Three years ago, I took a long, hard look around the internet. I remember sitting in our home office, in front of the desktop computer, clicking through website after website, trying to find a place where I could belong as a new, budding faith writer. I wanted to write about controversial stuff. I wanted to write about how hard it was to follow Jesus. I wanted to write about my life, and I wanted to read the stories of others and THEIR lives.
All of the places that were writing about controversial issues were doing so loudly, forcefully, and they were too confrontational. They used heated rhetoric and called people names. That didn’t do it for me.
With their beautiful photos and picture-perfect lives, a lot of faith bloggers were talking about how “hard” it was to be a Christian. They were writing about their lessons of faith, but they always wrapped it up in the end with a neat red bow. They talked about the difficult stuff of life, but it was rarely real. It wasn’t messy like my life and my faith. I still didn’t fit.
People rarely told stories. They were typing out lists and bullet-points, using good keyword practices to make sure they got ranked higher on Google searches. I didn’t care about that. I wanted stories.
So, after a long while, I got tired of looking.
I wrote to a couple of my friends who I knew were storytellers in their heart of hearts, and I told them my idea: What if we created a website where we told stories of our lives, allowed others to share, and we addressed some of the big, difficult issues of faith and culture? What if we wrote like we weren’t afraid? What if we just laid it all bare and finally tackled some of this stuff, and invited others in to comment and to engage? What if we created a space online where people felt safe to do that?
So, we went for it.
And I never imagined three years ago that Deeper Story would become the place that it is today. I never imagined that over 60 writers would join in. I never imagined that thousands upon thousands of people would read every month. I never imagined that I’d get so many emails from so many people, saying, “Thank you,” thanking me and the writers for being honest with our lives and and being okay with writing about the messy stuff and all the shades of grey.
Three years ago, I never pictured myself being an “Editor in Chief,” managing a big website, learning HTML code, editing posts and working with so many writers on their content. This website has truly taken on a life of its own. It’s pretty big now – too big and a bit too confusing.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s an amazing problem to have! If it weren’t for you, our community of readers, we’d have no reason to keep moving forward, to keep writing, and to keep publishing.
But, I know you’ve noticed a few things. The website loads pretty slow. It’s hard to navigate between Story, Family and Church to find what you’re looking for. It’s confusing when you’re trying to subscribe. The website crashes a lot. You’re right. All of those things are true.
So, we’re working on bringing you the next big chapter in Deeper Story’s life. We’re completely overhauling the website. We’re moving servers, we’re bringing all the writers under one roof, we’re bringing back some old friends and adding a few new ones, we’ll be offering our platform to those who feel marginalized and pushed out, we’ll have a fully-functioning mobile site, and we’re redesigning the entire website interface so that it’ll be easy to navigate, easy to read and easy to find what you’re looking for.
We are all SO excited about the next phase.
But, I’m gonna level with you for a second, ok? I promised you from the beginning that I’d be honest and up-front about everything, so here we go: This next two-year phase of Deeper Story? It’s gonna cost a pretty penny to make it happen.
Up to this point in Deeper Story’s life, my family and I have paid for everything out of our pocket. Web design, hosting, troubleshooting, updates – they have all been paid for by my checking account. You’ve probably noticed that the sidebars around here have been empty. We don’t sell ad space right now. All of the writers contribute their work voluntarily. The editors give even more of their time out of the goodness of their hearts. I have made ZERO dollars on the success of this website.
I just keep doing it because I believe in it.
You, our community, have proven my theory to be correct: If you tell honest stories about your life in order to address some bigger issues of faith and culture, rather than name calling and heated rhetoric, it will resonate. People will read it. People will believe in it, too.
I can’t pay for all the web design, hosting, coding, and troubleshooting on my own anymore. It’s a huge financial undertaking for our family to keep Deeper Story running and to keep moving forward. I could probably secure a loan of some kind, but I’d rather not go into debt.
So, I talked it over with the editors and the writers, and we thought it’d be a cool idea to crowdsource the funding to keep Deeper Story moving forward over the next two years. So, I’m coming to you, our community of readers, to ask for help.
There are SO many of you out there who read our stories daily – thousands of you! If even half of you gave just $5 or $10, we’d be fully funded by the end of the day. If, like me, you believe in the power of telling stories, if the lives of others here have impacted you in some way, if you’ve clicked “Share” on Facebook or linked to a story here for your Twitter followers, or if you’ve emailed a story to a loved one and said, “Read this,” I’d be so grateful if you’d consider donating.
Stories can change the world. I believe it all the way into my bones, and time and time again, you’ve proven me right.
Let’s keep this thing going. Let’s keep changing the world, one story at a time.
All my love,