Christian Business with a Twist: Forget the Profits (But Make Them Anyway)

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Atlanta area minister-entrepreneur founds Christian bookstore designed to make no profits on sale of books but profits 800 percent anyway.

What happens when you go into business with the idea of not making a profit? For one Christian entrepreneur, the strategy resulted in an 800% gain.

As an industry, "Christian Retail" accounts for over five billion dollars a year. However, according to evangelical entrepreneur Trace Colson, “only about 12% of that money goes back into Christian ministry.”

“The largest outlets for such products are the discount warehouse stores like Wal-Mart and Costco,” said Jim Ball, sales representative of Spread The Word Ministries. Online retailers like and Barnes & Noble also get large shares of the faith-based revenue, according to Ball.

Dr. Jim Kinnebrew, an Atlanta area pastor and educator, started a unique online Christian bookstore designed to change those statistics. His store, Fishfoodbooks.Org, is a Christian business with a twist: Everything is sold at cost.

"FishFoodBooks exists for the glory of God and the growth of His children," Kinnebrew said, "so we take no profits from the sale of our resources.” A tour of the site,, verifies the claim; everything in the store—nearly 160,000 items—is sold to every customer at the store’s own wholesale cost. In spite of taking no commissions from sales, the new ministry realized an eight-fold return on its startup costs in only five months, according to Kinnebrew. "God has honored our intent to bless His Church, and it is showing in the growth of our organization both financially and spiritually," he said. Profits to FishFoodBooks accrue from helping others start bookstores, Kinnebrew explained.

A Southern Baptist pastor and the Dean of Luther Rice College and Seminary, the 52 year old founder of FishFoodBooks hardly strikes one as the stereotypical internet entrepreneur. A quiet "family man" and the father of three "twenty-something" sons, Kinnebrew admits that he is a novice in the business world. The "core" of the company's website, he explained, is an online bookstore stocked and maintained by Spread the Word Ministries in Flagstaff, AZ. Added to the bookstore, however, are online Bible study helps, a community forum, an Apologetics oriented space called "The Tackle Box," and a unique section called "Join the School" that teaches others how to open a similar site for ministry and/or business.

"Christians looking for a home-based business venture are amazed at the value and support offered by Spread The Word," Kinnebrew said. "Many who visit our website just to get a book leave us owning their own bookstore!” Asked if that was not creating competition for his site, Kinnebrew replied, "We don't consider them to be competition but partners with us in the Kingdom's work. We are glad to have their help in spreading the Gospel, and we do everything we can to mentor them in the process." Fishfoodbooks has been the sponsor of several such bookstores for churches in GA, NC, TN, IN, OK, CA, and elsewhere. “Churches that start stores find that they save hundreds on their own literature costs besides the money that they make from sales," Kinnebrew said. “It advances the Kingdom in more ways than we had ever planned.”

FishFoodBooks.Org is a separate arm of Kinnebrew's theological/pastoral ministry and is not associated with Luther Rice College and Seminary or the Southern Baptist Convention.


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Dr. Jim Kinnebrew