In this week’s episode I share a look behind the scenes at all the interesting, amazing, and exhausting things going on with XtianNinja Online Ministries.
Hey, everyone. This episode is going to be a little different in that it’s just a quick update with what’s going on with the podcast and channel and all the other Christian Ninja things I’m doing.
I sent a message out on Twitter and the Discord and whatnot letting all you podcast listeners know that I need to take a little break from posting the podcast because there were, like, a million things that I needed to get done for the Twitch channel, website, youtube page and other stuff – and I was getting pretty tired and down – so I knew I needed to pull back a bit to give myself some breathing room.
If you’ve been listening for a while now, you know that I’ve hit pastoral burnout or “ministry burnout” twice in my life – and since that wasn’t very much fun I decided I wouldn’t do that again, so something had to give – and, unfortunately that was the podcast. Which kind of sucks, because the podcast is really my first love, and putting it on the shelf for a few weeks kind of hurts, actually.
Which is probably why I’m doing this update in a little podcast form – it scratches the itch.
Anyway, as I said, this episode is just a little update as to what’s going on with me and to let you in on some of the behind the scenes stuff. I value all of you because so many of you have been with me for so long, and each of you are a big part of what I do – and certainly why I do it.
So, let’s start with the blog and podcast. I’m currently 35 episodes into the new format and it’s gone pretty well. According to my stats, each episode is downloaded about 150 times within the first week that it’s up with most of the newer ones hitting 350 to 600 total downloads. One weird thing is that my views and clicks on the blog peaked in February, but have started to slide over the past few months. The downloads are steady, but visits to the website are down. I’m not sure why that is, except I changed my podast thumbnails at that point to be a little more creative – and a little less click-baity – but maybe something else is happening. I’m going to do some experiments and see if I can bring it back up.
Another issue is that the website has officially run out of file-space and I’m going to have to make a decision soon to either delete a bunch of old posts, move the podcast to another service, or give WordPress $400 dollars per year (instead of $120) so I can get more room. I would much rather keep it on WordPress since it keeps all my files in tact, and it’s I’ve been doing for the past 7 years, so if someone wants to sponsor that upgrade, that’d be super helpful. If you do want to sponsor that, shoot me a text or e-mail.
Now, let’s talk about the video streams on Twitch and the YouTube channel. You probably already received the Ministry Milestones e-mail, so I won’t repeat it here, but the growth on the channel has been steady and extremely exciting to be part of. I’ve hit my goal of 15 subscribers and 150 followers last month, and am hoping to hit 20 subscribers and 200 followers by the end of July. The YouTube channel is growing at the same rate, and I recently hit a 50 subscriber goal, so that’s pretty great. I’ve got a volunteer editor working on some gaming videos, and I’m going to try to spend Saturdays editing some other content on there, some other content on there, so I hope that leads to some more growth. Unfortunately, Twitch and YouTube growth go hand in hand, so I have no choice but to make YouTube videos if I want to build a Twitch audience. It’s a lot of work, but if I can find a good template I hope to be able to put out at least a video per week.
I know these numbers are really small compared to the big, successful streamers, but seeing steady growth is good and I really do anticipate big things in the future once I get a really good rhythm to my streams.
On that note, I’ve been doing a lot of experimentation with the Twitch content. I’ve tried lots of games, conversation starters, bible teaching, graphics packages, and whatnot to give the channel its own unique personality – while also keeping the interests of the people I’m trying to reach.
Let me tell you, it’s been a huge learning curve and I’m still nowhere near settled. But I think I’ve figured out how to kill two birds with one stone with my content creation. What I’ve been doing for a long time is spending time on the Twitch stream from Sunday to Thursday and then concentrating on the podcast on Fridays, but I find myself pretty worn out by then and getting the podcast done ends up taking way more effort than it should.
So, I figure what I’ll do is record each segment of the podcast, during stream, on different days of the week! Do the “Interesting Idea” on Monday, Interesting Article on Tuesday, and Interesting study of Pilgrim’s progress on Wednesday , and then continue my weekly devotional series in Philippians on Thursdays – which will hopefully lead to some interesting discussions and meaningful content for the Twitch channel, and just leave me to assemble the podcast on Fridays instead of scripting and recording and editing it in one day.
The only fear I have there is that it means I need to wake up extra early to actually write what I’m going to say during that segment of each stream. It’s not a huge deal – only a couple pages of writing per segment – but it would still require discipline and energy, right?
As far as needs for the Twitch channel go, honestly, my biggest need is that God would provide me a liveable wage so I can pay my rent and bills. I know for certain God has called me to do this full time, and I’ve already seen some amazing gifts of provision and kindness, but I’m nowhere near an amount that even comes close to what I need – so if you believe in what I’m doing and want to help, sending a monthly gift would really, really help me out. And, if you’d be willing to share what I’m doing with your church and other Christians, that would help too. I spend a LOT of time on this. Way more than full-time hours – and I’m sure that there are some believers out there who will see my passion and drive – see the need I’m filling and amazing work God is already doing – and choose to send financial support. I’ve already had so many opportunities to share the gospel, do pastoral counselling, serve the Christian community, and connect folks together in a meaningful way – and I want to keep doing it more and more, so please consider helping me out.
So that the update on the website, podcast, and twitch channel, so all that’s left is to let you know how I’m doing personally.
Well, if I had to pick three words to describe how I’m doing they would be: Excited, Nervous, and Tired.
I’m excited by all the amazing things God is doing and I’m motivated every day to get out of bed, get on the computer, and do everything I can to serve the people he’s given me to serve.
I’m nervous about the whole thing, because the whole thing is so new and risky. I’ve been working in ministry for a really long time now, but this is the first time God has called me to be this out there. I talk for 4-5 hours per day now, the conversations meander with the chat, and every word is recorded. I meet dozens of people every day. And the whole thing is on my shoulders. I’ve got awesome people helping me, but I’m the face of it, the motivator, the name on the box. And I’ve never enjoyed being the centre of attention. I’m a servant who wants to encourage and elevate others, and God keeps handing me microphones. And doing it by completely raising my own support is utterly bananas. If this wasn’t a God-thing, a divine call that I can feel in my bones, I would be an absolute fool to do things the way I’m doing them. I think I sort of understand how some of the pioneer missionaries must have felt. It’s amazing to see God at work, but sometimes it’s pretty harrowing.
And the third word is that I’m tired. I’m not a young man – and I’m still not really recovered from the trauma of the past few years – so I often feel quite tired. These young youtubers and streamers can stay up 24 hours straight, creating and editing and all that – but, man, I want to go to bed at night! That’s why I’m trying to figure out a good system to use my mornings well and be able to create the content I want to create. Because my body peters out by supper time, and I’m comatose by 9pm! It hasn’t stopped me from staying up until midnight working on it sometimes, but wow, I feel it in the mornings!
So, yeah, thanks for listening. Thanks for your patience. Thank you for your support and prayers and love. And I hope to start pumping out real podcast episodes soon.
God bless and I hope you have an awesome day.