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The Story of Monk Development, Part One

Every company has a story. Many businesses are formed out of a desire to see the world changed in some small way. A chance to put one's mark on the fabric of society.

Monk Development is no different. Founder and CEO Drew Goodmanson started MonkDev in 2005 with a desire to see churches leverage technology to further their organizational goals and mission. That simple vision has been the driving force behind the company, pushing its growth since day one.

I recently asked Drew to tell the story of MonkDev from his vantage point and share what it's been like leading the company for the past seven years.

An Interview with Drew Goodmanson

Tell us what online ministry was like when Monk Development was formed? What were some of the issues churches were sorting out when you first started?

MonkDev was founded in response to my planting Kaleo Church in 2002. As David Fairchild and I started this new church, we realized we wanted to get onto the web to communicate the vision and gather people to what we believed God was doing in San Diego.

Quickly it became apparent this was easier said than done. At the time there really wasn’t a system to manage your website, email communication and the events at a local church. In the beginning, I learned to hand-code CSS/HTML. I used Constant Contact to email and other systems to track people. "There has to be a better way," I remember thinking. One system was needed to remove the data silos and complexity.

In 2005, Ekklesia 360 was born out of a desire to make managing the entire web presence for a church a breeze, freeing up church leaders to focus on ministry rather than technology.

How has ministry changed since then?

Online Ministry has grown significantly since we started MonkDev. A lot of the ideas we had were ahead of their time. We were designing not just a Content Management System, but an API-driven content delivery system that could publish to both church websites and social media sites. All of this was happening, by the way, with our own SEO-oriented Cloud Network. That was then. Now, many of these ideas are becoming more commoditized.

Many churches see how ‘online ministry’ is now ‘ministry’ being communicated online. Being online is less a 'cool' thing and more of a critical one. This means we have had to push the boundary further.

Further, how has Monk Development changed since then?

MonkDev has changed but I love that our desire hasn’t changed, that being an intense passion to serve the church.

One big change is MonkDev has expanded. We went from Etienne coding in a closet while I worked the phone, to a 20-plus-person team dedicated to serving churches.

Churches deal with one-off web companies all the time. We didn't want a team that built that kind of product. We've hired people with the specific goal to help move churches through a process based on reaching their ministry goals. That's where our church strategy sessions come from. We help churches understand how to move their organizational mission onto the web with clarity. MonkDev has a team that consults with churches on content strategies, translating ministry process to the web, and creating alignment between ministries to accomplish their goals.

On the technology side, I love that MonkDev is thinking a lot more about discipleship than widgets. We care deeply about how technology can assist the local churches in creating disciples, not just technology for technology's sake. I think our products stand out because we have so many pastors, worship leaders, and church volunteers who work on our team. We believe what we do is ministry.

Topics for the Rest of the Interview

We'll wrap up this two-part interview next week, as Drew talks about both the future of online ministry and Monk Development as a company. 

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