Augsburg Fortress
One Mission Blog - reflections on the ministry of publishing

Love to read reviews like these!

April 24th, 2014 by Beth A. Lewis

Most of my Augsburg Fortress, sparkhouse and Fortress Press colleagues feel called to this ministry of publishing because we want to create innovative resources that serve the Church and higher education.  So, when we read reviews that affirm that the work we are doing helps people in their faith formation and education, we are delighted!

In just the past couple of days, we have found this lovely review of Welcome, Child of God on the Storypath website hosted by Union Presbyterian Seminary.  Welcome, Child of God is a part of our popular Washed and Welcome series of congregational resources. 

And, we discovered another affirming review for our new Fortress Press interactive textbook  Introduction to the History of Christianity Inkling edition.

Thanks to these reviewers for your contributions!  They made our week!




Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

ELCA Church Council Presentation re: AF

April 6th, 2014 by Beth A. Lewis

I was delighted to be invited by the ELCA Church Council to spend 15-20 minutes providing them with an overview of our business/ministry of publishing.  Here is my presentation.  Questions are welcome!

Ten Things You May Not Know About AF ELCA Church Council April 2014[1] ENABLED




Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

Small, but mighty website upgrades

March 27th, 2014 by Beth A. Lewis

If you have been watching AF over the past several years, you know that we are constantly trying to improve all aspects of our business.  From creating better resources for congregations and higher education, to providing outstanding free webinars for our customers,  to providing more streamlined service for our customers, and more!

A few days ago, I received an email from our Director, Digital Resources and Publishing Systems Mark Stahura sharing a small but important upgrade to our sparkhouse website.  This improvement helps ensure better communication between you, our customers, and our Sales & Service team, ultimately leading to better service for you!

Here is Mark’s email:

“The Contact Us form was intentionally minimal. Too much so, it turns out. Sales & Service was receiving many inquiries that were cryptic because they didn’t know where the customer had been before clicking on Contact Us: the customer might write “Is there a bulk discount?”

The old form also didn’t ask if the customer wanted a response, and didn’t offer a place to put an order number.

We launched a new “contact us” form on the site this morning. The email that this form generates goes to Sales & Service, and includes all of the information the customer provided, plus the URL of the page they had been on before going to Contact Us. This form is less extensive than the one on, but more extensive than the old one on

This will eliminate needless confusion in helping our sparkhouse customers find and purchase what they need.

Kudos to webmaster Steve Larsen for quick work building this, and also for applying design standards to make this version even better looking than that old one!” 

As you might imagine, I offered my kudos to these colleagues, too!

And, here’s another one:  Recently a number of clergy noted that when they put a particular item into the search box on our website they didn’t find what they wanted.  The example used was “communion kits.”  That’s because in 2008 based on sales trends and our need to focus this ministry of publishing on just that…publishing…we stopped carrying these items. But, because they had ordered them many years ago from us, they expected to find them.  In response to this customer concern, we have added a “did you find what you were looking for?” query on our site after a customer makes a search.  It looks like this:


If yes, great! If not, you have the opportunity to provide us with feedback on what you were looking for but didn’t find and your contact information. We can then be back in touch to assist you.  Or, if you are using a search term that we haven’t used in our thousands of tags on our thousands of items on our website, we can add it for future searches.  Here’s what that looks like if you say “no”:


These are the types of small, but mighty improvements that really make a difference!

We want to be good partners in ministry providing you with the types of resources you need for your ministry and excellent service.  Please continue to share with us how we can improve our offerings.  While we won’t be able to accommodate every single request, I promise that we will do our best to listen and to meet your needs as often as possible.




Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

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