CNLP 207: Bobby Gruenewald on Leveraging First Mover Advantage, Innovation, AI, Technology and the Future Church

Bobby Gruenewald leveraged first mover advantage in building and selling an internet hosting service and the world’s largest wrestling fan site. Then he moved into church world, creating Church Online and YouVersion.

Bobby talks about how innovation happens, what’s next in AR, AI, machine learning and much more as the church moves into the future.

Welcome to Episode 207 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Guest Links

Bobby on Facebook | Instagram | LinkedInTwitter

Bible Lense

Links from this Episode

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3 Insights from This Episode

1. First mover advantage is hard to catch up to

First mover advantage provides the chance to stand out before others realize there’s even an opportunity. If you can get an idea to market before everyone else, often you end up gaining a disproportionate advantage and you’ll have a momentum that is hard for others to catch up to.

2. Acknowledge failure to discover the better idea

We are a people who do not like to lose. So many of us fear defeat. Fear of failure can keep a project going far too long, simply because no ones wants to admit it got of course.

You can’t fully analyze something that’s not working and set out on a new approach until you own up to the truth that a misstep (or missteps) has happened. Admitting failure is a freeing experience that can clear confusion and move you into a position of better understanding. Being secure enough to admit failure can lead to discovering the right idea.

3. There’s a place for leveraging AI and machine learning in ministry

There are mixed opinions on where AI and machine learning are headed in the future and how to best incorporate new ideas without compromising values. The church often struggles to keep up with advancements in technology or to incorporate current trends that could improve connection within their communities. While advances are hard to predict in the years and decades to come, Bobby suggests leveraging these two areas for your church to take advantage of what’s available today.

Leverage Voice Platforms (like Alexa and Google Home) to distribute content and potentially engage fresh channels for things like enhanced small group interaction and next generation ministries.

Leverage Databases to improve your level of communication while respecting the boundaries of privacy. The church doesn’t need to compromise its trust level with the community by being negligent with personal data.

Quotes from This Episode

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Next Episode: Dana Spinola       

When Dana Spinola was asked at age 5 what she wanted to be when she grew up, her answer was simple – “the best.” That drive pushed her on to many things, including launching her own company, Fab’rik, which has grown from a single boutique in Atlanta to over 40 stores in over 10 states. She talks about following her dream, scaling her business, becoming a Christian, burning out and bouncing back.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 208.


  1. Amanda on September 25, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    Another good one!

  2. Hannah on September 24, 2018 at 11:50 am

    What a great episode! Keep up the good work.

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