2016 Year End Letter from Steve:
Dear friends and supporters,
This is the time of year when many of you are considering how you will distribute your donation dollars, so I feel compelled to remind you how vital your patronage is to the work that I do.
Despite its challenges, this has been another good year. Where The Good Way Lies is my 20th solo release, and this may be the happiest I’ve ever been with a new batch of songs. These are songs I couldn’t have written 30 years ago, and I am grateful to be among a blessed group of artists who have been supported enough to last into the maturing years.
And this is so important! It is not that the young can’t create vital art. Of course they can, and they do. Theirs is a trim vision that quickens the spirit and energizes the community to fresh newness. But, perhaps more than ever, we also need to hear the voice of the elder—those who have attended to the good way long enough to offer a settled wisdom and hard-won hope born of years.
As strange as it is to admit, I do feel I am transitioning into a different role as an artist and minister. Something is shifting, and I sense that I am to carefully and quietly attend to what the Spirit is saying. There will inevitably be more songs to sing and new stories to tell, but I suspect there is yet something deeply true of God—a gift—that requires the container of years to receive. There is a mounting anticipation in me for what may still be coming.
We (my staff and I) have 3 significant challenges ahead of us that will be impacting my ministry moving forward:
1) A foundation, which has been a significant donor for many years, has had to pull out their support. This has resulted in a $40,000 per year shortfall.
2) I am increasingly being invited to sing and speak at universities. Over the past 24 months I’ve been invited to Westmont College, Biola University, Duke Divinity School, Regent College, Crandall University, and Ambrose University. I believe that it is important to make time for these requests as they offer a significant opportunity to invest in the next generation. Although these events do offer some compensation, they generally aren’t able to offer the same resources that concerts generate.
3) Although we still have reasonably healthy CD sales, they have been in decline for years due to the rise in digital streaming services. This doesn’t mean that folks aren’t listening. In the last year, internet music provider Spotify reported that I had 67,000 listeners… which generated a cheque of $13.97. We have to anticipate that in 5-10 years CDs will no longer be a significant source of income, and given the current trend to devalue music, there’s no reason to suspect that traditional revenue sources will be replaced for those who are producing it.
So, this letter is simply to remind you that I am still here, and that I continue to need the support of the wider community to accomplish this work. At this point, approximately two thirds of my yearly budget is raised through the sale of concert tickets and CDs. The rest has to come through patronage.
As you approach the year-end, please consider if my work might be something you would be pleased to support. We can receive your tax deductible donation through our partner IncarNATION Ministries and I can promise it will go to further the work we’ve done, as well as enable me to accomplish what is still before me.
Thank you for your prayers and support. I am very aware that my voice is not my own, but that I have been called to give voice to the hopes, joys and sorrows that are common to us all. May those deepest of prayers echo in the very heart of God whose passion for us is particularly evident in the season that celebrates God’s loving descent into our very midst.
Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way lies, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. —Jeremiah 6:16
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