8 comments | Posted: 7 May 08 in Interviews, by Nathan Smith
I recently had the chance to catch up with Drew Goodmanson, a man of many ventures, talents and responsibilities. Drew is a pastor at Kaleo Church in San Diego, California and is also the founder and lead strategist of Monk Development, a full service web agency. He was kind enough to share his vision for ministry, thoughts on business, and personal testimony of faith.
What career path led up to your current vocational and ministry responsibilities? Can you give any tips to those aspiring web developers who want to make a living of helping churches?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur. Six months after I graduated from college I started my first company and subsequently landed Amazon.com as a client, which was a wild ride. From there I fell in love with starting and building organizations. This exposure translated into ministry when I saw Mars Hill Church in its early days when Mark Driscoll was out of the gate. It’s this path that shaped me and when I moved to San Diego, I co-founded Kaleo Church and Monk Development. I can’t imagine doing anything else now since I really love both of these.
As for tips, helping churches isn’t necessarily the most lucrative market so make sure it’s something you are passionate about and start by getting involved with your own local church and serving its needs.
You seem to juggle quite a busy schedule, wearing many different hats. How do you balance your roles as founder of Monk Development, pastor at Kaleo Church, and still have time for family?
This is an area where I am still learning. There seems to be weeks where I’m engaged with one more than the other based on what is happening. The challenge is when all these roles require my involvement. I wish I had this figured out, but often it means I work a lot of hours. Yet I’m blessed because I work with some of my closest friends at Kaleo & Monk. As for family, my wife and I are in frequent communication about these balances. One of the benefits of working at a company you start is that you don’t have set hours, so I do things like drive my eldest son Gideon to preschool each day and take breaks to play with Roman my youngest. The other day we went to Disneyland as a family and I worked in the evening. Yet, I’m still navigating how to wear multiple hats.
Tell me a bit about the vision behind Ekklesia 360, and how it is uniquely suited to ministries. How would it stack up against other commercial or open source CMS options?
Ekklesia 360 began as a need for Kaleo Church and for the church planter friends I had through the Acts 29 Network. When I searched there weren’t any standards compliant, API driven, SEO friendly, integrated system to do ministry online. We set out to build a comprehensive solution for churches to make going online simple and to give non-technical users powerful tools to grow their churches. I think one of the benefits Ekklesia has is that most of our team is active at new churches and/or are serving in ministry. It is a market we truly understand.
I love open source software. I currently use WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Mambo and have tried many others. What we wanted to do with Ekklesia 360 is provide a unique set of capabilities to serve the church and ministry market. With these open source products churches would have to hack these to achieve their goals, which we’ve seen take more time and money than using a system that is tailored for their unique needs. And when you start messing with the source you get off the upgrade path and lose some of the open source benefit of the community. Certainly there are churches that have the technical staff in place to do this really well, but that is a small minority of churches. We wanted to remove the complexity and provide a simpler way to manage church specific clients.
As to the commercial options, there are a lot of church CMS vendors out there but Ekklesia 360 has become much more than just a CMS. Beyond allowing users to manage their website with design flexibility, they are able to participate in a content distribution network (The Cloud Network) and engage their members online. For example, we have built out a social networking capability for churches to connect members, enhance small group experience and access resources. Later this year we are going to allow churches to build their own custom apps to integrate into the system. Our philosophy is to give churches the greatest level of flexibility to accomplish what they need to, and do it for those who need our help. I think this guiding principle results in a better product for our end-user. But of course I’m biased.
Lastly, I love that we are not doing this alone. Anyone can design a site for our system because we chose to work with design partners to best serve clients. We are blessed that several Godbit members are active in our Design Network. In addition to our partners landing deals, each month we are able to refer new clients to partners in our network. I pray that we demonstrate a Kingdom initiative as we work together and encourage one another.
Sermon Cloud has become one of the premier destinations for quality preaching on the Internet. Describe the brainstorming that went into creating the site, and how the uptake has been.
With Sermon Cloud, we wanted to give some of our tools away for free to allow churches to manage their sermon audio and to give the content back for users to interact with. Churches can upload a year’s worth of sermons at no cost. We now have thousands of sermons that people can search through and listen to on numerous subjects. One thing I love is that over 90% of traffic is based on people doing online searches and coming to sermons to find the answers. But Sermon Cloud is just the tip of the iceberg of what we really want to do.
Sermon Cloud initially began as a single site, but that vision has grown into what is now collectively known as The Cloud Network. Tell me more about this expansion.
The Cloud Network is part of our master plan to reach the world. Our goal is to route millions of people from the internet to local churches. We believe the gospel is the answer to life’s questions. More and more people are going online for help dealing with a personal crisis. According to Pew Internet research, 45% of Internet users, or about 60 million Americans, say the Internet helped them make big decisions or negotiate their way through major episodes in their lives during the past two years. Through numerous windows in people’s lives, such as pregnancy, moving, job loss, children growing up, marriage, death and counseling, churches can reach out via The Cloud Network. For example, if someone searches for ‘san diego depression’ we want to connect them to a local Christian body or counseling center, so one of our clouds will be a site that aggregates counseling specific content. If they search for ‘san diego premarriage counseling’ we want to connect them to a local church that will counsel them from a Biblical perspective. Our church has seen people become Christians through this form of using the internet with premarital counseling.
There will be other cloud sites that will help churches post open positions, search for building space or lease space, manage email newsletters, plan events and other practical needs. So far we have rolled out a couple cloud sites (Church Cloud & Sermon Cloud) and more are coming soon. The next one will be Worship Cloud which will allow the worship community to upload mp3’s, manage their albums, music notes, PowerPoint’s, sell music, search for songs based on Bible passages or key words, place classifieds for new worship teams and learn from each other. We’re excited to get all these tools into the hands of churches and provide them one login to manage it all.
Before we conclude, please share how a relationship with Christ has made a difference in your life. Also, feel free to mention anything else on your heart.
Jesus Christ is the treasure of my life. I cannot imagine it without him. Before I was a Christian I was enslaved to perform for other people’s approval. I wanted to be successful so I could feel good about myself. One of the things that continues to rock my world is the understanding that the gospel isn’t just a means of salvation, but it is the very way I grow as a Christian. This gospel understanding has radically altered how I approach God and others. It has helped me to see the sin motivators that drive me so often and identify them as a functional messiah’s (eg. power, control, acceptance, comfort). I pray to be a man in constant repentance as God changes my heart. This has made a huge difference in my marriage, friendships and how I work. Further, it has made God’s grace so much more amazing.
The second thing I’m learning a lot about right now is how much being raised in the West has shaped my view of Christianity and how I approach God. I think this is something Western Christians need to understand more, including myself. I’ve been doing a bit of blogging about it, but I’ve just scratched the surface.
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