The South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church has announced “bold plans” to expand literature ministry in Australia and New Zealand.
The plans have been developed in consultation with the Australian and New Zealand Pacific Unions in a bid to breathe new life into this long-established and core Church ministry.
Under the plans, full-time and part-time literature evangelists will continue to operate, and there will be opportunities for new LEs. But the ministry will be expanded beyond traditional book distribution into the digital space and church members will be encouraged to get involved by sharing relevant literature with their friends and contacts.
Responsibility for literature ministry will be transferred from the South Pacific Division to Signs Publishing, a division of Adventist Media. Further, local conferences will be encouraged to become more actively involved in the ministry. They will be eligible for grants and will be challenged to find innovative ways of increasing the distribution of evangelistic literature and other media products.
Adventist Media CEO Dr Brad Kemp said the changes will provide a good alignment of literature ministry with the publishing arm of the Church.
“We look forward to supporting and growing the literature ministry in partnership with our many literature evangelists, local conferences and churches,” Dr Kemp said.
Pastor Lionel Smith, chair of the Publishing Ministry, said it’s exciting to see the ministry being expanded.
“While literature evangelists do a great work in distributing the printed word, counsel has been given to us that all of us should be engaged in distributing literature as mission outreach,” Pastor Smith said.
“In the context of today, while literature is very important, we should also be distributing the word though electronic media and other transmedia avenues that can get past security systems and doors, directly into people’s homes.
“To do this we need to be innovative and this provides an opportunity to involve younger and lateral-thinking individuals in expanding the reach and result of the Publishing Ministry. We should be trialling new methods and possibilities in reaching the world and fulfilling the mission entrusted to us by Christ.
“The new focus on Publishing Ministry, while maintaining the effectiveness of the present literature evangelist ministry, enables the utilisation of more individuals in ways that can multiply the impact of reaching various cultures, demographic, and socio-economic segments of society in fulfilling our mission of reaching everyone with the gospel.”
Greater Sydney Conference president Pastor Terry Johnson said change can be difficult, “but when it’s change for the sake of doing our mission better, I’m all in favour of it”.
“We will have new funds for innovative ways to share literature, which is exciting, and our current LEs are going to benefit with support and better resources to sell.”