Growing Your Ministry Online

In this episode, Dr. Mikel Del Rosario and Allen Parr discuss growing your ministry online, focusing on using YouTube to help Christians answer frequently asked questions.

About The Table Podcast

The Table is a weekly podcast on topics related to God, Christianity, and cultural engagement brought to you by the Hendricks Center at Dallas Theological Seminary. The show features interviews with guests who are experts on the chosen topic, and each episode is hosted by a member of The Hendricks Center’s team.

Timecodes
00:15
Parr’s call to ministry
03:50
Parr’s journey to ministry on YouTube
09:35
Who do your serve with your ministry?
16:50
How do you remain consistent with content?
21:43
How do you market and generate revenue for your ministry?
29:50
What’s the difference between preaching and uploading a weekly video?
32:17
What’s your advice to grow their online ministry?
36:50
Parr’s Creator for Christ course
Resources

Allen Parr 

https://www.allenparr.com/ 

  

Creators for Christ 

https://www.allenparr.com/cfc 

  

The BEAT – YouTube channel 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCm_RMW_fQk-ELpPYUzor8lw 

  

Apologetics Guy – YouTube Channel 

https://www.youtube.com/apologeticsguy 

Transcript

Speaker 1: 

Welcome to The Table Podcast where we discuss issues of God and culture, brought to you by Dallas Theological Seminary. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Welcome to The Table. We discuss issues of God and culture. I'm Mikel Del Rosario. I'm the cultural engagement manager here at the Hendricks Center at Dallas Theological Seminary. I'm also an adjunct professor teaching in the media arts department now. Teaching a course on digital production for ministry. I mentioned that today because our topic on the show is exactly that. It's growing your ministry with online video. I have a very special guest in studio today who is actually in our class sharing with our students, and he is Allen Parr in the studio today. Allen is a Bible teacher, he's an entrepreneur, and he's the founder of The Beat, which is an amazing YouTube channel that you guys should definitely check out. He's also a fellow ThM grad here from DTS. So good to have you in the studio. Welcome. 

Allen Parr: 

Mikel, so honored to be here. Super we're excited. Anytime I get a chance to come back on campus, I always make a joke and say, "I feel like I'm walking on holy ground every time I come back." And I cherish these moments. So DTS has just played a huge part in my life and my ministry and super glad to be here. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Well, we're so glad to have you here in the studio talking with us about growing a ministry with online video because that is something that you have some expertise in. I think a lot of people listening to this will either already be using online video to some extent. I mean, live streaming your church was almost required. After the pandemic, it's kind of no longer optional to think about doing online video in ministry today. But tell us a little bit about your time just in seminary. What drew you to seminary and how did that kind of prepare you for what you're doing right now? 

Allen Parr: 

Yeah, sure. So I had kind of an unconventional journey to seminary. I graduated in 1998 with a master of electrical engineering. So I was going down the path of being an engineer and I graduated and from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and went off to be an engineer at Ford Motor Company in Detroit, Michigan for a couple of years. And while I was there, I had the opportunity to teach a Bible study. I also had opportunity to preach my first sermon. And it was at that point where I just felt some strong sense of calling that this was what I was supposed to do. I'm supposed to teach the Bible. 

Allen Parr: 

I had never felt anything remotely close to that before in my life. So I had a decision to make. Was I going to just keep chasing the money because the money was good, but I was in a career that I wasn't fulfilled in, I didn't really enjoy it. Didn't have a lot of passion for it? Or was I going to follow this strange calling that I was feeling in my spirit about being a Bible teacher? And it was at that point where I really did have to say, "Okay, God, I'm going to trust you," even though I knew I was going to probably return to being a broke college student all over again. 

Allen Parr: 

I felt like, "God, I just got done with college and being broke and I finally have some money." God, I just felt like he was pressing upon my heart that I needed to prepare myself theologically. So I had a couple of decisions. Was I going to go to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago or Dallas Seminary? And I really honestly chose Dallas for a couple reasons. All the people I was listening to at that time, they always mentioned this place called Dallas Seminary, whether it was Tony Evans or David Jeremiah, Chuck Swindoll, all these people. 

Allen Parr: 

So I said, "What's this place called? I need to find out about this place." So I've ended up enrolling here in 2000, gave up my career as an engineer. It was really one of the best decisions I could have ever made. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Wow. So tell us about your journey to YouTube and being a creator on YouTube because I'm not entirely sure that's on the radar for most people who walk into Dallas Seminary. 

Allen Parr: 

Well, it's funny because yesterday I actually just made a post on Facebook and I was like, "You know what? I thought that I was going to be married at 25 and pastoring a church full time." Instead, I got married when I was 40 and now I create YouTube videos and everybody got a kick out of it. Then I said something like, "We have our plans, but God's plans are always better." And I did. When I came out of seminary, I had the traditional thought that most people do, which is I'm going to either take over an existing church and I'm going to cast this vision as a young minister. I'm going to take over the world. Or I'm going to plant a church. 

Allen Parr: 

And for whatever reason, none of those dreams, none of those things just came to pass. I even tried to get on staff, part-time or I tried to get on staff in a variety of different roles full-time and I kept getting part-time roles at really small churches, which I appreciated. It was great, but I could never really get into full-time ministry for whatever reason. 

Allen Parr: 

So basically, I served and I taught high school math concurrently for about 11 years or so from 2006 until 2017. And in 2014, I was leaving a church that I was on staff part-time for six years. Phenomenal church. Loved every minute of it. But I just felt like it was time to move on. I felt like, God, there was... I felt like I was putting on my heart that there was something more for me to do as it relates to the gift that he had given me and the church I was teaching had a phenomenal opportunity to teach Bible study every Wednesday night, and it was the highlight of my week. 

Allen Parr: 

I did that for four years faithfully and I loved it. It was about 35 to 40 people that came every week, and it was great. I got point where I said, "You know what, Lord is this all I'm going to do? Am I just going to teach a Bible study with a few small people?" I mean, now, looking back, I'm like looking at what God is doing now, it's like, "Wow, I never would've imagined it." 

Allen Parr: 

So I started thinking, man, everything is kind of going digital. Everything is trending in that direction. I wanted to have a place where I could have freedom to use my gift, a platform that I could express myself and a place where I could teach the Bible the way I thought it needed to be taught, and have greater influence than just a smaller church or smaller group of people. 

Allen Parr: 

So I launched a YouTube channel because I saw on YouTube that many people who weren't saved were putting out stuff that just was getting all sorts of hits and all sorts of exposure. I said, "Well, what if Christians could act flood the search bars and the search engines of YouTube with Christian content. It would answer people's questions." 

Allen Parr: 

So I launched a YouTube channel in 2014, started learning about it in 2014, had no idea what I was doing at all and launched my first video, August 17th, 2015. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Wow. Yeah, there's so many different ways we could go with this. We talked about it a little bit in the class that you helped teach with me where we were talking about SEO or search engine optimization as a ministry. There are questions people won't ask their pastor. They won't feel comfortable asking their Christian friend. But they'll type it into Google. They'll type it into YouTube and who are they going to find? Some shady information that's not quite biblical or are they going to find somebody who actually understands what the word is teaching and can share it with clarity. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

So I love how you're doing that. It's real important for creators to know what their niche is. So how would you explain who you're serving and how you serve them? 

Allen Parr: 

Yeah. It's interesting because going to seminary, we come out of here wanting to dig real deep into the Greek and the Hebrew and go deep. I still love doing that whenever I can on the channel and the people really enjoy it. But I feel that I am called to reach two primary groups of people. Those who've been taught false doctrine, so those have been mistaught. And then also those who have not been taught at all. 

Allen Parr: 

Because I was a part of a church when I was in college that was just not theologically sound at all. I didn't really know any better because I wasn't studying the Bible. I didn't know how to break it down. I didn't know how to interpret the Bible. As a result, I got led astray by a lot of false teaching. As we learn here at seminary, wrong interpretation always leads to wrong application if you are interpreting something wrong. 

Allen Parr: 

So that was me. So when God truly showed me that there was a different way to look at things, and I got a theological understanding that a lot of things in this church were just not right, from that point on, I had a heart for people who are being led astray. So a lot of my videos are really dedicated towards helping correct what I would consider false theology as well as training people who have never really been taught anything at all. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Yeah. Taking a look at your channel even just before our interview here, you have millions of views, you have 800,000 subscribers at this point. And the number one video that you have seven of the false teachings that Christians should avoid, that tells you who your audience is. Isn't it? 

Allen Parr: 

Yeah. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

So how would you explain in a nutshell who it is that you serve? Is it Christians who are looking for answers to theological questions or how would you quite explain that? 

Allen Parr: 

It's interesting. I would definitely say that my channel is not evangelistic. 95% of the topics that I do probably are topics that would be of interest to Christians. So I would definitely say I'm really targeting Christians. I would like to think that I'm targeting mature Christians. Right? But the numbers on my videos seem to suggest elsewhere, right? Meaning the types of topics that the majority of my subscribers are interested in are topics that I would say Christians, who may not be as seasoned or as mature would actually be interested in, right? 

Allen Parr: 

So I try to cater towards both, but I lean a little bit more towards trying to reach people like I said who've not been taught or who are just a little bit less mature. How do I do that? I really try to think through what are the biggest pain points that people are dealing with? What are the biggest questions that they are asking? What are the questions that I know that I ask that I've heard in conversation that other people are asking, but I seldom ever hear these topics being discussed in the pulpit. 

Allen Parr: 

I've hardly ever heard sermons preach from these things. So I say, "That's an opportunity right there." And I come out with a video on it and people are like, "Man, I'm so glad that you dealt with that because I've been wondering about that and nobody's given me an answer." I'm like, "Okay, God. That's what you want me to do." 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Yeah. Answering specific questions is a great way to grow your channel. I'm just 12 months into this and getting on YouTube as well and helping with apologetics, helping people answer specific questions that they have about the Christian faith. So I started that channel, Apologetics Guy on YouTube as well. And just everything I've seen from your channel, it helps me learn actually too, like, "What are some different ways that Alan has kind of pivoted?" It's a whole journey, right? You didn't just wake up one day and have your 800,000 subs. Tell us how you got started and what was that journey like? 

Allen Parr: 

Yeah. So I got started in 2014. I can remember trying to publish my first video. I knew it wasn't going to be something that was going to remain on my page. Actually, it took a whole year before I published my first video practicing, learning because I wanted to come out with something that was of high quality. I didn't want to just throw something together. I wanted to learn the platform. I wanted to learn the skill and the art of creating videos. 

Allen Parr: 

So for me, I didn't have any sort of courses or any programs or mentors. It was all learning on the fly, on the job training. I had to learn how to edit my own videos, had to learn how to make thumbnails, had to learn proper audio levels. I had to learn lighting. I mean, I didn't know anything and I'm coming from teaching high school math. So I didn't really know. 

Allen Parr: 

So that journey was, it was fun because now I'm like, "Okay, I know how to do all these things if I need to." But my learning curve was very, very steep at the beginning. But yeah, it's funny. People are always talking about the numbers now and the subscribers and how it's grown. I tell people, I know it's hard to believe, but when I started, I really wasn't concerned about the growth as much. 

Allen Parr: 

Because I was just excited to have a platform where I was finally for the first time in my life free to be able to talk about the things that I felt people needed to hear. I wasn't trying to sell people anything or anything like that. We didn't even have anything to sell. So I think God honored that and people, it really resonated with people. And I think it still is. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Yeah. Well, it's definitely a journey that you've been on and it's a legacy that you're building to your whole archive and your library. People can see how you've grown and where the Lord has taken you. There is something to be said about the metrics and the numbers in terms of when you got that silver play button, that plaque, I'm sure that was a great milestone for you and it was exciting. But what was your life like the next day after that? 

Allen Parr: 

Yeah. Well, it's interesting because I remember getting on YouTube and when I started, I used to see people who had 5,000, 10,000. I had a friend who actually was a few years ahead of me on YouTube at that time and he had 30,000 subscribers. I remember looking at him thinking 30,000. I can't even wrap my mind around that many subscribers. I know you could probably relate to that because I know your channel is getting started and you're probably thinking like 30,000. I'm just trying to get 30,000 views on one video, let alone 30,000 subscribers. 

Allen Parr: 

I just remember feeling overwhelmed like that would never happen. I would never or get there. It's amazing how the growth happened. It wasn't linear by any stretch. It wasn't like, "Oh, 200 one day and then 200 the next day." It was like really flat at first. I mean, very little growth, exponential growth. And then it just took off. It just really started taking off. 

Allen Parr: 

But for me, it's not just about the numbers. It's really about each person. I'll tell you a very quick story that really, I will never forget this is about a year ago. There was a lady that contacted our ministry because she was having some trouble logging into a course or something like that she purchased from us. 

Allen Parr: 

So I got on a Zoom call because none of my people on my team were able to actually figure out how to help her. So she said, "Well, do you know how I found you?" And I said, "No, I don't." She said, "Well, I had two twin daughters, 28 years old and one of my daughters recently just committed suicide, not too long ago." She said, "Everybody told me that I would never see my daughter again because she's going to hell, and this is the unforgivable sin. So I went to YouTube searching for answers. I went to YouTube trying to figure out what was going to happen to my daughter who just committed suicide." So she typed in, "Is suicide, the unforgivable sin?" And she said at the very top of the page, my video popped up and she watched the video. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Wow. 

Allen Parr: 

She was encouraged to know that her daughter was forgiven, that she would see her daughter again in heaven. And then she's been following me ever since. I share that story because I always tell creators, never underestimate the impact that you could have on one person. You don't know when you press publish, and that video goes out, how that video is impacting just one person. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Yeah. What a wonderful story of how that SEO, search engine optimization is actually a ministry. Who are they going to find? Someone who's going to encourage them? Somebody who's going to maybe lead them astray? Who's going to be there? And your work is actually putting your videos up there. So now I think about these milestones and things like that, but I don't see how your channel has really... You didn't become a whole new channel after you got your silver play button. You just kept being faithful and doing the same videos. I'm sure you woke up the same day like I got my PhD, I put the diploma on the wall and the next day I'm still serving students, I'm still teaching and we're just being faithful what God has called us to do. 

Allen Parr: 

Yeah. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Now, maybe you just answered my next question, which is how do you stay consistent when you get, I'm sure, tired, when you get discouraged? Is it stories like that keep you going? Or what is it that keeps you going? 

Allen Parr: 

Well, I'll be honest with you, at the beginning, the first three or four years, I don't ever remember running out of topics. I don't ever remember getting dry and trying to think about what I was going to... It was like a blank canvas for an artist. There was room for everything. Everything was possible. But now, I mean, we've got 570, 580 videos. And just like any pastor who's been pastoring for a long time, you're tempted to start repeating yourself. You start wondering, "Okay, wait, I don't want to preach on that because I just preached on that a few months ago." 

Allen Parr: 

So it's becoming more and more challenging if I'm just being honest right now coming up with the creative topics and things like that. And quite frankly, that's the piece that makes it a little bit more difficult to stay consistent. But the beauty on the other side though is that I now have a team of people. We have 11 people who are on our team now who help us pull this whole thing off and that makes the consistency a lot better because I don't have to edit my own videos anymore. I don't have to do my own thumbnails and things like that. And that's just been a huge blessing. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

How long did it take you to go from you doing all the editing, you doing everything, you're the talent, you're the lighting person, you're editing the audio, all of that to having a team around you to help? 

Allen Parr: 

Yeah. We hired our first... And all of our team right now, they're independent contractors. They're all part-time. I would love one day to hire them full-time. We're praying for support in order to do that. But we've hired our first person who was our video editor, he's not with us anymore. But our first hire was a video editor in 2018 and we only had enough to pay a little bit of money every month. And he graciously did the job well for us. Then we just kind of built on from there. And as the Lord blessed us financially, we saw a need and we brought more and more people on. So I would say three years after I started, it was when we were able to hire the first person. Now, we're seven years in and we've got 11 people. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Wow. So when you do get kind of a block of what topics am I going to do next? What are some next level advanced tactics for finding good topics to make videos about? 

Allen Parr: 

Yeah. So that's a great question. For me, what I try to do all the time is I try to go back to my own videos. I try to look and see what are the videos that resonated with people, right? And that's obviously in the number of views, the number of subscribers that were gained. The number of shares. Did people share this video content out? But also the engagement, right? The comments. Is there good conversation, healthy conversation, respectful conversation going on around this particular topic? 

Allen Parr: 

So when I see that, I'm like, "Okay. How can I maybe come out with a part two or part three or repurpose something that I've done before that will..." Maybe I can say it in a different way. Then another thing that I do that I haven't done as much lately, but I used to do a lot more trending topics, topics that... Things that are going on in our world today and try to bring a real good biblical worldview to what's going on. That's a really great way to grow your channel as well. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Yeah. We both have a mutual friend, Sean Cannell who likes to say, "Success leave clues, so make part twos." 

Allen Parr: 

Oh, I like that. I like that. Yeah. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

So you go back into your library and just see what's been successful and there's always more or a different angle. Here on The Table Podcast, we've been going for 10 years now on this show and finding topics actually is not a problem for us because there's just so many places and spaces that we can go. But we always try to approach things from a variety of different topics or rather a variety of different angles on the same topic. So we might bring a guest in to speak from this angle on this certain topic and another one. So those are really great things to look at. 

Allen Parr: 

And I was going to add to that too, because that's another thing that I forgot to mention is that I have several different buckets that I can draw from. Right? I've got my end times bucket. I've got my reviews of other faiths and other denominations. What do Christian scientists believe? Or what do Seventh Day Adventists believe or something? I also have interviews that we've done. I've done some spoken word. I've done overviews of certain books of the Bible. So we've got all these different... I've got frequently asked questions as probably the biggest bucket of the all, right? 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Yeah. 

Allen Parr: 

Should Christians do this? Should Christians do that? So typically when I do get stuck, I'm always able to go and say, "Okay, which bucket have I not poured into recently?" And kind of go from there. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Yeah. Then you talked about hiring people on your team and obviously that takes money. Talk a little bit about the marketing side of this? How do you generate money for the mission? 

Allen Parr: 

Yeah. There's so many different revenues streams that we can tap into as creators. Let me just go on record and say that we were not in a position until, I would say, about three years ago before we could even consider possibly going full-time. Once again, it's just a matter of, I didn't have any idea. I'm not a salesperson. I'm not a marketer. I'm not a digital marketer. 

Allen Parr: 

I would consider myself pretty savvy at it now, but at the time I didn't know anything about that. So once again, somebody else's journey hopefully wouldn't take five years to get there, but for me it took a long time. So for us, we have online courses that we sell. We've got hermeneutics course. It teaches people how to study the Bible. And if I'm being fully transparent, I just took what I learned in Dr. Howard Hendrick's class and made a course out of it. 

Allen Parr: 

And that's my way of trying to help the world understand proper biblical hermeneutics. So we have a course on that. We have several different courses. We're 501c3. So we're a nonprofit. People can donate. It's amazing. We don't even ask for donations because I never want people to think that I'm a money hungry guy and that's what we're about. I think there is a good way to ask for support, but we don't really do that, but people still give faithfully. 

Allen Parr: 

We have other ways that we seek their support. We also sell merchandise. We also have YouTube ad revenue as well. I've done some consulting and some coaching. There's several different ways that affiliates... I can get other people to market our products to their audience. So there's a lot of different ways you can get some financial support to help the mission move forward. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Yeah. That's one area where I think a lot of Christian creators struggle because for many people we're so passionate about ministry. We're so passionate about doing the work, but we know in the background that the money has to be there for the mission or else we can't do the ministry God's called us to do. So sometimes that can paralyze some people, but there are options out there and ministries like yours are showing how that can be done, tastefully so that you don't appear to be one of these kind of shady internet marketers. 

Allen Parr: 

Yes. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

But yeah, money for the mission. There's a really important thing to be thinking about. Now, how has your channel evolved over the years as you've been discovering your voice? Has that changed? How much has that changed for you? 

Allen Parr: 

Yeah, I would say... Thankfully, I don't know how much... Well, that's not true. I think it's evolved quite a bit because at first, I was primarily putting out content that I was interested in. I wasn't really thinking about the viewer first. What is the content that would resonate first and foremost with the viewer and not Alan Parr and what I wanted to put out. 

Allen Parr: 

So I started focusing a little bit more because at the end of the day, this channel is not for me. Right. I mean, this channel is for the people or I need to create the content that they need and mixed in with what I'm passionate about as well. So that's one thing. But I think it's evolved because we have opened up so many different types of videos that when I first started, we never did. 

Allen Parr: 

We never did interviews. We never did live streams. We never did full 30 to 40 minute overviews of books of the Bible like Book of Revelation in 60 minutes or something like that. So the more we have moved forward, the more different variations, the variety of the videos that we've done. It's been a lot different than just at the beginning where were just answering questions. 

Allen Parr: 

Also, I'd say the videos have gotten a lot longer. The first two years on YouTube, every video was five minutes or less. And that was intentional because we wanted to set ourselves apart from the other Christian YouTubers who might have been taking 30 minutes to answer a question. We wanted our video to be right next to theirs and people would say, "Wait, he can answer the same question in five minutes? I'm going to watch this one. And if I don't get what I need from that one, then I'll watch the longer one." 

Allen Parr: 

So then people started saying, "Hey, we like your stuff. We would love for you to do a little bit longer." And then at that point I just let loose. I was like, "You know what? I'm just going to... However long it takes me to cover a topic thoroughly within reason. This is what I'm going to go. So that's how it's changed. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Wow. So many ways I want to go with that. But there's just a lot of wisdom there to be gleaned from all this time that you've been putting out content. Now, some people listening to this may be considering how to use online video in their ministry and maybe they haven't gotten started yet. What would be some of your top pieces of advice for someone who's considering entering into this space? Like they feel God calling them to begin using online video and getting on YouTube. What would you say to them? 

Allen Parr: 

Yeah, I would say first and foremost, they've got to have clarity. They've got to know who they're trying to reach. They got to know the audience. And that takes time. That isn't something that I would expect somebody to come out the gate knowing. Sometimes honestly, that might take 30 or 40 videos before you realize, "Wow, okay. These are the videos that people seem to be resonating with whenever I put these things out." 

Allen Parr: 

At that point, you want to hone in and say, "Okay, what are these people's pain points? What are the biggest questions that they're asking? What are their interests? Who am I trying to reach? Who am I passionate about reaching and so on and so forth?" And then I would say content, and that's a huge one because you got to make sure that you are creating content that adds value to people. And also focusing more on not just dispensing information, but helping them experience a transformation in their life because that's what resonates with people. 

Allen Parr: 

So the content has to be value added. It has to be searchable content, right? Are you creating content that people are actually looking for out there. If you type that video idea into the search results, is there anyone else in the world that's been done a video on this? So you want to make sure you do that. And also, work on your communication. Right? Make sure that you're engaging, you have energy. You don't just want to talk like this when you get on camera, because people are going to fall sleep and they're going to be bored. But you got to bring it. Right? 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Yeah. 

Allen Parr: 

There's already a barrier between you and the people you're talking to. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

That's right. 

Allen Parr: 

It's the screen. Right? So if you don't have that energy true to yourself, obviously, and your personality. So those are just a few things that I would say. And then the last one would just be commitment because it's easy to get frustrated when you don't see the growth and you're putting in five to 10 hours a week on your videos, and you're not getting the views and things. 

Allen Parr: 

But if I could just show people my first year analytics and how... I had many videos that got 20 views, 24, 40, 45, 100 views. But if I would've stopped then because I'm like, "I've been doing this thing for a year and I can't seem to get any videos that get over 500 views, I quit." I would never be where I'm at now. So you got to be committed to it. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Yeah. You got to play the long game- 

Allen Parr: 

Long game. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

... with YouTube. That's right. Yeah. The influence will come when you serve first and you're thinking of your audience first, right? The influence comes first and then the income will come second. And the influence is really what we're looking at. The impact is what we're looking at. Again, so many ways I want to go with this. 

Allen Parr: 

Let's go, let's go. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

There's so many great, great things we talked about in our class. Talk about how you put together the hook for your video? Because there's a lot of... I just talked about this in class the other day. There's a great difference between preaching on a Sunday morning and putting out a YouTube video. 

Allen Parr: 

Yes. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Within the first five seconds of preaching, no one is going to get up and leave because that's rude. No one is going to do that, but they can click off your video in the first five seconds. So talk to us a little bit about how you open up a video and what goes through your mind as you're scripting that? 

Allen Parr: 

Yeah. I've got to give the viewer a real concrete reason for why they should give me 10 to 12 minutes of their time. If I don't do that, and I just start rambling on saying, "Hey, guys. This is Allen here. I just wanted to talk to you guys today. Today has been a rough day for me." There's a place for that type of video, but most of my videos start off with, "Hey, in this video, we're going to talk about whether Christians should or should not be stealing services like Netflix, and Hulu, and Disney Plus using online streaming devices. Or is it okay to do all those things? We're going to talk about that today." Right? 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Mm-hmm (affirmative). 

Allen Parr: 

So now people are wondering, okay, what is his perspective on this? Right? You have to get people's attention within the first 15 to 20 seconds of the video. That's a key metric for triggering the YouTube algorithm is watch time, keeping them engaged on a 10-minute video. Can you keep them watching for six or seven minutes? Right? And that's going to increase the reach of that video. So I try to think about a statistic or something that's going to be alarming or a key question, or something that's trending going on. Today, we're going to talk about this, that, and the other. Right? And something that's going to really hold their attention. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Yeah. When the pandemic first started most of us thought, "We'll stay indoors for two weeks and it'll all be good. Right?" But churches started putting out little devotional videos. I don't know how many churches I've seen where the pastors were putting out little devotional videos, short little things. And nobody was really equipped to do that. And the skills, some of them are transferable, but you don't just move your Sunday sermon on to a YouTube or a YouTube short, a TikTok, Instagram Reel. It's a whole different way of communication. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

So I think that's one area where a lot of ministers need to grow and just watch people who are successful and who are able to bring the word in a different venue. What about for somebody who is already on YouTube and they've been at this for a little while and they want to grow, what are some of your next level tactics for helping people get the word out about their channel and grow their channel? 

Allen Parr: 

Yeah. I would probably encourage them to take a look at what are the videos that have done well. Because every channel has a few videos. If you have 30 or 40 videos up, every channel has a few videos that are already performing well. So you want to look and say... I would say, the best advice I would say would be to pay attention to your analytics, look at them on a regular basis, try to continue to learn how to... Essentially... Okay. So let me put it this way. So let's just say there's different things that trigger the algorithm. 

Allen Parr: 

So the first thing is what we call the CTR or the click through rate, right? And that is out of a hundred people who may see your thumbnail and your title, how many of those people out of 100 are going to choose out of all the videos that are on their homepage or in the search results or whatever, how many of them are going to choose to click on it? Right? 

Allen Parr: 

So if I'm only getting 2% of the people to click on it, then that means I've got to find a way to make my title and my thumbnail more appealing to get more people to click. So now, let's just start saying I do that. I really work hard on having my thumbnails and titles. So I start to see my videos getting five or 6% click through rate. Then I need to look in to the next metric, which is watch time. So if I have a 10-minute video, are people watching that video for one minute, two minutes or five minutes or seven minutes or eight minutes. Maybe you get eight minutes. That's amazing. Right? 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Yeah. 

Allen Parr: 

So if they're watching it for a long period of time and I'm getting a high click through rate, then bad video is going soar no matter what. But if I'm only getting them to watch for a minute and 30 seconds, then now the problem is not my title or my thumbnail wasn't good, now the problem is, I've got to figure out my scripting of my video. How did I script it? How did I write it? Because I might see a big drop off. After 90 seconds, people are dropping off. I'm not able to keep their attention. Right? 

Allen Parr: 

So those are just a few things that I would look at. And then the third aspect that I would say is if you can get those two things working. You can get people to click, get people to watch. The next level is how can I get people to watch more of my content, right? 

Allen Parr: 

How can I get them to start Netflixing my content and binge watching my content so that they don't just watch one, they watch another, and another. And that's where we get into playlists, and series, and video. And mentioning one video, during one video and all the different tactics. There's a million tactics out there to get somebody after they watch this video and say, "Hey, if you just watch this video on the Book of Revelation for 60 minutes, you're to love this video right here below on the mark of the beast. Click that." 

Allen Parr: 

And next thing you know, "Oh, he's got a view on the mark of the beast? Oh, he's got a view on the antichrist. Whoa, okay." And they just start binging and that triggers the algorithm. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

That's awesome. For those who don't know a little bit of insider language, there's a lot of technical insider language here. But the word, thumbnail just so people know is it's not the nail on your actual thumb, but it's a picture that people click on YouTube, kind of like on Netflix. And we can actually learn a lot from Netflix in terms of the thumbnails that they use on there. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

So do you find that certain thumbnails with your face making a very... You have the most expressive thumbnail faces. Do you find some of those really are helpful if your face is on there versus not? What have you found to that? 

Allen Parr: 

Yeah. The ones that I have a facial expression on typically do better, but I also don't have much to compare it to because I've always had my thumbnails where I've had a face on it. So I don't really have too much to compare it to. But it also has to make sure that the person making the face is genuine. They're not just making some like... If that's not really you, then be genuine and true to who you are. But the thumbnails have to really captivate people. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Yeah. And for those listening on audio, Allen just made the face like, "Oh my gosh." 

Allen Parr: 

Exactly. Yeah. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

There's probably a name for that like the YouTube surprise face or something like that. 

Allen Parr: 

Every YouTuber has one where they put on their thumbnail image. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Yeah. Now, you mentioned earlier how you didn't have a guide or a course to help you out when you started. You had to learn everything the hard way from scripting to lighting, cameras, lenses. All this stuff. But you've actually put together some resources to help people. You mentioned briefly some courses that you have available for those who want to get into this space. Tell us a little bit about the courses that are available. 

Allen Parr: 

Yeah. I'm not sure when this is going to air, but we actually have a program coming up here soon where I'm going to be doing a 12-week discipleship through... Well, it's not really discipleship. It's a 12-week cohort program. It's coaching program. It's a group coaching program where I'm going to be taking 25 to 30 people through. And it's just every week we work on one new thing about YouTube growth. It's like a hands on, or you have assignments to do each week. It's for people who are really serious about fast tracking and getting results and not just... Well, I'll just go get your course and I'll figure it out on my own. It's like, "No, in 12 weeks, we're going to cover this week one, this week two, this week three." 

Allen Parr: 

And they get a chance to be on a call with me for 90 minutes a week. So that's called the Creators For Christ Elite program. But for those who are not able to do that or maybe they miss the deadline, we have an online course that people can do. It's a self-paced course. It's called Creators For Christ. And we really created it because we really want to help Christian creators reach the world for Christ. So if people are interested in, they can find out. I'm sure in the show notes would be a link or something, but they can go to my website, allenparr.com/CFC, which is short for Creators For Christ and they can learn all about the course there. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

That's awesome. Well, is there anything else you want to share with our audience throughout getting online or growing your ministry with YouTube? 

Allen Parr: 

Yeah, I would say it's not a... I want to make sure that people don't think that being online doesn't have to, nor should it replace your offline ministry. It shouldn't replace you volunteering at church and serving at church. It shouldn't replace you speaking if you're a public speaker and you're a minister. I see it as just another tool that can be used particularly in the world today because everything is digital. I mean, the pandemic taught us that, right? 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Yeah. 

Allen Parr: 

So we were reminded of that. I would also say this. If someone is really serious about trying to reach this next generation, a lot of them are not going to church. A lot of them are not... They're finding their information out on Google, on Instagram, TikTok. That's where they're hanging out. So if we want to reach them, we can't just sit around and say, "Well, we hope that they're going to come to our church or join our youth group." It's like, "Okay. Hey, how can we reach out and meet them where they are." And they are online. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

I have a Gen Z kid of my own and the number one way we get into spiritual conversations is memes. He'll just say, "Hey dad, look at this. What do you think about that? What do we say about this?" Sadly, a lot of people get their theology from memes, but actually these are conversation starters that we can actually engage with people on. But yeah, it's all over social media. While we're talking about that, throw out your socials so that people can continue the conversation with you on social media. 

Allen Parr: 

Sure thing. So I can be reached on Instagram @allengparr. So A-L-L-E-N-G-P-A-R-R. Same thing on Facebook, facebook.com/allengparr. And then YouTube is youtube.com/thebeatagp. AGP are my initials. So people can find me there as well. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

Awesome. Well, if you want to continue the conversation with Allen, please hit him up on social media. If you want to talk with me some more about this, you can at me on Twitter @ApologeticsGuy. I'm also Apologetics Guy on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Allen, such a pleasure having you today. Thank you for being on the show. 

Allen Parr: 

Ah, Mikel, thank you so much. It's been an honor. Anything I can do to help the seminary and serve the people here, I'd be more than honored to do. Appreciate you having me on. 

Mikel Del Rosario: 

You're so welcome. And we thank you so much for joining us today here on The Table as well. If you've enjoyed this conversation, would you please do us a favor and review or drop a comment on this show. It really helps people find out more about our show on Apple Podcasts or Google, or wherever you happen to be listening to this or consuming this content. I'm Mikel Del Rosario and we hope that we'll see you again on The Table where we discuss issues of God and culture. 

Speaker 1: 

Thanks for listening to The Table Podcast. Dallas Theological Seminary. Teach Truth. Love Well. 

Allen Parr
Allen G. Parr Jr. is a licensed and ordained minister who has taught the Bible for 25 years. In 2004, Allen graduated from DTS with a ThM degree with an emphasis on Pastoral Leadership. He is also a certified instructor for Walk Thru the Bible. Allen is the founder of The Beat, an online Bible teaching ministry that publishes videos that reach thousands of weekly viewers worldwide. He authored two e-books and hosts a blog on his website allenparr.com. Allen has a passion for helping people discover the joy of studying the Bible. He also feels called to equip and inspire other Christian content creators to utilize digital ministry to fulfill the Great Commission. Allen currently resides in McKinney and is happily married to his beautiful wife Jennifer. He is the proud father of their daughter Anaiah and their son Micah. In his spare time, Allen enjoys a good round of gold, a competitive game of chess and loves to play racquetball. 
Mikel Del Rosario
Mikel Del Rosario (ThM, 2016; PhD, 2022) is Associate Professor of Bible and Theology at Moody Bible Institute. While at DTS, he served as project manager for cultural engagement at the Hendricks Center, producing and hosting The Table podcast. You can find him online at ApologeticsGuy.com, the Apologetics Guy YouTube channel, and The Apologetics Guy Show podcast.
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Allen Parr
Mikel Del Rosario
Details
March 8, 2022
faith and work, ministry
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