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Free – But at What Cost?

Updated: Oct 22, 2022

As people who regularly visits the Visual Faith® Ministry website, it rarely occurs to us how the whole thing works. We look for an image, creative practice, Bible study, devotional – well, the list is long. Then we dive in, click on our choices and head for the shopping cart. Ninety-nine percent of the time, we owe nothing; zero.

That’s right. Most of the items you find on the Visual Faith® Ministry website are free to anyone who provides an email address. That’s because we want to be a service to the church-at-large.

Did you know? The artists who provide the images, written materials, and resources donate their time, skills, talents, and passion for the Gospel to this ministry. In this, we believe, we are unique. None of us are paid for what we contribute, and we doubt if any of us even think about that. We thank God for these human resources!

We all benefit from this huge and useful VFM resource site (the VFM Shoppe)—so do many who spend time in a Sunday School class, regular classroom situation, small group or perhaps with homeschooled kids. The list of uses seems endless. And of course, we all use the resources in our own daily devotional lives and spiritual discipline practices.

But every now and then, there is a VFM resource or item that has a fee or cost associated with it. Why?

Allow us to take a moment to explain. Simply put, there is a considerable cost associated with running a ministry. In 2022, there are no free websites able to carry the load we put on the website. With over 2,500 items on the site, we need a bit of bandwidth! That means we must pay for that website. Likewise, there are other associated web-based costs to doing business. When we choose to be “in the world yet not of the world”, we get to pay for the privilege just like everyone else. The cost for keeping Visual Faith® Ministry viable is conservatively estimated at over $6,000 a year. And, in the big scheme of things, that’s not very much!

When we charge nominal fees for some of our resource items it assists us in covering the costs involved in keeping up our ministry work. And so, we thank you for supporting the work of VFM—to remember, trust, disciple, and tell others about Jesus. Thank you!

Now wait; this next part is exciting—so read on! In upcoming months, you will see and hear about several new items available on the site. These products are lush. (Really – it took several minutes to come up with a word that would describe the scope of these newly designed resources just waiting for launch dates. Friends, it’s a lot.) Many of these newly designed items will bear some worthy cost. Every purchase keeps us on mission to tell the story of HIS faithfulness. We’ll also be providing you with a new opportunity to donate to the ministry whenever you are moved to do so.

What do we ask of you? Keep using the resources that are perfect for your faith expressions. Keep finding ways to remember, trust, disciple and tell others about Jesus utilizing these materials. Keep creating for your enjoyment and the deepening of your faith. Keep VFM in your prayers. And if when your heart tugs you, remember Visual Faith® with your pocketbook. Together, our impact will have far-reaching, eternal consequences!

Dionne Lovstad-Jones and Carolyn Bira, VFM Vision Team

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