To Open Source or Not?

The big thing nowadays is to open source products/resources. It’s a great way to get other people’s input before you launch a product and/or a great way to bless other ministries that do not have the resources you have. What a benefit to many people and churches. We are all pinching pennies, including myself, and I find that some of the open source resources out there are second to none.

There are still many companies/providers out there that charge for their products and rightly so. They are top notch and the money they make provides food for their tables and helps to develop more and better resources for others.

What are your thoughts?

Do you value open source resources over paid resources?

Do you think churches ought not to charge for resources?

Do you think we should be paying for resources because they provide a living for people and allow others the money to develop better resources?

Do you think open source will eventually flush out most or all paid resources for the church?

Personally, I think there is a place for both. Sam Luce recently posted a blog listing some of the best open source resources out there and they’re all legit. I use them myself. However, I know some people who make a living off of creating resources and their feeling is that more can be done for the kingdom if we pay for these resources.

Lifechurch.tv’s YouVersion could be a case in point. This is purely my opinion, but I think Lifechurch.tv could have made literally millions of dollars had they charged for the YouVersion app or sold it to a company. Those millions of dollars could then be invested into creating better products. However, Lifechurch.tv was able to bless millions of people with probably the coolest free resource I have ever seen. And, they continue to pump out free resources like churchmetrics.com, etc.

Maybe at the end of the day if God has given you the ability to create and give away for free—do it. If God has given you the ability to create and people want to pay for your product/service—do it. I’m a both/and guy!!

Looking forward to your thoughts!!

PJ

3 comments

  1. Ditto. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I think there’s a place for both. In growing churches where money is scarce, sometimes ‘free’ is the only option. While, on other ‘special’ occasions, when quality is a MUST and vision is also something you want, a paid product or service is the way to go.

    One more vote for the both/and side!

    I know, as a church, we hope to be able to provide open source resources one day to bless other churches/organizations.

    Thanks!

  2. Free resources often go hand in hand with resources you pay for, adding value. A book, for example, might have a free study guide. Case in point: publisher Thomas Nelson is offering a free youth group curriculum and contest as part of its effort to get the word out about a new book, Invasion by Jon S. Lewis. The curriculum, based on the story of David and Goliath, is available when you sign up for a national contest around this book. Invasion author Jon S. Lewis will come and speak to the winning group. Learn more at http://www.chaosnovels.com/youthprogram.php.

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