The Healthy Church Staff Podcast

How Google's Layoff of 30,000 Employees May Affect Your Church

January 29, 2024 Todd Rhoades Season 1 Episode 16
The Healthy Church Staff Podcast
How Google's Layoff of 30,000 Employees May Affect Your Church
Show Notes Transcript

Could your church be on the brink of a transformation as monumental as the industrial revolution? I'm Todd Rhoades, and on the Healthy Church Staff Podcast, we're unpacking the radical shifts in church culture and operations, sparked by the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence. This episode is a must-listen for church leaders and staff who are grappling with the implications of Google's recent layoff announcement favoring AI. We're peeling back the layers of change, from our worship practices to our very mission strategies, to reveal how your church can stay relevant in an age where adaptability isn't just a buzzword—it's a survival tactic.

Join me in a thought-provoking conversation about the journey of the church over the last 25 years and the even more dynamic road ahead. We no longer live in a time where church doors are the gateway to our spiritual lives—thanks to COVID-19, we've seen that community can extend beyond the four walls of a building. As we ponder a future where Sunday services might not be the epicenter of church activity, it's time to ask ourselves: how can we foster a culture of innovation to embrace the potential of AI without losing the heart of our ministry? Tune in for insights on navigating this challenging yet exciting terrain, keeping your church not just afloat but sailing ahead in these fast-changing times.

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Speaker 0:

Hi there, welcome to the Healthy Church Staff Podcast. My name is Todd Rhodes and I'm one of the co-founders. Over at chemistrystaffingcom we start a brand new week. Monday is always interesting, unpacking what happened over the weekend. We always say at chemistrystaffingcom, monday is our busiest day. For people that decide that on Monday morning it's time. Maybe I should start looking for a different job. We get a lot of resumes on Mondays, but I hope your Monday is going well so far.

Speaker 0:

Today we're going to talk about a decision that Google made here in the last month or so and how that might affect your church in the future. So here's the deal Google has with everything that's happened in the past year, particularly in the areas of artificial intelligence. They have decided to lay off about 30,000 employees and replace them with AI. Okay, that's a little scary. We've been hearing news headlines for the past year about how AI is going to appell, append to everything and things are going to be just different. We're already starting to see it. But how does that affect the church? It's going to have some implications. I think AI is going to have some implications on work and education and society and the church overall, and it's something really that we can't stick our head in the sand about. We have to be aware of what's going on and how this might affect the church. So here's from Google's perspective. Here's what's happening there. They are trying to be adaptive and flexible. They're invested in research and development and culture a culture of innovation and experimentation, and that tends to utilize AI really well. So what does this mean for the church? We also have to be adaptive and reflective and we need to see how not just AI I'm not talking just about AI but just about how things are changing in culture and how this relates to practical missional reasons for changes in our churches. And, in particular, how will this affect your church? It's going to affect your church in the future and here's why I say that, if I look back at what the church was like 25 years ago, we do not do the same things today as churches.

Speaker 0:

Many churches do not do the same things that we did 25 years ago. For example, when I grew up, we had you were at church every time that the door was open, which usually meant Sunday mornings. We still do Sunday mornings, sunday nights. A lot of churches do not do Sunday nights, wednesday nights. They usually had Bible study and prayer meeting Every Wednesday night you went. A lot of churches don't do that anymore For me. I grew up independent Baptist. You were hardcore man.

Speaker 0:

Before Wednesday night, bible study and prayer reading you had visitation where you would show up and you would go. People actually did this, believe it or not, 25 years ago. Some still do, I'm sure. But you go out for an hour and you knock on doors the visitor cards from people that may have come on Sunday and you go out and you physically knock on their door, not to a cost them or anything, but just to thank them for coming and to let them know that they're valued. Culture has changed. You can't do that anymore. Some places in our country if you go and knock on somebody's door you're going to be greeted with a gun. You just never know.

Speaker 0:

So I mean there are a lot of things that we've done 25 years ago that we don't do today. Our worship style has tremendously changed in 25 years in many of our churches. Covid has taught us to rely less on physical buildings and physical gatherings. It's taught us to depend, maybe, on paid staff and clergy in different ways, and one of the things that and those, all these things are going to change. See, what I'm trying to say is that they've changed in the past 25 years, but what's the next 25 years going to be like? Things are going to continue to change. For example, before COVID, everything was butts and bucks right how many people attend a church on Sunday morning and what are the offerings? And COVID has taught us that buildings aren't nearly as important as maybe we thought they were. And maybe 25 years from now, your church may not be meeting, may not have one major gathering in one physical location on Sunday morning at 11 am. Who knows? But the church is constantly changing. The current church is constantly trying to be adaptive and flexible. Not on theology those things should never change. There should be some things in the church that never change but in the way that we do things, in the way that we deal with people. Do we go out and knock on doors? Do we send them an email? Those kind of things change all the time and they will continue to change more and more in the next 25 years.

Speaker 0:

More churches will use online or hybrid models. They'll empower and equip their lay people and volunteers in many different ways than what they do now. They'll collaborate and they'll show the resources and responsibilities in different ways than they do now. They'll be humble and respectful in their posture in their communities, but that's going to look different in 25 years than what it does now. The church has to demonstrate authenticity. They have to be a pillar of integrity, of compassion and justice, as we've seen in the last five years here in our country, compassion and justice looks totally different today than it did five years ago.

Speaker 0:

So what do we do? What do we do? We need to identify and prioritize non-essentials and essentials. Like Google, we have to constantly try to be relevant and important. But we need to define our criteria and our principles Biblical, mission-all, communal those things all need to stay the same. But the core practices and doctrines, those don't change. But the way that you carry out your mission and your vision, those things will have to change. If you don't, you're going to end up being in a world of hurt in 25 years.

Speaker 0:

And we talk all the time about the number of churches that are closing. A lot of the churches that are closing is because they're still operating like they did 25 years ago and they've never had any flex in their mission. Those are some things. Hopefully that isn't too long of a stretch for you from where Google is at, constantly trying to innovate, and how things change and how the church needs to continue to change Not on theological essentials at all, but in the way that we reach people and in the way that we conduct our everyday ministry. Alright, I hope that's helpful. Tomorrow, we're going to be talking about something totally different. We're talking about predictions and change. Tomorrow, we're going to talk about four predictions for your church finances in 2024. You won't want to miss it. If you're not already subscribed to the Healthy Church Staff podcast, go ahead and subscribe now and I will talk to you tomorrow.