Sunday, November 06, 2011

Motives Matter

Henry Neufeld took my prior post on The Importance of Blogging and added some very interesting background information in his post Of Large And Small Publishers...
Now in the larger scheme of things, Energion Publications is a rather small player. So what’s the mission around here?

The reason I founded this company was to make a difference for the kingdom of God through publishing Christian materials. I didn’t have a specific theological agenda in the sense that I wanted to support Reformed, Charismatic, Wesleyan, or any other particular theological movement. I’ve published materials from each of those perspectives, but my goal is not to promote a particular theology.

My goal is to promote greater thinking about theology by everyone in the church, not just by pastors and seminary professors. Thus I hope that some of the books I publish challenge you or even offend you, but that they do so in such a way as to make you study more, think harder, and then . . .

Information that leads to action! I love it!

Men like Henry Neufeld seem more interested in Christian publishing as a way to advance the Kingdom rather than an opportunistic way to meet a market niche. Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing immoral in seeing a demand in the market and meeting that demand while making a profit. That sort of vision is the foundation of most jobs that have ever existed in the private sector. There simply is a huge difference between the two mindsets. It seems a lot of Christian publishing houses started out with a Kingdom focus but lost it over the years as they became more "successful" and that original Kingdom focus seemed to drift and be replaced with a business focus. When you read the story of the founding of Thomas Nelson back in the late 18th century, you find a similar story: one man with a vision starting what he could never dream would turn into a publishing empire hundreds of years later. From that early vision in Scotland you have an enormous company selling books like Money Secrets of the Amish, Discover the money-saving and wealth-building secrets of America’s thriftiest people, the Amish. I wonder what Thomas Nelson would think...

As Henry points out, he does need to sell books or else he will go out of business but his ultimate purpose is not making money but making disciples. Nothing wrong with a recognition of the need to pay your bills but Henry also publishes books and voices that would not be even considered by some of the bigger name publishing houses. That probably means publishing books that may not sell like hotcakes.

I think there is an interesting parallel with the church here. The church knew what it was called to do in the early days and amidst the persecution in those days they did exactly that, i.e. they made disciples. As the church grew and became accepted it seemed to lose its focus and become more concerned with perpetuating itself and building little fiefdoms. It can be all too easy to lose our Kingdom focus and get entangled in the world but we must always be on guard against that. That is true in publishing and in the church and in parenting and on and on.

Check out Energion Publications today and support these smaller, independent publishers that provide an outlet to important voices in the church!

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