This has been a year of uncertainty for Regular Baptist Press, but by God’s grace we are still here and we are still pursuing our mission of glorifying God by producing church educational resources that are true to God’s Word and encourage maturity in Christ. The pandemic-related shutdowns of 2020 affected RBP significantly, but we are beginning to see signs of recovery in our sales numbers and are cautiously optimistic about our ministry’s viability in the days ahead.
If the current recovery trend continues, we can anticipate emerging from the pandemic relatively unscathed. We would need to reach roughly 80% of pre-pandemic sales levels this fiscal year to break even. Sales levels higher than that would constitute a modest profit. If our sales come in under 80% of pre-pandemic levels, we may need to consider additional cuts or other changes to our business model to address the shortfall. At this point it is somewhat difficult to forecast what our sales numbers will be due to the varying speeds at which churches are resuming their regular operations and programs. We expect the upcoming Fall quarter sales to be a helpful indicator of longer-term sales trends, so we will be watching those numbers very closely.
I would like to publicly recognize my staff for their excellent work, outstanding work ethic, and constant flexibility during this unusual period in RBP’s history. Without their consummate professionalism, things could have fared far worse. I am grateful to be serving with them.
One of the things we discovered this year is that it is quite possible to conduct business and get work done without requiring our staff to be onsite together every day at a centralized location. The remote-working arrangement has gone much more smoothly than any of us initially anticipated it would. This increased flexibility has opened the door for several of our employees to move out of the state of Illinois while remaining employed fulltime by Regular Baptist Press. Other employees have remained in the Chicago area but continue to work from home, while still others have opted to return to the office. We are continuing to evaluate the long-term viability of this working arrangement, but so far it has functioned very well, and our staff greatly appreciates the increased range of options. In the near future, we would like to explore monetizing the unused space in our office, either by leasing out space to other businesses or ministries, or by selling the building and downsizing to something with a smaller footprint.
RBP’s Strong Students curriculum will debut this Fall with courses for middle school (The Big Picture: Finding My Place in God’s Story) and high school (Verified: Sure Evidence for the Savior). This is the next major entry in our Strong Curriculum line of resources, and will be the first batch of revised youth material we have offered in nearly a decade. We also continue to make multiple small improvements to the Strong Kids curriculum line as each quarter comes up for reprint, including new artwork, revised take-home papers, additional teaching videos, and a host of editorial and content-related tweaks.
Strong Adults will debut in Fall 2022. In the meantime, we are planning to develop several new adult Sunday School courses under the Truth for Living resource line. These courses will cover Job (Winter 21), Philippians (Spring 22), and Psalms (Summer 22).
Vacation Bible School
Because so many churches were unable to hold Vacation Bible School programs last year, we have decided to offer the 2020 and 2021 programs this year, while supplies last. We are excited to see how God will use Big Fish Bay and Wonder World Funfest to draw people to Himself.
We are also pleased to announce our Vacation Bible School Theme for 2022. Kookaburra Coast: Awesome Adventures in God’s Glory is an Australian theme where kids discover unique destinations and exotic animals, complete with jeep excursions, kangaroos in the outback, and the Great Barrier Reef. God’s creative handiwork in the land and animals of Australia will emphasize His awesome glory. Through the lessons, kids will learn about the life of Moses and will see how God displayed His glory to the Egyptians, the Israelites, and ultimately all the world when He called His people out of slavery and established them as His special covenant nation. The same glorious presence that led the children of Israel through the wilderness as a pillar of cloud and fire ultimately returned to earth in the person of Jesus Christ, Whose life-changing presence is every bit as accessible today as it was for Moses over three millennia ago.
We continue to see slow but steady growth in the Kids4Truth customer base. Since this time last year, 140 churches have begun using Kids4Truth for the first time. No major revisions to the Kids4Truth material are planned at this time, although we are taking steps to develop a series of training videos to help churches understand how to use the material.
Because of the financial impact of the pandemic, we have made the decision to temporarily pause production of most new book publications. Exceptions to this policy include women’s Bible studies (because they are a low financial risk) and book projects for which front-end funds have already been raised to offset the cost of production. Since this time last year, we have released three new women’s Bible studies (Fearful and Wonderful: The God of Our Salvation by Amy R. Dunham; Engage: Influencing Your World like Jesus by Jeannie Vogel; and Truth Adorned: Pursuing Life’s Deeper Purpose by Haley Seboe Cleveland), and we have four new Bible studies planned for publication in the coming year at the rate of one per quarter. Additional book releases in the near future will include a book on the doctrine of religious liberty by Jay Lucas and a commentary on Matthew’s Gospel—the first entry in our New Testament Exposition Commentary series—by Chris Miller.
I remain convinced that our world is a confused, hurting place, and that it desperately needs the hope and assurance that can only come from a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. To that end, we count it a privilege and a blessing to continue providing discipleship resources that are rooted in the Word of God and exalt the Lord Jesus.