Sharing Ministry Materials

We wanted a way that students could "help themselves" to the CD's they wanted, so we set up a number of Linux workstations with CD-burners in them and created a simple menu system that lets them push a button for the CD they want, drop their own blank (50-cent) CD in the tray and make the CD themselves. This does two great things: 1) It lets the Bible College provide the material to the students without needing staff to make the discs. 2) It "teaches" the students to think of teaching material as something we EXPECT people to duplicate, rather than reinforcing the restrictive and worldly view that Bible teaching materials always "belong" to publishing companies or institutions and that individuals should expect to pay for it instead of being able to duplicate it.

If the Apostle Paul had been writing today, the Book of Colossians might start with a notice like this:

54 A.D. by the Apostle Paul. All rights reserved. No portion of this epistle may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted in any form without the express written consent of the Apostle Paul Publishing Company. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of Federal Roman Law. Additional copies of this epistle are available at a cost of $15 in hardback, $5 paperback, $3 on audio cassette, and $7 on audio CD.

Instead, the only thing Paul has to say about "copyright" and "profiting" from one ministry area to "support" another is:


Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.  Colossians 4:16

For we are not, as so many, peddling the Word of God...  II Corinthians 2:17

More importantly, our Lord said:


Freely you have received, freely give.  Matthew 10:8

and that's really the overarching principle we should all be following.


If our churches produce digital teaching materials, and a brother can reproduce it, then by all means we should be encouraging him to do so. If one more person gets a Bible College class CD because a brother duplicated our original CD, then we are truly blessed and regard that brother as a co-laborer. We should send such people thank-you notes, not "cease and desist" threats written by lawyers.


--- From Calvary Chapel Webservants info ("duplicators" section)


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