When Ministry Brands first entered the scene in 2012, they were flying under the radar. No one had heard of them–few have heard of them now. Yet while few have knowledge of this church technology up-and-coming powerhouse, they have been quietly behind the scenes partnering and purchasing church technology companies right and left to build something that hasn’t been done before: a collection of like-minded, Kingdom-focused church technology brands focused on serving churches and ministries around the globe with world-class innovative technology solutions.
It’s radical, and it just might work.
In early 2012, Ross Croley met Ben Sealey, the founder of SimpleGive, became fast friends through their mutual love of technology, entrepreneurship, family, and church. Ministry Brands became a reality and SimpleGive became it’s first brand.
I felt that I could help Ben and his business partner, Jason, expand what they were doing to serve more churches and continue the Kingdom-focus they started with,” noted Croley. “Looking at church technology in-depth, I felt that providers were highly fragmented, meaning that the church was receiving multiple technology platforms from multiple vendors. Furthermore, the technology didn’t integrate with other solutions. For example, a church would have one vendor for a website, one for online giving, another for membership management, and yet another platform for accounting functions. Our vision was to serve churches with the passion we had for serving Christ.”
Ministry Brands’ goal is to deliver Kingdom-focused technology solutions and services to churches, ministries, and non-profits that help them win more followers to Christ. They believe that technology will play a large role in the future of the church and disciple-making by allowing ministries to leverage technology to reach, connect, and serve. They believe that they have the unique opportunity to be a part of this movement.
Croley adds, “Taking it a step further meant that, instead of having multiple platforms and touch points at the church level, we could create a partnership where like-minded Christian businesses could partner with one another to create better technology for the Church that fully integrated all of the products. We also believe that these tools should be available to all churches and at affordable prices.”
The founders of Ministry Brands quickly realized that the company’s mission and reach were far greater than anything they could have imagined. Today Ministry Brands serves over 30,000 churches and employs just under 200 people.
We believe this is only possible because we are faithful to what God has called us to do and we are good stewards of what He has entrusted us with. What Ministry Brands is doing to serve the church and God’s Kingdom has grown well beyond any of us as individuals. God is clearly part of this,” remarks Croley.
Ministry Brands currently partners with companies that provide websites, online giving, church management, mobile apps, kiosks, and accounting software. Ministry Brands itself is simply a vehicle to bring these companies together so they can share technology solutions, integrate their products and services, and provide them to the churches, ministries and nonprofits we serve at more affordable prices.
Our goal is to serve our churches, and this is best accomplished when the churches we serve work with the brands and people they already know and trust. We expand the capabilities of our partner companies by enhancing their technology offerings and streamlining the pricing models. That allows the solutions to work and be affordable for churches of all sizes. Ministry Brands does not exist to be a public facing brand. It’s simply a network of companies supporting each other that work in cooperation to build a better ecosystem for the Church and its members,” Croley explains.
Ministry Brands’ most recent acquisition was Shelby Systems, long-time church management system provider–one of the oldest in the industry.
Our vision for Shelby is to continue to enhance and support the current product line, as well as to expand the product offering to provide more Software as a service (SaaS), or web-based, fully-integrated solutions for the church. We also plan to build upon and expand the Shelby Financials Online product. We will be launching new products at the Shelby Conference (ISC) in June,” says Croley.
Ministry Brands has assured Shelby customers that all changes moving forward will be positive ones, including access to expanded technology resources, products that are much easier to use and more affordable.
We at Shelby Systems are very excited about this new era in our company’s timeline,” comments Mark White, director of business and customer development for Shelby Systems. “We believe Ministry Brands brings an enthusiasm and potential that will not only provide our clients with additional software solutions, it will greatly impact the Kingdom as we provide tools for churches and ministries of all sizes. Because of the depth of the Ministry Brand products we see a natural fit with the current suite of Shelby products, including our Shelby Financials Online. We now have additional offerings for smaller ministries and a wider range of options than anyone in our industry. Kiosk, text and online giving, integrated web development, and mobile apps are only part of what you will see as we roll out additional products and integrations.”
Few can argue against such ideal aims–to work together through multiple technologies, brands, and locations to better serve the Church. It might seem like the game of Monopoly, but in the end, the Church remains the winner.