Why Does this Ministry Charge for the Training It Offers? Doesn't the Bible say, "Freely you have received, freely give..." (Matt. 10:7-10)?
For most people who run a business this question is unnecessary. However, now and then I receive a "scolding" from someone because I charge for the seminars that I offer or because I sell "God's work" in the books and videos I produce. I am genuinely sorry that someone may be troubled by this. I hope what I am bout to say will be helpful.
Nevertheless, I am pleased with the way that we have financially operated since we began back in the mid nineties. We are a FOR-profit organization and thus we never solicit donations or seek outside support for what we do. We have always maintained a positive cash flow, we have never been in the red or late on paying our vendors or our employees. It seems God has richly blessed what we have done. At the same time we have tried very hard to keep the prices as affordable as possible and reflective of fair market prices for similar goods and services provided by other Christian publishing companies.
In almost every case where people write me and question my financial practices they will quote the Matthew 10 passage listed above. Most people only quote the first part that says "freely… received, freely give" and fail to read this passage in its context. This passage is a part of the instructions the Lord gave His disciples just before sending them out on a missionary journey. The reason that Jesus told his disciples they should "freely give" was that they should expect fair compensation for their labor which would free them to work without concern for coming up with their own provision.
The fuller text says, "Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support." In other words, "You need not worry about taking any personal support on this trip but rather you should expect those who benefit from what you will do to pay you a fair compensation because you are worthy of your hire." There is no biblical support of which I am aware that says a minister should not expect to receive compensation for what he or she does. The Apostle Paul states that a minister should expect to receive compensation for the service he renders (1 Corinthians 9:9-12).
There are also some very practical issues that keep me from "giving away" the TPM training. Everything that we produce costs money and accumulates bills for which vendors and employees expect to be paid. Those who suggest we live by faith and trust God to support this ministry are also those who ask others (who are working and getting paid) to give support to provide them what they need to do their ministry. This seems to be the same thing. Someone has to work and get paid in order to give to the person who is doing ministry and not getting paid. If I receive a donation for doing ministry then I am getting paid or compensated for what I am doing.
Unless you are in the publishing business you cannot be expected to understand the overall cost in producing what is provided by this ministry. One person wrote me and asked, "does it really cost that much…?" The cost of having the actual materials printed into hard copy is only a small part of the production cost. There is a staff of full time employees that receive their weekly pay, benefits and other compensations. There is the cost of informing the community of users
with notice of products available, revisions, etc. One simple mailing to just the people on our database of TPM users can cost between $15,000 and $50,000.00 to mail out. The overhead of running this business is like any other company; rent, upkeep, utilities, office expenses, etc. There are literally thousands of man hours poured into each product that is released that cost much.
I am sorry that some might believe we are making more money than we should. However, the prices of the TPM products have only increased one time in 12 years while they have been lowered many times. Discounts are offered as we are able to give them. Every time a revision/update is made with any product the alumni has been offered at least 50%-75% off of the new product revisions. There are probably very few businesses that do that. We honestly are trying to make the training as affordable as possible for those genuinely wanting to obtain it.
One person wrote me and specifically complained about the price of the Comprehensive Training Package we offer. Actually this package is the most economical package that we offer. This package is designed to provide a discount for the person who wants everything offered by this publishing company. The comprehensive package contains nearly everything that this ministry produces. However, not all of these items are required for completing the Basic Training. (The Basic Training requires watching all the DVDs in the Basic Training Seminar [most churches only purchase one set that many people share], every person reading their own Basic Training Seminar Manual, watching the seven live ministry sessions on DVD [here again this item is usually shared by a group], reading the Student Workbook and reading the chapter in the Healing Life's Hurts book (which is a free download.)
If you were to research the retail prices on each item you will find that they are comparable to similar market prices for other publishing companies and more likely lower than other training courses out there. We have set these prices based their cost and have limited what we charge based upon what the market dictates.
Though we have only raised prices one time over the years, the cost of inflation, paper, labor and everything else has gone up substantially. After cost of goods and inflation are factored into the cost of production, we are making less on each item we sell today than we were back when we first started over a decade ago.
We also give away a substantial amount of items to other countries and those genuinely in need. A few years ago we shipped 1000 basic seminar manuals to
West Africa. We covered the total cost in this. This cost was covered totally by this ministry and came out of profits from other sales.
We will continue to operate as we have from the beginning and will seek to make the training as affordable as possible.