The One Thing 342: Short Evangelistic Books: Useful or Useless?

Are Christian books still a powerful tool for evangelism? Rory Baxter has been publishing books as cheap as he can, to get them into the hands of as many non- Christians as possible. Here's his take on how they've been effective in churches. 

Scott and Rory talk about:

  • Rory's own story about learning the gospel with dyslexia
  • What is it about books? You can take it are your own pace, it is easier to give people a book, it sits with people and you can give it away easily

  • Shorter books allows all types of people to engage with the gospel and they get to the point quickly

  • Books are a supplement or an addition to evangelistic work within the church. If everyone leaves with a book, they have access to the gospel whenever they want and can return to it anytime.

  • Different books will work for different people so we need lots of different books but books about Jesus are the most effective in evangelism

  • Get good books and give them out widely, don’t let cost get in the way because people will read them

TOOLBOX:

10 Of Those

Wandering Bookseller

Matthias Media

Word 1 to 1

12 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Easter.

CREDITS:

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Transcript


Speaker 1
Lightweight, lightweight leadership podcast network.


Unknown
Get I. I'm Scott Sanders. Welcome to the One Thing a podcast designed to give you one solid practical tip for gospel. A ministry every week.


Unknown
Now, the one thing is brought to you by Reach Australia. We want to see thousands of healthy, evangelistic multiplying churches. This week we've got a special guest all the way from England. He works with a group called ten of Those, and they're up to the thing that they do very, very simple. They want to get evangelistic resources in the hands of non-Christians and they want them to be put in the hands of non-Christians by Christians and and and that and that's it.


Unknown
So, Rory, welcome to the one thing, though. Good to be here. Now, look, I wanted to wear the cricket. I want to talk about a whole bunch of other things. But apparently our audience doesn't want to hear about the cricket and all those things. So, Rory, you're from the north of England? Yes. What does that mean for our Australian scene?

Unknown
And we understand what you know what that means? Yeah, I think most people outside of the UK know Manchester. If they don't, they'll say London, Manchester United, etc. right out of home soccer. Yeah. Thus the places are a bit north around us. I say I'm from the Lake district. I'm not quite, but that is outside of Australia. Probably the most peaceful place in the world.


Unknown
wow. Nice look. Happy. Very happy to hear that you've been enjoying Australia


Unknown
But for now you've pressed play on another episode of The One Thing Evangelistic Resources.


Unknown
and now you're out here in Australia at the moment talking with leaders and churches, about ten of those. Give us the vision. What's ten of those? 11. Ten of those over in the UK and in the US, or a Christian publisher and retailer? But as Scott has already said, our heart is for evangelism.


Unknown
We we produce small, easy to read, I would say accessible, or we aim to be as accessible as possible books for nonbelievers to be pointed to the Lord Jesus. Our heart is to see people read books that point them to Jesus because we believe it changes lives. So we produce them. We don't just produce them, but we make them as cheap as possible so churches can get behind it and buy in as as many as they can to give away as as widely as possible.

Unknown
And we help them by making it cheap and that.


Unknown
Tell us you grew up not in a Christian home. How did you become a Christian? How were books helpful in your growth as a Christian? Yeah, really helpful. I became a Christian at high school. I met friends, one being my now wife, and they invited me to church. I heard the Bible preached and taken seriously for the first time and thought, There's something in it.

Unknown
I don't know quite. When I became a Christian after that, but as I did as a dyslexic, perhaps a working class background person from from the UK, I started to read books, some from some of those just started around then and from others that told me about Jesus one being, I think from an Australian author. Awesome. On the inside, I think I might have been Tim Hawkins book, Forgive me.


Unknown
So unless you a youth minister in the northern part of Sydney. Yeah. And and I just started to read about the Lord Jesus and loved it. God's grace later on in life I've started to work for ten of these. I've been in the company for seven years, but it fits with how I think every Christian fits with what I love.


Unknown
Now, it's interesting, you know, there's been a plethora of blogs and podcasts and you can listen to kind of everyone on on anything, you know, get and watch videos. But there's something about books. You know, if I if I think about my Christian life as well, you know, John Dixon at the time was writing, you know, sneaking suspicion.

Unknown
Yes. Yeah. You know, there's a whole bunch of books which I've got kind of the original. The original, the green cover. Yeah. Well, no, no, that's a that's a I still got the original ones and it's I gave them to, you know, I gave them my daughters to read and like just completely missed the mark in the sense that, you know, who's Madonna and yeah, so it was just used to blow up.


Unknown
But for me, you know, those books are really helpful in, you know, sort of making sense of what it means to be Christian and following Jesus. So what is it about books that, you know, they're not as good as this and what we're doing now, you know, talking talking in sharing across the interwebs, I think is a very good question.


Unknown
Videos are excellent, but books as an individual, you can take at your own pace. So you can take a book that's got a short chapter, you read a chapter, and you can go back to that chapter as many times as you want. The other thing about books for at first is believers, is it's easier to give a book than a video.


Unknown
You can share a link, but you don't know if someone's going to open it. But in a conversation as you follow, I say, I've just got this book that talks about some of what we've been saying. Why don't you give it read and and maybe we can meet next week and I'll ask you or you didn't say maybe we can meet, but next time you see them.


Unknown
did you get a chance to read any of that book? What did you think? Or. But equally, people love to hear what you love. And so if you've read the book yourself and it's about the Lord Jesus, hopefully you love it and you can say, I just really love this one part in this book. You know, if you read nothing else, just read this chapter and and the probably going to read most if it's a short enough book the fully read all of that.


Unknown
But I think the value of it is a it sits with people and you can give it away easily. And I think above anything else, apart from a conversation, as you say, I think meeting face to face open in the Bible with someone is excellent, but a book can do that at any point in time. One story, if you don't mind me sharing, we heard recently and this is our model, but it is praise God for it.


Unknown
I think last year there's an American came to Wales and she she went to an Airbnb and on the shelf was one of our evangelistic titles by Roger Castle. She read it the next day on the bus, she saw a banner, Roger Castle, speaking at this church. She got off the bus. She went and she became a Christian, either in name.


Unknown
That's not your model who has a book in every Airbnb in UK? I'd love to see that. And that's what we're doing over there, is we just get them widely out and we don't know what the Lord does with it, but we get to the seeds and we praise God for when we hear the things. We don't hear everything but praise God for what He's doing with them.


Unknown
Yeah. Rory, I mean, you sound like a university educated.


Unknown
Aren't books just a thing for people have done tertiary education. What is what is ten of those look like in a marginalized community in a place where education, you know, is not at a at a tertiary level. Yeah. Often it's it's a very good question and and that's why I think it's such a great fact that almost half of the ten of those staff are dyslexic themselves.


Unknown
I appreciate that. I've still lots of as a tertiary educated as well, but as for me growing up it was the short books that didn't require time that, that helped me just engage anything bigger. I would have never picked up. And so one of the things we do with our evangelistic books is most of them are small.


Unknown
They're, you know, they wouldn't take more than half an hour for an average reader to read. It takes me about an hour and a half, but that's okay. And and they they get to the point quickly. It's sometimes people can look at the small story, the light on content. They're not lights but they we really aim to make them accessible so so that anyone could pick it up and read it and get something from it.


Unknown
And that is it's always been a heart that everyone can read it. It's not written at a level that you have to have gone to a university. It's not written. You have to be a minister or anything like that. But for anyone that you pass on the street, you could pick it up and read it. So I'm keen to hear what does it look like for a church to give away a resource?


Unknown
So might my home church find church in Sydney around Easter Christmas special event, You know, like a mother's Day somewhere there'll be there often will be a book resource that we give away to the, to the non-Christian. But we can take, you know, take the Bibles that we have as well if, if they want to. And also you know, we might say doing a series in church on a particular topic, an area, you know, there's always a bookstore that has that, you know, availability to sort of go deeper for not only to the small group later, but also for, you know, for the church member as well.


Unknown
What does it look like to use one of these evangelistic resource resources? You know, in the church? What do you need to kind of use ten of those? Well, yeah. What it looks like is I think books are a supplement or in addition to evangelistic work going on in churches already. So I see. So it's Christmas. I imagine you do it here.


Unknown
But in the UK, every church will do a carol service and it's a great opportunity for anyone in the community to come in to hear a service and hear the Bible opened. And what is great about that is someone can preach faithfully the gospel there. And then where books come in is if everyone leaves with a book, they then have access to the gospel whenever they want.


Unknown
It's on the shelf and and they can come back to it again and again if they want to see it's an addition. Same. And it can it can work in two different ways, I think. And for all churches in that in the UK we push churches to by 100 to think think big and how can we get 130 hundred non-Christians hands and we discount the price really heavily to help them do it.


Unknown
We do not want costs to become a barrier to the gospel going out, but also for a church like my, my, my own. That is perhaps 40 people at the moment praise the Lord. And, you know, we we this this year did a wreath making event. We probably had about 25 people to that and everyone was offered an evangelistic resource to go home with.


Unknown
And it cost us probably about £30. Well, that's not nothing in the eyes of the gospel going home with with each of them that when they hear the gospel, they're in them. But they've got it now and hopefully read books last. That's the other thing that I didn't say earlier. Books, last videos get forgotten. So so using it as a as a tool, a tool to keep the conversation going, also very a tool for someone who potentially is not that great at actually talking and sharing their testimony.


Unknown
But they can they can speak into the ideas that come out of a book and a resource and can probably share. I found I found this chapter helpful. Yeah, I really like these conclusions, but helpful. Use it using it at the Christmas and Easter times where you've got a lot of guests and newcomers. But I like the idea of kind of, you know, your model of, of buying 100.


Unknown
Yeah. And putting as many in the hands of everyone so that they've, they've got an easy tool to give away or to have that gospel conversation. Yeah. And also what can I do to inspire its church members to to be doing this as well. So maybe a church by 200 and they give it depending on the size of the church, everyone's hand copies or how does it's much easier for ten each person to give ten copies away than the church to give 200 maybe.


Unknown
And how do we get in the minds of every believer that that is our role? To tell people about the Lord Jesus? We're afraid of that, I think. But what a book can do is, you know, I do have the words, but I really love you to hear about this. It's a great book that really explains what I believe.


Unknown
And as a friend, most friends will take that from you. So in terms of, you know, our book, the books that are better to give away, you know, like often you see the sort of five things about the truth of Jesus resurrection or yeah, like or is there a better book to put in front of someone? I think it depends on the person.


Unknown
And particularly if you think about your own friends, you'll know as you see a title. You know that that friend really struggles with this issue and that is that's fine if you're thinking more widely. And I think Christmas and Easter is very easy to do. So this year we've got one called 12 Things you probably didn't Know About Easter, which goes through a few different facts around Easter is history and slowly but surely points them to the gospel accounts and the goodness of of Easter.


Unknown
And anyone can read it because it's so warmly put together and and so is a gift or a giveaway for for any person you might have a friend that really struggles with what the Bible says about homosexuality. Well well there's books on that that could be short and helpful there. But I find the wider and the more Jesus focused rather than issue focused, seem to hit home with more people because we've all got issues, But the Lord Jesus answers them on, Let's get him into people's hearts.


Unknown
That's that's what we want. So you mentioned the Easter resource you've got this year, 12 things you probably in brackets Didn't Know About Easter by Bob Lupine.


Unknown
What do you like about this book? Yeah, as I said, I think he writes really, really engagingly. And so it's not that you open the first page and you're challenged with, with something about Christianity. It's a slow, warm introduction to what is this? You know, I think he starts, well, even lots of the population don't know really why Easter Easter came about.


Unknown
If you ask the kid, what's Easter about the probably say, the Easter Bunny and then warmly goes into, well, what's why does Easter change every year. What's the date then. And a bit of history that we to an extent that it's just engaging for anyone you know if you didn't want to if you didn't want to know about the gospel, you could read it and enjoy it, but you'd get it.


Unknown
You get the gospel in there anyway. And I think that's that's why his particular one is really strong, is anyone could pick it up, would read it and would hear about the Lord Jesus and great. Well, Roy, what's the one thing that you want to say about evangelistic books? This is the one thing. Get them and give them out widely.


Unknown
You know, don't let costs get in the way and give them out to as many people as possible because people will read them. And if they don't read them, they're and then they might come back later and we leave it to the Lord. So that's that's not very that's not very one thing. But. But this is your first time on the podcast.


Unknown
No, not now. That was good. I've already been really good hearing more about your ministry and I also hear about your heart to see Christians getting into resources that I can share that talk about Jesus. well, thank you for having me. Well, just in terms of a few things just to point out in the toolbox, I'll put a link to ten of those UK websites so you can see some of those resources.


Unknown
If you're wanting to get those in Australia, speak to our good friends at the wandering bookseller Carl GROSS. They they have loads of copies and will be able to get copies for you if, if this is something that you want to run in your church. Also, if you jump on to the website as well, there's a number of resources on on how to actually use these these books as well.


Unknown
Can I also point you to Matthias Media? We've got some good Christian publishers as well here in Australia. So as you're thinking about Easter as well, it might be a good time to think about getting a more substantial book as well in the hands of a Christian in your in your small group. So you can really push them and see them grow as well.


Unknown
I'm sure Karl's got lots of advice for that as well. And then one final ministry tender. Those also publishes the word 1 to 1 and we've talked about that on on the podcast a number of times. Is it a great resource, an easy printable format to get people into into the world and engaging with with God's Word? So again, if you're wanting to encourage a culture where people are reading the Bible and reading with others, then these are very good resources that can actually help with your invitation culture and also help equip people to just make that, you know, what can seem like a hard step.


Unknown
Hey, we just read the Bible with me. And if you've if you've done John's gospel, they've now released acts and arrived in the warehouse just before I came out. So. Okay, awesome. So not only do they have John, John, but they also have acts now in the in the in the word one, two, one. Excellent. If you've got some questions that you would like us to think in to get answered.

Unknown
If you want to hear from someone, please reach out to resources at Reach Australia dot com dot AEW and one of our team will get back to you and hopefully you'll hear about that podcast episode in the next little while. I'm Scott Sanders Chat soon.