I was sitting in Freshman Music Theory in college when the professor used the term ‘grace note.’ He said it with a tone that suggested we should know what it was. [Today I know that it is an optional note written in small superscript in a score.] I leaned over to my friend and asked, “What’s a grace note?” His response: “Jerry, it’s a note we don’t deserve.”
Any sermon truth we receive is a gift of God’s grace, which is unmerited. My 14 years at Grace Baptist Church in Decatur, IL birthed the sermon ministry known as ‘Grace Notes.’ Allow me to back up and continue our story…
Like most pastors, I post sermon audio and video on our website. But we had a deaf ministry with just one married, deaf couple. It was for them, and with that limited vision that in 2004 I began doing something seldom done by a pastor — I posted my sermon manuscript text version along with the usual audio/video so that our deaf could read it, and the PowerPoints, because the deaf are a very visual people. But God had a bigger vision! This whole story is clearly to the Lord’s credit. Only HE could do what happened next…
Pastors, missionaries, and other sermon seekers began writing in, asking if they could use our messages as source material/commentary, in preparation for their own churches. I was honored. At first, there were just a few dozen, then hundreds. We had to set up auto-subscribers and get help with the explosive growth. Today, tens of thousands of subscribers and hundreds of thousands of users download an average of 40,000 free sermons each and every week [long-term average]. And yet Grace Notes is still for that one deaf couple. [Though today there are many other deaf who also benefit.]
I also post my sermons on SermonCentral.com, where I am consistently the most downloaded contributor out of more than 10,000 who post on the site. [Remember, this is all to God’s glory.] We have had over 10 million sermon downloads on SC and another 10 million-plus on our church website since 2004. Those are staggering numbers, but it is mind-blowing when you consider that most of those doing the downloading are pastors who have their own church, whether they run 15 or 1,500. There is no way to calculate the reach God has granted to us. Today we can truly go “into all the world!”
The Word of God is not for sale, it is a free gift, and that is the spirit of Grace Notes. We all stand taller on one another’s shoulders when we share, rather than Copyright.
Thank you for joining forces as we work together for God’s kingdom!