SCOTT, Ark. (BP)–Ron Pierce, new pastor of Toltec Baptist Church got the phone call from LifeWay Christian Resources early one Monday morning in October. The small church of about 100 members soon was to be showered with gifts — thanks to a serendipitous order placed with the Southern Baptist publishing firm based in Nashville.
It seems Joyce James, music director for the church in Scott, Ark., months earlier had requested 100 free “Plan of Salvation” bulletin inserts from LifeWay to place in the Sunday morning programs. Turns out, she had ordered the 1 millionth insert since LifeWay began distributing them free in March 2001, and the church was being rewarded for that order.
“It was just an accident,” James said of her initial inquiry about the bulletins, which can guide a reader in accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. “Every person needs to know how to present the plan of salvation, and it seemed to me that if we had visuals it would help us.”
James, who has been a member of Toltec for 37 years, read about the free inserts on the back of a “World Hunger” brochure. The free bulletin inserts also are promoted through ads in such SBC publications as Facts & Trends, SBC LIFE and On Mission, and in Christian magazines such as Christianity Today, Your Church and Discipleship Journal, said Woody Murray, LifeWay’s brand manager.
Team members never anticipated the success of the inserts, Murray said. “Churches are truly amazed that there’s no hook,” he said. “It’s totally free, no strings attached.”
Indeed, from a chapel in Nigeria to a deaf ministry in Singapore and a federal prison camp in Pensacola, Fla., more than 3,200 churches and organizations have written, called or e-mailed LifeWay requesting the bulletin inserts.
For some, requesting the inserts is the first step in a relationship with LifeWay. For others, like Bob Chase, church growth consultant of Okaloosa Baptist Association in Crestview, Fla., the inserts serve as evangelistic tools. “We’ve requested [several] inserts because we would like to involve all 27 churches in our association in reaching the lost in Crestview and the surrounding area.”
Pierce, who preached his first sermon as Totec’s pastor Sunday, Oct. 12, — the day before he learned his church ordered the 1 millionth bulletin — said the inserts will help his congregation reach people for Christ. “There is a really unified heart here to reach the lost,” he said, “and that’s where my heart is as well.”
For requesting the 1-millionth bulletin, the church received a $100 gift certificate from LifeWay Christian Stores; a box of Holman Christian Standard Bibles for new Christians, titled “The Gift”; a certificate for a three-night stay at either Glorieta (N.M.) or Ridgecrest (N.C.) LifeWay Conference Center; and several “A Treasury of Gospel Songs You Can Sing” musical resources.
To request free copies of the LifeWay bulletin inserts with the plan of salvation or to receive more information about them, call (615) 251-5686 or e-mail [email protected] Order forms also may be mailed to: Attn: Brand Manager, One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234-0192. Please include the church name and address, the person requesting the inserts, the quantity needed, and allow four weeks for delivery.
LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention is one of the world’s largest publishers of religious materials, producing 180 monthly and quarterly products and more than 210 new undated products annually. LifeWay is a religious nonprofit organization that receives no funding from the Southern Baptist Convention and reinvests income above operating expenses into mission work and other ministries around the world.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: POPULAR PLAN, ADDED BONUS, PASTOR’S ANNOUNCEMENT and MILLIONTH ORDER.