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Redefining Church with "Digital Disciples"

Bishop Joseph Walker discusses how he reaches the masses through social media, and how he grew his church from 175 to over 30,000 members. Read Transcript


- Well you've heard aboutThe Art of the Deal.

Now you're going to hearabout The Art of Execution

from a man who knowsall about it first hand.

- [Announcer] Five yearsago Bishop Joseph Walker

started using out of the box strategies

like digital media to helphis congregation grow.

Today he's known asthe social media pastor

with 33,000 church membersand more than 200,000 people

watching him online.

One third of his church's support

comes from these digital disciples.

In his book "No Opportunity Wasted,"

Bishop Walker shares howhe's taking advantage

of key opportunities.

- Now is the time you'vegot to embrace your season.

- [Announcer] And why timing is everything

in what he calls The Season of Now.

- Please welcome tothe 700 Club the author

of "No Opportunity Wasted,"Bishop Joseph Walker.

It's wonderful to have you here.

- It's an honor to be here.

- I read a lot of booksin my position here,

and I have to tell youthat I kept thinking,

here's the nugget and then Iwould read another sentence,

and say no, no, no, this is the nugget.

I mean it was so rich with wise,

- Just wise counsel for everybody.

But you talk about The Art of Execution,

that's the subtitle of your book.

What do you mean by that?

- Well you know many people have visions

and often those visionsremain in a theoretical realm,

and people don't really have a strategy

to move them into a practical realm.

So often people aresitting on these incredible

million dollar ideas, or things

that can really change or shift culture.

And so, the book is aboutunderstanding that it's a

specific time, a specifictime the vision manifests,

and there's a strategy that's necessary

in order to move it fromtheory into practice.

So I give strategies tohelp people kinda get going.

- You know what's so excitingto me about this, bishop,

was I often say, and I'vebeen incorrect in saying this,

I guess that, you know if you are somebody

who is living, walking out your purpose,

you're blessed to have found that.

Because so many peopledon't like their jobs,

don't like where they're going in life.

And you say in here thateverybody has purpose.

So it's not just a magicthing if you happen

to find the right one.

You've gotta find yours.

- You do, and I open thebook up talking about that.

You're born to solve a problem.

- Yes.- You know?

And God allows us this wonderfulopportunity to have life.

To occupy this space, tofulfill a purpose for his glory.

And if each person walks in that purpose,

understands that beforeyou were even born,

like Jeremiah, before Iformed you, I knew you.

If you walk in that purpose,in full manifestation.

I believe you could turnthe world upside down.

The reason why there's somany ills in our community,

because people do notunderstand their own purpose.

- Why? I mean why is itso hard to find that?

- We haven't been able toreconcile opportunity and purpose.

See, we see opportunity and we think,

"Wow, that must be it. That door."

And we chase opportunityand chase opportunity.

But when you walk in purpose,opportunities chase you.

- You know, you talk about your own story

in your book, as well, whichis so fascinating to me,

because becoming a pastorwas not on your docket

of things to do.- Was not, was not.

- You wanted to be a lawyer.

- I was, I was so passionateabout being an attorney.

I come from a family of lawyers.

- So that was your opportunity?

- It was my opportunity,and I was certain.

And I often thought that thiswas what God wanted me to do.

Until God spoke to me in that quiet space

and said, "No, son, you'regoing in this direction."

And whenever you have a purpose,

the next thing you do, you prepare for it.

Because if you don't prepare for purpose

you won't be positioned to manifest it.

So, I talk about that.

And the passion thatGod has us in one area,

the passion we may feel at an opportunity,

God'll take it, and He'll shift it

and use it for something for His glory.

I might have been a good attorney,

but it would have notbeen for the glory of God.

Today what I do is all for God's glory,

and I give Him praise for it.

- You know if some of youare searching for your

purpose in life, I reallyrecommend this book.

But I want to move fromopportunity and purpose

to how you took advantage of social media

to expand what you were doing

with the purpose God had call you to.

Talk about that and how itmade such a huge difference.

- You know a few yearsago, we just realized

the church itself was changing.

And often people have to realize

it's not about the brickand mortar anymore.

There are a lot offolks we have to engage.

Paul kinda hinted atthat at Mars Hill, right?

God is not to be worshiped intemples made with mans' hands.

Once we realize that ministry takes place

outside the four walls of the church.

You're able to onboard and engage people

in a variety of ways.

So, through social media and, of course,

our partnership with Facebook,

we've been able to really create community

and make this large church smaller.

And you're able to reallyidentify where people are.

Engage creative minds andstay innovative and relevant.

- So what kind of resultshave you had from that?

- Oh my goodness.

It's been really over the top.

We've seen so many folks who'vebeen able to actually say

"You know what, I may notfeel comfortable going

to the physical church,"for a variety of reasons,

"But, you're my virtual pastor.I listen to you every week."

Or people who are havingstories of healing

and transformation and they come

into those small communitiesand they're able to talk

to other folks who have thesame story and same testimony.

They draw strength from those stories.

And those things may nothappen in a larger setting,

but they happen in that virtual space.

- So, what's a digital disciple? (laughs)

- A digital disciple,that's a very good question,

a digital disciple is a person who really,

you have actually engagedthrough social media,

through the internet space,

and you actually walkthem through a series

of principles in orderto allow them to come

into a relationship with Christ.

With a digital discipleit's a little different.

You can actually belongbefore you can believe.

And often in churches, youhave to believe then belong.

But for us, we recognize you may be

in an interesting place in your life.

We want you to connect.

Feel us out, no pressure,and then you find out

these folks are incredibly faithful.

- I want to be connected with them.

- I want to be connected.

So we have this thing,if you actually commit,

if you connect, you commit,you commit, you change.

- You know, you seizedopportunity when you sought

and used it to advance the purpose

that God had called you to.

But you talk about threekeys to doing that.

Just quickly, we're closing out time here.

But quickly tell me about those keys.

- Well, you know I think,you know the book is loaded

with keys, I think what'simportant is making certain

that you really identifywhat your purpose is,

stay in your lane, understand who you are,

what God has called you to do.

Secondly, make sure you havethe right people around you.

Collaboration is very important.

Ministry cannot take place in silo.

- [Terry] It's not supposed to.

- It is not supposed to.

You have to make certain thatyou're constantly doing that.

And thirdly, you have to be mindful.

I think, of making certainyou don't experience

what I call a little burn-out.

Because you can't boil the ocean.

You have to make certain you're effective.

And I think having theright people around you

avoids that, allows you tocontinue to move forward.

- Staying connected to the One

who makes it all happen. (laughs)

- That's it. Every day do it.

- It's such a good book.

Bishop Walker's book is called

"No Opportunity Wasted,The Art of Execution."

It's available wherever books are sold.

I highly recommend it.

You can also hear more from Bishop Walker

in our social-exclusiveinterview on Facebook.

If you'd like to watch that just go

to Facebook dot com, slash 700 Club.

Wonderful to have you with us.

- Thank you for havingme, honored to be here.

- Great to meet you.

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