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Sharing the Everlasting Gospel with the World

An Opportunity for Every Church Member

On dusty outback roads, through dry, monotonous terrain, and under a merciless hot Australian sun, Philip rode his bicycle hundreds of miles selling hope-filled Christian books as a literature evangelist. One day he came to a farm in the middle of nowhere, a place called Eugowra. Here, he saw a farmer plowing a field. The man was strong in physique but broken in spirit. It was Tom Kent.


Unbeknownst to Philip, Tom’s family was heartbroken. His wife, Mary, had succumbed to pneumonia. He was in despair, struggling to care for their 11 children. Just before her death, Mary had asked Tom to promise he would meet her in heaven—and bring the children with him. Tom had promised. Tearfully, he had looked for a Bible to see how he could keep his promise.


That’s when Philip met Tom.


Philip Ainslie Reekie was born in Scotland in 1846. In 1888, widowed and divorced, he migrated from Australia, looking for a new life. A year later, in 1889, he stumbled upon some Christian literature, discovered amazing Bible truths, and encountered the real Jesus of Nazareth. He’d not only found a new country, but also a new reason to live. He wanted to spread hope. He quit working as an engraver so that he could engrave God’s Word upon hearts.


Now listening to Tom’s heartbreaking story, Philip saw pain, and heard of Mary’s dying hope. He decided to share The Great Controversy with Tom. Tom wrestled with the biblical truths he read, but after careful study, accepted the teachings. These new discoveries gave Tom the deep comfort and assurance that he so badly needed. He shared his discoveries with his children and neighbors. His children and five neighboring families became believers and disciples of Jesus. It was then that Tom knew he could keep his promise to his wife.


Today, this remarkable story continues. Tom Kent’s descendants, together with the other five families and others brought into the Adventist Church, add up to more than twenty thousand individuals. Twenty thousand lives were transformed by a faithful literature evangelist on a bicycle and a farmer who shared The Great Controversy with his family and neighbors. – As told by Michael Eckert, associate director of the GC Publishing Ministries department


Why Literature Evangelism?

The impact of personal literature distribution cannot be overestimated. Historically, literature evangelism has been an essential component of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Over 100 years ago, God revealed, “We are fast approaching the end. The printing and circulation of the books and papers that contain the truth for this time are to be our work” —Testimonies for the Church, 8:89. In the past, the responsibility of sharing literature was largely shouldered by dedicated church members. However, around 2007, the South American Division introduced the concept of a missionary book, a concept the World Church soon adopted. The introduction of the missionary book sought to infuse every churchgoer with an evangelistic mindset, rekindling a passion for spreading the Gospel.


In a world yearning for connection and truth, the missionary book has emerged as a catalyst for reviving evangelism within the church.


Missionary Book of the Year

The selected missionary book for the years 2023 and 2024 is The Great Controversy. This choice was made with the intention of allowing people to delve deeper into the profound topic of the Three Angels’ Messages, and offer a comprehensive understanding of the controversy between good and evil and its implications for humanity.


As expressed by Michael Eckert, assistant director to the Publishing Department, “The book The Great Controversy is being emphasized this year because Ellen White recognized the centrality of the publishing ministry in the accomplishment of Revelation 18:1, which describes how God will illuminate the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. ‘In a large degree through our publishing houses is to be accomplished the work of that other angel who comes down from heaven with great power and who lightens the earth with his glory." —Testimonies for the Church, Volume 7, p.140.


Stephen Apola, associate director of the GC Publishing Ministries department, also recalls the importance of this specific book in thoroughly explaining the loving character of God and His desire to cover us with His righteousness. "The Great Controversy should be very widely circulated. It contains the story of the past, the present, and the future.… I am more anxious to see a wide circulation for this book than for any others I have written; for in The Great Controversy, the last message of warning to the world is given more distinctly than in any of my other books." —Colporteur Ministry, p.127


A Personal Connection

The importance of relational evangelism when partaking in distributing literature is crucial, as the significance of personal distribution goes beyond the act of simply sharing literature. It emphasizes the importance of establishing genuine connections through relational evangelism. By personally handing someone a copy of "The Great Controversy," believers demonstrate their care and commitment, fostering a connection that goes beyond the exchange of printed pages. According to Apola, “It’s not just about the literature you’re giving, it’s about the personal connection you’re [making].”


Eckert shares, “Members are encouraged to share The Great Controversy personally with family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors through personal contact in connection with literature distribution. Local churches are also encouraged to organize strategic programs for wider distribution in the community. Sharing the book with love, sincere and heartfelt sympathy, and prayer, prompts many to receive and read the book. Personal sharing also allows us to address the specific needs of individuals and demonstrate our disinterested love and care for them. It is beneficial to connect personal contact with the sharing of truth-filled literature whenever possible because when people see that we love and care, they will care about what we have to say. Jesus Himself demonstrated the power of personal contact in His ministry by going from house to house and attempting to draw close to the people.”


Total Member Involvement

The initiative of a missionary book aims to involve every single church member by providing an opportunity for every member – young or old – to participate in the Church’s mission to share the everlasting gospel with the world.


All around the world, church members have been gathering together to distribute The Great Controversy to their neighbors. This past April, Eckert joined the Michigan Conference of Seventh-day Adventists as they partnered with Streams of Light International, a supporting ministry of the Church dedicated to promoting the Great Controversy Project 2.0, to personally deliver nearly 100,000 copies of this book to residents all over the state.


Church members, including young people, from different parts of North America, came together to do personal labor from house to house, sharing truth-filled literature, praying with people, and offering Bible studies.


Get Involved

As we navigate the challenges of our time, the missionary book serves as a beacon of hope and enlightenment. Through the power of personal connection and the unveiling of truth, believers can become literature evangelists and demonstrate their unwavering dedication to sharing the transformative message of the Gospel with those they come in contact with.


“Let the books containing the light on present truth be placed before as many as possible.” —Testimonies for the Church, 6:329


Would you like to experience ultimate joy, meaning, and purpose in your life?


Join the Global Church in 2023 and 2024 in the mass promotion and distribution of The Great Controversy. Please visit thegreatcontroversyproject.org for more information or streamsoflight.net to view upcoming outreach opportunities.



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