The blog has done extremely well this past year, thanks to you the members and the core of people who work to keep it going. Here on our annual last day I’d like to take look back on what has happened and talk a bit about what lies ahead.
I’m particularly pleased that we have continued to meet our two goals for the blog, which drove us to start it over eleven years ago now:
- To provide scholarly knowledge about the historical Jesus, the New Testament, and the other Christian writings of the first three or four centuries to a broad non-scholarly audience.
- To raise money for charities while doing it, highly reputable, responsible, and effective organizations that deal with hunger, homelessness, disaster relief, and literacy.
To start with the charity: once more we have done extremely well, having distributed (as of today) just over $480,000. To put that into a bit of perspective, our first full year of operation, exactly ten years ago, we raised $54,000. I’m no mathematician, but by my count that’s about a 489% increase over ten years. Whoa. When you add this year’s total to last years, we have contributed nearly a million dollars.
Most of those funds come from our membership fees, which start at $29.95/year (or $2.99/month) at the Bronze level – i.e., well, less than 60 cents a week. Seems like a pretty good deal! And remember there are higher levels of membership for more perks: Silver, Gold, and the Yowser-level Platinum. Check them out! https://ehrmanblog.org/register/ . Other moneys have come in from generous donations many of you have chosen to make (completely tax deductible, as are the membership fees themselves) and our fund raisers, the book club, and the movie club – all of which we plan on continuing with gusto in the year to come.
In addition to those funds, this past year we have done some private fundraising for the operating expenses of the blog, specifically to enable us to move forward with an entirely new platform, to be built by our Chief Technology Officer Ben Porter, in the coming year.
This Blog 3 will be much improved over what we have now, which itself is an impressive construction unlike almost any other on the face of the planet in what it allows us to do. Blog 3 will be more powerful, efficient, user-friendly, and helpful. We’re eager for it, and the good news is that the money is in the bank to make it happen. (Again, not a *penny* of membership fees or regular blog donations has gone to this fund, or to any of our operating expenses, this past year or ever. All that is paid for privately.)
In terms of what the blog has provided this past year for the those of you who have joined, I think by any standard we can say it has been … a lot. I continue to post 5-6 times a week, each and every week, with archives going back nearly twelve years now, all searchable (just do a word search for what you’re interested in). There are in all about 3,800 posts, of which 3,472 are mine (the others are by “guest posters,” almost always top-level scholars with something they’d like to say to the blog).
This year’s blog posts have also received nearly 11,500 comments from blog members (all members at the Silver Level and up are allowed to comment on what they read). And I have replied to about 3,600 of them – trying to answer every question I get.
For those at the Gold level, I have done a monthly Gold Q&A (audio); and Platinum members, in addition to being able to access these, have had four webinars with me every year (on various topics of wide interest!).
Finally, I’d like to thank all the members, donors, employees, and volunteers who make the blog happen:
First, the two employees who do masses of work, often above and beyond the call of duty:
- Diane Pittman: Chief Operating Officer and righthand person, who does just about everything from customer support, to coordinating, scheduling, and running events, to disbursing funds, to many hours of advising the boss, so that he needs to do little now besides provide content. Diane keeps all the trains running on time and the blog wouldn’t be happening without her.
- Ben Porter: Chief Technical Officer. Ben does everything connected with the technology of the blog, including making it run and fixing it when it’s broke. He will soon be taking on the responsibility of producing the new platform for Blog 3. We are moving into a Brave New World.
Second: a group of a group of volunteers from over this past year who have generously give of their time to do much of the work that the blog needs in order to function:
- Brandon Bender: Reader of Gold-member Audio Posts
- Dave Bohn: Devoted Business Manager
- Lance Boyer: Coordinator of the Blog Book Club
- Robert Gilbert: Director of the Blog Forum
- Chris Huntley: Provider of Social Marketing strategies
- John Paul Middlesworth: Reader of Gold audio posts
- Ken Teutsch: Reader of Gold audio posts
- Vanessa Porter: Coordinator of Social Media
- Sharon Roberts: Reader of Gold-member Audio Posts
- Glenn Siepert: Graphic designer & Guru of social media
- Doug Wadeson: Structural organization of the site
- And the Committee that handled oversight of the planning phases of the Blog 3 construction, a group that, once formed, began to call themselves the Blog Squad: Kevin Grant (chair); Dave Bohn; Cheryl Pletcher, and Doug Wadeson. They were extraordinarily helpful in conceiving and planning how we are to move ahead, and unusually generous in providing their time and expertise. We are eager now to move on to the construction phase.
In short, it’s been a really good year for the blog. And we look forward to what lies ahead.
You too can help us in that venture, not just by participating in the blog yourself but by making others aware of it: family members, neighbors, work associates, financial advisors, dentists, and physical therapists – anyone you suspect may be interested in taking a look. It doesn’t hurt to tell them about us and to suggest they check us out.
I hope you have a good year lying ahead of you. May we all thrive and grow, and be concerned as well for the good of others.
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