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ADVICE: Dear Betty PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 September 2010 01:30 pm UTC
How many hours should a volunteer be willing to commit to make working at the store worthwhile?

The question is, worthwhile to whom? Typically volunteers are able to give only a small amount of time to the church. Their hearts may be with you, but they also have pressing responsibilities at their homes and jobs, so, many times, volunteers over-promise and cannot give as much time as they would like.

Each store must create its own philosophy concerning the use of volunteers. A staff member must be designated to manage the volunteers and keep a training schedule. Volunteers need to feel comfortable with their assigned duties, so you must make the time for training.

The length of time that a volunteer can serve depends upon his or her ability and your need. Don't sell them short in their usefulness. If volunteers are trained and you are prepared, one volunteer for one hour a week can be very productive, while four untrained volunteers who give four hours each week in which you are not prepared can be a futile time of "baby-sitting."

Making volunteers' time worthwhile is the responsibility of the leadership, so consider carefully when you accept or recruit volunteers for your store.

Got a question for Betty Bookstore? Write to her at

CHURCH LIFE: Monday-through-Friday faith PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 September 2010 01:25 pm UTC
Evangelical Christian business leaders fall into four distinct groups when translating their Sunday faith into work-week practice, according to a major Rice University study.

Study co-author D. Michael Lindsay (Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite, Oxford University Press) explained: "While everyone in the workplace has to make decisions—whether they're the janitor or the manager—the most consequential decisions are made at the top, and we wanted to look at how they affect their businesses."

Drawing from personal interviews with 360 evangelical Christian CEOs, presidents and chairs of large businesses and their equivalents in government and politics, nonprofits, arts, entertainment, the media and professional sports, Lindsay identified four decision-making styles: pragmatic, heroic, circumspect and brazen.

'Pragmatic' leaders are like former PepsiCo CEO Steve Reinemund. "Most people assume that evangelicals think that they have all the answers," said Lindsay. But many "are certain that they don't have all the answers. Their decision-making is largely pragmatic, and they hope they wind up making the right decisions."

'Heroic' leaders like Enron whistle-blower Sherron Watkins see their decisions as correct and right, regardless of whether others would agree. She was "the perfect example of a person in power who is religious and couldn't let her morals get checked at the door. ... Her religion played a significant role in her deciding to do something that would likely cost her job and could bring down a major company."

'Circumspect' leaders such as John Aden, formerly of Mac Tools and now senior vice president of Wal-Mart International, are "deeply religious but (not) outward about it." Aden "might not be a vocal evangelical, (but) he does manage as one and makes personal decisions based on his faith."

'Brazen' leaders—like former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner—"are the most unabashed and feel that religion and their job go hand in hand."

For more information, go to

ANSWER OF THE WEEK: Fall focus PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 September 2010 01:22 pm UTC
We asked, what does your store do to serve the needs of church classes and groups as they start their fall programs?

We offer a 25% discount on orders of 10 or more of the same ISBN of regular retail, normally discounted items. Offering this helps me meet my minimum-order requirements, works towards free-freight quantities and encourages small-group reorders.

Cathy H. VanDervort
Manager, Inter-City Christian Bookstore
Allen Park, Mich.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Steady sellers PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 September 2010 01:20 pm UTC

New releases understandably get a lot of time and attention, but backlist remains the backbone of many stores. What is one of of your perennial best-sellers, why and what do you to to keep promoting it?

Share your experiences and ideas with others at

Tuesday, 14 September 2010 01:19 pm UTC

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God."

Col. 3:16, New International Version

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Abbey Press in virtual retail show PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 18 August 2010 02:17 pm UTC
Abbey Press Trade Marketing is a featured company in Christian Retailing's new, online product-preview and buying service for retailers.

The Virtual Christian Retailing Show runs through Labor Day, Sept. 6, and will help stores set themselves for the fall and Christmas seasons with product news, order specials and training. The magazine's fourth virtual trade event features more than 30 suppliers--including gift vendors such as Swanson Christian Products and Robert Spooner Galerie--with their "booths" presenting new and recent releases and offering links for orders and specials.

GENI: Serving small groups effectively PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 18 August 2010 10:46 am UTC
A message from Geni Hulsey, president of the Church Bookstore Network:

Let's spend some time thinking about one of the most important categories for a church store: small group studies.

In almost every church you will find small groups-they may be called Bible studies, family groups, neighborhood groups, discipleship groups or any of a myriad of other titles. But their purpose is almost always the same.

They come together in small numbers-usually less than 15--and they study something that is of common interest. There is always fellowship and sharing, but at the center of the small group time, there is study and discussion.

SUPPLIERS ROUNDTABLE: Small group curriculum PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 18 August 2010 10:43 am UTC
Representatives of three leading suppliers of small group curriculum discussed the category recently with Christian Retailing Editor Andy Butcher.

Taking part in the conversation were Larry Carpenter, then president of Standard Publishing; John Raymond, vice president and publisher of church engagement for Zondervan; and Amy Reuscher, product manager at Group Publishing.

Click here to listen in on their discussion.

PICTURE OF THE WEEK: On the carpet PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 18 August 2010 10:39 am UTC
Most Christian and church bookstore flooring is plain and practical-understated colors, perhaps with a contrast or two that helps direct traffic flow. But when Brooklyn Tabernacle in Brooklyn, N.Y., launched Bell Tower Christian Gift & Bookstore, leaders decided to go a different route--choosing a bright and striking pattern. "We want when people come in for them to experience joy," said General Manager Kevin Lewis. "We want to have an environment that is happy."
INSIGHTS: Dealing with the dog days PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 18 August 2010 10:37 am UTC
by Cynthia Hoppe

Though church attendance can dip in the summer, business doesn't have to slow if you turn your bookstore into a one-stop shop for attendees' summer resource needs. Here are a few ideas to keep sales up during the summer.

Travel tips: Many customers will come in looking for resources to keep themselves and their children occupied on car trips. While they may be looking for DVDs for the kids to watch, they'll also be searching for something they can listen to while driving--a great time to showcase your audiobooks and your church's message CDs.

When grandparents who will have family visiting come into your store, have some beautiful picture books in mind to recommend to them.

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