities we have today as churches, we need to make the process as easy, secure and accessible as possible. Make it Easy Let me explain further the issue I was speaking of above, the entire online donation process from the time you hit the “donate button” until the time you got the “thank you for your donation” page, was 17 steps, that was 14 - 15 steps too many. In addition to having an excessively long process, there were numerous times during the transaction where the website would kick people off and make them start all over. Now I may not be the smartest guy around but I do know that this user experience was the opposite of easy. When we are creating our online experiences, we need to mimic the easiest ecommerce channels like Amazon has a normal checkout which is 2 - 3 steps or they have a one step checkout. The 2 - 3 step checkout is to check your transaction, make sure it’s correct, register your information/shipping and then checkout and this is fine for many people. Likewise, the one step checkout is for people who want to log in, complete their transaction and keep it moving, that’s the definition of easy.

Make it Secure Last year around the holidays it was revealed that Target was hacked, and more recently Home Depot was hacked, both of these retailers lost a huge amount of consumer confidence because we don’t expect the payment process to have security flaws. While no website/online system is hackproof, there are steps you can take to make sure your online donation process is secure and encrypted. First, you need to get a SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate with at least 128 bit encryption for your online donation page. This certificate, which can be purchased from or changes your web address from to (note the http changing to https which means the website transaction is secure during the payment process). Once this certificate is purchased and installed on your website server, your online transactions are much more secure.

Make it Accessible Mobile ecommerce will account for 30% of global ecommerce sales by 2018, up from 15% in 20132. I just read that 90% of people with mobile devices are never more than 2 feet away from them, this along with the previous statistic of the impact of mobile ecommerce shows how important it is for churches to make their online donation process mobile compatible. Traditionally, we create online giving experiences for the desktop user but as we are seeing times and users giving habits change, mobile giving is on the rise. The three main ways of mobile giving are via mobile websites, mobile apps and text to give. The mobile website giving process is pretty standard as people can enter their financial information and complete the transaction. The mobile app process can be easier in that it can use the financial information that is saved in the user’s account (Apple, Android, etc..) and completed in a few clicks. This is very easily demonstrated by the recently release Apple Pay feature that can be built into their iOS mobile apps or the previously released Google Wallet and integration into Android apps. Lastly, Text to give is an increasing option for churches as it’s an easy process and texting is a great way to stay connected with your mobile users. The text to give process is one of the quickest donation processes and that has led to increased adoption and growing revenue for churches who implement this strategy.

Finally, let me reiterate, people want to support your ministry financially and that is a great thing, it is the church’s responsibility to help them by making the process as easy, secure and accessible as possible.

Why Your Church Should Have an Online Store

url-1Adding an online store to the iChurch is a little bit different that the above items. Although you can set up an online store for free, most online store modules can cost up to $1,000. With an online store, you must have products or services to sell. Also, you want to make sure your online store has the same look as your website so the user doesn't feel like they have left your ministry brand. Here are some benefits of adding an online store to the iChurch. Digital Products - These are all profit. There is no shipping, no handling, no staff, no storage fees and no product creation costs. Digital products can be podcasts, eBooks, documents or videos. The ordering system is easy for the online users. And they receive the product instantly so the iChurch can tap into the moment the spirit moves them. The purchaser is emailed a secure download link they click on to receive the product. This link is good for only 72 hours. The only downside is that the digital product is not protected or restricted so they could share it with someone else and you won't receive payment for that usage. On the plus side, this nonpayer will be exposed to your church or ministry. With this module, you can capture some information such as name, address and email addresses to use in later marketing plans. Selling digital products through an online store is a nice profit builder for the iChurch. I like the phrase: load once, fire forever!

Tangible products - For the iChurch, tangible products consist of items like books, cd's and DVD’s. Although you still need staff to handle and ship the products, collecting money is made much simpler. And again, I can't overemphasize the component of impulse buying. If the buyer is at an event and has their mobile device, they can order the product now and pay for it even though they won't receive it for a few days.

Add On Features - With an online store module, you can add on features such as online coupons. A coupon often triggers the buyer to make a purchase they might not have otherwise. The iChurch can take advantage of that impulse. Wishlists are another nice feature allowing the potential buyer to create a list of items they want to purchase at a later date, perhaps when you send them an online coupon. Product reviews can be added to allow the online buyer the opportunity to tell everyone about the experience with their purchase. Good reviews often trigger more sales. Also, don't forget social media integration and mobile device compatibility. We are in the era of the social shopper so make sure people can share your products and their purchases with their social media friends. Likewise, make sure your store is mobile device compatible because we are in the era of the mobile device and people want to shop from anywhere at anytime.

Analyze Optimize Repeat

online-strategyAfter you have implemented a great social media strategy and have seen people respond and interact with you on your networks, it’s time to analyze your results, optimize your strategy and repeat. Many organizations don’t analyze their social media results; they take the approach of “just put it on Facebook or Twitter” and hope for the best. If your ministry takes the time to develop a social media strategy then it should take the time to measure the results. Analyze Your Results In order to effectively measure social media results you need to assess quite a few things such as: • How many people are seeing the posts, tweets? • How many people are sharing your posts, tweets? • What is the demographic of your online audience (age, sex, location)? • How many people are following your social media links back to your website? • How many people are clicking on the links that you are posting? • Who are your most important and influential followers? These stats are measured and calculated by quite a few online software programs that your ministry should utilize. or are social media analytics companies that take your Facebook and Twitter profiles and provide analytics on your social media strategies. Facebook insights is the analytics section on Facebook Fan Pages that provides demographic information on your pages’ fans. is a great software that we spoke of earlier that helps manage social media strategies by scheduling posts to a variety of networks and it also has analytics reporting features that can help your ministry measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. Finally, Google Analytics has a Social Reporting feature that reports traffic that comes to your website from Social Media networks. This feature is called Google Social Media Analytics and it is very important in measuring the impact of your social media campaigns.

Optimize Your Strategy Looking at your social media analytics and comparing the data of what you posted, when you posted, how often you posted and which networks yielded which responses, we can now look at ways to optimize our results. First, you want to see which times people responded to your posts. On average this is between the hours of 7am – 11am and 6pm – 11pm. Next, you want to see which days garner the highest response, and more often than not this is Saturdays and Tuesdays. Additionally, as you optimize your strategy you want to continue to create and distribute visual content to your networks. Continue to find ways to create innovative and inspiring photos and videos that will engage your audience as well as compel them to share. If they are not sharing, liking, retweeting or commenting enough to your content, then add more calls to actions in your posts. Finally, utilize your hashtags on Twitter, Google+ and Instragram. Hashtags can help you create, get involved and control conversations that occur about your ministry as well as give you numerous opportunities to reach people where they are at and conduct ministry.

Repeat When you know better, you do better and knowledge is power! With that being stated, now that you have analyzed your results and optimized your strategy, it’s time to repeat. Repeat the process of posting to your social media networks at the optimized times with the optimized content to achieve optimized results.

The iChurch Method TV - Ep. 5 - Do Churches Fear Technology?

Continuing my interview on the state of the church and technology, I gave the following insight on my thoughts on the church and technology.

The church as a whole, I’d say maybe there are about 5% of churches that really have a good grasp of technology. They have the resources to actually utilize a lot of the new things that are going on out there, but 95% of the churches I see out here just don’t have the resources. They know what they want to do but they don’t have the resources and expertise to actually implement it. They might have a volunteer come in and do the website; someone that really has a good heart but just doesn’t have the knowhow to make it look as effective as it could be. Or they may hire somebody that doesn’t have the integrity that the people in the church have. If they don’t have that integrity then they might just basically take them for their money and not give them a high-quality website.

So, in seeing those types of situations, I started to realize what they needed was someone they could trust and someone that also has the expertise to allow them to take advantage of the technology that we have out here because it changes rapidly.

[Question: How are people receiving the ichurch method strategy] It’s being received with resounding success. I think that once the light bulb goes on and people understand and realize that the method that I’m producing and the way that I’m presenting it to them is bringing down the technological barrier and helping them actually be able to utilize technology on a level that they understand, then they realize that they can use this to actually help advance their ministry online and not be intimidated by technology.

Digital Ministry - Ministry in Real Time

Continuing The iChurch Method TV series, here's the transcript from the video above where I am talking about Real Time ministry and the impact of Digital Ministry, positive and negative.

Let’s look at the positives first. What I stated before was social media; the Facebook page was one of three or four ministries that I’m aware of that has over a million fans. That’s a lot of people that you can reach via social media and minister to. We see maybe we’ll put out a daily devotional or some snippet from the sermon or something like that, you see real-time ministry. You see somebody watching a clip of a sermon or reading that daily devotional and you see them saying, “That helped me today. That transformed my life. That impacted me.” So, with those types of results you really get a chance to see ministry going on around the world in real time, and nothing can top that. That’s amazing.

Likewise, with the internet church, when we do conferences or if there are sermons going on over the weekend then we have chat modules that might be next to these online video players and we’re seeing people chatting and ministering to each other or our online ministers are ministering to them. So we see all that stuff happening in real-time.

Obviously if people are online they’re chatting more and they’re speaking more so you’re hearing more than you may hear if you’re in an actual sanctuary. They’re not worried about who’s watching and stuff like that because usually they’re in the comfort of their own home or on their mobile device or something and they’re saying how they really feel about what’s happening.

Now let’s look at the downfalls. Social media gives our pastor a voice, it gives our leadership a voice, but it gives everybody a voice. I’ve seen people who may disagree with the pastor or disagree with the ministry, disagree with the theological approach or just disagree because it’s Tuesday. Those people are able to voice their opinions and some of the things that they say—words are very powerful—and the way that they slander the ministry or slander the pastor or just slander other people who are trying to better themselves or just get ministry for themselves, you just see how hurtful it can be. It takes you back to your school days; if a child hears some encouragement, it really impacts them. If they hear discouragement, that really impacts them too. We see that in the online environment via digital media and social media especially.

For more information on this and other topics, get your copy of “The iChurch Method Volume 1: How to Advance Your Ministry Online.” or The iChurch Method Volume 2: Changing the World When You Login or even sign up for the iChurch Method Online School.

Online Church Leaders

OCL_SignUpToday I am excited to announce a great platform that I have been invited to contribute my expertise to called Online Church Leaders. This amazing platform was put together by my good friend Nils Smith, who has taught me an immeasurable amount about Internet Church Campuses and how to use them for ministry.

Here is a great explanation of Online Church: Online Church is more than streaming a video, it is leveraging technology to expand ministry and further the great commission to make disciples of all nations. It is a relevant and relational way to connect people around the world through digital interactions. Most pastors assume that it requires tons of time and money, but that is not the case. It is our goal to shed light on these myths and break down the barriers that may arise when considering such an undertaking. Our hope is that by giving away our systems and processes and sharing the things we have learned along the way it will save you time and money. We will provide you with the tools you will need and guide you in your calling to reach the world.

Register and join today! -

On this platform I will be teaching online giving and eCommerce tactics from my books. As we are looking to train leaders on how to better utilize online platforms, we want to make sure they understand how to effectively generate revenue online and make it easy for online users. There are a variety of topics taught on this platform by many of my online church expert friends.

Topics such as: Building Your Platform Creating Your Content Engaging Your Audience Developing a Volunteer Team Online Groups and much more From Experts: Nils Smith - Community Bible Church Alan George - LifeChurch.TV Jay Kranda - Saddleback Church Seth Farrior - Seacoast Church Jason Morris - Westside Family Church Nate Merrill - LakePointe Church Kenny Jahng - Liquid Church DJ Chuang - .Bible Consultant Nick Ovalle - Community Bible Church

It's 100% free and we also post no affiliate links. We believe that God is doing an incredible work through Online Church and desire for every church possible to expand their impact through these powerful resources.

Register and join today! -

Come join me at the launch party, July 15 at 1pm CST, this new platform will be a great resource for church leaders around the world -

Will Internet Church Replace the Traditional Church?

946776_10151654072107177_1752319414_nI work with a variety of churches and more often than not my role is to help the ministry advance online. This can be in a variety of ways such as websites, online streaming, internet church campuses, online video, online donations, social media, internet tv, mobile websites, mobile apps and much more. I believe that technology/internet plays a major role in the distribution of information, and therefore the important information that is “The Gospel” should utilize all methods of distribution to get the message to the masses. Since my role is a technology based role, I very rarely have to address theological issues regarding technology because my job is to help distribute the message online, not change it. But, as technology progresses at a rapid rate, there are more questions arising that have theological ramifications concerning technology, and this is an issue that I find myself having to explain more often than not to decision makers. Issues such as:

- Can you be saved Online? - Can you assemble Online? - Can you actually go to church online? - Will the online church enhance or replace the church building?

Digital ministry enthusiasts like myself believe the answer is yes to all of these questions, we believe technology enhances the ministry and we want to use it to reach the world, but unfortunately from a biblical perspective, there are church leaders that will say the online aspect of church is outside of the building and thus not church. Or they may believe that the online church (digital delivery of the gospel) will try to replace the traditional church just like iTunes replaced Tower records.

Overall, I don’t believe internet church will replace traditional church, it’s an extension of traditional church delivered in a digital format (audio or video or social media) to your preferred device (laptop, desktop, mobile, television). But if the church is going to take ministry to the people and really step outside the walls, there has to be an internet component (especially mobile) that allows ministry content to be accessible by anyone, anytime, anywhere in the world and that is how you take the gospel to the four corners of the globe.

For more information on internet church please check out The iChurch Method Vol. 2: Changing the World When You Login.

Steps to Advance Your Ministry Online

photoAs you may or may not know, The iChurch Method consists of five key areas to advancing your ministry online. These five area, websites, multimedia, ecommerce, social media and mobile, have proven to be very effective areas in reaching people online. I recently conducted a webinar with a group of Pastors about the iChurch Method and how they could use online tools more effectively. As my gift to you, I would like to give you this video and audio for FREE! Yes, just click the link below and download this teaching today!!/~/product/category=5897035&id=36695834

The Importance of Having Online Donations

Picture-4The effectiveness of online donations cannot be denied. President Obama received over $690 million in online donations during the 2012 presidential campaign. With the ability to quickly and safely donate small amounts online, politicians running for office have discovered this tool. Now, the iChurch can harness this powerful force too. It is very simple to add a free donation form using, or to your website to collect money online. With this online form, a website user can easily select their own amount and donate in seconds using a credit card. Your ministry, however, must still pay the credit card processing fees for handling the transaction. There are also donation programs/modules where an online user can set up automatic recurring withdrawals from their bank account or credit card to give to the church.

eChecks are yet another way for users to pay/donate online. eChecks are payments that you make directly from your bank account. Note that the ability to use debit cards for online donations is not easily done for free at this time so that feature is not prominent in eCommerce.

For some, the convenience factor is a big reason for iChurch online donations. The younger generation is very familiar with donating online. In fact, many young people have never written a check but they are very familiar with online shopping (or donations) from their computer or mobile devices and using a credit card online. If you add a mobile component to the iChurch such as "text to give" or a mobile website/app with online donation capabilities, you can harness the power of impulse donations. When a person is at an event where your church is represented, with a mobile module as part of your iChurch, that person can donate right there as the spirit moves them instead of having to drive home, log on to their computer and then donate. This may be hours later.

Another feature is record keeping. These online donations modules give an instant receipt to the person donating which is often very important to them. For the church, this also saves staff time months later because these online donation modules keep records for the church such as who donated, how much they donated and when they donated. This information is important for the ministry’s financial records.

An online donation eCommerce module added to your website can collect a large amount of money from online users, many of whom may never set foot in your church. These online users may donate smaller amounts, as President Obama showed but volume, not size, is what counts.

For more information on this and other topics, get your copy of "The iChurch Method Volume 1: How to Advance Your Ministry Online." or The iChurch Method Volume 2: Changing the World When You Login or even sign up for the iChurch Method Online School.

Creating Podcasts of Your Sermons

urlGetting your sermons onto iTunes as a podcast is fairly easy and affordable, using a popular service called Podbean. Like YouTube for videos, Podbean requires that you create a free account for your organization. Setting up an account with Podbean allows you to select a public channel in the Religion category, include your church logo or photograph of your pastor, describe your ministry and select keywords that will help anyone searching for your content to find you, and even provide contact information.

In this way you can make your podcast accessible on iTunes and also on Podbean, to reach a whole other population of people who may not have ever even been to your church - yet. Like YouTube, this gives you a whole new channel whereby to establish a presence on the Internet, to reach many more people all over the world.

You can provide links to your podcasts on your site; make them available for download at your Web store and more. Podcasts are popular for listening to while driving or doing other activities that are conducive to listening to music or inspirational messages.

Use Sound Bytes to Peak Interest

Consider placing short clips of your latest podcast on the front page of your site, to entice visitors to want to hear more. As audio files, podcasts are much easier to download, upload, and play, whereas a video might take much more time.

Podcasts are a powerful way of getting your message out there. You can even stream podcasts live during the actual sermon, so that those who are unable to make it to your church due to illness or travel can still listen to the sermon, and feel as if they were physically there on site with the rest of the congregation.

Podcasts can be archived, by subject, by date or by speaker, and even sold as collections for those who are looking for uplifting subject matter, or who like to listen to a particular speaker, or who missed a month of sermons and want to catch up. Be sure to take advantage of this valuable technology to get your message out to many more potential parishioners than old-time country preachers ever dreamed possible!

For more information on this and other topics, get your copy of "The iChurch Method Volume 1: How to Advance Your Ministry Online." or The iChurch Method Volume 2: Changing the World When You Login or even sign up for the iChurch Method Online School.

How to Set up Your Internet Campus

There are a few services you can use to setup your internet campus such as LifeChurch’s, or 316 Networks and these are some good services. But the online software that has the best user experience and is the most cost efficient has to be Plain Joe’s Media Social ( Internet Church Campus software. Media Social has come up with the easiest solution; if we look at the following screenshot we see how they setup their online campus software. Here are the features of Media Social’s Internet Campus Software

  • Ad Space – Ad space area for the ministry with images to showcase products, events and services of the ministry.
  • Login/Logout – This is the login/logout area of the administrator.
  • Who’s Online List – This area shows who all is logged in to the internet campus. This area is used for the ministry to communicate with individuals as well as see important information about everyone logged in and watching.
  • Video Player – This is the major viewing area of the online campus. The live or archived video stream is shown here in 640x480 format.
  • Announcements/Polls – This great feature allows for real time announcements and polls displayed right under the video player. A great way to communicate with online viewers in a quick and efficient manner.


Here are additional features with Media Social’s Internet Campus Software. Let’s start by looking at the icons that are in the left column of the interactive module beneath the announcements/polls area.

  • Livewall – The livewall is the live chat area for real time communication and chatting with administrators and online viewers.
  • Notes – The Notes tab allows users to take notes and email them to themselves or others.
  • Schedule – The schedule tab shows the schedule for live and/or archived shows.
  • Facebook – The Facebook tab is the facebook integration where users can interact with facebook within the internet campus.
  • Map – The Map tab shows the locations of online users, anywhere in the world.
  • Unlock Tab – The unlcok tab allows the tab to unlock from the page and become it’s own webpage module.
  • Additional Ad Space – Beneath these tab features is additional space for image ads for ministry events, products and services.


With all these features setup for you, your organization is responsible for providing video content that you want to stream (mp4 video files) as well as a live streaming provider. In my last book, The iChurch Method Vol. 1, I talked about how to use or as a free live streaming provider and that solution could work with Media Social as well. Another feature not mentioned here that’s available in the back-end is the scheduling feature. Many ministries want to broadcast at a certain time and/or setup a schedule of shows for the day or week. This feature is available via Media Social and the internet campus can become an entire media center for the viewers with scheduled programming very similar to the traditional television experience.

How Can eCommerce Help Your Ministry?

Obviously, anything that brings in revenue helps to finance the activities of your ministry, enabling you to spread the word, grow your congregation and continue to do all of the wonderful things that you do in your community. Here are some of the most successful ways you can use eCommerce.

Online Donations Making an online donation is as easy as putting a bill in the collection plate these days, thanks to technology harnessed by the Obama campaign in 2008 to raise $125 million from an impressive army of small contributors. and both have free donation modules you can add to your website without much difficulty, which will allow your parishioners to donate via credit card.

For those who don't like to use credit cards, eChecks allow someone to make payment to your ministry directly from their bank account. For parishioners who tithe regularly, this is an exceptionally convenient way to do it.

Online Event Registration For events that require a ticket, you can get paid online in advance and allow participants to print a receipt. This saves time and money, negating the need to print tickets, handle cash, deal with bounced checks and other headaches. You can set a limit on attendance and stop selling when the tickets are sold out. Registrants can get information about the event at the same time, such as parking, directions, time and date and more.

Selling event tickets online also allows you to capture information about your attendees, such as name, address, email, phone number, age, marital status and gender, which you can use to market other events and services later on.

Online Store Add an online store to your website to sell DVDs, CDs, video and audio downloads of sermons and lectures, books, church tee shirts, calendars and more. Digital products, such as video and audio downloads and eBooks are the best source of revenue for your online store, as they are pure profit. The parishioner pays via credit card to download the product, receives it immediately, and you don't have to worry about shipping and handling or anything else of that nature.

Selling videos and audios of your sermons and major church events is also a great way to spread the word about your ministry, and can help you expand your congregation significantly. Consider posting some of your sermons on YouTube with a link to your store site to generate more interest.

For more information on this and other topics, get your copy of "The iChurch Method Volume 1: How to Advance Your Ministry Online." or The iChurch Method Volume 2: Changing the World When You Login or even sign up for the iChurch Method Online School.

2014 Pastors and Leadership Conference

PNL2014-BLAST-CastonComing up quickly, March 6 - 8, 2014, I will be teaching/attending/working at the 2014 Pastors and Leadership Conference. It's always a great experience for me at this event because this was the first conference I ever spoke at back in 2011. It also was the event that I released the first iChurch Method book in 2012. Another great thing about this conference is that in addition to speaking at it, I work the conference's online experience including social media, mobile apps and online streaming experience.

This year I am looking forward to teaching four sessions which include Social Media Basics, Social Media Advanced (twice) and Digital 360 (The iChurch Method). I am also continuing my pattern of releasing new products at the conference by announcing that I am releasing the following products:

Make sure you join me there!!

Online Church is Effective

Normally I would talk about how to implement an online church or quote stats on how it has impacted churches but today, I just want to do something different. I want to tell a great story. This past weekend I taught quite a few sessions at the econnect conference and it was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had for a variety of reasons. Here are the reasons:

1. I was able to meet the great people at Group Publishing (including Brian Abbot and Bob D'Ambrosio) and they truly took care of me and Nils Smith.

2. I was able to teach, fellowship and serve with my friend Nils Smith, a great guy and as I always tell him, my long lost brother in digital ministry.

3. I taught, interacted and engaged with a diverse crowd of people that were eager to learn how to utilize online tools more effectively for ministry. This crowd was hungry for knowledge and they were open to everything we were teaching. Even with their past traditions and church informal ways, they looked past all of that and said how can we reach the millions that are online and do church in a new way! And best of all, I cannot say how many times people mentioned to me that they were appreciative of what I taught....that blessed me immensely.

4. This is the most important thing, I heard a story that encouraged and transformed the way I think about what I do. First let me say that I have had moments where I wondered how effective The iChurch Method was and should I change my focus from churches to businesses and teach in that realm. Well after this story I am about to share with you, I will surely let you know that I am on the right path and The iChurch Method will continue well into the future. I was talking with a guy and he mentioned that his wife recently passed due to cancer but prior to passing she spent much of her time bed-ridden. But she managed to worship by watching T.D. Jakes Online and to be more specific, the internet church page that I played a role in creating. His wife also used Social Media to form a facebook group for women with cancer and they communicated and shared what they thought heaven would be like. And he just wanted to thank me for what I was doing and he was happy that he met the guy who created the page that helped his wife worship prior to her passing. Those words encouraged me so much that I knew I was on the right path.

I feel blessed!!

Join me at the eConnect Conference [Updated]

I’m most excited to be able to share this special discount code with you for $50 off:

The code is: SpecialOffer (one word; case sensitive)

If you register by January 10th you will still get the early bird rate and get the cost down to just $149. This event will be great for you to attend whether you know very little about technology or consider yourself an expert. Group offers a very warm and conversational space for you to learn and engage with other ministry leaders about utilizing online tools for ministry purposes.

I would love for you to join me at the eConnect Conference on January 29-31, 2014 in beautiful Loveland, CO. Group Publishing is hosting this amazing event where we will be discussing how to use social media, online video and other online tools for greater ministry impact. I’m also very excited to be joined by my good friend Nils Smith, author of the Social Media Guide for Ministry and soon to be good friend, Brian Abbott.

At this event we will discuss social media, websites, mobile apps, and how all of these things translate to becoming effective ministry tools. I can’t wait for the conversations that will be had and hope you will be a part. Click here for more information and to register for this exciting event!

Create Multiple Products from a Sermon

urlYou can take a powerful sermon, church pageant or any other film-worthy event from your church and create four different products which you can sell online and in your church bookstore to bring in revenue. Here's what you'll need: • A computer, preferably a Mac; • iTunes media software; • A good video camera with microphone; • ImTOO Video Converter standard video conversion software (available at; • A Google Docs account, or Adobe Acrobat full version plus MS Word; • A PayPal business account.

Film the Event Use a good quality video camera with a microphone attachment to film the sermon or other event. This can be as easy and inexpensive as a Flip camera with a wireless lapel microphone, or a high quality digital camera with a microphone attachment. In any event, you want to make sure you pick up the audio as well as the video.

Convert the Video to a CD and MP3 These are the first two products you will create. Import your video into the ImTOO software and convert it to an MP3 file, which you can sell in your online store as a digital download. Then import the MP3 into iTunes and burn it to a CD. Put the CD in a clear plastic case and sell it at your church bookstore as well as in your online store. You can even make a label for the CD case using a picture taken from the original video.

Convert the Video to a DVD and MP4 Your original video should already be in MP4 format from your camera, but if not, convert it to MP4 in your ImTOO software. Good specs to use are video size 640 x 480, bitrate 1200kbps, max bitrate 2500kbps, audio bitrate 64kbps and sample rate 48000hz. This MP4 file can then be placed for sale as a download from your online store.

Next, download ImTOO DVD Creator or Nero Suite, and use this software to turn your MP4 file into DVD format, which you can burn onto DVDs to be offered for sale in your church bookstore and online store.

Use YouTube to Advertise your Videos Consider putting one or more of your MP4 sermon files on YouTube with a link to your online store. This will help generate an appetite for more videos and bring in customers to your store, and ultimately to your church as well.

For more information on this and other topics, get your copy of "The iChurch Method Volume 1: How to Advance Your Ministry Online." or The iChurch Method Volume 2: Changing the World When You Login or even sign up for the iChurch Method Online School.