Friday, February 16, 2007

Are We Worldly, Commercial or Ministers?

A recent newsletter from the wonderful and informative entertainment website, Infuse Magazine (, has inspired me to wax philosophic on the topic of Christianity and the Arts....If it of God, or is it about the money?

This is a topic very close to my heart, as I have found myself on the front lines of these type of conversations every now and then, because of what we are attempting to do through our Eye Witness graphic novel series (see:

In regards to the economics of trying to carve out a niche in the world of Christian publishing...the array of comments I receive via email, on this blog and my various web postings, is really quite diverse on this subject. Of course I've received many messages in support of what I am try to accomplish. But, I've also heard from people who portray themselves as Christian and/or spiritual, that will berate me for selling my books at all! They rationalize, that if my works were truly "of God" and designed with the Gospel message in mind, I should just be giving them away. They feel, what I do couldn't be looked at as a ministry if it is a for-profit venture.

My answer to that is a usually a very simple question: What church or Christian speaker/preacher/entertainer, (music, comedy, movies, traveling Evangelists etc...), works for free with no type of support either through financial backing, selling something, through tithes and/or appearance fees? None. Unless the person heading up the ministry is financially independent, or has someone behind the scenes who is, everyone working fulltime toward sharing the word, whether it's in a Church, a web-site, through producing music, movies, books or television...all have to support their families, their staff and their infrastructure (through which they are sharing that message). I've been a part of a mega-church in the DFW area which has a stated operational overhead of "millions of dollars" each and every month. Is it any wonder why they sell, books, coffee, donuts, CD's, T-shirts and Christian addition to asking for a tithe each and every week? It's all part of how this church goes about taking the word to people not just in DFW, but all over the world through their services, through TV and through the internet.

I look at that kind of comment as being rooted in either ignorance of business principles (as they apply to ministry) or lack of familiarity of the format being used (because it feels so foreign to the person's experience, they feel that it certainly must be designed strictly for monetary gain, since they can not fathom how it could be used effectively to minister).

That begs the question...are there people out there just trying to make a buck by using the draw of Christianity? Yes, of course there are and have been literally since the first century, (see Bar-Jesus in the book of Acts)! So how does one know whether the presentation, song, movie or book is designed with a genuine desire to share/spread God's word, or just make a quick buck? As the Bible tells us, "You will know them by their fruit." In other words, it's overall impact may not be wide-spread or even understood till years (or even decades after it's creation). But the bottom line is always, does the presentation accurately convey (and portray) the word of God as described to us in the Bible (which was written by men inspired by God)? If the answer is yes, than no matter it's economic impact, it will reach people who need to be reached...and for me, that is the ultimate goal for my works. If the answer is no, then (paraphrasing the Gospel)..."If the activity is of man's creation, rather than of God's, than it will eventually fail and it's followers will scatter just like all followers of false prophets."

For maverick publishers/creators like myself, this is strictly about mission or ministry. I have a story to tell that was inspired by God in my heart, mind and soul. I have been given the talents and direction on how to mold that message to reach those I'm suppose to reach; how to market it; and how to finance it. God has provided me with both the resources and/or the people with the resources to help get it off the ground. God has provided me with enough sales to repay those who have given generously either of their time or services to get the series out into the marketplace.

Will God ever grant me enough exposure/sales to actually make the series a economic success (in other words, that I'll actually turn a profit)? For me that really doesn't matter, since I have a faith that is rooted in my belief that if I am obedient to his will, God will provide for me and my family...anything above and beyond that will be a blessing and just allow me to be able to just give more books away to youth groups and ministries who need them but cannot afford them (which I try to do as much as possible now anyway) and provide me a vehicle through which I can help other creators bring their projects to market.

Robert James Luedke

copyright 2007, Robert James Luedke

No comments: