CNLP 357: JP Pokluda on the Future of Online Preaching, What Pastors Can Learn from YouTubers, and How to Influence the Next Generation

After leading The Porch—the largest young adult ministry in America—JP Pokluda became a senior pastor of a somewhat more traditional church.

He talks about how his preaching changed when church went online, why he hired a YouTuber to create messages, what he thinks the future of preaching will be like, and how to influence the next generation.

Welcome to Episode 357 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.

Plus, in this episode’s What I’m Thinking About segment, Carey talks about the new workplace, and how you get real accountability from your team.

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Photo of Jonathan Pokluda on bridge

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Lead a Better Team

In just a couple of weeks, I’m launching a brand new course that I’m really excited about called Lead a Better Team. In the course, I will talk to you about culture. Almost every organization has a clearly defined mission, vision and strategy. And as a leader, you’re constantly trying to lead a team that embodies the mission and carries out the strategy.

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Welcoming the Future Church by Jonathan Pokluda

Welcome to Adulting by Jonathan Pokluda

Harris Creek video sermon: The Good Infection

Harris Creek video sermon: An Invitation to the Feast

Harris Creek sermons

Becoming Something with Jonathan Pokluda

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1. If you want to engage people online, learn from YouTubers

The bad news for most preachers is that the ability to hold people’s attention in a room doesn’t directly transfer to holding people’s attention online. Especially when you look at the next generation. The average teenager struggles to watch an online church service, but can’t resist watching their favorite YouTube channel for hours.

To respond to this trend, JP hired a professional YouTuber part-time to consult with and work for their church. That YouTuber taught them the value of post-production work with animation and video editing within their sermons. They also learned what makes successful online content easy to watch.

2. The way churches allocate their budgets has changed forever

During the interview, Carey asked JP if he planned to keep any of the major budget shifts they made as a result of the COVID crisis.  JP responded, “I don’t know how you couldn’t!”

He believes that this crisis is a fault line in the history of the Church, and where and how you need to allocate resources has changed forever. Producing quality online content is already key to reaching the next generation, but until now, most churches weren’t budgeting for it.

The Church used to have the best art and the best architecture in the world. The Church was the Hollywood of the past, and he thinks that it could become that again if church leaders would embrace innovation.

3. Explain why twice as much as the how if you want to reach the generation

JP has reached more young adults than 99% of other church leaders. When asked how he’s done this, he said, “If you want to reach the next generation, explaining the why is twice as important as explaining the what or the how.” If you want to get the next generation to do anything, or buy into any mission, you need to show them why they should want to.

If you don’t explain the why behind the things your organization does, you will begin to lose young people (or likely already have). The next generation is willing to do a lot if you will spend the time on the inspiration and the why.

Quotes from Episode 357

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Yes, there’s a ton of change happening right now. And it’s exhausting.

As complex as things are, having a simple framework to navigate the change will make the task ahead much easier, including everything we’ve covered in this post.

The challenge for most churches is they have a hard time making decisions, and even when they make a decision, they find it even harder to implement it.

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In the 30-Day Pivot, you’ll learn:
  • A simple 3-step process your team can use to arrive at your next pivot in 90 minutes or less.
  • An approach that fosters team-generated innovation.
  • An implementation and evaluation framework that will help your team move quickly and accurately.
I’ve led teams through multiple pivots, and in the 30-Day Pivot, I show you the strategy and framework you need to make quick, accurate and responsive moves that can position your organization for growth, even in the midst of deep uncertainty and change.

Some organizations and churches will thrive in the new normal.

Others won’t.

While the future is uncertain, yours doesn’t have to be.

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Next Episode: Sam Collier

Author, podcaster and pastor Sam Collier, talks about what it was like growing up in the 90s and early 2000s in Black America, what it takes to make it in a white world, and how whites can use their influence to bring about racial reconciliation. Sam talks about how to navigate the backlash and the kind of change anyone can make to make the world (and the church) a more just place for black and brown people.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 358.

CNLP 357: JP Pokluda on the Future of Online Preaching, What Pastors Can Learn from YouTubers, and How to Influence the Next Generation


  1. Walter Swaim on November 18, 2020 at 10:01 am

    By my following comments you may doubt this but this was very enjoyable and some serious reminders to me as to how I do ministry now – thank you! With that I just add 2 quick things:
    1) the divide between small and large church is and will only get more huge, mostly due to lack of resources (it’s turning into bog box stores naturally being more attractive and pushing out the small mom and pop stores), and
    2) the first rule to YouTubers is keep it real – yet it hit me the hours and intricacies of setting up the perfect sermon delivery online as described I ask: is it keeping it authentic and real when we do so much to make it appealing and attractive and eye-catching? I’m literally wondering, not being dogmatic.
    Last thought – could you please do a series for the small church? Really reach into actual small churches (I’m talking 200 or 100 or less) and find out what they are feeling and doing during this time?
    Keep it going though – thank you!

  2. Dave Francis on July 30, 2020 at 10:20 am

    Just listened to episode #357 and rightly named because it was powerful like a 357 Magnum. So grateful for Carey’s leadership and Jonathan Pokluda’s insights! The future is bright!!

  3. Troy Miller on July 30, 2020 at 9:21 am

    Thanks for this interview, Carey! I’m the pastor of a church plant in Pittsburgh, PA that was getting ready to launch this Fall before covid happened. Obviously, that wasn’t going to happen once people weren’t able or comfortable with meeting in larger groups.

    Back in 2018, God had given me a vision of a hybrid model of ministry with home groups meeting on Sundays, watching a streamed service, having lunch together, and then having smaller group discussions/discipleship. We decided to launch with that model instead of a traditional “large launch”. It’s fascinating to watch other churches, even large conventional ones, moving to this kind of model organically during this season, and it just goes to show how God moves and speaks in His Church!

    But I’ve definitely been wondering about creative elements and YouTube-like videos during all of this. This was super helpful.

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