2 comments | Posted: 28 October 10 in Interviews, by Yannick Lyn Fatt
I recently had the opportunity of interviewing Brandon Cox, a Pastor at Saddleback Church, Editor of Fuel Your Blogging and also a Logo and Web Designer and Social Media Strategist. He’s also very passionate about about helping other Pastors to lead healthy churches. It’s with great pleasure that I share this interview with you all and I hope you’ll enjoy learning more about this talented individual.
What led to your decision to become a Pastor? And what have been some of the highs and lows in that area of your life?
When I was a teenager, still in high school, I wanted to go in a couple of different directions – accounting, insurance sales, business management – all with the motive of making money. Then God called me to preach. The testimony of my wife, Angie, the work of the Holy Spirit, and help from the autobiography of W. A. Criswell all worked together to convince me ministry was God’s will for my life.
The high’s would definitely be the individuals and families that I can point back to as “success stories” where I saw God really working in their lives. That would include some repaired marriages, people who developed into leaders, and definitely those who came into a relationship with Christ.
One of my favorite times in ministry was after we had been in Kentucky for a couple of years. We took on the attitude of re-planting Scottsville Road Baptist Church, and as a result had a ton of flexibility. We tried all kinds of things and connected with all kinds of people.
As for the low’s, those have come in times when there has been tension between God’s purpose and our preferences. In other words, my greatest frustrations have always come when evangelism was placed second to “the way we like it.”
You’ve been designing websites for churches since 1998 and freelancing since 2007. How did you get started with Web Design and what do you enjoy about freelancing? What are the drawbacks?
My brother is a full-time web developer. He’s been coding for well over a decade and gave me my first copy of Macromedia Studio (now Adobe). I enjoy the connections I have made with other designers, but also the ability to make something happen with code. At the end of the day, I can see visible results of what I’ve done, which isn’t always the case with ministry to people.
I like freelancing, and for me, there are few disadvantages other than the time away from family, but I work hard to make sure that family comes first.
A few months ago you wrote a blog post titled How You Can Help Me Help Pastors. Firstly, tell us a bit more about Pastors.com for those that have never heard of it. And secondly, how has the response been since your blog post?
Pastors.com is an online community for Pastors. It was launched a little over a decade ago and saw enormous success, but lately has lost some of its community because of its closed-network structure. So we’re completely reshaping the entire site to be much more content-oriented. We want to provide Pastors with helpful resources that they will need in moments when ministry is happening.
I’ve had an overwhelming response from people who want to contribute content. I think this has to do in part with Rick Warren’s obvious love for Pastors, but also with the fact that there isn’t, to my knowledge, another online community any larger that is solely dedicated to helping Pastors.
You are also the Editor of Fuel Your Blogging. How many writers do you currently have and how do you keep your writers motivated and posting regularly?
Fuel Your Blogging has been an amazing journey. We currently have three regular writers, but more that are consistent contributors. We definitely have room for more right now, but I’m picky about the content submitted. We avoid all the “make money online” talk and stick with the artform and industry called blogging.
As for keeping writers motivated, we look for self-starters, but we’re also working on a new editorial calendar that will enable us to throw challenges out there for writers to tackle.
You have a passion for Social Media. Could you share a few tips on how Churches/Ministries can more effectively use social media to communicate their messages online?
The first and biggest message churches need to understand is that social media isn’t new. It’s as old a the hills, literally! Human beings have been networking since the garden of Eden. It’s just that now, technology has afforded us some tools to make it happen across a broader spectrum.
The best way for a church to utilize social media is to be social. That is, be human, be real. Relate to people. Join conversations. Offer resources and then respond to questions in a human voice.
It’s never about how many tweets we send or how many fans we have. It’s about the question, are we connecting people to ourselves and to each other?
I would also throw out the challenge to set your people free. Churches can help their members by offering sermons, videos, and blog posts with the ability to send them out on Twitter or Facebook. In other words, everybody in your church that is involved in a social network should be in your volunteer army of online evangelists.
How do you balance your work as a Pastor at Saddleback, family man, as well as managing all your other web related duties?
Balance is an illusion. Nobody is balanced. Balance is a lifetime process of moving back and forth and we’re never quite on center. What I try to do is make sure God gets my attention very first thing in the morning. My nose needs to be in a printed, leather-bound Bible, not in my Twitter feed. I connect with people throughout the day and do freelance work at night. I always make sure my evenings are not saturated with work. As a family, we watch a show or a movie, eat dinner together, and I try to read a story to my daughter when she goes to bed.
I remember Andy Stanley saying that the most important half hour of the day is that time when we’re putting our kids to bed. So I work in between those things on web-related duties.
Lastly, would you share your testimony of how you came to faith in Christ?
I grew up in a very traditional southern Baptist Church. One summer an evangelist came named James Shutt. He preached the gospel loud and clear… and then louder still! On the final night, he preached about hell and I made the connection between trusting Jesus and my eternal destiny. I knelt by my Pastor and received Christ as my Savior. Life and eternity are different now because of that decision.
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