Christian Retailing

Charles Stanley remains a ‘trusted man of God’ Print Email
Written by Ann Byle   
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 04:46 PM America/New_York

Best-selling author appreciates the partnership of Christian retailers who are on the ministry front lines

CharlesStanley-CreditTimOliveInTouchMinistriesDr. Charles Stanley is one of today’s most-beloved Bible teachers. For years, readers and listeners have tapped into his honest yet gentle direction, which he bases solely on the Word of God he loves so much.

His words of encouragement and challenge have touched lives for a more than a generation through his preaching ministry at First Baptist Church Atlanta, where he has been senior pastor since 1971, and through In Touch Ministries. In Touch radio and television programs can be heard or seen in every nation of the world.

Stanley’s books—via multiple publishers and numbering close to 50—range from The Blessings of Brokenness: Why God Allows Us to Go Through Hard Times (Zondervan) to God Has a Plan for Your Life: The Discovery that Makes All the Difference (Thomas Nelson), from I Lift Up My Soul: Devotions to Start Your Day With God (Thomas Nelson) to Prayer: The Ultimate Conversation (Howard Books).

Waiting on God: Strength for Today and Hope for Tomorrow (Howard) comes out this month with an expected first printing of around 100,000 copies.

“Dr. Stanley addresses a topic that many Christians struggle with—understanding God’s will, being patient while we wait and trusting that God is active in our lives,” said Philis Boultinghouse, senior editor at Howard.

Christopher Long, CBA key accounts manager, said that Howard hopes “to have significant buy-in to support national and in-store advertising, as well as store placement on endcaps, feature walls and best-seller displays.”

Long sees Christian retailers as significant in Stanley’s outreach.

“Christian retail plays a vital role in support of not only Dr. Stanley’s ministry, but all those with a Christian-based message,” Long said. “Most consumers will find out about Dr. Stanley’s new release by seeing it on the shelf or through an in-home catalog/email sent by a retailer.”

Retailers have long been familiar with Stanley’s work.

“Dr. Stanley has consistently gone to Christian retail shows and stores to meet with and thank retailers for their partnership,” Boultinghouse said. “He has always enjoyed meeting readers and often takes the time to stop and pray with them, assuring them of God’s presence and love in whatever situation they face.”

That personal touch is the mainstay of Dr. Stanley’s ministry through the years. He writes as one who understands the struggles his readers face, and “never backing away from the truths of the Bible, he maintains a kind and encouraging approach,” Boultinghouse said. “He’s a trusted man of God and a pleasure to work with. He cares about his readers and speaks ‘gently’ to them.”

The idea for Waiting on God came from Stanley’s own questions and study.

“I was thinking of all the principles I’d studied in Scripture—how we know Christ, obey Him, pray to Him and accept adversity as His tool for refinement of our character—and my thoughts kept coming back to how crucial it is, and challenging it is, to wait on the Father,” he said.

Stanley lives by the principle that God works on behalf of those who wait for Him.

“I wrote this book in order to share my experience and all the wonderful lessons the Father has taught me over the years as I’ve waited upon Him,” he said. “My hope is that this book will help readers persevere during the delays and strengthen their hope in God.”

Each chapter ends with a prayer and “Points for Active Waiting,” which give readers things to do while they wait such as scriptures to read and guidance for journaling about where they are in the waiting process. At the end of each chapter, there are also two to three pages for recording prayer requests and answered prayers, key lessons God is teaching and insights on waiting for God to act.

Stanley is well-known for other projects, too. The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible (Thomas Nelson) has sold more than a half-million copies in its several editions. His 30 life principles, gained from 50 years of ministry, are the foundation of the study Bible.

“The ‘Life Principles Bible’ line represents HarperCollins Christian Publishing and Thomas Nelson’s commitment to give a permanent voice to those pastors who speak profoundly to the masses,” said Robert Sanford, vice president and associate publisher, Bible publishing group. “Dr. Stanley is recognized as one of America’s current greatest preachers. His name recognition helps reach people for the Bible.”

Christian retail also helps with sales.

“Christian retail knows how well Dr. Stanley reaches their core customers,” Sanford said. “They are always willing and helpful in supporting initiatives designed to increase awareness of the Life Principles Bible.”

Thomas Nelson will release a large-print edition of Stanley’s Bible in 2015.

Thomas Nelson released in November Every Day in His Presence, a 365-day devotional that features a leathersoft cover, unique size and moderate pricing ($19.99).

“This new devotional invites readers to step into the presence of an eternal God who is bidding them to find serenity and security in Him,” said Michael Aulisio, senior director of marketing, gift book publishing group at Thomas Nelson. “This book provides a wonderful way to experience His presence and stay focused on His promises every day of the year.”

Every Day in His Presence is receiving featured placement in both secular and Christian accounts,” Aulisio said.

DaySpring also has tapped into the pastor’s legacy with its God’s Way DayBrightener perpetual calendar. The company has sold over 100,000 units since 2005, with the title one of the company’s best repeat-sale products. The new Charles Stanley I Lift Up My Soul DayBrightener calendar ships to stores in early 2015.

Stanley acknowledges that Christian retailers are hurting but that, despite the obstacles, they continue to serve.

“Christian retailers faithfully minister to the people who come into their stores in a very unique and special way,” he said. “These retailers are on the front lines. They are the ones who hear about the needs people have and who can direct patrons to the resources that will help them in their walk with Jesus.”

He encourages retailers not to give up, but to keep trusting and serving.

“Ministry is difficult,” he said. “Because you have direct access to people and are such a vital part of directing individuals to the resources they need, you are going to experience conflict and spiritual warfare. Therefore, friend, strengthen yourself in the Lord and find your hope in Him. You have such an important job to do, such a crucial role to fill.”