Mark Clark’s church was growing online before COVID but during the pandemic, it’s grown even more. He explains how he’s switched his communication style, how to speak to an online audience and what preaching might be like after everything reopens.

He also talks about how to connect with the people you’re reaching, and why the next generation wants the real Jesus.

Welcome to Episode 399 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 how to get 700,000 downloads on a podcast in one week.

Guest Links


Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Village Church

Episode Links

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Conversation Links

The Problem of Jesus by Mark Clark

The Problem of God by Mark Clark

The Art of Better Preaching

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

CNLP 197: Mark Clark and Carey Nieuwhof on How to Preach in a Way That Reaches Unchurched People and Maintains Biblical Integrity

CCLP Bonus 004: Mark Clark and James Mallon on How the Holy Spirit is Growing the Canadian Church

CCLP 015: Mark Clark on Apologetics for Unchurched Canadians, the Expansion of Village Church and Finding Personal Margin

CNLP 151: Mark Clark on Apologetics for Post-Christian, Post-Modern Young Adults: Sex, Hell, Science and So Much More

*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Insights From Mark

1. People are checking out your church online before they visit—build your website like that’s true

If people are going to visit your church, 2 things need to happen first:

  1. They need to have a good experience while checking out your church online
  2. They probably need a personal invite from someone (a friend, co-worker, member of the church, etc.)

Your website and online experience need to be carefully built to help make this process smooth and engaging.

2. Treat your online viewers like real people every service

If you want your online viewers to actually turn into engaged contributors, you need to treat them like real people. To do this, the team at Village Church looks directly into the camera every service and tells the viewers that they really matter and that they want to build a deeper relationship with them.

Doing this consistently has allowed them to turn online viewers successfully into engagers.

3. Nobody gets up early on a Sunday for incremental change—if you want to reach the next generation, give them something worth dying for

A lot of churches are making small, incremental asks of the next generation in the process of inviting them into a relationship with Jesus. Mark doesn’t think this approach works with the next generation. He recommends that you make huge asks of the next generation when inviting them into a relationship with Jesus. If you want to reach Gen Z, ask them to give up their whole lives, not just one hour a week.

Quotes from Episode 399

You've got to clear away the hypocrisy and the politics and the nonsense and put Jesus on the table and say, 'Everyone just focus on Him.' @markaclark Click To Tweet Vague spirituality isn't enough. @markaclark Click To Tweet You need to be not only reformed into the Kingdom of God but de-formed from all your other forms of worship. @markaclark Click To Tweet People can't see outside the filter that they've got. @markaclark Click To Tweet Pastors didn't get into this to become professional epidemiologists, which is what they're being asked to do right now. @markaclark Click To Tweet Put a camera on a stick, make sure the audio is good and the lighting's okay, and get your content out there. @markaclark Click To Tweet That intuition you have as a leader, don't ignore it. Click To Tweet Your way of being actually shapes your affections more than you think. @markaclark Click To Tweet When you read the gospels, there's one of two things you can do: You can either throw Jesus off a cliff and kill him, or you can worship him as God and follow him. @markaclark Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 399

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Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

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Next Episode: Dr. John Kotter

John Kotter is widely regarded as the world’s leading expert on change. A faculty member at Harvard Business School and graduate of MIT, his books on change have sold millions of copies and his theory on change has been embraced by some of the most successful companies in the world. In this interview, John explains his framework on how to lead change effectively, how to get your team to buy in, dealing with opponents and why rapid change is more important than ever.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 400.

CNLP 399: Mark Clark on How to Preach to an Online Audience, Growing a Church During a Pandemic, and Why the Next Generation Wants the Real Jesus

2 Comments

  1. darrylbergen on April 23, 2021 at 2:22 pm

    Both you and Mark mention, I think it is a “engagement funnel”? Do you have a resource you can share that details that funnel? Like a digital engagement funnel.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 23, 2021 at 6:42 pm

      Hey Darryl,

      Yes! We will be releasing a Digital Engagement Funnel as part of The Art Of Better Reaching, a course we have coming out in June. 🙂

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