Excerpted from The Boston Globe, January 2, 2006
Complete article is available at Boston.com
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Technology and religion merge to facilitate spiritual growth
By G. Jeffrey MacDonald, Globe Correspondent
Annual sales of religious software have reached the $80 million mark, according to a 2004 report from Packaged Facts, a market research company that tracks religious publishing.
Most religious software helps users penetrate digitized sacred scriptures. Logos Bible Software, for example, licenses 50 Bible translations and 5,000 reference works, such as commentaries and concordances, that the company bundles into quickly searchable electronic libraries selling for $150 to $600. Other Web-based programs, at sites such as biblegateway.com, offer free downloads as a ministry to reach the masses with the gospel.
''We get all the paper-pushing out of the way and give you time to think about what the passage means," said Bob Pritchett, president, chief executive, and cofounder of Logos Bible Software, where double-digit growth during each of the past four years is expected to bring sales near the $10 million mark this year. ''The best feedback I get is when pastors tell me, 'I'm preaching better messages and I'm spending one-third the time in preparation.' "
For the Rev. Daniel Szatkowski...software has yet to deliver on its full promise. After 17 years of turning to books to guide his sermon preparation, the pastor of Cambridgeport Baptist Church in Cambridge began using Logos's Scholar's Library a year ago. He hasn't cut down his preparation time, he said, but he does draw on more resources.
''I haven't always been sure it was worth it," he said, remembering he spent about $450 from his own pocket on the product. ''But I could see this is the direction where everything is heading. . . . It's my first step in building an electronic library."
© 2006 by The Boston Globe.