Blood, Sweat, and Tears—The First Seventeen Years of

Ok, I admit, there hasn't been much blood. But, I did get a nasty paper-cut one time. And, there hasn't been a whole lot of sweat, considering we sit in front of computers in air-conditioned offices. There have been some tears, but thankfully, far more of them have been tears of joy than tears of pain or sadness. But, what the phrase "blood, sweat, and tears" has come to mean is "hard work." And, there has been a LOT of that in the first seventeen years of!

If you would have told me seventeen years ago what would become, I would have laughed at you. Look at the picture above. It is of the small, one-bedroom apartment my wife and I lived in when was launched (sorry about the ugly bedspread, it was free). There, on that very desktop computer, in February of 2002, we launched, never imagining it would ever be anything more than a hobby. Obviously God had much bigger things in mind.

Over the past seventeen years, we have watched God expand from a hobby into one of the most frequently visited Christian websites in the world. is currently averaging over 10,000,000 visitors per month. You should have seen how excited we were when we received our first question! It was "How do you explain the Trinity to an unbeliever?" Even now, over 566,000 questions later, while the excitement is different, we are still blessed to be entrusted by God to answer peoples' spiritually-related questions. It is a responsibility that we do not take lightly. James 3:1 is definitely on our minds.

I always tell people that if I could write my dream ministry job description, it would be doing precisely what I do every day. Since I am somewhat of an introvert, a friend once accused me of creating so that I wouldn't have to deal with people. While that was not my goal, it is a definite perk! Just kidding! We deal with people all the time, just electronically. You'd be surprised what some people will say online that they would never say in person. Serving at is not without its frustrations. But, I love doing work that has an eternal purpose and has easily measurable results.

We started because I did not feel a clear calling from God into any of the traditional forms of ministry. I had graduated from Bible college and seminary, and knew God was calling me into full-time ministry, but I had no desire to be a pastor, youth minister, or traditional missionary. I was serving in the shipping department at a Christian ministry, and was teaching a Sunday School class at a local church, but I knew God had more for me to do. So, my wife and I began praying, asking God to lead me to a ministry that would be a perfect fit for how He had gifted and wired me. Essentially, I asked God for something to do with my spare time.

My advice to you — don't ask God for something to do with your spare time unless you really mean it. But, if you are seriously ready for God to glorify Himself by doing amazing and unexpected things through you, ask Him to give you a ministry that is a perfect fit for you. You won't be disappointed. is the story of God taking a small and simple idea and transforming it into something big, powerful, and world-impacting. Who knew? Not me, that's for sure!

S. Michael Houdmann

Return to: homepage

Blood, Sweat, and Tears—The First Seventeen Years of