A Healthy Digital Ministry Mindset By Wes Ward and Chad Williams

Christian Leadership Alliance

Five Marks of a Healthy Digital Ministry Mindset

By Wes Ward and Chad Williams ~

Your digital footprint isn’t just marketing or advertising. It’s not just fundraising or brand building. While we must do these things, digital is ministry too … and it’s ministry first.

Christian leaders know that digital is central to ministry strategy because digital is central to the way people live today. As we lead ministries digitally, we lead with pastoral hearts and we strive to grow and know the capabilities of technology for ministering to people today.

Here are the five marks of a healthy digital ministry mindset:

It’s outreach.

At its core, digital ministry is about embracing digital as a valuable platform and avenue of ministry. Digital ministry leaders see it as a credible and crucial outreach medium, not as an add-on appendage. They value direct mail, radio and TV, events, resource creation and publishing. They understand that digital is a new transformation, in the line of forbears like the printing press, radio and television. Each medium offers unique ways to create effective content.

Ultimately, they know that digital is more than just a response channel for a direct mail campaign. It’s a place where real ministry is happening. These leaders embrace digital as a robust place for real life-change to occur. In many ways, this has become the front line for their outreach.

It’s relationship.

Many ministries see digital as a one-way communication channel. It’s all about pushing content, marketing stuff, posting sermons online, pleading for donations. A healthy digital ministry mindset sees digital as more. While proclamation of the Word is crucial, digital ministry leaders also purposefully engage in conversation — two-way communication. They engage with real people about content, and invite questions and dialogue. They do this through sites and social and apps. When online, they’re simultaneously proclaiming and “relationshipping.” They’re effective at stimulating conversations about the passions of their core audiences. And they seek organic ways to tie those individuals to the ministry and their mission for them.

It’s integrated.

Digital isn’t just about maintaining websites. It is about integrating throughout the entire organization. Marketing automation can serve marketing and fundraising. CRM can support all communications, marketing, fundraising, financial and operational needs. Social media can offer a way to respond to customer service needs. Project management software can advance operational and ministry production needs. Digital touches every part of a ministry leader’s organization. Getting everything to work together and be integrated breaks down silos, serves constituents and lowers operating costs for organizations. It’s about endless integration to create once, but repurpose everywhere. Beyond the systems and the processes, leaders know that integrated communications is just plain smart.

It’s personalized.

Personalized content is here. It is estimated that 35 percent of Amazon’s sales are due to their personalized recommended resources. Digital ministry leaders love ministering to their constituents in very specific ways. That includes recommending content and activity to each individual user based on their specific needs. It makes for a tighter, warmer ministry. Leaders with a healthy digital ministry mindset love the opportunities technology has created for ministry. Netflix and Amazon may use it for entertainment and business purposes, but these leaders are excited to personalize to make ministry more powerful and effective.

It’s dynamic.

Digital ministry leaders know the landscape of digital is always changing, and always will be changing. It’s inherent to the evolution of technology. While some have the resources to be bleeding edge, they’re content to be leading edge. They don’t fall prey to the allure of trying to keep up with all the possibilities within digital. Their mindset is to pray for the wisdom to know when to adopt (and when to drop) technologies to better serve audiences. They understand that they must make decisions in the digital space quicker than ever before. Leaders with a healthy digital ministry mindset know that they’ve got to keep pace or lose audience and ministry potential.

Digital Ministry Is about multiplying ministry. Though we’ve a long way to go, healthy ministry mindsets are on the rise.

Ultimately, we’re encouraged to see the numbers of Christian leaders with healthy ministry mindsets multiplying and reaching more people for Christ and his kingdom.

Wes Ward is vice president for growth strategies at Five Q. He’s been a media leader at Revive Our Hearts, FamilyLife Today, Moody Radio and KCBI/Dallas.

Chad Williams is CEO of Five Q, helping ministries develop and execute a digital mindset. He has 20 years of digital ministry experience and is a frequent speaker at ministry conferences. To learn more visit.

Today’s post is an excerpt from their article featured in the 2015 Winter edition of Outcomes Magazine.

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