CNLP 193: Clay Scroggins on How the Digital Disruption is Changing Everything For Churches and Businesses

There’s no question we’re undergoing one of the biggest transformations in history, but the digital disruption that’s happening around us every day has caught most church and business leaders off guard.

Clay talks about how large and small organizations are missing out on one of the greatest opportunities there is, and some ideas on how to respond.

Welcome to Episode 193 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Guest Links

Clay on FacebookInstagramTwitter |

How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge

CNLP 035: Leading Young At North Point – An Interview With Clay Scroggins

CNLP 153: Clay Scroggins On How To Lead When You’re Not In Charge

Free Downloads

Carey Nieuwhof Resource: Connexus Church Online Philosophy Document

Clay Scroggins Resource: 4 Big Moves

Links Mentioned

Join The Art of Better Preaching waitlist today! Don’t miss out on open enrollment coming summer 2018!

How to Do Crazy Good Turns – Frank Blake on The Tim Ferriss Show

CNLP 174: Jeff Henderson On The Dos And Don’ts Of Marketing Your Church Or Product And The Backstory To The #FOR Initiative

CNLP 173: Craig Groeschel Deconstructs His Approach To Preaching, Leadership, Success, The Future And More

CNLP 115: Sean Seay On Winning In Leadership While Failing At Home And How He Got Healthy

3 Insights from This Episode

1. Ignoring digital disruption is a bad idea

Many churches and businesses are staring at their declining numbers and scratching their heads; totally dismissing the digital explosion happening around them.

The largest car service in the world owns zero cars.

The largest hotel industry in the world owns zero rooms.

The largest retail store in the world owns zero inventory.

It’s unwise to ignore what’s going on in today’s culture. In order to reach more people, the church has to work through what it looks like to engage a digital world.

2. Live experiences matter, but today’s culture calls for a screen-first mentality

Live experiences are absolutely relevant and matter, but don’t be limited to the boundaries of a building. The needs of people can’t be left to be met only on Sunday mornings or weekdays from 9 to 5.

There are very few places anyone goes in life prior to first visiting them on a screen. A quick search online is the first impression that can lead to continued online and physical engagement. Buildings can host a lot of people, but websites can reach so many more.

3. It’s hard to leverage digital touches with an analog mindset

The digital world and analog world need each other, because they fuel each other’s growth. We Amazon Prime some things and drive to a store to purchase others. Online and in-store go hand-in-hand and the same is proving true in churches who keep track of their online attenders. The more people watch church online, the more people engage in the church community.

The definition of attend is changing. It’s hard to keep track of how many people are engaged in your services online, but digital attendance needs to count in some way. Every church has to figure out a strategy for what to do after someone clicks on your site. What’s the pathway in place for them? Start with what you want to measure and build a strategy around it.

Quotes from This Episode

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Next Episode: Jerry Hurley   

Jerry Hurley joined the staff at Life Church in 1998, when it was a single campus and running about 600 people. He’s been on the senior leadership team as it’s grown to over 80,000 attenders and 29 locations today. Jerry shares his top insights on scale, leaving the corporate world and recruiting staff and volunteers. Plus, he tells the story of how he challenged Craig Groeschel to make a change that Craig calls one of the most important in his early ministry.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 194.

CNLP 193: Clay Scroggins on How the Digital Disruption is Changing Everything For Churches and Businesses


  1. Steve on August 20, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    I appreciate the content and conversation, thanks. Here are some of the tension thoughts that I wrestle with as I listen. No doubt we as church leaders need to pray and discern how best to make use of technology to connect with our communities and the world around. Ignoring it is not helpful at all, but I also believe strategizing how to “leverage” technology can be equally dangerous on the other extreme. The Home Depot example given, although true and incredibly impactful for a retail business, is not helpful in this case because the Church was not intended to be a retail outlet. Also, metrics are not necessarily helpful because they aren’t true measurements of success for a “church”, whereas they certainly are in other kinds of organizations. I can’t recall anything written to churches in the Bible that refers to metrics or dashboards. The example of Paul writing to churches as a different mode of communication or Billy Graham as a pioneer evangelist also not directly apply to the local church, because both of them would be better defined first as missionaries. In my current mode of thinking we can never lose sight of what God “designed” the church to be and from there apply the realities of our culture, such as buildings, music, technology, etc. to accomplish the mission he gave the church. I’m all for technology and embrace the digital disruption, but we all too often run the risk of looking like something other than the bride of Christ when we make it primary.

  2. Heidi on June 16, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    Very enlightening podcast, and some great food for thought. We have a fairly heavy online presence but our current dashboard does not reflect much beyond the “sunday attendance”. I was wondering if you’d be willing to share some of your dashboard metrics that you have chosen to track. (Not specific numbers but the items themselves like weekly online attendance, social shares etc). Thanks so much!

  3. Dr. Randal S. Langley on June 10, 2018 at 11:32 pm

    So LOVE your podcasts Carey. Listened to 3 of them today on my way traveling to Atlanta for another conference. :-). There is so much fantastic content it is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to take all the notes I want. Is there a more detailed transcript available? Some of the other podcasts I listen to make this available and it sure helps to be able to go back read what was said… The podcast notes you post are appreciated, but they are honestly very light on the actual content. Thanks again!

  4. Mike on May 27, 2018 at 1:42 am

    Great podcast Carey. I like the push to embrace technology and use tools that are available.

    Is it possible the disruption is deeper than technology? The folks I speak with about religion and spirituality have no interest in not just brick-and-mortar churches but the entire paradigm of western Christianity. Namely the gospel of Christ being a tribal identity of mental agreement about the Bible to make sure someone doesn’t end up in hell.

    From what I’ve seen many churches and western Christianity seem to be built on fear. Fear of hell. Fear of losing money and power. Fear of irrelevance.

    What can the church and Christianity do to make this world a better place?

  5. Nate Randall on May 25, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Such a great topic. Very helpful conversation that needs to be continued. Thank you for offering very stimulating insights that are sure to spur some exciting conversations in our local context. I am always challenged and sharpened by these podcasts. Keep ’em coming!

    Personal highlights from this interview:
    * “I write to you with pen and ink though I long to be with you face to face…”
    * The online and in-person environments will fuel one another.
    * We live in a screen-first culture. We can either fight it or we can think creatively about how to faithfully engage it.

    Again, thank you for sharing these conversations with us!

  6. Bruce Rhodes on May 22, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    Valuable discussions like this are causing me to revisit my philosphy of my personal online presence as well as our church’s online presence. Very intriguing, stimulating and challenging – THANK YOU GUYS!!!…

  7. Keith Harcombe on May 22, 2018 at 9:54 am

    Ha, real life sounds in the background.
    Very helpful for this church leader. This is exactly where we are!
    Thanks for the show notes.

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