I have mentioned before that we have started doing free book giveaways before our morning sermon. We have a three-pronged approach to give people good material. First, we have a list on our website that people can access. Second, we have a book stall in church that people can buy from. Third, we give away free books prior to our sermon.
The aim in all this – though this may seem perverse – is not to get people reading. The aim is to get people talking. Specifically, talking about the Lord and his things. Our goal is not really to get people reading books, it is to get people meeting together and talking about the Lord. One means we think might be helpful is giving away free books, getting people to read them, give them away and then meet up about what it is they have been reading. But, even if they don’t meet to talk (though I hope they will), it’s good that they have some decent reading material nonetheless.
I have been encouraged by how some of this has been taking hold. I have been encouraged to see people taking the books given away and to see others buying those same books because they missed out on the giveaway. I have been encouraged to see people who have received books passing them on to others so they might benefit. I have been encouraged that, as a result of our Theology Breakfast, people have asked for further reading material on some of the doctrines we have been discussing.
We haven’t been doing this all that long. Only a few months. But already, it is encouraging to see some of these things happening. As we continue to give out a couple of books 3 or 4 times a month, and people keep hearing particular authors names, they are learning about people who can be trusted to read. I think of the number of people who have received books and, minimally, have read the covers and seen what doctrines and matters the church reckons to be important. Many of them will have read those books and benefited from what is inside. Others will have received those books passed on and found them helpful too.
Who knows what may happen as we continue doing this over the course of 6 months, one, two or even five years. That’s a lot of books, containing a lot of teaching, going into a lot of hands. I am hoping and praying the fruit of that will not stop at helping individuals, but will lead to discipling relationships being formed and good fodder to disciple one another with being read, discussed and the church being built up as a result.