Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I don't think so . . .

Here's an article from the Wall Street Journal sent by David Leece about how T.D. Jakes is getting ready to sell subsriptions to his podcasts.

Pastor's Sermons To Test Viability Of Paid Podcasts

Doesn't quite sit right with me. . . .the whole charging for the Gospel thing.


Matt Theule said...

I don't intend to defend TD Jakes or his decision, but rather to point out that a case can be made that TD Jakes is simply charging me for the convenience of listening to his sermons when and where I want to.

In a brief (my first time) perusal of thepottershouse.org it looks like his sermons are freely available as a webcast during the sermon and there is another method to listen to previous sermons 24/7. If I wanted to, I could listen to his sermons for free when they are being webcasted. But some people may want to listen to the sermons during Monday's morning commute, or when they are mountain biking or cleaning the house.

Are Christian bookstores and Christian publishers like Zondervan analagous to this situation? They sell Bibles and Bible commentaries. That is also 'charging for the gospel'.

Is there a difference?

GDL Wong said...

In my opinion, I think all pastors should have their sermons like John Piper. His ministry spent moolah making 20+ years' worth of sermons (audio and text) available for free.

Matt makes a great point in light of convenience - and there is the possibility that the profit from TJ's sermons might go straight to charitable ministries (as I discovered with my new church).?

Most bible publishers, have an unwritten policy if someone needed a bible personally, and wrote to the company, would grant a free bible (not a genuine leather, gold gilded study bible mind you) but a bible nonetheless if you couldn't afford one, or your local Christian bookstore. *

*being in the Christian marketing industry, I know I designed a few flyers giving away free bibles to those who cannot afford it.

Tim Weaver said...

It's a tough call.

It costs money/time to put it on the web, but Christians should be leading the way in charity. I would be interested in hearing their thoughts and reasons for doing it since I have a hard time thinking that Jesus would do that. Of course I may not know what Jesus would do as well as I would like to think since most people in His time didn't understand Him then.

Jeannett Gibson said...

True, it costs time and money to post the sermons, and yes, people are willing to pay money for convenience...but I think this is a case where perception is more powerful than reality. I think that there are a lot of non-christians out there who believe that churches just want your money, etc. and the very fact that the Wall Street Journal covered the story is telling...do you think they would run a story on Dr. Phil charging for podcasts? No, they wouldn't...because there is an expectation (even outside of the church) that a psychologist charges for his services, a pastor does not. The fact that they covered it at all is proof of their weariness of the issue in general...or at the very least, their expectation that it is a controversial topic. I agree there are costs associated with this type of sermon/service, but I think the church should always err on the side of charity, especially when perceptions may be all that people know of Christ and His followers. So, I'm with Tim on this one...even though it makes sense in a practical way...there's more to it than that in this case.

Brianna Heldt said...

Jeannett those were some good points. Interesting discussion point for sure. It does make me a little uncomfortable that he charges to listen to his sermons (unless maybe the money was all going to charity.)

As for Christian bookstores and publishers (also interesting discussion), some of what goes on there doesn't always sit very well with me either (not necessarily that they charge for fancy Bibles, mostly just the commercialism that goes on.)

Andy Gibson said...

Only in the Good Ole Red, White and Blue...

When there is a whole other world where people can't even read their bibles for free for fear of death.

IMOP, this goes beyond a Christian bookstore type situation.

Ever heard the song by D.C. Talk, "What if I Stumble"? The intro: "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today
Is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips
Then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle.
That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable".

Dave McShea said...


I have not been on your blog for a while but could not pas this one up.

Will T.D. start selling tickets to his services next? The same logic can be used. They take time and money to put on.

I think a podcast is just like preaching only to a larger audience. And you know what, if people are being fed it will be supported by the giving to the church.

I think that podcast and website downloads are just the next wave of spreading the word. If you charge you will have received your reward in full. If you allow God to supply your needs your will be blessed abundantly.

Brian Wong said...

Honestly, I'm not suprised that he's doing it. There's always someone out there trying to make a buck, and monetizing podcasts is a pretty easy and probably fairly lucrative way to do it. For better or worse, I'm sure others will follow in his footsteps.