7 episodes

Get a Front Row Seat to Leaders and Projects Shaping the Future of the Church.



The recent past has left us with more questions than answers when it comes to making disciples and multiplying the church. Will things ever get back to normal? And if so, is that a good thing?



Should we focus on online strategies, press into new forms for gathering, or hybrid models? Will church leaders need a new form of training, preparation, and funding? What about buildings, giving, staffing, technology, and planning?



With the need for the Gospel in our generation, we must not look for a silver bullet, one-size-fits-all approach. There are many expressions of the local church. Through the Future Church Podcast, we will discover and highlight new and effective ways churches can impact our world with the Gospel.

Future Church Podcast Exponential

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

Get a Front Row Seat to Leaders and Projects Shaping the Future of the Church.



The recent past has left us with more questions than answers when it comes to making disciples and multiplying the church. Will things ever get back to normal? And if so, is that a good thing?



Should we focus on online strategies, press into new forms for gathering, or hybrid models? Will church leaders need a new form of training, preparation, and funding? What about buildings, giving, staffing, technology, and planning?



With the need for the Gospel in our generation, we must not look for a silver bullet, one-size-fits-all approach. There are many expressions of the local church. Through the Future Church Podcast, we will discover and highlight new and effective ways churches can impact our world with the Gospel.

    FCP 7 | Daniel Herron and The Robloxian Christians

    FCP 7 | Daniel Herron and The Robloxian Christians

    The Robloxian Christians was founded in 2011 as a place for kids on the Roblox gaming platform to pray for one another and talk about their faith online. Over the course of a decade, it transformed into a youth-led virtual church ministry serving upwards of 40,000 young people from over 85 countries.

    When TRC was founded, it was the first “online church” on Roblox, and one of the first totally virtual churches in the world. In the time since, for different reasons, many young people have split off to form their own churches and worshipping communities. Today, there are over 120 youth-led online churches on Roblox.

    Listen to Episode 7 of the podcast and access the show notes below.



    Future Church Insights:

    1. Daniel explains what Roblox is and how the church formed.

    Roblox is an online gaming community that has grown immensely. It mainly attracts Middle and High School ages, but has also recently begun to draw in older Elementary age youth. Daniel and his friends started the Roboloxian Christians as a space to talk about their faith when online playing different games.

    2. Daniel talks about how the Robloxian Church formed from the vulnerability and leadership of young people.

    He notes that it was really remarkable that there hasn’t ever been an “older person” leading the church, but it’s all been youth-led. The church experienced incredible growth through the vulnerability and honesty of the youth who participated.

    3. Daniel speaks about the impact and importance of online church, pre and post COVID.

    He points out that an online ministry is able to reach people that a brick and mortar church wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise. That despite the hesitation that some have regarding online churches, there are people an online church reaches that would ordinarily never experience the gospel.

    4. Daniel emphasizes the importance of letting youth lead.

    Daniel notes that this church has allowed and encouraged young people to interact and explore faith and church in a way that is most comfortable to them. Church is changing and young people interact and have community in ways that the current church structure can’t always reach them.

    Goals and Desired Outcomes of Pursuit Church Live

    1. Our project is first going to build a new virtual space for The Robloxian Christians Church that is up-to-date with Roblox technology, easy to use and update for seasonal events, has strong run-performance for mobile, tablet, console, and pc-users, and is functional for different types of virtual events.

    2. The new virtual space will have API-integrations between our roblox group hub and our community Discord server. Creating a new space for TRC is important not only because the current space is several years behind, but also because as we look towards future leadership transitions, having a steady virtual space will smooth it out.

    Links: 

    www.robloxianchristians.org

    More of a reader? Download the transcription here.

    Key Quotes from the episode from Daniel Herron:

    “Churches have young people that are brilliant. Young people are digital natives, they have been on these social platforms that, no offense to older folks, but older folks struggle sometimes to use and use effectively. So, my first thing that I would say is that churches and church leaders should listen to the young people that are in their congregation already.” (19:03)

    “I think the thinking is we should empower young people and we should listen to them and hear their voices and equip them to take this upon their themselves to go into these spaces where they are already spending their time and making friends and talking to people and we should equip them and empower them and jus...

    • 36 min
    FCP 6 | Angela Craig and Pursuit Church Live

    FCP 6 | Angela Craig and Pursuit Church Live

    Pursuit Live Church was birthed out of the truth that God leaves no one out. He loves, accepts, and welcomes everyone. He has given us technology as a gift to reach every corner of the world with the message and hope of Jesus. Since its inception in 2017, PCL has grown to nearly 16,000 followers on Facebook, serving 47 countries in 48 languages, and over 2500 individuals in small groups. 

    Listen to Episode 6 of the podcast and access the show notes below.



    Future Church Insights:

    1. Angela felt called to lead a church online to reach those who would not typically come to a physical church building.

    Pursuit Church Live started on Facebook as a way to reach the unchurched, de-churched and those who couldn’t attend due to a chronic illness or being housebound. Angela pointed out that a Barna study revealed that 65% of people would not attend a church.

    2. Angela explains how having a team to pursue people online has helped to reach those who engage with Pursuit Church online.

    Their “Impact Team” is the group of volunteers who move people from engagement on the platform to a discipleship circle. This team is the first to see people and make sure they know they are cared for a loved. From there, leaders of discipleship circles begin the discipleship process.

    3. Angela gives guidance on how to lead and plant an online church.

    Angela has a small booklet called “Online Jesus” that is available on Kindle. The book talks about their discipleship strategy and how their church has grown. She hopes it’s a way to prevent burnout and the current struggle many pastors are facing right now.

    Goals and Desired Outcomes of Pursuit Church Live



    Digital Outreach/1 million people

    Daily Discipleship

    Multiplication through small groups and micro-communities

    PCL School



    Links: 

    onlinejesus.info 

    Online Jesus group on Facebook

    More of a reader? Download the transcription here.

    Key Quotes from the episode from Angela Craig:

    “People are online to be seen, not to see you.” (7:58)

    “We want to make disciples that make disciples.” (16:33)

    “I know so many leaders that want to be a pastor, a teacher, and they cannot get any training because there’s one pastor on one stage. And so that’s the great thing about social media is you can really empower and train up leaders in their strengths and in the vocation that God has called them to.” (29:27)

    • 32 min
    FCP 5 | Patrick Holden and Nuvo Church

    FCP 5 | Patrick Holden and Nuvo Church

    In this episode of the Future Church Podcast, Carrie Williams (Special Projects Director for Exponential) talks with Patrick Holden of Nuvo Church.

    Nuvo began as a church plant with 3 families living in different parts of the country who wanted to launch in Columbus, OH. By utilizing social media, Nuvo was able to launch during the Pandemic through digital services, digital groups, in person groups, and pop-up gatherings in different parts of the city. Their “hope is to create a scalable model of in person gatherings, partnered with a unique digital presence to reach agnostics and people de-constructing their faith”.

    Listen to Episode 5 of the podcast and access the show notes below.



    Future Church Insights:

    1. Patrick explains the unusual start to Nuvo and how that has led to a strong launch team.  

    Patrick and his team were still in different parts of the country and had yet to move to Columbus. His base church allowed him to stay on staff but also begin fundraising and building a team for the church plant in Columbus. By connecting with people around Columbus through Facebook groups, Patrick and the rest of the team cold called people to gain a better understanding of the city and its needs. From these conversations, they were able to build about half of their launch team.

    2. Patrick highlights some of the ways they were able to reach people through Social Media.

    Building from what his team learned from Tony Morgan, they began creating “Content Offers” on social media. For example, they posted a series of videos during the election debates about how to survive the election. This was a way to reach an audience and capture email addresses for future events.

    3. Patrick is constantly learning from Social Media.

    He talks about studying TikTok accounts to see how to communicate a lot of information in just a minute. Patricks says that continuing to learn and study and grow in this area has been an important part of their church plant.

    Goals and Desired Outcomes of Nuvo



    Create a scalable approach to live/in-person gatherings that models financial sustainability and fuels exponential versions of live expressions.

    Create an online presence that encapsulates multiple avenues of content offering and communal development.

    Provide helpful and thought-provoking content for the person who is currently deconstructing their faith and/or the person who would now identify as agnostic.

    Build a sustainable model that fuels internal campus-ing and external church planting with like-minded leaders in similar city situations.

    Develop discipleship pathways for kids/teenagers that equips them for a faith of their own after high school.



    Links: 

    Nuvo Church

    More of a reader? Download the transcription here.

    Key Quotes from the episode from Patrick Holden:

    “I would just say for every communicator, the temptation is a pandemic kind of, it’s slowing in some ways, is to go back to what we’ve always done. I would say we’ve got to be great students of great communicators that do it in different ways than we do.” (21:44)

    “I think the biggest challenge is learning to speak the language of a generation that’s coming behind us. I think it’s changing so fast. I think there’s a temptation to want to appear cool or whatever that is, which is all good. Again, we have moving lights, we have an … It’s not a not cool thing, but the language and the needs are continually shifting.” (22:20)

    “I would encourage pastors [by saying], “God knew that you would be a pastor in 2021 and 2020.” And as difficult as it can be, I think there’s a part of going,

    • 29 min
    FCP 4 | Arman Sheffey and Unshackled Network

    FCP 4 | Arman Sheffey and Unshackled Network

    In this episode of the Future Church Podcast, Carrie Williams (Special Projects Director for Exponential) talks with Arman Sheffey of Unshackled Network.

    Unshackled Network is a decentralized network of microchurches that are innovating ways to help those on the margins of Lake County, IL to experience freedom in Jesus by exploring new ways to develop a presence among the poor and vulnerable. Since March 2019, they have launched four microchurches: one reaches those in their 60s and 70s on fixed incomes, one reaches gang-related and at-risk youth, another reaches middle-class, justice-minded Jesus seekers looking for ways to engage the church around the intersection of Jesus and justice and finally, and one is a microchurch that reaches Hip-hop lovers and uses music to engage men 13 and up.

    Listen to Episode 4 of the podcast and access the show notes below.



    Future Church Insights:

    1. Arman explains the unintentional start of his first microchurch.

    Arman was trying to connect with young guys who enjoyed music, and he had just released a hip hop album himself. In a one-on-one conversation with a couple of guys who were really into hip hop, they began talking about the formation of simple gatherings. In the process, he was trying to figure out, “What would God have me do?” And God answered. They began meeting in his basement studio, making music, writing lyrics and talking about the Lord. They called this new gathering Beats, Bars, & Bible.

    2. Arman talks about his first experiences with the idea of microchurches.

    He didn’t go into any sort of search with the end in mind. But God kept impressing on him that there was so much more. He visited the Tampa Underground where his mind was blown with all sorts of creative ideas and different expressions of the church, and he had never experienced anything like it. It felt less like a system and more like family.

    3. Arman talks about Unshackled’s leadership model.

    He explains that as the Lord raises up leaders, they are free to lead and follow as the Lord leads them. There is spiritual oversight – are they staying submitted to the Lord, continuing to be a disciple themselves as they lead others? But they are hyper focused on the calling of the leaders and want to help equip and empower them. Monthly, Arman meets with each leader one on one, and that’s where they really go deep into how things are going. He asks the questions that help him discern how they’re doing spiritually, emotionally and beyond. They also gather as a group monthly where they share leadership struggles and challenges, get encouragement, ideas, and a sense of community.

    Goals and Desired Outcomes of Unshackled Network



    Every marginalized population in Round Lake Area actively missionally engaged by microchurches in our network.

    25 Churches/Microchurches launched by 2025 (He wrote this on a napkin after an Exponential event before God sent him out to plant).

    Confirmed active Jesus-worshiping communities in every neighborhood in Round Lake Area.



    Links: 

    Unshackled Network

    More of a reader? Download the transcription here.

    Key Quotes from the episode from Arman Sheffey:

    “We were really formed because the Lord broke our heart for the need for there to be ministry that connected with people that weren’t currently being reached by those in some of the mainstream or normative traditional methods.”

    “I believe in 2018 . . . when He was setting me loose to the poor, the thing that I really knew for sure He was saying was, there’s more . . . there’s so much more.”

    “If you’re looking for a why with microchurches, it’s the amazing intimate relationships that we&#82...

    • 34 min
    FCP 3 | Tami Lakey and So Shine Foundation

    FCP 3 | Tami Lakey and So Shine Foundation

    In this episode of the Future Church Podcast, Todd Wilson (President & CEO, Exponential) talks to Tami Lakey of the So Shine Foundation.

    So Shine Foundation is a nonprofit that exists as a co-vocational opportunity. Their approach through their initiatives is to be practitioners that can then teach out of their experience. In 2017, the nonprofit purchased an existing coffee bar and used it as a co-vocational opportunity for mission in the community. They launched using the proceeds to fund an after-school program that has now reached hundreds of families in their town of 20,000. Since then, the So Shine Foundation has assisted with the startup of two additional coffee bars with strategic outreach initiatives.

    Listen to Episode 3 of the podcast and access the show notes below.



    Future Church Insights:

    1. Tami discusses the differences in the bi-vocational/co-vocational model of church.

    She says there is a distinction between the two, highlighting that in their co-vocational model, “this is my missionary income, this is what I’m doing.”  She views bi-vocational as a way for pastors to have income while building a church with the end goal being 100% financial support from the eventual church.

    2. Tami calls the So Shine Foundation a “fresh expression of church.”

    She uses that term in light of what most people in her community think a church is. Their goal in the community is to “be able to show them the person of Christ in our words, and in our actions that they might be open to rethinking what church actually means. And that relationship that we’re building with them, and showing them that fresh expression would give us more opportunity to engage them in conversation.”  

    3. Tami talks about “being sent.”

    She shares the picture, that Jesus was a sent missionary by the Father. And Jesus then tells His disciples, “Just like the Father sent me here, I’m sending you.”  Tami feels there are so many opportunities to say, “This is where I’m sent, how can God use where I am to be a missionary, to be able to point others to Christ in that context?”

    Goals and Desired Outcomes of So Shine Foundation



    * To find ways that the coffee shop can point the community to Jesus, or to Kingdom values.

    * To operate the coffee shop under the principles that will allow customers to feel joy when they are in that space and for it to be a place of peace where customers feel they are accepted just as they are.

    * To take down that wall of the sacred secular divide when it comes to our work.



    Links: 

    So Shine Foundation

    More of a reader? Download the transcription here.

    Key Quotes from the episode:

    “If we can see every bit of the work that we do as followers of Christ as being sacred, because he has sent us to that job, and to those people for a reason, I think that’s really empowering to followers of Christ.” -Tami Lakey

    “Honestly, I think that what God’s doing here, it’s not spectacular, and yet, it’s miraculous and spectacular too.” -Tami Lakey

    • 28 min
    FCP 2 | Jason Shepperd and Church Project

    FCP 2 | Jason Shepperd and Church Project

    The post FCP 2 | Jason Shepperd and Church Project appeared first on Exponential.

    • 27 min

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