AR, VR, Alexa, Wearables and Self-Driving cars, and how your church can prepare for them!
with Jason Caston
Jason Caston is an international speaker, author, digital/social specialist for faith-based organizations. Caston has authored over 5 books on digital ministry and developed an innovative approach to helping organizations advance their online presence using a six-part iChurch Method approach of Websites, multimedia, eCommerce, Social Media, Mobile, and Innovation.
Additionally, Caston is the Director of Digital Media at Daystar TV and the spokesperson of AT&T’s national #InspiredMobility campaign that highlights how we use mobile technology to enhance our spiritual and personal lives. Connect with him on Twitter and Instagram @jasoncaston.
Church Marketing Ideas Podcast’s Transcript (with Jason Caston and Adam McLaughlin)
Adam: Jason Caston, thank you so much for hanging out on the podcast today.
Jason Caston: I’m just glad to be here. I appreciate you having me.
Adam: Yeah, I’m really looking forward to chatting with you about the I church methods. So give us a high-level overview of what the iChurch Method is and then we’re going to talk about some technology that’s coming for churches.
Jason Caston: Oh, absolutely. So the I church method is a five-part methodology that I developed when I was working with churches. I’d say about 10, 12 years ago when I first got started. But basically it was just five specific areas, websites, multimedia, which is your online streaming, you know, and in a church stuff e-commerce, social media and mobile. And those were the five areas that I started working with when I was asked to help revamp the digital presence of the first large church that I worked with.
Jason Caston: And from there when I went out and would speak about it or talk about it, I saw that a lot of churches were having issues in the same area, trying to figure out how to utilize these different digital platforms. And so I wrote a book about it. The I church method value one back and I want to say 2013 and since then we released up to, we’re up to volume four now. And so I just keep continuing to talk about these five areas as the core base of the methodology. But as of late, you know, we expanded to new areas. So we also talked about innovative things that we will get into, which would be like, you know, Alexa, AR you know, just different areas that where technology is going that a church can utilize.
Adam: So I can’t wait to hear all about this because I am by nature a late adopter.
Adam: So typically not what people think about me, but that’s, that’s just the reality. I stick with what I know works. But, I can’t wait to hear about some of these ideas. So let’s just jump right in with Alexa. What can we do with Alexa, with our churches to help reach more people?
Jason Caston: So let’s start with in terms of working with Alexa and now for some of the viewers that might be watching this, I’m not sure if they’re watching it or listening to it. I had to turn off my Alexa cause every time we say Alexa, mine’s going to go off, turn it off before I get started. But some of the key things that we can look at is easy ways for churches to get on Alexa and work with that platform is to take their current podcasts, their current messages and you can utilize those and make those into messages that people can listen to on Alexa.
Jason Caston: That’s the easiest way to, the lowest barrier of entry to get in. But when you’re looking at Alexa and how it’s getting into everywhere, into every pretty much all aspects of our lives in terms of digital homes and all the other devices that we’re starting to use. Getting on Alexa is just another aspect of being able to take the message to wherever people are at. And as long as Amazon is leading the charge and putting Alexa and all these devices I think here’s, here’s something that Alexa was in that I didn’t even know was even possible, but I saw that there was an Alexa controlled Christmas tree. So instead of even having a plug it in, you just talk to the Alexa and it controlled the Christmas tree in terms of what type of lights you wanted to use or colors you wanted to have and stuff like that.
Jason Caston: But when you start thinking about how Alexa is going to be everywhere, just as easy as Alexa is to control your Christmas tree. Alexa can be utilized to say, Hey, I want to hear a message, a word of encouragement or some type of a message that your church has for someone to reach them right where they’re at. And all it’s about, it’s just taking the message to where people are at.
Adam: So can that happen organically or in the case of Alexa, does somebody have to be specifically looking for the message from your church?
Jason Caston: It depends. Currently, right now things start off in silos where they have to be looking for the message. So you would need to let your audience know, Hey, we’re on Alexa. And then they would say, Hey, you know Hey Alexa, I want to listen to a message from Grace Baptist church.
Jason Caston: And then they’ll start playing that particular message. As you start to see different organizations put out a variety of messages, like say a, a light source or a day star or something that has a whole bunch of ministries on their platform, right? They’ll put out messages for a whole bunch of ministries and you’ll just listen to all the messages that are on there, similar to, you know, a radio station or a TV station or something like that. So that’s kind of where it starts off in silos and then it gradually grows to where you have these networks or conglomerates and that’s how people will listen.
Adam: So scale of one to 10, how difficult is it to get Alexa to playback, you know, a specific sermon or a specific series when somebody asks for that?
Jason Caston: I’d say a scale of one to 10 right now it’s probably in terms of actual difficulty, it’s probably about a four and people understanding how exactly that’s commands to use.
Jason Caston: But the, the hard part about it is saying how to get your message on Alexa and people grasping the concept of how that actually happens. Makes it an eight because it just seems like it’s, it’s something that people are not familiar with. So because they’re not familiar with it, they’re uncomfortable with it and they don’t understand the process. And so that’s where someone like me comes in and says, Hey, you want to get an Alexa? It’s not super expensive. It’s actually can be done for free. You just need someone with the expertise to explain to you this is how it can be done. Here’s the content that we need from you. And then we put it all together and it’s just much easier. Just like back in the day when churches were trying to figure out social media, trying to figure out how to create a church website and they thought they had to hire a developer and pay him thousands of dollars and then you start to see, you know, you can actually have a free website that’s just as effective, but the person with the expertise to do it and explain it to you and not take advantage of you.
Jason Caston: That person hadn’t manifested yet.
Adam: Right. And I think that, you know, now’s the time. If you are already creating audio versions of your sermon and in some form or if you have a podcast in some form, now’s the time to figure out how to get into Alexa, how to get on there and start encouraging your people to use it. Because you know, five years from now is just going to be part of our conversation in the way that Siri was when it first started. At first it was like a very, very small percentage of people used it for used Siri for anything other than like Siri, tell me a joke to try it out. Right? And now it’s just part of everyday life. And I, I’m convinced that Amazon and Alexa are going to be moving the same direction. So now’s the time to get in that space so that when people get used to it, you’re already there.
Jason Caston: Exactly. And that’s, and that’s the key part of it. When so many times we’re seeing churches when it comes to these digital platforms, technology, anything, they’re behind the curve. And so when we’re, when we have podcasts like yours where we’re talking about these different things, one of the key things that I like to enjoy me and you discuss this before we got started is we can talk about what’s going on now. But the key thing that a lot of these church leaders want to know is what’s coming down the ally so that they’re not caught off guard. So that when these new platforms come around, they’re not trying to play catch up. Then by the time they play catch up, there’s something new out. And they’re constantly wondering why they’re behind the curve and why their messages and as effective they feel it should be.
Jason Caston: And it’s not that the message isn’t effective, it’s the methodology, the distribution of it is not as effective as they think it should be. It’s like you’d have the best message, but if we’re passing out newspapers, they’re not reading it. So it’s not about the message. We’re talking about methods here.
Adam: So give me some ideas aside from the full-length sermon that we could put on Alexa to playback. What are some other things that we could either create or repurpose what we’re already doing that would really resonate with somebody who’s using an Alexa.
Jason Caston: So I think one of the key things is if we look at a scripture of the day, so if we looked at the message that the pastor preached for that week and what was the key verses that they use. And we could have those types of scriptures put into bite-size nuggets.
Jason Caston: So if someone and said, Hey, what’s the scripture for today, and just give a two, two quick minutes of a motivational message or, or that scripture read to them to help them start their day. But that’s one of the key ways that I’ve seen people utilize Alexa as a way to help them get started and grow their audience in bite-sized nuggets as opposed to a 30 minute, 45-minute entire sermon we focus on, on the nuggets and stuff like that. Daily devotionals, they are, devotionals are another thing as far as helping people, just giving them encouragement and stuff like that. Another key thing. And again, I’m talking about make this stuff in bite-size nuggets where we can listen to it. Two minutes, three minutes, five-minute clips just to get them going. Another key thing besides you know like daily devotionals and those scriptures of the day is just topical messages.
Jason Caston: So what are the key topics that you see with your congregation or with your key leaders who talk to the parishioners and so on. What are the key things that they’re facing? What are the key? So maybe some social issues that you’ve been talking about, but what are the key things that people are talking about that you can address in, in small nuggets. And that way you can put that content out there. So when they ask questions about these different topics, you have a perspective from a church leader that can help guide them in figuring out how they want to approach that particular topic or giving them just the guidance they need so that they could address it from a biblical perspective.
Adam: So if we’re talking about a daily scripture or a daily devotion, is there a way to send like a kind of a push notification through Alexa that would say, Hey, it’s eight o’clock, it’s time for your daily devotion, or would you recommend a push notification through your church app or send a text message to remind people that’s available?
Adam: How do you get people to regularly engage in content if it’s being created regularly?
Jason Caston: I think that there, there isn’t an either/or with any of example that you’ve given. I think it’s a both/and, so when we’re looking at different people in the way they connect to the, to the ministry it’s, it, there are few hardcore members that may connect and all the different ways they’re connected on Alexa, they’re connected on the app, they’re connected through the podcast and whatever other ways we could send those push notifications. But there are, there’s the majority of them seem to connect on the one that’s most convenient to them. So the people that are connecting on the app, it may not necessarily be the same ones that are on the text list. So I say that I think you should each audience should be treated as a separate audience in terms of how you connect with them.
Jason Caston: The content would be the same that you’re pushing, reaching out to them. But I think the way you connect with them, you should figure, you should look at it as the audience that wants connect with you on text. It’s not the same audience as the app. It’s not the same audience as Alexa. I think the early adopters will be the ones that are more so along Alexa or you know, those types of, that audience. The majority of them probably will be the text audience or the email list and stuff like that. And then you also have your apps. So I think again, I say you should try and reach them on as many ways as possible because I look at it like this when we’re looking at the message, the key point is to get the message out. But when, if I’ve used math as an example, I was a uses example before.
Jason Caston: When we’re talking about, let’s say the gospel is a is the number four, so we’re, we’re the four ministry. Our goal is to get the four out to the masses and whether it’s, you know, two plus two which is everybody come into the sanctuary on Sunday. That’s one of the ways, but there are the one plus people that one, you know, I want to watch the message when it’s broadcast. Yes. If the three plus one people that want to reach another way, there’s, you know, the two times, two people, there’s so many different ways that you can get that four out to the masses. So don’t restrict the way you’re doing it with saying we’ve always been the two plus two ministry, the two plus two church for years and then get mad because the one plus three people still want that four message that you have.
Jason Caston: They just don’t want it the way you’ve done it traditionally.
Adam: Yeah, and I think one of the things that our churches have not been doing well but are probably getting better at is repurposing content. So for instance, if you were to decide you’re going to do a five minute devotional every day, you could do a Facebook live video to create the video. Then you could take the video and put it on YouTube and then you could text the link to YouTube out to your members and you could put the audio on Alexa and the audio on your podcast and you know, I think that we’re getting smarter and still learning how to repurpose content instead of trying to create unique content for all these different channels.
Jason Caston: That’s, that’s key. And the work smarter, not harder aspect of it goes back to when I started talking about the whole iChurch method, I always said, okay, we’re not talking about the message here.
Jason Caston: We know the message is impactful. It’s life-changing. It’s been that way for years. But we’re going to, we’re going to keep talking about the weightings. Methods keep evolving and as these methods keep evolving that from a business perspective, we will just say these are more distribution channels for you to get this message out. So however many of them that you decide you have the human resources to use the knowledge, resources to understand how to use the technical resources. You get them out to as many as you can. You don’t have to do all of them. That’s, that might not be possible. But find the ones that you can utilize, the ones that are most effective. And the analytics will tell you that some people just, you might not be the social media ministry. Some people just may not, there’s don’t want to connect with you on there, but your text list is just amazing and blowing out the water.
Jason Caston: Then that’s how effective that you nest the methodology in a distribution channel you use to reach the masses.
Adam: I love it. So I want to chat a little bit about AR because this is exciting for me in the fact that I have no idea what, what AR is all about or even conceptually how to use it. But, but it’s coming, right? So yeah. Tell us a little bit about what is AR, what are the two letters stand for? What does it actually mean for our churches? And then we’ll get into some ideas on how to implement it.
Jason Caston: Oh yeah, absolutely. So AR is augmented reality and that the, to break that down is the easiest terms. It’s like a digital layer that you can put over. You know the reality. So a digital aspect over reality that where you can have a digital things happening based on what’s also happening in reality.
Jason Caston: So perfect example would be the Pokemon craze where people were chasing these digital Pokemons in actual real places though in a park there was Pokemon, digital, Pokemon is over there. You can only see it through your phone. So that was one of the key things. So there’s two things happening that the church can, should be aware of and can utilize that will definitely help this. It helped them in a future one. The future of mobile devices is not going to be phones. I think the next thing immersion is going to be glasses. So when we see Apple talking about they’re coming out with their glasses in 2022, 2023 Google try they with their Google glass. And that fail cause it was just too early and it wasn’t sleek enough for the masses to adopt. But when we’re looking at how we can communicate we have glasses that we can talk to, which they do already have this stuff now.
Jason Caston: And then there’s a digital layer that you could see through the lens as you’re talking, even Snapchat’s glasses have some type of aspect. When you kind of think about what you’re, you’ll start to see that I’m holding the device with your hand and doing the things you can do will not be as necessary. Cause there’ll be, it will be able to do this stuff through our glasses. Now let’s look at the example of how that could apply in church. Cause you can do this with your phone as well. But this example brings it home for a lot of our church leaders. So I need you all to pay attention. Imagine if the pastor was preaching a message and he’s preaching a message about the last supper and you’re in the sanctuary and you’re watching this and you have on your, your, your new Apple glasses.
Jason Caston: And I’m going to be biased towards Apple because I’m an Apple guy. And as he’s preaching this message to the right of him, you’re watching the message or you’re watching it be acted out and happen in real-time with actual digital people acting out the message as he’s preaching it. That’s the type of stuff that we’re going to see in the future, which will make church a much more immersive, innovative, engaging environment to where there’s a digital aspect to the offline message that’s being taught. And so even though we do talk about how people are not going to the buildings as much if we start to integrate things, and then that could bring people back to the building because there’s a digital layer to it, as I’m watching messages happen in real-time as they’re being preached. Now that is quite a ways off.
Jason Caston: But that is some of the things that I’ve, me and my team have been talking to churches about. Like how do we make that happen? What type of footage do we need to record that correlates with your voice as you’re preaching this message? And what’s actually happening that people are seeing in real-time and that type of stuff, that that’s just an immersive environment. And we’ve seen examples of this already where we’ve seen concerts where I think they brought Michael Jackson back. He did a concert where there’s like a virtual image of him and they’ve done that I think with 2Pac as well, you know, just different stuff like that. So it’s possible, it’s just how do we put it all together for the church to be able to utilize it. But that example, right there was one of the things that I was able to get some church leaders to understand that will help engagement with the audience.
Adam: Yeah. And I think, you know, if we take a step back you know, looking forward is, is always easier if we put it in context of looking forward to today as well. Right? So, yes, one of the cool things that, you know, even if you have a projector in your church that probably wasn’t there 20 or 30 years ago, right? You may have had overhead transparencies or hymnals and now you have a projector. Well, the cool thing about a projector is it’s not limited to what you print on an overhead transparency. So you can now show a YouTube video on your projector during your sermon or you could show an image or a picture or a map or a reference to what you’re discussing. And so, you know, as the same way at the time we had overhand transparencies, the concept of playing videos at church as part of the message would have been like so foreign.
Adam: Now we’re living that and it’s normal. And imagine what that’s going to look like so many years from now. So how can a church today start preparing for creating the systems and strategies for augmented reality?
Jason Caston: I think that they would need to look at just not from a technical perspective, but just from a strategic perspective. What type of digital aspects could we add to what we’re already doing? Here’s one example. Let’s say you have an app. If you have an app and we just consider the phone for today. If there is a way to build it, I mean there is a way, but you could look at what if somebody was looking through the app and as when they come into building a family. Mmm. Well somehow have a virtual guide that will guide them to where to take their children, to drop them off at children’s church and then guide them to a special area where we see for new visitors or something like that.
Jason Caston: Yeah. But something as small as that would help a family who’s new to your church. Never been there but want to drop their kids off and have that experience as a figure out. Do they want to join this church out of, become a part of this church family? And so small things like that, that helps them guide them around. We do that now in the offline space because we have people guiding them around. We have, you know, the guys telling them, Hey, take your kids here. We have people in the parking lot guiding you around, but you, you can do that in the digital space if you planned accordingly. So start to look at what you’re already doing and how can you make that done in a digital space. Now we don’t want to take away the personal connection. You didn’t want to keep that.
Jason Caston: But there is an example of where you can utilize some digital aspects in addition to the personal touch. So again, we’re not talking about supplanting the personal touch, we’re just talking about supplementing it, right?
Adam: And I think that’s one of the big levels of pushback, right? And you know, you might say somebody might be listening and they say, listen, I would much rather have a face to face with my cousin, then have a digital experience with your cousin. Sure. But if your cousin lives on the other side of the continent and you have face time and you have Skype and you have Snapchat and you have Instagram live and all those things, it doesn’t replace the personal interaction, but it enhances it. So I think that’s the key is what kind of perspectives can we take to enhance that interaction rather than, as you said, we’re not trying to supplant it.
Jason Caston: Exactly. And not think of it. The example I use is my kids love granny. My mom, they love granted nothing is tops granny. So when we’re going there for Thanksgiving, they want to be face to face with her and, and interact with her. But since we don’t live in the same city as her, they talk to her on FaceTime all the time. But FaceTime doesn’t replace Granny time. Granny time is granny time. But again, they, that connection is enhanced and continues even when they’re not in the same place. But the key point of it is that personal interaction when that time comes. Right.
Adam: So kind of close to AR, but probably a different bird altogether is VR. And I’d love to talk a little bit about virtual reality and how that’s completely different than augmented reality, even though they seem like they could be, they’re probably related some ways and completely different other ways.
Adam: So give me your take on VR.
Jason Caston: So VR definitely is a distinct cousin. Well I’ll just say a cousin of augmented reality, and I’ve seen some advancements in virtual reality. Now. I can’t think of the guy’s name who has a virtual reality church, but I’ve been seeing him. He’s been doing it for a while. I believe it’s out of San Diego or something. But the virtual reality aspect is a little different because once you put that virtual device on, you’re emersed into this virtual environment and I’ve seen them go and have church in these virtual worlds where he’s actually has a service and it follows. The typical service we see is just all virtual. So virtual reality is much more immersive and the aspect of that is everything is happening in the digital space. So there is no offline component to it. Some of that to augmented reality.
Jason Caston: And I think that there’s an aspect to that. If you look at the movie that just came out, ready player one I was a big star Trek fan, so the holodeck on Star Trek Next Generation was a big deal to me. Those types of things, when you’re seeing that that’s the type of stuff that’s going to be coming in the future. We think now that our kids have their heads in their phones now and, and, and only are concerned with the digital space now just wait till we see what our grandkids are doing. I ready. Grandkids are when it comes to the digital space and how immersed they are in that. So again, those things are all coming down the line. We know they’re coming. We knew the stuff that we’re talking about today was coming when, when the Jetsons was out back when we were young.
Jason Caston: Right. And everybody was like, Oh wow, you want seeing somebody who you’re talking to on the phone. That’s crazy. Cause the Jetsons was crazy to us. But now Facetime is normal. So the thing that I like to see because the church I feel like was innovative in a lot of ways, especially with the printing press and them using mass radio and be using mass TV as a things came along is that I want, I want to see them get ahead of the curve on this technology that’s coming out to be able to utilize it again to be a pioneer in this space. Because it has one of the most effective messages that’s ever, ever been mentioned.
Adam: So outside of a church service type experience, and I’ve heard of those too, you know what I experienced was I was at a museum with my son and they had a VR experience and you put on the goggles and you put on the headphones.
Adam: And at one point in the experience there was a cliff and the cliff was disintegrating and moving towards you. And honestly, when it got to under my feet, I brace myself. It was so immersive. It felt like I was a, I was about to lose my footing on this cliff. Just, it’s incredible how your brain, like I know I’m standing on a piece of carpet in a museum, but it’s, it’s just crazy how your brain interprets all these signals and puts them together. So outside of a church experience or a church service, what other ways will we be using? Or do you anticipate or can you imagine using VR to share our message?
Jason Caston: Oh, I think it will be a couple of ways. I think one of the key ones will be telling better stories of biblical stories or taking the biblical stories and given them a more current application.
Jason Caston: But if you emerged me in an environment, say a tour of Israel, the biblical tour of Israel, Jerusalem or stuff like that. And that let me see certain things. But as I’m seeing these different biblical Holy land areas, I’m actually watching what happened according to the biblical account. That is what gives me a totally different perspective on the Bible stories. I think that will be what will start to occur and that will, churches will be able to tell different stories. I think there’ll be other biblical stories that there’ll be able to tell that we’ll have an application based on more current settings. So as we look at how do we apply different biblical principles to current life, I think the storytelling in virtual reality will be, give us the immersive examples. I think children’s church will be so much better because the kids will go and have much more immersive experiences because children’s church seems to be much more interactive.
Jason Caston: It seems to be much more about the kids. You know, being more connected with the church experience as opposed to one person preaching and everybody listening in our traditional a sanctuary when they go, why should a church, the kids are running around, you know, they’re dancing their love. It’s, it’s an immersive experience for them. Now you take that in a virtual space and to them, they’ll be able to talk about their church experience on a whole different level than adults, especially with their imagination. So to me, I think it’ll just become a much more immersive, engaging, innovative experience and the storytelling will be unparalleled to what we can think about right now. I have an idea of what I can conceptualize, but I don’t think we really know how great the storytelling will be with those types of tools that the church will be able to utilize.
Adam: Yeah, it’s a little bit daunting and a little bit exciting. I shouldn’t say that. It’s a little bit daunting and a lot exciting. I think about all the different possibilities that are going to come. And so we’ve talked about Alexa and we’ve talked about AR and we’ve talked about VR. What other kinds of technologies are coming that the church can utilize to share our message?
Jason Caston: Um wow. That is a good question. Let me see. I’m going to pull out my trusty digital connections book and look at some of the things that I was talking about in there. Oh, Oh, here’s a good one. Okay. So, Mmm. One of the key things that I liked that there was two different things that I liked that I thought churches will be able to utilize. In the future. One of them was I call it smartwatches and smart fitness gear and stuff like that.
Jason Caston: Fitness gear. But more so just the devices that we wear, smart devices that we wear, but not just smart devices that we wear, but just smart devices in general. I think I look at Alexa kind of similar as just another smart device. And just another way of taking a message to a person no matter where they’re at now that I see how common smartwatches are. I think that the more powerful that they get, the more they’ll become a multimedia devices that we can use to listen to, whether there’d be a different messages, a watch, messages, whatever it is we want to do, but just another way or a quick motivational moment to happen on the go. And for me, I’m really, really big on [inaudible] taking the message to the people because the way I came you know, I didn’t grow up in church.
Jason Caston: So the way I got introduced church and the way I got introduced to Jesus, okay. And an apostle came to the recreation center. We were at, we were all playing ball and he came and he stopped and he asked, you know, if you all died today, who’s going to heaven? Well, you know, nobody, none of us knew. We just didn’t know. But him coming to where we were at playing basketball was way more effective than him coming and say, Hey, who wants to go to church on Sunday? Cause I would’ve said, no, I don’t, I don’t want to go to church and, and you’re, you’re messing up our game. Why are you here? Right. But the fact is that he stopped us and came to us and talked to us on the level that we were at, met us. We were at, got us to where we needed to be.
Jason Caston: I think like five or six of us got saved that day. That to me is I’m always about how do you take the message to the people, right? Where they’re at work no matter what device they’re using and so on and so forth. Man. So smartwatches to me is a key one. Here’s another one. And again, smartwatches is just another way of using smartwatch apps to send your message out. You can do that through Apple or Android apps right now. Just make them smart. Watch compatible. That’s a, if you decide you want to do an app, here’s another key one. I’m looking at self-driving cars and self-driving cars and what they have to do with churches is pretty, you really don’t use usually put it together. But here was one of the key things that I noticed that I thought was really interesting.
Jason Caston: When, when I was listening, when I listen to certain pastors certain message in the morning, you know, I put on the podcast or something or I just let it play while I’m driving. But my focus is on the road. So I’m passively listening and there are certain key things I hear, but my focus is on the road. If I’m in a self-driving car, then I don’t have to focus on the road because the car is driving me. So if I don’t have the focus on the road and I’m thinking further in the future. So work with me as we geek out for a second. Yeah. Yeah. The windows around me don’t need to be clear because I’m not watching anything. Or they could also be screens. So if I don’t need to watch what’s going on around me, if I don’t want to, you know, gaze at the landscape, those could be screened so I could have a full three 60 view of a message that I’m watching, a while my car is taken me to where we’re supposed to be.
Jason Caston: Now this type of experience that we see now is similar to the VR experience that they do for the NBA where you put on the device and they have a three 60 camera and you’re watching everything going on in the stadium as well as the gate. They did this for the soccer, so soccer as well for FIFA. But if I’m, if I’m, if all my screens around me and my windshield, my windows, my back window is all becomes a screen, I can watch three 60 view of this message that’s being preached, you know, helping motivate me to start my day as my commute is taking me to wherever I’m going now. That type of immersive experience to start my day off is totally different and just mind-boggling to what I consider my current commute experience right now and I think about stuff like that.
Adam: I don’t think that’s, you know, something that is 10 years up, 20 years old. I think that’s closer than we think. But it’ll be normalized for, you know, my kids, my kids will think this, they will be like, when I, when I see them doing this, they’re gonna look at me like I’m crazy when I’m like, I can’t believe this is happening the same way my mom looks at FaceTime. Like it’s just the most amazing thing ever invented because she remembers the Jetson and it was just the concept. Right? So that type of stuff to me seeing what comes down the line is amazing to see. And the reason I like seeing this stuff manifest is that when I first started talking about digital platforms back in 2010 I saw a lot of the things that are happening today. Back then, and started talking about them and writing about them and then now seeing them manifest.
Jason Caston: It’s just a great thing.
Adam: Yeah. So one more question Jason, and I really appreciate your insight on all these ideas that are coming and I know you’re going to be at the forefront of, well these ideas come into place helping churches implement them and knowing what’s coming after that, which just seems like out there for me and it’s exciting. But my one last question is knowing that these technologies are coming and going to be a more regular, but they’re not here yet, what can we start doing now to prep for, just to be flexible for the change of technology? What kind of strategies can be implemented? What kind of content should we be trying to create in order to not be caught off guard when you know Apple glasses show up?
Jason Caston: Oh absolutely. I think the first thing is the mindset of we’re not the two plus two ministry that I, you know, I was talking about earlier, we’re, we’re, we’re not going to stick to the way we did ministry for the last 45 years and then wonder why the attendance is dwindling or we’re watching the congregation grow older and no new people are coming.
Jason Caston: So the flexible in the new methods that are evolving and as you learn how to utilize them. The, one of the key things I’ve seen as leadership get set in their ways and they’ve done church very well for years and years and that I’m not knocking any of the leadership. I just know that they become inflexible. So, and it happens as we all get older, we get stuck in our ways. So we see the young kids and we’d be like, Aw man, you’re trying to do this, this and this. I don’t want to learn 85 new thing. You don’t have to just let the people who know how to do it, utilize it and let them explain it to you. And how that could be effective. And then the leadership sticks to what they do well, which is creating the content, which we’re about to talk about and getting it out to the people.
Jason Caston: The content now is, is more so of continuing with the same message but adding a more current application to it. So if your pastor, you know, talks about faith and faith and faith and faith, that’s great. He talks about that. But just how can you tell that Faith’s story better with a more current context? It’s more applicable to today as opposed to when he told the message in the 80s and it was great then totally the 90s. It was great then, but now it’s, you know, we’re almost at 2020. We need, we need, we need a reboot. So we don’t say a changed the message, we’re saying just to just give it, give it, give it a new coat of paint and give it some application that we can use for today’s times because times are different for today. And then with that same content, figure out how to cut that content up into bite-sized components because attention spans are short.
Jason Caston: The average attention span now I believe is, I want to say is eight seconds, seven seconds, I’m not sure it’s extremely short, but people look at stuff in clips and news bites and so because of that, if we get to feed it to them, if we have to feed it to them two minutes at a time, then we just have to feed it to them two minutes at a time, but that that is the way we can get the message out to them. I’m on these so many different platforms that people are utilizing day in, day out. And so I think though that’s the key way. If we start with that flexible mindset of being open to adapting and adjusting to these new things that are coming, then as a new platform shows up, like tictok is taking over now as it shows up, it won’t catch you off guard.
Jason Caston: You’ll just say, okay, how do we repurpose what we’re already doing to add, tick, talk to the strategy? If we’re going to do that, if we’re not, all right, tictok, we’ll see you later. Bring out Alexa back up. Let’s talk about that again. Right? So that way you, you are able to always adapt and adjust to the new methods because your message will be consistent and continuous.
Adam: Jason, thank you so much for your insights and for staying on top of these things for late adopters like me. Now I can just follow you and follow what you’re doing and stay on top of things, having to keep up with it myself. But if somebody wants to follow you and they want to find out more about you and they want to learn more about the I church method, what’s the best way to connect with you?
Jason Caston: Okay. So my website is ichurchmethod.com or you can go to jasoncaston.com. I just released the latest book, which was the iChurch method 4 which is called digital connections. And it’s an engaging the always-connected audience. So a lot of stuff that we talked about today. That’s what I talked about in the book. And then of course on all social media channels follow me either at church method or at Jason Caston. And that’s the way to stay connected with me. And if you reach out to me on social media, I actually talk back like I’m not that busy where I can’t respond to what you say. You know, I talk back, I like interacting with people.
Adam: Pop question. What’s your favorite social media channel?
Jason Caston: Yes. Yes. You get it on Amazon today. All-day, every day.
Adam: Thank you so much for hanging out today. I really appreciate your time.
Jason Caston: All right. Thanks for having me.