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Dare to Be Different

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.

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.




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 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 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

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.



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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