A Word of Encouragement from South Africa

South African FlagI have had a great deal of positive feedback to my last post announcing the launch of a new project to produce an Open Source Commentary Survey. A number of scholars have responded offering to write a survey of commentaries on a book, or group of books of the Bible. Today I also received the following e-mail, which is reproduced here by permission:

My name is Basil Dwyer

I live in a place called Matatiele in South Africa which is a small village in amongst the Drakensberg Mountains.

I have lived in this place for about 35 years, practising as an attorney.

I have also for the same number of years been a local preacher in the Methodist Church and have lead bible studies amongst the town folk and local farmers.

Access to Theological libraries is non – existent and the purchase of Theological books is prohibitive due to the very poor state of our exchange rate.

Your website is therefore literally a Godsend.

If it would be useful to you I would be happy to be part of your survey. Let me know.

Regards

Basil Dwyer

I cannot say how encouraging it is to know that the websites are reaching their intended audience around the globe and that they are making a difference for the Gospel. It is sobering to realise the difficulties that people in South Africa have in getting access to printed academic theological material, and this is mirrored in many other countries around the globe. I would also like to express my thanks to Basil and also to those who through their support make running the websites possible.

New Sources of Funding for Theology on the Web

Funding

I recently posted a poll in the Theology on the Web Facebook Group asking for suggestions as to how I could secure regular funding to continue to develop Theology on the Web. This is because Income from affiliate links, Google ads and one-off donations have fallen, while server costs will rise in September this year as I add more web space to the server. Before I begin I wanted to thank those who contributed their ideas to the post and to give some feedback in the hope of provoking further discussion. I also want to thank the couple who have now signed up to support the sites regularly.

Here are the options the Group suggested:

Open a Patreon Account

For those not familiar with it Patreon provides a superb service intended to offer support for artists and creators by offering regular supporters special deals, such as early access to new products, etc. 14 people voted for this option.

There are several reasons why I cannot take up this option, but for brevity I will mention only one. As part of my agreement with the publishers and authors who contribute content I undertake not to sell their work, but to make it available to everyone free of charge. I think that offering such content for payment, even for only a short period, conflicts with this obligation.

Add a PayPal Donate Button

8 people voted for this. To be honest I was a little bemused by this suggestion, as every page on my websites (over 2,000 of them), already has a PayPal donate button at the very top of the left-hand sidebar. I wondered if it was not obvious enough?

Approach your Church to Make it a Ministry of the Church

2 people voted for this. I know from experience that getting for support for providing theological resources is difficult even from those who are using the websites regularly. Promoting to those who have never heard of it is not likely to succeed.

Initiate a GoFundMe – Education Fundraiser

4 people voted for this. A few years ago my supporters responded very generously to my GoFundMe campaign to raise money for a new laptop. GoFundMe is great for one-off requests, but I would not be comfortable about making the same request each year. However, if I reach a funding crisis, I may have to take up this option in the short-term to keep the sites running.

Advertise my Bible College / Seminary on the websites

11 people voted for this option. As I mentioned above that income from Google ads has now fallen to such a low level. SO low, in fact, that I have today removed all the Google banner ads from the websites. This will give me enough space for two more seminaries / Bible Colleges to place vertical banner ads.

This is my preferred option. Please pass on this offer of advertising on to those in charge at your institutions to see if they are interested or sponsoring the websites in some other way. My contact details are here. If you would like to support the websites as an individual please visit the support page for suggestions of how you can best do so.

Cyber Monday Sales & Theology on the Web

Cyber Monday on Amazon

Today is “Cyber Monday” when millions of people will be buying Christmas gifts on Amazon and Christian Book Distributors.

Did you know that by clicking through the links below before making your purchases on Amazon & CBD you can support Theology on the Web at no extra cost to yourself? Just choose the appropriate link for your country below. Many thanks!

Christian Book Distributors

Christian Book Distributors

Amazon