This week it’s all about the church and technology.

How can the church best leverage Facebook to live out her mission? How can we use the web in unconventional ways? This week, we’ll also tackle a subject most leaders in the church never talk about.

But today, I wanted to give a review of the one web resource every leader needs.

A few weeks ago, a great pastor, leader, and entrepreneur named Brian Beauford approached me about kicking the tires on his start-up called Ministry Library. I had heard of the site previously, and even had encountered a handful of the resources, but was excited to learn more about it and give it an honest assessment. After all, my website is dedicated to helping leaders maximize their ministry impact, and if Ministry Library is doing a great job at working towards this mission, too, I was eager to partner with Brian and the team.

After gaining access to the wide collection of content available from Ministry Library, I can confidently claim this is one web resource every leader needs.

What it is

Ministry Library is a subscription-based website that trains and equips leaders by connecting them with impactful content from ministry-related books. Ministry Library utilizes video summaries, printable guides, and team workshops centered around the books. These tools distill a book’s worth of content into a smaller package so that leaders can gain insight from a new book every week.

ministry_libraryOne of the benefits of Ministry Library is that leaders can go as deep or shallow with a particular book as they want. For example, leaders can start by clicking on a new video to watch and decide fairly quickly if the content is relevant to them. Assuming that you are wowed by the super helpful information found in this book, you can download a printable guide. If you really like it, you can be directed to purchase the book through Amazon. If you found it would be beneficial for your staff, most books also have a companion workshop designed for teams to work through together.

All of this is available to leaders at a crazy cheap price. They have different plans, but their premium plans top out at no more than $12/month. Compared to the price of just one book per month that you may or may not finish, the cost-benefit is a no brainer.

Honestly, this is the best tool I know of that can get a lot of leadership-enhancing content to you in bite-size format. It’s like a Netflix-meets-Spark Notes for church leadership and ministry content.

Drawbacks

Brian asked me to review his site, and he told me frankly not to pull punches. If there was a way to make their business better so they can serve leaders better, he wanted to know.

To be blunt, there aren’t a whole lot of recommendations I can make to improve the site. It is exactly what it bills itself to be. That said, here are three things that could enhance things the content already there:

1- Better Search Function

Right now, as far as I can tell, the only way to find a video is to browse through all the videos or sort by category. Especially as more videos are added, the ability to search for a video by author name, book title, or keywords would be really helpful.

2- Even more interactive workshops

I love that Ministry Library creates companion workshops for their videos (not all of the oldest ones, but all new videos have workshops). However, in the way they are drafted, it feels like they’re walking the fine line between a worksheet and a workshop. Brian and the team have begun incorporating the workshop guides into the videos themselves–which is huge. They need to keep that going and expand it so teams can really maximize the “workshop” feel for team development.

3- Author interaction

I appreciate (as do the authors, I’m sure) that Ministry Library includes author bios and links to purchase the books they summarize. However, Ministry Library could enhance their product even more if they were able to include author interactions. Perhaps this wouldn’t be possible all the time, but if authors would be willing to record a short, podcast-style interview about their book, it would be a great addition to their summaries. Alternatively, Ministry Library could host author tweet-ups around books they’ve recently summarized or some other medium for users to engage with the authors through the Ministry Library outlet. Ministry Library could become the go-to spot online for authors of ministry books to connect with readers and future readers to spread their message.

Why you should subscribe

Here’s where the rubber meets the road. I’ve told you about the website: I’ve told you what it is, and been honest about how it can grow and be better. Now I want to tell you why you should subscribe–not you in the existential sense. I mean you… yes, you.

Here are five quick reasons:

1- Leaders are learners.

The day you claim you’re too busy to learn new things is the day you need to re-evaluate your leadership position. The best leaders are always learning, and they make the time to invest in gaining new knowledge. Ministry Library makes it stupid-easy to be a continual leadership learner. So, subscribe.

2- It helps you sift through what matters.

I’m going to be completely honest. I started and stopped a few videos on this site. I learned pretty quickly which books I’d want to spend more time and money on to read more fully. Ministry Library is far cheaper than buying books you’ll never finish reading or wasting money on books that are completely irrelevant to your ministry situation. Ministry Library will help you narrow down the best resources for you. So, subscribe.

3- You can glean from a variety of books.

Not only can you sift out things that are irrelevant to you, you will find that a lot of books are going to be beneficial for you, just not worth buying. As a result, you’ll glean critical information from a book you probably wouldn’t put on your shelf. You can learn a lot from a variety of books on a variety of topics. This will make you a better leader. So, subscribe.

4- It’s a great way to build up your team.

Because Ministry Library is pouring so much into their workshops, this is a ridiculously inexpensive way to enrich your team. Watching these videos together with the workshop materials (this is critical, otherwise folks will space out) will help your team grow and learn together. Conferences are expensive. Even free online conferences are like drinking out of a fire hydrant. Ministry Library proves to be an excellent resource to build your team at your own pace over time. So, subscribe.

5- You’ll keep current.

Remember when The Purpose Driven Church came out? 1995. If that’s the last church leadership book you read, you’re twenty years behind. When I was working on staff at churches, I would sometimes get asked, “Have you read such and such book?” After hemming and hawing, I’d have to say, “Er… no.” Sometimes I’d never even heard of it. Let’s get real. Ministry is b-u-s-y. You simply don’t have the time to know about what books are coming out, much less read them all. Ministry Library helps you stay current on the ministry books that are coming out. So, subscribe.

Full disclosure, Ministry Library is not paying me to promote their product–nor do I get a commission if you subscribe.

We spoke and felt like we could help one another because we have an alignment in mission: to help leaders maximize their leadership impact. Ministry Library is going to put some of my content in front of their leaders. In turn, I wanted to help show you why this is the one web resource every leader needs.

I believe it fully.

It’s why I created this blog, and why I’m in the business of maximizing leaders and churches.

I believe leaders can be encouraged and equipped through killer content, which is one thing Ministry Library has in spades.

So, subscribe.

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