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All of us who take advantage of the incredible blessing of free resources on the internet should consider reading this excellent post by Nathan Bingham. He talks about the persistent illusion and the inescapable reality related to these things:

An Illusion

There is an illusion—an act far more enchanting than having an elephant disappear before your eyes—that has spread far and wide across the world wide web. It’s an illusion that is captivating millions. The line of thinking goes something like this: if it’s online then it’s easy. If it’s digital then it’s inexpensive. If it’s composed of bits and bytes then it’s quick.

This belief is not unique to Christians, but over the years I’ve witnessed a Christian voice (perhaps a vocal minority) grow louder in their complaints and demands via comments and emails. In their mind, every Christian ministry is expected to have every possible resource (study tools, videos, books, audio, articles, apps, etc.) available on every possible platform. And they want it now! Not only do they want it now, that want quality, and they want it for free. A thank you is seldom heard when this is actually achieved, after all, it was online and therefore easy, inexpensive, and quick, right?

This is not evidence of Christians growing in grace, but growing under a delusion. As a Christian geek, an ‘insider’ if you will, I’d like to sound a corrective.

The Reality

I speak in black and white terms like this because for one to believe that getting quality resources online is easy, inexpensive, and quick is to be deluded.

The reality:

Quality online resources often take a team of people with great skill, at great cost, with a great investment of time.

Read the whole thing here, including three things we can do to serve those ministries that serve us so well.

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6 thoughts on “There’s No Such Thing as a Free Blog”

  1. Ross says:

    Timely and true. I remember vividly the first time I stumbled across John Piper’s Desiring God website, I couldn’t believe the vast amount of resources available for free. Since then I must admit I’ve been so spoiled with such resources I’ve fallen into the trap of expecting them to be available, in full, for free, without giving much consideration to the costs involved. Thanks for this.

  2. Sean Rixon says:

    hi Justin,

    I say this sincerely and not facetiously – Have you ever considered how it might help matters considerably if all of you at GC, and beyond, wrote blog-posts far less frequently than you do (say, once a week or maybe only 2-3 times a week at most).

    That way, three things may happen: 1) many readers would be less inclined to take your hard work for granted; 2) some readers (like me) may not feel quite as overwhelmed-to-the-point-of-discouragement by the sheer number of blog-posts that we feel obligated to keep up with; and 3) by writing far less frequently, there’s a possibility that all of you could have more time to reflect critically on the things you write about, and as a result, your blog-posts could possibly be a whole lot stronger than they already are.

    Just some thoughts, but may be worth your mulling over.
    blessings in Christ,
    Sean Rixon

  3. Dave says:

    I speak in black and white terms like this because for one to believe that getting quality resources online is easy, inexpensive, and quick is to be deluded.

    Yes, there are definitely costs involved – and there are a few sites offering free resources that I donate to due to my recognition of this – but compare costs to those of maintaining a physical presence reaching the same number of people. I expect you’ll find the latter to be quite a bit more expensive.

  4. My previous website (which no longer exists) was an 8-year labor of love that I spent a lot of time and money to maintain. The research, education that went into writing the articles was beyond my ability to measure. There is also the trip to Israel, the sleepy-eyed, long days of traveling through the ancient places, and taking pictures, even when I wanted to fall asleep on the ground was also an investment. And I am happy to know that others benefit from my investments of time, energy, and money.

  5. JB says:

    As a pastor who blogs 5-10 times a month and finds it challenging to find the time for that, I greatly admire and appreciate what you and others do on a larger scale.

    The countless resources and insights you’ve provided have been especially edifying to me and my ministry. While I know you weren’t fishing for compliments let me say thank you and job well done.

  6. My family does missions. We also do ministry in our local area. Much of this comes at great personal cost as well as effort with regard to fundraising. My kids remarked that we could have nicer things if we didn’t do so much ministry. However, they also said that they count it as joy that our family gets to serve God and others with our resources.

    A family in our church just had an extended yard sale to relieve the burden of material things so they could go full-time into foreign missions. My wife just took a truck to their house to take what didn’t sell to add to a church-wide yard sale for missions.

    Nothing is free. What a blessing to count the cost.

    And while we strive for quality, we won’t be perfect until the resurrection. So we must balance grace and quality: giving grace for a lack of perfection while building up the quality of our various efforts to proclaim the gospel.

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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