We recently finished a major overhaul of the content and design on our paz.church/japan bilingual website.
After the project, my website felt a little neglected. It was looking a little shabby too.
Of course, nothing that a bit of research and a bunch of digital elbow grease can't fix. It was the prime opportunity to finally consolidate my website and ConvertKit subscription into a better solution.
The surprising decision
Actually, it's a re-entrance. You may recognize that my first blog was a self-hosted website using Ghost in 2019.
Still a bigger fan of the Holy Ghost, but I digress.
Fast-forward 3 years. The rise of email newsletters and related platforms like MailChimp and Substack have pushed companies like Ghost and Tilda to add email newsletter functionality into their toolkits.
Clearly, I've been tinkering with these systems on and off over the last few years.
- Our church website is WordPress.
- Choose Life is designed and hosted on Tilda
- My personal website has been on:
- Now Ghost again.
- For my email newsletter:
Ghost is for blogs, independent news sources, FAQs, etc. The name of their game is publishing. It's gelled as their product niche.
I've always liked their minimalist, easy-to-read design. But now, it's also a cost-effective, rock-solid blog hosting platform with baked-in newsletter capabilities.
There are benefits to using a website + ConvertKit/MailChimp, but I'm glad to finally consolidate everything into one platform. 🙌🏻 Well...
But then I started to write this post...
Which is currently going into day 4 or 5 of editing and rewriting.
Don't get me wrong, I like writing.
But perhaps a blog is not the right way to go for ministry updates. It's great for thoughts, cat pictures, and sharing silly internet links. But it's not great for sharing what I do daily.
After doing all the work to make this site look fantastic and import my past blog catalog, something was still missing.
It's a specialized website and update solution for missionaries on the field. A platform created by missionaries for missionaries. Epistle is a fitting name for what Christian missionaries are trying to do when communicating updates.
It makes you wonder what the Apostle Paul would have done with an email list, YouTube channel, pictures, and videos.
While the typography and design of Epistle aren't nearly as polished, the features and micro-update format are hard to beat.
Supporters can easily post private comments visible only to the missionary; they can quickly toss updates a "like"; I'll save you the sales pitch on the other cool features.
Epistle gives supporters more control over the frequency of email updates. Supporters choose daily, weekly, or monthly updates. Most missionaries are definitely not trying to overwhelm your mailbox. I'm not. (Unlike the handful of Japanese companies with no unsubscribe links in their incessant ASCII art emails...)
It's a tough balance between communicating well and not communicating enough.
In short, Epistle will be a lot more personal. A hands-on look at my work.
Blogs are more abstract, that's not always a bad thing.
Look forward to more focused content here in the future, with less one-off "look what we did with Choose Life this week" additions.
I'll be able to write for a more general audience, and not just the ones who are interested in my missions activities.
Your choice, friend
This is my 52-post since I started doing regular blogs and missionary updates in 2019. God has really been present in the time since then. I'm very thankful for his grace.
Thank you for your support and for reading these mailings. Some of you, it's been 3 years now. 🙏🏻 It's a monumental blessing to have your prayers, support, and friendship.
It marks 3 years since I ditched the lone-ranger mentality. That's been a game changer for me; you can read more about that here.
My personal ministry updates and prayer requests will continue exclusively on Epistle.Today
Please look for that content here: https://sethquant.epistle.today/
For helpful links, books, thoughts, and writing on Christian life, feel free to stick around on this newsletter.
This bloggy, newslettery content will continue on sethquant.com
The good news is, splitting my personal content up helps everything stay focused. Blogging mixed ministry updating is messy. Look forward to more focused content.
My posts from 2019, the newsletters from the 2020s, and everything else I've written is now in one place on my website. (We finally have a search function too. 👓)
In case you missed it, here are some solid posts from the past few years:
It's an excellent time to change trains.
You can stay on board for this ride, or choose to get off.
Feel free to unsubscribe from this blog, and subscribe to Epistle instead.
Feel free to unsubscribe from both. (No hard feelings.)
The useful links and stuff
Fresh off my site upgrade, it's an excellent time to brain-dump a bunch of digital tools for you straight out of my bookmarks bar.
Website-building and hosting companies are becoming more accessible and convenient every year. Meaning that average joes like us have almost nothing to do with servers or code and everything to do with functional website designs.
If you're a missionary or working to become one, I highly recommend Epistle.Today
It's the more intelligent version of Excel or Numbers as a cloud web platform. Enter fewer data and make more connections between all the data you have entered. The templates you can find show their system's wide variety of uses.
It's primarily useful if you like publishing, blogging, and not maintaining your website much.
I'm definitely not about "turning audiences into businesses". People and relationships aren't businesses. 'Love of money is the root of all kinds of evil' or something like that. 🤦🏻♂️
Get a domain
Designing a site on Tilda with all the drop-in pieces and templates, is quick and effective. It's similar to Wix. They have a lot of features built-in for a cost-effective package. Tilda also hosts your site while enabling you to build a site on its platform. I like their zero-block feature to tweak mobile and desktop pages. Of course you just drop in your custom domain, and it's your site.
For email marketing or newsletters. A bit pricey. But some people swear by it. Much better experience than SendInBlue, the ConvertKit had a much more responsive site. Bonus points for not "turning audiences into businesses".
Everyone is probably happy The Chimp grew out of its bizarre branding. Honestly, the off-putting imagery really made me think twice about using their service.
The branding is fixed. Mostly because they were acquired by Intuit. But, Intuit is questionable for other business practices. 😅
The Chimp's hard to beat for a small email list. Can't complain about free. A bunch of my friends have always used their service. You only pay to remove their watermark, or when your audience reaches a certain size.
If I wasn't using Ghost's set-up, I would likely apologize for under-appreciating MailChimp and use it again.
Here is the best (and only) site I've ever visited that travels through the world's music in time & space.
Ever wondered what music was the rage in 1980s Italy?
How about Brazil in the 1930s?
Every country is represented. (Though not necessarily for every possible time period from the 1900s to Today.) Become the most indie music lover out of any one you know. haha.
Do you know any excellent websites or web design tools I've never mentioned? I'd love to hear about them.
The harvest is plentiful,
P.S. If you didn't see the link earlier, this is the surefire way to make sure you're always getting these emails or the emails from Epistle.