Harry Edwards received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Christian Education and a Masters of Arts degree in Christian Apologetics from Biola University where he currently works full time managing the campus bookstore. He is an active member at Ocean View Baptist Church where he teaches in the adult Sunday school and leads and plays the drums for the praise and worship band. In his spare time, Harry enjoys doing things with his family, i.e., tennis, backpacking and mentoring others to realize their full potential in the service of our Lord.
It's been a few weeks since we held our Legacy and Looking Forward fund raising dinner and I still get excited over the memory of it. Family and friends showed up and reaffirmed their love and support of our staff that evening. Needless to say, it was a wonderful time. We had Rich and Andy present their vision for expanding Apologetics.com, Inc. to the U.K. and Canada -- more on that later. Our main speaker, Kevin Lewis talked about the critical need for apologetics in the church today. One of the main thrusts of his talk was to motivate pastors and church leaders to be proactive in ensuring proper Biblical teaching takes place in our services. Of course it doesn't stop there. Once we establish this practice, we must learn to defend it using sound Biblical and philosophical arguments. We'll make this video available soon.
Chris closed things by making an appeal to everyone to join us in our mission to defend Christianity's truth claims on the radio, internet and other related activities through prayer and financial support. But just when I thought the evening was over, my friends (Apologetics.com staff) surprised me with a simple ceremony commemorating 10 years of ministry--complete with plaque and cake. It definitely was humbling and yet appropriate. Appropriate, not because of the things I had done, but because of a desire to celebrate all that God had allowed our team to do to expand His kingdom through apologetics in the last 10 years. That, without question needed celebrating and I'm thankful Rich spearheaded that significant part in the program.
Enjoy the photos -- thanks to Pearl Aquino. I'm looking forward to the next one. And if you weren't there, I hope you can join us next time.
In less than 24 hours after we monetized our site I received this e-mail:
"You should be ashamed to charge for the Gospel.
Need cost covering bandwidth, your lives, media, etc?
Trust God to provide.
How will someone be equipped to combat false teachings if they have to pay?
I am disapointed in your site."
Naturally it broke my heart. Not because I suddenly realized we had done the wrong thing. But rather because many Christians maintain an attitude of--for a lack of a better term, "over-spiritualizing money." That's the thing that got me down. Now, I'm not too naive that I don't realize there are excesses in the church when it comes to money, but that hardly plays into the argument. That's like saying I should stop eating because there are gluttons in the world. Money is money; neither good, nor bad. It's a neutral thing. Remember, it's the love of money that is the root of evil, and not money itself. Anyway, my purpose is not to give a full-orbed justification for monetizing the site, but rather some thoughts as to why we went this direction.
Some of you might not realize that we have been engaging the world in apologetics for over 10 years. Nearly all of our staff have advanced degrees in apologetics, some have doctorates, and a few are working on Ph.D.s. In all those years, none of us have collected a single cent in salary. Sure, there are the occasional honorariums for speaking gigs, but those were not fronted by our ministry. If we do receive love gifts or compensation, it's to cover our expenses for doing ministry. The fact that we've done it this way for the past 10 years, to me, is testament that God exists. What other apologetic do we need? :)
Apologetics.com, Inc. exists because a bunch of friends got together and said, "…you know, the church is struggling. They're struggling because they do not know that God 'really' exists. We ought to challenge them in those areas and help boost their faith by providing reasons and evidences of his existence," or something like that. And it's all been a labor of love since then.
I love alliteration and so I thought I'd summarize my points with these three words:
1. Allowance - we want to start giving our regular staff members who do a lot of heavy lifting, i.e., proving content in the area of radio, articles, administration, etc. a regular stipend. After all, a worker is worthy of his wages (1 Tim. 5:17,18). We want to minimize encumbrances to our staff so they can concentrate on doing the work of an apologist.
2. Accountability - if our workers are getting paid on a regular basis, then they hardly would be considered "volunteer", albeit the small allowance. We love volunteers, but by nature we can't expect or plan when things get done in a timely manner. There's nothing wrong with that--because that's what volunteers do. They can do something or refrain from doing something without obligation. But if we want to be good stewards of our resources, we must be accountable to the mission and vision. A stipend is a token of an agreement between an apologist and the mission that certain things will get done excellenty in a timely manner.
3. Advancement - If we want to be the place for all things apologetics, we're going to need a boost in funding. Acquiring good content, planning events, travel, administrative work cost money. We believe, with your support, we can step up to a whole new level of ministry and deliver the resources you need to help challenge believers to think and thinkers to believe (Apologetics.com motto).
So, this turns out to be a trust-building exercise, rather than a faith-shunning one. For there is no way we can achieve this without God's providential care. We continue to trust that He'll provide for our ministries' needs for the next 10 years.
I got this from a friend a few weeks ago. I thought it was thought-provoking enough to post here. I'll leave it up to you to consider the merits of this quote.
"Let me get this straight. We're going to pass a health care plan written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn't read it but exempts themselves from it, signed by a president that also hasn't read it and who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that's nearly broke."
What could possibly go wrong?