Prevent digital ministry failure by communicating “who, where, and how”

Digital ministry and leveraging technology for discipleship can be hard because it requires some paradigm shifts. In my experience though, that isn’t what causes digital ministry to fail. So what does?

Not communicating the unique calling or discipleship strategy of the church so that systems and processes can be built to support that calling and strategy!

I’m a licensed pilot, that means before I get into the airplane I need to have created a flight plan and communicate that with my copilot. My copilot can only help if he or she knows what our flight plan is and what to anticipate… if I don’t communicate that, then they are just a passenger along for the ride.

Where are we going? - 9GAG

So what do you need to communicate to your team so they can help the church achieve its unique calling and not just be along for the ride?


Who has God uniquely poised your church to reach in this season? Don’t say “make disciples of everyone, everywhere, yadda yadda yadda”… sure that’s the global church’s mission, and you’ll play a part, but focus on your part. College students? Fitness buffs? Fishermen? If you look around your congregation, there will be some common threads to help guide you.


Pretty straightforward, people need to know if they are focusing on a particular area. If someone connects from half-way across the world, are we committing resources to pastor them remotely, or are we connecting them to a local church in their area? Are you focused on downtown, the entire county, are you going multi-site? What should be online and what should be in-person?


What primary strategy is the church going to use to make disciples? Alpha? Christian Education? Small groups? Volunteering? Community events? Where does each element fit into the growth of a disciple at your church? You absolutely need to chart this out in a table. Everyone must be on the same page on whether or not the church picnic is primarily for outreach or for building community. What about the Sunday service? Is it primarily seeker sensitive for outreach, is it focused on community building among believers, or is it straight up the primary activity for teaching believers? Trust me, if people don’t clearly agree on these things on some level then your church will struggle to grow.


Who: paddle boarders

Where: Singapore’s “East” and “North-East” regions

How: In – weekly paddle and post paddle brunch, Out – engagement and collabs with Singapore Paddle Federation, Up – weekly YouTube Bible study series and “stick with your buddy” one on one mentorship.

You don’t need to be, and probably are not called to be drilled down into such a tight niche, but you do need everybody to know where each ministry activity falls into the broader picture.

Once you’ve established who, where, and how, your team is able to start filling in the gaps regarding what must be done to accomplish your church’s unique calling, be they social media, ChMS automation, analytics, apps, etc. Help your team be copilots and not passengers!

Isaac Johnson

Isaac has been in professional ministry since 2002, holds an M.Div. from Moody, and his goal is to equip churches to reach digital natives.

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