Thomas, married father of four, is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute with a BA in Pastoral Ministry. He has pastored Fame Evangelical Church in Moweaqua, IL for eleven years. For the last five years Pastor Black has travelled to Haiti to teach a two week seminary module on Spiritual Warfare at the Emmaus Biblical Seminary (carrying his Logos Bible Software with him.)
We touched base this morning via Windows Messenger about his experience.
Logos: When did you start using Logos Bible Software?
Thomas Black: I picked up my first copy of Logos 2 just after starting ministry. It came with just a few resources—I don’t recall the level. I don’t recall being wowed by the interface but I used it a bit.
Logos: Were you with us for the switch to 3.0?
Thomas Black: Around that time I went into the local bookstore to pick up some Sunday school materials, and the bookshelf had one book which included a copy of Libronix on it. That’s when I first heard there was a version 3. I couldn’t resist it. I picked it up, and ran home. I’m a bit of a computer geek and couldn’t resist a new bit of software. It was the newness that caught me—rather than the resource itself. Once I installed it, I thought, “This is what Bible software should be like!” I snapped up a few more resources after that and it wasn’t long before I bought the Scholar’s Library package and then moved up to Scholar’s Library: Silver, then to Gold.
Logos: Was it difficult to keep Logos 4 a secret during the beta testing?
Thomas Black: Keeping Logos 4 a secret almost killed me. I host a blog and occasionally someone would ask me and I just had to keep quiet. Several times I or one of the other beta testers would accidentally post something in the wrong forum—thanks to sharp eyes we managed against the odds to keep the secret.
Logos: What were your initial feelings about Logos 4 as you began to interact with it?
Thomas Black: At first, I was one of the detractors to the interface. I hated the home page. That’s not an overstatement. After a few days, and listening to responses from Bob, I started settling in. I saw the logic of introducing all kinds of new information to us. It was like the “book of the day” section on the Libronix 3 home page had grown to many books of the day, and I saw that as a good thing. I started to understand that the newspaper-like layout was meant to pull me in to areas I might not look at otherwise—and it worked. I’ve rediscovered many resources I forgot I had.
Logos: Did you find that Logos was responsive during the beta-testing?
Thomas Black: I thought the whole crew at Logos was amazing. I was really impressed with the attitudes of Bob, and all the programmers and others as they kept responding not only to bug reports but sometimes to some pretty strong criticism. Occasionally plans were changed midstream in response. The whole experience was quite positive. I know that you were all listening to us as beta-testers. We didn’t always get our way but we all knew that our voices were heard.
Logos: How did the Logos 4 experience change as updates started to come?
Thomas Black: There are two answers to that one: first, it was partially frustrating especially as multi-gigabyte updates came down the pipe. Those were tough. Second, the experience continually improved. Every update of the program was better, smoother, faster and always there was an impressive batch of bug fixes. My hat is off to the programmers at Logos. They were working long hard hours at a feverish pace for two months. The evidence of their labor is on my desktop right now waiting for me to continue my studies.
Logos: Did you feel that camaraderie was created with you and the other beta-testers through the experience?
Thomas Black: I had a blast with those guys! Several of us already knew of each other from the former newsgroups, but I really felt like during the beta, due to our frequent interactions, that our relationships grew quite a bit. There was quite a bit of good natured ribbing going on, and despite that, no one, that I can recall, got their feelings hurt. They were a great group of people to work with.
Logos: If you were showing Logos 4 to someone unfamiliar with using Bible software for study and devotion what items would you highlight for them and why?
Thomas Black: Great question . . . first, I’d begin with pointing out the obvious things. Enter your passage and click go still applies. It’s simple and yet quite powerful due to the built-in (and customizable) Passage Guide. After that, I’d work them through the library, just learning how to find out what you have in there is powerful. If they don’t learn how to use the library, they’re not going to get everything out of the software. Beyond that, I think the software can take even the novice where they want to go almost naturally.
Logos: Thanks so much for giving me some of your time this morning and I appreciate your candor.
Thomas Black: You’re welcome. Thanks to you and the whole Logos crew. This has been a great experience.