In a time when traditional metrics seem out of touch with the realities of ministry in contemporary post-Christendom North America, Cultivated Ministry gives us a way to undertake ministry with a clear and purposeful understanding of how our activities contribute to God’s mission in the world. Cultivated Ministry is a culture and process of ministry that does not rest on traditional metrics nor does it abdicate accountability altogether.

We are excited to share this field guide with you and pray it will be of use to you in your work. We are developing additional resources to accompany this guide, which will be posted on this page.

Field Guide for Cultivated Ministry: Bearing Fruit through Theology, Accountability, Learning, and Storytelling

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  • Shawna Bowman // pastor & artist, Friendship Presbyterian Church
  • Chineta Goodjoin // pastor, New Hope Presbyterian Church
  • Becca Messman // pastor, Trinity Presbyterian Church
  • Frank Spencer // president, Board of Pensions, PC(USA)
  • Casey Thompson // pastor, Wayne Presbyterian Church
  • John Vest // professor of evangelism, Union Presbyterian Seminary
  • Jen James // Cultivated Ministry project facilitator
  • Jessica Tate // director, NEXT Church


  • Andrew Foster Connors //pastor, Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church
  • Christopher Edmonston // pastor, White Memorial Presbyterian Church
  • Billy Honor // pastor, The Pulse Church
  • Charlie Lee // pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Wilmington, NC
  • Carla Pratt Keyes // pastor, Ginter Park Presbyterian Church
  • Landon Whitsitt // executive and stated clerk, Synod of Mid-America
  • Rick Young // president, Texas Presbyterian Foundation


Learn more about Cultivated Ministry from these blog posts from the designers and writers, plus those who piloted the project in their contexts.

Field Guide Preview: Storytelling as Assessment

Today, we’re sharing the fourth sneak peek of the Field Guide for Cultivated Ministry, which we’ll release in full this fall. This preview is from another movement of the guide: storytelling as assessment.

Telling Stories That Matter

When we came together to work on the Field Guide for Cultivated Ministry, we wanted to infuse the process with storytelling. We know we can collect all the data we want, but if we don’t know how to make sense of it or tell the stories of what it means, of how our ministries and mission are having impact, then the data doesn’t do us very much good.

The Surprising Benefit of Evaluation

Evaluation is not just a way to gauge the effectiveness of a ministry so that it might be tweaked toward perfection. Evaluation actually subverts the forms of our ministry. It actually returns us to the theological question at the heart of vocation.

Field Guide Preview: Mutual Accountability as Assessment

Today, we’re sharing the third sneak peek of the Field Guide for Cultivated Ministry, which we’ll release in full this fall. This preview is from the second movement of the guide: mutual accountability as assessment.

Building Evaluative Muscles

As we continued to wrestle with what that discipleship meant, we began to get stuck on how we would know if we were making progress. What were the metrics we could use to see if we were actually doing what we said we felt called to do? We knew that we could not just use the church’s operating budget or our worship attendance numbers to tell us if the discipleship priority was taking hold.

A Culture of Accountability

Accountability is one of the most challenging practices for the church and certainly for pastors.  But accountability is not just the responsibility of a pastor alone. I’ve come to see it function best not so much as a practice, but as a culture.

Field Guide Preview: Theology as Assessment

Today, we’re sharing the second sneak peek of the Field Guide for Cultivated Ministry, which we’ll release in full this fall. This preview is from the first movement of the guide: theology as assessment.

Moving Beyond Sexy Ministry

Initially, I thought this was a very effective way to lead – especially given the fact that most of what I’d seen growing up gave me the impression that ministry effectiveness is about the numbers. However, as I grew and became more experienced as a ministry leader, I started to become ambivalent and increasingly weary with the “sexy ministry” approach. 

Cultivated Ministry at The Board of Pensions

Asking the theological “why?” has transformed the Board and its programs. This theological understanding is embedded in everything we do, seeking well-being for those who serve Christ’s Church in the four critical arenas of health, spirituality, finance, and vocation.

When Numbers Become Our Identity

When we worship a set of numbers, they become our identity. We are rewarded or punished by what we believe these numbers say about us.