|Christian retailers encouraged to 'stand and engage'|
|Written by Ann Byle|
|Monday, 27 June 2016 04:49 PM America/New_York|
Christian retailers and suppliers were called to "Stand and Engage" during Monday's General Session at Unite 2016. Curtis Riskey, president of CBA, spoke to the crowd of several hundred about “connecting in new ways to make the gospel relevant.”
Riskey introduced Ken Ham, author, president of Answers in Genesis and creator of the Ark Encounter, which opens July 7 in Williamstown, Kentucky. Ham is building a life-sized Noah's ark as “a reminder to dig again the wells so that the water of God continues to flow,” Ham said. “We are on the precipice of catastrophic change in this nation as we see the collapse of Christian culture.”
Bob Lenz, president of Life Promotions; Brenda Harrison, owner of Lighthouse Christian Books & Gifts; and George Yancey, author of Hostile Environment (InterVarsity Press) joined Ham as panelists to discuss engagement with culture.
Harrison was asked about specific ways her store interacts with the community.
“Customers can see our passion for what we do,” she said. “Our goal is to exceed our customers’ expectations; we want them to be glad they chose us.”
Harrison also spoke of how she and her store associates engage customers. Associates are encouraged to send a card to mark happy or sad events; respond to Facebook posts; and allow customers to hold meetings free of charge in meeting rooms.
Yancey was asked about the avoidance of Christian issues as related to racism.
“People tend to act out what their culture has told them to do, so we cannot minimize those realities," Yancey said. "To the degree we can impact our culture through arts and entertainment, we can alter the culture enough so that they will listen to us.”
Lenz, who has a program about bullying he takes into public schools, urged Christian retailers to “see the mission field again, take time to love and engage, and make a difference in the culture.”
“Through our love and through our community, by showing a difference, people will see the difference we offer,” Yancey said. “We become that counter culture that community people need.”
“All of you retailers are on the frontlines,” Lenz said. “And never be ashamed of that.”
The event opened with music by Seth & Nirva (Integrity Music) and included the first live performance of the husband-and-wife team's song “My Brother.” The set ended with a call to worship and "shine our light."
The show floor was closed during the lunchtime event.