In the print edition of The Briefing (#405) we’ve included an update on how things are going here at Matthias Media, and we wanted to make this available to our online readers as well. We’re so grateful that so many of you care about our ministry and support it in prayer and other ways. We hope this information will help inform your prayers and encourage you with what the Lord is doing.
As we’ve reported in previous updates, like the publishing industry generally, we’ve experienced a steady downward trend in the sales of books and printed resources in recent years, particularly in Australia. But the good news is that in 2012 we managed to arrest that trend, especially in Australia. So overall our sales in 2012 were up compared to 2011 (admittedly by a pretty modest 1.6%). There’s still a long way to go, but it was certainly encouraging (and somewhat of a relief) to see the sales graph line turning back up.
Some of the statistics shown at the bottom of this Update show you some of the really amazing numbers that are involved in this. When we think about resources distributed for use all around the world, and especially evangelistic resources like Two Ways to Live or The Essential Jesus, we can’t help but be grateful for the way God has used our publishing ministry.
Meeting the ongoing challenges
But it certainly continues to be a challenging operating environment. What we said in our Update in early 2011 continues to be true:
It’s a time of great change for book publishers and retailers everywhere. Reading habits are changing. People are still reading, perhaps more than ever—but differently: more digitally, in shorter bursts, and often with audio and video as part of the mix. Online retailing continues to change the way books are sold in ways that challenge the long-term economic viability of publishing. The ebook revolution is also finally dawning (after many false starts), and over the next five years will reconfigure the publishing landscape.
The general book industry is facing all these challenges, and we are not exempt from them at Matthias Media. Pray for us as we develop new strategic plans not just to survive, but to take advantage of the massive opportunities that are opening up to publish and distribute books and resources in new ways.
We knew we had to work pretty hard and we did. And we knew we needed to make changes, and we have. We have been developing new strategies and investing in the future. So, for example, in the past 12‑18 months we have
♦ taken The Briefing online,
♦ created new apps for delivering content in new ways (like the new XV Bible reading app),
♦ started selling digital versions of our Pathway Bible Guides, and
♦ rapidly expanded our list of available ebooks—both old and new titles.
We’ve also been thinking hard about the emerging opportunities and how best to make use of them. To help us do all this, last year we employed Sam Freney full-time as our editor in charge of Digital Resources.
Of course, much of this new activity and investment was only possible because we sought, and very generously received, financial support from many friends. We have been greatly encouraged by this. For people to say “We value your ministry” is always nice; for them to say “we value your ministry and here is a cheque to help you grow it into the future”—well, that’s encouragement with double underlining! Thank you again to the many of you who have contributed.
The way forward
As we’ve tested and thought and researched, the likely shape of our future ministry has become clearer. It still revolves around our core purposes of persuading (promoting and defending evangelical theology and the people-based word and prayer ministry that flows out of it) and publishing (producing the resources that help people be effective under God in that type of ministry). And it will involve still more investing (in developing new kinds of resources and delivery mechanisms that technology is opening up).
In particular, in 2013 we are focusing on three key areas:
♦ Developing multi-channel delivery of The Briefing and growing an online community that interacts and shares ministry ideas. We will be launching ebook versions of each Briefing issue (for reading on Kindles and iPads), as well as a Briefing app that will feature the core Briefing as well as substantial additional content.
♦ Increasing—through a renewed and improved publishing process—our output of new ministry books and resources; to be made available in a variety of formats.
♦ Launching an online ‘digital warehouse’ for ministry resources in late 2013. This will feature, among other things, online delivery of training videos and associated materials.
The third of these new developments is perhaps the most exciting and stretching. Of course we have existing DVD-based material that we will be able to offer for download through this new online platform (e.g. the Six Steps courses, The Course of Your Life, So Many Questions, etc). But our goal is to keep adding to the video-based training material with new and revised courses and programs.
The technical skills and creative ability we need to make this happen are considerable. We already have some good skills on our team, but the major new investment in 2013 is in employing two new team members—Jason Perini and Matt Carson-Drever—to boost our video production ability.
How can You support us?
If you can help us in any of four ways, it would be very much appreciated:
If all our customers chose to use Matthias Media resources just a little more in 2013 and bought direct from us it would help our finances considerably. (And, we trust, it would also help our customers!)
Can you help other people discover Matthias Media resources by personally recommending the ones you’ve benefited from? A post on Facebook? A brief review in church? A mention on your blog? A recommendation to your home group?
As we mentioned above, many people have been generous in giving to our ‘Threat and Opportunity’ fund. This is the second year of that three-year campaign to help us invest in our future. Please see www.matthiasmedia.com.au/donate for more information about how to donate, or you can quickly make a credit card donation online. In 2013 most of the money raised will be going towards the development of video-based training material and its online delivery system. If you can contribute to the funds we need to raise, we believe it will be a very worthwhile investment not just in our future, but (God willing) in the future growth of the gospel around the world.
And that is, of course, what we would love you to pray for as well: that God would use our efforts to help make disciple-making disciples, for the glory of his Son, the Lord Jesus.
If you have any questions or suggestions about anything in this update, please drop us a line via <firstname.lastname@example.org>. If you would like to talk to or ask us personally about making a substantial donation, please contact us by the same means—we would be very happy to meet with you (if practical) or talk by phone.
Ian Carmichael and Tony Payne
for the Matthias Media team
Some statistics about 2012
|The total number of resources distributed worldwide (excluding The Briefing)||The number of Two Ways to Live tracts or apps that we sold in various languages worldwide.||Other evangelistic tracts
|Copies of The Essential Jesus
|Copies of Just for Starters distributed worldwide.||The combined unit sales of our two main Bible study series: Interactive Bible Studies and Pathway Bible Guides.|
New titles published in 2012
Little Black Books: The Holy Spirit (by Scott Petty)
God’s Good Design (by Claire Smith)
Keep the Faith (by Martin Ayers)
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made (by Megan Best)
Making the Most of the Bible (by John Chapman)
He is Our Peace (Ephesians)
Living the Good Life (Proverbs)
God’s Most Surprising Name
The Neighbourhood VIP
XV: the Bible Reading app
Two Ways to Live
Two Ways to Live Plus
Two Ways to Live (Old Testament)