We hit two milestones recently.
First, my webmaster informed me that the Grace in Focus podcast has been downloaded over 151,000 times. That’s a pretty good number for a show doing serious theology (as opposed to, say, funny cat videos)! And, of course, that doesn’t include our radio audience. I’m encouraged!
Second, this month, faithalone.org hit a new record for unique monthly users: 64.9k, up from 19k a year ago.
Praise God! I expect those numbers to grow, especially as we expand our international ministry.
On Monday, July 29th, Grace in Focus Radio started broadcasting on The Worship Channel, an online internet station. (Here is the list of all the stations we are currently on). What makes The Worship Channel interesting is their international Christian audience. They were able to provide me with real data about who is listening (most radio stations that I’ve spoken to claim not to know). I want to know that we’re reaching people…and we want to reach new people with the message of grace.
As I sign the checks for these stations, it hits me that radio expenses add up! We’re only on a few stations, but it still costs big bucks for us. It gets me to thinking—what if we were on hundreds of stations? That has to cost millions of dollars every year. Big ministries must be under enormous pressure to raise funds. No wonder they spend so much time urging people to give. I sympathize, to a degree. Ministry takes money. Large ministries cost large amounts of money. But making a life-or-death plea for money every episode? I couldn’t do it. I just want to preach and teach the Word, not be a full-time fundraiser with some theology tacked-on at the end.
I’ve heard of ministries that spend on faith. They sign expensive contracts without the means to pay for them and then tell their suppliers, “The check is in the mail!” By contrast, we pay everyone on time (often in advance) and expand the ministry as people enable us financially to do it. I’m humbled that more and more people have chosen to sign up for an automatic monthly donation. Other ministries have a handful of big donors that bankroll the whole operation. We tend to have dozens of normal people making small donations every month. Some give $25/month. Others give a few hundred. A few give very sacrificially. Thanks to your giving, we raised a little over our budget this year. Your faithfulness means Bob and I don’t have to worry about finances and can concentrate on doing ministry—writing daily blogs and recording daily podcasts and moving forward with other projects.
For example, we’re looking into starting two international Grace in Focus newsletters (starting with an English one in Africa and a Spanish-language one). I’d eventually like to get newsletters started in the UK, Canada, Australia, and the Philippines. These would be printed and mailed locally and be about four-to-eight pages long. We’ll be building local mailing lists from the ground up. The newsletters will probably go out to a few dozen households at first but will grow over time, especially as we pair them with overseas ministries and conferences. Ken Yates was just teaching in Zambia with his daughter Kathryn. Later this month, he’ll be going to Belize. We’re also planning a Costa Rica conference (we’re not sure if this should be a local Spanish conference, or a mixed Spanish/English conference so it can be a vacation destination for some). Why go international? Because people need eternal life, and they need to know how to live the Christian life in a non-legalistic way.
The Free Grace message needs to reach the whole world. Through radio, podcasts, blogs, newsletters, conferences, and teaching, GES is growing the international aspects of our ministry. And everyone who chooses to give to GES is a partner in sending that message of grace!