the road ahead

Mission or Money
July 23, 2008, 10:36 pm
Filed under: business, ministry

I have a friend who has a great saying about change. He says, “When the pain of staying the same, exceeds the pain of change, YOU WILL CHANGE!” For the publishing business I think we are coming to the place where the pain of staying the same is exceeding the pain of change. At least for NavPress we have come to the conclusion that we must embrace change in order to accomplish our mission as a publishing company.

Through the years I have utilized a change model created by John Kotter If you have not watched hisintro to the “The Iceberg Is Melting then take a look because the realities facing the Christian publishing enterprise are serious and require a sense of urgency!

Last year a blog entry from IVP discussed the tensions between ministry and business in publishing. The post describes the typical concerns regarding publishing issues. Those in the business must ask themselves if it is a ministry or a business. Perhaps the question should be “Is it Mission or Monetary?”

In order for change to take place at a significant level within the Christian publishing world, there must be a sense of urgency concerning the situation that an organization is facing. And not just financial urgency but mission critical focus.

If you read or know the histories of Christian publishing companies, their mission/vision was the driving force in the early days. Because of this vision, there was no sacrifice too great, no cost so high that the founding publishers would not make in order to provide their resources to the consumer.

Here are my concerns:

1. The Christian publishing enterprise must take responsibility for the messages we have published and released in the name of Christ!

2. The Christian publishing industry must ask if the Lord is pleased with what we are spending our resources to produce?

3. The Christian publishing industry should rise up and stop the madness of allowing consumerism to drive product selection rather than biblically centered messages that honor our God.


2 Comments so far
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Hi Michael–

I wanted to drop a line and say that I can clearly see the emphasis on ministry at NavPress. I had one short article published in DJ Plus and I’m working on a feature article (on spec, of course). The editors are amazing… on the first article Dianne Bundt asked me to spend some more time working on my article on evengelism, and encouraged me to do some more “field testing”, which was great. And when she mentioned that the editorial board was interested in a longer version of a more recent article, she sent along a great letter about how to write for Discipleship Journal, a lot of which included praying and asking the Holy Spirit for insight on what he desires to say to his people.

I’ve been really impressed by Dianne and the editorial staff at Discipleship Journal, and I just wanted to let you know what a great job they are doing at keeping us freelancers focused on Christ.

Thanks for this post, it’s great. I can see that this is already happening at NavPress.


Comment by Matt Mikalatos


Enjoyed reading your thoughts about the mandate for change in the Christian publishing industry. I’ve been familiar with Kotter’s model for about 10 years, but have recently found a lot of value in the methodology from Prosci Research (, check it out). My role at work is one of change management (training, communication, strategy development, coaching), but I’ve recently introduced some of the pastors at The MET to Prosci and we are beginning to implement this method for dealing with the constant rate of change in our ministry. I believe churches need this as much as the publishing industry!

Maybe we can visit the next time you’re in Houston and I can fill you in a bit further.

Thanks for all you do.

Comment by Jon Malstrom

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