Six Insights on Pastoring and Leading through Digital

How has your view of digital changed during the Coronavirus?

The moment shutdown went into effect; the scramble started for organizations to live out their mission without in-person gatherings. Leaders moved digital from important to urgent on their priority scale. It no longer became a discussion in a brainstorming meeting, but a reality.

Miraculously, churches made monumental shifts from having Sunday services at the church to online services. I have been so impressed with the many leaders who have innovated by implementing social media schedules with live videos and interacting posts.

Whenever I had a conversation about digital before the Coronavirus, it seemed that people raised concerns before the opportunities. Digital leadership for individuals and organizations can become messy. Learning a new platform takes time and more help than we might realize. The line between helpful and self-promotion seems murky.

The question for pastors and leaders right now — how will this season of a digital-focus translate when we get back to some normal?

I wonder how many pastors and leaders will go back to business as usual, rather than seizing the opportunity of faithfully investing in digital. Lack of online presence can speak just as loud as being present.

As you lead through the next few weeks and months considering how a digital presence looks for you and the organization you serve, I wanted to offer six insights I’m learning that could help your conversation:

  1. Your digital presence online prompts discussion and reflection.

When leaders remain offline, the chaos of the viral posts can ensue. Your voice online influences people to consider what matters. For example, a post on prayer prompts people to reconsider their worry and anxiety rather than feeding it. Prompting conversation online means voicing the larger realities, especially when it comes to faith.

2. Your faithfulness speaks volumes to the people that follow you.

When you say you will do a live video every Thursday at 5 pm, it matters that you do it. I could go into the alga-rhythms of social media, but I believe in the credibility issues more. People learn to trust leaders they see — this means in-person and digital. Carving out the time and space for digital creates another channel of trust, not just information.

3. You can start to focus more on the needs of the people you serve.

When you put each post through the filter of, “How can this be helpful to the people I serve?” that moves you from worrying about going viral. Leading and pastoring through digital redeems the online space from self-serving to sacrificial. Your presence can speak to a need.

4. You add value to your in-person interactions.

Your digital presence allows people to know what you think and value. Consider the ramifications about your in-personal interactions. You have more time to listen to other people because they can respond to your post. As I have made phone calls and seen others, I find myself listening more because they’re interacting with the content online. Digital presence invites people to share more with you in conversation.

5. You have the opportunity to create engagement.

Each day of the shutdown, I have posted a sports question. I’m amazed at how many people look forward to it. Social media resembles Cheers as a place to congregate as opposed to a commercial for people to sit and listen. Engagement can be fun, but it can give you valuable feedback too.

6. You can become more human online.

Yes, many people like to filter their image through a successful personal grid. As a leader, though, there’s a unique perspective of people seeing you as human. You have a family and interests. The people we come to trust and give grace to are people we know.

What insights are you gaining from leading or pastoring in the digital space? Share your comments below.

Photo by Dylan Ferreira on Unsplash

Originally published at on May 19, 2020.




Adult Ministries Director @Browncroft . Host on @WGWPodcast. Married to @RobynEnglert | Subscribe to my blog ➡️

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Peter Englert

Peter Englert

Adult Ministries Director @Browncroft . Host on @WGWPodcast. Married to @RobynEnglert | Subscribe to my blog ➡️

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