Church libraries. Does your church have one?
Mine does. I go to a large church and so our church library, while not enormous, is a decent size. Each wall is lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves packed full of all kinds of great books.
This past fall I joined the staff at my church library. I’d been mulling over doing so for several months and felt lead to finally help out for several reasons.
First, I have a lot of books that I not only purchase, but that are also given to me as gifts from family, friends, authors, and publishers. My shelves are bulging with more books than I have space to hold. Rather than try to hang on to all the books, I wanted to find a place that I could donate to on a regular basis so that I could share the book-love with others. Why not my church library?
Second, I joined the library staff because I realized that if I started donating tons of books, I wanted to make sure people would come to the library to read them. As an author, I’ve learned how to make use of numerous platforms to help promote books. And I realized I could make good use of that knowledge to help bring attention to my church library and all of the books there.
So over recent months, I’ve helped add content to our library website, get announcements onto the big screen in our worship center, post pictures of new books on Facebook, and even get a “mobile library” next to our church’s coffee shop.
I also decided to take part in my church’s library ministry because I’m passionate about seeing more Christians get involved in reading. I’m always saddened when I hear people say they don’t have time for reading. I want to ask them (but am too polite!) if they have time to watch TV. The truth is, the average adult watches five hours of TV a day (according to the New York Times), which means the “no time for reading” is usually just an excuse.
For those who genuinely are too busy to read, I always encourage them to consider audiobooks. I personally rely upon audiobooks for almost all my reading pleasure. I listen to books as I drive, exercise, cook, etc. Audiobooks make every task a pleasure.
Finally, I wanted to get involved in my church’s library because I’m super passionate about Christian fiction. When I talk about Christian fiction with church members, I’m surprised by how little most people know about what’s available. Most churchgoers don’t realize almost every genre is available in Christian fiction that can be found in secular fiction, everything from suspense to dystopian to thriller to fantasy, and more.
The fact is, the Christian fiction market has exploded within the past ten years to include every type of book. I want to make people more aware of their choices.
Not only that, but I want Christian readers to realize that there are clean, wholesome alternatives. While I have nothing against secular books (and read my fair share of them), one never knows exactly what one might stumble upon. Not all Christian books contain deep spiritual threads, but the messages are usually uplifting and inspiring.
For the very spiritual who might condemn Christian fiction (especially the romance genre) as too fluffy or perhaps worthless, I always say, “Readers will read. Would you rather them pick up Fifty Shades of Gray or a Christian romance?”
I feel called to make sure friends, family, and fellow church members are aware of the wonderful alternatives that are available in Christian fiction—books that uplift, inspire, entertain, and even challenge us to greater depths of knowing God.
Won’t you join me in promoting Christian fiction to your friends, family, and fellow church members? One great way to do that this holiday season is to give books as Christmas presents!
What other ways have you been able to promote Christian fiction to your circles of influence?
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