Our Ministry Playbook, Part 3

February 27, 2017 • by Chris Hunt • posted in ReFrame Media

As we shared in parts One and Two of this series, we recently went through a process, based loosely on Patrick Lencioni’s The Advantage, to articulate our overarching ministry “playbook.” We use this playbook to keep ReFrame Media on mission: producing connected media resources that invite a mass audience into the Gospel story by cultivating lifelong discipling relationships.

In Part Three, we turn to our 5 Standard Operating Objectives. These objectives are our core competencies, the things we must do well so that everything we produce is always on mission.

1. Produce gospel-reflective content

This one might seem like a “no brainer.” But that’s exactly why it tops our list. Every time we sit down to write, record, or edit, we intentionally start here to ensure that our content—across all six of our programs—points to Jesus Christ as the only hope of salvation. We could produce merely inspiring or entertaining media, but we are missionaries who always preach the gospel.

Our content also engages culture from a positive standpoint, trusting in the ultimate good of what God is doing in his good creation and through his church. Yet, we do not neglect to address sin and injustice in the world, and we do so in ways that call people to be a part of God’s redemptive process and people. We shape our content to encourage, equip, and help media users reflect anew on their lives and God’s world in light of his redemptive story.

2.  Use enterprise-level production processes

We want to delight our audiences. To do so, we seek out truly talented and capable writers, program hosts, producers, editors, and voice talent committed to forming disciples for Christ through our media experiences. We also employ professional media production techniques, technologies, and workflows to produce top-notch Today, Groundwork, Family Fire, Church Juice and Kids Corner content and make sure they hit your inbox on time by using top-shelf content management systems. We pride ourselves in stewarding well the resources God grants us to do this work. That’s why we strive to make sure that every piece of content we produce fulfills a strategic purpose in our overall mission.

3.  Acquire and engage mass audiences

ReFrame Media is, by nature, a mass media ministry. We produce programming for the purpose of reaching thousands, even millions of people. Each program engages audiences through multiple channels such as websites, email, social media, and the ever-dependable radio. However, in today’s crowded media landscape, it’s easy for even good content to be drowned out by all the “noise.” This is a new reality for broadcasters like us, but it hasn’t changed our mandate. It’s just made us strive harder to reach the masses.

One of the primary ways we invite mass audiences into the gospel story is through content-driven marketing campaigns that introduce thousands of new users to ReFrame’s family of programs. Through these campaigns, we offer special email series, exclusive ebooks, or topical study resources. Thousands of new readers have subscribed to the Today daily email in response to our Advent and Lent e-mail series, as did several more thousand to Think Christian when they downloaded our “A Theology of Star Wars” ebook. Groundwork has offered exciting teaching series on “The Seven Deadly Sins” and the “Spiritual Disciplines,” inviting many, many new listeners into conversation with Groundwork hosts Dave Bast and Scott Hoezee. Together, our culturally-appropriate and multi-touch programs, each reaching their own audience while at the same time pointing current users to the others.

4.  Develop ongoing relationships

Beyond the broadcast, we endeavor to engage and deepen our connections with people as a matter of discipling in Christ. As we shared in our previous two articles, we want to cultivate ongoing and deepening relationships with readers and listeners. We offer multiple programs to meet multiple needs. We engage our friends on multiple media, responding to our audiences’ circumstances, and making ourselves available for conversation. We also lift up our users in prayer and invite them to pray with us. Our all-volunteer prayer team prays over hundreds of prayer requests that come to us each week. Our future plans envision developing mentoring teams comprised of volunteers that can use social media to further build discipling relationships with users.

5.  Enact our values as a ministry

To keep the main thing the main thing, we live by distinctive core values that make us “who we are.” These values—positivity, hospitality, unity, and scrappiness—keep our focus on priorities that advance our vision and mission. We strive to make decisions based on our core principles, celebrate God’s sovereignty and creation, and humbly invite people deeper into the family of God.

We also take heart that our ministry is part of bigger wholes—the global ministry of Back to God Ministries International, the Christian Reformed Church as a denomination, and the worldwide body of believers. Our mission is only part of a “greater whole,” but we are committed to fulfill our mission with tenacity. We focus on doing the very best ministry we can with the resources God has given us. These Standard Operating Objectives serve as a sort of checklist to ensure our content, marketing, and communications are aligned with our vision to form disciples through mass media and our mission to invite audiences into God’s grand narrative.