Last week I gushed about several people in the web industry that inspired me. Their regular sharing of knowledge gave me the information I needed to forge a career in user experience. Now I will talk about those that inspired me to continue writing about digital ministries. I am not bragging, nor am I putting anyone down. But I did not start my blog because of anyone on this list. In fact I was arrogant enough to think I was doing something new and unique. I started writing before I knew my audience. When I started researching, I discovered many others in this space. This article recognizes those that continue to encourage me.
There is no order of importance implied on this list. They are in order of when I discovered them online.
Originally I had the idea to create a DVD series on church websites. I abandoned that course and just went with writing a blog. I did not have the production equipment or experience to create something worthwhile. Then I heard about Jason. I'll be honest in that I'm quite jealous of him. He produced a product, the iChurch Method, I once dreamed of making. And he did it well. The knowledge in his head, and resources at his fingertips, make him one of the top speakers on digital ministries. In recent years he's even become a growing expert in online campuses. Connect with him now and check out any content he has produced over the years. Go ahead, I'll be patient. Just come back.
One of the first spaces I tried to meet other church technology people was LinkedIn groups. It was in these groups that I first met Paul. He lead some great discussions in those groups. He was always in touch with the latest technology and trends. Plus his company's grasp on search engine optimization is second to none. I would highly encourage you to visit the Web Ministry LinkedIn group, and others like it.
One of the first digital ministry podcasts I heard was Social Media Church. DJ started a great thing and did what I hope to do some day. Hand it over to someone else. His podcast has great interviews with leaders from around the world. This gives us great insight into how other churches operate in the digital space. While he no longer pilots that ship, he built the foundation. He was also kind enough to interview me; for which I am grateful!
Meredith's book, The Social Media Gospel, was the first take digital ministries mainstream. She also started the #ChSocM Twitter chat and proved that online relationships are "real". Meredith has been a beacon for those wanting to expand their ministries to social media. Yet she does not have followers because she was first or is loud. Her arguments that online relationships are real, are sound and compelling. Any pastor wary of digital ministries better not meet her in a dark alley.
With a last name of Wise, how can you not want to know what he has to say? I learned of Justin through others podcasts. Then I started listening to his (now defunct) show. While he does not specifically talk to churches, he is a leader in online marketing. His approach to growing a personal brand is second to none. He stepped up to help leaders develop better online platforms. His website has lots of great resources for church techs as well.
Everyone at ChurchMag
I know this last one is a bit weak. But it is difficult to just point to one person on the ChurchMag. Everyone there knows a lot about church technology and digital ministries. Their website and podcast are the axle the church technology universe revolves around. I regularly listen to their podcast and check out their articles. Plus they have a yearly contest that features the most prominent church tech blogs. Their 2015 results are a good place to start if this list seems too short.
Start following these people. Listen to their podcasts and interviews. Read their books. Buy their products. Support their ministries. All are doing great work out there and regularly inspire me. If they also help you, please let them know. Getting an email from a reader makes my entire month of writing worthwhile. So go out and keep learning from these amazing people!
There was only so much room on the list, but here are three others that you should probably check out!
- Brady Shearer and his Pro Church Tools podcast
- Josh Blankenship and the Creative Church Show podcast
- Darrel Girardier & Katie Allred and their Church Communications Podcast
Photo courtesy of Lazaros Varveris