I rarely talk publicly about the founding of the Baptist Center for Ethics. But I need to now. I need for the readers of EthicsDaily.com, our shareholders, to know where we’ve been and where we are.
When BCE was started 12 years ago, I had several organizational convictions. One was that BCE could build a constituency with content.
Block by block, we’ve built a constituency, one that includes a host of moderate Southern Baptists and a growing number of other types of Baptists and Christians all around the world. We have consistently provided high quality content—insightful columns, energizing conferences, targeted Sunday school curricula and news stories that others didn’t want to touch. We have grown incrementally.
In the last month, I have watched some numbers and wondered if BCE was reaching a tipping point, that point of dramatic change.
According to a must-read book, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, some ideas, movements and organizations reach a point where big changes take place. They tip. They experience a sudden change.
While my evidence is fragmentary, my hope is that BCE may be at approaching a tipping point.
Something happened in November, when we lest expected it. At the time when Baptists, especially the southern variety, were consumed with state convention meetings and then indifferent to denominational affairs due to Thanksgiving, BCE experienced a surge of activity on our Web site.
The number of page requests, an important measurement of Internet activity, jumped 39 percent in November over October. At the same time, the number of online resource orders surged.
What these measurements mean is unclear. What is clear is that BCE experienced some significant, albeit unanticipated, growth.
I believe this growth results from content—cutting edge news and information, as well as affordable and relevant resources. In other words, BCE’s staff and network of writers are providing rich content which are attracting an increasing number of folk.
For some time, I have believed that BCE may have the best and most productive staff in the Baptist constellation. We may have the best columnists, movie reviewers and book reviewers in Baptist life. We may do more day-in and day-out to help churches and churches leaders than any other Baptist organization. We may be at a tipping point.
One thing I know for certain, however. I’ve done something poorly for a number of years and this will have a negative impact on the tipping point. I have paid too little attention to the fundraising. While I’ve begun scrambling to reverse course, I can’t make up for the lost years.
Ironically, BCE faces its toughest year financially and its best year in terms of content productivity. Cash inflow is down; Web site readership is up. A key partner’s contributions have fallen sharply; the number and quality of Web site news articles have risen swiftly. Money has tightened; resource production has expanded.
Given this predicament, I’m asking EthicsDaily.com readers to make a year-end contribution.
Perhaps these categories will help you think about our financial needs:
$50 gift will pay for part of BCE’s monthly Internet expense.
$100 gift will underwrite our Web site hosting fee for a month.
$150 gift will fund much of BCE’s monthly telephone bill.
$200 gift will cover the monthly distribution expense for our thrice weekly e-newsletter.
$500 gift will provide part of the insurance coverage for one BCE staff member.
$1,200 gift will almost pay for BCE’s monthly office lease.
If you would like to make a contribution, you may do so online. Click on the link below and make a donation with your credit card.
If you would like to write a check, make it out to Baptist Center for Ethics. Mail it to Baptist Center for Ethics, 4219 Hillsboro Road, Ste. 210, Nashville, TN 37215.
Know that your contributions will be kept confidential and are tax exempt.
With your financial help BCE will continue to kick the tires and light the fires for thought Baptists who want a new way into the 21st century.
Robert M. Parham (1953 – 2017) was the founder and executive director of Baptist Center for Ethics from 1991 to 2017. He served as executive editor of EthicsDaily.com, BCE’s website, from its launch in 2002 until 2017.