August 27, 2018 | Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Mexico | Libna Stevens/IAD
Imagine the impact 21 million Seventh-day Adventists could have around the world with the message of hope by simply sharing a book, a pamphlet, or a tract. That was one statement posed on day one of the American Tri-Division Publishing Directors Workshop in Riviera Maya, Mexico, today.
Nearly 150 publishing directors, administrators and publishing house managers from the Inter-American, North American and South American Divisions are meeting this week to promote the exchange of ideas, strategies and methods for Seventh-day Adventist literature distribution.
“The mission of the publishing ministries exists to proclaim through media the gospel of hope to the whole world in this generation,” said Pastor Almir Marroni, publishing ministries director of the Adventist world church and main organizer of the event as he spoke to the leaders.
That mission was at the forefront of the publishing ministries even before the church was officially organized, when believers during the Millerite movement worked arduously to print and distribute literature, said Marroni.
“The impact of the publications back then [1840s] was wonderful. There was a very organized system of distribution when there were no colporters, publishing house and all the members were involved,” said Marroni. “Something moved these people to elevate the publications.”
From the Tract Society established in 1870, to the establishing of colporter or literature evangelist work in 1882, to establishing student literature evangelist program in 1900, to organizing intentional projects for mass distribution of missionary literature through church members in 2006, publishing ministries has grown to the distribution of millions of pieces of literature thanks to dozens of publishing houses operated by the church today. More member involvement is essential to finishing the work of reaching the lost, said Marroni.
“Not every one is called to be a literature evangelist but as members we are called to be missionaries and publications are a very important tool to reaching others,” said Marroni. At some point when the literature evangelist program was established, less and less members became involved in distributing literature, according to Marroni. “There was not a proactive action on the part of the church to systematically motivate in the distribution of publications by church members,” he said.
Every member involved
Getting back to mobilizing church members to distribute Adventist literature all around the world church is one of the main strategies that the world church publishing ministry leaders have been addressing and spearheading during the past few years.
Every year in April a new missionary book is massively distributed around the world. The books are printed at a very low cost so that church members can afford them and distribute them in their communities, said Marroni.
Next year’s missionary book is entitled “Hope for Today’s Families” by Willie and Elaine Oliver and is set to for distribution on world literature distribution day on April 21.
The plan with the missionary book is to give members an opportunity to get involved, be encouraged and become missionaries of the printed word, explained Marroni.
“With an army of 21 million members, if they believe that the simple act of sharing a tract, a magazine, a book can produce a great result, what an incredible impact,” said Marroni. “It’s just like seeing the potential of the 21 million members who distribute one book per week. That could mean more than 1 billion books distributed during a single year,” explained Marroni.
South American Division publishing leaders said more than 190 million missionary books have been distributed during the past 10 years; Inter-American leaders reported more than 30 million; and North American Division through its Pacific Press has distributed over 101 million books, tracts, and magazines since 2015.
Day one of the publishing meetings cemented the seven general purposes of Publishing Ministries:
Publishing leaders went over steps to promote literature distribution in their respective regions.
The American Tri-Division event becomes the fourth organized event throughout the world church to bring together publishing directors to unify efforts in getting total member involvement in the mission of the church through distributing publications. Already, publishing directors workshops have taken place in Africa, Europe and Asia, with the Americas one as the last leg of the publishing comprehensive initiatives this year, said Wilmar Hirle, associate publishing director for the Adventist world church.
During the next three days, publishing leaders will discuss challenges and opportunities of regular, part-time literature evangelists, how to develop student literature evangelists, how to provide spiritual nourishment to church members, discuss and learn how the three divisions are advancing in publishing ministries strategies, their challenges and more.
To view a photo gallery of the event, Click HERE