Dare to Be Different

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Our own church here in Colorado faces a crossroad. What will
define our ministry in the years to come? We’re preparing to design
and move to a new location-a prime spot on a busy highway. The
ministry opportunities are boundless-if we really know who we are
and who God wants us to become.

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We recently worked with a group of thinkers from our
congregation to articulate our church’s personality and explore how
we might best minister in our community. Our process helped us
really understand our strengths and weaknesses, and it helped to
differentiate our ministry from the dozens of other churches around
us. We know we need to be different if we’re to grow and meet unmet
needs.

We discussed how most healthy churches have one or more
signature ministries. These ministries help define them, set them
apart, and enable them to serve certain cross sections of their
communities. After our sometimes surprising process, we emerged
with a fresh vigor for what God’s called our church to be.

 

A DIFFERENT KIND OF MINISTRY

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We also do a lot of thinking about differentiation and signature
ministries here at Group Publishing, the creator of this magazine.
We’ve discovered a number of characteristics that really set us
apart. We pray that these unique characteristics help sharpen us to
best serve you.

We’re driven by our mission. “To encourage Christian growth in
children, youth, and adults.” This simple mission is a chief
motivator of our staff of 250. In fact, James Wood, a nationally
known business consultant, found Group’s clarity of purpose “off
the charts.” He later wrote in The Next Level: “Every manager and
employee at this company shares Thom’s passion for reaching people
through dynamic teaching materials. They are literally out to
transform the concept of Sunday school as we know it and, in the
process, affect millions of lives by making a long-term
impact.”

Church ministry is our only focus. Each of our magazines (Rev.,
Group, and Children’s Ministry) is aimed at church leaders like
you. Each one of our hundreds of book titles is targeted at church
ministry. Our weekly Bible curriculum is tailored to the church.
And our events and Web sites (such as childrensministry.com) are
created especially for church leaders. We love the church! We’re
passionate about helping church leaders change lives!

We don’t fit the mold of a typical publishing company. In fact,
lots of what we do isn’t publishing at all. For example, every
sum-mer we organize dozens of workcamps that involve thousands of
Christian young people and their leaders. They repair needy
families’ homes and stretch their own faith. (See
groupworkcamps.com.) We also conduct ministry workshops in hundreds
of cities in North America every year. In addition, we sponsor
Group’s Ministry Convention, an annual launch pad for ministry
inspiration. (See grouppublishing.com/gmc.)

We listen to you. We know you know your ministry best. So we
work hard to create and fine-tune ministry resources that truly
meet your needs. We pursue your input through extensive research,
advisory groups, one-on-one conversations, stacks of mail, and
emails. We value your input and incorporate it on a daily basis. So
keep it coming!

We’re anchored by our core values. Our entire staff works hard
to uphold our values of Christlike servanthood, authentic learning,
innovation, quality, and people-friendliness. These values don’t
merely reside in a staff handbook. We live by them daily. In fact,
our staff holds our leaders accountable to them all the time.

We’re R.E.A.L. The R.E.A.L. acronym defines our approach to
ministry that’s incorporated

into everything we do. It’s Relational-to allow time for
person-to-person interaction. It’s Experiential-because people
learn by doing. It’s Applicable-to make God’s Word affect people’s
everyday lives. And it’s Learner-based-to make sure we’re
scratching where people itch.

We’re family-owned. The two of us care personally about every
resource and service we provide and about how each one affects your
ministry. We’re not a faceless corporation or an ownerless
bureaucracy. One of our leaders likes to point out that Group is
rare because our founder (Thom) is still actually alive and very
active! And our customers know they can make direct contact with us
and bend our ear.

We tithe. We multiply our ministry by sharing our blessings with
other great ministries. When you purchase from Group, you’re not
only receiving helpful resources, you’re feeding the hungry,
clothing the naked, visiting the imprisoned, and spreading the
gospel to thousands you’ll never meet this side of heaven.

 

BE DIFFERENT TOO

That’s us. What about you? What makes your ministry unique? Can
your church list your differentiators? What are your signature
ministries? What do people in your community say about your
church?

It’s worth devoting some time to define your ministry. We invite
you to be bold, be different, be one of a kind. Discover the very
special role God desires for you. To make a big difference, do
something different.

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