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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 these resources with you and pray it will be of use to you in your work.

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

Ready to get started with Cultivated Ministry? Enter your name and email and we’ll send you a message with the link to download the free printer-friendly version of the Field Guide for Cultivated Ministry.

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Individuals and congregations interested in purchasing printed field guide booklets may now do so! Booklets may be purchased for $5 apiece. To request an order, please email us.


  • 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
  • Casey FitzGerald // pastor, John Calvin 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


Here are additional resources to support the implementation of Cultivated Ministry in your ministry context. As we develop or discover resources to accompany this guide, we will add them here.

  • Join our Cultivated Ministry in Practice Facebook group to connect with other people who are using Cultivated Ministry in their context. Feel free to ask questions or crowdsource ideas about implementation or anything else related to Cultivated Ministry!
  • As we’ve incorporated the principles of Cultivated Ministry into our work work as NEXT Church, we developed worksheets to assess our initiatives. Carla Pratt Keyes of Ginter Park Presbyterian Church in Richmond, VA, has done the same. Here are examples from the ministry of her church for your use and information.


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

Journeying Through the Wilderness

I came to face dying and rising in my ministry context, vocation, and life. For I feel like I am a leader in the wilderness carving meaning out of rock and claiming the God of transformation while listening to the grief of God’s people.

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.

Field Guide Preview: Cultivated Ministry

Today, we're excited to share the first sneak peek of the Field Guide for Cultivated Ministry, which we'll release in full this fall. This preview is from the guide's introduction, which debuts the concept of "cultivated ministry" and defines its four movements: theology, accountability, learning, and storytelling.

Skipping A Step: Resisting the Quick Fix and Embracing Evaluation

As we wrestled with these questions, we learned that we had skipped a step in our efforts to quickly address our congregational crises. We had moved directly from the observations of our perceived problems to interventions we thought would address them.

Cultivated Ministry: A New Approach

A few years ago, NEXT Church convened some creative, talented leaders to talk together about the ways in which the church is collaboratively starting and supporting new ministries. In the room were leaders from large, established congregations, leaders from small upstart ministry ventures, and everything in between.

2017 National Gathering Ignite: Cultivated Ministry

Becca Messman and Chineta Goodjoin give an Ignite presentation about NEXT Church's work around mindful ministry.