grow a healthy church


Ministry Library Review: The Ideal Resource For Time-Starved Pastors

 I love reading crime, espionage, and political thrillers for pleasure.

Plus I love reading for ministry and learning how to grow a healthy church.

However, I find myself regularly overwhelmed by the increasing volume of high-quality resources for pastors.

Therefore, time-poor pastors like me are always looking for hacks to access the flood of information.

Ministry Library is one new resource that fits the bill in more ways than one so I decided to write a ‘no holds barred’ review with all elements of my experience.

SPECIAL NOTE: this is an ‘as I go’ write-up. It’s written in real-time and takes you on my journey with my Ministry Library review so you will find me discovering things as I go along. I decided to leave it in this mode rather than ‘clean it up’ for public consumption.

The Very First Video Got My Attention

My first video was on a book about personal development, Great Leaders Grow by Ken Blanchard.

The video was short, only 7 minutes long, so that was a good start for me.

Production levels were excellent and the graphics were eye-catching so tick number two. The guys at Ministry Library use Wistia to host their videos and Wistia is renowned for the stylish feel of their videos.

I downloaded the notes that accompanied the video. These were comprehensive without being too long and included the Big Idea contained in the book, extensive summary notes, and an action steps sidebar.

I love the emphasis on taking action. They add a by-line to this section Notes don’t change anything, actions do. So don’t take notes, take action

They are designed to be printed so you can write up your personal action steps.

I’d like to see these notes available in another format such as Word so that I can easily add notes via my laptop. I generally don’t print notes so although the PDF was excellent it’d be nice to be able to add/edit these notes in a format that suits my workflow.

The Team Discussion Guide Adds Value

Ministry Library also provides a Team Discussion guide.

This guide contains questions designed to help you interact with your team.

The questions are well thought through, avoid a closed style which tends to limit discussion and will promote healthy discussion amongst your team.

There’s also a Personal Assessment survey based around the four precepts of the book which is very helpful in stimulating reflection and self-analysis.

Unfortunately, the Personal Assessment survey lacked an end score and overall evaluation. This would have made it more effective and given me cause to pause and ponder the results.

Overall the video, notes, and discussion guide provide a simple and easy-to-use overview of the book and would help you take your team on a journey of discovery and development.

Would I Buy The Book?

Will I still buy the book? Probably not. The video and PDF summary give you the key content while the emphasis on Action Steps and Team Discussion ensures you will take life-changing steps with the material.

The Big Advantage of Ministry Library

This brings me to the big advantage of the Ministry Library.

I often recommend to pastors that they coach emerging leaders through a book reading and discussion group. Ministry Library aids this approach by giving you excellent discussion guides and an easy entry into the main content of the book.

Here’s One Improvement I’d Recommend

One improvement I’d like to see is a You May Like This Book section. Just like Netflix or iTunes recommends media based on your previous choices, Ministry Library could add a recommended section to help you choose similar material. Now this appears for some books but is not uniform across the site.

My Second Book: Doubling Groups 2.0

The second video I watched was Doubling Groups by Josh Hunt.

Like the first book, this contained a 7-minute video, comprehensive summary notes, and a discussion guide.

The video style was different with a ‘person-writing-on-card’ style that was again easy to watch.

One thing that surprised me was when the speaker called a certain attitude “crap!” I don’t think that word suits the demeanor of the site but there you go!

One welcome addition to the Discussion Guide notes were other recommended resources in the Ministry Library. This was super helpful but could be expanded to include a summary to give you more precise information on these other resources.

Here’s One Big Advantage Of Ministry Library

One thing I did find interesting was my response to the content.

The title of this book piqued my curiosity and I was keen to see what it had to deliver. However, I found the content disappointingly brief, lacking strategy, and not what I was ultimately chasing.

While that may be initially disappointing I reminded myself that I only spent about 10 mins discovering this book would not suit my needs.

I think this is a significant advantage to the Ministry Library. It can save you time as you try to sift through the plethora of resources that are on the net.

My Third Book: Sticky Church

I then jumped into one of the recommended books, Sticky Church by Larry Osborne.

One thing I immediately noted on this page were links to Other Videos You Might Like, which was lacking on the pages for the other books, and also an author’s bio with links to his social media and books.

I think these two elements add to the Ministry Library experience and should be included in each book.

Like the two previous books, there was a short and well-produced video and comprehensive summary notes but unlike the first two books, there was no discussion guide.

I Ran Into Problems With This Video

Unfortunately, I had trouble loading the video and a page refresh didn’t fix the problem.  Of course, this may be due to issues with my laptop or internet but it was disconcerting.

So I went looking for help.

I clicked on a Conversation Icon in the bottom right corner but that only gave me a blank page with no place to leave a message.

I then jumped into My Account and couldn’t find a link to a Help Desk.

So I jumped back to the page and the video stalled again!

When I couldn’t find a Help Desk on the site I decided to test out the Ministry Library’s response times on social media so I posted on Twitter and the Ministry Library’s Facebook group.

I posted at 2.15 pm Perth Western Australia time which is 12 hours ahead of the eastern seaboard of the USA so I didn’t expect a quick response!

NEXT MORNING UPDATE Brian Beauford from Ministry Library got back to me via Facebook and told me things were working fine on the site but he would check with Wistia, their video host.

I tried the video again and it worked just fine.

Lesson to be learned: sometimes the problem is local so stay cool!

NEXT WEEK UPDATE Brian has fixed the problem with the Conversation Icon that appears in the bottom right-hand corner however it could be missed so an easy-to-find Support Page would be a good addition.

Is Ministry Library Too Expensive?

When I started this review my answer was, no it’s very inexpensive.

However, Ministry Library reviewed their price point during my review and their current price is $49/month.

Their previous price was considerably lower and didn’t reflect the value they were adding so I understand the shift.

I think they’ll probably get more churn in members with leaders dropping in to get the material they want and then bailing out for a period.

However, the material is excellent and new titles are being regularly added so I think there’s value in the Ministry Library.

UPDATE Ministry Library is offering a significant discount to my readers. Use the coupon code GROW and you can lock in a membership at $29/month. That’s a 40% discount. Plus the first week is free so it’s a risk-free trial and then a discounted rate for Grow a Healthy Church readers.

Sign up now and enjoy a risk-free trial of Ministry Library. 

Limited Numbers

What’s interesting is that the Ministry Library is restricting the number of memberships. 

When I checked the pricing there were only 67 memberships left. The guys at Ministry Library are using the scarcity principle of marketing here to help us make a decision.

How To Maximise Ministry Library

I think a subscription to Ministry Library would be best utilized by pastors setting aside 30 minutes each week to watch 3 videos.

If we allow for holidays and the odd missed week a pastor would still get an overview of 100 plus books in a year.

There’s no doubt that would be a rich resource for knowledge and inspiration.

 Overall Impressions Of Ministry Library

What I Love

1. It will help time-poor pastors

2. It’s simple and super easy to use

What I Like

1. The videos are well-produced and held my interest

2. There’s a wide range of topics

What Could Be Improved

1. Uniformity on all resources i.e. team discussion guides, author bio, ‘you might like this’ section

2. A clearer Help Desk option would be useful

3. The notes available in multiple formats

4. The new price point may put off some people

If you’re a time-poor pastor please try Ministry Library for a week for free. You won’t be disappointed. Don’t forget to use the coupon code GROW and you can lock in membership at $29/month which is a 40% discount.

NOTE I was given a life membership in exchange for a thorough and objective Ministry Library review.

John is a wellspring of information, experience and advice in all things church. His responses were often out of the box of what's been said before.
Ps Christie Blaikie
Oasis Church

Read our other articles

god's plan
Using Humor in Sermons
succession plan template