Digital Discipleship Strategies For Church Online | Chris Surratt

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Chris Surratt is a small group and discipleship specialist with Lifeway Christian Resources, a ministry consultant with the Unstuck Group and in Chris’s previous roles, he was a pastor and a leader. Chris and I talk a lot about how to do small groups online during this pandemic.

Podcast Transcription

SHOW TRANSCRIPT

Jason Hamrock: Welcome to the Church Growth podcast. My name’s Jason Hamrock, I am your host today, glad to have you here. Today, we’re talking with Chris Surratt. Now, Chris Surratt is a small group and discipleship specialist with Lifeway Christian Resources, he’s also a ministry consultant with the Unstuck Group. But in Chris’s previous roles, he was a pastor, a leader, he’s also a husband and a dad. And Chris and I talk a lot about how to do small groups online during this pandemic, and certainly what’s going to happen after this. I hope you enjoy.

Jason Hamrock: Before we get to our interview with Chris, which we’re really excited about, I got one thing I want to share with you. As you’re planning out 2021, and what it means to actually get into the digital space, and and reach more people online. I want to have you consider checking out the Google Ad Grant. If you’ve not tuned in to the Google Ad Grant, or you don’t know what the Google Ad Grant is, you’ve got to click on that. Find our website and learn more about it. Google will give your church, donate to your church, ten thousand dollars of in-kind donation through Adwords, that’s one hundred and twenty thousand dollars added to your advertising budget this year. And we get to serve and work with a lot of churches, educating and equipping them on how to use the Google Ad Grant. So if it’s something you’re interested in, check it out, you definitely want to use Google this year to reach more and more people online.

Jason Hamrock: Well, Chris, welcome. Thanks for for joining me today. How are you doing?

Chris Surratt: I’m doing great. Thanks, Jason, for inviting me.

Jason Hamrock: Yeah, great. Hey, I want to learn a little bit about you. So share with me some of your your ministry experience, you know, how you ended up as a Small Group and Discipleship Specialist at Lifeway, and what’s been going on in your world?

Chris Surratt: Yeah, it’s been quite a journey, I mean, I grew up in the church. My dad was a pastor for over 40 years, and a missionary for a while in India, and my uncles and cousins and pretty much everybody in the Surratt family is pastoring somewhere. We joke that if you don’t have a church near you Pastored by a Surratt, just wait, it’s coming. And we were just talking pre-podcast, you actually live in a town where a Surratt pastors. So, you know, that’s either good or bad, depends on your point of view. But yeah, so church is in my blood for sure. And I started out in ministry as a part time youth pastor for my dad while I was in college, and did that for a few years. And then ended up moving to South Carolina not long after I got married and went on staff at my brother’s church, another Surratt, Seacoast Church, based in Charleston, South Carolina, and was actually on staff there for about 15 years. And Seacoast was one of the first churches to go multisite, we launched our first site in 2002, and now Seacoast has 14, 15 sites all over South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina. So I was there for 15 years, and then I actually planted a church in Greenville, South Carolina, that became a campus of Seacoast. So it’s now Seacoast – Greenville.

Chris Surratt: And then I moved to Nashville in 2009 to be the executive Pastor of Ministries at a church called Cross Point, which is now multisite church, my wife and I still attend there. But about five or six sites all around Nashville, and did that for about six years.

Chris Surratt: And then LifeWay just kind of came out of nowhere, I had a friend who was there and he asked me if I’d be interested in a position. And so we talked, and it didn’t require moving, and I was really looking forward to kind of working with the big C Church, and influencing churches around the nation. And so took that role, and five years later, here I am. So it’s been a lot of fun.

Jason Hamrock: What a journey. Well, thank you for serving the Kingdom, man. You mentioned some great churches there, so a lot of us know all about those churches, so that’s pretty awesome. So, prior to the pandemic, you know, was was digital discipleship even a thing on anybody’s radar? Because it is now, and I want to have you talk a little bit about that, but before the pandemic, was that even something that you were talking about?

Chris Surratt: Yeah, I mean, it was a conversation that we’ve been having for a long time. But I would say that it was a niche of discipleship, and something that was thought more as kind of a temporary bridge for people to get connected who weren’t ready for an in-person group, or stepping foot inside the church yet. So that was kind of what online discipleship, or online groups, were thought of. I remember having the conversation years and years ago, I was at a small conference at Saddleback, actually, and they’ve been a real pioneer when it comes to online small groups. Saddleback in California, they’ve been doing them for like ten years or something like that. And we were having a conversation with a bunch of groups pastors around a fire and we were talking about, are online groups true community? Can we really disciple people in an online forum? And the overall majority of the group was, no, was that community really can’t happen online. Discipleship, you can only go so far online. And so most of the churches at the time said, no, we don’t feel like that’s a long term solution.

Chris Surratt: Well, fast forward to April of this year when everything shut down, and churches were forced to go online with their worship and their groups, and a lot of those same churches that were in that circle suddenly launched online groups. And I’ve had conversations with some of those pastors since, and they’re big believers, and they feel like they’re here to stay to some degree, and we can talk about that a little bit later. But I believe there’s some limitations to what you can do virtually online when it comes to discipleship, but I do think that it’s something that can work and probably is here to stay for the future.

Jason Hamrock: So give me, so when you say it can work in terms of having a successful discipleship process or path of engaging people. Is there any evidence of that, or is it more like, yeah, we think we can do this because…How do you show that people are growing in their faith, or that they’re being discipled, in an online experience as opposed to in person?

Chris Surratt: Yeah. Well, I think that’s difficult, whether it’s in person or online. I mean, we can count people that attend groups, we can count people that go through classes. But are they really growing, are they really being changed? You know, that’s that’s more difficult. And there are ways that I think that you can look for the fruit, we call them signposts of a disciple at LifeWay, but you can look for these signs that people are growing. You know, obviously, are they’re reading the Word, which is kind of a catapult for all of the rest of the disciplines. You know, are they serving, are they giving? But whether it’s in person or online, it’s difficult to find out whether somebody is really growing, just because they’re attending doesn’t mean that they’re becoming disciples. Right?

Jason Hamrock: Right.

Chris Surratt: And so I think you have the same issue with both forms. But what we’re seeing is, there are a lot of churches, especially in parts of the country, that have been really locked down and have stayed locked down, like New York City, California, you know, Oregon, those places have been forced to buy in and keep going with online groups. And a lot of those churches are having great success with them. I was just talking to a friend of mine the other day, Dave Enns, he’s at North Coast in San Diego, Larry Osborne’s church. And they have had great success with online groups, and have launched more online groups than they’ve had regular groups over the last few months, and they’re continuing.

Chris Surratt: I think the key is getting creative with your online groups, having the right expectations for what an online group can do and accomplish, and then giving your leaders the right tools and training when it comes to leading a successful online group. Because it’s not the same, it’s not the same as leading a group of 12 to 16 people in your living room. When you’re on Zoom, it’s a different format, you know, there are different signs, there is different body language, there is all of these things. And so we have to train, we have to equip them, the curriculum has to be different. I don’t think you can just take, you know, a book and suddenly transfer it to online, you’ve got to get creative with that. But all of that said, I think that churches are paving the way for what could be at least a piece of discipleship in the future.

Jason Hamrock: So, yeah, thank you. And I agree with you, there are limitations in zoom, right? Only one person can really talk, you know, otherwise you’re talking over each other and nobody hears anything, and we just understand that in person is so much different. What are some of the creative things that you guys have been, that you’ve seen evidence of, or that maybe you’re helping churches understand? How do you be creative in this setting with small groups?

Chris Surratt: Yeah, like I said, you can’t just approach it as we’re going to take our in person group and suddenly do it online. So there are, you know, there’s little training cues that I think we can learn from the business world. For instance, LifeWay has actually been in the Zoom world for like three or four years, we have a team member on my team that lives in Dallas, Texas, has lived there for a couple of years. And so all of our meetings involve a screen, and a group of people sitting around a table. So, you know, we have learned that you have to involve people more that are on Zoom, on the screen, you have to call on them more than you would inperson group. You have to, you can’t just be static. You know, I’ve learned this from my own group, our group went online like everybody else when Nashville shut down back in March. And so we started doing online meetings, I quickly learned that people aren’t just going to speak up during during a Zoom time. Now, if they are, you don’t really want them on the call because they’re going to dominate. Right? And so, you know, I learned to, hey, Jason, what do you think about this? You know, and to call on somebody, and to look for the body language that they’re engaged.

Chris Surratt: And so, you know, I’ve talked to some groups pastors that have gotten really creative with, you know, having online communion with your group, and doing icebreakers that work well online. Like show us something in your house right now, that says something about you. And so they’ll take their Zoom camera and, you know, they’ll go find something in their house, and this is something you’d never be able to do before.

Chris Surratt: I was, I participated in an online conference where they used a format where you sent people to breakout rooms, and they had an ice breaker and they talked about them for like four or five minutes, and then came back to the group. And I thought that’s a clever way to use ice breakers in a group time, because we all use ice breakers, and it’s normally all of us sitting around. Well, on Zoom, that’s not comfortable, so utilizing breakout rooms for those those times. Also utilizing breakout rooms for prayer, you know, breaking up into three or four people within the group so they can pray for certain needs. And so yeah, I see a lot of just creative ways to utilize technology for discipleship, and it’s actually kind of exciting.

Jason Hamrock: Yeah, I agree with that. I think that’s…And what’s cool about that is you can, you can sort of test drive a small group without, you know, showing up and it being awkward if it’s not a fit for a new person. Right? Or even just kind of watching and being able to see, what is this small group really about? So I think there’s, I think there’s just a lot of benefits, especially for from our world, we’re always trying help churches reach unchurched people and get them connected. What a great way to do that, especially if it’s a small group that’s has a focus like a divorce recovery, or addictions, or whatever. Those are fantastic ways to get people who are who are not comfortable going to church or being around church people, but, hey, online I have nothing to lose.

Chris Surratt: It really is. I mean, we’ve noticed, I do some consulting with churches. And one thing that we’ve noticed, is most people will, this is pre pandemic, but most people will check out the church through the website at least probably four or five times before they actually attend a service. So why aren’t we grabbing them where they are, which is checking out the website? So always before, you know, it would be check out the website and then come to us.

Jason Hamrock: Plan a visit.

Chris Surratt: You know, come to our worship service, go to that group that meets in some home that you’ve never met these people. You know, that was our invitation. Well, now the invitation is click this link. Click this link to watch a service, click this link to join a small group or to check out a small group. And I love the language of you don’t have to join, why don’t you just check out this group? It’s just a link, it’s a Zoom link, and you can have groups that are specially designed for that. And so they’re more kind of open to new people dropping in, getting a taste of what it’s like to be in a community, and maybe they get recommended to another group if there’s something that’s fitting for them. But just having this open invitation, that’s where people are already, which especially now, people are online and checking out your church that way.

Jason Hamrock: Yeah. Well, I know you don’t have a crystal ball to look into the future. But being a church staff leader, and now you’re consulting in churches, when you think about the future and where is the church going to go when it comes to this discipleship thing and onboarding people? Is it a hybrid of the two, or do you think more churches are going to gravitate more towards online and that being the best way to engage people, or are we can go back to in person?

Chris Surratt: Yeah, I think it’s all of the above, I really do. But I do think that if you think that the vaccines are going to come and everything is going to go back to the way it was, I don’t believe that’s the way it’s going to be. I don’t think we can just flip the switch and things are back, because people have new habits. You know, I have new habits. You know, I don’t I don’t go into the office anymore, I work from home, and so my entire morning routine looks different than it did nine months ago. People have the same habit changes when it comes to going to a group, attending church. You know, Barna did some research, that 30 percent of people have quit attending church since the crisis has begun. And so I think a lot of that is just habits, people have drifted. We’re seeing drift away from church, drift away from discipleship, and so we’re going to need a wide net to be able to get people back and to get them back where they need to be. So when it comes to groups, do I think online is the future for every church? No, not necessarily, I think a lot of it depends on where you are in the country.

Jason Hamrock: Right.

Chris Surratt: For instance, I have a good friend who’s at a large church in Texas, in Dallas, they launched a lot of online groups at the beginning of this, had some success. Texas opened back up, they don’t have any online groups anymore, nobody wants to do online groups because there’s no restrictions to it. And so they, and they didn’t really have more of a national/international reach, and so they’ve pretty much gone back to in person with some modifications.

Chris Surratt: Now, I have friends in California who have had great success with online groups. I work with one church in California that has had great success with international groups, they have more of an international known ministry, and so they obviously are going to continue that. That’s going to be a part of who they are, but I’m guessing they will have in person groups, so there’ll be some type of hybrid.

Chris Surratt: I think even when it comes to maybe Sunday school classes, classes that meet at church during Sunday, they’re going to need to think about those who are not ready to come back. Can they make their classes hybrid? Can they have, you know, a Zoom camera within the class? So people who are not ready, who are older maybe, they can still attend, they can still be a part of the class. So all of these things, I think we’re going to have to think, you know, not just flip the switch, we’re back, but how wide of a net can we throw out there? We’ve got amazing tools that we’ve now discovered, learned how to use, now, how can we focus them and reach people in a different way?

Jason Hamrock: Yeah, I agree with you. I actually think it enhances. In just speaking with the church earlier, you know, I said, hey, before COVID, your attendance was like 1.5 times a month a family would attend on average. And now you’re getting that family to come once a month, but there may be watching two or three other weekends. Alright, so they’re really much more engaged, just not in person. And he’s like, yeah, you’re right, that’s actually…I’m like, you wouldn’t want to go back to the 1.5, you want to try and grow it to like two or three or even greater, and so this is a way to do that. And I kind of agree with you, I think there’s a hybrid between the two,112 and just being creative on how you might be able to engage people.

Chris Surratt: Yeah, we’ve seen that in our family, we have actually attended online church since this all started. Nashville was crazy, because right before the pandemic hit here, we had a tornado that actually came through our city, hit my neighborhood. I’m in Germantown, which is right downtown, took out our main campus of the church that we serve and attend. And so they couldn’t have services, whether pandemic or not, for a long time, and so they started doing online. And so we’ve been attending online since, we attend every single week, we watched 10:00 to 11:00. What’s amazing is, we watch as a family, I have two girls, one that’s 22, one at 17, and they’re both doing school from home right now. And we have a conversation immediately following the service that we never had before, because we’re sitting on a couch, and so we’ll sit there and talk for 15, 20 minutes about the message. Well pre-pandemic we attend a large church, so trying to get out to our car was an ordeal, trying to get out of the parking lot was an ordeal. Which restaurant are we going to go to for lunch? By the time you get to lunch, you’ve forgotten what the message was. I actually, you know, I miss worshiping with people. I’ll be honest. I’ll go back to that, I do want to worship with people. But there has been something added to our family discipleship with the online experience that I wouldn’t have expected.

Jason Hamrock: I’m the same way, Chris, I have two teenage boys. And so for the longest time we would just chill in the family room and talk. You know, what’d you think when he said that? Or what’d you get out of this? And that was some of the best moments that we’ve ever had. Because just like you said, we’re too busy going, we’ve got to get out of here, got plans for Sunday. And and my oldest drives, so it’s like, okay, he’s going off to his car, and we’re going off to our car. And now, we can actually do that, you know? We are actually going back to in person a little bit, but we’re walking away as we drive home going, okay, what are two things that you learned? Let’s talk. So they know that those questions are going to come from mom and dad, and we’re going to share. It’s just something we’ve never really done before because we were in such a race to get on to our day. And so I yeah, and I also think I was always hoping our church would, in the online experience say, okay, parents we are going to hand it off to you and give you some things to talk about as a group. Even if it’s a family, or even a small group, you don’t have to just watch and then turn it off and walk away. You can still have some more, almost like a continued small group.

Chris Surratt: Yeah, I’ve seen some churches do that, they’ll put some discussion questions following the message, and I think that’s brilliant. I mean, it’s just again, that’s grabbing people where they are when they’re watching. Also, I think something that smart, is a lot of churches and our church is doing this, is producing a different experience for online than they are in person.

Jason Hamrock: Yeah.

Chris Surratt: And so we have pre-produced worship, because honestly, when you watch services online pre pandemic. Mm, I mean the message was fine, but some worship never comes through. It’s never great, even in Nashville where the music is unbelievable, it’s just not the same. So they pre-produce worship, the message is actually taught for the online audience, it’s not just our pastor sitting on stage. And I think that’s really smart, because they’re speaking to an audience that has obviously grown in the last nine months, and probably isn’t going away any time soon.

Jason Hamrock: Well, and what we like to do and tell churches is, hey, just because you’re a week removed, that message can live on. You’ve got all these weeks, and all this amazing content, get it out there. Right? So people could watch on demand on their own time, from a sermon from three months ago. You know in the old days, kind of pre-COVID, they would just put it online and eventually people would not watch it because it gets so far down the the page on the website. But if they think differently, they can use it, use Google to help push it out there, that’s what we like to teach.

Chris Surratt: Exactly. I was talking to a pastor, this is a few months ago, and they were only streaming it during the hour that they were having service. I said, you are missing, because I don’t know about you, but we never watch a TV show when it actually airs anymore.

Jason Hamrock: Almost never.

Chris Surratt: Who does that?

Jason Hamrock: No.

Chris Surratt: Because you have to sit through commercials and, you know, you have to plan your night around it, we always watch, either later, or another day. Well, that’s how people are going to be with church services. So if you’re not giving them multiple opportunities on YouTube, you’re missing a lot of people.

Jason Hamrock: That to me is a, they’re coming off of a position of fear, that if we create this great online experience, no one’s going to show up in person. I’m like, we serve a bigger God than that. You know, we have to recognize things are changing and he is behind something here. And so I guess, I just always push back on that a little bit for pastors, no, have a bigger picture, have some faith that your church is going to continue to to grow and expand either in person or online, hopefully both.

Chris Surratt: Yeah, and same thing with online discipleship. I think there has been fear that we can’t disciple people online, that it’s a surface medium, people are not going to grow or change. Well, we have seen proof now over the last nine months that that’s not true, that you can grow and be discipled online. So don’t be afraid of it, have that as an option.

Jason Hamrock: Well, you know, you said that earlier, and what came to my mind was, well, the onus is on you. It’s not my job as a pastor to help you grow in your faith. I’ve got to give you tools so you can grow in your faith, it’s on you, it’s own your faith. You know, that’s never going to change whether if you’re in person, or online, or wherever, that you have to own your faith. But as churches give them these tools, and these creative methods about how to how to do that, it still goes to reading, praying, serving, giving, you know, all this. It’s not it’s not a mystery, we understand what it what it means to to follow. And discipleship doesn’t really change, but the method of how you maybe deliver it does.

Chris Surratt: Exactly, that’s good.

Jason Hamrock: So, tell me a little bit about like, who are you learning from these days? What books are you reading or what podcasts? I mean, you’re doing a lot, you’re absorbing a lot, and you’re now teaching. What’s something that you’re doing to continue to learn?

Chris Surratt: Yeah, always trying to learn. I think most of my learnings right now, honestly, are from local church practitioners that I’m talking to, because they’re the ones that are in the trenches. You know, I see a lot of, I do some of this as well, but I see a lot of people saying this is how you get through COVID, this is how you grow your church through a pandemic. I don’t think any of us were around for the last one in 1918, 1919, so I don’t think we really know. You know, I think the ones that are figuring it out, are the ones that are doing it in on the ground, and so I’m learning a lot from from those guys.

Chris Surratt: I mean, like I said earlier, my friend Dave Enns, just talking to him in California and what they’re going through, and they’re doing some creative stuff. I’ve got another friend in Manhattan at Church Of The City, New York City. And they obviously have had a very tough experience, but they have grown their groups through the last nine months, they’re reaching people that they would have never reached before. They’re reaching people that were on Broadway, that had careers on Broadway and suddenly lost everything, kind of like the Nashville music business here. And they were looking for something, and so they started reaching out to the church, and joining groups, and wanting something. So, you know, I’m learning from from them. I’ve got another friend in Chicago that has been able to grow the ministry there, and so really, that’s who I’m learning from, are the people that are in the trenches doing the work, and are testing, and experimenting, and figuring out what works and what doesn’t work, and let’s go forward.

Chris Surratt: And then hopefully I’m able to synthesize that a little bit through my podcast, and share it with the people around me. But yeah, my relationship with church leaders has grown definitely during this pandemic, and I’m so thankful for it. And then, you know, I’m reading different books. There’s a book that has really influenced me, that was written pre-pandemic, but it feels like it could have been written right in the middle of it, and that’s how do you canoe over a mountain or Canoeing The Mountains. And it’s about the story of Lewis and Clark when they set out, and they thought they’re going to be able to canoe all the way across America to the other side, and they hit this thing called the Rocky Mountains. And suddenly they figured out, okay, we’ve got to do something different. And so they literally burned and chopped up their canoes, found some horses, and became mountain climbers, and climbed over the mountains to the other side to get to the Pacific. And what a beautiful picture of what we’re doing right now, we’ve hit the Rocky Mountains. COVID-19 has shut down the old ways of doing things, you know, and we can either hope that we’ll eventually be able to canoe uphill and over the mountains, or we can find new methods and find our horses. And so that’s been a good influence on me as well.

Jason Hamrock: Oh, I’ve got to agree with you. We’ve been talking a lot of churches, I’m listening to what pastors, it doesn’t matter what size a church you’re in, we’re all on the same page here. Right, there are no experts, we’re all just trying to learn it. I was really encouraged by a small church in Texas that they did a men’s ministry, like instead of a men’s conference where they’d go away for a weekend, they decided, let’s get together for for one day, and let’s have a big challenge for the full week. Every day they had things they had to do, and they had to record themselves doing it, and sent it to the to the group. And they just, that thing exploded, they got more and more guys coming by, and they are actually giving away prizes and having a lot of fun with it. It turned out to be an amazing guy experience, and something that they would have never thought to do before the pandemic. And so just, you’re going, wow, you guys. Yeah, we just tried it, we didn’t know if we’re going to fail. We didn’t know, but we were just going to try it. And I’m like those are the, those are the kind of the heroes, the experts, if you will, because they’re in the grind right now. And they’re learning, and then sharing that with others, hey, this works, and don’t do this. And that’s how we’re going to get through this, I think.

Chris Surratt: Exactly. The churches that seem to be having some success and growing in areas during this, are the churches that, Andy Stanley said this, instead of focusing on what you can’t do, let’s focus on what we can do. And so they’re looking at, for instance, Saddleback in Southern California, they decided we can serve. So we can serve our community, there’s a lot of people hurting that are out of work, and so they actually became the largest food bank in Southern California. Totally served by small groups serving their community, just because they said we can serve, we can do that. We may not be able to meet in homes, we may not be able to do what we used to, but we can go out and serve. And those are the churches, and that’s who I’m learning from.

Jason Hamrock: Yeah, yeah, that’s amazing. Well, tell me a little bit about the podcast that you co-host.

Chris Surratt: Yeah, it’s called Group Answers. I co-host it with a friend of mine at LifeWay, Brian Daniel, and we’ve been doing it for about four or four and a half years, and it’s just a lot of fun. And it’s for equipping and training group leaders, group pastors. In just different methods and ways of discipleship. And really, I see ourselves right now as a mouthpiece for all of the churches that are out there that we get to talk to in our position, and so we interview a lot of groups pastors. I’ll have an interview coming up the first week of January with three, one from California, one from Chicago, one from New York, just saying, what have we learned, and what are you going to continue doing over the next few months that you’ve learned from the last year? And so we do a lot of that, and it’s fun, we try to have fun with it. We think we’re funny, we’re probably not, but at least we had fun with it. So, yeah, Group Answers, it drops every week, normally on Wednesdays.

Jason Hamrock: Okay, how do people subscribe to that, where do they go?

Chris Surratt: Anywhere that you listen to podcasts we’re on, obviously, iTunes, Spotify, Google Play. Just search for Group Answers, and it should pop up.

Jason Hamrock: Ok, and then you’ve written some books.

Chris Surratt: Yeah.

Jason Hamrock: So, tell me a little bit about your latest book.

Chris Surratt: Sure. The latest book is called Leading Small Groups. And I wrote it because I felt like there was a need out there for potential group leaders that just needed a resource for how do I gather people, you know, how do I even invite people to my group? How do I launch a group well? Because that’s a big part of success, is can we launch large, or can we launch well? And then how to actually lead? And so I have a section on hospitality, and authenticity, and serving, and all these things that come in to leading. And then, a part that I don’t see a lot of small groups move to is multiplication. How do I multiply and multiply disciple’s by multiplying groups?

Chris Surratt: And so I wrote that book, it’s not a long book, it’s about one hundred and fifty pages. But I wanted a groups pastor or a groups church leader to be able to hand it to their leaders and say, here’s a handbook, whatever stage that you’re in, whether you’re just thinking about maybe I should start a small group, or maybe you’re just starting to lead, how do I lead better? Or maybe you’re at that point where you need to think about how do I multiply, so I can create disciples who create disciples. And they can just hand it to them, and use that book. And so, yeah, that came out last year and it’s been fun to watch, a lot of churches have bought it for all their leaders, and given it all to all their leaders, and I just pray it’s been helpful.

Jason Hamrock: Hmm. Well, what a timely book, because I think pastors, if you’re watching this and now your responsibility is online pastor, probably small groups falls under that, a little bit of an element of it. And so what a great book to get in your hands, so that you can be creative as well on how to have a digital online small group. And you can’t just go about it the same way, as Chris was saying, so you’ve got to be a little more creative in that.

Chris Surratt: Yeah, and I’ve written quite a bit over the last several months on how to specifically take the principles and apply them to online groups. So you can find those at our blog at LifeWay.com/groups if you want to, just updated. And then the podcast, we also talk a lot about how do you successfully lead an online group?

Jason Hamrock: Great. Well, Chris, I appreciate your time, and your insight, your wisdom. Thank you for just sharing with us today, and giving us something to go on. So I appreciate your time, man.

Chris Surratt: Absolutely, I enjoyed it, thanks for inviting me.

Jason Hamrock: All right. Take care.

Jason Hamrock: Well, hey, Chris, thank you so much for your time today. Hey, we learned a few thing or two, didn’t we? There’s some great things that churches are doing in terms of how they’re getting better at doing small groups and discipleship online. So I would encourage you to check Chris’s podcast out, go to LifeWay Christian Resources and tune in to him. And if you know somebody that does oversee small groups, that’s maybe not your area, send him this podcast so that they can listen and get connected to Chris as well. We’re in this together, and we’re trying to get better at it. And I really appreciate leaders like Chris that are learning from you, and what’s working, what’s not working, and how to get better. We’re in this together, we’re on the same team, we’re trying to progress and reach more people. So hope you enjoyed this podcast, and until next time, God bless and take care.

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