Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, today is Giving Tuesday, so I thought it most appropriate for the big announcement, which has been hinted at on this site for the past few weeks.
As we ring in the new year on January 1st, the five websites of the Mystagogy Resource Center, along with all future ones, will no longer be available for free access. Rather, you will need to be a paid member in order to access all the nearly 10,000 posts which have been made so far, and the many thousands of more which will be posted in the future.
For the past few years now many have helped support this ministry financially by giving donations, either monthly or annually, and sometimes in between. This has allowed this ministry to become what it is today, and for that I am very grateful. Unfortunately, however, it just has not been enough to allow this ministry to grow to become how I envisioned it by now. In fact, donations over the past year have fallen to the point where this ministry can no longer sustain itself. For this reason, with the coming new year, though I would like to say we are taking things to a new level with this ministry, things must be scaled back.
By scaled back I mean that this ministry can no longer be supported by the 125 or so regular supporters, therefore it can no longer be offered for free at their expense. The way I look at things, even though the Mystagogy Resource Center brings in at an average about 150,000 viewers a month, the only ones who truly value this ministry are the 125 or so that are regularly contributing to its sustenance and growth. Three years ago there were about 300 supporters, and this ministry barely survived, but I did the best I could with it, so you can imagine what it is like now. Though it is hard for me to imagine that only 125 people truly value this ministry, because the great majority of the comments and emails of appreciation I get have come from people that never contributed a dime to this ministry. Three years ago we only had about 2,000 followers on Facebook, less than a thousand on Twitter, and about 500 email subscribers, while today we have 10,000 followers on Facebook, 4,000 on Twitter and 3,000 email subscribers. Three years ago I barely had 30,000 monthly visitors to my site, but today I get between 150,000 - 200,000 a month on my sites. This tells me that something needs to change.
How is it that a ministry which shows steady signs of growth can lose financial supporters, despite my appeals two or three times a year both online and by mail? I have some theories that I will not get into here, for the sake of not making this post too long. But I pose the question as a personal question to you as you read this. I'm sure those who have not so far contributed to this ministry have a personal answer to this. Perhaps you don't value this ministry to the point where it is not worth a dime from your pocket. If that's true, then the fact that this website will no longer be available to you doesn't mean much. But for those who do value it to the point where you would like to access the previous contents of these sites at some point, and are interested in the many thousands of more things that will be posted (I currently have over 33,000 in my waiting folder alone!), then when January 1st rolls around, you will have to be a paying member.
As I said before, I have hinted at this for the past few weeks so that it would not come as a big shock. And since that time I have received about 30 emails, all of which express worry. Keep in mind that this is an international ministry that has literally gone to every continent, country, city, island and perhaps town in the world, at least according to my records. When I started getting hits from Easter Island and other small remote islands, for example, I realized just how remotely this all goes. So in the past two weeks I have received four emails from Asian countries, three from Africa, two from the Middle East, two from northern Europe, one from South America, and the rest scattered from mainly English speaking countries. All of them say just about the same thing: Please don't do this! Why? Because almost all of these emails have come from people who are either Orthodox or are close to embracing Orthodoxy, yet they have no money to barely sustain themselves, there are no priests or churches available to them for hundreds of miles, and the only daily or even weekly spiritual food they get is from the internet, and primarily from this website. And these 30 or so are not the only ones with such a story.
I have yet to reply to these emails because the answer will really come from you. The only reason this ministry will only be available to paid subscribers in the future is because funding is low and we need to scale back. By scaling back I am hoping that this ministry will rejuvenate peoples interest to allow it to grow. This was all going to happen on December 1st, but the reason I pushed it to January 1st is because I would like to give my readers an opportunity to prevent the paid subscription service, if not for my sake or your sake, then at least for the sake of those people who have emailed me with desperate appeals to not do it. If only 30 have written, imagine how many have not. And imagine how much potential this ministry has in the future to impact other people that would otherwise have no access to it unless it was offered for free.
Therefore, here is my proposal. If by January 1st the monthly and annual contributors increases from the current 125 or so to at least 500, then it will remain as it is, free to all. 500 contributors will allow this ministry to survive, but even better, it will allow it to grow somewhat. There will not be any compromise to this.
What exactly do I mean by 500 contributors? If there is a paid subscription service, then it will cost either $5.00 a month or $60.00 a year. This is very affordable, as it amounts to one or two cups of coffee a month, depending where you get your coffee, or less than 15 cents a day. Now if 500 people contribute at least 5.00 a month or $60.00 a year by January 1st, then this ministry will not go into a paid subscription service.
And there are ways to get around this so that it is not 500 separate contributions. For example, if someone starts contributing $10 a month, or gives $120 a year, then I will count this as two subscriptions. If someone contributes $50 a month, or gives $300 a year, then this will count as five subscriptions. And so on and so forth. 500 contributions should sound like a piece of cake, especially for mere pennies a day, but believe me, it is a lot more difficult than you can imagine to get someone to voluntarily and generously give you even a dollar, so I know first hand how truly difficult it will be to actually get at least 500.
Those who are currently subscribing to this ministry on a monthly basis, or have contributed in the past nine months or so, will be given access to the paid subscription service automatically, and will remain so as long as they keep up their subscription. More details will be forthcoming on this.
The appeal to find 500 monthly or annual subscribers begins today. I will be making weekly updates till January 1st to give you more details about everything, and updating you on our progress.
As far as contributions go, you can make a monthly donation either through paypal below or by having it withdrawn automatically from your bank account. To make a one time contribution, you can do it through paypal (whether you have a paypal account or not), or mail in your contribution to the address below. If you have any questions about how to contribute, email me at Mystagogy@aol.com.
There are many more details I would like to give about this, but I am trying to keep this initial appeal as short as possible. More information will be forthcoming.
Thank you to all who respond to this appeal, and I pray everyone continues to have a blessed Nativity season.
With love in Christ,
Click on the DONATE button to make a one-time donation (a Paypal account is not needed to make a one-time donation):
To make a monthly contribution, choose from the options below in the drop down menu to set your amount and click on the SUBSCRIBE button (drop down menu may not work for Firefox users; please use another browser).
To send in your donation, please do so to the following address:
PO Box 320284
West Roxbury, MA 02132
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Posted by John Sanidopoulos at 10:12:00 AM