Every so often, I get a letter from some irate church member who demands to know why The Effective Church Group charges for our services. This morning, I got this note from a Church Elder in North Carolina who responded to a Facebook ad we ran for the Get More Visitors Checklist (a free resource that we provided for him) and the follow-up invitation to purchase the Four Key Strategies for Church Growth. I’ve pasted the letter and my response below because it’s helpful to know why we do what we do.

I’m just curious if you got so much information how to help the church grow, why are you selling it? Why isn’t it free? Everybody wants to profit off for something. You should give it away and if somebody wanted to bless then it would be different. Selling the word of God is supposed to be free. We’re supposed to be witnesses to the world, not vendor’s selling it for a profit. The Lord said go without purse and he will supply your needs. He will help you. Come on y’all … we’ve got to get this thing right.

On the surface, he seems to make some good points and I felt compelled me to write a response. So, this is for all those parachurch organizations out there who are trying to help turn around the majority of churches that are struggling.

Hi Elder [name],

About 90% of what we produce is free. As the founder of this company said, “Almost everything we know can be found in our free resources for those who will look.” And obviously, you’ve taken advantage of at least one of those free resources: you signed up for the Get More Visitors Checklist. I hope you’ve downloaded it and have begun implementing it in your church.

Every day, we produce a one-minute video for Facebook that trains pastors and church leaders for church growth. On Tuesday morning we produced ChurchTalk TV … a free half hour training video. We provide that every week. And every week, I distribute a free workbook on my Facebook profile – resources like the Get More Visitors Checklist that you downloaded for free – workbooks that I spend many hours creating. And every week, we spend hours speaking with pastors and church leaders on Facebook Messenger about how to grow their churches. Again, all free. Plus there are 1700+ How To Grow Your Church blogs on our EffectiveChurch.com website. And so, yes, we have products and services we sell to underwrite all the Free Ministry we provide.

To be honest, your flippant “God will provide” is very poor theology – God does provide … but he also demands that we “work with our hands in our own business” to earn a living (1 Thessalonians 4:11). And he says that the church laborer is worthy of being paid (1 Timothy 5:18). And both Jesus and Paul (and every other church leader in the New Testament) was supported by those who followed them and learned from them. God provides through people like you and other church leaders who support their churches, their pastors, and the work of the Church to make disciples of Jesus Christ. That said, IF your church is growing by at least 30% per year and doing more than 15% baptisms (at least 15 conversion baptisms for every 100 members), then your church doesn’t need services like ours. If, on the other hand, your church is one of the majority of churches that aren’t growing, aren’t making disciples at a significant rate, then investing in advanced tools that will turn your church around – then perhaps an investment would be wise.

But as for your “just curious” regarding all the information about growing churches that I personally have … I’ve been a pastor for 40+ years, have three degrees in theology and church growth, and I’ve been a church consultant and leadership coach for 20+ years. That said, I still pay $600/month for student loans and have a mortgage to pay etc. – probably just like you. Could I make a living some other way? Sure. But if I did, I’d be like most other people who puts in their 40 and then goes home to their families – and NONE of all the work I do would help any church other than the one I attend on Sunday. I charge what I charge so I can do what I do. And the churches we work with grow and they make more disciples and they do more baptisms. And ultimately, my friend, that’s why we charge $37 for a tool that has the potential to help resuscitate flatlined churches find life again. 

Here’s hopin’ and prayin’ you have a lovely holiday. As for me … I’m working today trying to help churches become increasingly effective, faithful, and sustainable.


P.S. The Ad that you responded to on Facebook costs us $310 per month to run … and every month somewhere around 3000 people download the FREE resource that really WILL help them get more visitors IF THEY DO THE WORK. And of those 3000 people who download the FREE resource (the same one you downloaded), about 5 will purchase the $37 product – if you do the math, you’ll note we’re losing money on that endeavor. My dream … my prayer … is that people like you will actually read the Get More Visitors Checklist and then DO SOMETHING WITH IT. I’m guessing your church isn’t doing so well – otherwise you wouldn’t have watched the video, read the ad, and signed up to get the FREE resource. So – I DO hope that you WILL read it and that you’ll put it into practice. And IF it works as advertised – and it will IF you do the work – THEN perhaps you’ll be willing to have a different conversation with me. 

Be Blessed