It was, at times, painful to watch Paul Miller wrestle with the J-Curve. As Publisher for seeJesus Press, I had a front row seat for four of the last 15 years, over which time Paul developed the material. We laugh often about how many J-Curves the J-Curve material has been through. (I have discouraged Paul from creating another chart to illustrate this).
Success is easily measured in the publishing world. When Paul’s A Praying Life sold through its first print run prior to launch, we knew the book would be a commercial success. Four hundred thousand copies later, we still rejoice at this fact.
J-Curve sales numbers are more modest. To date, it has sold over 17,000 copies—a “good” record, but nothing approximating the phenomenon of A Praying Life. We could be discouraged about the J-Curve if we were aiming only for numbers.
I’ve often heard Paul say that the rising side of the J-Curve is answered prayer, which reminds me to go back and look, specifically, at what we asked God to do.
I’ve often heard Paul say that the rising side of the J-Curve is answered prayer, which reminds me to go back and look, specifically, at what we asked God to do. Back in 2018, the newly-formed Leadership Team of seeJesus met and prayerfully sketched out what we thought the ministry of seeJesus should look like in three years, in light of all we believed God was calling us to do. What did we write about the J-Curve? We didn’t write any sales goals. (Not that we haven’t implemented marketing plans and pursued sales.) Instead, we simply wrote: “J-Curve being widely discussed.”
It is humbling and heartening to see that this is happening. Ten years ago, “J-Curve” was strictly an economic concept. But today, if you Google “J-Curve Jesus,” you’ll get thousands of results. Paul’s J-Curve book has helped the church to think and talk about the path of Jesus in new ways. From the national stage at the Bethlehem Pastors’ Conference in Minneapolis to missionary organizations reaching Chinese collegiates and scholars to a network of international pastors in Arizona shepherding ethnic churches, it is happening.
Our goal was to give Christians hope in their dying. But we never anticipated how much the world would need that hope and direction in 2020.
While our measure was the J-Curve being widely discussed, our goal was to give Christians hope in their dying. But we never anticipated how much the world would need that hope and direction in 2020. My heart is full of worship and thanksgiving when I see how God has allowed the many J-Curves of the J-Curve over the past 15 years to overflow now into his Church as comfort.