Does the Church Need Technology?

I recently made a statement in a podcast that said, if the church didn’t stay up to date with technology, how quickly it’s changing, and understand its influence on society, the church might become irrelevant. The example I used was that we don’t see preachers preaching from stone tablets, scrolls, and parchments. They are using a copy of the Bible which was created using the technology of the printing press. Additionally, many of us have seen a toddler pick up an iPad or smartphone and instinctively know how to navigate/tap it and find their favorite app or game. We’ve also seen teenagers/young adults use texting, social media, photos, and videos from their mobile devices as easily as making calls. They are able to quickly and efficiently use multiple apps, platforms, and features of their devices and stay connected with their friends, celebrities, and anyone they deem important. Now consider that these devices are the oldest technology these people will see.

One of the responses I received was that the church will never become irrelevant because it’s God’s house and the Word of God will never be irrelevant. While I believe that God’s Word will never be irrelevant in the sense of it speaking to the state of the human soul and society, I was focusing less on the message and more on the method. The message will always be effective, revolutionary, and life-changing. However, if the method used to deliver the message is ineffective and outdated, how relevant can it be when the masses are not receiving it?

So the question was, “Why does technology permeate so many aspects of our lives but we go back in time when it comes to the church?

Technology is defined as the branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment. Let’s look at two historical examples of technology currently being used by the church (Source:

1. Chairs and Pews - Throughout most of the history of Christian worship, there were no pews or chairs. Not until the fourteenth century did seating gradually encroach upon the open space where the congregation stood and walked about during worship. In the late Middle Ages, the congregation sat down on the job and there was a drastic change in Christian worship—perhaps the most important in history. People, in effect, became custodians of individual spaces they occupied throughout the service. In other words, for the first fourteen centuries of Christianity, people stood throughout the worship service. (Source:

2. The Printing Press - This technological advancement put the Bible in the hands of the masses. In 1455, the Gutenberg Bible was mass produced in Europe. Without the Bible, how would this have affected the impact of the church? One of the main informational resources and understanding of the Christian faith is the Bible, and the popularity of Christianity ties into how readily available the Bible is to everyone.

With these two technological implementations, the church transformed it’s worship experience and it’s distribution model. Today, with digital tools, we can touch all aspects of the church experience. In church, we have a variety of tools that can enhance the music, lighting, sermon, and other aspects to create an interactive, immersive worship experience. On the other hand, with websites, social media, mobile apps, internet tv, and internet church campuses, we have a variety of tools and platforms to reach people regardless of where they are and the device they use. We can connect with, engage, minister to, and change the lives of millions through something as small as an iPod. Therefore, with over 3 Billion people accessing the internet in 2015 and over 6 Billion mobile devices around the world, we have the largest digital mission field that is primed for the life-changing Gospel.

The question, now, is whether the church will use this technology to fulfill the Great Commission in taking the message to the uttermost parts of the world?

Google Grants for Nonprofits

Google has a program called “Google Ad Grants: AdWords for Nonprofits” that gives nonprofit organizations $329 per day / $10,000 per month in FREE online advertising. Yes, you read that correctly—FREE online advertising for your nonprofit organization! In this book, I will talk about the importance of online advertising and how it can benefit your organization. Nevertheless, I wanted to start things off with a grant program that you can apply for, receive, and implement quickly. Let me tell you how it’s done. Go to and read through the information to see what you need in order to apply. The main necessities are:

  • 501(c) 3 charity status.
  • Employer ID (EIN).
  • Have a functioning website with substantial content.
  • Have a Google account to manage the AdWords campaign.

Here are the specifics of what you will receive:

  • A daily budget set to $329 USD, which is equivalent to about $10,000 per month.
  • A maximum cost-per-click (CPC) limit of $2.00 USD.
  • Only run keyword-targeted campaigns.
  • Only appear on Google Search result pages.
  • Only run text ads (you cannot use video ads or graphics-based ads).
  • You must choose one link for your AdWords program to link to. Many of the organizations that I have worked with use the AdWords program for their Internet Church Campuses.

Once you have completed the application process, Google will notify you within a few weeks as to whether or not you were accepted. If you are not accepted, Google will let you know what you need to change in order to resubmit and be accepted. The process is really easy. In addition to the Google grant, you will also receive:

  • YouTube Nonprofit Program: Premium branding capabilities on YouTube channels, and increased uploading capacity.
  • Google Apps for Nonprofit: Free version of the Google Apps business productivity suite, including Gmail, Docs, Calendar, and more.
  • One Today by Google: Free access to a mobile fundraising platform.

The Google AdWords grant is a great deal in itself, but the additional software that Google is giving in this grant makes this deal unbelievable. Google Apps is a great online software tool that is similar to Microsoft Office. A church of any size can now have the corporate office tools that once cost thousands for absolutely FREE and run their business more effectively and efficiently.

Please note that the following organizations are not eligible for Google for Nonprofits:

  • Governmental entities and organizations.
  • Hospitals and health care organizations.
  • Schools, childcare centers, academic institutions, and universities (philanthropic arms of educational organizations are eligible).

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

The Website is the Most Important Platform

online-strategyOver the last three years, The Potter’s House Church of Dallas has seen significant growth in a very nontraditional way. While most churches measure growth by attendance in the sanctuary, The Potter’s House saw a huge increase in their online presence. Going from a platform that reached thousands online to one that reaches millions was a strategic, focused effort and opened up new ministry opportunities for the church. With this type of growth, the one question that we are often asked is, how did you do it? Well, let’s look at one of the most important initial steps we took. Social Media, Internet Church, Internet TV, Mobile Apps and a myriad of other digital buzzwords are always thrown around when it comes to describing digital impact, but at The Potter’s House we started with our main platform, our ministry website. Our website was the most important online platform that we as a ministry had. Our internal research showed that up to 80% of our new visitors checked out our online properties first, more specifically our website. It was our largest welcome ministry, our largest information resources and the largest representation of the ministry. Our website spoke to people at times and in places no one else was speaking. The reason it was constantly speaking to people was that our website was made to be accessible, innovative, simple and practical.

One of the most innovative changes I have seen regarding websites in the last 10 years has been responsive design. Responsive design is a development style that creates websites that adapt to the device the user is on. Once the website is created, if a user is on a mobile phone, ipad or desktop computer, they are still able to use your website accordingly. This feature is very important because we are seeing many organizations design websites for desktop usage but people are increasingly viewing websites from mobile devices. Studies show that we are never more than 3 feet away from our mobile devices and we check them over 40 times a day, thus our mobile phones are the way we continually stay connected. As we checked our google analytics, we saw that our users we coming to our websites from their mobile devices more than traditional desktop computers and we had to make sure our websites could adapt to this shift in browsing behaviors. Additionally, we have created more engaging experiences online that mimic the social media experience. While people want to come to websites that are informative and educate people on what they were looking for, the customized engaging experience is one that allows people to stay on our site longer and helps us better understand what our online users are looking for in their online ministry experience.

We didn’t just want the external part of the website to be easy to use, we also wanted the internal (back-end) part to be easy to use as well. In order to complete this we moved all of our web platforms into content management systems (CMS). Wordpress is one of the best website content management systems available and with the numerous templates and add-ons, you can make some powerful websites that are innovative, responsive, engaging and impactful. But the best part with using a CMS is that multiple people can work on a website at the same time and make updates without being super technical. Content Management Systems provide the technical prowess for tech geeks like myself as well as the ease of use for nontechnical people like our admins who want to update a few words of text on the about-us page.

Overall, we find that the online experience and numerous platforms that we have created at our ministry are very effective in reaching people all around the world with the gospel. But we have realized that the most important digital platform that we have is our website and we want to make sure it represents the ministry with excellence and gives people the best experience online.

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.

Welcome to 2015

Welcome to 2015, The iChurch Method is taking some great steps this year to helping organizations advance online and we have some great things in store. Here’s a preview of whats coming real soon. ichurch31. The iChurch Method Vol. 3: Digital Missionary Field - April 6, 2015 is the release date of the latest volume in The iChurch Method series. This book will continue to focus on the five main areas of the iChurch method, web, multimedia, ecommerce, social and mobile, as well as take things to another level with topics such as internet church, internet tv, mobile apps, responsive design and much more.
ichruchbookcoveichurch_22. Social Connections: Connect With and Engage Your Audience - April 6, 2015 is the release date of the first book in the new Digital Connections series by Jason Caston. This social media manual will help any organization connect with and engage their social media audience.
Moblie_cover_V33. Mobile Connections: Reaching an Always Connected Audience - August 10, 2015 is the release date of the second book in the new Digital Connections series by Jason Caston. This mobile manual will help organization understand how mobile is changing the internet and we are always connected via our mobile devices.
923663_556551741122972_2065682287_n4. Speaking - Here are Key Speaking dates - *dates are subject to change HIM Conference - Honolulu, HI - March 20, 2015 - CLA Conference - Dallas, TX - April 14, 2015 - Pastors and Leadership Conference - Orlando, FL - April 30, 2015 - Biola Digital - Biola University - June 3, 2015 - MegaFest - Dallas, TX - August 20, 2015 - Group eConnect - Loveland, CO - Nov 4, 2015 -
ichurchtv5. iChurch TV - with new book releases come new episodes for iChurch TV such as internet tv, internet church campuses, social media strategies, best networks to use and much more.
caston_inspired_mobility_story6. AT&T Inspired Mobility - As I continue to be the spokesperson for the AT&T #InspiredMobility Campaign, I will continue to speak on how we use mobile devices to enhance our personal and spiritual lives as well as teach how The iChurch Method can help organizations connect with growing online audiences. Look forward to events coming soon.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. We at The iChurch Method are always looking for better ways to help organizations advance online and your encouragement helps motivate us to continue to develop innovative ways to fulfill those tasks.

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.

What's an Internet Church Campus?

If you go to a mega church, you will likely observe a sprawling sea of buildings. You will also find a huge variety of places to go and things to do. There might be a women’s conference in one building. A group of men will be having a Bible study in another. There may also be a live service in the chapel. Some churches even have bookstores where you can buy the latest Christian books and movies. The fact is, this large physical campus gives you many choices to pursue your faith.

So, what is the Internet Church Campus? It’s the same thing as the campus described above except for one difference: it’s all online. The official definition of an Internet church is as follows: a multimedia-driven church experience that is entirely online. An online user can attend a Bible study, donate, attend live services, watch past services, attend a conference, buy the pastor’s book and do just about everything you can do in a physical church except the laying of hands. And it’s all driven by video, audio, images, chat and documents.

Here’s how far we have come. In the good ole days, you went to church Sunday mornings and then possibly to Bible study or another service on Wednesday evenings. Now, instead of you going to church, the Internet Church Campus brings the church to you. And the church doors are open 24/7 365 wherever you are because your mobile device, tablet or computer allows you to attend. That’s pretty exciting!

Chat Live One option for your Internet Church Campus is the ability to chat live with your friends. If you were in church, you could lean over and chat to your neighbor about the service or message. With, the Internet Church Campus can duplicate that. Some users really love that feature especially if they are watching the same program but from different locations.

Groups and Communities Another great feature of Internet Church Campuses is online groups. Online groups are small groups that meet online to discuss Bible lessons, minister to each other and give the online group a sense of community, very similar to the home-based groups that are in some of the largest mega churches in the United States. Online groups use common group features provided by Facebook Groups or Google+ Communities. These social network group/community features allow a set number of people to interact online, share information and documents and form an online community all within Facebook or Google+.

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.

The Impact of Mobile

As mobile device adoption increases, we are seeing a great opportunity for ministries to reach people on their mobile devices.

Mobile Stats Over the last two years there's been an average of 162% increase in mobile usage. • Africa - 155% • Asia - 192% • Europe - 183% • North America - 69% • Oceania - 162% • South America - 96%

One third of the world’s mobile phones are smartphones. 91% of mobile Internet access is for social activities versus 79% on desktops. 86% of mobile Internet users are using their devices while watching TV 50% of Twitter users are mobile. 1 Billion of the 4 Billion daily YouTube views are from mobile devices. Mobile Internet usage is projected to overtake desktop usage by 2016 4 Billion people have mobile devices

SMS Texting SMS is an abbreviation for Short Media Service or otherwise known as texting. Texting is really the best way to communicate and reach people because it’s instant. The time it takes to dial a phone number, wait for a connection, wait for an answer and then started talking is eliminated. That’s why people use it so much. In fact, the average person checks their text 90 times a day and people are 80% more likely to check a text then an email. The ease of which someone can type a text simply adds to its popularity. With the new smartphones, you can talk into the telephone while it types your text for you making it even faster.

When ministries are developing their mobile strategies, they initially think about a mobile app or website, unfortunately they very seldom consider the impact of texting. Yes, mobile websites and apps get the most media and are the hot button topics but when it comes down to getting results, texting is the best start to an effective mobile strategy.

A Mobile Site When a smartphone user searches the internet and lands on a website that is not mobile optimized, the user sees the actual computer/laptop style website. The Wall Street Journal is a good example. When you explore that site, it isn’t mobile optimized. You have to blow up individual sections just so you can read it. The Wall Street Journal has made a conscious decision not to have a mobile website. Most businesses, however, have made a decision to have a mobile website.

The advantages of a mobile website are self evident. When a smartphone user accesses a website that has a mobile site, everything fits. You can easily read the information and access the proper links without having to make size adjustments.

Geek tip: Websites can be programmed to automatically show a different version (mobile or regular) of the website based on what type of device you are using. Whether it is a laptop, desktop, mobile device or tablet, a program called a "sniffer" detects the user’s web viewing device and directs the mobile user to the mobile site instead of the normal full size website.

A good mobile website should include (but does not have to be limited to) the following pages: Home – This page should consist of links to the banners of current series and events. Locations and Service Times.

Online Media. - Live services. - Archived Sermons or past TV shows. - Podcasts.

Online Resources. - Links to other ministry resources such as blogs or documents. - Online Bible.

About Us. - About the Pastor. - About the church/ministry. - Volunteering/working at the ministry. - Mission/Vision statement.

Online Giving.

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.

Can Technology Help Us Fulfill the Great Commission Faster?

Continuing my iChurch Method TV series, I was interviewed at Abilene Christian University about the Theological aspects of Digital Ministry and my response is below:

Theologically I look at technology as a way to reach many more people than using methods that are not technology. The first thing that comes to mind when I think about technology is the great commission and taking the gospel to the four corners. If I had to think of a way to fulfill the great commission in the fastest manner, technology is the first thing I think of so that was the first thing that comes to mind.

I think the technology provides a way for the church to have a much larger reach and give people a way to connect and enhance their lives spiritually. The drawbacks I see about technology in terms of a theological perspective is when the technology becomes something that’s worshipped and takes precedence over the message.

What I believe is technology for all intensive purposes has evolved over time, but we’re still just trying to convey the same message of the gospel. Whether we had this conversation a hundred years ago or a hundred years from now, the delivery method will continue to change and evolve but the message will still be the same. So as long as the message is the focus and not the technology then theologically I believe we are sound and practical in our approach.

So, I just want to make sure that when I’m speaking with churches and we’re talking about a theological perspective, as long as their theological concerns are not based on not understanding technology, coming from a place a fear of technology, or just a fear of change, then I believe that theologically we can continue to have a conversation about how to continue to get the gospel out.

But, if theologically we’re just making sure that we’re trying to make sure the focus is on the message and not the technology, because I’ve seen people that worship technology no matter what’s coming through it; it’s about technology. I just want to make sure that the message stays the focus.

Again, the main thing I look at is that technology gives us a faster effective way to get the gospel out to the entire globe.

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.

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

3 Innovative Options for your Ministry Website

When I look at the innovative web design/development techniques that are helping take websites to a new level, I see three things happening. One, CMS systems are being used much more consistently, which is a great way to manage websites with a large number of pages, allow internal users to update only their area of the website and a great way to update the website without knowing code. Two, Parallax animation features using jQuery, HTML5 and CSS has rapidly increased and we are now seeing website that are horizontally or vertically scrolling with the click of a button. Three, more and more websites are being built with Responsive Design features that work equally well on every device. Content Management Systems (CMS) If your site has numerous pages and collects information from a variety of ministries and internal departments, a CMS is a must. It allows non-technical users to update their own areas of the website. It also allows the technical staff to manage the website, restrict access and change the look of the website with minimal repetitive work and time. The best feature of the CMS is the ability to add plugins and add ons that enhance and expand the functionality of the CMS much more quickly then having to update and revamp the entire application.

A great example of this is Wordpress, Wordpress has long been considered a blogging platform and initially it was, but over time it has evolved into one of the best Content Management Systems for websites on the market. It's price tag of FREE is very attractive to many churches and ministries who have limited budgets but would like unlimited website capabilities. With over 23,000 plugins, Wordpress has an ecosystem of developers that are continually enhancing the abilities of the CMS. There are hundreds of thousands of websites that are using Wordpress as a solution and with great plugins such as "adapt to mobile", "block spam comments", "online shopping cart" and "social media sharing", this system is a great one fore ministries. Likewise, there are over 20,000 templates, which give Wordpress the ability to change layouts quickly with the click of a few buttons. Anyone who has participated in the redesign of a website knows how drawn out this process can be and to see the possibility of it occurring in a few clicks is great progress.

Responsive design According to, responsive design uses "media queries" to figure out what resolution of device it's being served on. Flexible images and fluid grids then size correctly to fit the screen. Responsive design techniques also detect the type of device and change the site's behavior accordingly.

As we look to the evolution of websites that churches and ministries can use to reach the masses, it's imperative that we use techniques like responsive design to give online users great website experiences no matter the device. Google and Facebook are leading the charge in this space in their rollout of websites that are based on Responsive design. In March 2013, Facebook launched a major update to their users and created a timeline that looked the same no matter the device the user was on. The only way Facebook can look the same on a smartphone, tablet and laptop is by the brilliant responsive design layout. Likewise, Google+ started using responsive design techniques late 2012. This was the first time Google showed any real attention to their design aspects of their products. Google had already established itself as a company with great online software products but their design was always simplistic and minimal. With responsive design, Google is now showing their design chops and creating a synonymous experience on all devices.

In the mobile section of "The iChurch Method Volume 1" I spoke about creating websites that have a version for the Laptop/Desktop and a version for mobile devices, which is a great solution but essentially double work. With responsive design, you can create one website and program it accordingly to adjust and adapt to multiple devices and give a unified online experience. Here is a good website with great responsive design templates,

Parallax Design Another amazing website design/development feature that is gaining popularity is Parallax. Parallax animation features using jQuery, HTML5 and CSS has rapidly increased and we are now seeing websites that are horizontally or vertically scrolling with the click of a button. This development style is creating a single loading, interactive, animated web experience that engages users in a more effective manner and is often integrated into the responsive design layout. There are many templates that are available to create this experience for online users. Good ones that I have seen are: (a wordpress template) and (a HTML5/CSS template).

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.

Your Website Should Tell Your Story

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 2.25.00 AMOn your home page, you should start to tell your story; the story of the church. I mentioned covering some of this on the About Us page and you can certainly put it there but truly, the first image of your church for the new visitor will be your home page. 75% of new visitors say they visit churches online before coming to the actual building. That makes the website and other online channels the most important welcoming ministry for your entire church. Your message to them must be engaging, personal and it must draw them in. A great home page creates interest in the user so that they continue clicking around your site and hopefully decide to come to you church. Three mediums through which to tell your story are text, images and video. Text is important in explaining concepts that images cannot. However, a professional photo of your pastor, or your congregation, or your local ministry working in the community goes a long way to drawing the new visitor in deeper, telling your story. Images are vital into today’s visual world. It allows the user to move faster because they don’t have to read paragraph after paragraph of written text. When I talk about images, I’m talking about photos and/or graphics. I will talk more about video in the multimedia section, but for now let me state that videos are the one of the most engaging form of multimedia. Videos can take text, images and audio, put it all together and create a form of media that can tell your entire church story. Just know that crafting your story to show the user who you are and what you are all about it a must and it should mix text, high quality images and video.

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!!

Top 5 Social Media Predictions for this Year

It's 2014 and I am looking forward to this year in terms of social media and online web technologies. There are so many new advancements that we will see this year and I can't wait till they are released. But first, I wanted to talk about my top 5 predictions I have for social media this year. Check out the video above and if you don't have time, here is a quick summary.

1.Diversity Your Networks - There's more to social media than Facebook and Twitter and this year many organizations will realize that. More specifically, Facebook will make it much more difficult for organizations to use that network as their only social media presence. There are many social networks (in addition to Facebook and Twitter) that are effective for reaching your online audience such as YouTube, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, Google+ and more.

2. Visual Social Media - Use more photos and videos to tell your story via social media. Photos are the most shared form of multimedia on social networks and video is the most engaging form of multimedia on social networks. Therefore, we need to incorporate more photos and videos to better tell our stories and connect with people via social media.

3. Pay to Play - Facebook Promoted Posts, Twitter Ads and Google Ads will become more important to reach your online audience. You may not have to have a large budget but you will need to consider spending something in order to reach people online more effectively.

4. Mobile - Think Mobile first and then Desktop. Mobile is growing by leaps and bounds and online users are connecting with our web properties (social networks and websites) with mobile first and then desktops. Therefore, we need to make sure our website strategies and social media strategies take into account people on the go using mobile devices.

5. Analyze, Optimize, Repeat - Have a strategy, just don't Wing it! Use your Google Analytics, your Facebook Insights, your Twitter Stats and other data to develop a strategy and see how effective your social media efforts are. This year we need to work for efficiently, streamline our processes and get measurable results.

Should Pastors be on #Facebook, #Twitter and other #Social Media?

Should Pastors be on #Facebook, #Twitter and other #Social Media? What if they say something wrong? Digital Technology has had a profound affect on the identity of the Christian Minister. Here is the transcript from the video above.

Well I think technology with the ministries that I’ve worked with—again they’re very much personality driven—what people want access to in addition to the church is the pastor. What technology has done is kind of torn that veil from us. If you look at a typical weekend service you’re not able to get to the pastor. You’re in a church with thousands of other members and once the pastor is done preaching then he pretty much disappears. You might have an opportunity to shake hands with him on the way out, very rarely, but for the most part that’s it. You saw him preaching the sermon and then he’s off.

What technology does, especially in a case of a large minister like Bishop Jakes, that’s him actually using his Twitter. Most people don’t believe that, but that’s him actually on Twitter responding to people, good and bad. And when people ask him questions, him actually putting out the daily devotionals and him talking to people. That’s what he wanted; he wanted access to the people as well as them having access to him.

That’s what I think the digital technology does, it gives people access to the pastor and lets them, for good and bad, have a glimpse of what he is like outside of the pulpit because that’s all people are used to seeing. Or the especially high quality produced segments where the pastor’s talking about some type of campaign or some type of next message that’s coming up or something like that. No, you actually see this pastor on a arbitrary 12 p.m. Saturday talking about, “I’m out with my family running around at the park,” or something like that. You see how the pastor is a real person and may not always, usually is not 24-7 spiritual churchy mode all the time, and you get access to that.

That is a good thing but it also can be a bad thing because you actually see the pastor in a real light as far as the beliefs you 100% agree with and the beliefs that the pastor may have that you don’t agree with. You may see that via social media or any type of digital media. That’s the stuff that people sometimes can deal with or sometimes cannot deal with. And they look outside of the local area for the most part for the pastor to have a national reach or international reach; they associate that pastor with the church. They may not even know the name of the church but they know the name of the outreach ministry. For example, people know T.D. Jakes Ministries. They may not know The Potter’s House Church. People know Ever Increasing Faith Ministries but they don’t know it comes from Crenshaw Christian Center.

So they associate that pastor with the church and everything he says is an extension of that church. So, when he says something, they feel like the pastor offended them, the church offended them and they don’t want to be affiliated with that anymore. That’s the bad part about it; it amplifies the pastor’s reach.