Is Logos unsupportive of local church and ministry?

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PetahChristian | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 22 2016 10:08 AM

Simon Smailus:

After all they are supporting those in Christian education.

I don't think FL is supporting them at all. I think FL, like any other company such as Adobe or Microsoft, is making their product available at a lower cost, hoping that those students will end up using it the rest of their lives.

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GregW | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 22 2016 10:32 AM

While I'd be very happy for Faithlife to offer a discount to those in full-time ministry (I would benefit), I do find the title of the thread somewhat inflammatory. The fact that Faithlife doesn't offer a discount for those in full time ministry doesn't mean it's unsupportive of the local church and ministry. I would urge you to change the title of this thread to something that is at least true and which has something to do with the content of the thread. The products are designed specifically to support those in full time ministry, as well as frontline Christians who don't get paid for their ministry. 

For what it's worth, I would like Faithlife to offer a full-time worker discount, but that then becomes complicated, and every additional layer of complexity creates ill-will on these forums in my experience. It would probably also result in increases in the headline prices of resources. For my own part, it's not a discount that drives my purchases: it's whether I need something for a project at the particular time (and my church doesn't give me a book budget). If that's the case I am actually happy to pay a moderate premium to have the resource in Logos if the level of tagging (footnotes, bibliography, headings etc) merits it. 


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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 22 2016 10:59 AM

I've been in full-time ministry over 36 years (although not in a church setting) and actively involved in Church leadership over those years. I certainly understand the financial challenges associated with it but, in addition to addressing the cost of Logos, we need to consider how we are paying those in ministry. Some are paid well but many are not. If we did a better job at paying those in ministry this would be less of a challenge.

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Simon Smailus | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 22 2016 11:04 AM

GregW:

While I'd be very happy for Faithlife to offer a discount to those in full-time ministry (I would benefit), I do find the title of the thread somewhat inflammatory. 

I have slightly altered the title of the thread. It was always meant to be a question.

GregW:

The fact that Faithlife doesn't offer a discount for those in full time ministry doesn't mean it's unsupportive of the local church and ministry.

The products are designed specifically to support those in full time ministry, as well as frontline Christians who don't get paid for their ministry. 

I'm not sure I agree. If it is not affordable, what use is it to the local church or frontline Christians? I have spent many years on the mission field and the majority of missionaries I met use free software, because they cannot afford the likes of Logos. If they cannot afford it then it can hardly be aimed at them. There is an at least assumed premise that to use Logos, you need money. The starter package is $250 and from there it quickly escalates, until you hit $10,799.99. I cannot agree that this is aimed at the local church and full time ministry.

GregW:

For what it's worth, I would like Faithlife to offer a full-time worker discount, but that then becomes complicated, and every additional layer of complexity creates ill-will on these forums in my experience. It would probably also result in increases in the headline prices of resources. For my own part, it's not a discount that drives my purchases: it's whether I need something for a project at the particular time (and my church doesn't give me a book budget). If that's the case I am actually happy to pay a moderate premium to have the resource in Logos if the level of tagging (footnotes, bibliography, headings etc) merits it. 

But aren't Logos already offering discounts to Christian education? Why not those in full time ministry also? Although, the discount to Education may not be based on the idea of making it affordable PetahChristian made the following comment:

PetahChristian:

I don't think FL is supporting them at all. I think FL, like any other company such as Adobe or Microsoft, is making their product available at a lower cost, hoping that those students will end up using it the rest of their lives.

If this is the case then the argument for supporting full time ministry is moot. Graham Criddle pointed out:

Graham Criddle:

From their website:- https://faithlife.com/about/company 

"As Faithlife continues to grow, our goal is to not only create the best Bible study tools available, but to serve the church by making Bible study resources accessible to developing countries all over the globe."

So is Logos at least making it "accessible" to developing countries? I'm assuming "accessible" include discount, as I can hardly see an Indian Pastor having $250 for the base package.

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 22 2016 11:28 AM

Well, Simon, now that you changed the title, we have to start the conversation all over.

I think the answer is 'yes'. But to well-healed participants.  And if Logos salespeople reflect the Logos self-image, then it'd be those wanting the Cadallac of Bible software ... or a Rolls in your neck of the woods.

The theolgical issue, of course, becomes, does a Cadallac-driven toolset get your charges to heaven better than a non-Cadallac-driven toolset.  I would argue 'no, it does not'. So, why do folks (and you) need it, other than its comfy attributes?


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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 22 2016 11:31 AM

Simon Smailus:
So is Logos at least making it "accessible" to developing countries? I'm assuming "accessible" include discount, as I can hardly see an Indian Pastor having $250 for the base package.

Chinese bronze is $141.19 USD so various languages get different pricing levels.

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PetahChristian | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 22 2016 11:51 AM

Dan Francis:

Chinese bronze is $141.19 USD so various languages get different pricing levels.

I suspect that's more to do with the fact that fewer resources/features/datasets have been translated into Chinese; it simply contains less items compared to an English package.

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scooter | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 22 2016 11:56 AM

GregW:
For what it's worth, I would like Faithlife to offer a full-time worker discount, but that then becomes complicated, and every additional layer of complexity creates ill-will on these forums in my experience. It would probably also result in increases in the headline prices of resources

As someone who is not nor never has been in ministry, I feel I support those receiving an educational discount by the increased prices I pay.

If further people receive discounts, my prices will rise.  And I don't want that because I can't afford that.

If I was a wealthy person, I would say have at it.  I have made purchases at FL in the past to facilitate their cash flow, but am very judicious in what I purchase these days.  Now, I count twice and spend once.

So, OP, I say ''no'' to your idea.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 22 2016 12:37 PM

I would prefer that all educational and vocational discounts be funded externally via denominational or charitable funds. Then a buyer would not be subsidizing groups that they disagree with.

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Edwin Bowden | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 22 2016 12:52 PM

Simon Smailus:

I recently enquired whether Logos offers discounts for those in full time ministry, after all they are on the frontline needing to preach sermons and teach their congregations as well as interact with their community. Logos as a resource would be wonderful.

However, the response from Logos was that they do not offer a discount for full time ministry. This is extremely sad news. Interestingly Logos does offer discounts for education, but so do most software vendors because they know this feathers their nest for the future. It seems a little hypocritical to tout a sermon builder, but not enable the very people who produce most sermons to use it because they cannot afford it! Some Pastors are very well paid, but many are not and have a very meagre budget for resources. Logos could easily help with this.

This does make me ask the question if Logos is a purely secular profit organisation? I would expect a company with a Christian ethos to try to enable those in frontline ministry and have a heart for the gospel to spread. As many have already said in these forums and elsewhere, Logos is not cheap and nor are it's packages. This leaves the impression that Logos is rapidly becoming a tool for the wealthy rather than a resource for the local church at large.

I'm posting this in the hope that Logos will read this and reconsider. I also want to bring this to the attention of those in full time ministry. Accordance, one of Logos's competitors does offer a full time ministry discount.

Perhaps Logos will change it's mind if it sees a swell of support for those in favour of discounts for those in full time ministry, after all if they can do it for education, why can they not do it for those engaged in full time ministry?

I assume that a very large part of the Logos users (if not the majority) are in ministry. If Logos gives a substantial discount to those who somehow verify that they qualify for a ministry discount, who do you expect to pay the significantly higher prices that would result for those not meeting the qualifications? The higher prices for everyone else would be a surcharge (tax) for not being a full time minister.  

The expenses of Logos does not change when a discount is given to a group. They have to make up the income somewhere. Bob has shared in the past how razor thin the margins are. It's always easy for people to assume that companies are making huge profits and others think they know a better way to spend their money.

My pastor has used Logos for many years. When I was on our church board, I always made sure that they church upgraded his package (at Platinum level) when a new upgrade was announced. I am no longer on the board, but I informed them of the Logos 7 upgrade and they authorized him to upgrade to 7.

I have been teaching a Sunday School class for almost 50 years. I have had a huge print library for years.

About 10 years ago I started with a basic Logos package. When I realized the abilities that a Logos library gave me in Bible study, I upgraded to the largest base package available at the time (Gold). When Platinum became available, I upgraded to that. I have also added tons of other reference materials so I have about 4900 volumes in my Logos library. These titles cost only a fraction of the price of what it would have cost me to have those titles in print. I carefully purchased the appropriate base packages that gave me the most bang for my buck. I used the wishlist feature to keep track of titles that I would buy when the price was right. Logos is well known for its periodic great sales on reference works. I'm now at the point where most of my Bible study resource needs are met. 

I know that Logos resources are expensive, but so are print books. There is no comparison in what one can do with each. I don't understand why people expect them to be able to determine what price Logos charges for its products.

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 22 2016 2:17 PM

Simon Smailus:
This does make me ask the question if Logos is a purely secular profit organisation?

Profit = Income - Expenses

For a business to remain profitable, income must be consistently greater than expenses while an unprofitable business disappears: e.g. Borders (after nearly 40 years of being in business)

Bob Pritchett's reply on 1 Nov 2012 => http://community.logos.com/forums/p/58026/413124.aspx#413124 included third quarter financial profit insights (0.38 % so far in 2012):

Bob Pritchett:

Jacques:
He feels they should be ashamed for this kind of profit-margin, it's not reasonable.

What would a reasonable profit margin be? What profit margin does your friend think Logos has?

 

For what it's worth, I got our third-quarter financials earlier this week. For 2012 so far, the Logos profit margin was just about 0.38%. (Not 38%. Less than half of one percent.

 

Now I'm not looking for sympathy -- we're fine. It's better than that most years, and the first three quarters of this year reflect a lot of investment in Logos 5 that hadn't yet generated any revenue. (That's what we're doing now!) I expect we'll end the year with solid single-digit profitability, and we've beaten that in the past.

 

But the point is, we have to sell something in order to be here to serve you into the future. It's insanely expensive to develop software, especially when you have to develop the same software on Mac, Windows, Android/Kindle, iPhone/iPad, Web (and now Windows 8 RT!) simultaneously. While offering free support.

 

So I'll take the criticism that we're always trying to sell you more books -- it's true, and it's the only way we get paid. Though, at every upgrade cycle, it does condemn us to a lot of impassioned forum conversations about the injustice of upgrade bundles. :-)

 

I do welcome your input on a solution. Maybe the "free software" concept was a bad idea? Few other products I have have been offering free engine updates -- in any form -- since 1995. I've bought Word, Excel, Windows, Mac OS, etc. many times in those 17 years. Should Logos just move to paid upgrades, and stop making so many books? (It might be hard to make that change after all these years, but it's an interesting question.)

 

I appreciate your investing in our product, and I hope that you'll continue to believe it has been a good investment. And I want you to know that we're working hard to serve you better AND ensure that we're here for decades to come to support the investment you have made. Input on how to do that is always welcome.

 

(My favorite idea... just convince every Christian in America to pay $3 per month... then we could offer everybody all the content, support, and continued maintenance for a very low price! The only trick is getting everyone signed up at once...) :-)

 

-- Bob

 

Faithlife corporation profits are relatively slim, Bob Pritchett posted thread on 5 Jan 2016 => Personnel changes at Faithlife (layoffs were needed for corporation to remain profitable).

Thankful for profitable insight in Vyrso eBook => Fire Someone Today by Bob Pritchett

Thankful for many friendly forum discussions about Logos Bible Software; have learned a lot plus have a lot to learn. Thankful for many Faithlife employees, including CEO, interacting with forum discussions Big Smile

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 22 2016 2:41 PM

Smiling Jesus, absent the Faithlife financial statements, it's anyone's guess. Owners can compensate themselves to the ends of the earth and have no profit ... all depends on accounting.  Similarly businesses can over-price customers, to support ventures for a new set of customers, profitable, or not.

Additionally, a discount to one group of customers doesn't necessarily translate to increased prices for another. Depends on the product margins, likelihood of addon purchases, support costs, etc.  For example, I don't buy packages (big discounts) but do buy sales (some discounts). I'd bet I'm not a profitable customer to Logos ... due to my purchase mix having high royalty payments. I'd bet. Matthew is likely multiples more valuable to Logos than me.

Customers questioning prices, wanting more efficiencies, or squealing due to red X's is always healthy for any business. It highlights areas to keep an eye on.


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Simon Smailus | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 22 2016 3:12 PM

Edwin Bowden:

I assume that a very large part of the Logos users (if not the majority) are in ministry. 

That's a massive assumption, especially when you consider that the greatest discounts are offered to educational users.

Edwin Bowden:

My pastor has used Logos for many years. When I was on our church board, I always made sure that they church upgraded his package (at Platinum level) when a new upgrade was announced. I am no longer on the board, but I informed them of the Logos 7 upgrade and they authorized him to upgrade to 7.

I have been teaching a Sunday School class for almost 50 years. I have had a huge print library for years.

About 10 years ago I started with a basic Logos package. When I realized the abilities that a Logos library gave me in Bible study, I upgraded to the largest base package available at the time (Gold). When Platinum became available, I upgraded to that. I have also added tons of other reference materials so I have about 4900 volumes in my Logos library. These titles cost only a fraction of the price of what it would have cost me to have those titles in print. I carefully purchased the appropriate base packages that gave me the most bang for my buck. I used the wishlist feature to keep track of titles that I would buy when the price was right. Logos is well known for its periodic great sales on reference works. I'm now at the point where most of my Bible study resource needs are met. 

I know that Logos resources are expensive, but so are print books. There is no comparison in what one can do with each. I don't understand why people expect them to be able to determine what price Logos charges for its products.

I think that's a real blessing for your Pastor. However, in my last 20 years of ministry I know less than 5 churches that could afford to spend that kind of money on Logos and I've by no means been cloistered in one location.

Reading Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) comment, it seems that profit margins are tight for Logos. The main costs being payroll and royalties. I certainly don't want to cast aspersions on Logos's motive.

The thread has highlighted some excellent thoughts. In reality it is not about owning the biggest package, but having the right tools for the job. Academics, Pastors and a hundred varied roles that Christians have all require different resources. It's great that the full feature set is now available for an annual subscription. Perhaps being able to build your own packages might be a good idea. Maybe even removing packages and allowing people to choose from a library of resources. More than once a resource I needed has been locked in a package that was out of my price range.

From all the comments I am convinced that FL is certainly supportive of local church and ministry. What remains unclear is how those in ministry who could be massively served by the Logos resource obtain it when it is not within their financial resources? This is not FL's problem if there is little profit in FL, although I do think being able to put together your own package or just choose the resources you need may be advantageous.

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Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 22 2016 5:06 PM

Simon Smailus:
I recently enquired whether Logos offers discounts for those in full time ministry,

Almost all of our customers are in ministry; as far as we can tell around 40% of our users are in full-time ministry, and 20% are full-time students, 10% faculty, and the remaining are (mostly) in part-time ministry. It's a small number who invest in a tool like Logos and don't use it in ministry.

With that in mind, we try to keep the cost as low as possible and the value as high as possible, while ensuring we'll be around to serve you all in the future.

We do have some academic discounts, on the argument that a full-time seminary student has an even deeper need for resources and is generally paying tuition, not taking a salary. (And because a seminary is 'dense with customers', and there are some economies of scale to us in 'talking to a classroom full of future pastors' vs. talking to 'one pastor'.)

I know pastors often don't make much, but seminary students are just people on their way to becoming pastors, presently making zero and paying for the privilege....

Everything we do is 'to equip the Church to grow in the light of the Bible.' I suppose we could raise our prices 20% and then give everyone in ministry a discount code to roll-back that 20%, but the net result would be the same price. Though I think some retailers do that, and it just seems complicated. :-)

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Edwin Bowden | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 22 2016 5:13 PM

Simon Smailus:
From all the comments I am convinced that FL is certainly supportive of local church and ministry.

What remains unclear is how those in ministry who could be massively served by the Logos resource obtain it when it is not within their financial resources? This is not FL's problem if there is little profit in FL, although I do think being able to put together your own package or just choose the resources you need may be advantageous.

I'm glad that you have a better understanding of FL and its support for churches and all Christians.

Logos users are able to get the Logos engine free and can buy as few or as many resources as they want (or can afford). Some choose that path.

Others have found that there is great value in the base pkgs. I always take a close look at each base package. I buy the packages that give me the titles I want for the price of package. That means that I don't pay more than I would have buying them individually, but also get a ton of other resources that I would not have been able to afford. We often discover real treasures in titles that we might have skipped if they weren't in the pkg.

Logos offers a wide variety of choices for users.

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 22 2016 6:31 PM

Simon Smailus:

Denise:
But I don't subscribe to your front-line imagery. Christians are the frontline. Every day, every hour.

True, but most don't carry the need to prepare sermons, teach nor engage with the community on the level a church minister would in his parish.

E-sword helps with sermon prep, so does a Bible 😜 Teaching is the same as preaching except with preaching you're the only one doing the talking (though I've met some preachers  that do all the talking no matter what).  Explain "engage the community." I've met some that going golfing and fishing or hunting is "engaging the community" for them. Every Christian is in the frontline but you have chosen full time ministry as a career, hence you should be responsible for your own tools. You don't become a mechanic and expect others to pay for your tools or sell them to you way cheaper because you're the one fixing the cars.  Sometimes some  preachers think that somehow they should always get a break because they are "preachers," that's the wrong mentality to have. Working for free is also not right. If you're not getting paid enough to survive and buy tools is either time to get a part time job or time to look for another congregation to work with that will be able to support you...or maybe the wife could get that job she always wanted.  Remember you are the preacher not her, you're the one who got hired and is getting paid not her.  Churches should get it  straight once and for all that the one who studied to be a preacher is the man and that the wife and the kids are not part of the package when they hire a man to preach for them. One too many churches think that just because they hired a preacher all of a sudden his wife should be the new church secretary who also plans lessons and events for the women and the kids should be the new youth minister's that plan activities for the youth. That's called abuse right there!

I understand your frustration, but is not grounded on solid ground.

DAL

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Simon Smailus | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 23 2016 12:52 AM

Bob Pritchett:

Almost all of our customers are in ministry; as far as we can tell around 40% of our users are in full-time ministry, and 20% are full-time students, 10% faculty, and the remaining are (mostly) in part-time ministry. It's a small number who invest in a tool like Logos and don't use it in ministry.

With that in mind, we try to keep the cost as low as possible and the value as high as possible, while ensuring we'll be around to serve you all in the future.

We do have some academic discounts, on the argument that a full-time seminary student has an even deeper need for resources and is generally paying tuition, not taking a salary. (And because a seminary is 'dense with customers', and there are some economies of scale to us in 'talking to a classroom full of future pastors' vs. talking to 'one pastor'.)

I know pastors often don't make much, but seminary students are just people on their way to becoming pastors, presently making zero and paying for the privilege....

Everything we do is 'to equip the Church to grow in the light of the Bible.' I suppose we could raise our prices 20% and then give everyone in ministry a discount code to roll-back that 20%, but the net result would be the same price. Though I think some retailers do that, and it just seems complicated. :-)

Many thanks Bob, really appreciate your input. This thread has been a helpful journey to understand FL more. I really do appreciate what FL do and the tools FL make are excellent. As much as I don't like subscriptions I think the Logos Now option is a good one. For the first time I've been able to get all the feature set. I must say that I do not find your package system helpful. I've only ever bought the Leaders Library back in 2011, but have purchased no packages since, except one starter package. There are reasons for this. The jump from package to package almost doubles in cost now. Packages often contain many books that I'll never ever use. Packages also contain authors that I do not want to support, hence I do not buy the package. All-in-all packages are not worth the investment for me, so I buy individual resources here and there. Maybe changing the package system would encourage greater buy in from users?

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Simon Smailus | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 23 2016 1:27 AM

DAL:

E-sword helps with sermon prep, so does a Bible 😜 Teaching is the same as preaching except with preaching you're the only one doing the talking (though I've met some preachers  that do all the talking no matter what). 

We are obviously not going to agree, there is much here that I would not ascribe to. 

Preaching is not the same a teaching. A short study using Logos would bear that out.

DAL:

Explain "engage the community." I've met some that going golfing and fishing or hunting is "engaging the community" for them.

Engage with the community, means getting involved with those in my community to help them. The homeless, those with substance addictions, those in debt, those with mental issues, those with demons (yes they're still around), those with housing issues, those with depression, those seeking marriage or dealing with the loss of a loved one. Those who are lonely and forgotten, public serves like the Police. The list is endless. Each group of people have different needs. I agree that this should take the involvement of all believers, but sadly many do not engage. They don't engage with their neighbours, or work colleagues. The purpose here is not just to provide succour, but to bring God into the situation. It should also be noted that my engagement is full time whereas many who have other jobs are not able to engage on this level.

DAL:

Every Christian is in the frontline but you have chosen full time ministry as a career, hence you should be responsible for your own tools. You don't become a mechanic and expect others to pay for your tools or sell them to you way cheaper because you're the one fixing the cars.  

It would be better to say that every Christian should be frontline. We are called to give our lives for others in the way Christ gave his life for us. A life of sacrifice. Living in a sacrificial way requires commitment and is all about being intentional. It's not about just attending church programmes, but praying for neighbours and work colleagues, connecting with them in every possible way. Sadly, many believers do not even know their neighbours.

Ministry is not a career choice, it's a calling. Fruitfulness in ministry is not dependent on academics (good though they are), nor personal giftedness, but about connectedness to Jesus and obedience to his commands. I would not dream of being in full time ministry had I not had a clear call into it. It certainly wasn't a career choice!

In my neck of the woods (UK), unless you are an independent mechanic your equipment is provided for by the company your work for. Most companies in the UK provide the equipment for their employees to do their job.

DAL:

Sometimes some  preachers think that somehow they should always get a break because they are "preachers," that's the wrong mentality to have. 

Then I hope you're fulfilling Paul's mandate to give double honour to those in spiritual leadership, especially those who preach and teach? This is not a status position, but one of awesome responsibility. I am answerable for my congregation. When I stand before Jesus I must give account. I will answer for every sermon and every teaching session. If I change the gospel or do not bring the whole truth, I am in trouble.

DAL:

Remember you are the preacher not her, you're the one who got hired and is getting paid not her.  Churches should get it  straight once and for all that the one who studied to be a preacher is the man and that the wife and the kids are not part of the package when they hire a man to preach for them. One too many churches think that just because they hired a preacher all of a sudden his wife should be the new church secretary who also plans lessons and events for the women and the kids should be the new youth minister's that plan activities for the youth. That's called abuse right there!

Again, I respectfully, massively disagree! I am not a preacher because I studied. I study because God called me into full time ministry.

Doesn't the Bible say that when a man and woman marries, they become one flesh. How then, can my wife not in some way be included in my call and I in hers? Does God call us both? After all, calling half a whole seems somewhat impossible? I agree that often churches get two for one and this needs to be addressed, but I disagree that the wife of a Pastor is not also in some way called. God calls us both.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 23 2016 2:05 AM

Okay folks ... you have gone too far in tempting me to join the fray. However, you are fortunate as I need to head to bed and I also believe it is pushing close to the line that sets off the alarm which says "unrelated to Logos software; check purpose of ChristianDiscourse" also check UK/USA and denominational differences in the use of language and cultural expectations.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Simon Smailus | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 23 2016 2:55 AM

MJ. Smith:

Okay folks ... you have gone too far in tempting me to join the fray. However, you are fortunate as I need to head to bed and I also believe it is pushing close to the line that sets off the alarm which says "unrelated to Logos software; check purpose of ChristianDiscourse" also check UK/USA and denominational differences in the use of language and cultural expectations.

Agreed. Apologies for straying from the topic! Shall refrain from doing so again!

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