Church members across Australia and New Zealand are being asked to prayerfully plan who they will share a copy of The Great Controversy with, personally, in the coming year. This is part of the response from Adventist church leaders in Australia and New Zealand to the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist project to share millions of copies of Ellen White’s classic exploration of Christian history and Bible prophecy.
“We want our members to pray about who among their friends, family and co-workers might be most receptive to this book,” explained Pastor Terry Johnson, president of the Australian Union Conference, who presented the Church’s Great Controversy project plan at the South Queensland campmeeting in Brisbane on September 24.
“This year, many of us have shared Step Beyond with our friends and neighbours and in our communities as a simple introduction to Jesus and living a life of faith. Now, understanding the divided and anxious nature of our society, this is an opportune time to share the reasons why, as Seventh-day Adventists, we have such hope while human hearts are failing. The overarching biblical story of the ‘Conflict of the Ages’ as shared in The Great Controversy lifts Jesus high and reminds of His promise to return.”
But Pastor Johnson also acknowledged that we should be careful in the way we share this book, citing figures from the most recent Australian census. “We are no longer a religious nation, so there is a dearth of religious knowledge and biblical literacy for background to reading such a book,” he reflected. “And today fewer people read books of this size, whatever they might be about, so we want to be good stewards of the costs and the resources that could end up in landfill with mass distribution of this book.”
This is where other parts of the Church’s plan come into play. A small tract and The Great Hope—a smaller booklet with selections from The Great Controversy—both with offers for readers to request the larger book in various formats, will be produced for broader sharing by churches and church members in their communities. The Church at various levels is also contributing to the production of a new video series that will explore key Great Controversy themes.
“We are wanting to connect with people with various learning styles, so we have the printed books, audio format and visual presentation in the videos that we are supporting,” said Pastor Johnson, “and we will also be generating resources for sharing in digital formats and social media.”
The plan has also been adopted by church leaders in New Zealand. “I look forward to seeing the many creative ways people will bring the message of The Great Controversy to our communities through the written and spoken word,” commented Pastor Eddie Tupa’i, president of the New Zealand Pacific Union Conference.
Currently, a customised print run of The Great Hope is being prepared for distribution across the island nations of the Trans Pacific Union Mission.
“We appreciate the thought that the Church has put into this plan,” said Brenton Lowe, Literature Ministry coordinator for Adventist Media. “I am excited by how the culture and movement to share Adventist literature has grown over the past couple of years. Last financial year, church members gave away at least 193,000 pieces of literature—and we know that more is being shared beyond that.”
Work is underway to develop and market test new covers for these books for sharing in Australia and New Zealand. To order quantities of The Great Controversy, The Great Hope and “A Guy on a Bicycle . . .” tracts for your church or individually at special bulk pricing, visit <literature.adventistchurch.com/great-controversy> by November 30.
The Great Controversy project—a four-part sharing plan:
• Prayerfully, every member considers sharing a full version of The Great Controversy personally with a family member, friend, work colleague and acquaintance.
• Share more widely The Great Hope, a smaller booklet with selections from The Great Controversy, which will include an invitation to receive a copy of the complete book in print, digital or audio formats, as well as other offers.
• Share “A Guy on a Bicycle . . .” tracts telling the story of literature evangelist Philip Reekie and the life-changing impact of The Great Controversy, with the same offers, that can be distributed widely at little cost.
• Support production of a six-part video series on the themes of the Great Controversy for those who learn visually.
To order quantities of The Great Controversy, The Great Hope and “A Guy on a Bicycle . . .” tracts for your church or individually at special bulk pricing, visit literature.adventistchurch.com/great-controversy by November 30.