Christian Retailing

Ministry leader urges support for Christian stores Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Monday, 12 July 2010 03:37 PM America/New_York

An author and international ministry leader has urged his organization's supporters to shop at Christian bookstores to help keep them in business.

David Shibley, president of Global Advance, made the appeal in an e-mail message following a visit to the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) in St. Louis, June 27-30.

"It would be tragic if Christian bookstores disappeared," he wrote. "Many seekers slip into Christian bookstores who won't be showing up this week at church. ... A Christian bookstore is a tremendous asset to the cause of Christ in any community."

Shibley, whose Dallas-based Global Advance trains church and business leaders in "underserved" parts of the world, is the author of more than a dozen books, including 2008's Marketplace Memos (New Leaf Publishing Group).

"Let me encourage you to visit--and buy from--your local Christian bookstore," Shibley wrote, noting how independent Christian retailers were struggling to survive in the changing business landscape that meant consumers could get Christian products from many places.

"Don't expect the clerk at a megastore to give you knowledgeable counsel on which translation of the Bible to buy, or why you should read Tozer or Lewis or Swindoll or Hayford," he said.

Shibley also noted that pastors from developing nations would "probably be incensed seeing the avalanche of Christian media" on display at ICRS that is "so easily accessible to us, and yet is still denied to most of them."

He added: "How--in the midst of all this Christian knowledge--have we managed to produce the most biblically illiterate generation in America's history? It's not that the information isn't accessible; the problem is that somehow that knowledge isn't getting into the hands, heads and hearts of those who need it most. We don't have a publishing problem--we have a huge distribution problem."