A Christmas Letter from Our Founder

Larry WitzelCOVID-19 Response, Life Lessons

Larry Witzel, Founder & President

This year really took a toll on my soul.

Before I get to that, a couple things. First, thank you for your continued support of SermonView. It means more than you’ll ever know.

Second, I’m amazed at how the SermonView crew has worked with each of our churches this year, and I’m incredibly optimistic about the future of SermonView.

I know during this season many are feeling the pain of loss, the strain of change. We’ve lost too many, too soon, during this pandemic. I feel for the pastors who have had a particularly rough go of it, trying to minister in a world filled with divisiveness, anger and pain.

SermonView has been feeling it, too. Many of my staff have been grieving this year: one lost his dad, another lost her sister, two lost brothers. None were from Covid-19, but all were unexpected losses. Our team is hurting.

The last seven months have been tough for me, too, as I’ve personally suffered compounding loss.

Larry at his dad’s 85th birthday

In April, my dad died, losing a decade-long battle with pulmonary fibrosis. 

 In May, one of my closest friends lost his battle with glioblastoma, a frightfully aggressive brain cancer. Paul left behind a wife and young son.

 In July, I broke my ankle. (Expert tip: hold the rail when you walk down stairs in the dark.) For someone who values effectiveness and productivity, missing over two months of work took a crippling emotional toll, and combined with my other loss the darkness was often overwhelming.

Then in September, SermonView’s cofounder Vince Williams told me he needed to move on from our work together. We’ve been friends for two decades, starting SermonView together 16 years ago. I can’t imagine doing this without him—he was the Lewis to my Clark, the Lennon to my McCartney.

But he feels God leading him to pursue other entrepreneurial interests, and I support that. It’s the right thing for him, and the right thing for SermonView. We parted as friends, and I’m cheering him on.

Still, there’s a hole in my heart. I miss Vince. I miss Paul. I miss my dad.

Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NLT) says:

Though the fig tree does not bud
   and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
   and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
   and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
   I will be joyful in God my Savior.

I choked up as a business colleague sat in my office last week, reading this passage to me. My fig tree feels bare. There are no grapes on the vines, no sheep in the pen or cattle in the stalls. Yet I choose to rejoice in the Lord. I am joyful in God my Savior.

The SermonView crew before Covid-19

Frankly, Covid-19 should have broken SermonView. When you do event marketing for churches, and church events are shut down, it’s going to impact business. Revenue collapsed—fourth quarter last year was down 84%. Our work is labor-intensive, with high payroll and thin margins, and I had no idea how we could make it.

But God sustained us. The team came together, we kept innovating, and we somehow managed to thrive through it all. There were no layoffs. Everyone who wanted to keep working full time was able to, And today we’re positioned to serve you better than ever, as we solve even more marketing challenges churches face: church websites, interest tracking, Bible study interest generation, technology for online and hybrid events, and yes, evangelistic event marketing.

SermonView’s future is brighter than ever. But even if it wasn’t, I would still rejoice in the Lord.

Maybe you had a great year overall, and if so, we celebrate with you! But if this year was hard for you, too, we weep with you. And if you can find the strength in your heart, I invite you to join me in rejoicing in the Lord. Be joyful in God our Savior.

Thank you for your support of the SermonView crew over the years. I’m incredibly blessed to lead this team, and I’m honored to serve you. I love pastors, and I believe the local church is the heartbeat of ministry. So please pray for us, as we also pray for you. I’m grateful to work with you, and look forward to seeing God do big things in your church and community next year and beyond.

Merry Christmas!

Larry Witzel
Founder & President

P.S. What are your big dreams for 2022? I’d love to hear what God is doing in your church!