By Stephen W. Hiemstra
For years, I divided the world into three kinds of people: those who never learn, those who learn from their mistakes, and those who learn from other people’s mistakes. Book ministry helps move people into this latter category by connecting them with books they can use.
Book Ministry and Reviews
One way to undertake a book ministry is to give away good books. Years ago in my office, a colleague started a book drive where he encouraged employees to bring in old, unwanted books that would be set out for display. People could choose any book, pay what they thought it was worth, and the money raised was donated to charity. Most of the books donated were steamy romance and murder novels. I thought, why not throw in a few good Christian titles?
Another way to undertake a book ministry is to give people books that focus on the issues they are struggling with. My favorite wedding gift for many years, for example, has been Henry Cloud and John Townsend’s Boundaries. Another frequent gift for inactive, older friends and family was Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge’s Younger Next Year, which explains in detail why exercise will extend and enrich your life. After gifting a book, I would check up later to see what they thought of it.
Another variation on the book ministry theme is to give relatives the same book or inspirational DVD as a Christmas gift. The idea is to generate buzz in the family about a helpful topic and to move conversation away from the weather, sports highlights, and the latest tragedy on television. While this may be akin to mission impossible, inspirational DVDs accomplish the same objective. A modestly priced example is: The Star of Bethlehem (2009) by Frederick A. Larson and Stephen Vidano.
Speaking of Christmas, why not wrap up your favorite inspirational titles and DVDs and bring them as gifts when you go caroling at the local retirement center, jail, or psyche ward? People in these places have a lot of time on their hands and the cable channels are unfortunately a major part of their entertainment. DVDs are also useful in reaching young people.
Over time, my book ministry evolved into blogging reviews of good books and writing books of my own. While I have reviewed a few newly published books, most books that I review are more than a couple years old. The reason is simple: I am trying to introduce readers to books that have changed my life in some way. Hopefully, my books and reviews will help readers learn from my experience.
Cloud, Henry and John Townsend. 1992. Boundaries: When to Say YES; When to Say NO; To Take Control of Your Life. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
Crowley, Chris and Henry S. Lodge. 2007. Younger Next Year: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy Until You’re 80 and Beyond. New York: Workman Publishing.
Other ways to engage online:
Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.
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