Join us for a Hatch-a-thon on February 25-27, 2016 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. Join others who are nursing an entrepreneurial idea for youth ministry or the church in general, and who want to “test drive” the idea to see if it has legs! Register today or see http://www.lakejunaluska.com, for further information as well.
Ask the typical church leader what kind of software they use for managing their database, and, if you don’t get a blank stare, you won’t likely hear kind words.
The typical church is frustrated with its technology. But the anger is almost always misdirected. Here’s what happens:
The Church of St. Normal has a problem. Its records are out of date. People who should be getting communication aren’t. People who have specifically requested not to receive communications are.
Easy solution: The church buys a software program. They believe the software’s promise that it will be do what it says it does. The church makes a one-time purchase, uploads the software, and problem solved, right?
We all know that technology (and life) simply don’t work that way.
Here’s the crazy thing: The software does work. The software does exactly what it said it would do. What the software doesn’t do is actually solve the problem, because the problem, at its core, is not a software problem. What the software doesn’t (and can’t) do is ensure that the essential (non-software) systems are in place to actually solve the problem.
The problem is almost never a software problem. It’s almost always a system problem.
Single-issue, technical solutions almost never solve the deeply entrenched systemic problems that tie up an organization and keep it from tending to its first priorities.
Most non-profits don’t need help with technical fixes. Anyone can buy and install software. They need help knowing how to build the funnel, how to align responsibilities, how to establish accountability protocols. This is the kind of back-room detail work that few non-profit visionaries want to spend time on.
Though software can and often does save immense amounts of time eventually, software that actually solves problems will require a heavy, front-end investment as well as regular maintenance to ensure the software is doing more than simply multiplying inefficiencies.
Bill Gates was right when he said,
The first rule of any technology…is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify inefficiency.
I’ve got a brilliant young friend with a passionate heart for ministry. He got his degree in business, while spending a significant portion of his time as a leader in a ministry to high school students.
When I called him, months before his graduation, to ask whether he’d consider joining the staff of our youth ministry, his immediate answer was, well, less than positive. He had never imagined himself being the “church guy.” He had always seen himself as a business guy who, sure, would always be doing ministry, inside and outside the church, as a volunteer.
He eventually came on our staff, did an incredible job, and now has transitioned to working part time for the church and part time in a business/ministry of his own with a much higher ceiling of opportunity.
I wonder if his track doesn’t give us a hint about what we should be looking for as the church’s future game changers. I wonder if the church will have the wisdom, creativity and flexibility to receive highly gifted folks who refuse to pretend that having a single career is somehow more faithful than multi-careering.
Could it be that the anemia afflicting much of the ministry world has to do has with the fact that so many of its full-time leaders have no life outside their consuming ministry “jobs”? Could we be seeing the toppling of the MIC (Ministerial Industrial Complex), with a new kind of minister finding a third way of ministry between full-time ministry and full-time something else?
Come join us for the 2016 Princeton Youth Forum, April 26-29. See details and registration information below.
Youth ministers were born to dream! The headlines may paint a grim picture for the future of the Church, but youth ministry has long been a place for innovation, entrepreneurship, and vision. It’s time to imagine new ways of being church—to dream big and be open to the work of the Spirit. Where do we go from here? What’s working? What’s not? Where do we find the abundant life of Christ in our lives and communities?
The Princeton Forum on Youth Ministry is for youth ministers who are excited about new possibilities. Come talk with Mark DeVries and Kenda Dean who want to help you develop your new ministry idea through Ministry Incubators. Connect with Marlon Hall and the amazing things happening at the Awakenings Movement. Meet friends old and new. Worship and rejoice. Revitalize your soul.
“Behold! I am making all things new!” Revelation 21:5
Click here for the early bird discounted rate of $319!
My friend and fellow Permissionary at Ministry Incubators, Kenda Dean, asks, “Does the church have to be the place where great ideas go to die?”
Most people have at least one.
- An idea.
- A dream to change the world.
- A brainchild to make the world “more awesome” (thanks Kid President).
But the vast majority of great ideas stay stuck in the heads of their dreamers.
Have had that experience, haven’t you? You come across something in the store or on an infomercial, and you say, “That was MY idea!” But it was an idea that never got out of your head into the world.
That’s sort of why we created the hatchathon experience. You gather with dreamers like you who share one thing in common—an missional entrepreneurial dream, an idea that links a “change the world” mission to a sustainable revenue stream.
One of our clients is a food truck sponsored as a young adult mission of a local church. Another is a “farminary,” essentially a seminary (you guessed it) on a farm.
You may have a dream of a coffee shop as a church, a film company that employs the homeless, or a side business to support a ministry or mission you love.
These are the kinds of ideas we’ve seen in our previous Hatchathons. Our next one is scheduled for just 2 months from now, March 4-6 on the campus of Princeton Seminary. To register, click here. For more information, click here.