Highlights from the Going Digital Conference

Last week I spoke at the Going Digital For His Kingdom conference in San Diego California. On the whole I had a great time, met some fantastic people and made some new friendships and connections. In this post I’d like to share a few highlights from the conference.

Before I get into the specifics let me just say this: I loved the people I shared the platform with. I got to know many of them really well (as well as one can in a two or three-day span) and look forward to future collaboration with some of them.

The conference took place in the beautiful chapel of San Diego Christian College and the caterers were fantastic, as was the food.

Throughout the event there were a number of speakers and I can’t talk about them all or about everything of the event. But I do want to highlight some great points.


My new best bud Coy Barker (who’s ministry focus is on Developing Pastor’s & Leader’s of Integrity, Faith and Excellence) delivered the last talk of the event. It was great, pointed and encouraging.

Being in his late 60’s Coy shared how for a long time he had a negative view of Facebook:

“I used to preach against Facebook. You ask, ‘Coy, why would you do that?’ Well, I don’t know. I suppose because I was listening to negative things that some people were telling me about it.”

When Coy said that I thought, “yes, yes, YES!” I encounter a similar attitude all the time in church.

Here’s the thing, many people in church have a negative attitude toward social media that seems to be mostly rooted in four things:

1. hear-say

2. other people’s negativity

3. ignorance (which breeds fear because humans tend to fear what we don’t understand)

4. overemphasis on the negative features

And here was Coy admitting that he was too caught up in some of that (at least the part about being influenced by hear-say and the negativity of other people). It was refreshing to hear how he changed his view and how he has gone forward to impact the lives of so many people on social media.

This reminded me of something Tim Yee said earlier in the day. Tim is the lead pastor of The Bridge at Union Church Los Angeles and he blogs at LAPastor.com. Tim spoke for the opening session. He was funny and engaging and one thing he said relates specifically to what Coy said at the end of the day.

Tim described how, after delivering what he felt was a great sermon, people will come up to him and tell them how much his message impacted them, how much they loved it, how much it resonated with them. Then one person will come up to him and say, “well Pastor Yee, your sermon today was okay.”

Talk about inflating the bubble. And Tim pointed out (as I’m sure all pastor’s can relate) that in so far as he reflects upon people’s reactions to his sermon throughout the week, it’s always that one negative comment that keeps coming to the surface.

He said,

“Which comment do you thing stuck with me throughout the week? The negative one. Negativity is magnetic.”

That’s it. Negativity is magnetic.


Another thing that Coy said that stuck with me was this:

“I don’t understand how light switches work, but I’m not going to sit in the dark until I figure it out. I’m just going to flick the switch on. And I may not understand social media, but I’m not going to sit around in the dark and do nothing until I figure it out. I’m just going to flick the switch on.”

I hear pastor’s and people in church always tell me that they are curious about social media, but they just don’t understand it. Here’s the thing, if my grandfather can jump on Facebook the day before his 80th birthday, anybody can. Don’t wait until you’ve got it all figured out because if you do you’ll be sitting around in the dark.

Don’t be that person. Just flick the switch on.


After my morning lecture came Soorin Backer (not Baker! haha – inside joke). Soorin is an intelligent and gifted women. She’s got a radio ministry, has spoken at women’ conferences and is currently on a missions trip in the Philippines.

I was moved by Soorin’s story of being raised in a patriarchal society, getting an abortion, learning to heal from that, learning to love her husband again and finally landing a radio ministry teaching thousands of people about God’s Kingdom. Her story was relevant to the going digital platform because Soorin is a reluctant leader who has been somewhat hesitant about the digital technology.

Her story will be airing soon on her radio station. So check that out (here).

As a gifted teach Soorin dove deep into the text in the scriptures about how new wine goes into new wineskins. The new wineskin of our generation is Social Media and we are called to have fill it with the trusted message of the Gospel.


When I met Charles Echeverry I felt an immediate connect as we launched into a discussion of our respective ministry focus’. Charles spoken about how Social Media is an amazing tool to reach the Latin American community in the U.S. That was great. I dare say that I enjoyed Charles presentation immensely. He had great slides, was well spoken, backed up his statements with many facts and drove home a wonderful point.

But it was off stage that I really appreciated our connection. Charles is very much interested in live video and how it is transforming social media interaction and ministry. He had returned from VidCon not long before and so live video became our discussion talking point.

This was a great connection because (not to let the cat out of the bag but…) Charles will be joining me as a guest of Gospel Sneeze Academy to talk about how churches and other ministry leaders can use live video (platforms like Periscope) to reach more lives for God’s Kingdom.


The best part of the Going Digital Conference was meeting all of the wonderful people whom I shared a platform with. The speakers. They are great people who gave it their all, were professional and articulate despite a few hiccups of the event itself.

As for my own lecture, I feel it went fairly well too. When I stepped off the platform one of the other speakers exclaimed, “Now that deserved a bigger audience!” Maybe so. But that’s why I have this blog and it’s also why I’m launching Gospel Sneeze Academy. Because there is a big need for our faith community to learn to use social media effectively.

And that’s why these type of events are so essential for today. So I would implore you to find an event like Going Digital – whether you find an online event or a physical one – and go to it. This type of event could be a game changer for your ministry.

And if you can’t find an event near you, then create your own. And if you need someone to come and speak at it, look me up. I just might be available and would love to help!

Visit my speaking page by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Thanks for helping to keep the conversation focused and for being courteous.

  • The church needs conferences, speakers and leaders that can help them share the Gospel message in creative and effective ways to reach the nations. Well done, Derek.

  • Pastor Jason

    Even though it can seem overwhelming it is definitely exciting…good stuff Derek!

    • It can definitely seem overwhelming. That’s why baby steps is so important! Thanks for reading. 🙂

  • Nice summary Derek. Keep up the good work. Mike @reachkeep