An Update from John Piper
Update 4/24: My Future at Desiring God
Increasingly, our vision for Desiring God is global. The Internet is our main way of spreading a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ. And the Internet is global. We are continually amazed who is downloading articles and messages.
Jesus has global goals for his church. He has all authority in heaven and on earth. No inch of the planet is not his! And he promises that his gospel will reach all the people groups of the world as a testimony (Matthew 24:14). And he commands that we teach everything he has commanded to all these groups (Matthew 28:20). So we see our Internet presence as bearing that "testimony" and broadening that "teaching."
We are only one voice. There are thousands of others. We want to be faithful with what God has given us. We love the truth he has shown us in the Scriptures. And we love to say it in creative ways around the world. But we are only one voice, and it will take a mighty chorus of voices to finish Jesus' mission. We are glad to be a small part of this great company.
Seasons at Desiring God
We've had a couple of distinct seasons in our ministry. We began as a tape ministry with a catalog and a mailing list in 1994. Call that DG 1.0. In 12 years, we distributed roughly 500,000 tapes and CDs. Small, but sweet, beginnings. Along the way, we have always had conferences and a local bookstore. But the central strategy for spreading has clearly become the Internet.
In 2006, we put all of our digital resources online for free. This solidified the Internet as the main megaphone for our message. Call that DG 2.0. In recent months, we have clarified this Internet focus. This clarification has resulted in a riveting of our resources on making the Web as globally effective as we can. This includes the goal of translating our Web resources into the major trade languages of the world. Call it DG 3.0.
World Internet Users
A few statistics. The population of the world just crossed the seven-billion mark. There are currently an estimated 2.26 billion Internet users worldwide — one billion of which are from Asia, and only 273 million of which are from North America. Here's the current breakdown for Internet use globally:
Asia: 1 billion Web users (26% penetration)
Europe: 500 million Web users (61.3% penetration)
North America: 273 million Web users (78.6% penetration)
Latin America: 235 million Web users (39.5% penetration)
Africa: 139 million Web users (13.5% penetration)
Middle East: 77 million Web users (35% penetration)
Australia: 23 million Web users (67% penetration)
Sources: Nielsen Online, UN International Telecommunications Union, GfK, local Regulators and other reliable sources.
Last year Desiring God had 14,856,000 visits to our Website. We tremble as we ponder Jesus' words: "Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more" (Luke 12:48).
But when you consider the world, this "much" we have been given is a tiny fraction of what is yet to be done. So at age 66, I feel, perhaps, like Joshua when the Lord said, "You are old and advanced in years, and there remains yet very much land to possess" (Joshua 13:1). Yes. A whole Worldwide Web awaits. And to any thought of coasting home, or sailing off into the sunset, we say with John Paul Jones from the deck of the Bonhomme Richard, "We have not yet begun to fight."
Transition from Selling
We'll tell you more in the months to come. But here's one implication of this clarified focus on the Web. We've decided that this ship could sail faster and farther if we stopped carrying hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of book inventory. For years, we have had a store as part of our Website. I have always said to our guys: Let's have the lowest prices on the Web. Beat Amazon's prices. And we have — but only by pennies. But we can't beat Amazon's service. And we've simply decided that there's no need to. Let's not compete; let's partner.
So the "store," as such, is going away. Instead, we will have improved "product pages" — an online catalog of sorts — on each book and other products where you will have several of options: read descriptions, watch video introductions, download free PDFs, and click to order the product from Amazon, or other partnering retailers. In other words, you lose no accessibility, you gain information and possibilities, and we off-load the inventory, so to speak, so the ship sails faster and farther. We'll keep on doing the amazing bulk offers from time to time, but even those will be for suggested donations. We are leaving the selling business.
Speaking of dumping the inventory, we are putting all of our books and resources on sale for $5 or less. Think of this as a transition sale. We'd be thrilled if you would take advantage of this and help us lighten the ship.
More to come in the next few months. Exciting new technology will be coming online soon. We are predominately donor-funded from folks who love what we stand for — even more so now with moving away from having a store. If you're one of those lovers of the truth that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him, it would make us really glad if you'd consider partnering with us in our mission to reach the world.
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