I Tim 5:18 – For Scripture says, Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain, and The worker deserves his wages. (NIV)
I apologize for my hiatus the past three weeks from reading, writing, and encouraging all who give so much here on CB. I won't bore you with the details other than to say major medical issues have kept me from being able to read or write other than a few mails.
I intended to put this on paper around the time I wrote The Father's Heart – Love Hurts (Part 4) and then the bottom fell out. I am just now beginning to have the energy and am penning on a subject I never in my wildest imagination thought I would – Giving.
Growing up in the Bible Belt, in the 1960's and 1970's, I witnessed the advent of the televangelist. It is not just those broadcasting with 800 phone numbers to keep those cards and letters coming, give to this ministry. Those not on a large platform used their positions to preach on tithing/giving, while living lavish life styles. Then they would take the money and run.
From a scriptural and practical business standpoint, starting your own blog site the expense is at a bare minimum $50 a month. You are responsible for the interface between the web hosting site and script writing residing on the platform. All technical issues are yours for resolving.
Pareto's Mathematical Principal has been proven over and again 80%+ of a particular occurrence comes from 20% of instances. Thus, I estimate +80% percent of the accounts on CB are Tier 1. John is providing on the basic entry tier account service at .075 a day. At this charge, he is subsidizing at least 80% of the exspense, yet alone making any money for his labor. You truly have a man who loves people and God. Putting this ministry on his heart and it above many of his needs.
John wants to provide services while not charging though the Non-Recurring Engineering (NRE) $'s and man hours are EXTREMELY significant (e.g. – setting up groups and new notification systems). Unless John has a venture capitalist underwriting CB, he is funding it himself from other endeavors. I understand why he's never been able to write the Isaiah series. He is neck deep in maintaining and trying to keeping the site running.
This first day of reckoning with the web hosting site is only symptomatic of a larger underlying problem. John in his heart wants this ministry God envisioned for him to be available to people and continues to lay his life down daily. He does not want to see people leave not just because of the high exspense of customer turnover; shutdown and setup of new accounts.
If funds from CB site membership run at 4 or 5% a year; John will reach a point where he won't be able to pay the bills (like a local church building must to remain open). The Lord and John's heart have kept it running for the eight years of existence. Knowing the demographics, John is concerned about nickel and diming people on fixed incomes and those not independently wealthy.
As seen with General Motors, you can sell $100 billion in a year and lose $5 billion when expenses outweigh revenue. In commerce, it is considered bad business. Volume regardless of size, priced below the exspense does not keep doors open. John's message of paying this month's web hosting bill was a shot over the bow.
If he really wanted to use his SW talent for money, knowing he would not write applications for vices (e.g. – online gambling), he could be making large amounts writing gaming applications. My son would love it!
I suggest the following and you may comment or post to the wall for John to see your thoughts:
Having worked in High tech for 20 years before job outsourced to Asia, I'd guess John is spending 60 – 80 hours a week supporting CB while trying to also do other ventures to keep the ship afloat. I apologize this blog is so business like. The reality in ministry or business is a smaller presence which maintains itself while Christ is proclaimed with doors open must be considered.
Knowing John's heart, if the above are a hardships financially, he will give gracious consideration. I would rather write this now for all to see with eyes wide open, than John to one day announce on the wall he's having to try and sell CB or close it down.
He with God and have been faithful for so many years. If this year is typical, John has only been covering 95% of CB costs for eight years. God has used John to hold this ministry and us up. We must now hold him up!
Hebrews 6:10 – For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. (NASB)
Attributions: Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica. All rights reserved worldwide.
New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, California. All rights reserved.
I have been a member of this website for more than seven years and know what you say is true. It has saddened me at times when some people have actually been offended at the very idea that they should pay for this service and before it became an all-paid website, a very small number of people contributed any sort of financial support at all.
In regards to your suggestions, I do need to probably mention a few things. Until recently there was a three-tier membership level. They were set at $10.00, $50.00 and $100.00 plus. In trying to create more features for middle tier, the gap between tier 2 and tier 3 narrowed to the point that three tiers could not be justified. Personally, I think your suggestion for $15.00 a month for the tier 1 membership is a good one. That comes out to an average of 50 cents a day. That's not very much when you look at it that way, is it. I went back and read your suggestion and I am assuming you meant $15.00 a month rather than $15.00 a week as that would mean the tier one membership would essential cost the same as a tier 3 membership. :wink:
I don't think charging for groups or other features would go over very well as those are features included with membership. Not all features are available to all members. It depends on their membership tier. I suppose it would be different if there was no tiered membership but it doesn't seem fair that a person paying $50.00+ a month should have to pay additional money to use features here at CB. That was one of the reasons that members in that tier are not charged for sponsored blogs. I think however, that raising the cost of sponsored blogs to $4.00 might be an incentive to move to a higher membership tier.
These are just some of my thoughts.