CNLP 155: Matt Engel on the Rise of Big Data and How To Use it To Pastor Your Church and Reach Your Community

The amount of data we have on people doubles every single year. But what does the rise of big data mean for local churches and even businesses. 

Matt Engel talks about what big data is, how it’s everywhere, and how to use it to better pastor your church and reach your community.

Welcome to Episode 155 of the podcast.

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3 Insights from This Episode

1. Big data is everywhere, like it or not, with no reason to slow down

Barring doing away with using modern technology all together, there’s little you can do to escape being tracked by big data. Corporations are spending major bucks to learn our preferences and patterns so they can market to us in ways we don’t recognize when ads are right in front of us.

So, what do we do with this? We can weigh the pros and cons of this phenomenon and debate over privacy issues, but no matter your opinion, it’s not going anywhere. In fact, it’s growing more rapidly than most minds can fathom – predicting our behaviors and catering to our “needs” when we don’t even realize it.

Matt Engel and others in his field are doing something about it by making great use of this information age. He’s offering ways churches can help their believers grow spiritually while reaching those who don’t yet know Jesus in their communities. Now that is a cool use of big data.

2. Check out Matt’s data picks and find great information right at your fingertips:

Find the largest, most advanced insight engine dedicated to the faith and family formation metadata platform and the key growth engagement platform at gloo.

Run fast, iterative tests around meta data within ministry with the Leadership Network.

The Association of Religious Data Archives offers overall baseline data.

Google’s focused site on demographics.

Hosted by the Nazarene and Presbyterian denominations, this site has reams of data for almost every community in the US.

Explore American charitable giving throughout the country using this interactive tool.

The home of the US Government’s open data.

3. Give back by using the insights your church and community have given you

The power of big data can only go so far on its own.  You have to engage ways to make a positive impact with the information you’ve received. It comes down to first knowing your people and then getting to know them on a deeper level. When you’re asking questions or seeking feedback from your community, make sure you aren’t simply consuming the information. Do something good with it.  Share your results and let them know the actions you plan to take to improve your ministry.

When you’re asking questions or seeking feedback from your community, make sure you aren’t simply consuming the information. Do something good with it.  Share your results and let them know the actions you plan to take to improve your ministry.

Quotes from This Episode

Want to Reach More People? Here’s Some Practical Help.

Breaking 200


So many leaders face an obstacle in reaching their community that 85% of churches never break: the 200 attendance barrier.

In addition, many leaders who try to break it get burned or get burned out in the process.

How do you break the 200 barrier? How do you do with without breaking you?

Believe it or not, the reasons most churches never break 200 aren’t spiritual reasons, they’re practical reasons. Strategic reasons.

This fall, I launch a brand new online course called Breaking 200 Without Breaking You.

If you think your church is small, I started with a church of 6 people. And it wasn’t a church plant. These were people who loved the way things were, and we needed to bring about massive change. By God’s grace, we saw it grow, and I led through the 200 barrier to eventually lead a church of over 1000. I took good notes, and in the course, I share practical strategies that worked not just for us, but which I’ve seen work for hundreds of other leaders too.

I believe these 8 doable strategies can help you too, and that’s what this course is all about. The workbook will also become your action plan to help you determine your next steps in each critical area as a church.

Join the waitlist now to get an exclusive insider information and a free bonus and to be the first to know when the course releases.

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Next Episode: Whit and Willie George

Willie George founded Church on the Move 30 years ago. Recently, he transitioned the senior leadership of the church to his son, Whit. How do you follow a legend? How do you keep a large, widely respected church growing? 

And how do you handle family tension? Carey interviewed Whit and Willie about all this and more live at the Seeds Conference. 

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 156.

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