Backyard Chickens and Phygital Ministry

June 2020. My family entered the world of backyard chicken raising. Yes, we were a part of that 758% jump in Amazon searches for baby chick supplies.[1] But it has been so worth it. Look at the picture, chickens have such a cuddly, warm—well, they have personality anyway.[2] And now, we are enjoying the most expensive eggs we have ever consumed.

I am guessing that few churches have pivoted into backyard chicken raising over the course of 2020. Probably for good reasons. However, there has been a tremendous shift into phygital ministry. I love the word phygital (thank you SDB Director John Pethtel for introducing me to this word). Phygital refers to bringing together the physical world of onsite ministry with the digital world of technology based, online ministry. Phygital captures this hybrid world that we are living in where there are elements of onsite gathering alongside online ministry engagement. In many ways, 2020 has forced many of us to embrace opportunities through digital ministry that have been low hanging fruit on the tree for some time.

Yet, perhaps at this point you are even experiencing phygital fatigue–emotionally and physically tired of seeking out ways to innovate and adapt to meet ongoing changes in our ministry context. We are seeing the price of living in a phygital ministry world.

Maintaining dynamic and interactive engagement in digital ministry is difficult at best. How many people who started watching sermons or participating in Zoom Bible Studies back in March/April are still engaged?

Navigating the guidelines of our own specific contexts to provide appropriate onsite ministry is challenging and costly. How difficult is it to have an honest conversation in your church about appropriate guidelines for gathered worship and study over the upcoming weeks?

Phygital Ministry might not be the gift most of would have asked for. Yet, this gift is not going away any time soon (just like our backyard chickens). There is a need to intentionally engage in conversations about pursuing God’s call for ministry over the weeks ahead. This is the sort of conversation and discussion that the SDB Pulse process invites and encourages. If you are looking for a catalyst to revitalize church ministry in this phygital world, I would encourage you to find out more details surrounding Pulse by contacting SDB Director of Church Development John Pethtel at

Grace and peace,

Carl Greene, Executive Director, SDB General Conference of USA and Canada


[2] Photo courtesy of Sam Greene.

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