How you can use software strategies in your ministry

Behind the Church: How you can use Salesforce’s strategies to reach more people. Marc Benioff founded Salesforce, the first-ever Software-as-a-Service company in 1999. Here's how you can borrow his growth playbook for your church.

Chris Holland
June 2, 2021
Kids Ministry Leadership

Marc Benioff founded Salesforce, the first ever Software-as-a-Service company in 1999. Since then Salesforce has risen to a $220B market cap, donated over $240 million to nonprofits, and employs over 13,000 people. In Benioff's book, Behind the Cloud, he outlines strategic plays that were instrumental to the company's success. After these plays came up in partner conversations, we compiled a list with examples on how they can help in your Ministry.


Build street teams


MC Hammer is a surprisingly good source of business advice. Our CEO Grant Glas met Hammer at an event and Hammer gave Grant a life changing book recommendation (The Hard Thing About Hard Things).


But Playlister is not the only company to benefit from conversations with the creator of U Can’t Touch This- Benioff is a friend of Hammer’s and incorporated his advice into their marketing plan. MC Hammer is known for building street teams in cities when hyping up an album. Ben Gowell, executive pastor at Christ’s Church of the Valley, uses a similar strategy in community engagement:


"The neighborhood groups are the backbone of our committed attendees. Our neighborhood groups are always looking for people who are new in your area, who may have moved recently — just paying attention to your neighborhood and what's going on. Even if it's simple as meeting those people or dropping off a gift for them, just really being actively welcoming of new people, we're always trying to encourage our neighborhood groups to have an eye open for that, because new people are moving in all the time. Often they don't have a connection point, they're looking for somebody to connect with and it's a great open door."


It’s essential to go outside of your church and meet people where they are- and street teams are the way to do this.


Work only on what is important


You’ve got a lot on your plate as a Ministry leader. How do you prioritize your tasks between low impact and high impact?



A lot of things are important for ministry. Some things can be outsourced (like investing in Orange curriculum) and some things can only be accomplished by you (only you can personally talk to people at your church).


Your top ministry priority should be to invest your time in things that you do that have the most impact.


This is important because you don’t want to spend energy on things that don’t make a big difference (compared to the amount of work they take). The Kids Ministry team at Prairie Lakes Church was able to save hours of clock time by using the same mission slide at each campus instead of creating six different location-specific mission slides. 

Here’s what Rob, their Kids Ministry Director, had to say about picking the right things to focus on:

“Obviously, you and your team will need to determine which things should be streamlined and what should be kept specialized. This may require a few deep conversations, but in the end it is important to pick a plan and rally everyone behind it.“It’s important to disagree and commit. Picking the best path for your entire ministry is something that your whole team needs to be supportive of once the decision is made.”


‍Your time is valuable and can generate different results based on how it is spent.


Party with a purpose


Family events, VBS, even a great worship service give your church members a chance to party and praise simultaneously. It’s important to give parents family events that they won’t forget. Tish Streigel from Hill City Church has the following tips about family events:

“Family events are a great way to Minister to the whole family. But churches tend to do too many events- which makes them less impactful. Our event strategy can be summed up in 3 words: quality over quantity. We [Hill City Church] go big on one or two events per year. These events should be scheduled when most of your families can participate, so nobody gets left out.”

Let your website be a sales rep


How would you “sell” a new person on visiting your church? If you had 10 seconds to tell them something- what would you say?


Is your answer to the last question communicated clearly on your website?


Your website is the only evangelist for your church working 24/7. It’s not just something to put sermon videos on- you need to be measuring how well it turns new site visitors into new church visitors.

The Belonging Co is a solid example of a good website


Bobby Ikebudu, the Director of Church Engagement at Orange, has an entire guide for churches looking to improve their site. Here are his top tips:

  • Start with positioning
  • Show fellowship
  • Have a team that represents the Kingdom
  • Have a call to action
  • Keeping them engaged with Ministry software


Use internet models to reduce startup costs


Hearing the phrase “internet models'' really takes one back to 2009 when Behind the Cloud was published- but the implications are the same- technology has decreased the price of total cost to make Ministry happen. Northview Church was going to set up ProPresenter when they were opening a new campus, but decided to use Playlister instead. Here’s what Julie B, Northview’s Kids Ministry director, said about the transition:


“Playlister has helped our organization work smarter- it's easy to use, classrooms require less technology, classrooms require fewer volunteers for large groups, you don't need the internet to play your playlists, and it costs less than what we were doing previously.”


No sacred cows


Change is not easy, especially when you have to quit doing something that you have always done another way. But there’s no room for sacred cows when you’ve validated an option that will work better.


Jeremy O’Neill, a Kids Director who has experience in many thriving Ministries, has a system for dealing with holy livestock:


“It’s not always easy making changes in ministry. There are other people to work with; things are not budgeted for, approval needs to be granted for projects. You can start on change by putting things in two buckets: pain to fix now or opportunities for later.”

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