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Annual Update (2014)
for our friends supporting our publishing ministry in prayer, financially and other ways
Maybe we’re just getting older and forgetting some of the struggles in our early years, but the last year felt to us like one of the most challenging 12 months we've had since Matthias Media opened it doors in 1988. It was certainly a tough year financially, and with tough financial times inevitably follows lots of hard work and hard thinking.
As we've reported in a previous update, the trend over the last few years, certainly in Australia and the UK, has been one of book and resource sales declining. (In the US, where we are still growing our customer base, the sales have been more steady.) Whatever the cause, there is no denying the reality of the trend.
2013 was the year in which we responded to this trend by building a completely new way of distributing our resources. Over the course of the year we invested heavily, both in time and money, and in October launched our exciting new digital platform, GoThereFor.com.
There are enormous benefits to the GoThereFor.com initiative—not least the ability to get resources to parts of the world where the commercial realities make it difficult to ship physical copies at an afforable cost.
But more than that; we believe that in ministry terms there are at least three other major pluses:
1. As churches make access to the GoThereFor.com resources available to all their members, they communicate a powerful and important message: “access to these resources is for you—not just the staff—because disciple-making is something we all do”. That's a message our churches need to convey.
2. By putting biblically faithful digital resources in front of a growing number of people in a growing number of churches, our hope and prayer is that there will be more Christians being more creative and more effective in pursuing disciple-making ministry in more places around the world.
3. It's a very virtuous model: the more people jump on board with GoThereFor.com subscriptions, the more we can afford to develop new resources to make the site even better value; which means more people will want to join up; which means…
At the time of writing this, we've made a solid start to achieving our target for GoThereFor.com subscriptions. In a couple of weeks time (in April 2014), we will be featuring GoThereFor.com at the Together for the Gospel Conference in Kentucky—where there will be thousands of evangelical church leaders passing our stand each day. So we hope to attract a good number of them to give GoThereFor.com a try.
So what about more traditional book publishing?
Well, we're not about to give up on that just yet. There's still plenty of people who want to buy physical resources from us. We'll need to do it smarter and more effieicntly, of course, but we still think there's a need for paper and DVD—especially for evangelistic purposes.
So how can you pray for and support us?
Firstly, please pray that GoThereFor.com will gain the momentum we need for it to become that virtuous model—i.e. that lots of churches and small groups will sign up to membership. If you can both pray and tell church or small group leaders about GoThereFor.com and encourage them to subscribe, that would be a terrific help.
Secondly, please pray that we will have a stronger year financially in 2014. We have an exciing range of new resources planned for the year, so pray that people find them useful and we sell lots of them. If you can also help us by making a donation to our work, that would be very much appreciated (matthiasmedia.com.au/donate).
Thirdly, please pray for the Matthias Media team. As we said, our staff have been working hard and we're all feeling a bit frayed at times.
Finally, pray that God will use the reources that we are sending out—whether in physical or digital form—to make and grow disciples of the Lord Jesus, to the glory of his name.
Thanks for your ongoing support and prayers.
Ian Carmichael and Tony Payne
for the whole Matthias Media team