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The New Ministry Essentials: A Sample

This is a sample of our weekly e-newsletter, The New Ministry Essentials: 52+ insights in 2022 from the latest in the world of innovation.


12.27.2021 – LOS ANGELES, CA

The other day, I came upon a key quote for ministry as I was reading up on How Shopify Outfoxed Amazon to Become the Everywhere Store (Bloomberg):

Amazon celebrates the almighty customer. Shopify, on the other hand, has a romantic view of the [seller or entrepreneur].


The more I think about it, the more I see that the basic dynamic for local church membership has been a lot more like Amazon than like Shopify:

  • (Buy, or) Learn about God in community. Then,
  • Evaluate (or give a review of) the Pastor and programs (5 stars, for you, always).

In other words:

  • Come and participate. Then,
  • Become a leader and have an opinion about things.

I know that this is an oversimplification, sorry – my point, in general, is that the orientation of ministry is typically around membership as like a stake that people hold of the ministry itself.

What often results for ministry leaders are:

  • a chase for congregational satisfaction of pastoral performance and programs
  • a loss of focus on the needs and wants of those outside of membership


However, if ministry were to be more like Shopify, the orientation would be more like:

  • “Member-as-Maker (or Creator).” Not so much,
  • “Member-as-Customer (or Stakeholder)”

This brings us to our Ministry Essential for today:

Any ministry in the digital-first era must clearly state how it helps people make, create, or achieve their need or desire.

The temptation for 99.999% of local churches is to focus on identity and belonging through community (and membership).

There is nothing morally or theologically wrong with that, but look – here’s a quick test:

  • Think of the top 5 websites or apps that you use (and/or pay for)
  • Ask yourself, “How many of those do you patron because you feel like you belong to their community or values?”

I am almost certain that it does not go beyond half of your top 5 (which technically is 2.5, but you get what I mean).

Here’s why:

  • People today identify with a mission (as in, an idea), and
  • People want brands and/or organizations to belong to them (not always the other way around)


So, let’s say we gave it a try – this whole Maker / Creator / Achiever thing. What would ministry be like?

Well, here’s a few possibilities:

  • Social Media – Posting media and messages that demonstrate how the ministry understands what people are going for in life.
  • Community Engagement – Initiatives that neither give everything away nor take things from people, but that allow people to use as an asset for their life goals.
  • Sundays – Narratives about people who were able to discern what were the ultimate things to make, create, and/or achieve in and through life.

Finally, some might disagree, object, and be wanting to tell me, “Well, hold on, James. That sounds pretty self-serving and selfish for people to want everything else to be about them. What about giving and serving and such?”

  • To that, I would say, “Yes! Actually, funny enough, that’s exactly how people outside of the Church see the Church: self-serving and selfish, demanding of people their whole life’s devotion as if the Church itself were God.”

And, if you are interested in discerning more along these lines, take a look below at our January 2022 assembly.

James from PASTORIA
Head of Platform

This is a sample of our weekly e-newsletter, The New Ministry Essentials: 52+ insights in 2022 from the latest in the world of innovation.