Small Group Ministry Case Study: Choosing Your Customer

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If it's true that your ministry (or program) is perfectly designed to produce the results you are currently experiencing, then the design of your ministry is almost everything.

There are several key components of ministry design. According to Peter Drucker, three main components are:

A significant aspect of my work with churches and ministries is to help them choose their customer. A key component of design is the intentional selection of a customer. Many start out believing that their ministry or program really can meet the needs of everyone. This is a theology of wishful thinking. The truth is that a common ingredient of failed ministry design is the illusion of being all things to all people.

This is a very bad strategy.

Far better to focus on choosing your customer.

Here's what I mean.

Designing for a Specific Customer: A Case Study

Outback Steakhouse, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine BarCarrabba's Italian Grill, and Bonefish Grill are all owned and operated by Bloomin' Brands Inc.  P.F. Changs China Bistro and Pei Wei Asian Diner  are owned by Centerbridge Partners.

Think about the restaurants in these two parent companies. Why would Bloomin' Brands own both Fleming's and Outback? Why would Centerbridge Partners own both P.F. Changs and Pei Wei?  If you've been to these restaurants you probably shouted back an answer just now.  It's obvious, isn't it?  Each restaurant pair is designed to appeal to a different customer. The Fleming's diner anticipates spending in the neighborhood of $100 per person. The Outback customer will spend closer to $30 per person.  Does Fleming's feel bad when someone chooses Outback over them?  What do you think?

Why would Centerbridge Partners own both P.F. Changs and Pei Wei?  Same basic idea.  Eat at Changs and plan to spend about $50 per person. Eat at Pei Wei and spend closer to $25.  Does Pei Wei feel bad when they don't attract a Changs customer? What do you think?


When you design your ministry, think carefully about the customer you most want to reach. Design the ministry for them. Don't feel bad when you can't be all things to all people. Instead, design a different step for the people that haven't yet been reached.

Image by Didriks 

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