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Should your organization supply free MP3 audio messages on the Internet?

About Index

Many Christian organizations are distributing sermons for profit as a means of supporting their ministries. We believe that practice is becoming both obsolete and uneconomic as the cost of distributing compressed digital audio over the Internet becomes steadily cheaper and faster.

Web sites like SermonAudio.com are hosting close to 100,000 free mp3 sermons. Active churches and educational organizations are benefiting from a massive dissemination of their material at a very low cost. This is truly strategic, as life changing and world changing truth fills the Internet waves. Sound Biblical orthodoxy and a truthful and comprehensive worldview, mediated through the Word and Spirit, have potential to liberate humanity individually and corporately.

With today's Internet technology, limiting the spread of sound Biblical teaching by relying on archaic distribution methods and imposing economic barriers, is self-defeating at best, and sadly short-sighted at worst.

Cults are printing and spreading deceptive materials for free at a frenetic pace. Liberal theologians and other humanists are using the mass media to stream constant messages into untaught minds around the globe. From a numbers standpoint, we're currently out-gunned. One step towards catching up, is to spread the message via free Internet distribution channels.

Let's anticipate an objection. What about organizations depending on the sale of audio messages to meet their budget? A common sense analysis shows that free distribution is advantageous from both an economic and a ministry perspective. First, economically speaking, providing quality audio messages for free will increase the profile of your organization maximizing the outreach impact of your teaching ministry. To connect with these new listeners, an audio clip can be appended to each message directing listeners to your web site and offering an opportunity to support your ministry or to purchase a high-quality recording. The total economic effect will be positive. Even if this dynamic takes time to yield positive economic results, we need to take a broader view of the Kingdom of God. We're seeking to transform lives by spreading the truth. We want to increase our audience, not limit it. Do we require payment in exchange the truth?

In conclusion, we believe that since the cost of Internet distribution is now almost free, there's no legitimate argument against making audio messages available for free. To rely on hard-media and mail distribution, and to require payment is to shoot ourselves in the foot by intentionally limiting the very message we're supposed to spread to all the world.

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