Help me, as I help others.
I do a lot of ministry things, online and offline, that are both spiritually and emotionally fulfilling to me personally. But that doesn't mean they're financially fulfilling. I'll keep doing them regardless, but I'd love to have some help.
Basically, everything I do is designed to accomplish three things:
- To promote God's work in Niagara. I share ministries and causes with an audience that wouldn't otherwise know them, and then give that audience an opportunity to support that ministry or cause.
- To help share resources in Niagara. One ministry may have resources, ideas, etc., that another ministry needs. I want to help both ministries share and bless one another. Like in Acts chapter 4.
- To help unify churches; not to point out differences, but to focus on commonalities. If non-Christians see us being, ultimately, united in Jesus-- despite differences-- they may be more open to Jesus.
- Faith News Niagara is the main vehicle I use for this. All the content on that site (stories, videos, blogs, etc.) is created with those three goals in mind.
- Then there's One Church Beamsville. While working for a local youth ministry, I connected with pastors and started a monthly ministerial meeting to pray and discuss how to serve God, each other, and our community. Even after I left that youth ministry, I kept serving those pastors, most recently by creating this online presence for the group.
- There's also my personal website, which is also the online home of the Faith In Niagara podcast (which is based on the three aforementioned points).
(Down the road, I will add a fourth online ministry to this list, one focused on youth.)
In short, I try to do things that add value to the Internet. If you're reading a Faith News story or a Steve Shares blog post, or listening to a Faith In Niagara podcast episode, or watching a video I created... I want to impart something of value to you, the recipient of the online content I create.
Patreon, the site you're reading this article on, acts like Kickstarter in that it helps people raise money-- but not one-time-goal-type money. They help people raise monthly-salary-type money. And like Kickstarter, the recipient of this support (in this case, me) is encouraged to give back to its donors by showing their appreciation in a tangible way.
Patreon suggests setting up a series of tiers-- the more you give in support, higher your tier, and the more I give to you in appreciation. So here's the thing: I'm going to set up only one tier to start with, because 1) I really feel many of you will consider the perk associated with that tier to be pretty valuable (more on that in a moment), 2) I don't have have solid ideas for second and third tier perks yet (feel free to pass any along!), and 3) I'm afraid of spreading myself too thin by adding too many layers at this stage of the game.
And then there's this possible fourth reason: I'm still kinda in "experimental mode" both with Patreon, and with the community of people I am appealing to. Because the one thing I am realizing, more than ever, is that I don't really know my audience the way I'd like to just yet. But we can change that! Patreon also enables me to connect with you, my potential patron, if you want to, right here on this very page. I'm really looking forward to taking advantage of that. And of course, there's the other tried and true methods as well. Whatever your preferred one happens to be, I hope it results in increased dialogue, and increased trust.
So this is where the rubber meets the road...
So as I get this thing up and running, I'm going to ask the faithful and consistent consumers of content on the above mentioned sites, to consider supporting me, initially, at a minimum of $1 a month.
Are you still reading this?
Assuming that didn't scare you off, let me explain the logic here. As I said, I'm feeling out the commitment level of these communities. Combined, it's a pretty sizeable group! So much so, I think I can see 50 of you (actually, quite a bit more than that, but we'll start there) stepping up to the challenge. Doing so means I'd have help paying for web hosting for three sites, and gas (the Region is pretty big, I live in its farthest corner, and I drive quite a bit to cover some stories). I also have other expenses, like coffee with pastors I interview, and rising podcast fees. I'd like to upgrade my equipment over time as well. And further down the road... it would be great to earn a living wage doing what I love doing... something that I think is needed in Niagara...
But let's cover gas and coffee first.
Back in the day, the weekend paper-- with the comics, travel section, TV listings, and feature articles-- cost a buck, at least in my native Montreal. that's four dollars per month. I don't produce the same amount of content as that paper, but I'm not asking for the financial equivalent either. I hope a loonie a month seems reasonable to many of you reading this.
A few other things:
- if you don't want to give, no worries. All that content will still be available, for free, online. And I'll still love you. I am, and forever will be, grateful for the interest you show in Faith News when you read and share stories.
- I'm not (thankfully) on the verge of financial ruin. Let your giving be done without feeling that if this Patreon campaign falls short, Faith News goes offline. This is not the case. Faith News' future does not hang in the balance. I'm simply looking to see if you will help defray the costs for my efforts. Hopefully you feel, as I do, that this worker is worthy of his hire. I am committed to serving those of you who go to the Faith News, One Church or Steve's Passion sites. I'll keep on going; I just wanted to invite you guys to be a part of it.
- if you think you'd like to give more than $1, you can. Someone told me they thought $5 a month didn't sound outrageous, and another person said $10 a month seemed reasonable. I'm grateful for people who feel this way. Patreon has suggested $1, $2, and $5 tiers-- and that's definitely in the cards-- but if you give just because you see value in the content, and not for anything you get in return, I'd be grateful for that as well.
- you are free to start or stop, increase or decrease, your giving at any time. Customize the particulars according to what you want.
So what's the perk? What do you get when you give?
All my donors will have access to exclusive content that will only be found on this Patreon account page. I'll upload videos there that will be seen first by contributors, and in some cases, will be seen only by contributors (it won't be available anywhere else). Some of those donors-only videos will have me sharing thoughts and ideas with you, throwing out questions, getting feedback, etc. Others will be videos explaining in detail how I create everything I create. I want to show you that it's actually easier than you think, to do what I do.
Why? Because if you get inspired, and then decided to do something inspiring yourself, THAT WILL BE AWESOME! Because one thing I want to do with these behind-the-scenes videos is give people hope. Maybe you'll think that crazy, way out there, utterly unattainable dream of yours is more attainable than you thought. Maybe you'll walk away from a video thinking, "if Steve can do it, maybe I can too." I would love to help you change your thinking from "it's too hard to try", to, "well, if Steve can figure out how to get his thing done, surely I can figure out how to get mine done...". It's that "adding value" thing again, you know.
I'm like a lot of you out there, reading this: I'm just a guy with a dream. If you've found yourself stuck in a ditch on the road to your dream, maybe I can be your tow truck. A number of my past Faith News interviews became moments when I could encourage my subject to begin pursuing seemingly long-dead dreams; maybe that will happen to you.
So if you're a faithful consumer of anything I produce online, if you find enjoyment or inspiration in what I create, or if you believe in any aspect of what I do online or offline, consider contributing to my Patreon account. And whether or not you choose to, would you also consider sharing this page with your friends? Maybe someone you know will want to help.
Thanks so much,