Dave Adamson (00:00):
The church needs to readopt this innovative spirit that Paul had to leverage technology for the gospel. This is what I believe. We don't need to do that because of COVID in the world. We need to do that because of indifference in the world. What we need to do as church leaders is to start to leverage the reality of the world and start finding ways to create calls to action for every piece of content that we put out that leads people into physical community.
Welcome to the Modern Church Leader, where you'll hear executive pastors share practical tactics and strategies that churches are using right now to thrive in our digital world and advance the kingdom of God. Here's your host, Frank Barry.
Frank Barry (00:47):
Hey guys, this is Frank, with Tithe.ly, coming to you with another episode of Modern Church Leader. Man, excited for today, as I am with pretty much every episode. I love talking to church leaders and pastors and people in this world, making a difference. And today I'm joined, in the morning, all the way from Australia, Mr. Dave Adamson, what's going on, man?
Dave Adamson (01:08):
Hey, man. How are you?
Frank Barry (01:11):
I'm amazing. Life is good
Dave Adamson (01:13):
I'm so glad to hear that.
Frank Barry (01:14):
Yeah, life is good. I can't complain. I got three beautiful boys and an amazing wife and a great career. And I live in a beautiful place. I mean, look, it's all good.
Dave Adamson (01:28):
I concur with everything that you've just said, except I have three beautiful girls. So everything else is very similar.
Frank Barry (01:36):
Dangerous. I don't know if we want to have that conversation recorded, but I don't know what it would be like to have three girls. One of my great friends has three girls and he's managed his way through it, so.
Dave Adamson (01:51):
Yeah. Well, they say that the first 40 years of parenting are the hardest. So I'm just living in that reality and trying to get through it all.
Frank Barry (01:59):
As listeners know, I have triplet 10 year old boys.
Dave Adamson (02:02):
You got 30 years to go.
Frank Barry (02:04):
I have a long time. So where are you at? How old are yours?
Dave Adamson (02:08):
My girls are not triplets. They are 18, 19 and 21.
Frank Barry (02:13):
Okay. I mean, you're working on getting out of high school, into college.
Dave Adamson (02:17):
Yeah. Two of them are in college already. One of them is a senior and the school year in Australia is January to December, essentially. So she's got about half the year to go, when at the time of recording this. So yeah, we're getting into that almost empty nest to phase, which is great because my wife and I still really like each other and we're really looking forward to it, so-
Frank Barry (02:43):
Amen for that. I hear you. I mean-
Dave Adamson (02:43):
It's all good.
Frank Barry (02:45):
We get to celebrate, not even then, if the kids are at a sporting event or something, we're usually there. So we're just always with them. We did go, we did go. We have some great friends that babysat for us, watched the kids. We took a long weekend and we went to Nashville and we went to go see a Bon Jovi concert.
Dave Adamson (03:08):
Wait, wait. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, are you serious?
Frank Barry (03:13):
Yeah, I'm dead serious. This is a month ago.
Dave Adamson (03:17):
Bro, everybody who knows me, knows that I am about the biggest Bon Jovi fan on the planet.
Frank Barry (03:25):
No, you're not.
Dave Adamson (03:27):
100%. I've seen them maybe seven times in concert.
Frank Barry (03:31):
Oh my God.
Dave Adamson (03:31):
I even bluffed my way into a press conference one time to interview them all.
Frank Barry (03:36):
No you didn't.
Dave Adamson (03:38):
And as I outline in one of the chapters in my book, this story, I even had a guitar lesson with Richie Sambora.
Frank Barry (03:46):
No way. Well, hold on dude. I mean, you can't see it well, but Bon Jovi concert. Hold on, let's see if I have... We were right there, we had pretty good seats.
Dave Adamson (04:03):
Dang dude. They're really good seats.
Frank Barry (04:05):
Yeah, yeah. We were close. We were right up on the edge.
Dave Adamson (04:09):
But I've had a guitar lesson with Richie Sambora, so-
Frank Barry (04:13):
Is Richie the long dark hair?
Dave Adamson (04:16):
Yeah, yeah. The original guitarist.
Frank Barry (04:18):
He was on our side. So we were kind of on a corner, right? So he was the guitarist on our side and-
Dave Adamson (04:24):
I can even tell you, then you were left off stage because that's where he always stands.
Frank Barry (04:28):
He was rocking out, oh my gosh, it was so good. And the drummer, the drummer's just an animal, all of them-
Dave Adamson (04:37):
Tico Torres, the human metronome. You're talking to the right person.
Frank Barry (04:43):
You know way more than I do. I enjoy the music, I don't know any of their names, but they rocked it out. They did all the classics, of which, I enjoy them. I probably know five or six of their songs. You know what I'm saying? I know the real hits, the real-
Dave Adamson (05:00):
You didn't deserve to be that close to the stage then.
Frank Barry (05:02):
I know, I know.
Dave Adamson (05:05):
That's usually reserved for super fans, the people who have visited, who when he lived in New Jersey, visited the house that John Bon Jovi grew up in Sayreville, New Jersey-
Frank Barry (05:19):
Dave Adamson (05:20):
... to get a photo out the front of it, that's how nuts... I have just, in the [inaudible 00:05:25]-
Frank Barry (05:30):
So what are you? Are you 45, 43? Where are you?
Dave Adamson (05:30):
I just turned 50.
Frank Barry (05:30):
You just turned 50? Okay. So classic. So I'm 44, my wife is the same age. She's the huge Bon Jovi fan. She's the one that got us to Bon Jovi and I had a great time, but she knows more of the music and got the T-shirt and all the things.
Dave Adamson (05:46):
Brilliant. I think in the first opening minutes of this podcast, I've just proven that maybe I'm not a Modern Church Leader. Maybe I'm not as relevant as I'd like to think I am.
Frank Barry (05:57):
20 to 50, maybe you're right on the edge, maybe you're just... That is, well, or you've revealed something about yourself that most people don't know. And they've heard it here first.
Dave Adamson (06:11):
Well, it's the opening, the chapter 11 in my book where I talk about preaching like a YouTube. I don't know, I don't know if you even talked about my book. I've got a new book out, I don't know if you're aware.
Frank Barry (06:24):
I think it has something to do with the Metaverse and-
Dave Adamson (06:27):
Frank Barry (06:27):
Dave Adamson (06:27):
So in chapter 11, I talk about preaching like a YouTuber and how my concept of preaching had changed. And I opened up the book, sorry, I opened up that chapter with a story about how I played guitar with Richie Sambora one time and it was in a... I'd won a competition, it was me and a couple of other people. And he wanted to assess what our skills were like because normally, people who come to those things, who win the competition can't play guitar, which of the three of us, two of them couldn't, I actually could. And so Richie Sambora says, hey, just play something for me so I can sort of assess where you're at. And me, not even thinking, just starts playing the opening riff of Wanted Dead or Alive.
Dave Adamson (07:14):
Just the classic Bon Jovi song, for which Richie Sambora himself wrote the lick and here I am, playing it and halfway through it, I went, what was I thinking to start playing this? The dude actually wrote it and now I look like I'm not even in the right space, but the good news is, I absolutely crushed the lick. And he said that to me afterwards as well. He said, dude, you played it exactly like I do. And 30 years later, I still get up in the morning and think of that and that's what gets my day set.
Frank Barry (07:47):
You have that thought every morning.
Dave Adamson (07:49):
I have that thought every morning.
Frank Barry (07:52):
Oh my God.
Dave Adamson (07:52):
Are we still recording? Is this recording right now?
Frank Barry (07:54):
This is recording. We should just go live. I'm just going to go live to YouTube right now or just going to forget the recording. Well, so let's rewind a little bit, in case there's, for the two or three people that have never heard of you. I mean, you were an early, early, early online campus pastor. And so you got into ministry, you somehow made your way into doing Church Online and being part of that experience and have been at the forefront of what that's looked like and certainly 2020 and beyond, it exploded. And every church started trying to figure out Church Online to some extent. And now you've written a book, MetaChurch, to kind of, I don't know, expound on all of that and where church is going and whatnot. So take us back, how'd you get into ministry and how'd you go from ministry into the Church Online world.
Dave Adamson (08:47):
Yeah. So, look, going way back, and then fast forward and real quick, so way back, I didn't grow up in a Christian home at all. I grew up quite the opposite. And so didn't even become a follower of Jesus until I was a senior in high school. And back then, I had no interest in ever being in ministry. It's not something that was on the cards, didn't want to do it. As a senior in high school, starting to go to church for the very first time, I thought it was good and all, but no, I didn't want to be a pastor, that's for dang sure. What I wanted to be was a TV sports reporter. And so that's what I did at college and started making my way up through newspapers, magazines, and eventually ended up on TV in Australia as a sports reporter for one of the three major networks here, on a show that was essentially like our equivalent of ESPN and SportsCenter.
Dave Adamson (09:39):
And I did that for seven or eight years before God really called me into ministry. And when he made that call, I thought I was in my dream job and I'm doing everything I want to do. All my friends were envious, all my mates were envious of what I did, because I got to cover Formula 1 Grand Prix. And in Melbourne, Australia, I covered the Australian Open Tennis, golf. I was getting into all these great sporting events and interviewing the top sports athletes in the country. I thought this was my dream job, but then God called me into ministry. And so I turned to the only person who I would've counted as my pastor at the time, which was this guy at a church in New Jersey who I was listening to on podcast.
Dave Adamson (10:20):
This was 2007. And I was listening to him on podcast, on my way into the studio every day. And I said, I think I'm getting called into the ministry. I didn't know what that looks like. And the dude offered me a job, flew me out to New Jersey, moved my whole family. And I went into full-time ministry as an online pastor in 2008 in New Jersey, which referenced back, where Bon Jovi comes from, part of the reason why I thought this was-
Frank Barry (10:46):
I see the connection. Yes.
Dave Adamson (10:46):
... a God thing, not just a good thing. And so what I realized at the time though, Frank, was, looking back, I didn't want to get into ministry, but God was creating opportunities for me to get experience in front of the camera, to get experience with production, to get experience with communication. And all of those things actually worked together to help me become an online pastor at a time when being an online pastor wasn't really a thing.
Frank Barry (11:13):
Yeah. Right, because Church Online probably only kind of started coming around then, maybe a little earlier than that, early 2000, right, was when it kind of started off.
Dave Adamson (11:24):
Yeah. Sort of, I know Life.Church started around 2006, 2007 and so when I came on, there wasn't many of us, in fact, I know from conversations I had with the people who were the early adopters, I was the eighth full-time online pastor in the US and potentially the world. And so it was really early days.
Frank Barry (11:47):
That goes world, on this podcast, it's eighth in the world.
Dave Adamson (11:50):
Eighth in the world, eighth in the world. So yeah, it was really early days. But what I didn't realize was, like I said, looking back, I'm like, oh God, you were playing 3D chess when I was playing Tic-tac-toe or something because you had set up all these skills in my life that actually came to the fall when I started being an online pastor. And then fast forward a few more years, I ended up in Atlanta in 2013 as the social media and online pastor for North Point Ministries where Andy Stanley is the lead pastor. And I ended up doing that for quite a number of years as well.
Frank Barry (12:24):
Dave Adamson (12:25):
Yeah. So in this book that I wrote MetaChurch, which is only two weeks old now, what I did was, I wanted to create a book that was really super practical in application. And so I have literally dropped out everything that I've learned about online ministry over the years and the strategies and systems that I've learned and have really just put all of it into one book, that's literally what the book is about. There's three sort of sections, the first section is the philosophical argument around Online Church and the theological argument around Online Church. Then it gets into the practical side. Here's the strategies. Now I tried not to make it necessarily channel specific with, here's how you do reels because a year from now, reels aren't going to be a thing and the algorithm will have changed.
Dave Adamson (13:17):
And so I wanted to just really apply the ministry strategies, a lot of which I picked up from Andy and the team at North Point and apply that to a digital setting so that anybody who reads this can apply this online strategy to whichever context they're in, whether it's small church, large church, medium church, rural church, urban church, ministries, non-profits. I wanted to create something that was practical across the board.
Dave Adamson (13:44):
And then the third section is really about predicting the future. What does the future look like? And for that, honestly, anybody listening or watching this, buy the book just for chapter 18, because what I did was, I grabbed some of the smartest people I know in the Church Online space, everybody from Mark Batterson, right through to some people that you've had on your podcast, Trey VanCamp, for example, and just ask them, what do you think the future of church looks like? And there's maybe 30 different people, who I just verbatim, took what they wrote and put it into the last chapter. And it's by far my favorite chapter, because it's the one where you learn from all the people who are on the bleeding edge of what the church can and should be doing from a digital point of view.
Frank Barry (14:25):
Yeah, yeah. I love that. I mean, people should check it out, 2020 and beyond, everybody had to go kind of the Church Online and now people are maybe this kind of gray, fuzzy world of, what should I do and what should it look like and all that. But maybe let's touch on the kind of theological side of it for a minute, right? Because I do think that's still a thing and I don't know how much of a thing it is. It could be huge, it could be small, but I do think people struggle, pastors struggle a little bit with, oh, do I have Church Online? But isn't church meant to be with people? You don't read the book of Acts and get the feeling of being disconnected and online, you get the feeling of closeness and family and connection and isn't Church Online kind of distant.
Frank Barry (15:14):
I feel like that's a thing. And I've got my views on the whole world and all that, but what's your take? How do you help pastors and church leaders through that thinking and how do they see it or how should they see it?
Dave Adamson (15:28):
Yeah. You're right. It is still a thing. I mean, if I had a dollar for every time a pastor or a church leader has used Hebrews 10:25 as an argument against online ministry, obviously that is the, let us not give up meeting together, aspect. I wouldn't need to write a book if I had a dollar for every time somebody had done that, because it happens over and still happens today. And what I've seen even since the pandemic, when everything started to wind down from a COVID point of view, seems to still be winding down and churches could open up again all around the world. What I saw a lot of church leaders, basically, they adopted this view, that online thing that we did for those two years, that was just a short term mission trip that we were on.
Dave Adamson (16:12):
Now we're back to the "real world" and we can go back to doing ministry the way that we've always done it. But for my perspective, my perspective on it is, yeah, look, Hebrews 10:25 is important, let us not give up meeting together. But keep in mind that when the author of that, of Hebrews wrote that in the first century, really the only way to meet together was in person, right? The only way to do that was to be on-site in the same room, in the same place with somebody. But the world has changed dramatically. Frank, you and I are recording this podcast. I'm in Australia, in a completely different day than what you are, right?
Frank Barry (16:49):
Dave Adamson (16:49):
But we're still meeting together and connecting and having the same sort of interaction we might if we were sitting at a table together. It's just a limited version of that. But the interaction, the engagement, the relationship is still the same. What I constantly argue is, yes, we should not give up meeting together. And the important thing there is that as an online pastor, myself, and I've spoken to tens, probably hundreds of online social media pastors in the world and I've never heard an online pastor say that online should replace offline. Nobody ever says that.
Dave Adamson (17:25):
But what we do believe is that online can enhance what's happening on site. Whatever the church is doing on a Sunday, we can enhance that by meeting with people during the week via Zoom, via Instagram posts, via TikTok, all of those platforms allow us to interact on a more regular basis. And this is where for me, Acts 2:47 comes in, right? Pastors love to talk about Acts 2:47 because there's this huge payoff.
Dave Adamson (17:54):
And every day, the Lord added to the number of those who are being saved. We all love that. We all want that. We all want God to add daily to the size of our congregation, but Acts 2:46, we step over that. Acts 2:46 says, and they met together every day in houses and in the temple courts. And we step over that. We want the payoff of Acts 2:47, but we're not willing to put in the work of Acts 2:46, because we have set up a model of church, that is come to us at a certain location, at a certain time zone and will meet together for an hour. And then we'll send you off during the week and we say, hey, thanks for coming to church today, see you next week, when the reality is, we're supposed to be meeting together every day.
Dave Adamson (18:35):
And technology, digital online technology allows us to do that. It's really taking Jesus' first century model of discipleship and saying, hey, I met with 12 young men every day for three years and I poured into them. And they saw me in every aspect of my life, but in the modern church world, it seems like we often just want to say, hey, come back next Sunday and then we'll talk about that again. Or discipleship has become a 12 week cost that we do once a week for 12 weeks. And we say, well, now you're a disciple, no, we're always a disciple. And we can leverage online technology to literally meet together every single day. And so that's part of my philosophical, my theological outlook of what happens of why Church Online is, quote, unquote, "valid" and why it's something that we should be doing. And that's really what the book is about, Frank. I called it MetaChurch because Metachurch is a term that I've been leveraging for a lot longer than Mark Zuckerberg has been calling Facebook, Meta and created the Metaverse.
Frank Barry (19:35):
Yeah. Right, right. It's a good connection. You must have got really lucky.
Dave Adamson (19:40):
It was pure luck. And in fact, the book wasn't even called MetaChurch when I started writing it. It Was called something else but what I realized was, I'd been leveraging this term, MetaChurch, for quite a few years back when I was on staff at North Point and talking to Andy Stanley about what the future approach to church and what our church model should look like. And the reason I used that word MetaChurch is because the word, meta, is really just a prefix. And it's a prefix that has multiple meanings. The first meaning is, it's to transform or to change, as in the word metamorphosis, when a worm becomes a butterfly or a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. So it means to change or transform, but it also means to go beyond, as in the word, metaphysical, to go beyond just the physical.
Dave Adamson (20:24):
So meta means to change, transform and to go beyond. And really what this book is about, is about encouraging and trying to help churches change and transform their model to go beyond Sunday, to go beyond the church building and into their local communities every day of the week, so that they can reach more people and change more lives. That's really what the term MetaChurch means for me. A lot of people will use terms like physical or digital, or stuff like, oh, Hybrid Church, those sorts of terms. MetaChurch is just my version of that. And the reason I don't use physical and digital, which often gets put together in the worst possible way by certain people who call it Phygital Church. The reason, one of the-
Frank Barry (21:11):
It's a terrible name, right?
Dave Adamson (21:13):
There's two reasons I don't like that, phygital sounds like a crime and we shouldn't be using it anyway. It's the worst word. Second, digital church is still physical. I might be watching online but I'm still physically present. And it's also the reason why I don't like online versus in-person. First of all, it shouldn't all be versus, we're all on the same team. And even though I might be watching online, I'm still in-person, I'm just in-person in my lounge or I'm in-person listening on a podcast. So what I talk about is this idea of MetaChurch, to change your model and go beyond, and I use terms such as on-site or online, because you can be on-site at the church or you can be watching online and they're still in-person and I'm still physical. I just might not be on-site in the church.
Frank Barry (21:59):
Dave Adamson (21:59):
But I also, I believe, Frank, very strongly that there's a day coming and it might be years from now, it might be decades from now, but I know my kids and your kids are probably not going to call it online church and in-person church or physical church and digital church, they're just going to call it church, that's all. It's just church because that's the way we live our lives in the modern world. And when churches get on board with this, and when churches start to realize that we need to be in people's lives 24/7 and seven days a week, not just on Sundays, then that's when all of this, whether they're watching, by sitting in a pew and looking live at what's going on, or if they're watching on their phone or on their computer or their tablet or through VR goggles, we're just going to call it church at some point, because that's really what it is.
Frank Barry (22:46):
Well, I was talking about this earlier today with Dean, also from Tithe.ly. We were just chatting about this and I'm like, man, my kids kind of live in this dual. We live in it too. My kids live in it kind of in a next level way, your kids would be similar, right? My kids go to school, so we're up in the morning, family's doing some stuff. We get them ready. They get out the door, they get to school. They're physically interacting at school, right, person-to-person, teachers, friends, all the stuff. And then they come home from school and they do some homework, do some chores and then they hop on Roblox or they hop on Minecraft. And they're interacting with the same kids they were in person with at school, right? Physically, however, on-site, they were on site in the classroom and then they're home and they're interacting with their friends online in some virtual world of some sort, right?
Frank Barry (23:51):
Roblox has its version, Minecraft's got its version. There's all kinds of other stuff out there. And then couple hours later, they've got basketball practice and they go to basketball practice and they're on-site again. And they're interacting with friends, human bodies touching, they're there, doing their thing. They come home, we get dinner and then they might hop back online for a minute. And they're in Roblox again, doing something. But they're connecting with their same friend, they're doing stuff online with friends, that isn't necessarily school or basketball, but it's still connecting and they're doing it a lot, right? And so those guys that are 10, 20 years from now, when they're 30, what does church look like for them? That's a really interesting thing to think about. It's not going to look like it is right now. And there's still absolutely going to be on-site meeting together, like they did in Acts, that version of together. But there's going to be a whole other universe of connection that exists.
Dave Adamson (24:55):
Totally, totally. And it's interesting to me, we've talked about Acts a couple times, when you look at Acts, the people met together in their homes, they didn't meet together in the temple, if they went to the temple, it wasn't inside the temple. The scripture's talking about them sitting outside the temple. Scripture talks about them being, the authors of the New Testament talked to them about being in homes with each other and they still connected as gathering. But what you just explained to me, my daughters are exactly the same, right? Your boys, my daughters are digital natives. This is the space they've always grown up with. So they don't see it as any different. This is just, no, I'm talking to my friend, but they're talking with their thumbs. You know what I mean? But that's-
Frank Barry (25:35):
With an avatar, right?
Dave Adamson (25:36):
With an avatar.
Frank Barry (25:37):
That's kind of the next level thing that maybe you and I didn't necessarily... We've done it, but we didn't grow up doing it. Whereas now, that's a thing. They have an avatar that they're styling and doing stuff with and-
Dave Adamson (25:51):
And dude, your sons and my daughters hopefully will be the church leaders of the future. And they're going to come at it with a different perspective than a couple of 40 or 50 year old guys. They're going to come at it with this, well, I grew up with this technology and it's just natural and normal to me, which ironically, what you just explained to me, as you're explaining, I'm like, yeah, what you just explained, dude, is what the Apostle Paul did, right? He would go into a town and he would start a church, but then he would go back and live hundreds of miles away. But he stayed connected by using the technology of his day to continue to disciple and teach them, the technology of his day was letter writing.
Frank Barry (26:25):
Yeah. The pen and paper, right? That was [inaudible 00:26:28]-
Dave Adamson (26:27):
The pen and paper was his technology. And he used it to stay connected with the people who he was discipling, yet... Gosh, if Paul took up the same model of church that most modern day church leaders have, which is discipleship only happens when people are physically in front of me, physically in a room making that happen, then at least 13 books of the New Testament would not have been written because he was writing letters using the technology of his day to disciple people. The church needs to readopt this innovative spirit that Paul had, to leverage technology for the gospel. This is what I believe. And we don't need to do that because of COVID in the world. We need to do that because of indifference in the world. People aren't coming to church because they're indifferent to church. All the technology, sorry, all the analytics and statistics and data from people like Bonner and McCrindle here in Australia tells us that church attendance was declining long before the pandemic hit.
Dave Adamson (27:33):
It was in free fall, or it was at least going down into the right, that was before the pandemic hit. Even people who attended church had stopped attending church on a weekly basis. They were attending once every three weeks. Then it became once every five weeks in 2019, long before the pandemic hit. But back then, in those days, when physical attendance was declining, especially weekly physical attendance was declining, what I noticed, as an online passer at North Point, was that more people than ever were connecting with our church via podcasts. More people than ever were listening or watching a message that was live streamed, more people than ever were leveraging YouTube to access our content. That was going up into the right when attendance was going down into the right. And so in that way, I remember talking with Andy about this in 2017, 2018, that church attendance is not decreasing, it's decentralizing.
Dave Adamson (28:30):
People are still accessing our church content and they're finding other ways to create community around that content. So we might have somebody who shows up the first Sunday of the month, to a physical on-site service. But then the second Sunday of the month, they listen on a podcast on their commute to work. The third Sunday of the month, they might be away, so they watch the live stream. The Sunday after that, they might watch video on-demand because they had sporting events or something on Sundays. And then beyond that, the content that we put on YouTube is evergreen and can be seen by people days, weeks, months, years later. That doesn't make that less valid. But what we need to do is church leaders is to start to leverage the reality of the world and start finding ways to create calls to action for every piece of content that we put out, that leads people into physical community.
Dave Adamson (29:23):
I remember when I was the online pastor at North Point, one of the shifts in language that I introduced when we were hosting those services live and we didn't prerecord anything, we did all of our hosting sports live, while the band was setting up behind us. And the messaging that I put in to change things was, I would always have our hosts, whether it was me or somebody else say, we stream these services to give you a window into our church, but also to create a doorway into community. And the best way to get community is to visit one of our Atlanta area churches. Now, that languaging was the opening steps of this MetaChurch approach to leverage online, to impact on-site attendance. And we wanted people to get into that community, but it also was another key thing in there, was we felt that as a church, we were not broadcasting our services to the entire world.
Dave Adamson (30:19):
I mean, we were to a certain extent, but more specific than that, or more strategic than that, we were narrowcasting our services to people who lived within driving distance of our church buildings in Atlanta. And so that shift meant that for us at North Point, content wasn't king online, context was king online. And so we want to speak into the context of the audience that we felt specifically called to reach. And this is where this impacts church leaders all over the world.
Dave Adamson (30:50):
We all think that we need to be highly produced content, lights, cameras, the whole deal. We have to pull all these resources into that because we're broadcasting to the world. I keep saying, no, you're not, you're narrowcasting to the people who live in the community that God has uniquely called you to serve in, whether that's Atlanta or whether that's rural Pennsylvania or in the desert in Central Australia. God has called you to serve in that community. So leverage online technology to speak to the context of the community, where God has called you to serve. That is the most important and most innovative thing I think churches can do when it comes to the online space.
Frank Barry (31:28):
Maybe practically, because you got the big churches, you get the big, whether they're mega-churches or however you define it, right? You got these churches that are big, have resources, staff, money, gear, all the stuff. But most churches aren't that, right? Most churches around the world are 100 people, 200 people, right? They're smaller, that's their life. So how do you think the concepts in MetaChurch apply to them and what can they do today? Not because they're all online because of COVID, but now we're on the other side of it, whatever that looks like. But yeah, how's the 100 member church supposed to look and do things when they're meeting in person and trying to do this online stuff too?
Dave Adamson (32:18):
Great question. So what I would say is this one, one of the most innovative things that a lot of churches could do is to stop streaming their services on Sunday. We all feel like we have to do that in order to, quote, unquote, "be online" if we stream, we're online, but really-
Frank Barry (32:36):
Like camera in the back that's literally just showing the whole kind of experience.
Dave Adamson (32:39):
Yeah. I say it would be innovative for some churches to stop doing that. I think during the pandemic, what we found was that livestream became mainstream. Everybody started doing it and everybody felt like they had to do it. And so now people are making that decision, am I going to continue to do it? For some churches that are smaller, I would say, hey, why don't you stop doing that? And the resources that you are putting into that, whether it was financial, through purchasing of cameras and things like that, or if it's people through having staff or volunteers who are running that side of things, why don't you stop doing that on a Sunday? Instead, create content that's actually going to be helpful to the community that you've been called to serve during the week.
Dave Adamson (33:21):
One of the things, this is not in the book and it's not in the book because it's something, I think during the writing process, I was just experimenting with, but I've seen it have such great impact, lately, has been to start asking questions in your local community about what are the questions people are asking about faith, Jesus, God, church, the Bible, in your local community.
Dave Adamson (33:44):
If you do a search for the, I don't know, let's go with the top 50 questions that people in your community are asking when it comes to the topic of faith, if you were to find out what they were and provide short, two to four minute answers to each one of those questions, you've got content that is relevant to the people in your community, because you're finding out what they're actually asking. Too often, too many churches, Frank, in my opinion, too many churches are answering questions no one is asking and it's time that the smaller churches, one of the things you could do is figure out what are those 50 questions, create video content around that and put that out onto YouTube.
Dave Adamson (34:23):
Put that out onto social media and see what it does, with calls to action to connect if you've got more questions, maybe to an alpha group or a starting point group or one of these groups that people can ask questions about faith in and start being in community and answering the questions that are most relevant to the people in your community. If you were to do that, the average church of 100 was to do that and find those top 50 questions, that's a whole year of preaching content as well because you add Easter and Christmas in there. There's 52 weeks of the year covered. And it's answering questions that people are actually asking your local community. Well, as I've done this for some churches-
Frank Barry (34:59):
And then the call to action can be like, if you just did it, it could be like, hey, this week's series is on this or this month's series is like...
Dave Adamson (35:06):
Well, this year we're answering questions, the most asked questions, in our city about faith. That's a great piece of content, I think. Now, as I've started to do this with some churches in Pennsylvania, some churches in Detroit, some churches here in Australia and even some ministries like Compassion, and Alpha Australia. As I've started to do these things, what I've realized is, the questions that people ask around faith, Jesus, God, the Bible, church, a way different, state to state, country to country. And so it's very specific around certain things and certain ideas that are relevant to what the average family is facing. My team here worked with a church in a place called Rockhampton, Queensland, which is a smallish sort of town, maybe 100,000 people live in the whole region.
Dave Adamson (36:02):
And one of the first things we asked is, what is the biggest issue in the community? What is the biggest issue that the community's facing? And the pastor said, well, children being impacted by domestic violence is a really big issue in Rockhampton.
Frank Barry (36:16):
Dave Adamson (36:17):
And I said, oh my gosh, so what is the church doing to help answer some of the questions people have around that? Well, nothing yet. And I was like, there is a great opportunity right there, to be relevant in the local community, by creating content that answers the questions people are actually asking. But unfortunately, in church world, Frank, I feel like we have redefined the word relevant. We think relevance is moving lights and smoke machines and skinny genes, right? That's what we deem as being relevant. But relevance is meeting the needs of somebody when they need it most, right?
Dave Adamson (36:51):
So if I'm stranded in the desert or if I'm stuck out at sea, say I fell off a boat and I'm stuck out at sea and I've been treading water for two days. And then you arrive in a boat and pull me out and give me a bottle of water. I'm not worried about what sort of boat you came in, I'm not worried about what brand of water you gave me. I'm just thankful because you are the most relevant person in my life, because you met the need, the biggest need that I had in the moment that I needed it the most. So church leaders, especially church leaders of churches that are 100 or 200 or less, start answering the questions that people in your community are asking and you'll become the most relevant people to them. And you might find that some of them want to step into community if you are open to answering more questions that they have around faith, church, Jesus, God, the Bible.
Frank Barry (37:39):
Right, right. Yeah, absolutely. That's killer. Well, I don't want to go too long. I know it's early. You probably have a whole crazy packed day. So people need to go check out the book.
Dave Adamson (37:50):
Frank Barry (37:50):
They can probably just do a Google search or a Bing search or a whatever search for MetaChurch.
Dave Adamson (37:55):
Wait, wait, wait, people use Bing? Oh my gosh.
Frank Barry (37:57):
I mean, I've heard people using DuckDuckGo. Isn't that another browser that's out there? I mean-
Dave Adamson (38:01):
DuckDuckGo is another one?
Frank Barry (38:03):
... whatever search you use, just search for MetaChurch.
Dave Adamson (38:08):
Yes. The easiest way to do it is to do that. Or you can go to Amazon and just search for Dave Adamson or Metachurch or go to metachurchbook.com and you'll have... There, you're going to find not only a link to where you can buy the book, but also some information and some videos about the book, but also I'm dropping in there graphics that I use throughout the book so that you... Literally, I've laid out an entire church strategy around digital ministry, everything from podcast and new version to giving apps like Tithe.ly To Church Online platforms, to all the social media platforms and even how to process what the new media coming out is, whether what's the next talk? What's the next discord? Things like that. So it's all laid out there.
Frank Barry (38:53):
I love that. And I'll double check to make sure Tithe.ly's the first one. If it's not, I don't know, I don't know what I'm going to do, but we'll leave that for now.
Dave Adamson (39:03):
Hey, you know what's interesting? I did mention Tithe.ly in the book, in a couple of places, but you know what's interesting to me, man? Is that people will say, Hebrews 10:25, people have to come to physical church or on-site church because that's what the Bible says. Yet Malachi also talks about, bring the whole tithe into the storehouse. So if you apply the same logic, churches should only accept money that's given on-site, in cash form, and [inaudible 00:39:30] people have got in with them.
Frank Barry (39:31):
And isn't that Old Testament? Isn't that old Testament? Wasn't that crops and-
Dave Adamson (39:34):
Well, now we're opening up a whole new bag. This is a whole episode, but isn't it interesting that when it came to leveraging technology to receive finances, the church was able to quickly adopt it and quickly shift their theology around it? Yet when it comes to in-person or on-site, we have this weird thing and I think part of it, if I can be super candid with you and I'm guilty of this, right?
Dave Adamson (40:00):
I'm guilty of this when I preach, I'm guilty of this when I play guitar at North Point, for example, if someone used to be on the worship team there, we measure our self worth and our self-esteem by how many people are sitting in front of us, listening to us, or watching us when we do whatever it is we're doing on stage. And we spiritualize that by using Hebrews 10:25. But for me, this is a Mark 16:15 issue, which says, go into all the world and preach the gospel to ever get living creature. And in all the world, you know this because you're a dad to three, 10 year old boys. This is their world, this cell phone is their world. Their tablet [inaudible 00:40:34], is their world.
Frank Barry (40:35):
They want one of those things too. They want an actual cell phone. And I'm like, no, not until you're 28. I'm just waiting.
Dave Adamson (40:43):
28, wow. But I bet they have access to a tablet, right?
Frank Barry (40:45):
They do, yes, they do.
Dave Adamson (40:47):
But going into all the world means going onto YouTube. It means going into TikTok and Discord and Twitch and you name that platform. That's why I believe that when Jesus said that, him being God probably foresaw that, that would be part of it. And after extensively researching the Hebrew and the Greek term for go in that sentence, go into all the world, it actually means to go. It's a verb. And it's actually a passive verb because the implication is, as you are going, not that you've stopped and now you need to go, it's as you are going, because you're already going into the world, you're already on social media, you're already watching YouTube, you're already on Twitch, you're already playing the games on whatever platform you're playing Fortnite or Minecraft. As you are doing that, preach the gospel. So we're supposed to be leveraging this anyway. That would be another part of my theology around all of this.
Frank Barry (41:48):
Yeah, yeah. No, I love it, dude. We could sit here and talk all day because I'm into it. Hopefully people find it really interesting and go read the book, whether you agree or disagree, I think people should go read it to kind of just learn and keep trying to figure this stuff out because it's only going to get more and more over the years.
Dave Adamson (42:04):
Frank Barry (42:05):
Our kids, 20 years, it's going to look different and they just have to evolve. So I have three quick questions.
Dave Adamson (42:11):
Yeah. And then I've got a question for you.
Frank Barry (42:13):
Oh, well, shoot. I mean, that just throws me off completely. So let me ask you mine real quick. So what's a book that you've been most influenced by that people got to go read?
Dave Adamson (42:23):
Super easy. The book is called Originals, by Adam Grant and it talks all about... Andy Stanley actually had Adam Grant on his podcast recently, but Originals talks about the idea of what we consider creative is not actually creative. Creativity exists in being original. So that book, I literally read it every year because it reminds me to be innovative in my thinking and to start leveraging new ways to use the technology that we have. Originals by Adam Grant.
Frank Barry (42:56):
Okay. Noted. That one's good. What's a podcast that you're listening to right now?
Dave Adamson (43:00):
Well, I need to say this one, don't I? Isn't that-
Frank Barry (43:03):
No, no, no. You can't say your book and you can't say this podcast, you got to give us something else.
Dave Adamson (43:09):
So this is decidedly unspiritual, but the podcast that I listen to every single week is one called SmartLess, it's three-
Frank Barry (43:18):
Dave Adamson (43:22):
Frank Barry (43:24):
Okay. Got it.
Dave Adamson (43:25):
All one word, SmartLess. Now, it's Jason Bateman and two of his friends, I can't think of their name off top of my head right now. Will Arnett is the other guy. What they do is they have three friends who just bring in guests and one of them knows who it is, but the other two don't and then they have this... It's hilarious. I love it.
Frank Barry (43:43):
Yeah. That's amazing. That sounds great. Look, I kind of want people... That question is to actually get people to tell me something not spiritual, because we're so spiritual on this podcast, I need a little... What else is going on in your life?
Dave Adamson (43:55):
That is my breakaway when I just want to just laugh. That's my go-to because I literally laugh the entire time. So if somebody needs a break and they need to laugh, listen to SmartLess
Frank Barry (44:08):
You're that guy in the car or on the train or whatever, just cracking up all by yourself. It's-
Dave Adamson (44:14):
Frank Barry (44:15):
I love that.
Dave Adamson (44:15):
It is literally what I do.
Frank Barry (44:17):
I love that. Well, we already got the third one. People just need to go to metachurchbook.com. That was my third question. They need to go there.
Dave Adamson (44:24):
Or follow me at Aussie Dave on just about every platform there is.
Frank Barry (44:29):
Dave Adamson (44:31):
Aussie Dave, everywhere is just the same.
Frank Barry (44:31):
I'm mostly on the IG, so I catch all your stuff there, but-
Dave Adamson (44:35):
Well, I'm glad. Now, I've got a question for you.
Frank Barry (44:37):
Dave Adamson (44:39):
This is for the people, I don't know what the ratio is of people who listen to this podcast or who watch it on YouTube. But if you're listening to this podcast, I want you to go to YouTube and watch this episode because this is my question. Behind you, it looks like you have a shield that is a Tithe.ly shield, is that right? Is that a shield? It looks like it's something from the movie, Gladiator.
Frank Barry (45:00):
Yeah, this is-
Dave Adamson (45:02):
Okay, it looked a lot bigger.
Frank Barry (45:05):
So yeah, way back there, it's big, but it's actually the size of my hand. Right?
Dave Adamson (45:12):
They're like globes.
Frank Barry (45:14):
So these light up. So at one point, you'd see it in old, old episodes if you're watching on YouTube. But this is our original logo. So our logo's kind of little different today. It's mainly just the leaf, but this is the cell phone growing, right? So at one point, I had this custom-made, I found some people on Etsy but I had a whole sign. So the sign said grow.
Dave Adamson (45:39):
Frank Barry (45:40):
And then this was almost a period, next to the big letters and it was all up on the wall and it lit up. So it plugs in. And it's pretty cool, but there's no plug back here, so I can't plug it in.
Dave Adamson (45:53):
Well, if you need some money to get an extension cable or something so you can plug that in, I'm happy to Venmo you or WhatsApp you.
Frank Barry (45:59):
All right, all right, got it.
Dave Adamson (46:02):
Whatever you need. See, we change our thinking when it comes to finances and online.
Frank Barry (46:07):
I mean, you got the cool lighting back there. I don't have that totally worked out yet, but yeah. I would-
Dave Adamson (46:13):
And look, oh, that's awkward, there's the book right there.
Frank Barry (46:15):
Yeah. I know. It's too far back though. We got to get that a little closer into the foreground, so-
Dave Adamson (46:19):
I'm deliberately leaving it way back.
Frank Barry (46:23):
Well, Dave, this has been awesome, man. Thanks for the time. And for folks listening or watching, we definitely have more listeners than watchers. But all the listeners should go watch on YouTube because it's kind of fun to see the guests in-person and kind of see the interaction.
Dave Adamson (46:40):
Frank Barry (46:41):
But we appreciate you guys. Dave, thank you for sharing about the book and sharing some of your time. Go get some coffee, have a good breakfast and we'll see everybody next week on another episode of Modern Church Leader. Thanks guys.
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