Hi there. My name is Justin Dean.
I’ve started a non-profit organization, offering churches and ministries with low-cost marketing and communications services. I appreciate you taking a few moments to read my story and consider how you may be able to help.
Six years ago I moved my family from Atlanta to Seattle for a little “6-month adventure” that ended up being a 5 year journey and changed our lives in incredible ways.
I was hired to lead the marketing team at a struggling cable TV startup while they prepared to sell the company. My job was to increase their subscribers so that the company would be worth more, then after it sold we’d move back to Atlanta.
A year into the adventure we successfully sold the company, but my wife and I weren’t ready to leave Seattle. We had this strong feeling in our hearts that God brought us there for a reason, and that he wasn’t done yet.
We were plugged in with a new church, had lots of new friends, and didn’t want to leave.
Mars Hill Church
We took a leap of faith and I started looking for a job in Seattle. Through a series of events that could have only been orchestrated by God, I found myself accepting a new marketing position at Mars Hill Church, where we were attending and already serving.
My role quickly morphed into the Communications Director role where I oversaw PR, social media, editorial and content, and all communications coming out of the church.
My time at Mars Hill was nothing short of amazing. From helping produce major conferences, to releasing a dozen books, music albums, major sermon series, many new church plants, starting a Bible college, and more. I was tasked with getting our message out to as many people as possible, and we were blessed with incredible influence and worldwide reach.
While serving at Mars Hill I had the privilege of baptizing dozens of people and officiated four weddings. Those are experiences I will never forget.
From the time I was saved at 15 years old, I felt a calling into ministry. After high school I had a quick job as an assistant to a youth pastor, but as I grew older I followed the typical path of climbing the corporate ladder. So much so that status, authority, and money became idols for me.
I repented and left all that behind when I took the job at Mars Hill. I finally felt like I was where God wanted me to be, doing work that was incredibly impactful and fulfilling. For someone who normally burns out on a job within months, and was constantly looking for the next best thing, I felt content and satisfied in my role at the church even after four years into it.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of God’s plan for me, or for the church. You can Google the story (or buy me lunch for the real details) but our pastor resigned, and the church closed its doors for good at the end of December 2014.
Back to Atlanta
My wife and I immediately knew our time in Seattle had come to an end. We felt peace with finally coming home even though we didn’t quite know what I would do for work.
We moved back to Atlanta, and began exploring options for what was next. When we thought no one would touch us because of all the controversy of the church closing, and my role as the spokesperson, we were surprised to find we had several offers from churches all over the country. I knew I wanted to stay in ministry, but I wasn’t ready to jump right in with another church yet.
Instead, I started working with a few of those churches as a freelancer. I enjoyed being able to work from home and spend more time with my family, and I really enjoyed being able to work with such a broad range of churches. I quickly learned a lot of new things and began to appreciate the differences in each church, particularly how they were different from Mars Hill.
I decided to make a go of it and started my own company called DOXA Media Group. So far I have been able to help a couple dozen churches, employed the help of four contractors, and even co-founded a successful digital communications conference for churches, called That Church Conference.
2015 was a good year, and I’m so thankful for the pastors and churches who had faith in me to work with them. With me working from home while my wife homeschools, my family and I are closer than ever, and I really feel like I’ve been able to continue making a meaningful impact in the Kingdom of God through my work.
However, as I look to 2016 and pray about where God wants to take my company, particularly as we’ve endured a few slower months and we’ve welcomed our 4th child into the world, I’ve decided to make a shift in the way we do business.
I was only able to help so many small to medium sized churches because of the generous contributions of one single mega church who hired me to redesign their website and help with other communications throughout the year.
Larger churches usually have the resources to hire contractors when needed, while smaller churches really struggle to get things done when there aren’t enough volunteers in the congregation to meet specific needs.
My desire is to continue helping the smaller to mid-sized churches that don’t have big mega budgets, but I can’t always count on having a larger client to pay the bills.
Every week I talk to churches who need my services but can’t afford them. I hate to turn down business, but I can’t take on many clients who aren’t able to pay. Which breaks my heart because I want to help. Nothing is more satisfying than answering a phone call from a pastor in distress who just got off the phone with his local newspaper, and because of what I’ve learned over the years I’m able to provide comfort and tangible help that can keep him and his church stay focused on Jesus and their mission. I take two or three calls like that a week but I usually can’t charge for it.
I would love to continue to do what I’m doing, but my current business model is broken. My options are A) Get a real job in the real world, and maybe help one or two churches here and there, or B) find another big client or two who’s willing to pay full price, leaving me to be able to discount my services for other clients.
While Option B would work in theory, it’s difficult to find and keep a large client and they typically take up most of my time. I’ve tried many other things as well, including picking up clients that aren’t churches. Which has helped during the slow months.
However, as I’ve prayed and asked God’s direction, there’s a sinking feeling in my gut that God still has a bigger plan for me, and I don’t think it’s making websites for local businesses, nor is it giving up on my calling and getting a real job outside the home.
Through counsel with some close godly friends and family I’m convinced God wants me to pursue a third option: Stop treating my ministry as a business, have faith that God will provide through generous donors, and continue helping small to medium sized churches.
The work I do is ministry, but until now I’ve been treating it as a business. That creates a big disservice to the churches and ministries that I want to help, because it makes it all about making money. It’s a conflict I’ve wrestled with in my heart for over a year now.
So I’ve decided to start a new ministry, raise financial support, and continue offering services to churches – only charging what they can afford, even if that means working for free sometimes.
My brother Brandon was instrumental in confirming this for me and encouraging me to jump into it. He’s a pastor at a new church, and knows the struggle of trying to do it all yourself and not being able to afford outside help.
I’m excited about the possibility of being able to pursue exactly what I believe God wants me to do. I feel incredibly blessed to have been in the position I was at Mars Hill Church, and to learn the things I did, combined with my experience in the corporate world helping tech companies and startups.
It brings me great joy to be able to use my experience and knowledge to help churches reach more people. Because I believe the church is God’s plan to save humanity, and I can think of no greater way to serve with my life.
If helping churches is truly what God wants me to do, than I am confident that God will provide so that I can continue doing what I’m doing. If I’m on the wrong path, then I’m certain God will use this to reveal another path.
The work I do is ministry, but until now I’ve been treating it as a business.
I believe the church is God’s plan to save humanity, and I can think of no greater way to serve with my life.
My New Non-Profit
I’m excited to announce that I recently setup the Ministry Communicators Association as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Through MCA I will be able to offer heavily discounted marketing, social media, public relations, and web design services to churches that need them.
My hope is that generous donors with a desire to see churches grow, to communicate better, to reach people in more meaningful and impactful ways, would pray and ask God if supporting me and this ministry is something they are called to do.
All contributions are tax-deductible, and we’ll be sharing our full budget as well as stories of the work we are performing on our website at ministrycomms.com.
I am also transitioning Shirt Refinery, my t-shirt printing business, to give 100% of it’s proceeds towards the new non-profit. DOXA Media Group will continue to exist as a for profit company, and we’ll be launching a few new products and services soon.
My goal for MCA is to raise $12,000 per quarter. That will allow me to focus a full 40 hours per week helping churches with anything they need. That’s not much for a family of six and it’s certainly less than I’ve ever made, but it’s what we need to make this work.
As we grow and we are able to do more, how wonderful would it be to support more contractors like me and build a large organization making an incredible impact in churches all over the world.
Can I Count on Your Support?
Your regular contribution of $100, $50, $20, or even $10 can really go a long way in helping grow this ministry. If you’re only in a position to do a one-time gift, we appreciate anything you can give, as one time gifts help reduce the amount of regular contributors we will need.
Together we can meet our goal each quarter:
- 2 people giving $500 a month ($1000)
- 10 people giving $100 a moth ($1000)
- 25 people giving $50 a month ($1250)
- 25 people giving $20 a month ($500)
- 25 people giving $10 a month ($250)
Thank you for taking the time to read my story and to consider how you may help!
Join me on mission to serve local churches with low-cost marketing and communications services through my new non-profit organization.
The Ministry Communicators Association
is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Your contributions support the mission of helping churches reach more people.
Our current goal is $12,000 to cover operating costs during the first quarter of 2016.
- Goal 7.08%