This week on The Ministry Growth Show we are joined by Brian Dowd, Co-Managing Partner of the Sacramento Chapter of The Barnabas Group. Brian shares his thoughts and insights on ministry leadership and development and how The Barnabas Group is helping ministries innovate.
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Welcome back to the ministry Growth show today on the show, I'm going to be talking with brian Dowd, he's the co managing partner of the Sacramento chapter of the barbies group, brian. Thanks for being on the show.
Yeah, Zach, I'm really glad to be here. Thanks for having me. So, can you tell us a little bit about the bombers group and uh, and how you guys got started working in the ministry space and give us a little background behind all that.
Sure. The original chapter of the Barnabas group goes back probably 21 years at this point in Orange County. And so I was just a young guy who walked into it as a, as a guest back in the early days about 20 years ago and it was his room filled with people who I could tell have been successful in business and had huge hearts for ministry.
And the whole point of the part of this group is business people helping ministries solve the business problems with ministry. I had had a previous experience working in a church, you know, so I had some, you know, I knew some things about ministry and certainly had a heart for that myself, but it was this room of people who I really respected and wanted to emulate and be with and participate in helping these ministries to.
So it's a great place for me to be. So that was 20 years ago. Um fast forward to two years ago when we got the opportunity to start the chapter, a chapter here in Sacramento. Uh, and um, and we did it.
So our two year anniversary is coming up next quarter. Um, and looking forward to that. Um, joiner is that that's how I yeah, that's how I got involved, Jack. And so are you guys focusing on the church space or the para church space or both? How do, how do you differentiate in there in that space? Yeah, so maybe, uh, let me kind of back up a little bit and describe the Barnabas group, you know, kind of what it is in a sense to answer that a little bit better.
So the Barnabas group is a little bit like the television show Shark tank, with two twists in the Tv show shark tank. You have entrepreneurs coming to these wealthy investors, you know famous, you know ultra successful investors and they say you know here's where we're at, we need your money to get to the next level and we'll give you some equity, we'll give you stock, you know what, we'll give you ownership as an investor to help us do that.
So that's what the Tv show is and you know it's it's fun and exciting to watch the show and there's some drama involved in all that. But the really savvy entrepreneurs who come onto the T. V. Show shark tank some of them actually don't even need money, they'll ask for the money but the real thing they want is one of the sharks to help them out.
It's the relationship and so they want someone like Mark Cuban to be an advisor or to make some introductions or to give him a shout out on social media and that's what's going to be the breakthrough for them.
Every entrepreneur on the Tv show needs capital needs funding just like every ministry does right? But what they really what the big breakthrough is is on the relationship. So the barn of his group kind of takes that model and applies it to ministries.
So twist number one is, we don't work with entrepreneurs, we work with ministries twist. Number two ministries cannot ask for money. All that we have to offer is the relationship. And so we talk about that relationship in terms of time, talent and touch, touch being your network and so a ministry will come to the Barnabas group and say we've got this big question.
If we knew the answer to this, it would be a breakthrough for us. And then the Barnabas group is made up of people from the business community who have a heart for the kingdom who say, hey, I can help with that.
And so, for example, there might be a ministry that's located in, you know, one specific spot and they've been successful and they're effective and there established and they say, but we want to open up a second spot at another in another part of the end of the county.
You know, a couple towns over, I don't know how to find the right piece of property. We don't know how to get it zoned properly with the city. We don't know how to begin a project like that, were really good with our recovery ministry are homeless ministry or whatever the ministry might be, but we don't know how to get a, you know, how to get a second location and so in our network of Barnabas partners, you know, we'll often either have someone or people who have that experience from their own business or they know someone who does.
And so we're able to bring that experience and expertise to bear to help think through those challenges that the ministries are facing. So you asked a moment ago, zack, you know, who do we focus on churches or ministries? The ministries that we find were best able to serve their para church organisations.
They're independent nonprofit ministries. We work exclusively with executive directors or CeoS. Usually those ministries are, you know, $5 million you have a $5 million budget or less, if you're bigger than that, you know, the world vision's or the compassion, you know, they have their own internal resources or they have the means to get external resources to do those, you know, $5 million or less, or even a little bigger.
But if they don't have those kinds of resources, that's where the Barnabas group can step in and offer those things. And we kind of see ourselves as pro bono consultants of sort of sorts, um you know, helping and and ultimately what we want to do from my standpoint in the Barnabas group uh is help business leaders engage with the work of God on the front lines in ways that they wouldn't otherwise get to, because that's where they get to experience God.
They get to grow in their walk with God. So many of our partners, you know, they don't need another sermon or retreat or educational christian education experience, but man, when they're able to get exposed to what God is doing out on the front lines, whether it's local or around the world, that's where they see God in a new way.
That's when they're able to grow. That's where they experienced the joy of kingdom engagement and that's really what we're trying to facilitate right there. Mhm. So so these these partners these entrepreneurs that are part of the Barnard's group offering that their guidance to the ministries that come in for help, they aren't necessarily offering up consulting for these ministries but relationship opportunities and and like connecting to people that do know the answers to the questions or are they offering consulting as well in this process? Yeah.
So they wouldn't describe, so our partners would not describe themselves as consultants. I would describe that as kind of the function that they perform. But you know there you know like a C. P. A. Or you know a commercial realtor or you know someone who is running an engineering firm, I mean they have day jobs doing the work of their business or whatever their profession might be there.
They don't describe themselves as consultants there. You know, they're busy doing their profession, there were business and then what and then what the Barnabas group is creates the process, the mechanism for that.
And so as I described, the ministry will identify a big question. If we knew the answer to this would be a breakthrough, They present their ministry and that big question to an audience and we usually have about 50 people in a room uh to to respond to that.
And so they'll say, here's a big question. By the way, we'll have to ministries do that, present to an audience of 50 after the two ministries present what they're doing, they kind of go off into a different corner of the room.
And so our audience says, hey, I want to learn more about what you're doing with orphans or I want to go learn more about what this ministry is doing with urban evangelism. Okay, Like, you know, depending on what the ministry is, what the interest is, then there's some kind of, you know, conversations and clarifying questions and so forth.
And then after that, the Barnabas partners are given the opportunity to have a follow up meeting, we call it an ideation session. Uh two weeks later, there will be a two hour, you know, problem solving meeting.
Um that happens trying to solve the problem. So our partners partners will give ideas will IDee eight if you will, uh possible solutions. And a lot of the ideas are like terrible and the ideas are good and worth keeping.
And so, you know, the executive director gets to say, hey, I like what I'm hearing or not, but here's, here's one idea I'm going to run with, I'm going to try to do something with this and then, and then we'll actually schedule a follow up meeting after that six weeks later, um to say, you know, hey, we want to be a sounding board, how did it go? You know, can we help further? So that's the mechanism, the presentation of the big question, the ideation of a small self selected group to try to problem solve and then a follow up meeting after that, that's the mechanism of how it works.
But again, from my standpoint, what we want to see is our Barnabas partners who don't normally get to see, you know, the front line work of God and the ways that ministry leaders do and ministries themselves actually form relationships that go well beyond, you know, that, you know, that process that happens in the Barnabas group and so maybe they become a board member, Maybe they help in an ongoing way, maybe they just become friends.
Um, and that, you know, relationship, it all comes down to relationship and for our business, you know, the business leaders in our community, they want to be able to offer their gifts, skills, experience, you know, what they have, and usually that's kind of executive level thinking.
There's not that many ministry leaders who are, you know, I mean, nobody is, nobody is ready to kind of open the kimono and say, hey, take a deep look at our strengths, weaknesses and warts. That's, that's not easy to come by.
But the Barnabas group kind of has a, you know, a credibility factor that helps accelerate relationship forming in that way to allow executive leaders of ministry and business to come together in a way that's much faster than would otherwise happen through the normal invitation to volunteer invitation to donate.
You know, that that's kind of the starting point for most ministries and it takes a while to, you know, be able to have more um, strategic decision, uh, decisions with consequence kinds of conversations and so was able to get there a lot faster, which serves everyone much, much better.
So how often do you guys see ministries coming in or or your partner's see like, hey, this ministry is asking the wrong question, Like is that interaction? Do you guys find that that that is a long enough interaction to be able to determine whether or not the ministry is even asking the wrong question in that presentation? Yeah, So the part that I didn't describe a moment ago is all the work that goes in before the presentation.
And so there's a vetting process prior to selecting a ministry, then there's uh, you know, there's a pretty good application that includes a swat analysis, um, trying to identify priorities, trying to, you know, surface what the right big question is.
And um, and we've got a team of, you know, Barnabas partners who go through that and that work right there. Actually, the preparation is really valuable helping the ministry helping any organization, but helping the ministry through a swat analysis identify the most pressing issue.
How do you get clarity on what that is? Because the right question makes all the difference in the world with the kind of answer or solution you're going to come? So yeah, we put quite a bit of effort into getting that right question before the question is asked to a larger audience.
Okay, so you guys are helping guide that process before they ever even come to the group with a question? That's right, awesome. Um have you guys always functioned under the this current model and strategy or has that been like a progression as you guys have grown as an organization yourself? Yeah, it's been a progression.
Um you know, we're still uh innovating and doing new and different things. The process that you know, I've been describing here is, you know, our latest uh latest version of of what we do. Um Yeah, we used to just have ministries come and describe what they do and ask for help and that, you know, some people would respond to that and a lot of people wouldn't.
And then you were saying, how do we get more people further engage, more deeply engaged to add more value? And so that led to follow up opportunities and then that led to sharpening of what happens in those follow up opportunities and so on and so forth.
So, yeah, it's a, uh, an ongoing effort. And we want to, you know, add as much value as possible to the ministries and to, um, you know, are part of his partners. Yeah, so as you guys have grown water, um, and, and maybe shifted in those strategies and and progressed in that model, What are some of the challenges that you've, that you've run into, um, having maybe specifically business people advise and not consult? I don't want to use that word because that's not necessarily what you guys do, but like advise in the nonprofit space.
Are there some barriers or challenges that you find in that? You know, I mean, there is, um, nonprofit dynamics are different from, uh, for profit business dynamics, fundraising. Um, you know, fundraising is important.
It's essential for a ministry. And, you know, you could use the language of marketing, um, to do that, which is, you know, that's accurate, but, you know, the term marketing means something different to a ministry than it does to a business.
Um, sales is a word that has a lot of relevance in business. And, you know, you wouldn't talk about that in terms of, uh, ministry. I mean, you know, you talk about fundraising, you talk about donor development, you talk about those kinds of things.
Um, and so there's, there are kind of translations that happened. For instance, businesses use the word profitability, ministries use the word sustainability in my view, you know, it's just the same, same intent, uh, you know, but you kind of got to know some of the nuances along those lines.
Um, but for the most part, um, you know, where we do an okay job of, of bridging that gap. The biggest challenge is that, you know, that we encounter in the Barnabas group, trying to help ministries are no different from what happens in business either.
And it's, you know, they don't scream working in the business and working on the business or working in the ministry are working on the ministry. If you've got an executive director who spend all their time, just making sure that the ministry is being done, that's very different than working on, how do you expand the capacity of the ministry? Or how do you make sure your people are being developed and cared for? Or how do you make sure that your donors are being cared for as well? That's working on the ministry? And that's always hard to come by.
It doesn't matter what your project is. I mean, whether you're a parent, you know, making sure your kids working in the family or working on the family, you know, what are the things we need to get our kids to be thinking about differently than just getting them to school, get their shoes tied, getting them reels and Vietnam Fed, you know, in the business versus on the business is always a challenge.
And every ministry, just like every business is, uh, strained, um, you know, in every way. And so, getting that space to think more deeply to have conversations that are outside of the, you know, what's, what's required to do by the end of the day today, That's always a challenge.
Um, and we see that repeatedly, but like I said, that's no different from, you know, a business environment. Yeah, man, that kind of sparks a, a idea. I thought in my mind, I just watched a Ted talk by a guy named dan Pelota.
He was talking about the way we do charity is the title of the Ted talk is the way we do charity is dead wrong. And he was talking about how, uh, across the sector we cannot get, We can't seem to get beyond the 2% giving mark, that's globally and, and this mindset that we have in the ministry space.
Um, and the mindset that we have coming from donors, the expectation that there's no money spent on overhead, There's no money spent on marketing. Uh, we're not going to pay our people well because we want because of like frugality, because this is ministry and it's different than the business world.
And his argument is like, what if we thought about ministry and we thought about the nonprofit sector in the way we think about the for profit sector and that we're pursuing innovation and research and development and spending money on new ideas even though they may fail.
And what if we were to pay our people well? Like we play them well in the for profit sector and what that could have, what could happen if we started treating the nonprofit sector like the for profit sector.
And so I like that you guys have this this mindset of bringing business minded entrepreneur people who have those type of mentalities and mindsets with their businesses and applying there how they think about innovation and growth and scalability to the nonprofit space.
I think that that is so important. And there could be some really significant growth in the ministry sector if we stopped worrying about not spending on overhead, like the fact that There's this marketing model that 100% of your funds go to the field and we've got some billionaire that's providing for our overhead, like most ministries don't have that.
And so that marketing model, although it's a great model and it works really well. Um kind of it, I think, yeah, if you've got it, I think it hurts the ministry space. I think it I think it does more damage across the nonprofit sector as a whole and and only serves to help those few that do have something like that, a situation like that.
So, um, I love what you guys are doing, trying to, trying to shift the mindset and how we think about the nonprofit sector and um, and be okay spending on overhead and spending on innovation and spending on research and development, spending not just money, but like, time and thought and brain power on what are some things that we could do differently.
Two allow our ministries are non profits to be more successful to be more effective because at the end of the day, you could what his argument in this ted talk is is like, yeah you can be frugal and you can make 100 bucks, you could you could be really few frugal in your fundraising event and make 100 bucks.
Or you could spend A ton of money on marketing and make 10 x on your profit for that for that same event. And nobody is going to be mad if you come away with 10 X profits. But to get there you have to spend on overhead, you have to spend on marketing.
Um like that. Just the logic behind that it makes sense but the nonprofit sector doesn't function in that way. It's just this really weird uh kind of interesting kind of sad scenario that we were functioning in.
And how do we, how do we move outside of that and away from that model? And I think that you guys are doing some really cool stuff to shift that mindset. Yeah, Zach, you're hitting on something that I get kind of passionate about.
I mean, the role of an executive director or anyone in ministry is a steward stewardship is what it's about. And and if you're talking about stewardship, you go to the parable of the talents, you know what jesus talked about in the parable of the talents return on investment, He gave you something and he wants more value out of it than what he gave you.
That's that's the parable talent right there, stewardship with return on investment. So everything you just said, Zach, you know, plays into that, and that's not the way that the donor community or even most of the ministry community thinks R.
O. I if you want return on investment, research and development is really important. Yeah, innovation is really important, you know, and you think differently about what you're given the resources you have, what's, you know, here's 100 bucks that, you know, we were just given, how are you going to get the most value out of this? 100 bucks actually putting it all towards production, you know, whatever the program is of the ministry, that's, that gets $100 worth of value.
But if you're going to say, hey, $150 worth of value, how do I do that? Probably an alliance with someone else, Probably a way to multiply it somehow. And so it does open up a different kind of thinking.
So in my experience, you know, the larger donor community, the larger nonprofit community, the larger church community, it doesn't think in those stewardship return on investments parable of the talents way, but the business community does.
And so the business community very much wants to invest in leaders because if a leader, let's say a leader, you know, improves their performance somehow by, let's just say 10%. Actually that has a massive downstream effect for everybody that's being led, like on staff and then everybody that that staff touches, that's a big R.
O. I. But you know, who is least likely to invest in themselves. It's those executive directors, it's really hard for them to say I'm going to, you know, go on vacation or I'm going to go on a personal retreat or some sort of training or development thing, you know, where I could learn how to be a better leader.
You know, that, that's a mindset that is prevalent and anyone, I'm kind of overstating it to make a point. Um, but there's something to that and you know, business leaders are very much into return on investment, every decision, any business leader and this is true for a lot of ministries to, you know, it's like, hey, am I going to, you know, where's the R.
O. I in this decision? Whether it's time or money or relationship? You know, R. O. I. So it's such an important piece here. And yeah, I mean I go, I banged the parable Italians drum over and over again.
Um, jesus cares about R. O. I. That's, that's the point right there. Mm. Yeah. And, and so I think that segues into my next question pretty well. We've talked about the challenges that we run into in this, in the nonprofit space and the barriers that exist, that mindset shift that needs to take place.
What are some of the opportunities that you guys have seen that have come out of business people and entrepreneurs advising and working with the nonprofit sector and offering their guidance and help. And maybe, I mean we've touched on it a little bit, but maybe there are some of the stories that have of how that has impacted and been effective in helping ministries and non profits grow um and be more effective in what they do.
Yeah, let me answer that with the story that's been really inspiring to me, but not from the Barnabas group that I think is relevant and you know is you know, helpful. Um hopefully people get inspired by this way I have been um Okay going back in time, it was the year 2000 and Amsterdam 2000 occurred basically Billy Graham, the Billy Graham Association got together all of the leading mission agencies of the world And at Amsterdam 2000.
Um, Bruce Wilkinson was the M. C. And one of the things that they did is they said, hey we've got all these unreached people groups And they had a list of them and I'm not sure if it was the first time in history, a list like that was presented.
But you know, it was never meaningfully engaged the way it was here. Here's a list and there's something like, you know, 300, un engaged unreached people groups at that time. You know, it was something like population minimum to make the list and so forth.
There's more than that. But, but at the time that's what they were looking at. And so um, Bruce Wilkinson basically kind of has an altar call for all these ministry leaders, um, saying, you know, hey, if, if we're not even targeting all these groups, we're not doing our job.
You know, let's, let's pray, let's pray and then come and commit to go after, uh, these groups. You know, each organization here, you know, what your part in that, you know, one group to group, what, what, what group is that going to be, etcetera.
So anyways, um, you know, there's pretty dramatic altar call and you know, everyone's excited and people kind of, you know, uh, committing to different groups. Well, they got halfway through the list of people groups and then pretty much everybody was spent, half the list was remaining.
Well, there is one table and it's kind of famous and it was table number 71. Imagine this huge haul and all these tables and they're numbered and it was why, why am and crew that were left there? Uh you know at this one table and they lean over and whisper to one another.
What if together we take the rest? And this murmur started happening at the table and all these people started gathering there thinking about what would it mean to take on between two organizations? 150 unengaged, unreached people groups.
What if we did that? Well, they did. They made that assertion. We're going to do that. And it was kind of like this, you know, JFK go to the moon experience, right? You know, uh President Kennedy said, we're gonna we're gonna put somebody on the moon.
We've never even put a human being into orbit and we're going to do it within the next 10 years. I mean it had never been done. And by the way, when that happened, you know, the leader of Nasa came back to the President said, we can't do that.
The President's response was, okay, I'm gonna start looking for someone who tells me we can. The Nasa leader changed his tune and said, okay, I'll get serious about it. It worked right. We got to the moon.
So, So, coming out of this table 71 says, all right. You know, we have to think totally differently than anything we've ever done um, on a different scale. If we're gonna do this, what needs to happen.
So, one of the first things they did was they went to the National christian Foundation, you know, that, uh, you know, is the vehicle for so many christian donors, philanthropic giving. And so they went to NCF and said, hey, we're gonna need a lot of money for this.
And the reply from NCF was, you need more than money. You need access to the thinking of the people who have the money. That's why they have the money. You need the, um, business resources, the business thinking.
You need the way of thinking about process and product and outcomes for, you know, that you're going to find attached to our donors. So you don't just need the money that the business community has. You need the thinking, the relationships, wow, okay.
That was kind of a breakthrough thought. And then what came out of that was something called the car initiative where a bunch of business leaders did get behind this and they said, OK, we're going to create the car initiative and what that is.
It's, it's an organization with the intention of providing accurate information to the Church, uh, with the latest information, we're going gather research and give accurate information on the state of fulfilling the great Commission.
You know, getting into, you know, uh, all un engaged unreached people groups. So I got to go to the very first is the car summit. Um, I forget how long ago, maybe 10 years ago and all these business leaders were, they're hearing from, you know, the leaders of um, you know, the global Great Commission community talking about accurate information where we're at what it's going to take and that day, um, all these business leaders are hearing that and um, you know, men, women, but primarily from business.
Uh there was a call out for funding for it And $2 billion dollars got pledged at that first is a car summit because of the way that uh there was this, you know, ambitious God lead, you know, claim by table 71 say we're going to go after it.
This car initiative came and business people saying, okay, we have to get the right accurate information to the right people who can make the biggest difference. Uh, $2 billion got pledged and that was over like 10 years.
I'm not sure how much of that two billion has been released or not. Um, but nonetheless, it was pretty mind blowing at the time. Um, but anyways, the idea that, you know, coming to the NCF asking for money and being told what you really need is this way of thinking to get there.
Um, and then it resulted in, you know, a snowball effect has been really great. And, you know, at this point, I don't think the car initiative, uh, standing alone, it's kind of been folded into finishing the task.
Um, you know, different, you know, different group. Uh, you know, basically that's how that's being done in, you know, man, great, great work is being done, you know, bringing the Great Commission of fulfillment as we speak.
And that was one of the things going way back to Amsterdam 2000 do you think the movement in the nonprofit sector towards partnership kind of got spurred out of that conversation as well. Ministry, the ministry partnership.
Absolutely. That, I mean, I think that's happening in lots of places. I think that's part of our world, our world is flattening and so there's a lot more opportunities to partner into ally and everything.
But in my view, I'm not, not that I'm an expert on this stuff, but that was, that was an opportunity where there is this God led moment to say, let's do something so much bigger than anything we've ever done before.
And if that's going to happen, we have to think utterly differently than anything we've done before and that's going to require partnership like that. Um, alliance like that. And so yeah, I think that was a, you know, one of the important points in the movement of, you know, it's a growing sense towards um you know, alliances and collaboration and so forth, and I think it's so positive.
Mm that's really cool. Yeah. Um you mentioned offline that one of the benefits of the Barnard's group is that business people get to see God at work, they get insights into what God is doing um in the ministries that are presenting in your groups and so can you share some of the unexpected benefits of that? Um we've touched on this a little bit, but I want to I want to hear some more on what the benefits are of of entrepreneurs getting to see and have insight into what God is doing through these organizations When there's not some type of financial ask involved, like it's there it goes beyond that.
So what are some of the unexpected benefits? Joy Joy is one of the unexpected benefits that our partners experience when they get to do that. So a number of years ago, there was a ministry, it's called Today's Youth Matters.
They're based in the Bay Area, um, you know, working, working with kind of urban kids who don't get beyond the sidewalks and high rises of their neighborhood, um, to do that. And so we're here in California.
Uh, and so this was in the Bay Area. And what today's youth matter is kind of like the hallmark of what they did was they would take kids to camp in the mountains, you know, a couple hours away. And that camp was, you know, just an incredible experience for people who've never even, you know, seen rivers before for kids who got to do that.
Today's youth matters came to the Barnabas group saying, we've been leasing a camp each summer for a couple of weeks a year. We think we want to buy a property where we could have our own camp that would really allow us to do so much more.
Can you help us do that help us? You know, think that through, there was actually a boy scout camp that was for sale. The boy scouts, we're letting it go. And so they wanted help from the Barnabas group to think through, you know, is this a good deal? And how might that work turns out it wasn't a good deal that didn't happen.
Um but that's not the story I'm trying to tell here. Instead there was an accountant um or like a CFO who was part of that process and he had a sailboat, you know, just a little sailboat and he would take it out on the san Francisco Bay, you know, with, with his family, but his kids were older, they've been, you know, through college and we're, you know, young adults now and, and so the family getting on the sailboat didn't happen so much, but he took a handful of these kids from, you know, these urban neighborhoods on his sailboat and they loved it.
They've never been sailing before, you know, they just had a great, great time. But back to the question, you know, unexpected benefits, the unexpected benefits. This guy's name was lee the unexpected benefit was the gigantic grin on these phase as he's explaining what it was like taking these kids from the urban neighborhood, onto his sailboat and he just had a blast.
I mean, it was just, it was just radiating, you know, you know, from his face, how much fun it was and that's exactly you know what we want to see happen right? You know like the body of christ is so diverse, you know, like you know what they were talking about fingers and noses and hips and all that kind of stuff.
But when you get different parts of the body of christ together to see God at work, just good stuff happens and you know, you see God move forward and you see lives change. But man, God is doing so much more than any of us know, and it's not that easy to get exposed to what God is doing.
That's actually something we take seriously. We want to expose more people through the Barnabas group to more of what God is doing. And it's still just, you know, we're still just scratching the surface.
But nonetheless, I mean when you see God in the form of a smile of a kid who's never been on a sailboat before and that just, you know, you get so much joy from within you. I mean that's got at work, I mean it's beautiful.
Mm Yeah, that the entrepreneur got to see opportunity for him to take his skills and talents and the things that he's been gifted and invest them into whatever this ministry was doing and that probably went into it thinking I'm just gonna help this ministry and came out, oh, I was encouraged, I was filled up.
I was like, I experienced the joy and the benefit of that experience more maybe than the kids did totally. I mean, isn't that so much the case with ministry, right? You know, God works in us as we're trying to facilitate God working and others, I mean they go go hand in hand.
Yeah, Yeah, that's awesome. Um one of the topics that we discussed offline was was the perils of insulated ministry. Can you walk us through what you mean by that? Yeah, as humans. But I think even more as leaders, there is such a temptation to the illusion of Ahm nations like we know all we need to know and no one will admit to that.
But so many of us act like that. We know all that we need to know and you find the, you know how that's just faulty at times of hardship. I mean, I think covid, you know, the pandemic brought that out, you know, you need to think differently.
You need to solve problems you didn't know before, the unexpected is there. And so new relationship, you know, we were all calling new people, asking for insights, asking for help, asking for guidance to do different things.
So we know that that's faulty. But yet we still suffer the temptation of the illusion of ammunitions. We know all we need to know. Um, but a minute, yeah, I mean in ministry, you know, we just get, you know, we get in the grind and we're focused on what we need to focus on.
Uh, and that can be very limited. So, um, yeah, so that's just limiting and were able to keep doing what we've always been doing, but that prevents us from being able to do something more, do something different, do something that God might be leading us to elsewhere.
So larger organizations, christian organizations, um, if they're big enough might have, you know, a director of strategic relationships, that's a position that's a role that they have, uh, or a different actually in in uh large businesses, including Apple, they'll have a chief evangelist, that's kind of an interesting title, right? It's not evangelical um in terms of the gospel, but it is, you know, in sharing the good news.
And so the chief evangelist at Apple goes around talks to outside people, constituents, partners, the market, sharing good ideas and spreading good ideas. I mean, actually, you know, you mentioned ted earlier, like that's the whole point of ted right, um good ideas.
So if you could have an organization that has a chief evangelist who shares your good ideas, I mean, that's a really interesting concept now, you know, there may not be a chief evangelist role for the kinds of organizations, um you know, that we interact with or that you interact with Zach, but but the idea of getting outside of yourself is really important for new ideas, um, for new, new forms of help and so forth.
One of the things, uh, you know, that I recommend is forming an advisory group. Uh, and so that's a group of people who believe in the ministry are part of the ministry, probably have donated the ministry, but you say, you know, let's just make an advisory group, let's meet, you know, 23 maybe four times a year, just to like hear the story, here's what's going on right now.
Is there any way you can help? And oftentimes people quickly go to their checkbooks and they help with that, but that's not the real point. I mean, that's actually that's a great benefit and, and worthwhile, but instead say, you know, is everything you can do to help.
And so it might be someone who says, oh, you're having trouble with, um, you know, some of the legal code of your neighborhood, whatever. It might be, even something as simple as parking and someone says, you know, I'm friends with the mayor.
I'll ask him what he thinks, you know, might be a good solution here. And the kind of solutions that the mayor is going to come up with is radically different than talking to, you know, the parking enforcement, right? Yeah.
So anyways, the idea of intentionally fostering a group that can extend, extend your reach. And an advisory council is a really good way to do that. And there's no limit to the people you can count as an adviser, everyone likes being um given the recognition of being an adviser, there's no commitment.
There's no anything. You're just like a You're someone that I would like to know to be better connected with. Have you understand what we're doing and to call on you to help when you can help. And it's not predetermined what that help looks like, but just will you come get together in someone's living room? You know, it could be five, could be 25 people or we tell the story, share what our challenges are and let you speak into that and help where you can help.
Yeah, that's a that's a great way to overcome that kind of uh insulation. So that's the way, you know, ministry, you can do that with. The way we do that in Barnabas group is we're trying to facilitate relationships with adviser, like people um in a similar way, you know, for us.
But yeah, we need all the help we can get and um we can be under the illusion that, you know, we don't need it now, and that's just, you know, that's faulty. Uh, that gets pressed upon us at some points more than others.
Yeah, I think that also brings us back to this idea of, of partnership, like what we continually run into with ministries is they're doing whatever cause that they've been called to, or, or are focused on whatever niche vertical that maybe in the ministry space or the non profit sector, and um, any one of those verticals, whether it's water fighting, human trafficking or your homelessness issue, you know, whatever it is, those singular focus is cannot solve the problem.
The larger problem, like the larger Call, the Great Commission Call, and okay, if water goes in and does their work in the community, that's not gonna solve, that's not going to solve the larger problem.
And so, yes, let's be good at what we're good at. Let's focus on what we're good at, but why not partner with an organization, another organization doing what they're good at. So water partnering with human trafficking in a region too, solve both of those problems and start working towards the larger picture.
Um, and, and so I think that's not functioning in a bubble or not being insulated as ministry, just focusing on whatever thing it's in front of you or whatever niche folks have is so important to the greater picture.
Um, yeah, and because a single ministry isn't going to be able to solve the larger problems by themselves. And so like this idea of coming back to partnership and ministries working together in the para church space, working with the church to solve these larger issues I think is so important.
And you see like Crew and why, why I'm working together or um Crew and uh Crew did something else with another organization. There, there's there's been bible translation ministries that work together rather than fighting for the same space and region and funds.
You've, you've heard those stories, um, and some of them are outlined in that book rooting for rivals. But so I guess what I'm saying is there's good things happening in the space of partnership and, and ministries working together in the nonprofit space, nonprofit sector working together.
Um, but we need to be moving in that direction a lot more that, mm, are you guys seeing that type of growth and that type of movement more regularly as of recent? Or is that still like, is there still hesitancy for the ministries that you run into? I think, I think there's great progress being made.
I think there's still a lot of hesitancy and we're in the early stages of this, um, in my very limited view of the church, you know, the body of christ the great commission community is doing a great job on that, really leading the way and doing a phenomenal job on that.
Another example where I, you know, see this happening for the first time, maybe in the last three years, I'm not sure the date exactly, but there's an initiative to reach every college campus in America.
And for the first time crew, like everybody is working on this inter varsity crew, high Alpha navigators. On and on. There's like, you know, over a dozen organizations were going to say, you know, we're only in about half of the college campuses in America that have a, um, verifiable campus ministry, especially when you look at community colleges, um, you know, there's only only about half, but if they're going to do that, and thereafter, in fact, that's the whole mission of, I mean, that's the calling of university right now, you know, by 2030 to be in every, on every campus, but that's only going to happen with this great alliance.
And so when you have these moonshots, but you say we can do it, but we need help. I mean, I think that's a beautiful and brilliant thing. one thing I would add to that, it's what I've found and and this is actually a really kind of special role Barnabas can play is it's not easy for one ministry to reach out to another ministry and say, hey, let's go after this thing together because there's a sense of, well whose agenda is it? Because we have our own agenda and it may be different.
It's not easy to do that. You need a lot of trust, You need to overcome some barriers, you know, to do that kind of thing. But what the Barnabas group is able to do is actually be kind of a neutral convener for that and say, hey, our agenda is to help you, Our agenda is the kingdom.
You know, we're not, you know, we don't have a dog in this fight. So let's, let's bring some different groups together to look at something to be collaborative on. And so it's interesting, you know, just the importance of a third party neutral convener.
Uh, so Barnabas gets to do that to a certain extent. We have a christian college in our area, um, that does a good job of doing that to bringing people together, whether it's churches or ministries or whatever.
Um, and so yeah, I mean that's been a real privilege that Barnard's group has been able to do on occasion for certain causes, bringing groups together and providing that kind of like backbone. You know, that the, that the meat, that the organs that the life blood can flow on.
But you kind of need a uh, an external backbone skeletal system to say, let's meet here when and by the way, um, you know, this is nice, but one of things about the business community, in terms of its place in the body of christ the business community, it's not the only place that has money, but it often has more money.
And so when the business community says, hey, we'll, we'll pay for for some time together and we'll meet at a place that we provide, you know, that that makes a big difference to, So that's been a nice way.
You know, that Barnabas group have been privileged to see some of this beautiful collaboration come together that God is so glorified through. That's really cool. Well, brian, this has been awesome. I've really appreciated this.
Uh, this conversation, I'm hoping that this provides some value for other ministry leaders. If people want to get a hold of you and learn more about yourself or the Barnard's group, how can they do so yeah, Barnabas group dot org.
Um, you can find out, we've got a number of chapters across the country and so whether you know, you want to come uh, engage with us in sacramento or one of the other chapters elsewhere, um, they're all listed at Barnabas group dot org.
Me personally, I didn't mention this, I make a living as an executive coach. Um, you know, and so that's my uh, you know, that's what I do. And so next step coach dot com is, you know, how to get a hold of me directly for what I do leadership coaching, which, by the way includes ministry leaders uh, in that.
But anyways, those are two websites for learning more awesome O'brien, can I pray for you? And the bar is the group real quick? Oh, that'd be great. Thanks Jack. Yeah, of course. Father, I just lift up brian and the team over the barn, the barn, this group, specifically their chapter in Sacramento.
I pray that you would just continue to do an amazing work um in providing guidance and insight and direction and ideas and innovation for ministries um and giving entrepreneurs and business owners and people like that, uh insights into what you're doing, views into what you're doing globally.
You're doing some incredible stuff all over the world and for us at reliant like that's our desires to see the church be made aware of what you are doing because you're doing such incredible things. And so I thank you for the barn, the barn based group and brian and his team.
Um, just being willing to be a part of that to give those insights and to help guide and lead the ministry space, the nonprofit sector father um, for your glory Lord. We love you so much. Thank you that you have invite us into this, this work, this redemption of humanity work that you could have done on your own.
But you've invited us to be a part of it. We love you in jesus name. Amen. Amen brian. Thanks so much for being on the show man. I appreciate it, Zack. You're welcome and my thanks to you for for this and everything else.
You're doing great, great work. Thank you. Bye bye bye. Thank you for listening to this episode of the ministry Growth show. If you enjoyed it, we'd appreciate it if you rate and review us on the Itunes store and make sure you subscribe so you never miss an episode.
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