“Churches need to operate their own bookstores to provide sound material to the people,” David Cloud, a Fundamentalist Baptist, argued. “The typical Christian bookstores are not going to carry the type of information that God’s people need today, because they are in the business of making money and do not want to offend potential customers” (Bible Separation, p. 47).
I see his point.
I was browsing a Christian bookstore the other day, and…well, there was not much available in terms of sound doctrine. Lots of Amish romances, yes, and discounted biographies of minor reality TV “celebrities.” And then a mix of Reformed, Prosperity, and Charismatic theology. But good Bible teaching? Not as I understand it.
If a seeker walked into that store, it would take a miracle for her to walk out with something edifying.
So how do you get sound doctrine into the hands of more people?
As Cloud suggested, why not start a Christian bookstore in your church?
That’s not a ministry for everyone, of course. But it might be the perfect fit for you.
Are you a compulsive reader?
A book lover?
Someone who loves spending time in libraries?
Maybe starting a church bookstore can be part of your calling, the way you serve your fellow neighbors.
You might know the publishing world is changing rapidly. Brick and mortar bookstores are closing because ordering books online is so easy. There’s a huge cottage industry of self-published books. In many ways, it’s just like publishing was in pre-modern times—no big publishers with big bookstores, just individual authors getting their messages out there. Publishing is going grassroots again. In fact, they’re rebelling against the bland consumerism of many of the big publishers that exclude minor voices.
Staring a church bookstore is part of that grassroots rebellion.
I think it would be easy. At a minimum, all it takes is a single bookshelf for the books, a cash box to make change, and a simple sales receipt book, if you wanted to do things by hand. Then again, if you wanted to take credit cards, setting up a Square Reader on your phone or iPad couldn’t be easier (we use it at conferences).
You could stock our books. Maybe, to help you get started, we can give you an extra big discount on the first ten books you buy for your stock (75% off?).
It wouldn’t be a big ministry. Doctrinally sound books are not bestsellers. You would be doing great if you sold 50 books in a year.
You wouldn’t sell more than a handful of books, but I can tell from personal experience all it takes is one godly, Biblically faithful book, to change a person forever.