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Ray Pritchard pastored in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago. Married to Marlene for 38 years, he enjoys being a husband, a father and a grandfather, riding his bike, and playing with Dudley and Gary, beloved basset hounds.

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That’s the number of subscribers to the Keep Believing weekly sermon email, according to our webmaster Derek Taylor. The number is the highest ever and continues to climb.

I can remember when we first sent out the sermons in late 1998. We started with 15 names and slowly added from there. Each week I would write a brief introduction and then send along the sermon on Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday. It took a while for some people who heard me preach on Sunday to figure out that the sermon was not a transcript of the message. I usually had most of the sermon written before Sunday, but I took the liberty to expand it or clarify it or sometimes to change parts of it, depending on the feedback I got in the various services. 

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In October 2005 we had around 2200 names on the list. Since then we have continually added new subscribers, with more and more of them coming from countries other than the United States. Now we have a diverse representation from virtually every nation, including many pastors who use the sermons in their own preaching ministry. 

I’m happy to welcome the AOL subscribers back to the weekly sermon. Last November AOL suddenly decided that we were spam and blocked us from the 600+ AOL subscribers on our list. A year ago that happened with Hotmail and MSN but we were able to find a solution. Nothing we did worked with AOL. 

Several months ago Derek started working with Dan Tsui to create a software tool that allows us to send out the email ourselves and not from a bulk email company. It turned out to be a huge project. While we were in the Philippines, especially in those last few days in Manila, Derek spent hours IMing with Dan, trying to work out the kinks. And last weekend they spent many more hours working on formatting problems because the various big companies like Comcast, MSN, AOL, Sbcglobal, Bellsouth, Juno, Gmail and Yahoo each have their own unique way of handling email. So they did a ton of fine tuning.

That may all seem like “inside baseball” to you, but I wanted to pay tribute to these two men who have rebuilt our email system from the ground up in the last few weeks. And they continue work on new refinements. 

I have long believed that the weekly sermon remains the key way that people get introduced to Keep Believing Ministries so I’m glad we have a new system in place.

People tell me they look forward to the personal comments at the beginning. Occasionally I run into someone who tracks my biking to see how I’m doing. And people seem to like hearing about where we’ve been or where we’re going or personal notes about the family. 

I also know that many of you faithfully read every sermon. We send out the messages as our gift to the body of Christ worldwide.

So as of midnight last night, we had 5810 subscribers. That’s the big news of the week. If you want to be number 5811, you can follow this link to sign up. 

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2013 KBM Winter Report