Thanks for joining me at my breakout session all about using the tool of digital discipleship effectively! Below you’ll find a copy of the notes for the breakout plus links to the free downloads I mentioned. Have more questions? Email me at

Digital Discipleship is the latest tool in our ministry toolbox, and when wielded correctly, it can help us build more effective and efficient ministries. In this breakout, we define digital discipleship, help you explore where digital discipleship fits into your ministry strategy, and share digital tools that help make your life easier as a children’s ministry leader.

5 Truths About Tools:

  • Tools are designed to help us improve, to do something better or more efficiently.
  • We control the tools to do our bidding; the tools don’t control us.
  • We have to use the tool – and use it correctly – to see results.
  • Tools can be used for harm AND for good.
  • Tools require skills and a possible learning curve, but they can be learned.

Defining Digital Discipleship

The Tool of Digital Discipleship

First, take a deep breath. You’re probably already using the tool of digital discipleship more than you think, and wielding this tool won’t require you to reinvent the wheel. Rather than ADDING to the responsibilities on your plate as a ministry leader, digital discipleship just shifts HOW you complete those responsibilities. It’s like switching from a screwdriver to a drill. Both accomplish the same goal. One accomplishes the goal much more efficiently and effectively, even if there’s a learning curve.

Discipleship in the broader sense is the process of guiding someone into a deeper, more vibrant relationship with Jesus through teaching, encouragement, and personal connection. It’s applying [Biblical] content to people’s lives in a way that leads to continual transformation.”

Discipleship in children’s ministry means partnering with parents in that continual process of growing kids deeper in their relationship with Jesus. We may have more hand motions in our worship songs and glitter in our supply closets, but the goal of discipleship remains the same.

2 Peter 3:18 says, “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever!” Discipling kids means helping them grow deeper in their relationship with and understanding of Christ and cheering them on as they go serve others in His name, for His glory. We want kids to know Jesus, understand their place in His story, and want to follow His example of a life of servitude. Our strategy, plans, and efforts in children’s ministry radiate from this desire to make disciples of the next generation. But if we want to stay relevant to this next generation of kids and families, then the way we deliver the message of the gospel must include technology and a digital approach.

Digital discipleship, then, is the process of making disciples through digital methods. Notice that the end goal, making disciples, doesn’t change. But the method for doing so adopts a digital influence. The digital world offers children’s ministry leaders another tool we can use to share the gospel. The way we communicate and teach the message of the gospel must be updated to reach the generation of kids we now serve.

When I say digital discipleship, I don’t just mean live streaming your children’s ministry service or using downloadable curriculum. And I’m not advocating that you hit play on a Bible story video and call it a Sunday. A digital children’s ministry like a YouTube channel or weekly Zoom meetings might be part of your overall digital discipleship strategy, but they aren’t discipleship strategies in and of themselves. And digital discipleship looks different from church to church.

A digital approach to children’s ministry involves intentionally using technology to enhance and improve a variety of areas within your ministry, from administrative tasks no one ever sees to communication with families to teaching Bible lessons on Sunday mornings.

When Jesus invited his disciples to follow Him, he told them: “Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people” (Mark 4:19). Digital discipleship doesn’t replace the church or replace the necessity of in-person relationships. It’s not reeling in the fishing lines you have already cast out (your building, your in-person programs, etc.). It’s throwing out another fishing line, giving you another tool, and increasing your opportunities to connect with kids and families.

The tool’s weaknesses, realities, and potentials in children’s ministry:

  • Weaknesses
    • Obsession with it/being consumed by it
    • Cost 
    • Time it takes to learn something new 
    • It can break (Like when it’s Sunday morning and the projector won’t turn on or propresenter freezes.)
    • Can diminish face-to-face interactions
  • Realities
    • It’s where people spend their time.
    • It’s what this generation knows.
    • It’s not going anywhere.
  • Potentials
    • Can make us more effective and efficient leaders.
    • Provides opportunities like never before.
    • New connections.
    • More engaging teaching and communication

Digital Discipleship in My Ministry

When you think about using the tool of digital discipleship in your ministry, ask yourself:

  1. How are you already using the tool of digital discipleship? (What are we already doing?) – Identify a key area of your ministry and make a note of how you’re using technology and the digital world there. Some areas to consider include the teaching experience, administration, volunteers, communicating with parents, and social media.
  2. What areas of your ministry may be improved or strengthened by adding elements of digital discipleship? (What more could we do?) – Dream about how you can use technology or the digital world to make those areas in your ministry more efficient.

As you consider using the tool of digital discipleship effectively, adopt two key traits:

  1. Exponential adaptability – We need exponential adaptability to help us continually adjust to new conditions for the sake of the gospel and the next generation. This allows for creativity to try new things and experiment. We can’t just cover our ears and plow forward as we always have, hoping the digital world will just go away.
  2. Acute discernment – But we also need acute discernment to determine which elements of these new conditions are effective rather than allow ourselves to get caught up in the latest release. Adopting both open adaptability and focused discernment will allow us to minister to our digital world more effectively.

Questions for discernment when exploring new tools: (DOWNLOAD A PDF VERSION HERE!)

  • Purpose and Alignment:
    • Does the tool align with the overall goals and mission of our children’s ministry?
    • How does this tool specifically support our ministry’s mission, goals, and values?
    • How does this tool make my ministry more efficient and/or effective?
  • Ease of Use:
    • Is the tool user-friendly, especially for volunteers and leaders who may not be tech-savvy?
    • Does the tool require training, and if so, how will we provide that training?
  • Engagement and Interactivity:
    • Does the tool enhance children’s engagement and interactivity in learning and activities?
    • Can the tool be customized to suit different age groups within our ministry?
  • Safety and Privacy:
    • How does the tool handle data privacy and security, especially considering that it involves children?
    • Are there any potential risks or concerns related to online safety that need to be addressed?
    • Do we have policies and procedures in place to maintain safety and security while using this tool? If not, what policies and procedures do we need to create?
  • Integration with Existing Systems:
    • Can the tool integrate seamlessly with our existing systems, such as attendance tracking or communication platforms?
    • How well does it complement our current curriculum and teaching methods?
  • Cost and Budget:
    • What is the total cost of ownership, including any subscription fees, maintenance costs, and potential future upgrades?
    • Does the tool provide good value for the investment in terms of its features and benefits?
  • Feedback and Reviews:
    • Are my leadership team and other staff members on board with this change?
    • What do other children’s ministries or organizations say about their experiences with this tool?
    • Are there any reviews or testimonials available that speak to the tool’s effectiveness in a similar context?
  • Scalability:
    • Can the tool grow with our ministry, accommodating an increasing number of children or expanding program offerings?
    • How easily can the tool be scaled up or down based on our changing needs?
  • Long-Term Viability:
    • Are there any indications that the tool might become obsolete or face significant changes in the near future?

Digital Tools to Explore

My favorite digital tools for ministry include:

  • Canva (for graphics)
  • Automating and scheduling emails (for communication)
  • Asana (digital to-do list/project management)
  • Later (for scheduling social media posts) 
  • Libby and Audible (for reading, learning, and leadership development)
  • Planning Center (for volunteer coordination) 
  • Slack (for team and volunteer communication) 
  • Toggl (for tracking my time) 
  • Propresenter (as a presentation software)
  • Google Drive (file storage and sharing) 

Other practical tools to explore: 

This is a short list for a quick reference, but check out the full PDF list here that includes a more robust list!

  • Church Management Software (ChMS):
    • Examples: Planning Center, Church Community Builder, Elvanto
    • Functionality: Membership management, event planning, volunteer coordination, communication.
  • Presentation Software:
    • Examples: ProPresenter, MediaShout, EasyWorship
    • Functionality: Creating and displaying multimedia presentations, worship lyrics, and announcements.
  • Online Giving Platforms:
    • Examples:, Planning Center Giving, Pushpay
    • Functionality: Facilitating secure online donations and managing giving records.
  • Communication and Collaboration Tools:
    • Examples: Slack, Microsoft Teams, Trello
    • Functionality: Streamlining communication, coordinating volunteers, and managing projects.
  • Social Media Management:
    • Examples: Hootsuite, Buffer, Later
    • Functionality: Scheduling posts, managing multiple social media accounts, and analyzing engagement.
  • Streaming Platforms:
    • Examples: YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook Live
    • Functionality: Broadcasting live events, services, and creating an online presence.
  • Bible Study and Curriculum Resources:
    • Examples: YouVersion Bible App, RightNow Media, Open Network
    • Functionality: Access to a variety of Bible translations, study plans, and curriculum resources.
  • Virtual Meeting Platforms:
    • Examples: Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet
    • Functionality: Facilitating virtual meetings, Bible studies, and online gatherings.
  • Children’s Ministry/Family Apps:
    • Examples: Bible App for Kids, Superbook Kids Bible, Guardians of Ancora
    • Functionality: Interactive and age-appropriate content for children, families, or parents to use at home.
  • Email Marketing:
    • Examples: Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Sendinblue
    • Functionality: Sending newsletters, event updates, and targeted communications.
  • Online Survey Tools:
    • Examples: SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, Typeform
    • Functionality: Gathering feedback, conducting surveys, and assessing the needs of the congregation.
  • Security and Child Check-In:
    • Examples: KidCheck, Secure Children Check-In, ChurchSuite
    • Functionality: Ensuring the safety of children through secure check-in systems and volunteer background checks.


ACTION STEP: Choose 1 digital tool to explore and consider implementing in your ministry. And if the digital world intimidates you, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Be empowered and encouraged to wield this new tool effectively and efficiently!

Want to dive deeper into the world of digital discipleship and how to integrate it into your ministry?

This breakout session was inspired by my research and interviews for Time to Update, a practical book for kidmin leaders all about how to integrate digital discipleship into your children’s ministry strategy. Learn more here.