Ministries Can Use Google Hangouts on Air

google-hangouts-feature Google Hangouts On Air allows you to have an online meeting on camera with up to ten people with all ten talking and contributing if necessary. It also allows you to stream this meeting live to where anyone can watch on their computer, mobile phone or tablet. After you are done, Google will send you an MP4 file for your very own. You can then add this to your archived video and/or chop it up and repurpose it. If you prefer, you can make it private so that no one else can hear or see the meeting except the participants.

With Google Hangouts on Air, there’s at least five great ways to use it for the Internet Church Campus:

  1. Stream your sermons or Bible studies live and record them on
  2. Interactive Bible Study or Ministry meetings that can also be recorded for record keeping purposes.
  3. Interactive Counseling sessions.
  4. Special Events such as conference previews, webinars and online trainings (note: Google Hangouts on Air does not work with paid services so your use of this will be free to users and viewers for now).
  5. Podcasts done quickly and easily.

To setup a Google Hangout on Air for Ministry you just need to login to Google+ and click on the Hangouts option, invite the users you want to participate and launch the hangout. The only drawback is that each participant in the hangout needs to have a Google+ account.

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.

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.

The iChurch Method TV - Why I wrote The iChurch Method

I wrote the book for a few reasons. One, because I wanted to get the information and knowledge that God had put inside of me out to the masses. I work for large churches; they have large budgets and great resources and stuff like that, but smaller churches may not have the resources or the expertise to hire a Jason Caston, so I wanted them to be able to have access to the information and knowledge that I had. I wanted to put these resources into a book format that they could get access to.

The book, for a low cost of an average book, $9.99 and $19.99 or something like that, you can buy the book and see the approaches that I took with these large churches. Now, when you see it happening with these large churches you may think it’s costing $10,000 dollars, $20,000 dollars, $100,000 dollars just because you think that church has that budget. In actuality it’s costing $100, $500, maybe $1000 dollars, and that’s well within the reach of a small church. So, I wanted them to be able to have access to that.

Literally the iChurch Method, the book, is a brain dump of what I do in a typical week working with these ministries. I don’t want people to think the book was something that’s not actually going on right now in real time. It’s not old technology; it’s real technology that’s current and going on right now. I wanted them to be able to have access to that.

I also wanted them to have access and reach people the same way large churches are doing it because when it comes to a website it doesn’t matter if you have a bible study in your living room or a small storefront church or a large mega church. The technology that you have access to is all the same, so you just need to have the resources and the knowledge and expertise on how to utilize it, and that’s what I put in that book.

After looking at the book, the next step is to figure out how you want to approach it. The book was written twofold. The first half of every chapter is written with a strategical perspective, so that’s for the decision makers or the pastors or the leadership to be able to make a well informed decision about what they want to do with the technology that was presented.

So, if a pastor reads the first chapter which is about websites, the first half of it is about the strategy of websites and why are we using them and what technology is being introduced to provide that solution, that way the pastor or leadership can have a well informed discussion with the technical person that may actually implement the solution. The pastor is well informed enough to have a conversation so that the technical person is not able to take advantage of them. That was another aspect of me writing the book was to empower leadership and pastors and the people of the smaller churches to have the knowledge to not let companies take advantage of them that are maybe out to just try and make a profit off of the church. I don’t want that to occur.

The next step is to figure out, from a strategical perspective, if you want somebody else to implement it for you. If so, then you can take this book, know exactly how you want to implement it, hand it to them and say, “Look, I want you to do what’s in chapter one, do what’s in chapter three, not so much chapter two; we’ll get to that later, and do what’s in chapter four. I read the book, so I know what’s in it and I just want you to implement the solutions that I’ve seen.” I think that would be the best approach for that. Now, there’s another aspect to it if you have a pastor that’s tech savvy. Some pastors I’ve worked with have wanted to implement it themselves. So, the second half of every chapter is a technical section where I’ve actually given code snippets or I give screenshots of walkthroughs of how to implement and set up Facebook fan pages, how to set up podcasts or how to load up videos on and stuff like that.

If you want to get hands-on and roll up your sleeves and actually do it, then I provide solutions for that as well and examples on how to do that. If people want to do it themselves, they can; otherwise they can hand it off to someone who can do it for them and they know exactly what it is they want done.

The last week of April 2013, maybe early May 2013, I’m going to release Volume Two of the iChurch Method. Volume One that I released was called How to Advance Your Ministry Online. That was just the introduction as far as me showing people how to utilize the technology and advance your ministry online starting from nothing.

With Volume Two, Changing the World When You Log In, is taking what was introduced in Volume One to another level. For example, in Volume One we talk about how to get your website up, what content management systems to use. In Volume Two we’re talking about taking that website that’s already implemented to another level using technology such as the parallax, responsive design, and stuff like that. We just want to keep taking things to the next level.

A good example is in chapter two. In Volume One we talk about multimedia, podcasting, online video, online streaming. In Volume Two in the multimedia section we’re talking about creating an entire internet church campus. Now I felt like I had to wait to give people information on how to implement an internet church campus because I wanted them to first have a website before they tried to jump up and try to create an entire internet church campus.

Once you start putting all these multimedia aspects together and these interactive aspects together, you can start creating that internet church campus, and that’s what I want to start guiding people towards with that. Of course with social media, the next level of that is we’ve seen Facebook bought Instagram, we’ve seen Pinterest really take off, and we’ve seen this visual social media really take off based more around video and pictures and stuff like that and I want to educate and inform people on how to utilize that.

Of course in mobile, mobile websites are really the initial step of getting a church or ministry online, but now let’s talk about mobile apps and how to take that to another level. Let’s talk about tablets and how to best utilize those and implement and integrate those into the church.

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 iChurch Method - Vol. 1 and Vol. 2

Since I have released The iChurch Method Vol. 2, I have been getting the same question, what’s the difference between the two books? And, which one should you buy?

First and foremost, the two books is that they are continuations of each other. They both focus on the five areas of The iChurch Method, which is websites, multimedia, eCommerce, social media and mobile. The difference between them is that vol. 1, How to Advance Your Ministry Online is the basics of The iChurch Method and vol. 2, Changing the World When You Login, is the advanced version of The iChurch Method.


Here is a breakdown

Vol. 1 - How to Advance Your Ministry Online


  • Objectives of a Website
  • Using a CMS (Content Mgmt System)
  • Website Layout

  • Multimedia

  • Podcasting
  • Live Streaming for FREE
  • Archived Video
  • Adding media to websites

  • eCommerce

  • Basic Online giving setup
  • Basic Online store setup

  • Social Media

  • Social Media Strategy - Part 1
  • Sharing content from website
  • Facebook/Twitter basics

  • Mobile

  • Mobile Websites
  • Vol. 2 - Changing the World When You Login

  • Advanced websites with Responsive design.
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Analytics

  • Multimedia

  • Internet Church Campus
  • Google Hangouts

  • eCommerce

  • Online giving forms
  • Offline Commerce

  • Social Media

  • Social Media Strategy - Part 2
  • Visual Social Media
  • Mobile Social Media

  • Mobile

  • Mobile Apps

  • The reason I have two books is that technology is always evolving and changing, therefore in order for organizations to keep up, they need books and trainings that are always evolving and changing. I will continue to publish The iChurch Method volumes as long as necessary to keep ministries updated on current technologies.

    How I got involved in working with Ministries

    Continuing The iChurch Method TV series, here's the transcript from the video above.

    The first ministry that gave me the opportunity to work with them was Crenshaw Christian Center out in Los Angeles. When I got there in 2007 they were utilizing technology as best they could. The people they had on staff were working on some great technological things but they just didn’t know how to utilize the internet as best as it could be used at the time.

    What I was able to do was come in and look at what they had going on and start looking at how they could do it better. Coming to a large ministry—from the outside looking in— you think that they know everything; they have everything going on. What I was able to see was how I was able to utilize my skill set and actually make an impact instead of just coming in and being a cog in the wheel.

    With that ministry I was able to start working on developing solutions for their websites and multimedia, eCommerce, social media, and stuff like that, and see how it actually transformed the ministry because it was able to bring those aspects to the ministry in a way that they weren’t using them before.

    Likewise, when I was working with TD Jakes Ministries and went out there—even starting back to when I came in for the interview—they asked me what I could bring to the ministry. I gave them five areas; I said, “I can help you out with your websites, multimedia, eCommerce, social media, and mobile.” Subsequently those five topics became the chapters in the book I wrote, The iChurch Method.

    What really helped me out with these ministries is seeing the things that I was bringing to the ministry, actually seeing the impact of them and how people were able to interact more with the ministry via technology. But, I also see that even as large as these ministries were and the great impact that they already had from me watching them from afar all these years, I saw that something that God put in me was actually able to help them at a time such as now.

    It was two-fold. First let’s go back to Crenshaw Christian Center. Starting with them I was a one-man department. Basically I was hired to revamp the entire web presence. Everything that was going on on the internet that you see such as the social media aspect of it, the mobile, the website, I was a one-man department. I had a graphic person that worked with me but any internet solutions, whatever I came up with, was the solution they went with.

    I worked very closely with the pastor. He was a young guy like myself, early 30s, so we had a good idea what we wanted to do in terms of technology and he would give me his ideas and I would make them happen in terms of technology.

    On the other side of that, with T.D. Jakes Ministries, it was a much larger environment. I was a part of a team. I came in and initially they wanted me to work specifically just on websites but then when I started telling them the other expertise that I had, which was the eCommerce, the multimedia, and stuff like that, I started to expand to other teams. Initially I came in working with online marketing and that was initially what they thought I could do. Then I kind of became a hybrid of working with IT because of the actual programming stuff that I knew how to do as well.

    The real kind of pivot came when social media really took off on the scene. TD Jakes Ministries, when I got there, they weren’t really using social media in that manner and this is 2010. So, when I started showing them some solutions and developing some strategies for them to help utilize social media on a whole other level—mainly Facebook and Twitter at that time—then they really let me just go ahead and run with it. Basically kind of probably to keep me quiet.

    But, the thing that happened that was phenomenal was social media took off; it exploded. When I got there they probably had 2000 people just off of the name of the pastor, Bishop Jakes. Within two years we increased that to a million.

    The iChuch Method at ACU Summitt

    generic-powerpoint-2013 In the middle of Texas there's a small city called Abilene. In Abilene is one of the most advanced Christian universities called Abilene Christian university. Prior to stepping foot on campus december 2012, I had never heard of the school but I am glad that I was invited back then as well as Sept 16 - 18, 2013 for the 107th ACU Summit. In December 2012, I was invited by Prof. John Weaver to come record a set of interviews and teachings about my thoughts on Church and Technology. Here are the interviews.

    It was a great opportunity for me because not only was I called in to be a guest speaker but also Prof. Weaver used The iChurch Method books in his course. This marked the second university (Biola University was the first) that used The iChurch Method as a training manual.

    At the end of my visit, I was informed about an annual conference ACU has where numerous people from around the country gather to discuss how to better conduct ministry as well as learn from the brightest in the kingdom. I was also invited to teach The iChurch Method at this conference since it was one of the first methods for the church that focused on the technical aspects of doing ministry online.

    Therefore, if you are able, join me Sept 16 - 18, 2013 at Abilene Christian University where I will be teaching The iChurch Method for 3 days from 4:00 - 4:45pm as well as selling and signing The iChurch Method and How to Get One Million Social Media Fans books.

    How to Advance Your Ministry Online

    urlThe world is rapidly changing, and in order to keep up, and minister effectively to your congregation, you need to take advantage of the latest technology that your parishioners are using to stay connected with friends and family, do business, and take care of their personal and spiritual needs. This can be a confusing set of circumstances to navigate, with all kinds of media sites and technology out there clamoring to be utilized, all claiming to be the best way of reaching your current and potential congregation. How do you proceed? Here is a rough, abbreviated breakdown of the technology that is available to you to help you reach and expand your congregation.

    Your Website If you don't already have a website, why not? Printed phone books and encyclopedias are nearly obsolete, as the internet makes information so much more easily accessed, from finding local vendors to answering your children's homework questions. If your church does not already have a website, it should. And if it does, it should be updated frequently with fresh, informative content to keep parishioners checking back regularly to see what's new.

    Multimedia - Interactive Multimedia Your church building may only hold 100, 200, or 500 members, but your virtual church can reach millions, through the power of media. Do you have a pastor who is a particularly powerful speaker, someone people wait all week to hear? Videotape the sermons and make them available online. You can post them on your website, your Facebook page, YouTube and more, to attract more members to your church, or increase your revenue by offering them for sale, via CD, DVD or audio or video download from your online store, which brings us to…

    eCommerce Take donations online, sell recordings of sermons and motivational lectures, allow parishioners to purchase tickets to special events and more with an eCommerce site.

    Social Media Harness the power of the most interactive technology the world has ever known by leveraging social media to get your message out to more people than your predecessors could have ever dreamed of. With the right message, or a captivating photo, video clip or other post, your church can go viral, and expand far beyond the reach of its physical walls.

    Mobile Technology Almost everyone seems to have a smart phone these days, and they're always surfing the net. If they're looking for spiritual guidance, be the one to give it to them with a mobile-optimized website. What difference does it make? Imagine seeing your current website on a 2-inch square screen and you'll understand. A mobile optimized site shows your visitors what you think is important, and lets them browse through the rest of the site at their leisure.

    In summary, as bewildering as it may seem at first, the newest technology that is overwhelming us with its rapidly evolving applications is a powerful tool for churches to reach out to members and potential members in a way never before possible. It's a brave new electronic world out there. Make sure you're a part of it.

    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 Churches Can Use Video to enhance Church Online

    urlWhat kind of video needs does your church have? You probably didn't even realize you had any. Video capability can enhance the churchgoing experience, allowing you to reach out to thousands of people online, some of whom may decide to attend your church in person, and others who will take what they need from the online sermons. Live streaming video of your sermons is a powerful tool, allowing you to expand your congregation without having to knock down any walls or even hire a contractor. Regular members will also be able to watch even when they are sick or out of town. These live streaming videos can be posted on your site later as on-demand videos, archived by date for parishioners to access at their leisure.

    Other types of church activities can be filmed as well, from church picnics, fundraising activities, charity drives, sporting events and pageants to community outreach messages and public service announcements. Consider cutting apart and editing some of these videos into short clips, which will be more watchable than the long version. Show highlights of events, or create a sort of video montage, so that viewers don't have to sit through the whole thing.

    Videos can be posted on YouTube and embedded into your site for easier loading and to reduce space requirements. Start a YouTube account for your church, where parishioners can go and watch all of the various clips you have uploaded, and be sure to advertise it on your site. And don't forget about social media sites like Facebook, where you can post or embed videos as well.

    Where Do I Get All These Videos? You should invest in a good digital video camera for your church. With today's technology, these are not terribly expensive. Make sure you get a tripod for recording sermons. The camera will come with its own software for editing and saving videos in one or more of several popular video formats:

    • MP4 - a common format with good compression for internet streaming and digital distribution; • MOV - similar to MP4 but not as common and does not compress as well; • M4V - used mostly by Apple, similar to MP4 with good compression for smaller file sizes; • WMV - Microsoft's version for Windows; it has very good compression, high quality audio and video with small file sizes, but does not play on Macs without conversion software.

    Once you have the camera and the software, start filming, and then play around with the editing software. You'll be delighted at how much fun it can actually be!

    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.

    Why Does My Ministry Need a YouTube Account?

    youtube-for-android-lets-you-watch-videos-mostly-offline-updated--8bb4ae8a43People love videos, and if a picture can paint a thousand words, just think about what kind of message you can get across with even a short video. YouTube is the most popular site on the whole Internet for people to share videos of all kinds, and many of these videos are viewed by hundreds of thousands or even millions of viewers. In fact, YouTube has some 490 million registered users, and many more who simply view videos without registering. YouTube makes posting videos on your website quick and easy, without taking up a lot of space or needing extra time to load. You simply post the actual video on YouTube, and then put the HTML code that YouTube provides you to embed the video right into your website. The video shows up on your site just as if it were actually there, but when the viewer plays it, they're actually accessing it through YouTube.

    When you create a YouTube account, you not only get the privilege of posting videos, but you can actually establish a presence for your church on YouTube by creating your own channel, where parishioners can find all of your videos in one place. It's a great way to set up an archive without having to use up space on your own site.

    Create Your Own "Sound Bytes" Consider videotaping whole sermons and then editing them to three to five minute clips, highlighting the most powerful parts. Then you can post the "sound bytes" on YouTube, embedding them in your site, and post a link to where the viewer can either download the whole sermon, or purchase it from your Web store. What great advertising!

    Not only will you get business from the viewers who come to your site, but from potentially thousands more who stumble across your videos on YouTube. And every video you post increases your Web presence, much as the size of your website can improve your listings on Google searches. You Tube is actually the second largest search engine behind, and is owned by Google, Inc.

    You don't have to only post sermons, either. Consider editing together videos from various events, like picnics and bazaars and church outings. Make sure to highlight the most exciting parts, and perhaps even put them to music. You can use these kinds of videos to attract young people to your church who are looking for fun things to do on weekends. Video is your way of presenting the best parts of your church to the world, and YouTube is the conduit.

    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.

    Google Glass Review

    I finally got a chance to play with a pair of Google Glass, and I recorded my thoughts in the video above. Here are some key points:

    • They are a great step forward in mobile hardware and software
    • The interaction of using them without having to use your hands is very innovative
    • The interface is easy to see and easy to use, so much so that when I let my daughters put them on they were able to catch on (ages 6 and 8).
    • Integrating Google Glass and other devices, tablets, phones (maybe), smartwatches, internet tvs and so on, will make the lines between offline and online always integrated.

    The iChurch Method TV - Ep 11 - Churches and their Understanding of 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 the expertise to actually implement it so 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 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.

    Content Strategy They are somewhat aware. They understand that they want something that’s innovative; they want the neat, shiny, new thing on the block. They also understand that they want a content management system; something that they can still work with once the website is done and handed off to them from the developer. So, they understand that part of it.

    What they don’t understand is just the expertise that it takes to actually develop that. They might not understand that the stuff they see that’s easy for them to use on the website might take weeks or months to develop; they don’t understand that part.

    They’re starting to understand that the key buzzword is social media. So, when they see a new website they always want to know where’s the social media aspect of that, but then they may not think about the other aspects that you need in a website which would be the eCommerce aspect with online donations, online stores, the stuff that people look for when they come to the website. They want to know contact information, locations, service times, those basic things about the ministry. Those basic things need to be looked at before we even get to the new shiny, touchy-feely website. We need to look at a content strategy.

    The hardest part that I’ve seen with ministries is not the website; they know they need a website because they see a whole bunch of churches with one, but they have a hard time figuring out how to get the content from the pastor or from the leadership and onto the website and onto the social media in an effective streamlined manner.

    What was going through my mind was looking at these five aspects that I had, each chapter to me was something I actually would do in a typical week at work. In a typical week I work on the websites and multimedia, eCommerce, social media, and mobile, so when I’m putting this book together I’m thinking, “What is it that I do that people would need to know from the most basic level all the way up to the most technologically advanced level?” I want to make sure if we have a pastor who’s not as technically savvy, he can look at the book and understand, and have a conversation and hand it off to someone who is technologically savvy.

    But, what if the technologically savvy person picks up the book? I want to make sure this book challenges them as well and gives them new ideas and strategies so that they can utilize them within their ministry.

    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 iChurch Method TV - Ep 10 - Ministries on Internet TV, it's happening!

    Continuing The iChurch Method TV series, this week we are talking about Internet TV and how ministries can utilize it.

    We have conversations about internet TV. Internet TV is accessible right now for ministries really for free. It’s a twofold approach that I lay out to them. Of course we can talk about big budgets, but initially they want to hear about the free option.

    If we look at the free option, I tell them you can either look at using or If they use that to stream then they can stream to internet TV enabled devices like Roku box or Apple TV or xBox TV or even Boxee TV. Those solutions are already available today and they already have UStream channels on them, specifically the Roku box has a UStream channel on it.

    When you set up your UStream live feed from your ministry then someone who has a Roku box can watch your stream for free on Roku, the UStream channel, or even on Google TV. Google TV also has internet enabled browsers where people can tune in to your live services right through their TV.

    We have quite a few conversations about internet TV and where it’s going, especially in comparison to the traditional TV model where you have like a TBN or a word network and the pricing structure that’s for that. Basically once they hear that it’s free or even, we’ll say, $1000 a month or something like that, that pricing structure is much more favorable than $50,000 a week to have a half-hour show on TV.

    The iChurch Method TV - Ep. 9 - How to Become an International Ministry

    Continuing The iChurch Method TV series, here is the transcript from the video above.

    You become an international ministry as soon as we flick the switch on your website, as soon as you set up the Facebook fan page, as soon as you set up your Twitter account. What ministries don’t realize is they may have, we’ll say 100, a couple hundred, or a couple thousand people that will come into their sanctuary. But, if you get one person that tunes in to your ministry, your website, your online stream, from India, from Europe, from Africa, that makes you an international ministry. Had you not utilized those technological tools, that person would not have been receiving the ministry from your church.

    That’s the thing that ministries have to understand; as soon as you give people a way to connect with your ministry that are not in your regional or national area then you become an international ministry. Just those simple steps of setting up your website or setting up your social media channels, that makes you become an international ministry.

    [You] have to realize that initially we start off and we only think in the box that we’re in. We think about only having our services in English. We think everybody is watching the service at the same time we would watch it, or we think people are connecting with the ministry at the same time we’re connecting with the ministry. A typical example would be a ministry might have office hours from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Well, international time that may be midnight to 8:00 a.m., so they’re not connecting with your ministry at that time. They’re connecting with the ministry at the hours that they would like to.

    So, when you have social media then you have to look at the fact that people want to connect with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So, you just have to basically evolve your strategy to accommodate ministry at hours outside of what you’re used to, at times outside of what you’re used to, and in languages outside of what you’re used to.

    Church Documents You Should Post on Your Website

    urlPosting documents on your church website is relatively easy and doesn't cost anything, beyond the time and effort required to create them. You can create documents in any kind of software such as Microsoft Word and convert them to an Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format) file, which you can place on your server for linking to your site. You can generate directories, brochures, committee reports, meeting minutes or any other sort of document that you might otherwise provide in printed form, and allow members to print them out directly from your site. This will save quite a lot of money in printing costs as well as creating an added convenience for your parishioners.

    Some documents you might consider making available on your church website are:

    • Your church newsletter. Create it in Word, convert it to PDF, and you can email it to everyone who has subscribed, and then make it available in a Newsletter Archives page on your site; • Digital magazines are similar to newsletters, but tend to focus on a broader topic rather than specific church events; • E-books can be made available for download as PDFs, either for free or for a price via your Web store. This is particularly useful if your pastor has written a book that is already available as an e-book download through Amazon or some other site; you can also sell it in PDF format directly from your site; • Information about the various missionaries your church supports. You can provide biographical information, where they are working, contact information if appropriate, and use this information to get church members to pray for them and their success; • Committee reports, meeting minutes and any other sort of formal or informal notational material regarding church committees and working groups. This ensures that everyone feels connected to the work that the church is doing, and stays informed of current plans and goals; • Important contact information, for outreach centers, crisis hotline numbers, volunteer centers and such; • Forms, such as registration, sign-up sheets, and anything else you prefer the user fill out and physically return to the church rather than filling them in online.

    Documents are the easiest of all the media to post on your website, with no added expense or hosting requirements.

    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 iChurch Method TV - Ep. 8 - How to take a sermon and distribute it as digital content

    Continuing my series on The iChurch Method and how it works, in this segment I speak on How to take a sermon and distribute it as digital content. Here is the transcript:

    First thing I’m asking is if we have a way to get it recorded on video, because from video we can get video and audio. If we can then we try and look at that approach. But, say for instance we just can’t, then we look at taking that audio message and we’ll still let people tune in to it and archive it and watch it. We’ll create a page where they can listen to it during the week and we’ll also put a link right underneath so they can download it for a fee. We’ll also distribute that via podcast. If we start, say, putting a bumper on the front and end of it letting people know to come to the website or come visit the ministry then we can start distributing that content to a variety of outlets as opposed to just waiting for people to come to the website.

    It’s good that people are coming to the website and they’re listening to the sermon but we also want to make sure we’re taking that ministry to the people and getting it out to the masses.

    Get Your Ministry on TV…Internet TV

    itv Over the last few years there has been a variety of stories on cutting the cable cord, rising costs of cable and the unnecessary bundles that cable offers. With streaming options such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus, streaming video options are becoming more popular, especially among young people who don’t feel the need to own cable. Thus the question is how can your church take advantage of this viewing transformation, well, i’m glad you asked. Internet TV is a great solution for ministries because it removes the cost barrier that currently exists for traditional TV and the average church budget. The average church doesn’t have the budget to get on a national TV station or even the budget to produce a nationally televised broadcast, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a word that needs to be heard nationally. Instead of paying TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) $15,000 a week to broadcast a 30 minute show, a ministry can pay $250 a month to build a channel on Roku and broadcast 24/7/365.

    In addition to Roku, Google TV has allowed ministries to build channels (apps) that can be installed and watched on television. Additionally, Google TV has a built in web browser (Google Chrome) that can be utilized to watch streaming services online. Later this year Apple TV is reportedly opening up it’s Apple TV software for apps, this would give churches yet another opportunity to establish a presence on people’s TVs and in our living rooms. Now the real opportunity lies in Microsoft’s Xbox. Xbox currently is leading the charge into the living room and ever since they started offering Internet TV options such as Netflix, Hulu TV, Amazon Video and ESPN Watch Now, there has been anticipation building as to when they would allow the masses to build channels for their hardware.

    Overall, churches have a great opportunity to establish themselves in people’s living rooms for a fraction of the cost that are associated with traditional methods. As churches move from streaming videos on traditional websites to tablets to mobile devices to internet televisions, the impact and reach will continue to grow and reach the masses.

    The iChurch Method TV - Ep. 7 - How to Identify and Distribute the Content of Your Church

    Continuing my series on The iChurch Method and how it works, in this segment I speak on How to Identify and Distribute the Content of Your Church. Here is the transcript:

    The first thing I talk to you about is content. I keep stressing content because I’ve dealt with some small ministries, whether it’s a bible study in a living room with ten people or a mega church with 20,000 people and the issue is always content. Where is your content coming from and how can we gather it all together and get ready to distribute it online?

    Once we identify all that content and we’re looking at how often are you preaching; are we talking about bible study during the week, are we talking about a sermon on the weekend, do you have any other type of content that you want to get out that the church distributes regularly, which most often people think announcements or maybe some other events going on at the church. I need all that content and whatever else the pastor has done, books, devotionals, anything, and let’s talk about how we can distribute that online. Once we get that done then we start looking at the ways we distribute it online; social media, websites, mobile, multimedia. We start looking at stuff like that.

    Then we start talking about the financial aspect and if you want to create an online store. We’re not talking about CDs and DVDs, let’s talk about digital products; that’s no overhead and it’s all profit. Let’s talk about online donations. If you don’t have that already, let’s set up a free PayPal account and start getting online donations. Let people support you and support the ministry from wherever they’re at and stop limiting them to supporting it only when they step inside the sanctuary.

    The iChurch Method TV - The method behind the iChurch

    Continuing my insight into how The iChurch Method can help ministries, I spoke about how the actual method came into existence.

    Looking at these five aspects that I had, each chapter to me was something I actually would do in a typical week at work. In a typical week I’d work on the websites, multimedia, eCommerce, social media, and mobile. So, when I’m putting this book together I’m thinking, “What is it that I do that people would need to know from the most basic level all the way up to the most technologically advanced level?”

    I want to make sure that if we have a pastor who’s not as technically savvy, he can look at the book and kind of understand and have a conversation and hand it off to someone who is technically savvy. But, what if the technology savvy person picks up the book? I want to make sure that this book challenges them as well and gives them new ideas and strategies so that they can utilize them within their ministry.

    Five Aspects Website — First we need a website that’s interactive and innovative. You definitely need that because that’s the door to your ministry. Most churches don’t understand that the website is one of the most effective resources that the ministry has. A lot of people will go to your website before they’ll step foot inside your sanctuary.

    Multimedia — That’s online streaming, online videos, and podcasting. When we look at the popularity of YouTube we see that video is the fastest growing form of content on the internet. We look as mobile as well; people are just consuming video via mobile just at alarming rates. So, you have to have a multimedia strategy.

    eCommerce — eCommerce is your online donations and your online stores. Well, of course online donations make it easy for people to support the ministry financially from wherever they’re at. They don’t have to come into the sanctuary and do the typical old traditional way of putting tithes in the bucket or something like that. They can donate online and from their mobile device.

    Social media — We know social media just transformed the way we use the internet. Everything is social now. Facebook has over a billion users that are signed up for it, and Twitter is continuously growing. So, social media has just transformed the way we use the internet and it gives ministries a way to reach people that may not ever step foot inside their building.

    Mobile — There are over a billion mobile devices around the world. People carry around mobile devices everywhere they go, so that gives you an actual way to take ministry to the people. When your ministry is accessible via mobile device you now are accessible to this person wherever they’re at; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    The iChurch Method at The Biola Digital Ministry Conference

    biola_FB_Cover Last year I attended a great gathering called the Biola Digital Ministry conference, this year I was invited to speak. I am looking forward to this engagement because not only is The iChurch Method a sponsor, but I have always had aspirations to attend Biola and/or be a professor there (online of course). I will be speaking from my two most recent releases, The iChurch Method vol. 2 (as well as The iChurch Method vol. 1) and How to Get One Million Social Media Fans. I look forward to enlightening and educating the attendees and leaving them inspired and motivated to go do great things for the kingdom.

    Here are synopsis of my two sessions:

    Session 1 The iChurch Method is a five part method that can help any church advance their ministry online and give them a global presence. Using Websites (Interactive and Responsive), Multimedia (Online Video and Streaming), Ecommerce (Online stores and donations), Social Media and Mobile (Apps and Websites), each and every church can develop an online strategy that can reach people all around the world and give them the capability to hear the gospel. This session will provide the strategies and explain the iChurch Method's approach to helping ministries advance online.

    Session 2 Social Media has fundamentally changed the way we use the internet and this has opened up an amazing opportunity for the church. People are already looking for the solutions that the church has, the church just needs to meet them where they are, which is on social media. By focusing on a strategy of high quality visual content, a variety of sharing features, external social media advertising and establishing a presence on the top social networks, a ministry can build up an online audience that exceeds the number of seats in its sanctuary. This session will provide ways to take your social media to the next level and connect with millions of fans/followers/subscribers online.