Posts Tagged ‘ministry’

Anglican Bishop Affirms Christian Book Stores

As reported by Phil Groom in the U.K. Christian Bookshops Blog, an Anglican bishop has given a major boost to Christian retail outlets:

WRITING IN THE CHURCH TIMES last Friday, 10 Sept 2010, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford, has issued a challenge to churches to wake up to the importance of reading Christian books and supporting Christian bookshops.

Acknowledging the inevitability of change with the growth of online sales, the Bishop nonetheless remains convinced that bookshops have a part to play in the church’s strategic thinking:

The disappearance of Christian books from the High Street [i.e. Main Street] makes them seem esoteric and cult-like. We want people to select from a range of available titles, not just go online to buy the one that has got through to popular consciousness. We want people to browse, explore, and be attracted to alternative titles.

What, then, is the answer? Reading champions:

The key, of course, is finding someone, or preferably a team of people, with real enthusiasm to lead this ministry of reading, with permission to badger the incumbent. [i.e. the current pastor.  Translation: the Bishop is sanctioning those involved to do whatever it takes to encourage the local rector or pastor to bring this ministry to the forefront.] They could keep up with reviews of new books through websites such as

They could also encourage us to buy from Christian bookshops rather than online, and give us a lead in praying for those shops and their unobtrusive ministry. They could be reading champions for an increasingly literate Church. As so often, under God, the answer lies in our hands.

Here in North America, one manifestation that might work well is “twinning” the church with the nearest Christian bookstore in the community, just as many churches are “twinned” with congregations in the third world.

Years ago, in a church my wife and I attended, every fourth Sunday, in the time normally devoted to a soloist doing “special music” there would be a book review of a recent Christian release.  About half of the books were in the Church library, but half were not.

Certainly raising the local store as a prayer concern is something that is easily accomplished.

However, some store owners or managers are reluctant to ask local congregations for prayer. That needs to change. Our stores should be regularly on the prayer lists of like-minded local churches.

  • The full Church Times story is only available to subscribers.
  • Emphasis in first quotation added.

Adam Hamilton – Appearing at Willow Leadership Summit

The Willow Creek Leadership Summit happens this week in Chicago and live by satellite in hundreds of locations.   This event is a catalyst for creating interest in authors and titles you may not have carried before.

One of these is Adam Hamilton, author of When Christians Get it Wrong (Abingdon) and senior pastor of the 17,000 member United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. It is the largest United Methodist congregation in the United States, measured by weekend attendance.

Publisher marketing:

When young adults talk about the problems they have with Christianity and the church, they name attitudes and behaviors: judging others, condemning people of other faiths, rejecting science, injecting politics into faith, and being anti-homosexual. Adam Hamilton tackles these issues and addresses Christians getting it right when it comes to being Christ in the world. Gain a different way of understanding the issues that keep people away from Christianity and keep Christians from living a more compelling faith. Because if we don’t start getting it right, we may lose an entire generation.

To learn more about other speakers at the Willow Summit, click here and use the pull-down menu under ‘speakers.’

NOTE:  If you’d like to watch a longer version of this interview, click here.  It runs about 10 minutes.   If you’d like to include a dynamic book trailer for this in your store’s YouTube playlist, preview it here.

TO LEARN MORE:  Check out my piece on Adam Hamilton at Thinking Out Loud.

Trading Porn for Bibles

Taking the concept of marketplace ministry to the nth degree, The Kotisatama Christian Bookshop in Helsinki invited people to trade their pornography for New Testaments.   The program actually counters an anti-Christian campaign inviting people to do the reverse: trade religious literature for pornography.

Two separate events, at which people will be able to exchange Bibles and pornographic magazines, will be arranged in Helsinki within a short time.

It is possible to exchange religious literature for a porn magazine at the first of these events, arranged next to the Three Smiths Statue by the Helsinki Freethinkers.

According to the Freethinkers, the intention behind the exchange event is to criticize the negative attitudes to sexuality of Christianity and Islam.

“We want to stir up debate about the rather inflamed relationship between religion and sexuality. Christianity and Islam are, in many respects, very strict about the open expression of sexuality. These religions are thought to represent something honorable and good without this understanding being questioned in the slightest. This is precisely why sexual minorities have been in dire straits for a long time,” says Tommi Paalanen of the Helsinki Freethinkers.

The religious literature collected by the Freethinkers will go to recycling.

As a counteraction to the Freethinkers’ campaign, the Kotisatama Christian Bookshop organised a porn magazine exchange campaign on Wednesday 9 June.

At the Christian Bookshop, located in the Sörnäinen region of Helsinki, Finland it is possible to exchange a pornographic
magazine for a copy of the New Testament. With its own event, the bookshop wants to promote the value of the 
moral instruction contained within the Bible.

Phil Groom at UK Christian Book Shop Blog, writes:
Porn. We all know how destructive its influence can be, how degrading it is for those unwillingly caught up in its production. But what can we do as Christian booksellers and retailers to help those whose lives and relationships are blighted by porn?

Phil goes on to suggest that this is true ‘mission on Main street.’  He then asks the obvious question:  Could we do the same, or do we have to wait for the ‘other side’ to initiate something?
Have you ever done or considering doing something like this in your store?

The Christian Bookstore Analogies

This is something I wrote a long time ago, and this marks the third time I’ve posted it somewhere on the internet, but I think it paints a realistic picture (or pictures) of what we do…

  • The Christian bookstore is like a supply depot in a war. And once in awhile, like David, employees find themselves on the front lines of the battle.
  • The Christian bookstore employee is like a bartender. People have issues and questions and want a place to talk and someone to listen.
  • The Christian bookstore employee is like a pharmacist. Like pharmacists in the UK, sometimes store staff are the ones to make the diagnosis and suggest something that might help.
  • The Christian bookstore is like a welcome center for people new to your community, or people seeking a faith connection for the first time. It is the gateway to the next section of their journey.
  • The Christian bookstore is a melting pot. People from a variety of denominations sharing an element of their spiritual life in one room, often at one time. The church without walls, without labels, the way God sees it.