Healthy Church Growth – Episode 27

Grieving Loss: When Good People Leave the Team

Losing staff members is inevitable, but it can make you question yourself as a leader. We discuss how to set your team up for success so that if a member leaves, you can be confident that you did everything you could to help them thrive in your organization. 

On Instagram: @Mikemage, @techjustinrp, @vers_creative


Transcriptions:

Mike Mage
Welcome to the Healthy Church Growth podcast.

Welcome to the Healthy Church Growth podcast. It’s incredible to have you along with us here for these conversations that my co host, Justin Price and I are having. Justin, how are you doing today, man?

Justin Price
I’m doing good, Mike. You know, there’s been a pressing question I have for you. And I don’t think we’ve ever really just, like, gotten deep before on this topic and. Alright, so, um, have you ever lost anybody that you’ve loved?

Mike Mage
Yeah, I, just diving right in here real quick. Right up top.

Justin Price
Yeah, super, super shallow.

Mike Mage
I have actually, personally, you know, I did, I did lose my mom, about three and a half years ago to breast cancer and really terrible. Like, I mean, honestly, is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through as a person, you know, an adult, whatever, just as a human, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through. And, you know, losing people is obviously not fine. I mean, it’s just, it’s a terrible thing. And you know, even professionally, Justin, I know, you I’ve you and I had conversations about this, but we actually lost; He’s not dead. We didn’t lose him.

Justin Price
It feels, it feels like it.

Mike Mage
Yes. But from, from our professional at, you know, here at the church, we did end up losing a team member. He, you know, he decided to he got an offer to work somewhere else. And he’s no longer going to be a part of our team. And it really, you know, especially after 2020 and, you know, I know, for a lot of people out there listening, if you were in some sort of creative work, you know, you were really the engine of your church, you know, whether it was leading worship online, or putting together communications or

Justin Price
This was your video guy.

Mike Mage
Yeah. So this was

Justin Price
Everything you put out, went through his desk.

Mike Mage
Yeah. And he was our primary lens of how we got whatever we were doing out into the world, and, you know, got getting to impact 1000s of people by what he was being able to do. And, you know, he felt like God was calling him to be somewhere else. And who am I to, you know, say yes or no to that, you know, that’s that’s his personal thing. But it really does feel like we’re losing a family member, you know. Especially after a feeling feeling like really, we we all went to war together. And, you know, he felt that way, too, you know, we we all prayed over him. And, you know, it was it got very emotional. And he just kind of feels like this is the right move for him and his, whatever he wants to do, which again, I don’t disagree with, but still kind of a hard pill to swallow. So. Yeah. What about you? I mean,

Justin Price
Yeah, it’s interesting. I had a, I had a video guy that I poured a lot of time into, and we’re not gonna get into obviously losing a loved one. But I’ve had some, some instances in my life of losing people that were close to me. And yeah. And it is interesting how, how similar the feeling of loss can be. Yeah. But especially in this, like, we think about our teams, right? When we think about what our the DNA of the time, sometimes we actually spend time with the people we work with more than we spend with our families. So when you talk about losing a family member, in many ways, the memories or the the loss is sometimes even stronger, the sense of loss is even stronger. When you look at the mere time that’s been spent, you know.

Mike Mage
Totally. Yeah, it makes sense to feel as entwined, especially when it comes to like, either creative work, because I do think that it involves, you know, like, a lot of who we are as humans, but then, you know, you’re talking about church work. I mean, there’s just, there’s so much intertwined and tied up into that you can really start to identify as a group together or, you know, as a family together. And it’s it’s hard to unstitch those things, you know. Yeah, from from each other. So,

Justin Price
I think one of the first thoughts that comes to our minds as, especially as leaders, is sometimes like, what could we have done to stop that from happening? You know, what can we do to fix that? And, you know, whether that was, in any circumstance, I think we always kind of second guess ourselves. And sometimes I think there’s there are certain circumstances I lost a great employee to a circumstance that I couldn’t change. So, you know, we run a creative agency now that serves churches, and we serve a lot of large nonprofits and for profits, and the way that we’re able to do that most effectively is to be distributed across the country, which means we don’t have a lot of people who work in the same city. And this person was working in Orlando, and she was phenomenal. I mean, She was really great. But there was no community. And she started like two weeks before COVID. And so all of our staff get like, in person, staff retreats got shut down. She couldn’t visit from, you know, lots of times staff will come into town or I will, I will meet with, with staff, and, and our clients. And we’ll travel and things like that. So there was no travel. And she was she’s an extrovert, and she really did not want to be inside a house by herself. And even like coffee shops, like even the opportunity to like work around other people. She couldn’t do, right. And she just she was like, I mean, even if we would have paid her more, even if we could have done it, like she ended up leaving to take a job in an office. And like, and so you know, when you hear those circumstances, the loss is still felt. But there is this, there is a sense of resolve that I think that allows you to process it and move forward and go, like, I can’t change that circumstance, I can’t change that. And in the future, I’ll have like, and by the way, we vetted like, in the interview process, we said, hey, you’re gonna have to work hard about it, like, you’re gonna have to make sure you get out, you’re gonna have to put good boundaries in your life to make sure because you are an extrovert, you want to make sure you do get that, but her church got shut down. She was like leading a huge team at her church, and she couldn’t even like interact with them. So she didn’t, it wasn’t just a workplace, it was that everything else got stripped away. And when she got an offer to go to office environment and work with people, it was like, everything else was still shut down. And I can do anything after six months of her working by herself in her office and probably going a little bit nuts. So

Mike Mage
Yeah, well, I, I mean, yeah, I think that there’s a lot of outs, I mean, gosh, 2020 was a year where outside circumstances dictated what we did, more than anything else that I’ve seen in my lifetime. And especially changed what we did. Just as like, as a church as creatives, all that kind of stuff. I mean, we had to adapt quicker, I guess, you know, there’s a lot, there’s always been a lot of outside forces, dictating what we’re doing, or I guess how we’re doing things, not necessarily changing why we’re doing them, but how and what we’re doing. But this just had to be so quick. That Yeah, there’s there’s not a lot that you could have done for her. If, you know, like COVID happened, you know, like you can’t; You or I outside of not getting COVID or not spreading into somebody, we really can’t do a whole lot about that. Talking about losing people, you know, sometimes like, you know, either her, or maybe you know, someone else that you’ve been talking about, you know, there’s this idea of, well, and especially I see this a lot in the church. And I don’t think it’s wrong, necessarily. But I’d love to get your thoughts on it. We hold this attitude, that what we’re doing is we are building the kingdom, and we are equipping the kingdom, we’re building it. And, you know, I get that we have to hold everything that we have with open hands, and be generous with our training and our wisdom and you know, our time, our resources, all that kind of stuff. Do you think that there’s something noble about, you know, just training someone up for them to leave? You know, is that like something that we should be after? How do we approach ministry in that way? You know, does that make sense?

Justin Price
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, this is something that, so like, three years ago, I had an employee that left that I had poured a lot of time into, and that I loved very much. And I felt I was very proud of the development that had happened. And then as soon as the like the non compete contract was up, that was on paper, this employee was like, peace out, I can make a lot more money somewhere else. Well, actually not somewhere else, but working for myself. And so that was, it was super tough. That was that was that one was one that immediately caused me to go, hey, how can I prevent that from happening in the future? And I mean, I was asking that same question like, well, should I have not poured that much into that person so that they were valuable, right, that they could make money outside? Should I have put like, tighter restraints on them? You know, like, that was one of my first thoughts is like, I should have tied them down with like, tighter contracts, or whatever. And I think that the, the, there’s one, there’s like one clear answer to all of the questions and that since that employee left I have been asking in searching for and writing articles and writing this all down in kind of how we build out our culture. And the one principle that I feel really confident that I can say is that whether it is noble or not, and whether it is good or bad or whatever. The thing that stands true in leading creatives, when it comes to the topic of keeping them is to not worry about keeping them, but to worry about providing what is best for them. And to serve them and to love them, and to give them every opportunity to be successful inside of your organization. And what that means is that it means you have to train them and then open up the opportunities for them. And sometimes those don’t happen together. Sometimes you’ll train them and the opportunity is not there, you know, and then sometimes you train them, and you have to pray that they’ll be patient enough for that opportunity to come along. But you can’t, you can’t force that. But you can teach it, and you can review and touch base with them. So what like one of the things that we we’ve been doing in the last, the last little bit is like trying to have more frequent reviews. And in those reviews, we talk about that person’s future, and what are their hopes for their future? And what are their desired outcomes for the future? If they know that you know, what they’re after, why would they leave? If they see action for getting moving forward, And you can even say like, I can’t get you there this quarter, or this year, but we can make these steps to get you closer there for next year. Yeah, and and to figure that out, and that way, at least if they leave, you know that they’re leaving, because you couldn’t get that trajectory. And I found that that seems like that is all rooted in this very self centered concept of trying to do what’s best for them. Because if you do what’s best for them, then they will be better for you. They will pour back into your organization better, they will actually have better ideas, they will, they will soar. And so if they soar, and they leave, it’s not because you didn’t do everything you possibly could to make them great. And to provide the best future for them inside of your organization. And and I think that it, it sounds like maybe too simple. So poke some holes in this because this is something obviously I’m wrestling with. Still continuously, our team is wrestling with it. But we actually just shifted, I brought this up in the podcast before, but we shifted from yearly reviews and like even like, twice a year reviews to quarterly reviews. And now for like 2021 we’re not even setting yearly goals. We’re only setting quarterly goals. Yeah. So like, I could not tell you what our goals are gonna be for June, yet. I only know what we’re doing for this next quarter. And that is so freeing with all the things I don’t know right now. And all the uncertainty that there is right now. It is beautiful. It feels incredible. Because I can’t tell you like, are we gonna hire five new hires in June. But I can tell you, like we have two slots to fill in this quarter. And I can’t tell you, like if we’re gonna, you know, be able to go after this big account in June. But I can tell you, we have these slots available for these accounts. And they’re already like, pretty much done. So all but but but maybe a contract being signed. So I know what clients we’re gonna have. I know what staff we need to have for this quarter. And then probably into February, I can start working on quarter two. But anyways, do you guys said a lot of things there.

Mike Mage
No. Well, I mean, I think that’s really good. Because, you know, we started out this podcast, talking about, you know, losing somebody, and rather and for as much as that sucks. But as much as that hurts for as much as it can be detrimental at some point shape in time. You know, I the what you’re saying is you’re not operating at this point out of fear of losing them, you’re operating out of, you know, the, the your ability, as a leader to continue to create a space and a culture for them to grow. Which I think is a really great thing for whoever’s listening as well. You know, I was thinking about this a lot in you know, how can this translate to, you know, the worship leader who’s leading his volunteer worship team, at his church. And, you know, I don’t know if you ever did this when you were working at the church, but I have sent out a review to my, my worship team, my volunteer worship team. And you know, we do one as of right now, like, probably once a year, but like, do doing some sort of, like, you know, downloading some app that is a survey app, we’re going to what are some surveys on MailChimp or

Justin Price
Survey Monkey.

Mike Mage
Survey Monkey. Yeah, you know, getting on these these websites and creating some survey and asking your people questions where they can respond even anonymously. You know, and I think it does, it does a lot of things. A-it gives you some really helpful feedback about what you’re doing gives you some self awareness about what you’re doing, but, but on the flip side, it also allows your volunteer team to know or your maybe you have some staff or whatever, it allows your team to know that like, you do care, and you are you’re trying, it’s a way to show them that you are trying to create that space, that culture, you know, for them to grow. And, you know, to move in some sort of direction. Because I feel like sometimes we get really scared about what direction we’re moving. But sometimes it really like, we just need to take a step forward, whatever that is, we need to take some sort of action. And then we can sort of like course correct as we’re moving. Because, you know, the hardest thing to, like change direction is something that’s not moving when something’s already in motion. You can you don’t need to, you know, change, change it that much to keep to keep it going in the right direction.

Justin Price
So that’s a good little tidbit right there.

Mike Mage
Yeah, there you go. That one’s for free. But

Justin Price
I love that.

Mike Mage
Yeah, I just, I think that I think that you’re right. You know, like, if, at the end of the day, you’ve done everything that you possibly can do, and the person still wants to leave. Like, that’s when we have to be open handed about the thing. And because, you know, like, increasing your restrictions on what people do, or you know, when they’re a part of your organization. Like, that’s not that doesn’t show that you love them. That doesn’t that shows that you’re scared about losing them. And, you know, like, I don’t think people need that, you know.

Justin Price
Mike, tell me, so, like, run any scenario through this, like, the answer to keeping people is to love them. Like, just run a scenario where that doesn’t work. You got I mean, as anything I’m struggling to come up with. And here’s the thing you guys like, This isn’t like, I’m a Mother Teresa here. Like the the reason that I think this is the right solution is because it gets me what I want. This is I feel like I try so hard to be transparent about this, like, This isn’t like a bait and switch. There’s no smoke and mirrors. It’s not like I believe in peace, love and happiness, because I’m some like free thinking, you know, monk. Like, I truly think that I get the best thing that I want as a leader if I serve them, and treat them with love, respect, and try to do the very best I can for them. And it sounds like really cheesy, but I love the concept of like, you know, if you get to this point of them, the two things, your goals and their goals, their futures, not aligning, you can let them go if you love them, and you did not lose a loved one. But you’re now cheering on their future for where they wanted to go.

Mike Mage
That’s so good, Justin. Yeah. And I think that that’s, but you know what, though, that doesn’t happen with one conversation. And it is it is an incredible gift to be able to mourn someone’s loss, but also be super excited for them in their next endeavor, whatever. And I think that that comes after, like a long, you know, that, that’s, that’s multiple conversations over a stretch of time. That’s you showing that you care about them more than just one thing at a time. Not saying that everything goes perfect, or whatever, you know, it’s not some idyllic masterpiece, but like, you know, this, this guy that’s leaving from our team, you know, like, I, we will still very much be friends. And in fact, he’s still very much going to serve on our worship team, you know, like, it is his he is he is invested and involved here, it’s just another opportunity. And so while it stinks that he’s leaving, and I think that there’s more as a church we could have done to keep him around for such a high value staff member, someone who is very good at what they do is super impactful. I do think that, you know, it could have turned out a lot worse. And you know, like, we’re still able to, to have some sort of connection with that person.

Justin Price
So Mike, if you’re looking at this, from your perspective, and I know you’re you’re not his direct report. So right. We’re treading on some water that’s pretty loose, and pretty unsettled here. And I don’t want to go into a critical statement at that his boss, but because I don’t know that circumstance at all. But can you look and see like, Hey, could your review system, and could you guys incorporate some things into your review process for your creative team staff, and maybe can you bring this up to your boss, like, Hey, we need to be making sure that we’re helping everybody on the staff get to where they want to go. Yeah, and be taught having those conversations, right. Because I think one of the things that you mentioned when you told me, in fact, just I think this is fair to tell everybody on the podcast, you get to cut it out if you don’t like this, Mike. You can edit it out. But you sent me a text and you’re just like, I’m heartbroken. Yeah. You said you you told me that he was leaving. And your response was like, I’m heartbroken. Yeah. And I think it was from such a, that was not a dramatic text. That was a very just real thing. And I think what broke your heart was that the first conversation you guys had about this was when it was over. Yep. And I had that same experience with the guy a couple of years ago. And so now I have to be I as the leader, I have to get in front of those conversations. Because these younger guys don’t realize, guys and girls, younger staff members, and maybe even older staff members, people don’t realize that there is there more options than what they think. Well, I, two years ago, I said I wanted less hours, and I’ve been working more hours. And so I have to leave. It’s like what, wait a second, we’d never got to even have those conversations. And when this is gonna be a little bit of a side, trail, Mike, but I think we should probably make a quick PSA to people who are serving underneath. Maybe you’re feeling like you’re frustrated right now. Yeah, in your job situation. If you’re on a creative team, and you’ve been working at a church for the last year, and you didn’t feel a little bit frustrated, then I would love to have a conversation with you. Because you’ve been in a very, very tough, probably underappreciated spot. If not, like, that’s amazing. And I’d love to hear kind of the success from that. So reach out, you know, shoot us a message on on social media. or shoot me a text at 727-421-8299. I really seriously would love to have a conversation with you. If you’re if you you know, you’re like, man, I really got through this year thriving. Yeah, but because I’d love to hear learn more about that. But the point is, is that if you’re frustrated, quest, I want to, like think through like how well have you communicated your goals and your needs, and tried to seek a transition that can help you. Oftentimes, you know, your leaders love you and care about you. And they don’t tell you because they have 20 other things on their plate, and they’re not checking in on you because they think you’re fine. And then you get you have all this bottled up. And then one day you decide like, I can’t handle it anymore, I’m done or some action happens or a bad conversation triggers this box, or you get that phone call, which is a better offer with more money. And all of a sudden, this thing that you have put so much equity into, you walk away from because you’ve lost hope that it can be better, or you’ve had the same problem too many times in a row. And I just I want to encourage you that that so many times I; There was even a job that I walked away from that had so much opportunity. And I was just too young to even realize, and to think that I could communicate it. And I probably broke my leader’s heart when I said I was out. And by the time I told him about it, that decision was done. Right. I was off. I had had a better offer. Yeah. And I never even gave him the chance. Yeah. And and I think for you guys, if you’re listening to this, if you’re if you’ve not, if you’re not being mentored by somebody, you don’t get the chance to talk through some of these things. Please take this one piece of advice. And that is that there are so many more options than you think. And if nothing else, you’ve got to have some of these conversations early on to find out what the options are. And oftentimes, there’s more pay available. Because what you don’t realize is that while you may be make 40-50 grand, it’s gonna cost your, your leader 20 grand to replace you. Like just finding somebody else. It’s gonna take so much time and energy.

Mike Mage
And the inconvenience of all of that stuff too having someone else invest time, money, energy.

Justin Price
Oh re-training. Yeah all that stuff. It’s not just like hard cash, but, but your leader knows that. And they’re willing to, to figure out what they need to figure out financially. And so there’s, there’s just these things again, again, I wish somebody would have told me when I was when I was earlier on in my career, how many options there really were. So that, anyways, Mike, I know, I’m pretty fired up about this topic, but it’s like, man, there’s; it could it could be so much better.

Mike Mage
I think like with all things and you know, I think, you know, from where I’m coming from here is speaking to the leaders of your volunteer teams, or your your staff teams, or whatever. Communication is key. You have to be able not only do you have to communicate to people, but you do have to create a space, a safe place for people to have these difficult conversations conversations with you. Because I know, you know, like, if I was in the shoes of maybe I got another offer from another church or something to say, Hey, you know, we’re looking for a worship director we’re gonna pay you X amount of dollars more, here’s what we have to offer. Like on the front end, that might seem really great. But all the underlying stuff of me, you know, having to basically trade in the however many years I’ve put in at this church and relearning all these new people how this church works, you know, like, Is it worth it? Like there’s so much more you have to factor in than just cost. But let’s say I was that person and I had to go to my leader to talk to talk about that, whoever that might be. If If, if I didn’t feel like it was a safe place to bring that to them. I wouldn’t do it, like, I wouldn’t have that conversation with them. And I would have to fret and worry in the dark by myself, maybe talk to somebody else, some friends, maybe my spouse, my, you know, girlfriend, boyfriend, whoever, and probably get some fairly unwise counsel that isn’t directly related to the health of the organization. And, you know, that could be detrimental for both parties. So I mean, I think you’re totally right, there are far more options available than we give people credit for. And then on top of that, to not to over spiritualize things, either the guy is in charge of things that are bigger and better than we could ever think or imagine. And I think that we regularly don’t test God out on that. I think that we are, we are okay with the safe conservative option, whatever that we whatever we think that is or whether that might be we don’t give God sort of maybe the the time to like, maybe explore some some other options, especially with the people that you know, like we should be talking to so. But I think that you’re totally right, man. Anything else on this topic? You know, that we’re talking about?

Justin Price
Yeah, I would just I want to enforce the concept of the value of staying as well. I think sometimes it always feels like there is a brighter opportunity somewhere else. And oftentimes, there is a great, you know, maybe it’s like you’re going to a bigger church where it seems like there’s more resources, or more clout. And so there’s a lot of factors involved in changing jobs. And I would just say the the thing that is very, very hard that you don’t really know until the end of your career, is just how much value there is in staying put. What it means to like, have a volunteer that you have served with for 10 years.

Mike Mage
Yeah.

Justin Price
The equity that you have there. When you look at like payment versus like, the ease of the job. How do you build a team when you you don’t have the time to even invest in those people to train those people? And so, you know, when I look at at someone like Mike, who has been here has evolved his role has grown his his influence over the church. In was it seven years? Eight years?

Mike Mage
Yeah. This is my seventh year at Bay Hope.

Justin Price
Seventh year at Bay Hope. And it’s like, and you still have a long ways to go like, you’re not you’re not there, you’re not done. And I look at like what you can accomplish today, just because of your, of the time you’ve had there.

Mike Mage
Yep, yeah. 100%

Justin Price
The influence that you have there. God is able to use you. Yeah. As the vessel. No. So I want to be really clear. You’re not gonna stop God from doing something. But but if you don’t have the influence, God’s gonna use somebody who has the influence to do what he wants to do. And you’re going to miss out on that blessing of being in the middle of what God is doing. In some ways, if you’re jumping around from one thing to the next to the next to the next, instead of being faithful and sticking it out, and I think it is really, really tough to, to even understand that and to even explain it other than just to trust a couple of guys who have gone through it and have had a couple of decades of church work experience. And messed up enough.

Mike Mage
Well, and so I think important that and we’ll wrap up here too, but I think important distinction to make is I do think that there’s because I agree with you like I think there’s something super important and probably like very unsexy being okay with being planted with wherever you are, and, and growing roots wherever you are, and you might be for a given time period. And that’s okay, you know, I think we need to be okay with that, with that longer process. You know, God can do a lot of really cool things in that you will be a part kind of like Justing was saying; you will be a part of being able to see God move in in a very in a longer way you get way more perspective. I do think there are some times you know, where we are not speaking to the people who are you know, there’s, there’s really bad leadership or, you know, there’s obviously some some things that are going wrong, or that kind of stuff, you know, like that’s, that’s not to the exact person we’re speaking to in this moment. There are moments that do call for you to not be a part of that anymore. You know, even abusive things like that can happen especially in the church. I don’t think that we’re speaking to that person at all. But you know what, Justin too something I meant to say earlier in the in even before we really started recording at the beginning of this podcast, is one of the reasons I think this is really important that we’re talking about is I feel like the year 2020 we were all sort of just like hunkered down, you know, not really knowing what to expect around the corner. And I feel like as soon as the calendar turned over the 2021 people’s eyes are starting to get a little clear. I feel like people are reckoning, or there’s like some sort of reckoning with the frustration and the almost the attrition that 2020 has put on people. And so, you know, I do feel like this is really important that we’re talking about right now, how do you create that space to maybe give people you know, some runway to grow, to take off to make sure that you, as a leader have not been, you know, putting all this time and energy, and not necessarily just in vain. Because like, yes, like those things will probably be fruitful in some way, shape, or form, even if someone does leave. However, you know, what if we could have these people stay here and continue to invest at the church that you’re at right now. So well, thank you so much for being a part of this conversation. And you know, what, Justin, and I it, he’s not kidding. Like, we would really like to hear from you all. If your 2020 was great and thriving, we would really like to know that. And tell us how that happened. But also, really, according to this topic. Are you feeling that attrition rate at your church? Are you feeling that even within yourself? Are you looking for a way out? You know, in the in a professional sense? Do you feel like that’s you? Are you able, are you able to find ways to create a culture where people can stay where people can be planted, where people can grow, we would love to have that conversation with you even more, and we can have that conversation with you on our Instagram @healthychurchgrowth. On our Facebook page, Healthy Church Growth Podcast, or

Justin Price
Mike, let me throw it out there too, because I don’t think that most of our audience knows this. But we have been, we’ve been working with churches for a long time, you know, you you’ve got a lot to share on the health of the worship team. And so if you’re listening to this, and you’re feeling frustrated, like you want to leave and you want a lifeline, if you want just some help, feel free to shoot us a message. If you’re struggling with something if you’re even trying to figure out how to communicate with your leader. If you’re in that like spot where you’re you’re getting ready to give up or looking elsewhere. And you are a video guy call Mike. Kind of joking, joking. But also Yes, yeah, shoot your reel over to Mike. Yeah, I think they have a spot. No, but if you’re if your team or your church is in a place where you need some outside help, and you want to dig into some of the expertise and some of the the things that we’ve put together some strategies that we put together to help your your team get healthy, whether it is the worship team, with Mike or the creative team with me. We’re here for that. And those are things that we can talk more about offline, too. So anyways, if you’re looking into making 2021 better, and you would love to even be able to bounce that off that we can. We’re also available for those conversations. We’re doing this because we want to see the church grow and in a healthy way. We love the church. And this is a kind of a, an outpouring of our hearts and our desire to share some of the things that we’ve gone through.

Mike Mage
Yep, absolutely. And so yeah, thank you so much for listening to the Healthy Church Growth podcast where we believe that healthy things grow and growth means life.

Healthy Church Growth – Episode 26 – Katie Allred

Communication is More than Announcements.

In this NEW episode of the Healthy Church Growth podcast, we chat with Katie Allred of Church Communications about her passion for using the internet to share the Gospel. You will walk away with practical tips but also a new outlook on how to use the internet for God’s glory. Be ready to get inspired!

On Instagram: @katiejallred, @churchcomms,  @Mikemage@techjustinrp@vers_creative


Transcriptions:

Mike Mage
Welcome to the Healthy Church Growth podcast.

Welcome to the Healthy Church Growth podcast. Man, do we have an episode for you today. Justin and I got to do this interview yesterday. So it is very fresh, very fresh in our brains. And obviously in our hearts as well. Justin, how’s it going man?

Justin Price
It is going, it’s going really well, I I’m still kind of on the high of the of the of the interview. Yeah, it was a it was one of these; I think they always turn out better than we even hoped that they will. Because we’re just we get to talk to so many cool people. But talking to Katie, there was no way to really prepare for what she uncovered. I thought we were going to talk a lot about communications. And we I think, just to kind of tease you guys a little bit. We talked about something that I was completely not expecting. And very little about actual communications, we talked about something that we are called to do. We talked about something that the Bible is so clearly called us to. And yet we don’t spend enough time talking about it. I feel I feel really convicted. In a good way, I feel like Katie is so tuned in to just listening to what God is calling her to do. And I feel like man, I’m inspired to take some action off of this conversation. I feel, you know, really, really just amped up. And it’s, it’s been, it’s not been a full 24 hours since since we talked to her and already just, I’ve put so many things into place because of this one conversation. So that’s a lot of teasing. Let’s get into it, man.

Mike Mage
Well, what so so for those of you that don’t know, is right up front. I mean, Katie Allred is she started this Facebook group called Church Communications. That’s originally why we wanted to have her on.

Justin Price
Yeah, 27, 000 people. Biggest Facebook group and Facebook told her highest engaged Facebook group, spiritual. What was the term? Religious.

Mike Mage
Spiritual page. Yeah, it’s not a religious page, religious organization, whatever it is the most engaged, like page that they have in that section of spirituality or whatever.

Justin Price
Which means like, higher than any church, though, it means a bit higher than any church, which you would think would have would be maybe doing a little bit better than then a communications group.

Mike Mage
Right. Well, and so that that’s initially why we really wanted to talk about communications, Justin. And, and you are so right. I mean, this interview, took a turn where I think and, you know, we’re talking afterwards, like I called, you called me on the phone, or I called you or something like after, after we got done with the interview, just to like, debrief with how awesome this interview was. And I just, I think I said yesterday, I was like, I I had to stop talking just for a little bit because I didn’t know what else to do. But just like, listen, and I really hope that our audience can just like I felt like she was talking directly to me. And, and how I view sort of the online world, when it comes to church and, you know, getting people engaged and all that kind of stuff. And I just really hope people will be listening over my shoulder as she’s talking.

Justin Price
There’s a lot of practical tips you can take away she gave us some good meat, and some good practical tips, but also some incredible inspiration. If you’re listening to this podcast today because you want some tips on growing your church or becoming more healthy. And you want to lead up if you’re a young ministry guy or girl you can lead up Katie is like kicking butt and you know, I love she felt called at 12 to ministry and and she had a pastor say like, well you I can’t ordain you because you’re a girl and I just if you’re a young girl, definitely like hold on to this, get Katie’s information start following her. She’s She’s kicking some some butt and if you get anything out of this, please share it. We would love for you to share it like this and subscribe to the podcast we’ve got more podcasts like this lined up. More interviews like this lined up for you keep sharing them the more you guys do that the more people get to also hear this get exposed to to this podcast. And it means the world to us to Mike and I. Although really, Mike this has become just a therapy for me. You do such a great job of coaching me through the responses of all of these, these podcasts. So, you know, I’m just here for the free therapy from Mike but for everybody else, man. This is those shares are like icing on the cake to the free therapy. So thank you. Thank you guys so much. Let’s jump into the podcast with Katie Allred from Church Communications Group and so much more.

Mike Mage
Before we jump into today’s podcast, I wanted to let you all know about a limited time offer for church leaders. This podcast is supported and produced by Vers Creative, a full service strategic creative agency that works with a lot of large nonprofit and for profit organizations. We know that you are facing a new reality and see a huge opportunity to grow your local church. In the past, the majority of churches have understandably utilized whoever was eager to help with their social media and website presence. This may have been a volunteer with a good eye for photography, or a person that just seemed to know more about the tiktoks than the senior pastor. Pre COVID-19, this may have been passable. But fast forward to the present and your church’s, digital presence is the front door. You need help from a team with years of experience building a strategic online presence for brands. You need a guide that will help keep your attendees engaged and to reach new people through the heightened noise online. So Vers wanted to offer up a free one hour strategy session to help you and your church leadership team get results. Vers also offers a full strategic roadmap service at a discounted rate for churches, that is the same roadmap process that they would take a Fortune 500 company through. So if you just like some help, they would absolutely love to help you. Vers has always felt called to support churches in any way that they can. That’s why they felt called to start this podcast with me, the Healthy Church Growth Podcast Network. And if you’d like to take advantage of that free strategy session, shoot them an email at get@verscreative.com. That’s get@verscreative.com. There are no hidden charges. This is just to help you and your team with the mission God has called you and your church to. Again, that’s get@verscreative.com. And just let them know you heard this offer through the Healthy Church Growth podcast.

We have Katie Allred with us. Katie, thank you so much for joining us.

Katie Allred
Yeah, of course excited to be here.

Mike Mage
First off, I just want to say how big a fans and I’m going to speak a little bit for Justin. But Justin and I yeah. Justin and I are like giant fans of you, your work on what you’ve been able to do. How you been able to really leverage social media platforms for growth and for change and engagement. I mean, like it’s, it’s, it’s mind blowing, and I’m ecstatic and super, super grateful that you are taking time out of your schedule to join us and make this happen. So thank you so much.

Katie Allred
Oh, man. Well, thank you. I’m just the thing is like, I just know, I’m incredibly blessed. Like I don’t think I got here. Other than standing on the shoulders of giants and lots of prayer. You know, I think always, I don’t know if you’ve seen like these memes or whatever on Instagram and like, you know, you don’t know how long I prayed till I get here. Like I mean I spent a lot of time trying to get to the point where God can use me through digital, like digitally. And so yeah, thank you. I appreciate that.

Mike Mage
Yeah. Well, and I mean, like, Yes, a lot of prayer. But it’s super obvious. I mean, you are, you’re, you have worked very hard. I see you. You know, it started with the Church Communications Facebook, and it’s just it feels like it’s growing and growing your web designing your social media podcasts conference stuff.

Katie Allred
It even started before that, you know, the Church Communications Group here is, you know, I don’t know if you know anything about my history, but I started a Harry Potter forum back in like 1992.

Mike Mage
I did not know that.

Katie Allred
I was nine years old. I started this Harry Potter forum where I strategically shared the Gospel with 1000s of people. And it was completely on accident. And, but then I was just I felt like John out in the wilderness just are crazy person who was like eating honey and just hasn’t like, you know, if I had a beard, like, I feel like that would be me.

Mike Mage
You wore the camel hair for fun, like the camel hair is just for fun

Katie Allred
Yeah I did. But about the internet, right. On the internet, like you shouldn’t be sharing the Gospel on the internet, like you should be the answer for when people have these really deep questions about life like you should be their church should provide that answer. I was very passionate about that. And I was like, Well, how do we do it? You know? Even at like, 10 I was asking these questions because I was I was googling them you’re asking. And I was very thankfully discipled very intentionally, at a young age by a deacon in my church, which I do feel like sets me apart. That doesn’t happen anymore. discipleship on a one-on-one basis is what was what you know, the New Testament intended is What you know, I think what, what discipleship was supposed to look like. And I’m very fortunate to have been a result of that. I’ve been blessed through it. And so anyway, that’s it, Church Communications all really happened, because I really felt called to online community and creating online communities that were engaging and helpful and made people feel less alone, I guess, and just a part of something that was bigger than them. And so that’s kind of how Church Communications started. I definitely did not expect for it to grow as much as it has. I don’t think anybody could expect for something like that. Unless they were full of themselves.

Mike Mage
Well, it’s, it’s super funny. Like I, I didn’t know about Church Communications until probably when we first started really talking about Justin, I started really talking about this podcast. And then I think, Justin, I think you brought it up about these podcasts, or about the church group was like, oh, man, I for some reason, you know, I’m just a dumb worship leader, you know. And so, you know, I know there’s worship leader

Katie Allred
Oh yeah. There’s worship leaders groups now. Yeah.

Mike Mage
A lot of worship leader Facebook groups in there. Those are wonderful.

Katie Allred
There weren’t when we created the communications group. It was pretty, there was only like, a couple, there’s like a handful at the time.

Mike Mage
Sure. Well, so let’s just let’s get well anyways, but I was just I had no idea about it. And then I, I subscribed to whoever and it was just like, this world opened up to me. There’s so many people on there and like, so yeah. So so let’s, let’s, let’s get the the timeline here, the history of it. So like you said, You started Harry Potter forum. And so where, what, when did you start Church Communications? You know, it’s been a while, but what led to Church Communications, like specifically, like, what about that, you know, really brought that on?

Katie Allred
Yeah, so Church Communications really started out of it really started out of, I’m trying to think like, so back in 2015, I was working at a mega church in Nashville, just doing com work at that church, I was kind of the bottom of the totem pole, telling somebody that earlier, I was not by any means, like, at the you know, I was not a director or anything like that. I was the social media and web like I was in charge of web content. And while we while we were at that church, or while I was at that church, I saw the church grow from one church to having seven churches into five year span, which is astronomical right now. We had a very small web team, we lost most of the web team, I ended up carrying most of the web responsibilities. And, you know, the com team, all in all was like 20 people that included media people, right, like a/v as well. So a large team, you know, it wasn’t you know, by any means small, but I was very much at the bottom of the totem pole. But, um, while I was there, I was working with my boss, who’s Darrell. And Darrell, he hired me, actually we work together he trained to me when I worked center kid camps, I worked camps over some summers. I’m sure y’all,

Mike Mage
As most people do.

Katie Allred
Yeah, I’m sure you probably worked a camp and your life. If you’re a Christian. Like how you can get out of working camp. Like how you cannot be a camp counselor. Yeah, I have no idea. Camp counseling is first off something you should do. It’s like a rite of passage.

Mike Mage
I was just gonna say that. Yeah, absolutely.

Justin Price
Yeah. It’s like sweeping the floors.

Katie Allred
Completely. Yeah, Justin. It’s like, I don’t know. And it’s also like the blood and sweat and tears, especially if you’ve worked a Lifeway camp. I don’t know, center kid was like a whole nother level of work I am never bored. And plus, like, you know, like the water balloon thing that they created where you could tie 1000 water balloons at one time. Like that didn’t exist so we were tying 1000 water balloons, you know,

Justin Price
Bringing some PTSD for all of our listeners right now.

Mike Mage
For real. Yeah.

Katie Allred
Well I’ve been there guys. I understand. I understand having to change the auditorium from a party space to a worship space in a matter of 15 minutes.

Mike Mage
For real. Yeah, exactly.

Katie Allred
Change the mood.

Yeah, totally.

Or like from worship to party, you know, or like, you know, and you’re like, how do I change the mood from we were just crying to let’s celebrate the Lord.

Mike Mage
Totally or like, those nasty food games. Like all student camps play and the you gotta turn it around.

Justin Price
This is a dark path we could go down here guys.

Katie Allred
I feel like that could be it’s own podcast.

Justin Price
We could do a church camp podcast for sure.

Katie Allred
If somebody did that, that’s the whole niche, like the church camp podcast things that happened at church camp. But it’s true. Um, but so anyways, when I was at camp, I was a Production Director. Well my first summer I was a video producer and found out I hated video like an adamantly. And because like I had to film the whole thing and render the video and back in the day, we had tapes, right. So it took some time to render footage. And yeah, I really earned my Stars and Stripes until we were a traveling camp, so we had to set up camp stuff across America. And my second and third summer I ended up being a Production Director. And that’s where I met Darrell. He was in charge. He used to be in charge of all like event production at LifeWay. So he oversaw like, Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer, but also camps. And I just remember thinking was really cool. I’d love to work for him. One day, he ended up leaving life way and going to Brentwood to the church, I worked and created this job and I ended up answering, answering the call as you would. Before that, I was actually like digging ditches. I was working in IT as a networking administrator. Yeah, that’s definitely what everybody expects for me to be a network administrator digging ditches course. Yeah. fiber optic cable like so if you need me to create a cat five cable anytime.

Mike Mage
That’s worth it.

Katie Allred
What everybody thinks. I mean, I can also, you know, set up a sound system like whatever, you know, like, when you work camp, you just learn so many random skills.

Mike Mage
Absolutely. Oh, my. Well, what’s funny, Katie is like this podcast is for the person at church, who’s like the worship leader, but also the communications person. And also the, I mean, it’s literally the person you’re describing.

Justin Price
And the ditch digger too.We had actually put that in the description for the interviews.

Katie Allred
Did you really?

Justin Price
No. No . No.

Katie Allred
Sounds like the guy who’s in the graveyard digging.

Mike Mage
For real.

Justin Price
Yeah, I did. I do think I did think we identified with like, the church guy who, or girl who is also responsible for mowing the lawn. You know, I mean, it’s like this. Yeah, the position that you often start at the church is, and is this bottom rung thing. And oftentimes, you have this passion, and this drive that has called you to do it, like to do a job that from the outside looks like pure insanity, right? And then, yet, but yet you’re doing it and you’re passionate about it, but you don’t have the tools you don’t know, you look at you look at somebody like Katie Allred, who has this phenomenal online community, and you’re like, I can’t even get anyone to respond to one post on my Facebook page for my church, you know, but I’m so passionate, and I’m posting all the time. And, and what do I do? And I would love circling back, you know, for us to get into, you know, some of those things of like, how, how can we help equip that person with some of those things. But I do want to, I do want to hear the rest of the story of how this turned into where you’re at today, because this is great.

Katie Allred
So, yeah, so you ran through, Darrell anyways, that’s how I met Darrell how went to the church, and then with him decided to start the group. Well, we actually he we’ve been through a lot of ideas about what to do. And I really was very adamant that I wanted to start a Facebook group, and he was like- I don’t know. A Facebook group? Which he will tell you that so like, you know, I’m not throwing him under a bus or anything. But it’s so funny. I definitely expected to find 50 people who wanted to complain about it. And then within a few months, we had 1000. And that was just through kind of word of mouth really like and then Facebook was promoting us. I think it’s fair to say that we caught on to the craze a little early about groups. So actually Facebook, you know, changed their entire mission to be about groups in 2016, late 2016. And we started this group in late 2015. And we so I think that Facebook was actually promoting us with the intention of knowing that their their whole platform was about to change, and they wanted people to get into groups. And then in 2017 Facebook actually called us to tell us we were the most engaged faith based group on the platform.

Mike Mage
Whoa, man.

Justin Price
That’s really cool.

Mike Mage
Did you get a cool plaque like I have?

Katie Allred
I didn’t get a plaque. I’m like kinda mad. Like, why don’t they send me a plaque you know? I did get like a postcard. Go to Facebook, for me to go to Facebook, but I didn’t get to go and actually tour the facilities and stuff, which was really, really fun. Yeah. So how did we do it? That’s a you know, first off how it really depends. If you’re talking about from a church perspective, what is your goal? I guess, you know, like, what is your goal to reach people in your community? Is it to reach people all over the world? Is it just to reach people in your congregation? Like, who are you trying to engage? I guess, my first question. So is that where we want to go first? Like, how do you get your congregation to engage?

Mike Mage
Yeah, I think so. Cuz, you know, I was thinking about, you know, obviously, there’s like, 1000 different directions that we could go with this conversation. But like, the average church out there is, like, well, that, and like, everybody’s sort of in the same boat right now, for the most part. You know, like, we’ve all had the experience, sort of what is a virtual church look like? What is the virtual community look like more than anything? And I feel like, you know, when I look at Church Communications, like, I don’t need Facebook to tell me that it is one of the most engaged like groups because like, I see that I mean, it’s comment after comment after comment, like after like it like and, you know, engaged engagement is like one of the biggest catchphrases that churches have been throwing around. And it kind of feels like, they’re just now focusing on engagement, which is upsetting. And I don’t wanna get into that. But like, if you’re just now focused on engagement, like you’ve missed the boat, like, this is where we’re very far behind. Be like, how do you like, what comes first? Is it the engagement? Or is it the community? And like, does is do the goals sort of help each other? And I don’t know, like, what what are you looking for within your group? And then maybe we can translate that to how other churches should maybe like, start formatting things?

Katie Allred
Yeah. So first, the the group, our group is 80% engaged, which means we have 27,000 numbers today, I think. And so that means about 22,000 people use it every single day, which is wow. It’s fine. Casual. But then I think about that as a picture of the church, like the global church at large. And I’m like, Okay, so the church is engaging. But how can we get that to work on a more community level, I guess, or church level, like a local church? And so I think first it does come first engagement, and then community, but also maybe a little bit of first community thing? Well, yeah, definitely think that’s a chicken before the egg like who came first. So when we are starting the group, and something I think even churches can take a part of is, well, first off, should you create a group for your church specifically? So let’s talk about just some basic like Facebook strategy. Okay. So most churches, almost every church has a page. So Facebook has several different products, if you will, there are Facebook profiles, which you and I have, like personal profiles, and churches should be using personal profiles, not as a church because that’s not right. You should have a church page. Yeah, like, you should enable and empower your congregants, your church members to use their profiles to share the Gospel. And there are ways to do that. And then there’s, you know, church, there’s pages that churches can use, any organization can create, they’re free. And those are what most people are familiar with. The problem that the church I think a lot of churches encountered in the last 10 years, was they created too many pages. I think I’ve seen so many pages sorry, Justin, that that have been like, gosh, different ministries. Right. So the children’s ministry has a page student ministry has a page, preschool has a page that has diluted your ability to reach people. And so it has really decreased the ability to engage. Yeah. And so let’s talk about I think a lot of people always think like, I need a lot of vanity metrics. Like I just want 10,000 people following me, and that is what we’re aiming for. But I would like us to get away from vanity metrics, like who cares how many people like even in church COMM The group like, Yes, we have 27,000, which it sounds like a lot, but it’s still not a portion of fraction of how many churches there are in North America. There’s 300,000 churches. And so you know, maybe I’m going to get to 10% of them. But like, what’s more important is how are we engaging? Even when we had 1000 people, I was so fanatical about how can I reach all 1000 people with something? Um, and so, yeah, so creating content that speaks to that is part of the question. But then also asking people in person, and through word of mouth, just like old school is also a great way to do it. So talking about let’s focus on pages. So if you have your church that has multiple pages, I’m going to recommend that you merge them all into one. You can merge, it is difficult, and sometimes take some time. If you have problems with that you can of course, like go into our group and posts about how you’re having problems with it. We do have people on Facebook, who will come and help you. From the Facebook team, I can’t promise anything, it’ll magically happen. But you can merge, but the thing is like to merge, the pages have to be extremely similar.

Mike Mage
What does that mean?

Katie Allred
Just in the name, like, so you’re gonna rename the preschool page to, you know, blank Baptist Church, or whatever, and then post some similar content or something, and then eventually, you can merge those audiences. It is difficult. So that’s not an easy problem. It might just be easier, honestly, to turn it off if you’ve got only 500 people or something. Um, so first is having just that one channel that everybody can go to, but pages are really a front door. They’re like, what, you know, what kind of content should we post on a page? It’s really stories of life change, and like how God is moving, and sermon clips, really shareable content. And even content that doesn’t necessarily make sense. I can remember one time I had a pastor’s wife email me, she was so she was so angry. Because I was sharing a shared like a thing about, you know, what kind of toppings do you like on your pizza or whatever. She’s like, how dare you. Don’t you know that people are burning in hell because of their sin. And I was like, Yeah, yeah, I do know that.

Mike Mage
Exactly.

Katie Allred
I am well aware.

Mike Mage
Thanks for the update.

Katie Allred
Oh what is that? And I was like, but do you think Jesus was like going up to people like you’re burning in hell. No, I think he picked up people and met them where they’re at. And maybe that’s sometimes a pizza.

Mike Mage
He was into food. A lot of His stuff is about food. Yeah.

Katie Allred
He might ask you what kind of pizza toppings you like, um, but really, you know, creating that kind of fun content. And I think Life Church actually does a great job of this. So if you look at a great example, I think Life Church creates a lot of fun content and balances really well with church content. Yeah. But if you look at their content, too, you’ll notice almost, you know, hardly any of it is stuff around events at their church. That’s where we go wrong is we make it all event centric, because almost all of our churches were that centric. But 2020 changed that, right. Like, we can’t do events anymore.

Justin Price
Not only that, but all the communication needs from the church where we need to communicate events. I was talking to a pastor earlier today. And I was like, I feel so bad for pastors, and for even communications, people who’ve been doing this for 20 years, because there’s never been a bigger, you know, tectonic plate shift in all things, communication, and all of a sudden, like, there’s these new ways to communicate. But they’re not the same things to communicate with. And so we have a different way to make community. And yet we’re expecting somebody who used to lay out a bulletin to, to make sure that people had like detailed information for events, or what was happening this week. And also, the sermon notes, is now supposed to understand how to build a community on a new social platform that’s changing every six months. Which is kind of insane.

Katie Allred
Right. Yeah, it really is extremely insane that anybody thinks that they can just like, I don’t know, pick this up and make it magically happen. You know, I think, I think God enables some of us with some amazing gifts. We can’t have all the gifts. And so to imagine that your communications director who was probably just one person, if you do have one at all. Maybe you have a volunteer that’s been doing this this entire time, just magically knows how to make this happen. is, I don’t know it. It is a gift. It’s a gifting in and of itself. Just like creating community in real life is a gift. Yeah, so I, we can’t have all the gifts you can have some of the gifts.

That’s the title for this podcast. You can’t have all the gifts.

You can’t have all the gifts. Um, yeah. So anyway, going back to Facebook, you know, creating pages is what churches know. That’s basically all they know to do. That’s what they were doing up until really 2019. And then 2020 happened, right? Like, Hmm, what else is there? And so, you know, Facebook groups is what I recommend most churches turn to because for at least creating community, because they had it has just a whole nother set of tools. It’s not, you know, just one thing. It includes social learning tools and includes so much more. And so and then creating groups for those sub ministries so that you can communicate that’s like a place you can create your bulletin board, essentially. Not that you can’t put events and advertise events, of course, like advertising, you have to use a page. And if you’re a multi campus church, I think you should have pages for each campus. I’m not saying like, get rid of that by any means. But I do think your church needs a group. And you know, depending on how larger churches does it need subgroups for each ministry. I mean, that that that is part of the question you have to ask yourself. And then, you know, when you create those groups, how do you get people into them? So, I think the first thing you should do is if you don’t already have the email of all your people, you should. And so maybe that’s where we should start get the email of all your church members. All their emails. Maybe you should do text messaging. I don’t know. That’s a whole nother thing. But text messaging, though, is important. 99%, open rate for texts.

Mike Mage
For real. Yeah. I just opened one.

Katie Allred
15% for email marketing. I may want to say like about groups too don’t, and this is something, this is why I usually talk about for most people don’t just create internal groups. So like we just talked about, like, you can create groups that are specifically for your church. But could you create external groups that serve your community? Yeah, is my next question for most churches. So I have been talking about this for years. And I actually saw a church do this right when COVID started. They started like COVID, response group or whatever for, for the New Orleans area. Yeah. And within 24 hours, had 5000 members of people in New Orleans. And now, like 10,000 are added members, and they ended up getting press and all this kind of stuff. But what I’m very specific about when you create these groups, create niche groups like hiking, or knitting, or I don’t know if something you’re passionate about, but for your area. And then this is a very old evangelism tactic. By the way. This is like, you know, creating a basketball league. You’re saying, you know, come join our basketball league, but leave the churches, branding and life out of it. Start by like, just intentionally creating community with people creating relationships with people that can then translate to offline relationships. Because if you create like a kayaking group, fantastic. You can probably get a bunch of people in your area that are interested in kayaking into a group pretty organically, and you can maybe even tell 10 of your friends at church that also love kayaking. Be like, hey, invite 10 of your friends that love kayaking, and, you know, then we’ll have 100 people in the group and then organically, Facebook will promote it themselves. Um, and then what’s great is that now you’ve got, you know, 100 people who love kayaking, you can all go and meet up and talk about kayaking and go kayaking together. And then you can create those relationships that can translate to offline.

Justin Price
How long do you wait, Katie, when you make the kayaking group before you start doing kayaking lessons in the baptistry?

Katie Allred
Definitely, I would say never. I can remember one time like actually I was great is that one time I went so that a church created an event on Facebook, that kind of went very viral of free kayaking trips in my hometown, and I was like, This is awesome. Like, who doesn’t want to go on a free kayaking trip. And so they actually took all of their missions money and put it into these kayaking trips. And yeah, smartest idea ever. I mean, it was a super small church. I mean, like a church of like, 40 people and They’d like we’re putting our like, you know, $1,000 kayaking, or $1,000 missions budget into this kayaking thing, if they did every summer, and I mean, they saw me probably hundreds of people come through these kayaking trips. But what I hated was at the end, they made a sit on a hot bus and listen to somebody’s testimony, they weren’t prepared to give.

Mike Mage
The old bait and switch.

Katie Allred
The old lady switch. We’re gonna sit on this hot bus for 30 minutes and listen to the 17 year old kid, tell their testimony. That’s bad.

Mike Mage
All the stuff that they’ve gone through up until 17 is really hard life.

Katie Allred
It was so good up until that very moment, and then there was no follow up none whatsoever after the trip, and so I was like, you know, it’d be amazing is if you know, a church, and so, or even not a church, just a human being was offering free kayaking trips. And then there is follow up like, Hey, what do you like being a normal human being. I think we forgot to be human somewhere along the way, we became organizations and forgot that church was humans hanging out with other humans.

Justin Price
Yeah. That’s what that’s what stuck out to me when you mentioned the Harry Potter group. And the idea that you understood that there was a space for people who were lonely or alone, I think was the word you said. Yeah. And I was thinking about when you started Church Communications, I was a community, I was a creative director at a church. And I quickly joined and the thing that brought camaraderie for for me, was all the people complaining, you know, you had some really great, you know, like, people would talk about like things that messed up on Sunday, we would talk about different things. So there was there was a value a lot of community right, was higher than like the any tips I got, like, I don’t, I can’t tell you one thing that I ever, like, learned that there wasn’t a lot to learn.

Katie Allred
People are like yeah I learned so much, but they can’t tell me exactly.

Justin Price
It was, there was a lot. But what sticks out to me was feeling like I was not alone. And I was the only one who was really passionate at my church on staff that really cared about what I was doing. And yet he was like another 5,000, 10,000 people who are also passionately trying to do their very best, like people, you know, and it’s like, we can be so critical of church communications, like we can look at other churches and be like, Oh, they all look the same. And the graphic designers all copy each other and, and everybody only talks about events, and you’re not being critical of churches. But I just feel like I think it’s super easy for us to get so critical. And yet, the reality is like there, there’s one person trying to do a job of three or four or five people, a copywriter, designer motion graphics.

Katie Allred
I just want them like I know that like there are other people probably at the church. Some sweet admin named Betty who’s been there for years. I’m sure she has things to say. I’m sure she has things to talk about. But I really do care about that person who is wearing a million hats. And then the person who was like me, who was at the bottom of the totem pole was part of a bigger thing, but felt like they had so much to give back because they did have extra space and bandwidth to give to these other churches. So yeah, can we create those spaces for these lonely people? You know, I was thinking about it. And here’s the thing, like, everybody’s lonely. One in four people, you know, this was like a statistic from Cigna back in like 2018, one in four people don’t have anybody to talk to. Like, don’t feel like they had anyone that they could, I don’t know, intimately express themselves with. That’s 25% of Americans. There’s a higher percentage that like, I don’t know, it’s more than 60%. That was in 2019. But I felt like overwhelmingly lonely. And so I’m like, okay, that’s six and 10. And so I’m like, that is a lot of people who are feeling and it’s so on the rise. And it is directly correlated, I think, to social media, which is crazy, right? I think that loneliness is directly correlated to the use of social media and technology. But how can we redeem it? I think God’s in the business of redeeming things. And so how can we use it for his purposes to connect these lonely people to other people who care about them? That as we are Christians, we should care about people. Think creating these intentional or getting involved in groups that are already created in meaningful ways. You know, there are there is tons of community groups. You might even be a part of a neighborhood group, right? Probably like you know, not next door I’m talking about but like your, you know, Facebook group next door. I feel like it’s just a dumpster fire.

Mike Mage
It totally is. No, you’re right, it is.

Katie Allred
You can redeem it with Facebook groups, there’s like a neighborhood group, like, I have a neighborhood group for my like suburb or whatever, my subdivision. And, um, I think about, like, how can I create engagement in this group that is meaningful and helpful and like, positive and people in the neighborhood now recognize me because of my engagement, like, you know, I’m saying like, before neighbors, and even now, like neighbors don’t know each other. Right?

Mike Mage
Right. Oh, my gosh.

Katie Allred
You’re like, I don’t know who the neighbors to the left of me or the right. I actually don’t even know who my neighbor to the right of me. They just moved in, like three months ago, I still haven’t met them because of COVID. I’m like afraid to approach. Um, but I’m like, how can we create this like actual community where neighborhoods actually care about each other? And can we get into this in groups? Well, I’ve been talking about this for a long time. So somebody had listened to a podcast where I did talk about this. And she was like, I felt encouraged. So I joined a group and they like, take a walk or something every week. So I went and joined their walk. And she was like, this was probably the most meaningful gospel, like, opportunity I’ve gotten in a long time, because Christians tend to run in Christian centric circles. Like, we’re a church, and then we’re at work and like, we just don’t have an opportunity to meet people outside of the circles of influence. How can we increase our circles of influence? And I think creating Facebook groups are very centric to hobbies in your area, or even just hobbies in general, not just in your area, if you want to go national, you go for it. Or like, can we create like, communities of around and you can do this with Instagram, too, you don’t have to just do so in the Facebook group. So like, this can work in Instagram, too. Like if you want to create an Instagram account about kayaking in Mobile, I’m sure people who love to kayak and Mobile would follow that. And you could probably get user generated content from the group. So like it could feed to it. Because what I was thinking for like a group that’s like about kayaking, it could be like every Friday, like, Hey, where are you kayaking this week, share a picture, you know, of your latest kayak, you know, trip below or whatever. And then you can post all of those pictures, right, to an Instagram feed. And then start another community that’s going on over there and feed them back into the other ones. They can work together. And so I feel like we make this so so too complicated, like we make evangelism too complicated online. But the thing is just creating intentional pathways. So people aren’t really searching out the church. But they are searching. This is kind of changing subjects a little bit, but they are searching for words. You know, they’re searching phrases. They’re not really searching necessarily for church. Sometimes they are and then great, like they watch our broadcasts or whatever. But like people like during COVID, if you go to trends, Google Trends, I don’t know. Have you ever used Google Trends?

Justin Price
Absolutely. Yeah.

Katie Allred
Oh, yeah. Well, if you haven’t, if you’re listening to us it’s trends.google.com. And what I love is you can kind of search like words and phrases and see like how popular they are in search engine results, and like how much people are searching them. Well, when COVID happened, prayer, like how to pray and like what happens after you die, like shot up like a hockey stick. People were searching for these answers. And there wasn’t any content like Google would prefer; Google how Google works is it actually checks local results first, and would prefer to give someone a local answer to their question, if there was a local answer that was authoritative. And like it was well researched, and had, you know, and seemed like it was a good answer, even if it was on YouTube, like, prefer to give answer because obviously, you choose on by Google. Um, but for the most part, churches don’t do you have a YouTube video of how to pray. Or video of how you know what happens after you die. Or answering these very simple like questions- What happens after you die? So simple.

Mike Mage
Just a tiny thing. Yeah, no, not a big deal. People haven’t been asking that question for 1,000 years.

Katie Allred
You’ve asked that question. If you became a follower of Christ. At some point, like you have asked the question these questions like some, you know, and so can we put out intentional pathways for people to fall like landing pages and or page content on your website, even if it’s a blog or a YouTube channel or whatever, that answers these questions. A lot of times they can come from the sermon. You know, you’re already doing sermons around this stuff. So don’t think like, Oh, you’ve got to reinvent the whole wheel. I don’t think that’s the case at all. You really can take the stuff that you’ve already created and put that in. And you just have to you just have to name it correctly.

You have to be intentional about it. Yeah, for sure.

Yeah. To be super intentional about how you’re doing it.

Justin Price
Katie, I don’t know if we’ve ever had a guest who has been as even evangelical in their mission for technology or communications as I’m like, honestly, I’m blown away. There’s no doubt. The reason why you’ve been able to be successful is because you’re chasing after sharing the gospel. And God is just using you. It’s It’s seriously so encouraging. As you’re talking. I’m just listening. I’m sorry, I want to recap for our listeners, if you didn’t quite catch on. Katie has just covered three different genres. And actually, she’s like, kind of moving into what we’re currently in right now for like top communications, which is, first it was an online community and Facebook groups. Then she started talking about how, well actually before that it was her web, the web management, like she was doing web work at a church; introduces Facebook and online groups, way ahead of the group’s trends, moves into Instagram, you know, develops how to utilize those things on Instagram as well still building social communities. And now she’s actually talking about search, which has both Google and YouTube search hacking for but all of it for the gospel, not for her glory, not for like her, you know, empire. And I’m super, super inspired. Katie, I think it’s just a breath of fresh air to hear, you know, sometimes I think we get like, really, especially when you’re good at something, right? To just like, be like, more focused about the thing you’re good at, rather than just like keep pointing it back to the gospel. And it’s just so cool to hear your heart. It’s like you just you’re you’re on the front edge of these trends. And not maybe you know, not necessarily like your what you’re way ahead of where most churches are at. And even what if you’re live if you’re a listener who’s listening to this right now, don’t be discouraged that you’re not Katie, God’s gifted her and given her incredible. Obviously, she’s given him the credit for it, for forecasting and for kind of seeing where they’re being able to read the communities and where things are going. But But listen to what she’s saying, because there’s not like a even if you’ve if you understand this today, everything she has said isn’t about Google and YouTube today. It is that understanding people and realizing that people are searching this way. So if you would be willing to listen and think about how people if you just constantly think about people, you will also be ahead of the trends. You will also be understanding where people are at and figure out new and exciting ways that Katie’s not figuring out that works for your community. We talked about this all the time a healthy church growth isn’t about taking a model and applying it to you and like copycatting. It’s taking it’s typically like the healthiest things are taking principles like scripture in parables oftentimes relate lots of different ways. But the principle is the core same and what Katie is ultimately saying is no matter what thing is happening, or trending or where people are at, she is finding avenues to get to them. And to give them the gospel not to give them her not to not to raise you know her awareness but to give them the gospel. And yeah, I’m just honestly like blown away. I had no idea. Katie, your heart for this. Even though I feel like I’ve been a fan of yours. I’ve been following you for a long time and seeing you do cool things that all met, like add to the story, you know, that all support the story. It’s not like I’ve been seeing yourself promoting out there. Yeah, but, but it’s just like, really, really encouraging. So I wanted to kind of recap that for our listeners and say, Hey, if you didn’t figure out what what she’s been talking about that is it right there. Did I miss anything on that, Katie?

Katie Allred
No, thank you. Yeah, no, that was that was I feel like sometimes when you’re like, well, Katie’s, like, figure it out. I’m like, I feel like the worst sometimes, you know. Cuz I, you know, to be all things to all people I sometimes have felt like I I just love the internet so much. And I’ve been very passionate about it for a long time since I was a child about reaching people on the internet. Because I really figured out at a very young age, that is where the ends of the earth are. Like, obviously, we’re having a conversation right now that was very much like we would have in real life. And, you know, I, at a young age also figured out that I let my guard down online, and I know that there are trolls and it’s easier to be hateful. But it’s just as easy to be loving, and kind. And so, you know, I have figured that out. I don’t know. I mean, ever since I was a kid, it was just so clear to me that that was the path to spread the gospel. So thanks for recognizing that. A lot of times, you know, I feel like I’m a crazy person. Like I said, like, John out in the wildernes, just a kid. Like if we just did these couple of things, we could really reach a lot of people for the gospel.

Mike Mage
Yeah, but it’s incredible. I mean, and I think Justin’s right, like, it’s the focus on people, even if it’s virtually. I mean, social media is supposed to be supposed to do what you’re doing, you know, at it social media at its best, does exactly all those things that you are implementing through Church Communications, and all these things that you are, you’re bringing forth.

Katie Allred
More the worst of social media, like, you know, social media, especially during like an election season can be the worst. I think that was why it has increased loneliness and anxiety and all those things. Um, turn that all off, like, unfollow all those people who are like driving you nuts. But create places of sanctuary, right online, like, how can we create healthy pockets on the internet, that are guided by Christians that are not like, church front facing but are, are ran by Christians owned by Christians. It’s just like, creating and running, you know, Christian businesses, right? Like, I want to create those things. It was funny what Justin was talking earlier, he was talking about, like, you know, it just created a space for me where I don’t even know if I learned anything, but I love that it’s part of the community that’s like University, right? Like, do you remember what you learned in university, he created this space, right for you to, to mature and to belong, and to like, create relationships that really were meaningful for you. I’m a professor right now. So that’s all I think all these kids. I don’t even know if they know that. Like, I should probably tell the internet. I’m a professor. Um, yeah, to give myself like, one tiny little bit of authority. But um, yeah, anyway, so. Yeah, I don’t know where I was going with that.

Mike Mage
Healthy spaces. Yeah. And that’s, and again, to bring it back, obviously, to the Bible. Like, that’s what we’re called to do. We’re called to be lights in the darkness. And, you know, my pastor always says, to start punching holes of light in the darkness. And, you know, let’s just make as many of those as we can. And yeah, go ahead, Justin.

Justin Price
This thing is like, this is crazy that I had this conversation with an outreach pastor today, who said, I am struggling, he goes, I I’m not against the internet. And I’m not against social media, but I just don’t really get social media.

Katie Allred
Yeah I just don’t understand it.

Justin Price
And he’s doing a lot of overseas work with Muslims, that it’s kind of it’s very dangerous mission work.

Katie Allred
You can really reach the Muslims on the internet.

Justin Price
Yeah, yes. And he also, he also had just informed me about something that he had seen where they were actually taking like a church’s mission video where they, they actually were kind of telling the church, they came back, and we’re like, this is what we did on our mission trip. And that there was a group of, of Islam, people who then actually reacted like they found that video, and then they actually harmed some people that were in the area that had the mission work was done. And so he was coming from this very scared side of social media and internet.

Katie Allred
You definitely have to be careful. I, you know, they’re there. Especially it depends on like, especially mission organizations, you really do have to be careful about how you do it.

Justin Price
Yeah. Well, I think there’s a lot of nuances to all of that, right, obviously, like,

Katie Allred
But no matter what, the risk is worth the cost, right? Like, it’s just like anywhere, like you’re going to be persecuted no matter what, or however you’re trying to reach people. Right. Like, we know that that’s going to happen, right. And so for me, yeah, the risk just outweighs it.

Justin Price
I honestly, I don’t feel Katie like I can, I can make that judgment, you know, as far as like, what his risk or costs are.

Katie Allred
Sure, yeah. You have to be smart, don’t start. There’s a lot of things involved.

Justin Price
But everything that you have said so far has not been about communications, like you didn’t talk to me about the audience. You didn’t talk to me about the problems that we’re solving. You didn’t really talk to me, you ask questions about it. But that’s not necessarily what your heart has been after in this conversation. It has been sharing the gospel. And I almost feel like I’m sitting here talking to an outreach pastor more than I’m talking to a communications person. And so I honestly think this is a great; I’m more I’m bringing this conversation up with my with with the friend that I met and was talking with, because it’s unprecedented in the sense that he’s a mission. He’s an outreach pastor. He’s a missions pastor. That’s what has been doing for the last 10 years at a large church with a lot of money, a big, you know, hundreds of 1000s of dollars of missions budget that’s going locally and globally. And they’re doing some amazing things like they built a an orphanage for kids that were like in child slavery and they like save them and train them. raise them up, and they have these incredible stories. And I’m like, that is that’s amazing. And if like God is calling him to do that, that is great. And I’m not saying that like online missions, or what you’re doing with the internet is more worthy.

Katie Allred
But cant a portion of that money go to online missions. I don’t know of a church. I mean, I can’t tell you I’ve been; It’s not there yet. Online missions is not a thing, which is why I’m over here just like being like John again, like, yeah, yeah, it’s definitely not a thing. Online evangelism has been ignored and ignored. I mean, people were like, yeah, you could do it. And I mean, you could start really small, like, like I said, a personal profile. If you just ask the question, how can I be praying for you this week? I guarantee you, like 10 people, at least 40 friends, I bet 10 of them will reach out to you and say, Oh, you can be praying for because people are just waiting. They just wanting Yeah, they want to have the opportunity be prayed with, but we don’t give them the opportunity. And so that’s the easiest, I think prayer is the primary strategy for reaching people with the gospel no matter what. But offering prayer like that is just I don’t know, online, especially through personal profiles, where you feel like you’re not gonna be persecuted in real life. Hey, you know, here in America, we have such a great I don’t know, we have a lot of privileges. But I just went and you know, to India in January, I don’t know if y’all knew this. I went to India with missions organization. I don’t know that I can name the mission presentation over. I’ll tell you offline. But. But I went to India in January, right. When the pandemic was announced in China. I was in India. It’s fine. I had never been overseas before.

Mike Mage
The one time. The one time.

Katie Allred
Right. Yeah, well it’s so funny. My whole life. I’ve always, you know, I’ve really felt called to missions and stuff like that, like, like, you were kind of saying and, um, anyways, went to India and was working with some different Christian organizations on digital strategy for India, to reach people in India. And so I actually got to work with one team was making YouTube channel and they were like, Oh, we’ve reached millions of people before. They were like, this won’t be hard at all. We’ll spend $20 and reach 1000 people I’m like, like, okay, like, cuz people are so hungry for the gospel in India. And then too what was great is that I got to work on another theme that I created a podcast, the first podcast so podcast, just picked up podcasting in general. just picked up in India is like a cool thing to do. And, um, anyways, This podcast was the first podcast in two different Indian native languages, the first one ever. So first one ever put out and has already like, or at least in like, June or July, the last I heard had already reached 300 people for the gospel had already. Like 300 people that came to know the Lord directly through WhatsApp. Like we did, they did WhatsApp follow up, we that was part of our strategy was using WhatsApp to follow up with people. And anyway, um, so people are hungry for the gospel, figuring out how to do it digitally online, I think is the is the question. Yeah, I don’t know. I think I think we’ll figure it out. But I just I hope that we, man, wouldn’t it be great if churches like did get portions of their budget? I don’t know what that looks like for them. You know, I think figuring out like enabling and empowering people in their congregations, there are people who are already passionate about these kind of things about certain hobbies or whatever in their area. It’s just turning it around and like empowering them to create and not take ownership too, you know, I think the church so desires ownership over things. And I don’t think that I don’t I don’t know that hat’s biblical. Oh, we should give it all away. So well, how can we empower and encourage and equip people to do this really well, I think is the next question.

Justin Price
I think you’re paving the way. I think this podcast could be planting seeds right now, Katie, that people have just haven’t. It’s not that. And this is where I feel like it’s so easy for us to have this critical conversation at the church because I don’t think it’s because people don’t want to it’s it’s that precedent, like it just hasn’t been an opportunity. They haven’t seen it work. And there is a lot of; people got burned really early with with websites that were super expensive and did not perform. People got really burned by like bad things that happened on social media. Obviously, we’ve seen all sorts of different things. And so there’s a lot of fear around it and any I think you think you said it really well. They’re worth, the risk is worth it. But I would hope that this would spark a conversation in some churches, even if you’re a small church, and you’re like a worship guy doing everything and you’re doing communications, like, take this conversation to your pastor and say, let’s start with 100 bucks, like, let’s start doing something. There is work that we can use communication can be more than announcements, it can be the gospel, using these channels. And in you guys now more than ever, are a conduit for a whole, you know, untapped group of people who need the gospel right now more, you know, so much online.

Mike Mage
What I feel like what Katie is bringing to us is almost bypassing this idea that content is should be the only driving force. I mean, Katie, would you agree with that? I feel like we we have one of the pain points I see for a lot of churches, and we can wrap up here pretty soon. But one of the pain points I see is a lot of people are stunted in what they want to do, because they feel like they can’t compete with the churches around the corner, or the mega church that’s just down the road, or even, you know, stinking Elevation Church or Hillsong. You know, they don’t have millions of dollars. And, but what what you are bringing the church, the community building aspect of this has nothing to do with content. You use content as a vehicle to to ask people how they’re doing to actually connect with people. And you don’t need to have the $8,000 camera or you know, like the $2,000 video editing suite, you don’t need that specifically. Sure, that can help every once in a while. But But your your primary point is connecting with people.

Katie Allred
Right. How can I start intentional conversations that lead to intentional conversations about the gospel? You know, I definitely in 1999, did not have a fancy camera, or even social media didn’t exist. Right. Right. Right. It was just how can I reach these people that I have access to on the internet? How can I intentionally lead them more towards Christ’s likeness, even if they already know Christ. Like, what can I do to disciple them? How can I get to how can I reach them? How can I create pockets of community and create a community that is intentional and relational? And yeah, yeah, you know, and you can start very small, don’t feel like you got to go and reinvent the wheel tomorrow, I know that this is probably a 90,000 foot view. And tomorrow, somebody’s gonna have no idea. Literally, today, if I can just get you to do one thing, write how can I be praying for you on your personal profile. And start the community there. And then, if you’re like, Okay, well, that went over well, you know, how can or how, you know, however, that went in probably with them. By the way, don’t just say I’m praying for you like, and intentionally send them actually, yeah, we’ll actually send them a prayer because people don’t know how to pray. And so they will read the prayer as if they are praying it because they don’t know what you know, like Jesus modeled prayer for us so that we can model prayer for others. And so anyways, if you can actually write out the prayer for them, that would be one intentional way for you to create community online today that starts with your personal profile. You know, that is one easy way. But if tomorrow, you’re like, Okay, I want to take the next step. Join a community group that’s already started in your community. Yeah, and intentionally post on there. Just about random stuff. Like what’s your favorite barbecue restaurant? Like, you know, and just follow up with people. Okay, that’s a great restaurant. I’ve been there, you know, and just get your name out there enough to where people can recognize who you are. And just kind of move the conversation from there until like, see where you can kind of go with it. I don’t know. Maybe create your own group afterwards. You can have you’ll have a whole list of people who love barbecue. Barbecue fanatics of Mobile, Alabama,

Justin Price
It’s so good. You’re making it sound so easy, Katie.

Katie Allred
They both like it’s never gonna happen for me. Sure.

Justin Price
How many posts before I post a link over to my church?

Katie Allred
If you’re talking about barbecue, you post a church link. I feel like that’d be like, unless your church is having amazing barbecue, then you know- that’s an opening right there that we’re having a barbecue kickoff at our church. Okay, fantastic.

Mike Mage
Well, I do I do. I do love the freedom in that though. If you’re joining like a community, whatever. Like if you are a Christian and you are living a life with Jesus, it is going to naturally come up, you know.

Katie Allred
Because that’s what you do in relationships. That’s all a relationship is. Out of those relationships the abundance of your heart overflow Jesus along the way, that’s great. That’s exactly what we want to do. But that should happen naturally and shouldn’t be forced. It shouldn’t just be like-Go to my church website.

Mike Mage
Even online, I feel like people can sniff that out very quickly, you know, man, oh, yeah. They don’t want to engage with that.

Katie Allred
Yeah. Right. And so we don’t want that. Like we don’t want to be salesy or whatever, I just want you to be like a normal human that wants barbecue.

Mike Mage
That’s the title of this episode. There it is. There’s the title.

Justin Price
Katie, you’ve done such a good job of giving us so many good pointers, I hope that we can have you back some time and talk some more. Is there, you know, I know you wrote a book about Instagram, is there anything you would want to share? If you if our listeners got, you know, enjoyed this if they wanted to extend it. And here’s some more of your words and are not willing to take a class in your your college. Yeah. Where can they find you? What can we you know, tell us a little bit about how they can engage with you.

Katie Allred
So you go to churchcommunications.com if you want to visit the website. We have a blog. We have a podcast, you can check out the Church Communications podcast. We have, which we just did one on small groups online, like how to do small groups online. Actually, it was with Dave Ramsey, and there’s some great content in there.

Mike Mage
I’ve heard of him before.

Katie Allred
Yeah. Um, it was good. And there’s, gosh, you can join the Church Communications Facebook group. You can we just we’re launching a membership group, it’s pro.churchcommunications.com. You can join that today, which is more exclusive access to me, because I know everybody needs that now. There’s some great educational courses. So we did a summit with Dave Ramsey on small groups online. 30 different speakers about how to do small group and church online. I think actually, there might be like, 60 I don’t know. There was a ton. We got so many so much amazing. And all of it is how to content. So everything is how to do this because we like to be very practical. If there’s anything I want somebody to walk away with some practical steps. And so that’s included in the Pro membership, the instant summit that we did earlier She Leads Church that we did last year, we’re doing She Leads church again in March. So if you’re a female leader like me, who’s been confused by your whole life I love Jesus. Oh, the church, right. Anyways, that’ll be sheleadschurch.com that’s coming up in March again and then yeah, so just we’ve got a lot of crazy stuff coming up. But anyways, all of it will be offered through pro.churchcommunications.com. And yeah, thanks for asking. We’d love to meet up with anybody if you want to send me a DM on Instagram it’s @katiejallred.

Justin Price
Katie does reply. So. I think that’s how she got roped in.

Mike Mage
Yeah. That’s how we tricked her into doing the podcast.

Katie Allred
The only place I’ll reply.

Mike Mage
Well, cool. Well, Katie, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. This has been incredible. And yeah, we hope to have you on again soon.

Wow. I mean, I I don’t know what else to say other than just wow. Katie is the real deal. Yes. And, and I, I absolutely love how everything is distilled that she does. I mean, you take the online world, you take social media, you take web design, you take whatever you can, and it is distilled down into connecting with people the way that it should be. And we get so lost on our way in with all the shiny tools with you know, Facebook groups and vanity numbers that she even talked about and and at the end of the day, the reason church communications is the most engaged group on Facebook is because she cares about people. And I know that that’s not mind blowing. But why is that so mind blowing?

Justin Price
Mike, we, we we said we thought we were gonna have a conversation about communication tips and things like that. And I feel like we just talked to the best missions pastor I’ve ever talked to, you know, I think her desire, her heart to to share the gospel through the internet is so cool. I love I don’t know if she’s intentionally doing this or not, I need to ask her. If she knows that she’s like a this disciple in disguise, and that she’s like disguising communications and needs groups and different things. Yeah. She kind of knows that she’s doing evangelism through groups. But it’s really, really incredible because she’s not she’s not just like stuck on one platform. It’s like every new evolution of the platforms. She’s taking the gospel to it, and figuring out how to use it. And it’s like, she’s not talking about how to trick YouTube algorithms. She’s saying, This is how the YouTube algorithm works, people search questions, and you should have a YouTube video to answer that. Not so that you get more people at your church, but so that you can actually help people solve these heart problems they’re looking answers for. And because of that, you’re going to use the the internet, which can be a bad place for something very good. And that’s her. That’s your whole heart. That’s her desire. And, man, I think if we could just maybe sometimes get, get some of the vanity and some of the metrics and some of the flash, the walking on water, and the the wonderful essence, the miracle level of the Holy Spirit, and put it aside and get back to the John the Baptist, we’re okay to be weird and eat some locusts, maybe a little bit more mindful of just truly being desperately sold out for the gospel, we might find a little bit more health in our culture in our organizations and maybe even a little bit more growth. So yeah, really well, there’s so much more to unpack with Katie.

Mike Mage
Totally well, and it’s, it’s such a it’s an opportunity, and it’s a challenge for us in the church, who are like, we have all had to go to an online platform at some point in the year 2020. And the challenge for you is to not just let it go, you know, follow follow Katie on on all of her sites. She has her own website. She has obviously Church Communications. She has a podcast, she just came out with a book. She’s a professor at a college. I mean, like, she’s, she’s everywhere. And, you know, one of the places you can go to find all that stuff is on our website. It’s the shownotes on our website, it’s healthychurchgrowth.org. You can go, yeah, and yeah, not.com.org. And you can find all of that stuff there. And just really, you know, get that encouragement you need to continue on in reaching people that are already online. I mean, people are already online, so why not go and meet them where they are, which is to me the most Jesus thing that you could do. So we hope we really hope that you got something out of it. I mean, at least a little bit of what Justin and I got, because we are, we’re blown away. And yeah, we absolutely were so grateful that you were able to listen in on this interview with us. And so thanks so much for joining us here on the Healthy Church Growth podcast, where we believe that healthy things grow and growth means life.