On New Year’s Day 1999 I vaguely recall being on the computer, using an old dial up modem while staying at my grandmother’s house for reasons that now escape me. I couldn’t begin to tell you why I remember any of this but I’m kind of glad I do because it marks the beginning of Spreading Light Ministries in my mind. I distinctly remember working on the first Spreading Light website then although I can’t be certain if that was when I was still on geocities or if I had just purchased this domain. Whatever the case, January 1, 1999 marks the unofficial beginning of the site and something that has grown far beyond my imagination.
I have long since lost count of how many page views I’ve had over the years. I only know that it numbers in the millions now. Honestly, I don’t even know how many domains I’m operating now without looking it up. The only thing I am certain of is that my current plans call for about twenty more sites and I’m confident that I’ll have several more unplanned sites before all of those are finished.
I am currently in the process of the largest overhaul of Spreading Light since I moved it to its own server. And back then, moving six pages can hardly be considered an overhaul. Now I have over 300 on this domain alone that I have to manually update (which is why I’m making the change, so that hopefully I’ll have have to do this again.) On top of the major overhaul of the main site, I am working on my biggest project, or technically set of projects, since launching in 1999.
So while I take a few minutes off from switching and updating files that I’ve been doing for the last eight hours or so – with no end in site – I decided to reminisce a bit and look at my old site designs. Some look rather quaint, but do remember that computers and the internet were a different thing 14 years ago. On the other hand, some I still like to this day and kind of miss. So while I am greatly looking forward to the future and praying that God would take this ministry even further beyond my imagination in the next 14 years, here’s a look back at Spreading Light from years ago.
This was the original logo from the site. I have maintained the same tagline all of these years. The name Spreading Light didn’t mean anything when I registered it. I don’t remember what names I tried to register first but they weren’t available. Spreading Light was the best sounding thing at the time. Knowing what I now know about search engines I probably wouldn’t have ever picked Spreading Light and instead bought something like christiantheology.com but I don’t regret it. Spreading Light has become a part of who I am now and I can’t imagine that it would be the same with a name chosen for other purposes.
This logo actually looked better with the rest of the site than it does by itself, I swear. My file is dated as September 2000 which seems about right in my mind. I really don’t know why I ever went with a brown color. In all honesty, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen another brown site in my life. By this point I had expanded beyond my original controversial issues into theology thanks to my Bible college training. Theology continues to be one of the biggest areas on the site.
At one point Spreading Light had a message board. This was one of the signatures that I used. I’m think that this had to be in 2001 or 2002 but I can’t be certain.
This is my favorite of all of the site designs. I really like the colors in this. I’m not 100% certain why I moved away from this site design but I believe that it was because the pages were black with white lettering. Either I realized that this was hard to read or I discovered through research that people didn’t like it. Of course this was still better than my terrible yellow lettering on black background that I had. Yes, you’re right that it was just as terrible as it sounds. But the internet was an ugly thing in the early 2000’s I promise.
In 2003 I was back to ugly brown colors. Heartwarmers marked the first branching out of the ministry. This collection of stories became christianlifestories.com. In 2003 I also launched Spreading Light School. This never became quite what I had hoped but it transformed into mychristianeducation.com
This is one of my latest designs. The picture of Jesus was taken from my home church. This ran for probably 5 years from 2005 – 2010. Even the current version isn’t changed much from this. It still contains stained glass images from my home church and this if what I use as my facebook page profile.
In 2007 I started launching several sites a year. Onlinebibledevotions.com was the first to start this but after that, there was a new site almost every month for a while. In 2011 I was given over two dozen Bible studies by my mentor Bob Conway. Currently only five of these have been made into their own sites. I do have a good reason however: most of these Bible studies are over 100,000 words and the total word count is over 3 million.
In 2012 I started shutting down a few sites. In short, I had spread some things out too far and there were too many sites to link to. I’m still in the process of compiling the pages into new locations. 95% of the pages are remaining up, some will just be on a new site that better fits their themes.
2013 will be my 15th year doing websites and I hope to have some huge releases. Keep an eye on this site and follow the facebook page for all of the latest updates as they come out in 2013.