In an earlier post, I briefly described one of our new Brief Books called The Book of Books. But it’s only starting to dawn on me now just how useful this little book can be in evangelism. By way of example, let me share something we are trying at my church.
Like many churches, we had quite a few visitors at our Christmas carols and Christmas Day service. This year we tried something new: we made available some free books for people to take if they were interested. One was a simple Christmas-themed evangelistic book (A Very Different Christmas, published by the Good Book Company), and the second was The Book of Books (from Matthias Media).
Across the two services, we put out 35 books, and visitors took 26 of those away. In other words, for an investment of only a few dollars each, 26 people took away a short book that will engage them with the message of the Bible. (I may be overestimating the number of people slightly—some folk may have taken both books. But hopefully that means a double engagement for them!) I doubt we had more than about 50 visitors to the two services (we’re a small church), so that seems like a pretty good strike rate.
Based on past experience, it is unlikely any of those people would have accepted an invitation to come to an evangelistic course (like Christianity Explored or Introducing God), or for that matter been willing to receive a pastoral visit as a result of coming to church.
After the carols service, I was pondering whether there was anything we could do to leverage that engagement through the books. It occurred to me that after reading The Book of Books some people might resolve that they should try reading the Bible, start doing it, but then give up because they quickly struck something they don’t understand. (Or even more fundamentally, give up because they don’t have a Bible in modern English to read.)
So for our Christmas Day service I added a slip (see picture above) into the copies of The Book of Books, offering people free, no-obligation personal Bible tutoring.
We haven’t yet had any takers—although it is only a few days since people took those books with the offer in them, so I wouldn’t necessarily expect to have had any responses just yet.
If we do get some takers, we plan to use You, Me and the Bible as the resource for the six tutoring sessions.
If we don’t get any takers, we have at least done two positive things: (1) given people a free gift that we hope they will read; and (2) lodged in their minds that we are happy to answer their questions and help them figure out this Christianity thing.
In this age of personal trainers and work mentors, I wonder if this idea of personal Bible tutoring might just get some traction? Hope so. Praying so.
We’re at least going to make a pile of The Book of Books available all the time at church for a while to see what happens.
Update: One lady who took a copy of The Book of Books has already agreed to meet for personal Bible tutoring.