Communications

Digital Parish: Building relationships through branding with Mike Kim

Mike Kim discusses branding and relationships on Pastoring in the Digital Parish. Mike offers an important way of refocusing how we think about marketing and branding, making them a lot more palatable for those of us wary of business-ifying faith. Mike says that “marketing isn’t about a sale, it’s about  beginning a relationship.”

In order to meet people in the digital space and begin our relationships, we need to engage in a bit of branding and marketing. And, the fact is this, you have a brand. You may not be cultivating it. But you do have one. The goal of what we’re trying to do in this session is to make it as easy as possible for people to learn about you, your ministry, and how to build a relationship with you. That is the goal of cultivating some branding.

The Episode

Listen on Apple Podcasts logo, light. Listen on Google Podcasts logo small, light. Listen on Spotify small, light button. Listen on Amazon, small, light button

Mike Kim:

And so I didn't want to market. I shut everything down. I just felt like God would promote us in his timing. Right. But I do see things differently, right? Because I think I've become more healthy.

Ryan Dunn:

That was the voice of Mike Kim, our adjunct professor for this session of Pastoring in the Digital Parish. I get that in ministry world. We aren't really fond of words like branding and marketing. They are commerce related words, right? Mike Kim has an important way of refocusing the definition of those words, making them a lot more palatable for those of us who we're wary of a business-ifying faith. Mike says that marketing isn't about a sale. It's about beginning a relationship. We can get behind that. After all isn't that what we're called to do to foster relationship?

New Speaker:

In order to meet people in the digital space and begin our relationships, we need to engage in a bit of branding and marketing. And the fact is you have a brand, you may not be cultivating it, but you do have one. The goal of what we're trying to do in this session is to make it as easy as possible for people to learn about you, your ministry, and how you build a relationship.

Ryan Dunn:

That is the goal of cultivating some branding. There's a ton of great stuff to be learned here. So let's get to it Pastoring in the Digital Parish with Mike Kim.

New Speaker:

Mike Kim is a business coach and marketing strategist who specializes in personal branding, product launch strategies and copywriting. He's the author of you are the brand, which is a book that I have found super relevant to what I believe is the future of the pastorate, especially as it relates to digital ministry. And Mike has kind of a cool core belief or philosophy about marketing. And that's that marketing isn't about closing a sale. It's about opening a relationship. We're going to get to that towards the end of our conversation. But first Mike, I think it's important to note for our audience that you have a background in ministry. So let's start there. You're in a unique position right now where you've worked in both ministry and now are working in coaching and consulting. So how is ministry work similar to the work that you're doing now as a coach and consultant?

Mike Kim:

Well, first-line, it's an honor to be here and, uh, I don't get to talk a lot about this topic. Uh, so I'm really grateful for this opportunity. Um, you know, it's, it's incredible because I do coach a lot, many of my clients are Christians. Um, they are making a transition in life. You know, some are coming out of the pastorate. Some are coming out of vocational ministry, summer missionaries, who coming off the field. And then there's another side to what I do where I help missionaries and ministry leaders raise money. And so kind of I'm working with people who are on both ends of the spectrum, right? And I always tell folks that I cannot think of a profession that better prepares you to create impact with your ideas, to get a message heard in the, in our case, the gospel, um, then the ministry itself.

Mike Kim:

There's so many soft skills that I carry from my experience in ministry that I've brought over into coaching. If you really think about it, folks who are in corporate America, middle management, you name it retail. Well, they are not used to speaking in front of people. They're not used to mentoring groups of people or having one-on-one counseling calls or meetings or coffee. You know, they're not used to planning events. They're not used to being on stage. They're not used to journaling and study, you know, for F to get a message out there. So all of these soft skills and the people skills and the discernment and that that's not even scratching on the spiritual gifts, right? The discernment that, that, that most openness to, okay, what is God saying here? What is happening here was going on with this person, hundreds of hours. We've had experience you and I and others listening. And now you're telling me, all I have to do is sit here and jump on a microphone and record a podcast and create some content on social media, man. I was doing that every Sunday. So, uh, we are, we are totally prepared for this line of work.

Ryan Dunn:

Well, you mentioned some of the soft skills that you're using now as a, as a consultant and coach, what are some of those soft skills?

Mike Kim:

Well, it's a lot of that. It's, it's the discernment it's, it's trying. It's funny because I, uh, when I, when I work with a client or I run a coaching group, uh, I meet with everybody. One-on-one just for a few minutes before we really get started with the program 15 minutes or so. And that's almost all I need. They fill out a little intake form. I find out a little bit about them and I'm like, I'm just like able to get to the heart of what's really going on. And that just comes from hundreds and hundreds of hours of counseling, people of coaching people in within the context of ministry. Of course now I'm like, okay, this person says this, but what's really going on underneath her, you know, deeper in their heart is this. And then you kind of read their mail and they're like, well, I just don't understand how you can see all this in me.

Mike Kim:

And I'm like, oh, well, yeah, this is, this is from years and years of ministry. Um, and I think, uh, another thing I'd add to that, you know, there are a lot of coaches in the business space, in the professional space. All they really want to do to be honest is make a dollar, you know, and we need more people in that space who wants to empower others who want to make their ceiling, someone else's floor. Uh, I find that I take a lot of these kingdom into my work and people, whether they're believers or not, it's incomprehensible to them. They're like, you want to give me a shot? You want to platform me. You want to talk about me? You want to promote me. You you're being generous with opportunities towards me. I'm like, yeah. And I've just always felt like that's what we're supposed to do as believers and as leaders within that context. And I just carry that over into my business.

Ryan Dunn:

Yeah. Okay. I'd love that relationship of, um, well it empowering others, like that speaks to a lot of us as ministry in ministry. And because of that, like sometimes we are pretty shy, even reluctant to kind of empower ourselves. And branding speaks into that. Like branding is a way of, well, enabling some self empowerment. So you're able to take this aspect of this kind of dual view from the ministry and from the coaching side about branding and how necessary it is. So for you, like what kind of branding are you doing now, or how, how valuable is branding for you as a coach and creator?

Mike Kim:

Well, it's branding has always just been about identity, you know, and I get it right when I was in, in vocational ministry. Um, I was a youth pastor. I was a worship pastor. You know, that was a full-time position for a number of years. We did all the things, you know, the music, the conferences, we corroded albums. We wrote songs, we had all the big, you know, worship bands come to our church and blah, blah, blah. And then for a while I served as an associate pastor and all those years when I was in those roles, I thought marketing and branding were bad words. Yeah. I was like, that's evil. Right? It's like,

Ryan Dunn:

People are still there. Yep.

Mike Kim:

Yeah. Ministry and marketing, like mixing these two is like, is like oil and water. Right. And, um, you know, when, when I was, you know, headlong in, in that role, uh, I got to admit, I desperately wanted people to know, um, about what God was doing in our ministry. I thought it was really good. You know, my heart was genuine and it honestly wasn't about money. It wasn't about fame. I'm not really a limelight type of guy, much like many of us who are listening right now for me, it was about impact. And I knew that what we were doing and building were those things were truly helping people and truly helping churches. So this catch, you know, that, that this catch 22, I was in, I didn't want to be pushy. I didn't want to pester people. And here's the worst thing that someone could call me if when I was, when I was in ministry.

Mike Kim:

Right. It wasn't sinful because we all know we're all sinners. Right. The worst thing was, dude, if somebody called me prideful, like that cut to the core, like you are self-promotional. And so to be labeled like this egocentric guy or arrogant or self promoting was like the one thing I tried to avoid at all costs. And so I didn't want to mark it. I shut everything down. I just felt like God would promote us in his timing. Right. But I do see things differently. Right. Because I think I've become more healthy in the outlook. So I'm, I'm happy to kind of unpack that a little bit. Cause there is, there does feel like what's the balance what's right. But I learned some things in that journey, especially towards the tail end of my years in ministry and now being in business and seeing the other side of things. But I get what you're saying and I I've been there.

Ryan Dunn:

Yeah. I, the jump that I'm hoping that some of our listeners will make here is the relationship between being a minister in being a coach. And in order to kind of successfully be a coach in today's marketplace. Sorry to use that word again. But, um, in, in the digital realm, we'll call it that instead of the marketplace, like you need to be able to kind of put yourself out there and represent yourself in a certain way. And that's what branding is. So, uh, with that in mind, like what are some of the ways that you, Mike are kind of putting yourself out there in a healthy and, um, relevant way for, uh, people to see who you are to begin to form a relationship?

Mike Kim:

Yeah. You know, when we talk about brand Ryan brand is all just about identity. It's always been about identity, you know, all the way back to when farmers used to brand their livestock with an identifying mark, right. They burn it into the hide and say, that's my cow all the way till today, where everyone's on Instagram and YouTube, all of this stuff about branding has always been about identity, having a clear identity. Now I talk a lot in my coaching business and even with organizations about a personal brand, the power of a personal brand. And what I mean by a personal brand is the identity that each of us carry as individuals, as leaders in many cases as ministry leaders. Um, and in my case as a coach and a consultant, um, that's based off the combination of four things, right? I'm not just a cow, I'm not just a Nike shoe, right?

Mike Kim:

I'm a person. And so these four things are what make up our personal brand, our ideas, our expertise, our reputation, and our personality. I'll say that again, our ideas, our expertise, our reputation, and our personality. And if you really think about any coach motivational speaker, author, celebrity athlete, and yes, even a minister, you can see that these four things are what makeup, who we view them as, right? There's some preachers and pastors who are better preachers and pastors than they are authors. There are some whose ideas we like and others, we don't like, right. Well, are you about the, in, in the ministry space, we'll argue about it theologically. Right. And then there's some guys, we just, some guys and girls, we just don't like their personality. Okay. I'm not here to throw anybody under the bus, but we're like, oh, look at them in there, you know, $3,000 air Jordan sneakers walking out on stage and being all hip.

Mike Kim:

And some people like that personality and other people do not, you know, I have my personal preferences. Right. But it has nothing to do really with their message if we feel like their theologies, right. We just don't like the fact that he's wearing $3,000 sneakers, right? Like what does that? So when I talk about a personal brand and how we can carry this into, you know, the ministry space, um, I see people building this identity, this personal brand and wanted to ways, you know, in the market and neither of them are working. So I'll talk about what I think we should all do. But on one hand you see people who are presenting a false version of themselves. Like to be honest, they really are right. Um, in business, I see some folks do this. It's so ridiculous, but they'll rent a mansion on Airbnb, they'll stage a photo shoot.

Mike Kim:

And they'll sort of imply that it's their house, right? And these people do not realize that the attention they seek is not owed to them. It's earned. It's not about image. It's about character and dude, you and I do not need to go down the rabbit trail of how many high profile prominent ministers we've seen, you know, fall, if you will, quote unquote. Right. Um, because they're so caught up in all this other stuff, you know, rubbing elbows with celebrities, wearing the same kind of clothes, hanging out, going to the Oscars and blow. And it just blows up. Right. I live just outside New York city and the, you know, big thing happened here a year ago. Right. Um, and then you have this other side where what's happening in the blogosphere. Okay. These people are not maybe ministers from a pulpit, but they have become leaders, tribal leaders, quote unquote tribal leaders in their own, right on social media.

Mike Kim:

And they have built like a following based on what they hate. I'll give you an example. Um, I follow these, some of these accounts because I'm just fascinated by how they're communicating the phenomenon what's what's going on. So I see, uh, right now, you know, the deconstruction movement is huge. All these people, you and I are probably about the same age I'm in my early forties. And you know, these, these are folks who grew up in that mega church culture, right? Hip church had their talents and had, had had, you know, uh, all this leadership, they were involved intimately in leadership. And they're saying, this was jacked up. This was screwed up. This is, this is wrong. I don't believe in this anymore. And they, they found a huge community. Right. And here's what I, I see it as I'm like, well, they're kind of oversharing things in the name of authenticity and they're not really solving a problem.

Mike Kim:

They're selling their struggles instead of a solution. And they're trying to build a community around a car wreck. And the man, I don't know about you, God forbid car wrecks. Right. But you drive down a highway and everyone's rubbernecking and delays traffic for an hour. I mean, this happens all the time where I live in New York and I'm like, okay, we got a lot of eyeballs, but no one stays. You can't build a community around it. Right. You can't base it on what your pain is and what hurt you've experienced. You have to help people and add value at some point. So what I see working now is, and I think it will be forever, um, simply to ask yourself this as a litmus test, can I build a campfire around what I'm sharing? Okay. Like that, I mean, is, is what you're sharing warm?

Mike Kim:

Is it inviting? Is it inclusive? Is it a place where people can share their stories? I mean, this is stuff we all do at a campfire. Is it a place where you can build a community around? Are you someone that people want to spend time with around a campfire? Do they want to come to your campfire? Because it's a light in a dark place and I can't help, but get this image in my mind of, you know, Jesus out in the countryside at night, hanging out with the disciples and some other people in the up a fire. I mean, it's 20, 21, 20 22. And you and I dude could go to a restaurant and we will pay extra for the seat that has the fake campfire outside. There's just something warm and communal. Right. And so that's kind of what I'm referring to when you're putting yourself out there. And as a brand in this space, um, share stuff, be authentic, sheriffs, your family, share beliefs, share the struggles, share the solutions, but all of it is an extension of your ideas, your expertise, your reputation and your personality. Hmm.

Ryan Dunn:

Yeah. Well, and that brings up the point that everybody really has a brand, whether we choose to cultivate it or not. Right. So I think the awareness that you're calling us towards is just to cultivate that brand to be authentic about what we're putting out there. Um, yeah. Very good. Yeah. Well, for someone to be successful in the, in the coaching business and to communicate who they are, um, you've pointed out that they really need to be addressing a problem. Uh, and sometimes we're not really good at that, uh, within like the ministry world, at least naming that there is a problem that we're trying to, to address. So based on your own minister ministerial experience, like what problems might we be throwing out there that we can invest in addressing?

Mike Kim:

Yeah, it's a great question. It's it's funny. Cause I was just talking to a client named Kent and uh, he's a pastor and he started kind of coaching people on the side. Uh, it's doing really well. I'm doing it. So he's, he's not super, like, not exactly by vocational, he's earned income from his coaching. And um, this is, this has been a struggle for him because I'm like, well, and I've known him for a long time. And I said, Kent, as a pastor, um, you have to solve, or you have to be able to speak to everyone's problems. Right? Like you gotta, he's preaching on Sunday morning. The people in his church run the gamut. Right. I mean, they're from all walks of life, all socio economic levels, education levels, everything. Right. And yet when you go into coaching, you have to narrow that down because you can't coach everybody. So it's a struggle oftentimes for ministry leaders to kind of niche that down,

Ryan Dunn:

However we're being exclusive.

Mike Kim:

Yeah. Yeah. So, however though, I would say this they're all, there are always things that each and every one of us as individuals feel like we are better at than other things. Um, some people, some ministry leaders are like, I love counseling way more than preaching. I love teaching way more than evangelism. I just, it just feels right. I like leading worship way more than, you know, uh, leading a Bible study and yet we're willing to do all these things, but we're also trying to find like where our giftings are. Right. So for me, what I realized early on, you know, was that when I looked at what I loved to do in ministry, I did everything that I was required to do. I would do funerals. I would preach, I would all those things, but I really loved going deep with a few people.

Mike Kim:

I love leadership development. I love recruiting people onto our worship team. I loved raising up young worship leaders. I loved hosting conferences and rallying people in our region together. I was working in new England at the time and I've, I've kind of oriented my business and my coaching practice towards those things. And by nature, it's sort of narrowed down who I reach. So I find that coaching is actually an opportunity for you to double down on the things that you're, you're naturally good at. Right. Um, it's just, it's, it's been fun and it's been liberating in that sense, because then I can really, really feel like I'm in the flow of, of what I do. Right. Like I say, it like this, you know, talent, doesn't re like talent, doesn't replace the need for hard work. It clarifies it. So when I'm coaching and I find that I'm talented or gifted in, in certain things, you know, um, mentoring people, going deep with a small group of people and, um, doing really intense work in a short amount of time. That doesn't mean I just like, okay, well I'll let that coast and I'll build my skillsets and well, no, I want to get really good at those three things. And that's what coaching affords the opportunity for us to do.

Ryan Dunn:

Okay. Well, let's talk about your, your P B3, your personal branding, three, uh, this addresses a big hole for a lot of ministries, because as you touched on in our well-meaning efforts to offer something for everybody, um, in the end, sometimes we can miss just about everyone in the same way. Would you describe for us briefly what the P B3 is?

Mike Kim:

Yeah. So, um, I'm glad you asked this because I'm not, I'm not gonna use any language here, but I'm from New Jersey, so we're a little bit

Ryan Dunn:

Saltier

Mike Kim:

And, um, you know, a lot of folks when I start to work with them and, and, um, especially as they're, as they're trying to coach, you know, I say, well, what's your point of view? And like, what, what does, what do you mean? What's my point of view. I'm like, you got to have a point of view. Otherwise you're not going to stand out. You need contrast, you know, those of you watching us on video, I'm wearing a black shirt with a white background. You can see me, you know, there's contrast. And, um, sometimes, or many times I would say we hide behind scripture. We hide behind our, our, our movement or denominations vision statement. Um, when I coach missionaries, uh, to raise support, uh, the first session I say, you're not allowed to use any Christianese or used Bible verses in your vision statement.

Mike Kim:

And they're like, wait, what you would, you would've thought I asked them to like, you know, sacrifice her child or something. I was it. Cause I want to get to the core of what you see, because God gave you a vision. God gave you a brain. God gave you a desire in your heart. So I asked people, number one, what you off? And, and let me clarify that by that, what I'm really trying to get to is the injustice they see in the world. That is a, that is a biblical word, right? God is a God of injustice, uh, justice. And he hates injustice, right? So what is the injustice you see in the world? What you off? Number two, what breaks your heart? That's the compassion you have for people or for a particular cause. And then number three, what is the big problem you're trying to solve?

Mike Kim:

That is the purpose of your ministry, your church, your organization, your nonprofit. And if you can answer those three things very clearly, and they stem from your core, you've got a branding message. You've got something to go to the world with and say, Hey, we've staked our flag here. We've raised the flag. This is how we help people. This is the one thing that we do really, really well. And of course there are other ancillary things that people can do, um, as a result of coming in. But you look at these big organizations, you know, whether they're, you know, faith forward or not focus on the family, right. World vision. Okay. Um, they're all, you know, um, I J M you know, uh, w which, uh, rescues people from the sex trade, right. All over the, all over the world, and these organizations have stake their claim.

Mike Kim:

And if you really think about it, churches try to do the same thing. Yeah. We're in Atlanta. This is our city, and we're going to, we're going to multi-site church, and there's a vision there. Dallas is our city, you know, you name it North Carolina, you know, Charlotte. And there are a lot of churches that we associate with those cities because they become so clear in their mission. So, you know, we are, we are ticked off that people are going to hell in Dallas, you know? And, um, you know, I think a TD Jakes church, whenever I'm in Dallas, I, you know, I try to visit, I like him as a, as a pre-training. And, um, but it's very clear. He has a burden, as you can give him the burden to reach particularly the African-American community in Dallas, you know? And, um, he's, he's, you know, agree with him or not, but he has tried to empower his people in the city of Dallas, um, to, to lift up that community, get a better job, make more money, succeed, you know, be influential in the marketplace. These are his messages. Right. And anyone else can come, but that's his vision. That's, that's the purpose of their church. And so you see this at play, right? I mean, you can deconstruct that in any person or organization, it means that they have clarity in their message.

Ryan Dunn:

Okay. Yeah. And that's important because I think our fear when setting up those messages is that we are going to exclude some people, uh, and nothing that you mentioned is exclusive to anybody. Right. It's just to saying, you know, here is who we are in an authentic way. Whether that be like, Hey, we are building a community where we hope everybody feels a sense of belonging to like, Hey, we are building a community that is going to eradicate homelessness in our, in our community. Like all that is, is not necessarily exclusive to anybody, but it does give you like a communication of what you're going to find when you engage with this community. Right. Uh, and that's incredibly important. And I think it's something that we sometimes miss in churches because, uh, we want to speak such a broad message. Right. Um, we want to be able to, uh, kind of provide like an entry point at all levels, uh, for all people. And that just doesn't work. Does it?

Mike Kim:

No, it's, it's sort of like, you know, we hear these like kind of cool vision statements for churches and organizations, but they don't really say anything right. To know him and make him known. Okay. Yes. I know that I get that. I signed up for that when I gave my life to Christ, you know, I get that. Um, and, and what does that mean for us in this particular city or community or region? What does, what does that mean for us trying to solve this particular problem? Um, what is the problem we're particularly going to solve in order to know him and make him known, you know, do we help alleviate homelessness? Do we help alleviate suffering of kids who have been rescued out of the sex trade? You know, what do we do? And that's the clarity that I'm always pushing people to distill to get to. Absolutely.

Ryan Dunn:

Um, yeah, this is great clarifying where, because it, it shows it, it w we're coming from a marketing standpoint and yet th like this shows the relevance towards ministry. And so your philosophy of marketing is that it's not about a sale. It's about opening a relationship. So how does branding play into that? How has branding a means for opening a relationship?

Mike Kim:

Yeah. You know, branding is about identity. So like, um, and I say that because I'm in the business space so much, I meet all these people just want to close the sale, close the sale, close the sale. I'm like, look, I'm marketing is not about closing a sale anymore. You can't do it anymore. It's changed. Marketing is all about opening a relationship. So let's just use some common sense here. Um, first, what relationship do you know of that is going to that? What, is there a such thing as a thriving relationship when you don't talk to the person and you only call them when you need something? That's not a, that's not a healthy relationship. Okay. So right there. So we don't want to just bombard people, whether we're a ministry or business and, you know, missionaries, you know, they, they are guilty of this.

Mike Kim:

I only hear from Bob when he needs money. And then Bob comes into my program and I'm like, Bob, that's your fault. You got to change. You can, they're not piggy banks. There are people, you know, so you want to build a relationship with these folks, not just hit them up when you need, like, you need an ally allowance. Right? So when I look at this process, I'm going to share this real quick process here. How do we make these decisions to trust people, to trust brands, to trust organizations, to trust leaders. We all go through this progression. No, like trust, try, buy, repeat, refer. If you don't know about apple, you're not going to have a chance to like apple. And if you don't like apple, then you're definitely not going to trust apple. But if you like them, you might trust them. And if you trust them, you might try out an iPhone or an iPad.

Mike Kim:

You might go to the store and say, okay, these guys kind of have their thing together. It feels nice in the store. It's very clear what they do. I'm going to try it out. And if you'd like, what you try, you buy. And after you buy, you repeat, buy, you buy the iPhone every year or two years. And then you tell everybody about it. You refer people. This is what we do. Not just with consumer products, not with just with other things that we buy, but with people, um, I think about this in the term, in terms of relationships, you know, my friends are always trying to set me up, Ryan, oh, this girl, this girl, you know, look, I, I'm not gonna walk up to some, some girl on the first team. Like, you want to get married. You, she doesn't even know me.

Mike Kim:

She hasn't had a chance to even like, we we've known each other, all of the 15 minutes sitting down for coffee. She definitely doesn't trust me yet. Right. And she's like, okay, well, some friends told me about you. It's just common sense. So it's our job as leaders, as communicators, as leaders of organizations, or as coaches, whatever, to make it easy for people to know, like, and trust us. And you do that by sharing content online, by sharing a little bit of what you know, and who you are and your journey. And through that, you're giving people an opportunity to try, um, not to get super meta, but that's exactly what's happened for the last 20 or so minutes on this podcast. Most of you who are listening right now had never heard of me. You did not know me. And if you're still listening, it might mean that you kind of like, he's not bad.

Mike Kim:

I kind of liked this guy. And he said a few good things here and there. I kind of trust him. And I'm going to try him out by continuing to listen to the rest of this interview. Well, maybe at some point, you're like, well, you know what? I'm really grateful to Ryan for bringing Mike on the show. I'm going to go try them out. And I'm going to read a sample of his book. Oh, it's only 15 bucks. I'm going to buy the book. You are the brand and you buy it. And if you like that, you're going to repeat by some other things. And you're going to refer the book and all this happened in just a few minutes, that's what's happening. So it's our responsibility to do that, you know, to fill those gaps, the know like trust, try, and then let people make the quote unquote purchase or donate or whatever action it is that you want them to take.

Ryan Dunn:

Yeah. Well, and if we think about that in relation to our churches, uh, it lowers the bar to entry. Like if we already have a sense of comfort with the community that we're considering engaging with, and, you know, the transition into actual presence becomes so much easier. Um, and so us being able to portray a brand just helps people feel that sense of comfort and, uh, w what I've appreciated about, um, well, the way that you express yourself, Mike, and what I've appreciated about your book is that you give some great ideas that's totally relevant, but also like you and yourself are a good case study, like going through that, because like, we haven't been corresponding for very long. Um, and, and yet when we sat down for this interview, like, I felt like I knew you pretty well. It's just one of those weird things. And I think that we can that experience for the people who might be engaging in our ministries. Like when they come to us, they know us pretty well already. Um, well, we're just going to find more and more people responding to that.

Mike Kim:

Absolutely. And I, and I feel honestly, Ryan, like, you know, where, where I see this going in this digital age, um, you know, if you're a pastor or your ministry leader listening in right now, I'm, I'm telling you right now, just from what I see in marketing, the way human beings, this is not a spiritual concept. It's just the way human beings are behaving with technology and social media and all these things. Everything's getting decentralized. Everything is decentralized people. My, my friends will say, yeah, I still go to church. When's the last time you went two years ago, but I watch online every Sunday. We have three kids under five years old. There's no way I'm bringing them to church. Everything's getting decentralized. No, one's going to movie theaters, right? Baseball, stadiums, athletic events. It's been a struggle to get people back in society itself is decentralizing.

Mike Kim:

So we cannot expect them just to come to a building. And if that's the case, where are we going to meet them? We're going to meet them on the thing that they are, um, basically attached to the hip, to their phone. That device is a portal to a person, and we need to learn as communicators, how to speak to one person on their device at their own pace and in their own space. When I've binged bill, I was bingeing, Billy Graham sermons. The other day, he's gone, he's dead. He's still ministering to me, but it's like, I'm watching it on my phone. And I'm just like, this is speaking to me, you know? And it's, we have to be able to, uh, and I'm going to lay a challenge out here. I think that I've met so many ministry leaders who cannot get vulnerable and cannot get like, authentic about who they are, what they struggle with, what their story has been.

Mike Kim:

And that's the only way that we're going to be able to reach people in the next couple of years and forever because of the technology. Um, there is no trust. People do not trust. They're intrinsically distrustful of authority figures. And, um, what I've seen in a lot of, lot of ministry leaders is, um, and I can say this coming from that space, like are some of the most insecure people I've met. And so they will hide in a shield behind a position or behind scripture, and what people are dying for their congregation, people who are kind of on the fringes of the congregation are just out there on internet. What they're dying for is just a drop of vulnerability, you know? And, um, we've just got to learn how to get real with people like really, really instill lead because the nature of leadership is changing.

Mike Kim:

The nature of all this is changing because it's changed because of technology. You're seeing the bar lower, you know, and I hope that I'm explaining this well, but the fact that I can tweet LeBron James, and he might respond to me that level of access that the general public now has, you know, I can tweet the rock. I can, you know, you know, I can Instagram him and he might respond and I can email my pastor and he won't get back to me for four weeks. Dude, there's a disconnect there, man. And that's not gonna, that's not gonna, it's not gonna float. So we have a responsibility to get healthier, become more secure in who we are, do that deep work so that we can share ourselves and our journeys from a place of healing and health and help others along the way and say, you're not alone. I'm very open about the fact that I got divorced. I can not tell you how many people Christians or non-Christians have said, thanks. I feel like I'm a pastor Ryan, to be honest, I really feel like I do. I am. And I don't get to see everybody in person all the time, but I guess I have an online church and whenever we do events, man, people show up and it's, and it's beautiful. It's beautiful. It's relationship. So, yeah.

Ryan Dunn:

Well, let's, uh, let's close with this, uh, one last question since you issued this challenge to be vulnerable. So it's speaking from coach to client here, uh, how, what might be a first step for that reluctant minister, uh, um, might need to take towards a step towards a vulnerability?

Mike Kim:

Yeah. Um, here's, here's what I would do. I would, I would sit down and just jot down maybe one lesson or principle that you've learned. That's been really significant for you in the last three years, you know, what do you, what have you learned in the last three years that you wish you knew 10 years ago? Or what have you learned in the last three months? You wish you knew three years ago, just jot that down. Right. And it's probably going to be a principal of some sort, right. And then just ask yourself, how did I learn this? And what's going to happen is a story is going to come out. How did I learn a story is going to come out? And then you just tell that story and that that's, that's it, you know, that's it, and it doesn't need to be some tweetable, epic, viral quote lesson.

Mike Kim:

It can simply be, God really, really loves me. He really, really loves me. Well, how'd you learn that Mike, because when I went through all this heartache and all this pain, you know, um, our marriage fell apart. You know, we're still friends, we're still friendly, but it was just so painful. Just everything that happened. I was devastated and I numbed in really unhealthy ways. And, um, I know he loves me because he met me on the side of the sidewalk when I was puking, you know, in the middle of New York city. And see, I can say that. And like, and you share that, like, I've shared that with my audience. I've shared that on my podcast. I've shared that with my Instagram following and people will write me and they will, they will say I cried when I read that. I just wrote my list earlier this week, my email list about how this girl rejected me, because I was super interested in her.

Mike Kim:

And I wrote down the lessons that I learned, and it's just a story. And they're like, wow, this is super vulnerable. Thanks for sharing this with us. And I had a number of people say, we're going to pray for you. You know? And it's just that simple, Ryan, God loves me. How'd you learn that in the last three years? Well, let me tell you something, let me tell you a story, share that story and you'll start to make, uh, you start to take steps forward and you will start to exercise that muscle of self-expression that's, what's so important. We know God's in control. We know God has your life in his hands. We know God's story, but we want to hear God's story in your story and that's not wrong. That's actually a very beautiful thing. Yeah.

Ryan Dunn:

Yeah. And it's needed. Well, Mike, we have our homework. Thanks so much for giving us that on this session. And, um, is Mike kim.com the best way to reach out to you?

Mike Kim:

That is, and if you guys are an Instagram, that's my favorite social media platform. You can just follow me there. MikeKimTV. Um, I actually am giving away the audio book of my book. So if you go to Instagram, see that in the link there, you can grab it. Um, and, um, yeah, pick up the book, follow the podcasts, social media, we'll connect. Um, let me know that you were, you heard us, he heard Ryan and I, and uh, I'll know. And we can talk about some other things here. So yeah. Thanks for having me, man.

Ryan Dunn:

I'm a big fan of Mike Kim's book. So I would definitely recommend checking it out. If you want to check out more sessions of pastoring in the digital parish, I would really appreciate that some good related episodes are becoming a micro famous minister with Matt Johnson and a solo episode I did called your first steps into digital ministry, which is all about cultivating a presence. Online United Methodist communications makes this masterclass in digital ministry possible. Learn [email protected], and that's going to be it for this session. My name is Ryan Dunn. It's been a pleasure putting this together. I've learned tons. Hope you have too.

Peace

 

 

 

On this episode

Mike Kim

Mike Kim is a business coach and marketing strategist who specializes in personal branding, product launch strategies, and copywriting. He’s the author of You Are the Brand, a book that is super-relevant to the future of the pastorate, especially as it relates to digital ministry. Mike regularly speaks at conferences, coaches and hosts the "You Are the Brand" podcast. Check out his website for more.

Ryan Dunn, co-host and producer of the Compass Podcast

Our proctor/host is the Rev. Ryan Dunn, a Minister of Online Engagement for United Methodist Communications. Ryan manages the digital brand presence of Rethink Church, co-hosts and produces the Compass Podcast, manages his personal brand, and obsesses with finding ways to offer new expression of grace.