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New Book Release | Self-Publishing Leader ECPA Book Awards | Bookstore Q&A Post-COVID: Deeper Look | Topline Talk SUMMER 2021

Christian Faith in Indie Books


Need personal spiritual revival? PASTOR JAMIE MORGAN SHOWS READERS WHERE TO BEGIN

Thirsty:

A 31-Day Journey to Personal Revival is the fire starter Christians need to become a living, breathing, walking revival--setting everything we touch ablaze for God. This interactive prayer devotional by Dr. Jamie Morgan focuses on 31 vital aspects of your Christian walk. Each day readers embrace the fire of revival for one specific area of their relationship with Jesus and invite Him to bring it back to life. As readers draw near to God every day, during the 31-day journey, the All-Consuming Fire will draw near, setting hearts on fire for Him. Are you thirsty?

ORDER TODAY! ISBN: 978-1-970176-11-7 | $13.99 | Releases Oct 1. Baker & Taylor Publisher Services | Tel. 800.266.5564 | Fax 419.281.6883


Daniel and Amber Pierce empower readers to plant themselves in God-ordained joy even in imminent dangers and disasters.

R.T. Kendall prepares readers for a last-days awakening through study of the Bible and leading from the Holy Spirit.

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Pat Robertson shows readers that a walk with God can be exhilarating, rewarding and full of promise.

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Praying the Priestly Prayer will enhance readers’ ability to pray for supernatural blessing over their lives.

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978-1-62999-982-1 $17.99 US

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978-1-63641-029-6 $19.99 US

978-1-63641-004-3 $15.99 US

John Eckhardt inspires readers to reach for victory over every obstacle by declaring the abundant life Jesus came to give us.

Kathy DeGraw offers readers prophetic revelation to combat spiritual warfare by partnering with the Holy Spirit.

David Bradshaw’s Awaken the Dawn will compel readers to pray, worship, and evangelize for a life brimming full of God’s presence unlike ever before.

Bill Winston invites readers to join him in recognizing who they are in Christ as royal heirs to the kingdom of heaven.

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978-1-62999-965-4 $15.99 US

978-1-62999-971-5 $18.99 US

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978-1-63641-006-7 $18.99 US

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978-1-63641-009-8 $18.99 US

Love Them Anyway by Choco De Jesús motivates readers to commit to a genuine love of others.

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978-1-62999-715-5 $18.99 US

In his riveting new book, Jim Bakker pulls back the curtain and reflects on the struggles he faced in 2020 and encourages readers that no matter what they are facing, they can make it.

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978-1-63641-047-6 $24.99 US

1-800-283-8494 Bill Johnson invites your readers to come and discover who God made them to be. Once they do, they will never want to be anyone else.

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Study Guide: 978-1-63641-000-5 $15.99 US Devotional: 978-1-62999-957-9 $19.99 US

Michelle McClain-Walters takes readers on a quest to discover the legendary purpose God has created them with to impact generations and forever change the course of humanity.

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Contact Your Representative for Special Programs, Discounts, and Offers.

978-1-62999-884-8 $18.99 US 17367


S U M M E R 2021

V o l u m e 67, N u m b e r 2

SERVING THE CHRISTIAN PRODUCTS INDUSTRY WORLDWIDE

Christian Retailing

Editor’s Note by Jeff Struss

T

FOUNDING EDITOR AND PUBLISHER

he Christian community needs resources now more than ever before. Coming out of the pandemic and navigating a culture increasingly hostile toward our faith, your role as a Christian retailer is vital to those who call on the name of Jesus in our nation. While our goal is to provide you with practical tips and insights into operating your business, may this note remind you of the strategic nature of your role in the body of Christ. Being marketplace ministers means we must not only navigate the normal ins and outs of operating our organizations, but we must also deal with what the Bible calls “spiritual warfare.” As you read this issue of Christian Retailing, we pray you will find much more than great advice. We are asking the Holy Spirit to use our content to strengthen you for the path He has set before you. CR

CONTENTS

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ECPA 2021 Book Awards

Industry Highlights

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Marketing

Max Lucado, Charisma Media, B.J. Thomas, IVP 75th, T.D. Jakes.

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Top Sellers

See the top-selling products in music and books.

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Ask Lorraine

By Lorraine Valk A store owner answers questions about the Christian retail business.

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Data Management

By Erik Ernstrom Customer data more valuable than ever.

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Guest Column

By Debbie Marrie Insights from Charisma House books.

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Self-publishing

By Lawrence Tate Author Solutions is leading a revolution in self-publishing.

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Book Release

By Stephen E. Strang Releasing Sept. 7, God and Cancel Culture. EDITORIAL CONSULTANT Mary Manz Simon ADVISORY BOARD David Almack, acquisitions director, P&R Publishing, Phillipsburg, New Jersey David E. Austin, executive vice president, Bridgestone Multimedia Group, Alto, Michigan Bill Greig III, president, ChurchGrowth.org,

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steve.strang@charismamedia.com CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Joy F. Strang PUBLISHER & EXECUTIVE VP Dr. Steve Greene drsteve.greene@charismamedia.com DIRECTOR OF CONTENT DEVELOPMENT Jeff Struss jeff.struss@charismamedia.com CONTENT DEVELOPMENT EDITOR Robert Caggiano robert.caggiano@charismamedia.com ASSISTANT ONLINE EDITOR Shawn A. Akers shawn.akers@charismamedia.com COPY EDITOR Samantha Carpenter samantha.carpenter@charismamedia.com DIRECTOR OF PRINT PRODUCTION Marcshia Scioville

ECPA Christian Book Awards.

DIRECTOR OF SALES & AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT

By Anika Pettiford Strategies for the new era for marketing.

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Nick Beecher nick.beecher@charismamedia.com

Industry Q&A

SENIOR ADVERTISING CONSULTANT Ann Marie Kelly

Entrepreneur Anika Pettiford discusses her company, Janelle Beauty.

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amkelly@charismamedia.com DIGITAL MEDIA SALES CONSULTANT Joshua Buchanan

Bookstore Q&A

By Tiffany Benson Visit New Covenant Christian Store.

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joshua.buchanan@charismamedia.com MEDIA AD TRAFFIC SUPERVISOR Erica Heitz

Spirit-Driven

erica.heitz@charismamedia.com

By Samuel Rodriguez Published in 2020.

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FULL STACK WEB DEVELOPER Mario Alcantara

Retail Post-COVID

mario.alcantara@charismamedia.com CUSTOMER SERVICE Debra Mills

By Tiffany Benson A deeper look into the industry emerging from the pandemic.

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debra.mills@charismamedia.com

Christian Retailing (ISSN 0892-0281) is published three times a year by Charisma Media, 600 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, FL 32746. Copyright © 2021 by Charisma Media. All rights reserved. Printed in USA.

Bookstore Q&A Revisit

By Tiffany Benson Christian Retailing returns to MVMNT Christian Stores after the pandemic.

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POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Christian Retailing, 600 Rinehart Rd. Lake Mary, FL 32746.

Topline Talk

By Dr. Steve Greene The value and power of showing up. Twin Peaks, California Steve Laube, literary agent and president, The Steve Laube Agency, Phoenix, Arizona Ed Nizynski, industry consultant, Wood Dale, Illinois Lorraine Valk, owner, Parable Christian Store of St. Joseph, St. Joseph, Michigan Sherry White, vice president, merchandising, American Wholesale Book Co., Florence, Alabama

C H R I ST IAN R ETAI LI N G / / /Summer 2 0 2 1

MAILING LIST: We make a portion of our mailing list available to reputable firms. If you would prefer that we not include your name, please write us at 600 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, FL 32746, call 800-749-6500 or email magcustsvc@charismamedia.com.

CHARISMA MEDIA

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Stephen Strang

SUBSCRIPTION QUESTIONS Call 800-749-6500. We make every effort to be sure advertisers operate with the highest principles and credibility. But advertising in Christian Retailing does not imply editorial endorsement. For advertising rates and information, or for editorial inquiries, call 407-333-0600.


GREAT NEW BOOKS for Fall and Christmas

Star Namer Bible Study: Joshua 9 & 10 - Dig into Joshua’s campaign through eyewitness accounts by Canaanite fictional characters in author’s action novels of historical events. MG/YA interactive Bible study highlights Biblical background, geography of Israel, fascinating research. 9781952025570 $24.99

The Bible Parenting Code - Bestselling author reveals God’s perfect parenting plan in this incomparable book. It will change your life and your children’s! There’s been nothing like it in the parenting field, ever. 9781952025693 $19.95

Split City - Murder does a double take when former pro bowler Billy Gills is asked to identify his identical twin brother Bo’s body. Surprises abound in this inspirational, amateur sleuth mystery from an award winning, bestselling author. 9781954437173 $13.99

Why Me? - An incredible gripping and inspiring true story of Israeli Jew Jacob Damkani. Discover how crime and betrayal, pride and disappointment, do not have the last word. When God steps in, everything changes. 9781952025532 $14.99

Back to the Garden - Moses wrote Genesis with ancient pictograms that explicitly revealed Jesus as God’s Son actively participating in creation. This book will equip you with critical tools that will breathe new life into God’s anointed Hebrew covenant. 9781949572995 $19.99

Sharab - After arriving on an alien planet, a human astronaut, nicknamed Nuke, attempts to bring two alien cultures together but instead brings them to the brink of civil war and his own demise. Sharab is the second book of a unique Christian science fiction series entitled Erabon Prophecy Trilogy. Let your imagination soar in this exciting new twist to Christian science fiction. 9781952025136 $14.99

All products are proudly distributed by Ingram/Spring Arbor.


INDUSTRY HIGHLIGHTS

Max Lucado receives 2021 ECPA Pinnacle Award

His career highlights are unprecedented, with his products exceeding sales of 145 million Bestselling author and pastor Max Lucado was recently awarded the 2021 Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Pinnacle Award for the outstanding contribution of his writing, both to the publishing industry and to society at large. Lucado is only the fourth recipient of this honor, which recognizes the outstanding contribution by an author or book. It was presented at the ECPA Awards Celebration on May 6 via webinar at the conclusion of the ECPA Leadership Summit. Lucado’s career highlights are unprecedented in Christian publishing, with his products exceeding sales of 145 million. His books are printed in 45 languages and distributed throughout 80 countries worldwide. On the Anvil, his first trade book, was published in 1985. His forthcoming title, You Were Made for This Moment, will release in

Max Lucado September 2021 from Thomas Nelson. Twenty-three of his titles have sold more than 1 million copies. “It is such an honor for ECPA to present the Pinnacle Award to Max Lucado,” said ECPA President Stan Jantz. “I was a bookseller in 1985, and I clearly remember when our store received On the Anvil for the first time. The accessibility of the writing and the clear expression of the heart of someone

who loved Jesus more than anything were early indicators that this was a special author.” “It is an honor for HarperCollins Christian Publishing to represent Max and his collection of life-changing, Godcentered works for the past 31 years,” said Mark Schoenwald, president and CEO. “God’s grace, mercy and unconditional love has been discovered by millions of people because of Max’s devotion and love for his Lord and Savior. I join my colleagues at HCCP and the publishing industry in offering our sincerest thanks for his many contributions and congratulations on this amazing recognition.” Pa s t re cipie n ts of the ECPA Pinnacle Award include Stormie Omartian (Power of a Praying series), Dr. Gary Chapman (The 5 Love Languages series) and Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye (Left Behind series). CR

Charisma Media announces structural changes, combines multimedia and book groups

The new structure streamlines the organization removing overlap, maximizing the growing digital footprint and better positions it for growth Stephen E. Strang, founder and CEO of Charisma Media, announced on June 3 that the company is combining its multimedia and book groups effective immediately. The announcement came the same week Charisma Media celebrated its 40th anniversary as a company. The new structure combines magazines, books, the MEV Bible, digital products and the Charisma Podcast Network into the two areas of markets and operations. With many industry changes, this change of structure will allow 6

Charisma Media to develop new channels for its audience and maximize its digital footprint to distribute content.

C H R I ST IAN R ETAI LI N G / / /Summer 2 0 2 1

The change expands the roles of two of Charisma Media’s executive team members. Dr. Steve Greene will now serve as executive vice president of media and markets, and Ken Peckett is now executive vice president of operations. “This new structure streamlines our organization, minimizes duplication and overhead, and positions us for growth,” Strang said. “In the process, we can better serve the Christian community and pursue our passion to encourage people to experience the power of the Holy Spirit.” CR


Crossover artist, Grammy, Dove winner BJ Thomas dead at 78

His Home Where I Belong project was the first gospel record to sell a million copies Billy Joe “B.J.” Thomas, Grammy Hall of Fame inductee and award-winning country, pop and gospel singer behind hits including “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head” and “Hooked on a Feeling,” died at age 78 on May 29, 2021, at his home in Arlington, Texas, of complications of stage 4 lung cancer. B.J. Thomas Born in Hugo, Oklahoma, and reared in Another Somebody Done Somebody Houston, Texas, Thomas had a breakWrong Song.” He won five Grammys through hit in 1966 with a gospel- and sold more than 70 million styled cover of Hank Williams’ “I’m records. So Lonesome I Could Cry” and went Thomas’ iconic hit “Rainon to sell millions of records and drops” from Butch Cassidy and the have dozens of hits across genres. Sundance Kid won an Academy He reached No. 1 with pop, adult Award for Best Original Song. He contemporary and country listeners later said the song’s success exacerin 1976 with “(Hey Won’t You Play) bated an addiction to pills and alcohol

dating back to his teens, when a record producer in Houston suggested he take amphetamines to boost his energy levels. Touring and recording constantly, he took dozens of pills a day. By 1976, while “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” was hitting No. 1, he said he felt like he was “No. 1,000.” “I was at the bottom with my addictions and my problems,” he said in 2020 on The Debby Campbell Goodtime Show. But when his wife, Gloria, became a born-again Christian, the singer also came to Christ and began expressing his newfound faith via gospel music. He  THOMAS continued on page 10

InterVarsity Press commemorates 75th year

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The publishing company begins a yearlong celebration of influential books and authors InterVarsity Press kicked off its 75th anniversary in June by beginning a yearlong celebration of books and authors who have shaped culture, affected the church and changed lives. Leading figures and IVP authors such as evangelist Rebecca Manley Pippert, apologist Francis Schaeffer, theologian J. I. Packer and pastor-scholar John Stott helped a generation of church leaders think more biblically. Landmark books such as Ron Sider’s Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, James W. Sire’s The Universe Next Door and Your God Is Too White by Columbus Salley and Ronald Behm challenged Christians to engage the world around them. Throughout the coming yearlong celebration, IVP will share monthly stories about how individual books and authors have started and led historical discussions

concerning missions, apologetics, spiritual formation, science, social justice, theology, politics, women in ministry and more. “InterVarsity Press occupies a unique place in the Christian world— one that I believe is essential in a time when we are more divided than ever. IVP books offer diverse and sometimes intentionally contradictory positions,” said Cindy Bunch, IVP’s associate publisher and director of editorial. In celebration of the anniversary, IVP is releasing special editions of select iconic and bestselling books from its history. Between fall of 2019 and fall of 2023, IVP will release Signature Collection editions of 27 books and 13 Bible studies representing a broad range of authors, topics and genres.  IVP-75TH continued on page 10 S u m m e r 2 0 2 1 / / / CH R I S T I A N R E TA I LI N G

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INDUSTRY HIGHLIGHTS Tyndale House announces new health imprint

Tyndale Refresh will focus on books that promote health and well-being in all aspects of life Tyndale House Publishers announces the launch of Tyndale Refresh, a new imprint focusing on books that promote health and wellbeing in all aspects of life, drawing on the expertise of top researchers as well as experts and practitioners in medicine, science, psychology, religion, nutrition, fitness and lifestyle improvement. The new imprint’s tagline is: Think well. Live well. Be well. The first Tyndale Refresh books will release in fall 2021, with authors including Danielle Walker, a New York Times bestselling cookbook author (Against All Grain, Meals Made Simple, Celebrations and Eat What You Love), health advocate and self-trained chef. Her upcoming memoir, Food Saved Me, shares the full story of her journey to finding life again through the healing power of food. Dr. Michael Guillen, a physicist, bestselling author, former Harvard University physics instructor, former ABC News science editor and also former atheist is also launching

a new book, Believing Is Seeing, with Tyndale Refresh this fall. “We are creating Tyndale Refresh because we believe it’s important and possible to live a life of balanced physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being,” said Jan Long Harris, executive publisher of nonfiction. “For that reason, it’s important to stay on top of the latest expert knowledge about health, wellness, and science. Tyndale Refresh books will appeal to readers who are intelligent, curious, health-conscious, and open to how Christian spirituality can enhance overall well-being.” The imprint anticipates the release of six to eight titles a year, including those by popular authors such as Daniel Amen, M.D.; Curt Thompson, M.D.; Stephen Arterburn and Alisa Keeton, which were previously published under Tyndale Momentum and will be rebranded with Tyndale Refresh when reprinted. CR

Jane Campbell retires from Chosen Books

Bestselling author T.D. Jakes’ church celebrates 25th anniversary

Jane Campbell, longtime editorial director of Chosen, a division of Baker Publishing Group, retired June 4 after nearly 40 years. She told Publishers Weekly she considered being part of the evolution of publishing books from a charismatic perspective “an adventure.” Chosen, founded by John and Elizabeth Sherrill, focuses on Spiritled books targeted toward charisJane Campbell matic Christians, publishing books on prophetic vision and voice, prayer, spiritual warfare, the Holy Spirit, battling evil and more. Campbell began her journey by working for John Sherill in 1978 as writer and ghostwriter and joined the imprint fulltime in 1983 when Zondervan acquired it. The imprint was later sold to Guideposts and, in 1992, to Baker Publishing Group. Stan Jantz, president and CEO of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, called Campbell’s editing skills “undeniable,” adding, “Not only did she consistently find compelling authors and curate great books, but she also established Chosen as one of the premiere imprints in Christian publishing. In doing so, Jane virtually invented a unique genre: charismatic books with universal appeal.” Kim Bangs, who joined Baker in 2014 and has been serving as an acquisitions editor for Chosen, will succeed Campbell as editorial director. CR 8

C H R I ST IAN R ETAI LI N G / / /Summer 2 0 2 1

The Potter’s House, Bishop T.D. Jakes’ church in Dallas, Texas, celebrated its 25th anniversary on July 4 with fanfare and powerful prophetic words along with the signing of a vision statement by Jakes and other bishops. Speakers included both Jakes and Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams of NDW Ministries in Accra, Ghana. “There is before us a divine and a holy assignment that I believe to be very significant for what God would have us to do in the 21st century,” Jakes, told the church before introducing the vision statement. Duncan-Williams’ message affirmed this word, calling forth apostles, prophets, pastors and evangelists. Jakes, whom Time magazine called “America’s Best Preacher” and “The Next Billy Graham” found a home in Dallas for The Potter’s House in 1996. It has grown to a 30,000-member global ministry emphasizing life-changing local and global initiatives. At the anniversary service, The Potter’s House looked to the future of the work the ministry continues in all facets of faith, entertainment and business. In July, Jakes announced plans to improve the quality of life for people of color with his Atlanta revitalization project and debuted a new sermon series on network REVOLT entitled Kingdom Culture With T.D. Jakes featuring sermons and conversations filmed at The Potter’s House. The Potter’s House reaches an audience of more than 22 million online, and Jakes’ trusted voice is heard in more than 80 million homes each day. CR


Triumphant Journey Road Tragedy to Triumphant

Doris Cole Doris O. Cole, a saved Christian, went on a journey led by God to discover the meaning of life after she lost her job, house, car, and health. Lost in the identity of who she used to be, Cole met another Christian who helped her find her purpose. In her guide, Triumphant Journey Road: Tragedy to Triumphant, Cole discusses how leaning on God during hard times guides lost souls to the people and places that can help them heal. Her story inspires those in need to put their faith in God and trust the path He has paved for them.

978-1-7283-7190-0 Paperback | $20.99 978-1-7283-7189-4 Ebook | $3.99 Real Authors, Real Impact

Visit us on Facebook & Twitter


INDUSTRY HIGHLIGHTS

Baker & Taylor Publisher Services and SPCK Group announce new sales and fulfillment agreement SPCK includes Inter-Varsity UK and Lion Hudson among its imprints Baker & Taylor Publisher Services (btpubservices.com), a leading provider of sales and fulfillment services to book publishers, is pleased to announce the signing of a fullservice sales and distribution agreement with the SPCK Group, effective July 1, 2021 – US/ CAN only. The SPCK Group is the one of the world’s leading Christian publishers, formed following the acquisitions of Inter-Varsity Press UK as well as Lion Hudson by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, a publisher founded in 1698. Under this arrangement, all three lists will be available from BTPS. Lion Hudson (lionhudson.com) is a renowned Christian publisher that features an extensive list of award-winning books for adults and children under several imprints, including Lion Books, Monarch Books, Lion Scholar, Lion Fiction, Lion Children’s Books and Candle Books. Its mission is to “see literature that challenges, encourages and leads people to God, whatever their background, with titles that cover a broad spectrum of faith-based publishing. Inter-Varsity Press UK (IVP UK, ivpbooks.com) is an evangelical Christian publisher that arose from  THOMAS continued from page 7

quit drugs immediately, signed with Myrrh Records and released the album Home Where I Belong in 1976. The project, which won a Grammy and became the first of his two Dove Award wins, also became the first gospel record to sell a million copies. Thomas went on to continued success in multiple genres and, although he stopped recording exclusively for the Christian market, performed in a church setting as recently as 2019. Thomas wrote two books, including his autobiography, Home Where I Belong, co-authored with New York Times bestselling author Jerry B. Jenkins. He leaves behind Gloria, his wife of 53 years; their three daughters and four grandchildren.— Marti Pieper HOW TO CONNECT WITH US:

Subscribe: christianretailing.com/subscribe Email: retailing@charismamedia.com twitter.com/christianretail facebook.com/christianretailing 10

C H R I ST IAN R ETAI LI N G / / /Summer 2 0 2 1

the Christian Union movement in the U.K. Its mission is to publish Christian books that are true to the Bible and that communicate the gospel, develop discipleship and strengthen the church for its mission throughout the world. SPCK Publishing (spckpublishing.co.uk) has been publishing Christian books since the 17th century and is best known for its work with such authors as N.T. Wright, Rowan William and Richard Rohr. SPCK aims to publish the best Christian books in a range of genres, including theology, biblical studies, Bibles and children’s. SPCK Publishing also publishes spiritual fiction titles under the Marylebone House imprint. “This new partnership with BTPS is a significant step for the SPCK Group in ensuring availability of all our titles in North America and growing the sales of our authors,” said Sam Richardson, CEO of SPCK Group. “We are honored and privileged to partner with the SPCK Group, including Lion Hudson, IVP UK and SPCK Publishing, whose solid reputation for incredible adult and children’s books is known worldwide for helping people grow in the Christian faith,” said Randy McKenzie, sales manager of BTPS’s Christian Division. CR  IVP-75TH continued from page 7

Stan Jantz, president and CEO of the Evangelical Christian Publishing Association, said, “For 75 years InterVarsity Press has published compelling books that bring honor to Christ by cultivating the mind while simultaneously stirring the heart. My first encounter with InterVarsity came while I was in college through brilliant authors such as Os Guinness and Becky Pippert, who are still writing great books for—you guessed it—InterVarsity Press. Not content to rest on past success, this innovative publisher continues to discover and publish firstrate authors for new generations. That’s the mark of a great publisher. That’s the mark of InterVarsity Press.” Watch for more information about IVP’s 75th anniversary on ivpress.com and Facebook. CR Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


After keeping it secret for many years, Win Tuck-Gleason opens up about her experiences with angels in this beautifully illustrated memoir. Tuck-Gleason takes readers through each of her encounters, describing the forms the angels took and reflecting on how they served as loving companions, fierce protectors and comforting guides in her hours of need. The author’s stories are enhanced by her paintings, which further testify to the grace and glory surrounding her heavenly guests. A powerful, profound collection of stories and sacred art, Angels, Of Course reminds readers of the many ways the Heavenly Father extends his comfort and love.

www.iuniverse.com Real Authors, Real Impact

978-1-5320-9718-8 Hardback | $38.99 978-1-5320-8606-9 Paperback | $27.99 978-1-5320-8607-6 Ebook | $3.99 Visit us on Facebook & Twitter


TOP SELLERS

Christian Retail 1 THE MOST BEAUTIFUL DISASTER-Hope Carpenter (Hachette Book Group) 9781546017486

1 THE WOMEN OF THE BIBLE SPEAK-Shannon Bream (Broadside Books) 9780063046597

2 DISCERNING THE VOICE OF GODPriscilla Shirer (Moody Publishers) 9780802450128

2 GET OUT OF YOUR HEADJennie Allen (Waterbrook Press) 9781601429643

3 THE WOMEN OF THE BIBLE SPEAK-Shannon Bream (Broadside Books) 9780063046597

3 FAULT LINES-Voddie T. Baucham (Salem Books) 9781684511808

4 GOD HEARS HER(Discovery House) 9781627078719

4 SEEING BEAUTIFUL AGAIN-Lysa Terkeurst (Thomas Nelson) 9781400218912

5 JESUS CALLING FOR GRADUATES-Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson Publishers) 9780718087418

5 WOMAN EVOLVE-Sarah Jakes Roberts (Thomas Nelson) 9780785235545

6 GOD’S PROMISES FOR GRADUATES-Jack Countryman (Thomas Nelson Publishers) 9781400222032

6 JESUS CALLING-Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson Publishers) 9781591451884

7 SEEING BEAUTIFUL AGAIN-Lysa TerKeurst (Thomas Nelson Publishers) 9781400218912

7 DON’T DROP THE MIC-T. D. Jakes (Faith Words) 9781455595358

8 THE BEGINNER’S BIBLE- (Zonderkidz) 9780310750130

8 DON’T GIVE THE ENEMY A SEAT AT YOUR TABLELouie Giglio (Thomas Nelson) 9780785247227

9 GOD’S PROMISES FOR GRADUATES-Jack Countryman (Thomas Nelson Publishers) 9781400221950 10 GOD’S ANSWERS FOR THE GRADUATE-Jack Countryman (Thomas Nelson Publishers) 9781400222056

9 A DISTANT SHORE-Karen Kingsbury (Atria Books) 9781982104351 10 THE BEGINNER’S BIBLE- (Zonderkidz) 9780310750130

11 GOD’S WISDOM FOR THE GRADUATE-Jack Countryman (Thomas Nelson Publishers) 9781400222063

11 FORGIVING WHAT YOU CAN’T FORGET-Lysa Terkeurst (Thomas Nelson) 9780718039875

12 AFTERMATH -Terri Blackstock (Thomas Nelson Publishers) 9780310345978

12 THE PLEASURE OF HIS COMPANY-Dutch Sheets (Bethany House Publishers) 9780764213335

13 STAND STRONG- (Discovery House) 9781627079006

13 THE MOST BEAUTIFUL DISASTER-Hope Carpenter (Faith Words) 9781546017486

14 JESUS CALLING-Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson Publishers) 9781591451884 15 GOD’S ANSWERS FOR THE GRADUATE-Jack Countryman (Thomas Nelson Publishers) 9781400222049 16 GOD’S PROMISES FOR GRADUATES-Jack Countryman (Thomas Nelson Publishers) 9781400222025 17 WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED-Erwin W. Lutzer (Harvest House Publishers) 9780736981798

14 365 BEDTIME STORIES AND RHYMES(Cottage Door Press) 9781680524048 15 GENTLE AND LOWLY-Dane C. Ortlund (Crossway) 9781433566134 16 THE JESUS STORYBOOK BIBLE-Sally Lloyd-Jones (Zonderkidz) 9780310708254 17 EMBRACED-Lysa Terkeurst (Thomas Nelson) 9781400310296

18 ELIJAH-BIBLE STUDY BOOK-Priscilla Shirer (Lifeway Church Resources) 9781087715421

18 ELIJAH-BIBLE STUDY BOOK-Priscilla Shirer (Lifeway Church Resources) 9781087715421

19 GOD’S PROMISES FOR GRADUATES-Jack Countryman (Thomas Nelson Publishers) 9781400221981

19 BOUNDARIES: UPDATED AND EXPANDED EDITIONHenry Cloud (Zondervan) 9780310351801

20 FORGIVING WHAT YOU CAN’T FORGET-Lysa TerKeurst (Thomas Nelson Publishers) 9780718039875

20 PEACEFUL ON PURPOSE-Joel Osteen (Faith Words) 9781455534395

This bestseller list is based on actual Christian store sales for May 2021, reported to The Parable Group, the largest source of Christian retail sales data. All rights reserved. Distribution and copyright © 2021 The Parable Group. parablegroup.com

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NPD BookScan

C H R I ST IAN R ETA I LI N G / / /Summer 2 0 2 1

This bestseller list is based on NPD BookScan data for May 2021. NPD BookScan’s U.S. Consumer Market Panel currently covers approximately 85% of the print book market and continues to grow. Copyright © 2021 The NPD Group Inc. All rights reserved.


RETAIL ADVICE

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Get answers to your retail questions

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hy is this so hard? We’ve all had those days that are difficult. There is no doubt in my mind that the hard things this year are significantly different than those 15 years ago. Fortunately, God hasn’t changed during those intervening years. Putting on the problem-solver hat instead of absorbing the perceived problems as a step to defeat can make all the difference. Today I had the dreaded “match price” with a supplier twice in a row, and this is what helped me: 1. Deep breathing. 2. Asking for a moment to go online and verify pricing. 3. Calling my rep to ask, “What can we do?” 4. Satisfying the customer who chose to try us before clicking the online button. This customer purchases other items from us; I don’t want to force them to go online first next time. Ultimately, I didn’t make much on the sale, but I retained the customer. Attitude and demeanor matter. I want to be part of the solution instead of another problem. We don’t want to win the battle on price (make the customer feel bad about asking) and ultimately lose the war (they don’t come back). This is when a relationship with reps is so important. Do we often call to complain, or do we appreciate their hard work? Do I make everything an emergency, or do I only call when I truly need assistance? (Their time is valuable, too; they have multiple accounts.) Respect for each other goes a long way. Loyalty, kindness and ordering directly from your rep as regularly as possible create a balm that soothes. Be the kind of customer to vendors that you want others to be to your store. Celebrate the joys. Post the thankyou notes in your store’s back room 14

for your teammates to enjoy. Share the goodness that happens. Today we had a woman purchase two Bibles (and imprints) for the two little girls next to her at checkout. She first asked their grandfather’s permission to bless them. He was blown away. The girls hugged their new Bibles as the treasures they are. It is heartwarming to see God’s love and generosity flow, and it’s empowering when the more difficult clients

“Be the kind of customer to vendors that you want others to be to your store.” demand the impossible. Take precious moments to store away the beauty of the unexpected moments. How do I plan ahead with purchases in this retail climate? Oh, to have Solomon’s wisdom. Building inventory and maintaining proper stocking levels is one of the most important tasks in our stores. Here’s my informal process for purchasing: 1. Is this item featured in my upcoming catalogs? 2. Is it a staple I am low/out of? (Think bread and milk.) 3. Do I have proper upcoming seasonal inventory (nativities, Easter books, wedding and so on)? 4. Do I have enough new choices to attract attention and make great displays? 5. Have I seen this trending in magazines or on Facebook? 6. Are my categories well-balanced with my sales? 7. Will this item fit well with my customer base’s needs and wants? 8. Will this item enhance my selection? Will it appeal to my customers?

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(Books: cover, topic, author? Gifts: fragrance, beauty, functionality or feel?) 9. Do I have a merchandising plan for this item? 10. Do I have enough products that make a larger margin (closeouts, discontinued deals)? 11. Is there something I can use to create a deal for the customers and still retain margin? 12. Do I have loss leaders I can use to drive new-customer visits? It is about balance and ordering the smallest amount reasonable, as often as possible, sometimes referred to as “just in time inventory.” Vendors love the stock-up sales. I don’t, and here’s why: If I am out of 150 titles, I am not managing my inventory well. There are exceptions, naturally, but ordering smaller quantities helps you move your inventory dollars more quickly and frees up cash to take advantage of super deals. Know your budget, stick to it and leave room for a few unexpected opportunities along the way. Enjoy the challenges of managing your inventory and purchasing well, and you will be more joyful in the tasks of the day. Keep being a blessing in your community. God has placed you there for such a time as this! CR Lorraine Valk is owner of Parable Christian Store of St. Joseph, which contains both a Hallmark Gold Crown Store and a P. Graham Dunn Gallery, in a small community on the shores of Lake Michigan.

ASK LORRAINE Draw on Lorraine’s expertise by sending her your Christian retail questions: lorraine@stjoseph.parable.com


Know Me, Hear Me, Obey Me Ruth G. Hatch An inspiring and spiritual read, Know Me, Hear Me, Obey Me, by Ruth G. Hatch presents the author’s walk with God through easy to read yet impactful messages. Readers will learn more about their relationship with God through Ruth’s journey with Christ as she decided to share her story after God came to her while singing in her church choir. Even though she already knew Him, he told her to share this fact and to hear Him and obey Him by telling others. Ruth hopes her book will touch readers lives and help bring them closer to God.

978-1-4208-9320-5 Paperback | $11.49 978-1-4670-7398-1 eBook | $3.99 Real Authors, Real Impact

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DATA MANAGEMENT

By Erik Ernstrom

Broaden your store’s impact

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hat a crazy 16 months it has been. If you ever felt as if your business were separated from others or you were living on an island, this last season has been exactly that, crazy—but on steroids. It finally feels as though things are returning to normal. So now what? Now is the time to find what’s working for others, then join them. And what’s helping retailers across the country is the ability to access anonymized sales data from a network of stores and using that information to locate opportunities within their own store(s). More than 300 independently owned retailers trust The Parable Group with their sales and inventory data on a daily basis, knowing we provide these tools to help them manage their inventory. What tools are you actively using to improve your inventory? You may be thinking, I don’t need to know what’s selling across the country—my store is too different. I’m confident your store is different than all other independent stores. Your store is amazing and unique—as are all indies. It’s what makes you great and what draws customers through your doors each day. But as a seasoned store owner told me a couple years ago, “I know my store and my community inside and out. I know what sells. I know what doesn’t sell. But I need access to this data because I don’t know what I don’t know.” It was a wise and humble thing to admit. He’s an exceptional retailer. He would not have lasted as long as he has if he weren’t. But he also knows he has room to grow. He wants to learn from others. Yes, your store is different. Maybe very different from other Christian retailers. But the data shows us how

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closely aligned we actually are. When physical music sales were at their peak, I was part of a team that analyzed regional sales across the country. We were shocked to learn that the top 400 albums were exactly the same, regardless of region. OK ... not exactly the same. There were seven that didn’t show up in every region. But

“I know my store and my community inside and out. I know what sells. I know what doesn’t sell. But I need … data because I don’t know what I don’t know.” across the United States, 98% of the top albums were the same. The only difference was their rank. Regardless of what part of the country we looked, the lists had the same titles. They were just arranged differently. The bottom line is, when it comes to product selection, you might not be as different as you think. It’s worth considering how a network-wide tool could help you broaden your selection and impact more lives. ParableConnect is that tool. When your data is transferred into the system, it adds to the network-wide information that will help all other stores in our industry, as well as unlocking the full reporting tools for you to take advantage of. Even if your data can’t be transferred to us (no point of sale, or noncompatible POS), there are still tools available to you. And there is absolutely no cost. The goal is to provide analytics to stores and vendors

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that will help our industry thrive. Independent stores, ministries, church stores, online retailers and more trust us with their data and ask us to report on their behalf. Authors and publishers desperately want their sales to be reported to both entities. Seeing “our” titles appear on The New York Times bestsellers list and seeing sales in BookScan continues to show the viability and worth of our channel. Plus, by being part of the network, you’re helping strengthen our channel. We are the “funnel” for Christian book sales when it comes to reporting to BookScan—as well as The New York Times. In fact, ParableConnect is one of only two aggregators endorsed by BookScan. And, as I recently told my high school graduate, “That one graduation check might not seem like much by itself. But when you add them all together, you’ll be shocked at the impact it will have.” In the same way, you might not think your store’s sales will do much to move the needle. But you’d be amazed at what it looks like when we add all the stores together. Emerging from this pandemic creates a huge opportunity for us to link arms and support one another—be it other retailers, publishers, authors or the industry at large. If you’re not playing a part, there’s a role for you. Please contact me so I can show you the opportunities at your fingertips. CR Erik Ernstrom has worked in the Christian products industry for almost 30 years. He has managed an independently owned Christian retail store and a customer service department that served 300 Christian retail stores. Since 2007, he has managed the business analytics department of The Parable Group. Call 805-329-4005 or email erik.ernstrom @parable.com with your feedback.

© J O S E P H D O M I N G U E Z . A LL R I G H TS R E S E R V E D .

Use this key tool to link arms with others and improve the industry


GUEST COLUMN

By Debbie Marrie

Charisma Media book team looks ahead to new opportunities

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t is no secret that the pandemic of 2020 created unprecedented challenges for independent retailers. As COVID shutdowns disrupted supply chains and shopping habits throughout the year, many publishers welcomed the opportunity to refine their product and delivery strategies, reconsider tried-and-true approaches and embrace innovative solutions to longstanding challenges. On June 3, 2021, the same week Charisma Media celebrated its 40th anniversary, we announced an organizational restructure that unifies our magazines, books, Bibles, digital products and Charisma Podcast Network under the leadership of Dr. Steve Greene as executive vice president of media and markets and Ken Peckett as executive vice president of operations. This change allows Charisma Media to enhance our current product offerings with digital components that we believe will boost book sales and further solidify the essential role of our Christian retail partners. “This new structure streamlines our organization, minimizes duplication and overhead and positions us for growth,” Charisma Media CEO Stephen E. Strang said in a June press release. “In the process, we can 18

to the Modern English Version of the Bible. Passio equips believers for spiritual formation through Bible engagement. We look forward to a renewed focus on MEV products soon. Thankfully, 2020 is now a distant memory in our rearview mirror. As stores continue to reopen and sales pick up, independent bookstores like yours remain a critical and valuable ingredient in our ability to reach our readers. The reopening of our nation this year in many ways reflects a spiritual reawakening we believe is coming to America and the world. Charisma Media is excited about the future. We’re praying for you, and we ask you to pray for us in return. Let’s join together in serving our cus-

“Independent bookstores like yours remain a critical and valuable ingredient in our ability to reach our readers.”

them to impact culture through their faith. Upcoming FrontLine titles include the September release of Strang’s latest book, God and Cancel Culture. • A fourth imprint, Passio, is home

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tomers while worshipping God with our labors to carry His Good News to the world. CR Debbie Marrie is vice president of content development (books) for Charisma Media.

U N S P LAS H

God and Cancel Culture

better serve the Christian community and pursue our passion for encouraging people to experience the power of the Holy Spirit.” Charisma Media is the publisher of Charisma magazine and Christian Retailing, and also is home to three book publishing imprints: •  Charisma House provides passionate, Spirit-filled Christians with content that inspires them to encounter the power of the Holy Spirit and deepen their walk with God. • Siloam motivates health-conscious people seeking an new approach to healthy living in body, mind and spirit. •  FrontLine informs Christian conservatives who are politically minded and socially active, inspiring


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My Golf Balls Grew Eyes explores questions such as Does God exist?, How can something come from nothing?, Is the Judaic Christian Bible factual and is God revealed?, and Finally, what does a living God want from us?


SELF-PUBLISHING

By Lawrence Tate authors. Author Solutions brings a full arsenal of publishing pathways, including partnerships with household names such as HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Thomas Nelson. The company thus furnishes

hopeful writers with opportunities through partner imprints, including Archway, Balboa Press, LifeRich and WestBow Press. Partridge is an international imprint that extends Author Solutions’ services to hopeful writers across the globe.

Keith Ogorek, member of Author Solutions formation group and president of Author Learning Center.

Author Solutions leads self-publishing revolution

EDUCATION AND TRAINING Author Solutions serves the aspiring author population with its large offering of book imprints and also through its unique Author Learning Center educational and training capability. Ogorek and his partners formed Author Solutions in 2007 to change a fundamental challenge in the book publishing industry.

Hopeful writers receive the chance to learn and realize dreams to become published authors

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and president of the Author Learning Center. “We’re one of the best-kept secrets out there.” Formed in 2007, Author Solutions publishes a wide variety of books through both Christian and secular imprints as the parent company for the various imprints and publication channels. The company’s core imprints

“Not that long ago, few people could get published, but now everyone can get published,” the Author Learning Center’s website reports. “If you look at the transformation that has taken place in the film and music industry, you’ll see content creation in those industries has exploded, which has

“Publishing is in the middle of its own revolution.” include AuthorHouse, Xlibris and iUniverse among a wide spectrum of opportunities available to prospective

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given consumers more choices than ever before. Most importantly, new careers have been launched, many of

AU T H O R S O LU T I O N S

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here has never been a better time to be an aspiring author carrying a dream for turning ideas into published books. In the aftermath of the pandemic, more potential authors than ever are emerging from the season of extended time at home. Through the business closures and governmental lockdowns, many budding writers found extra time to return to long-held story ideas. As the pandemic recedes, these potential writers are exploring suitable avenues for turning their projects into realized dreams. They need professional assistance in the “work of writing a good book,” said Keith Ogorek, member of the group that formed Author Solutions, director of corporate partnerships and founder


which might not have happened had there not been a revolution.” “Publishing is in the middle of its own revolution, ... [to] give everyone the chance to be successful,” the online explanation continues. “The past decade has brought about more upheaval in the publishing industry than the previous 400 years combined. There weren’t many groundbreaking innovations from the time Gutenberg invented the printing press

tool, which guides new authors with task lists and project outlines for presenting the messages of their books to their communities and ultimately to the wider world. MOVIES AND MORE One of the newest publishing solutions the firm offers is Fuzeframe, which guides authors through the process of offering their books to Hollywood producers and film-

“Writing a good book and marketing it is one of the hardest things anyone can ever do.” through the introduction of the paperback (about 80 years ago). However, over the last decade, the publishing

AU T H O R S O LU T I O N S

world has undergone an indie revolution similar to what occurred in the film and music industries.” Ogorek designed his brainchild, the Author Learning Center, to meet hopeful writers at their point of deepest need for both training and wisdom (see Prov. 4:5). The Author Learning Center draws neophyte

writers into the world of book publishing and introduces them to the framework of the entire process—from idea to published book and beyond. “It is the GPS for your book publishing journey,” Ogorek said, describing the Author Learning Center and referencing its tagline. “It’s also like Driver’s Ed.” The center provides instruction for writers in everything from event planning and hosting to utilizing its book launch

makers for movie options. Launched more than a decade ago, Fuzeframe restarted in January 2021 after a gap of several years and has already offered nearly a dozen new books for presentation on the silver screen. “The demand for content in Hollywood is huge,” Ogorek said. “Hollywood loves books” and has a voracious, expanding appetite for what he calls “the underlying ideas” in those books. Ogorek is uniquely equipped to facilitate the Author Learning Center’s and the various core imprints and

World.” Ogorek has also “authored three books, A Clear View, Eli the Stable Boy and 7 Secrets of Successful Self-Published Authors.” He has also penned many “helpful white papers including the popular 4 Paths to Publishing and Three Phases of an Effective Book Marketing Campaign,” the website says. “Writing a good book and marketing it is one of the hardest things anyone can ever do,” Ogorek said. “One of my favorite stories is of one of our authors who wanted to write a book for over 18 years. He actually wrote a really good book; he did the hard work of writing a good book ... and he told me afterward his wife had started thinking about writing [her

own] book. And having watched him go through the challenging process, she told him, ‘I don’t think I’ll write a book.’” With over 15,000 Christian authors published over the past several years, and more than 300,000 books in print over that same timespan, the substantial selection of imprint options available from Author Solutions enables hopeful writers worldwide to realize their dreams. This innovative company, with its diverse arsenal of worldwide publishing imprints, industry

partner imprints’ services to the book publishing industry and the writing public. The company’s website describes him as “an industry thought leader” who has “helped drive

a number of significant innovations in the self-publishing industry and is featured in the book, Innovation—How Innovators Think, Act and Change Our

networking opportunities and training resources in the Author Learning Center, is helping their clients along the path toward becoming published authors. Author Solutions is leveraging the advances and benefits of the selfpublishing revolution for new authors around the world. CR Lawrence Tate is a freelance writer.

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BOOK RELEASE

By Stephen Strang in trusting God before. ... I would never trade the last year for anything in the world, even though [it has had] incredible challenges, incredible hardships. ... We leaned into God like we had never leaned into Him before.”

Excerpted from Chapter 9 of Stephen Strang’s upcoming release, here’s the story of one church that stood against the government

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wenty-two miles from California’s Capitol building sits Destiny Christian Church in Rocklin, a church that for years has attracted around 2,000 attendees each week and been an encouraging place to hear the gospel and enjoy a sense of Christian community. But founding pastor Greg Fairrington says he hardly recognizes himself, because since 2020 he and 22

Destiny have been boldly standing against the governor’s COVID-19 mandates and resisting efforts to muzzle congregations in the Golden State. “In a way, [it’s been] the most exciting time in my life ... [and] ministry,” Fairrington told me in a recent podcast. “That doesn’t mean it wasn’t challenging. ... Every week, we were believing and trusting at a level [that] maybe we have never believed

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A NEW ERA So began a new era in the Fairringtons’ lives, at Destiny Church and in the broader resistance

LI G H TSTO C K

Being the church in the face of cancel culture

OPENING THE DOORS Eight weeks into the COVID-19 shutdown, Fairrington and his wife, Kathy, felt uneasy about keeping their church closed. They said to each other, “We have to open up the doors of this church; it doesn’t seem right to us,” Fairrington recalled. They did it with a certain level of anxiety and trepidation because, like many people, they listened to the media and took for granted that the official narrative about the virus was fact. “The most difficult decision was to open the doors when the whole United States said, ‘You can’t have church,’” Fairrington told me—but they felt called to do it anyway. In preparation for defying the orders, they followed all typical protocols to a tee by holding four services instead of the usual two so the congregation could spread out, disinfecting the sanctuary between services, taking people’s temperatures and having them sign waivers and make reservations. “We were way cleaner than Costco ever was,” he said with a laugh. But Fairrington calls May 31, 2020, when they reopened the doors of the church, “a very traumatic day,” because they were doing it essentially alone and with lingering uncertainty about what would happen. That morning, Fairrington stood on the platform for the first time since the church doors had been shut 11 weeks earlier and said, “Welcome home. Welcome to the house of God. Let’s worship God.” “The place just erupted,” he told me. “It was one of the highlights of my life.”


movement of churches in California. Within weeks, as excitement built, many in the area gravitated to Destiny as a beacon of hope in a difficult time. “As we got used to this thing, we became more comfortable. And more people were rallying around what we were doing, and we had to quickly expand and make changes,” Fairrington told me. “The key words were ‘flexible’ and ‘adaptable.’ We had to make changes every single week of how we were going to accommodate people, because here’s the sad truth ... we were one of the only churches open in the area.” Of course, challenges arrived right on schedule. The church gained national media attention on Yahoo, CNN and Fox News. But the local media was particularly “vicious,” Fairrington said. “The media was brutal on us,” Fairrington told me. “The Sacramento Bee ... did their best to cancel who we are; they have written, I think, 12 articles on us in a span of 10 months. And they have taken me to task.” That coverage included a negative article about the Fairringtons’ daughter, who was married on New Year’s Eve. The Sacramento Bee published an article essentially scolding the church for hosting the event, and the local CBS affiliate sent a camera crew to the church to report on the “large crowds” that attended the wedding. Destiny Church has been labeled “super-spreaders,” and Fairrington was even dubbed “the death cult pastor” by one especially hostile group—even though the church suffered no significant outbreak of the virus. The media attention led to protests. Fairrington said on two separate Sundays, a group associated with Black Lives Matter protested on the street where Destiny Church is located, blocking traffic, shouting profanity through bullhorns, chasing families up and down the streets as they came to their cars, threatening churchgoers and threatening the

Fairrington family. On one of the Sundays, Fairrington said, the protesting group decided to breach the lobby of the church while he was preaching. “We have a phenomenal safety team that created a human shield,” he told me. “I was inside and didn’t even know this was going on.” STANDING ALONE Like Rob McCoy in Thousand Oaks, whom Fairrington did not know at the time, Fairrington found himself isolated from other pastors because of his decision to defy the governor’s stay-at-home orders. In anticipation of opening on May 31, Fairrington made phone calls to many pastors in his area, but not one would reopen with Destiny. “Other pastors would not take a stand, [and] the strong people of their churches came to our church,” he said. “Maybe [it was because some] were a divided house. They

THE BIRTH OF THE REMNANT CHURCH I asked Fairrington in a podcast to describe the state of the church in California, and his first response was that a “remnant church” is being birthed. “They’re bold. They’re empowered by the Spirit of God. They are willing to say things that are deemed as hate in our culture, willing to take a stand, call sin, sin, deviant lifestyles, all that,” he told me. “They know that this is the moment, and they’re willing to put it all on the line. But it’s not even close to being the majority; I would say that it’s a very small minority.” I asked him why more churches didn’t stand with him, if too many pastors are timid. “‘Timid’ is a good word,” he agreed. “Some people would say ‘cowardly,’ but I’ve never used that word.” People were afraid “of misinformation about the virus, afraid of the government and what would happen. ... I would

“The most difficult decision was to open the doors when the whole United States said, ‘You can’t have church.’” —Greg Fairrington had either a board of directors [or] staff members who were not willing to take that step.” Fairrington can point to just one other pastor in the Sacramento area—Samuel Rodriguez of New Season church—who has stood and continues to stand with him. “A whole lot of people thought we were losing our minds,” Fairrington said. “That was one of the challenges; you would think you would be supported from people within the [Christian] family, people who are believers, or pastors or church leaders that we come alongside. They may not be taking the same steps, but you would feel like, ‘Hey, I feel support there.’ But it was a pretty lonely journey.”

get phone calls, like Nicodemus meeting Jesus, where nobody really would want to identify with me. [These pastors] would call me and say, ‘Hey, can we have a private conversation?’ The lead question 100% of the time was ... ‘Can you give me a name of a good lawyer?’ Which tells me they were afraid ... they would lose their church or get sued or whatever. So ‘timid’ is a kind word.” Fairrington is certainly one of those who has undergone a profound transformation. After opening, he boldly confronted state leaders from his pulpit week after week. How did the governor and other civic leaders respond? With near silence. Fairrington said he received just one threat from a government official,

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BOOK RELEASE who no longer is employed by the government. Indeed, Fairrington has tried repeatedly to meet with the governor and other leaders, but to no avail. “Our governor ... would not even acknowledge the faith community,” he told me. “We continue to ask, ‘We would love to meet with you.’ Nothing, zero, no response, not even acknowledgment of our existence.” There has been similar distance among numerous pastors in this religion-hostile state. Recently, Fairrington invited every pastor in the Sacramento region to join him at the state Capitol for a short press conference pertaining to a particularly disastrous bill concerning churches that was before the state legislature. Just five other pastors showed up, and nobody from the area’s larger churches, aside from Destiny Church. “There’s no unity,” Fairrington said to me. “I don’t know how it is in other places, [but] there’s no unity in the state of California with churches. Because we have people who have bought into the whole woke, CRT

CONTINUED hunger for teaching about prayer— and civic engagement. “Our Wednesday-night service ... has exploded,” he told me, adding that it sometimes draws two or three thousand people. “We felt the need to produce a civics class, and we had 800 people show up ... in person and a thousand people online.” Destiny welcomed state Sen. Shannon Grove to speak on a Sunday morning, and Fairrington said state assemblyman Kevin Kiley is a close friend and partner with the church in terms of supporting or opposing key legislation. “We have a great relationship with them,” Fairrington said of Grove and Kiley, adding that Kiley “has kept us as a church aware of what’s going on. And we can call Kevin at any time.” Fairrington also met and began teaming up with Rob McCoy, who is 400 miles south of Sacramento, and other freedom-championing pastors. “[There are] probably 30 of us who text each other on the same text thread,” Fairrington said. “[It’s] tremendous because we’re all seeing it

“We had to make changes every single week of how we were going to accommodate people, because here’s the sad truth ... we were one of the only churches open in the area.” —Greg Fairrington [critical race theory], Black Lives Matter ... and it’s not good. There’s no unity here. Brothers are against brothers right now.” PRAYER REVIVAL IN AN OPEN CHURCH Within months of Destiny Church in Rocklin reopening to hold services, a full-blown prayer movement broke out, Fairrington told me, and church attendance swelled to 5,000 people— double what it was less than a year earlier. Even more encouraging is the 24

the same way. [There’s] tremendous support there.” Destiny also started an initiative called Placer County Freedom to provide financial help to small businesses who were struggling because of California’s severe response to COVID-19. “We have created partnerships in this community,” he told me. “We have each other’s back.” Unfortunately, many churches around the nation seem to want to move backward rather than forward as things open back up. The recent

C H R I ST IAN R ETA I LI N G / / /Summer 2 0 2 1

IF YOU LIKED THE ARTICLE, YOU’LL LOVE THE BOOK Fight back against cancel culture in the book Charisma founder Stephen Strang says is his most important yet. Also look for the podcast God and Cancel Culture on the Charisma Podcast Network.

Supreme Court decision blocking several states’ rigid COVID-19 restrictions on churches has given many cover to resume doing what they did before. Fairrington said his greatest fear in this moment is that the majority of churches in California are raising a banner that says, “We’re getting back to normal.” He added: “Because of the Supreme Court ruling ... churches are now celebrating. ... They’re actually doing a victory lap because the government told them it was OK [to return to church], not God. ... That just sends shockwaves up and down my spine.” I could feel his intensity as he continued. “God forbid that we ever go back to normal!” Fairrington emphasized. “We can’t go back to normal. Look what normal got us: the easy, fun church; church growth strategy; the spiritual amusement park that we all kind of bought into in the ’90s and 2000s. ... It got us a weak church. COVID showed the weak underbelly of the church, not only in California but in our nation. And I pray to God we never go back to normal.” Rather, he and many others want churches to be newly passionate about righteousness and the kingdom, willing to take bold risks to protect people and communities from government censorship and overreach. For more information about God and Cancel Culture, check out stevestrangbooks.com. CR Stephen Strang is founding editor of Charisma magazine and host of the Strang Report on the Charisma Podcast Network. His new book, God and Cancel Culture, releases Sept. 7.


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978-1-6642-2570-1 | Paperback | $22.95

“I Am with You Always” tells readers the true story of Perla, an ordinary woman who had a supernatural encounter with Jesus. She tells about her encounter with God and His messages of love for you.

Set in the mid-twentieth century, this novel follows a young woman dealing with challenges to her faith when her family moves from Arizona to California. Read on to see how she deals with her crisis of faith and unnerving move.

The Making Of Sir Vant

God, Why Am I Different?

Temple Russell Christiansen

Kathy Wines

Palmer, AK

Wilmington, NC

978-1-6642-2779-8 | Paperback | $16.95

978-1-6642-1851-2 | Paperback | $27.95

The Making of Sir Vant invites you to snuggle up with your little ones to explore, in a medieval setting, the character expanding experiences of a son of the King, becoming a knight—a boy, becoming a man.

This book helps young individuals understand the incredible power of God’s Creation and how it connects with everyone. Supported by Biblical scripture, the book helps young individuals realize that God created everyone differently because He loves all of us.

My Walks with Remi

Discovering Amazing Animal Babies

Devotions Inspired by Nature to Strengthen Your Faith Journey Cindy J. Anderson

Santa Barbara, CA 978-1-6642-1577-1 | Paperback | $18.99

My Walks with Remi is a book of devotions illustrated with stunning color images of nature taken during Cindy J. Anderson’s walks in California with her handsome and spirited Portuguese Water Dog, Remi.

Available now from Ingram

Vicki Lipe Galesburg, IL 978-1-6642-2978-5 | Paperback | $9.95

This book, through haiku poetry, introduces children to the world of baby animals. The colorful illustrations highlight various aspects of the poetry, which features rich imagery and other creative literary devices. Also embedded, wherever possible, are interesting factoids.


55 Reflections of a Searching Skeptic Explore the Faith Journey of a Poetic Bipolar Believer

Rich Melcher In this heartfelt, humorous collection of poetry and prose, Rich Melcher reflects on his journey to know God while managing bipolar I disorder. Through intimate vignettes and introspective musings, Melcher candidly shares how mental illness has shaped his perspective and explores how faith has provided healing and comfort through the highs and lows. Melcher draws from his work as a peer counselor to guide readers in their own walks, providing strategies for positive living and soul-nourishing scriptural insights. Full of enrichment and encouragement, 55 Reflections of a Searching Skeptic is an empathetic companion to those navigating their own spiritual journeys.

978-1-7283-1236-1 Hardback | $38.95 978-1-7283-1234-7 Paperback | $29.95 978-1-7283-1235-4 Ebook | $3.99 978-1-7283-4545-1 Audiobook | $9.99 Real Authors, Real Impact

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AWARDS professionals, authors and publishers. The webcast featured many industry honors and milestones, including the presentation of the Pinnacle Award to bestselling author Max Lucado. Congratulations to the following winners of the 2021 Christian Book Awards:

The awards included 14 winners in 12 categories

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n a live webcast on May 6, the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association announced the 14 winners of the 2021 Christian Book Awards in 12 categories. Winners include a tie in the Audio category and a double win for Faith & Culture and CHRISTIAN BOOK OF THE YEAR®. Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation by Latasha Morrison was named the 2021 CHRISTIAN BOOK OF THE YEAR® while also winning in the Faith & Culture category. Published b y Wat e r B r o o k , this is Morrison’s first book—calling Christians to move toward a deeper understanding of racial reconciliation in the midst of a divisive culture. 28

Published in 2019, Be the Bridge became a New York Times bestseller, an ECPA bestseller and winner of Christianity Today’s Book Award. “Congratulations to all the winning authors and their publishers for producing these outstanding titles,” said ECPA president Stan Jantz. “In a year of uncertainty and turmoil, readers turned in record numbers to Christian books, like Latasha Morrison’s Be the Bridge, that offer practical pathways for healing and a true framework for hope.” This year’s announcements were made— for the second time via live webcast—to an audience of more than 400 industry

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AUDIO – TIE Title: Chasing Vines Author: written and narrated by Beth Moore Produced: by Lisa Smith/ Oasis Audio P u b l i s h e r : Tyndale House Publishers, 9781640913714 Audience: women, girls, all believers who know Jesus Title: Suffer Strong Author: written and narrated by Katherine and Jay Wolf Produced: by Gabe Wicks, HarperCollins Christian Publisher: Zondervan, 97803103581 Audience: couples, individuals and those interested in the Wolf ’s story BIBLES Title: NIV Study Bible Fully Revised Edition Publisher: Z o n d e r v a n , 9780310448945. Over 125 topical articles, 16 pages of fullcolor maps and the

E V A N G E L I C A L C H R I S T I A N P U B L I S H E R S A S S O C I AT I O N

ECPA announces winners of 2021 Christian Book Awards

2021 CHRISTIAN BOOK OF THE YEAR® Title: Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation Author: Latasha Morrison Publisher: Wa t e r B r o o k , 9780525652885, New York Times and ECPA bestseller Audience: women of color, white women serving as ambassadors of racial reconciliation and restoration


NIV Concordance Audience: adults, students who desire a study text BIBLE REFERENCE WORKS Title: The New Testament in Its World: An Introduction to the History, Literature and Theology of the First Christians Author: N.T. Wright and Michael Bird Publisher: Zondervan Academic and SPCK (IVP/UK), 9780310499305 Audience: adults, students BIBLE STUDY Title: The Way Home: God’s Invitation to New Beginnings Author: Tessa Afshar P u b l i s h e r : Moody Publishers, 9780802419835 Audience: women, Bible study groups BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR Title: I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt and the Things We Think We Know Author: W. Lee Warren, M.D. Publisher: WaterBrook, 9780525653219 Audience: believers of all ages, survivors of illness or tragedy CHILDREN Title: Extraordinary Women of the Bible Author: Michelle Sloan, illustrated by Summer Macon Publisher: SPCK (IVP/UK), 9780281081233 Audience: women and girls, study groups

Understanding the Majestic Splendor of God Author: Steven J. Lawson P u b l i s h e r : Ligonier Ministries, 9781642892635 Audience: new and mature believers DEVOTION & GIFT Title: How Great Is Our God: 100 Indescribable Devotions About God and Science Author: Louie Giglio P u b l i s h e r : To m m y Nelson, 9781400215522 Audience: children ages 6-10 years FAITH & CULTURE Title: Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation Author: Latasha Morrison Publisher: WaterBrook, 9780525652885, New York Times and ECPA bestseller Audience: women of color, white women serving as ambassadors of racial reconciliation and restoration

MINISTRY RESOURCES Title: Lead: 12 Gospel Principles for Leadership in the Church Author: Paul David Tripp Publisher: Crossway, 9781433567636 Audience: pastors, ministry leaders, Christian leaders in or outside the church NEW AUTHOR Title: Laughing Through the Ugly Cry ... and Finding Unstoppable Joy Author:Dawn Barton P u b l i s h e r : Thomas Nelson Gift, 9781400217762 Audience: women of all ages, book clubs, girls’ night groups YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE Title: Praying Girls Devotional A u t h o r : Sheila Walsh P u b l i s h e r : Baker Books/ Baker Publishing Audience: strong, brave girls ages 11-14. CR

In 2021, ECPA presented bestselling author Max Lucado with the Pinnacle Award for the outstanding contribution of his writing. His books have sold more than 130 million copies, are distributed in 80 countries and translated into 45 languages. “It is such an honor for ECPA to present the Pinnacle Award to Max Lucado,” said ECPA president Stan Jantz.

CHRISTIAN LIVING Title: Show Me Your Glory: S u m m e r 2 0 2 1 / / / CH R I S T I A N R E TA I LI N G

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MARKETING

Marketing in the new era

Leverage your online presence to drive foot traffic to your store

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he year 2021 is ushering in a new era of living and doing business. This pandemic season has wreaked havoc on lives and small businesses as the world came to a standstill for months without knowing when it would be safe to return to business as usual. However, online retail is one business area that has soared during this time. Amazon is the chief benefactor, with profits increasing 220%, according to The New York Times. Other direct-toconsumer brands have seen significant growth in sales as well, including my own DTC brand, Janelle Beauty. So how are you to compete if you are a traditional brick-and-mortar store selling goods consumers can find on Amazon or the manufacturer’s online store? Do you abandon all hope? Absolutely not. The proverb “Necessity is the mother of invention” applies here, and right now, the necessity of the survival of the traditional retail market is birthing 30

innovative ways to reach and retain the prize of the repeat retail customer. Before we go further, let’s embrace the inevitable—online shopping. Let’s face it: this form of reaching consumers is here to stay, and you have likely ordered something online. Switch your mindset to consider online shopping an advantage to brick-andmortar stores, not a threat. If you don’t already have an online presence, now is the time to get your business online. Make it an additional sales channel that adds value to your customer’s shopping experience. As you position yourself as a viable alternative to Amazon with your customer base, make it your key focus to add value to your customers. Convenience becomes an added value when set against a 24- to 48-hour wait for an item purchased online to arrive. Make it your goal to let your local customers know they can visit your store and get

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the items they need while building a relationship with your staff. Think: order online, pickup in store. To help you with your strategy, here are nine initiatives small businesses can deploy to not only stay afloat but build significant value for customers. 1. Google Shopping. Google Shopping is a local retailer’s best friend. Have you ever searched for something online and wondered if there was a local option to get the item? Here, you have the opportunity to be that local option. Make sure you list with Google Directory and Google Shopping for that one-two punch. 2. Yelp. List your business with Yelp—and don’t forget to manage your reviews. There are many free features to choose from when creating and updating your Yelp page. The typical listing has basic business information, but you’ll want to avail yourself of all Yelp offers. Make sure to fill out the Specialties section that explains in detail your store’s offerings. This detail will also aid in search engine optimization. As Yelp puts it, “having this section filled out as much as possible can take a potential customer from discovery mode to spending.” And make it a priority to respond to negative reviews, which can be a game changer in driving traffic to your store. 3. Optimize your site. This is the single greatest thing you can do to drive traffic to your store, free of charge. Most shoppers just enter keywords to search for products. Wouldn’t it be awesome if your store showed up at the top of that list? With SEO, you can drive your site’s ranking higher in search results, leading to higher discovery rates for your store. There are also many digital agencies with expertise to take your SEO to higher levels. 4. The customer journey. As you think about reaching your customers online and bringing them into your store, think about the thought process that may lead a customer to your products or services. Creating a customer persona will help you better understand your customers and the journey they

U N S P LAS H

By Anika Pettiford


NEW FEATURED TITLES Seeds of Destruction

Enlighten Our Hearts

978-1-9736-0148-7 | Paperback | $38.95

978-1-9736-9632-2 | Paperback | $19.95

Mankind has borne the seeds of destruction within himself since Adam, and our Country, which once stood for peace and freedom, has now become like a war zone. Therefore, it’s time to look up and prepare to meet the Lord.

Lois White’s inspirational book links the words of Jesus, hymn selections, and His promises that reflect His attributes. Use each topic for devotions or as a guide to come into His presence and experience renewal in your faith.

Hurricane Ada and the Winds of Change

A Bible Journey (And Beyond)

Markeith and Irma Porter San Diego, CA

Elnora Dean Salem, OR

978-1-6642-1743-0 | Paperback | $9.95

978-1-6642-1201-5 | Paperback | $22.95

Learn about Adah’s coming of age experience in a man’s world during the 1800’s. She is brave, energetic and always trying to please her father which she has much disagreement.

Discover who Abraham saw on his journey from Us to the land of Canaan. Biblical stories take on new life in this enjoyable and informational book. It is the perfect blend of the Bible and history.

The Gospel According to Esther

Who Is God?

The Life & Adventures of a Military Family in Our Travels of the World Elizabeth Abbott Green Daphne, AL

A Daily Devotional Denise A. Isaacs Salisbury, MD

978-1-9736-5172-7 | Paperback | $24.95

Denise A. Isaacs’ yearlong devotional The Gospel According to Esther explores the book of Esther and shows how the characters and events in this story parallel the entire biblical story of humankind and the gospel.

Available now from Ingram

Experiencing Hope Through God’s Presence And Promises Lois White Mooresville, NC

Leading Children to God by Asking Questions Jane Reed Greenville, SC 978-1-6642-1183-4 | Paperback | $13.95

This book nurtures children’s curiosity through questions. It is designed with continuously deeper levels of growth by teaching the child to learn by asking questions, share conversations with the reader and eventually develop the ability to speak his own beliefs!


MARKETING CONTINUED

your personas—may already tune in to their advice and reviews. You can also seek partnerships with other companies in your area. One such partnership can be found with big-box retailer Staples, which has a community business directory that provides visibility and resources for your small business. You get: • Visibility to Staples’ extensive customer base. • Potential to be featured in in-store and regular community emails. • Improved online discoverability, as your listing will be linked from staplesconnect.com. 7. Stay active on social media. Now is the time to launch your social media

“With SEO, you can drive your site’s ranking higher in search results, leading to higher discovery rates for your store.” and shoutouts. Remember to give an incentive to visit your store. 6. Collaborate with influencers and companies. You can’t overstate the power of an engaged influencer. Seek out those who can impact your bottom line. They may not be related to your industry, but your customers, based on their interests—which you defined in 32

presence—if your business has not already done so. Growing a following can be difficult, but if you utilize some of the steps above it will be a much more effective. 8. Build your email strategy. With the acquisition cost per customer going up on pay-per-click platforms, it makes sense to have an email strategy

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to reach your customer base in the least expensive manner. It costs a lot to acquire a customer, so you want to extend that customer’s lifetime value. Email newsletters are the fastest and most cost-effective way to promote to your customer base. Think of innovative ways to grow your email list (a loyalty program is a great option) and receive the reward of easy access to your customers. 9. Loyalty Program. Speaking of rewards, how many times do we make purchase decisions based on the redemption option of rewards? Jump into the world of points and rewards to drive customer behavior toward loyalty to your store and offerings. Couple this with great customer service, and you have a recipe for repeat customers—the cornerstone of retail success. The goal of these steps is to leverage your online presence to drive foot traffic to your store and have an omni-channel approach to your marketing efforts. Embrace the key traits of consistency and perseverance in this new era of retail shopping. CR Anika Pettiford is an entrepreneur with a diverse background across several industries. She founded Janelle Beauty in 2005 as an indie beauty company for women of color with the slogan “only pure goodness,” offering a wide range of products for the discerning needs of today’s woman.

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take from discovery to purchase. Recognizing this persona is critical in identifying key words to target in your search for new customers. In a competitive market, ranking high on a search engine result may seem elusive. However, you can use pay-per-click campaigns to generate results based on specific keywords. Let’s take a deeper look at audience personas. Identify two to three key audiences and create a persona around each. From there, you can determine what type of messaging resonates with each persona. Audience demographics play a key role in identifying the strategy that reaches your targets. Gender and age are two quick demographics that can greatly alter the effectiveness of your ads. 5. Community events. To be visible in your community, you need to go where your community is. Simple, right? While we assume everyone spends time online, we should also know they are excited to get back to real-life activities outside the home. Here’s the new normal in order of occurrence: • The event and its features are announced online. • The event happens. • The experience is posted online to share with friends and family. Make sure your community event sponsorships include online mentions


NEW FEATURED TITLES Be with Jesus, Be like Jesus, Be for Jesus

A Path to Christian Maturity and the Next Great Awakening Doug Tweed Kingsport, TN 978-1-6642-1887-1 | Paperback | $11.95

I Met God and Also Satan The Out-of-Body Experience That Dramatically Changed My Life Glenn Walling Mesa, AZ

978-1-6642-0745-5 | Paperback | $11.95

Insightful and biblically rooted, Be with Jesus, Be like Jesus, Be for Jesus examines biblical wisdom and the history of the church, as well as the importance of agape love, in preparation for the next Great Awakening.

In I Met God and Also Satan, Walling shares the details of this other worldly experience, a surprising venture outside of the boundaries of the physical universe. He tells the story of how he encountered the most powerful, unearthly principalities.

A Primer for Preaching from the Pentateuch

What in Heaven and on Earth is Jesus Doing?

978-1-6642-1786-7 | Paperback | $13.95

978-1-9736-1374-9 | Paperback | $53.95

A Primer for Preaching from the Pentateuch is a resource designed for preachers and teachers to guide them in developing and building sermons from an all too often overlooked part of Scripture.

Just what does Jesus really want out of you? James Mann lays out Christ’s true intentions and outlines the warnings in Revelations to help you understand the most difficult verses.

Holy Spirit–Inspired Poetry

Thoughts to Share

Carol J. Allen Houston, TX

Kaki Burns (A Child of the King) Lake Butler, FL

978-1-6642-1736-2 | Paperback | $19.95

978-1-9736-1363-3 | Paperback | $11.95

Containing poems written to accompany the weekly sermons at her church, Carol J. Allen wrote this book for Christians, soonto-be Christians and encouraging people to become Christians.

Introspective and inspiring poems encourage spiritual seekers to look toward God for guidance, love, and eternal salvation in Thoughts to Share.

Genesis–Deuteronomy Jeffrey D. Burns Mount Pleasant, SC

Available now from Ingram

Embracing Jesus as Savior and Lord James Mann Elkhorn, WI


I N D U STRY

Janelle Beauty

Serving the D-T-C market with faith and wisdom

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nika Pettiford is an entrepreneur with a diverse background across several industries. She founded Janelle Beauty in 2005 for women of color. Janelle Beauty offers a wide range of products for today’s woman. Christian Retailing visited with Pettiford for her insights on faith and work. What is Janelle Beauty? Janelle Beauty is a direct-to-consumer beauty brand that utilizes content and a community ecosystem to provide an immersive shopping experience. The beauty products are targeted to women of color in the global marketplace.

Where does your faith reinforce the way you build and operate your company? Faith is our cornerstone. We have scaled to a multi million-dollar valuation without outside investment due to our can-do mindset grounded in our faith. We started with few resources and a mustard seed level of faith. We continue to increase our faith and trust in God as we grow. How would you describe your faith journey and testimony? I was saved at the age of 8. I grew up in the church but grew apart from the Lord during my teenage years. In my late 20s, I powerfully reconnected with the Lord when I lived in Arizona. Later I earned a master’s in theological studies in seminary to know more about Him, and I have been passionately pursuing His presence since then. How has Janelle Beauty handled this pandemic season since last year? We have had tremendous challenges during the pandemic season with major disruptions to our supply chain. We were able to pivot and adapt to these challenges even as we saw growth in our sales. 34

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Anika Pettiford

“The Christian business outlook is the same as it always was— trusting God to bring the increase.” What is your outlook as the economy emerges from the pandemic season? The Christian business outlook is the same as it always was—trusting God to bring the increase. We need to do our part, and we stand on His Word. There are many precedents in Scripture for how believers survive but also thrive in times of famine. It may get difficult, but we have hope. We have a God who hears and sees. He makes a way before we are aware we need a way out. How is the way you serve your customers an expression of your faith? We strive always to deliver an optimal customer service experience. We believe this is not just best practice but an expression of our faith. Janelle Beauty recently opened a collaboration with Women of Excellence Inc., a nonprofit meeting the physical needs of women and girls by providing tools for spiritual nourishment and growth. Janelle Beauty is launching a Women of Excellence body care line with 10% of gross profit going to support Women of Excellence. CR

ANIKA PETTIFORD

What drove you to launch your own company in this industry? The company was born out of the need for wholesome and healthy beauty products following a health crisis. Today Janelle Beauty is expanding into new international markets. My background is in technology, so the beauty industry was not initially part of my career goals. Prior to founding Janelle Beauty, I worked at IBM Global Services, where I consulted with Fortune 500 companies on technology development. I led major projects for clients including Staples, Costco, the Museum of Modern Art and the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. The Sydney Olympics hosted the highest trafficked website and online store ever. I also completed post-graduate studies at MIT and Harvard to grow Janelle Beauty.


Real Authors, Real Impact


B O O KSTO R E

By Tiffany Benson

Obeying God, one day at a time

New Covenant Christian Bookstore remains open to serve its customers in multiple ways

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estled in a strip mall in Scottsdale, Arizona, is a storefront with a battered sign declaring “Jesus is Lord.” Prayer shawls and gold lampstands let visitors know they’re in the right place. Bryan Spletstoser, owner New Covenant Christian Bookstore, reclines on a blue couch.

What led you to ministry? I played hockey in high school. My senior year, before our first game of the season, I said a prayer and told the Lord if He would allow me to score the first goal of the season, I would serve him all my life. Guess what happened? I scored the first goal of the season, and by the time the red light came on, I forgot about the prayer—until a Sunday morning in 2007 while I was preaching, and the Lord stopped me in my tracks. I didn’t want to be in retail, especially after the shutdown [during] COVID. I was going to open up, be here for 60 days and close, clear everything out and be done. But the Lord began to work on me and said, “I’ve been in this place since 1967; what if I’m not ready to leave?” How did COVID-19 affect the business compared to other challenges? We were closed from late March to early September in 2020. The Lord used that time to aling my will with His purposes. I cleared out old inventory and shifted the focus to ministry. I added a Jewish section, shofars, menorahs and Jewish literature, all sourced from suppliers in Israel. I honestly don’t know if COVID had a huge impact on the decline in business. I think when big retailers ramped up their sales on Bibles and books by famous Christian authors—long before Family Christian, Lifeway and others closed—that was the beginning of the downfall for Christian retailers.

Where did New Covenant Christian Bookstore get its start? In the early 2000s, we started as a thrift store selling Bibles and home goods. When the storefront became available, I rented it and took over inventory from Jesus Chapel, a Christian bookstore operated by a pastor from 1967 to 2003. God is the reason New Covenant is still in business. 36

Do you have some words of encouragement for Christian retailers? Spend a lot of time on your knees, praying and asking God for wisdom and knowledge. Ask Him what He wants because there have been many bookstores that have closed because the owners ran them only as a business. God wants to be part of it, which means He wants it to be a ministry-bookstore. It’s not about the dollar—yes, we need money—but it’s about people coming in and receiving what God has for them. Open a store under God’s instruction and make it His place. Every Christian bookstore owner should want a place where the presence of God can be felt, where customers can be ministered to in times of need. The business side is second to the ministry. CR

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“It’s not about the dollar— yes, we need money—but it’s about people coming in and receiving what God has for them.”

What is the current focus, and what are your plans for the store’s future? Many people come into the store looking for one thing, and they leave healed, delivered and set free after encountering the presence of God. A lot of prophetic experiences still happen in the store. As long as God keeps bringing people in, and if we pray for them and see miracles happening, then we’ll trust Him, let Him do what He wants to do and keep the doors open. Right now it’s one day at a time, one week at a time. That’s pretty much the way it’s been. My focus is books, Bibles and shofars. People still come in who want to sit down and hold a Bible. It’s the older generations, but they still want it. I’m running the business entirely on faith, no formal business plan, relying on word of mouth, prayer and God’s will. I have one volunteer, and I’m expecting two more soon. Volunteers are the only way to do it right now.


A Baseball Career That Ended In . . . A Split Second The Life and Faith of Jim Aldredge Jerry Guibor In Jerry Guibor’s new coming of age story, A Baseball Career That Ended in a Split Second, he introduces Jim Aldredge, a phenomenal young athlete who faces many trials and tribulations throughout his life. Readers will witness Jim overcoming poverty, racism and a baseball accident that changed his path. Regardless of the obstacles, he moved forward by earning his Ph.D., which led to a successful public service and education career. Through his inspirational story, readers will learn that even though life may throw curveballs, that Jim never gave up on achieving success and the dreams he always pictured for himself. www.iuniverse.com 978-1-4917-6128-1 Paperback | $19.95 978-1-4917-6132-8 Ebook | $3.99 Real Authors, Real Impact

Vi sit us on

Fa c ebook & Tw it te r


SPIRIT-DRIVEN

By Samuel Rodriguez

Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and senior pastor of New Season Church in Sacramento, California

Leaving a spiritual legacy

This article is an excerpt of From Survive to Thrive by Samuel Rodriguez (Charisma House, 2020)

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ecent dramatic changes in our world have forced us to take a long, hard look at who we are, what we believe, how we treat each other, what we want for this world and what we want for our children and our children’s children. We’ve been reminded that an important part of thriving is preparing and developing the next generations who will come behind us. In the corporate world, succession plans are essential for making transitions from leader to leader and team member to team member as smooth, seamless and stable as possible. Large organizations, institutions and even ministries and churches know that 38

people come and go. They don’t want to rely on specific individuals or personalities to sustain growth and productivity. I know of some businesses in which every employee cultivates others within the company to replace them. The owners take the view that no one is indispensable, not even founders and CEOs, so everyone must commit to keeping the corporate mission alive no matter the changes. Fundamentally it’s a generational principle we see in Scripture, although with much more than financial profits at stake. God calls us to be good stewards of all we’re entrusted with for His purposes and not our own. The endgame for

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AN ETERNAL INHERITANCE It’s not surprising, then, that our stewardship includes our children and the younger generation following in our footsteps. Our children will inherit what we invest in our lifetimes: “A good man leaves an inheritance to His children’s children” (Prov. 13:22a, ESV). God empowers us to slay giants in order to move forward and attain the goal He has set for us. As we’ve seen, the battle belongs to the Lord, and we simply have to trust Him and seize the opportunities to thrive we’ve been given. We do this as torchbearers illuminating the future for our children and their children and all generations following us. Everything you and I do right now has a direct consequence on everyone behind us. We can set the table for them to thrive or create additional obstacles for them to overcome. Thrivers are committed to fighting giants now to clear the path for their children later. Thrivers know that God has already conquered, that Christ enables us to be more than conquerors and that the Holy Spirit empowers us to create an eternal legacy. Jesus Himself told us, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world” (John 16:33, CSB). He has defeated death once and for all, and by His glorious power we are more than conquerors with Him—we are, in fact, co-heirs with Christ in God’s kingdom. Empowered by His Spirit, we know the battles we win allow us to steward the rewards entrusted to us. God told the Israelites, “Take possession of the land and settle in it, because I have given it to you to occupy” (Num. 33:53, NLT). The land we possess—perhaps literally, but more importantly, spiritually—will be

CHARISMA HOUSE

thrivers is to leave a righteous legacy for future generations.


inherited by our children. They will not only reap the benefit of the battles we fight but also face the consequences of the ones we choose to avoid. Nonetheless, our children will not inherit our sins. Our children will inherit our blessings! We’re assured, “I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring” (Isa. 44:3b, KJV). God places us in our specific families for a reason. We have the ability to influence, mold and mentor our children and grandchildren unlike anyone else in their lives (Acts 16:31). They inherit our blessings: “Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his command-

this day as a time of recognizing the protection God granted His people when the angel of death descended during their captivity. We’re called to be storytellers who pass down the epic of faith from one generation to the next. “Tell your children about it, and let your children tell their children, and their children the next generation” (Joel 1:3, CSB). Through our words and deeds of redemption we create monuments to the Lord’s power and goodness. “We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’” (Josh. 4:6b, NLT). The spoils of battle, the tools of survival and the trophies of grace stand to remind us

“Everything you and I do right now has a direct consequence on everyone behind us.” ments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed” (Ps. 112:1–2b). Like the people of Israel we can rest in the knowledge that our children will never live in what God took us out of. The Israelites lived in bondage in Egypt until God heard their cries and answered their prayers. He liberated them from their captors, sustained them on their journey through the wilderness, and delivered them into the promised land. They no longer had to live under the oppression of the past: “But Moses told the people, ‘Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again’” (Ex. 14:13, NLT). We’re not called to forget or deny or pretend that we were never in whatever our particular Egypt may have been. A key part of our spiritual legacy is our testimony, our story of how God has delivered us and empowered us to triumph over all the giants, obstacle and oppressors in our life’s journey. Passover is celebrated to

and our descendants of how far God has brought us. They show that He has created us—and those who come after us—not merely to survive but to thrive! HOLY HUMILITY In the midst of crisis, when we experience loss and unimaginable devastation engulfs us, we have an opportunity. This is true not only in times of a pandemic but at any time in our lives. When we’re grounded involuntarily, we’re tempted to despair. But when we remain grounded in humility, we trust in the Lord. We have no pride, no hope and no resources except through Him. When we’re forced to our knees by life’s blows, we struggle to get up. When we choose to fall on our knees in prayer and worship before our mighty God, He lifts us up. Those of us committed to following Jesus always try to obey God and receive power from His Spirit, but when our usual routines and systems are turned inside out, many of us realize we are not trusting the

Lord as completely as we could. In those moments we realize our self-righteousness has become an idol. Rather than maintaining a posture of gratitude, stewardship and humility, we allow our egos to eclipse our souls. Christians are just as susceptible to pride as anyone else. The enemy knows how to adjust his strategy and play to our egos, inflating the way we see ourselves above others—and equal to God. It’s the same ploy the devil used back in the Garden of Eden when he told Eve and Adam that they would not die if they ate the forbidden fruit—they would instead be like God (Gen. 3:5). The truth, however, is that we are not God and will never be His equal. We are His creation, made in His divine image, but not His equal. We will never move from surviving to thriving unless we bow before Him as the Lord of all. God’s Word clarifies our place before our Savior: “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10–11, NIV). Whether we’re boastful in our own power, like the Philistine Goliath, or self-righteous in our assessment of others, both lead right back to human pride and away from godly humility. In order to thrive, only one source must anchor our identity, our power and our worship. THE ULTIMATE EXAMPLE When we consider the kind of humility required to thrive, Jesus set the ultimate example. He accepted what God the Father considered necessary to restore relationship with human beings: incarnational reality, Word made flesh, God in the body of a baby in a manger in Bethlehem. He who was worthy of every accolade, title, luxury and comfort went as low as He could go—no palace or golden cradle, no woven blankets and

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SPIRIT-DRIVEN fur-lined crib, no attendants to see to His every need, no heralds to raise a royal banner and announce the news. Instead, His earthly parents, a teenaged girl and an obedient carpenter, were forced to travel away from their home in order to comply with government requirements. They took shelter in a stable because there was no room in the inns. After He was born, they wrapped Jesus in cloths and laid Him in a feed trough lined with straw. Shepherds came from the nearby fields, along with foreigners bearing gifts. The only thing out of the ordinary was God’s birth announcement: A star dazzled the night sky as angels heralded the news. The circumstances surrounding His birth were only the beginning of Christ’s ultimate journey in humility. He did not come from wealth and power, from religious leaders or educated scholars. He did not command an army or lead the religious order of His day. He did not oversee an army or seek political power or cultivate celebrity. Instead Jesus waited until He was 30 years old and asked a ragtag band of scruffy fishermen and common laborers to join Him in His mission. Facing resistance from the establishment—the Roman government occupying Israel, the temple religious leaders waiting on a superhero Messiah to restore their nation to greatness, and the Jewish zealots anticipating a warrior to overthrow all oppression—Jesus refused to conform to anyone’s expectations. He turned them all upside down and repeatedly and consistently demonstrated what it meant to surrender His own will to His Father’s will. Instead of putting Himself—the only human to ever walk the earth and deserve its highest place of honor—first, He put Himself last. Jesus yielded Himself to God’s perfect purposes in ways that we must emulate in order to grow and mature in our faith. Such a surrender of self seems counterintuitive and feels 40

CH R I S T I A N R E TA I LI N G


FROM THE LEGACY FAMILY

CH R I ST IAN R E TAI LI N G

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unnatural. Everything in our society, our culture and our world tells us to compete, to compare, to fight, to win. We’re taught to put ourselves first if we want to attain what we think we need and want. We’re conditioned to make our lives the center of our universe—around which everything and everyone else is to revolve. This is not the example set by Christ on the cross. This is not how we were meant to live. This is not what obedience to God looks like. We are called to keep our egos surrendered to the power of God’s Spirit within us. We are called to put ourselves last and others first. We are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves. Consider the apostle Paul’s admonition based on his explanation of the incredible example Jesus set for us: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” (Phil. 2:3-11). Jesus not only humbled Himself to be born in a manger, raised in a household of meager means and doubted by the people He came to save. No, He maximized humility

Joy in the War empowers readers to plant themselves in God-ordained joy even in imminent dangers and disasters. GAIN A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF HOW JOY CAN BE A WEAPON TO TEAR DOWN THE ATTACKS OF THE ENEMY.

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like no one before or after Him. Christ, the only perfect and innocent man, endured the ridicule, injustice and torture of corrupt and selfish leaders. He who could have blinked and caused their death or summoned countless angels instead suffered brutality and anguish reserved only for the vilest of criminals. Jesus sacrificed everything He was entitled to receive so that you and I would not receive what we deserved. He defeated death once and for all so that we may have eternal life. He showed us how to let go of the demands of our egos and instead yield to God’s Spirit within us. We don’t have to wait until an unexpected crisis or devastating loss to worship and obey God. Even if we didn’t always respond in the faithful ways we wanted during the pandemic, we can always draw closer to Him. We can confess our pride and humble ourselves before the Lord, trusting in His healing power and cleansing love. We’re told, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14, ESV). Holy humility opens up our hearts for God to work. His Word promises, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:10). Only when we stop relying on our own power can we exercise complete trust in God. And when we exercise complete trust in God, we thrive! CR

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RETAIL

Post-COVID A deeper look

T

he Christian Retail Association became an industry leader for faith-based retailers after replacing the Association for Christian Booksellers in 2019. The Munce Group began forming CRA in 2018 with a focus on “developing new programs and other benefits for its members,” per Publishers Weekly. Under the direction of marketing consultant Bob Munce, president of the Munce Group, members experienced a mostly positive transition as CRA aimed “to bring together a community of retailers, publishers, authors, artists, manufacturers and distributors throughout the world to engage in evangelism through retail and help grow their businesses.” Frontline ministry operations united with Christian business owners, creating partnerships that will foster continued success in the retail marketplace. The Munce Group also made plans to continue hosting the Christian 44

Product Expo, “a trade show serving Christian retailers that takes place twice a year.” Despite setbacks due to the pandemic, CPE’s schedule remained in 2020 with summer and winter shows taking place in Wilmington, Delaware. CPE attracted 514 participants, a 44% decrease from 2019. Expo bright spots included fellowship (albeit socially distanced), free registration for the event and vendors who wrote nearly 700 orders in less than two days. The next CPE is set to take place Aug. 15-17, 2021, in St. Charles, Missouri; for registration information, go to cpeshow.com/cpe-fall-2021. CRA INDUSTRY UPDATE CRA published a 2020 industry update with encouraging statistics along with advice to Christian retailers to keep faith at the forefront of their businesses. CRA sent its survey to independent Christian bookstores to see

C H R I ST IAN R ETAI LI N G / / /Summer 2 0 2 1

how COVID-19 affected their families and businesses over the last year. While the pandemic caused many privately owned businesses to close permanently, ministry retailers overcame incredible obstacles to maintain a presence in their respective markets. As of January 2021, 82 retailers responded to the survey. Of that number, 15 were stores inside churches, 29 in malls, 34 in freestanding buildings, one in a nationwide chain, one at a college bookstore and two in the category “other.” Another 70 were required to shut down, 10 remained open, and two were required to shut down twice. In 2020, 54 stores were down in sales, six were flat, but 22 were up in sales, per results of the survey. Bibles remained the No. 1 selling product during the pandemic. Projections for 2021 show 13 stores will cut store hours, while 19 will not change their hours. At least five stores will decrease the number of open days, and one will increase. A total of 17 stores reported they will cut staff, two will increase, and 18 won’t make any staff changes. Post-pandemic customer service plans include 27 stores continuing curbside pickup, nine stores will continue shipping to homes and 16 stores will continue website merchandise sales. Along with traditional inventory, such as puzzles, games and children’s products, all but three stores will continue selling masks and hand sanitizers. CRA provided three encouraging tips for Christian retailers during this season of restoration: 1. Build community: Network with likeminded professionals in faith-based retail industries. 2. Save money: Utilize discount programs on shipping, office supplies and other store needs. 3. Stay up to date and supported: Connect with a mentor, attend training workshops, join CRA and learn to promote the business side of your ministry. For more information on CRA, visit christianretailassociation.org. For more information on CPE, visit cpeshow.com/what-is-cpe.

U N S P LAS H

By Tiffany Benson


THE PARABLE GROUP The Parable Group released a report aimed at giving “insights into various market dynamics that can direct retail strategies, fine-tune inventories, provide innovative solutions and to safeguard and grow Christian retail businesses for the long term.” The report shows survey results, data collected from Christian bookstores and strategies to help retailers to succeed in 2021. “The best kind of retailing is inspired by love for the product and genuine love for a local customer, Greg Squires, president of The Parable Group, wrote in the introduction to the report. “Resilient Christian retailers who continue to press forward with 2020 in the rearview mirror are beacons of light in local communities,” he added. “The retail challenges are real. But there is a path

toward successful local retailing.” The Parable Group’s POS data network, ParableConnect, received data from 230 U.S. Christian bookstores showing how sales trends, customer retention and new growth were

flowing. Digital marketing and online retail channel sales helped 81% of retailers promote and offer phone orders, completing some transactions with curbside pickup. One retailer launched a new website allowing

“The best kind of retailing is inspired by love for the product and genuine love for a local customer.” —Greg Squires, president, The Parable Group affected during the pandemic. Results showed 75% of stores were fully closed to in-store customers for over a month in 2020. Nearly 25% were shuttered for over 10 weeks. Retailers made needed adaptations as store closings necessitated innovative strategies to keep inventory

ordering requests for products directly in-store and saw a 22% increase by the end of 2020. Last year’s category market share shows books (34% by unit) and Bibles (23% by dollars) continue brisk sales followed by gifts and greeting cards. At 8%, church supplies had the largest

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RETAIL CONTINUED increase in proportion of sales. Not surprisingly, homeschool curriculum sales increased 68% from 2019–2020. Samestore sales were up 0.9% the second half of the year. In January 2021, The Parable Group gathered responses from 62 Christian bookstores summarizing firsthand challenges and an overall outlook for future retailing. When asked how they felt about the future, 87% of retailers report a “healthy, strong future” or “steady, will carry on.” Another 87% “strongly agreed” or “agreed” when asked if they were surprised by customer support during disruptive times. “Cash management and margins” was a high concern for more than half of retailers. Top priorities for 2021 show 96% will assess and optimize inventory. About 83% will increase marketing to new and existing customers via social media and digital ads. Around 50% said

they will improve on serving the spiritual needs of local communities beyond their retail store. Adapting new knowledge to current and changing situations and having optimism for the future can help retailers. But they affirm that continuing to trust and have faith in God is most important during challenging times. The following points can help Christian retailers focus on improving store health and growth in 2021: • Brick-and-mortar retailers must adapt their business to include an online presence. • Use videos to create a more personable interaction with customers in the virtual world. • Create a game plan for using email marketing; this is still one of the most effective tools for reaching local and online customers. • Use social media in creative ways

A Christian Fantasy Tale of Creation

A True Story of Faith and Answered Prayers

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Felicita “Terry” Robinson

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Real Authors, Real Impact

46

Visit us on Facebook & Twitter

C H R I ST IAN R ETAI LI N G / / /Summer 2 0 2 1

Tiffany Benson is a freelance writer for Charisma Media. When she’s not catching up on politics or watching documentaries, she enjoys journaling, fiction and contributing to her blog: bigviewsmallwindow.com.

THE KING IS MY FATHER

Seven Letters to Heaven

In her inspiring testimony Seven Letters to Heaven, Felicita “Terry” Robinson takes readers on a journey of faith as she finds herself at a spiritual crossroads and must uproot herself and her family from their native home. Throughout the book, Robinson searches for answers through letters of prayer and poems and reminds readers that God is always there for guidance.

(such an in-store virtual tour). • Leverage your advantage of being local. • Embrace data and technology; form partnerships with trusted technical support teams who will understand your business and offer a variety of options to meet store needs. • Attract and retain customers. After incorporating pandemic safety guidelines and implementing new marketing strategies, it’s good to remember serving and ministry are still the main priority. For more information on T he Parable Group, visit parablegroup.com. CR

An engaging children’s tale based on God’s fundamental principles which takes young readers on a journey through faith and devotion. During the earthly life of Christian children, there will be attempts to take them from their loving God through lies used to deceive them. This story illustrates how the power of God’s truth keeps His children victorious from these lies.

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Break the Cycle

God is here to heal the Family

I Was the Mistress Before I Was the Wife; Now I’m the Ex-Wife, Too

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Meet Kayleigh, a woman who inadvertently falls for a married man. His lies soon become exposed, leaving her heartbroken and lost. After leaving a man who couldn’t love, she begins a journey of self-discovery and recovery as she focuses on her relationship with God. A compelling tale of love and faith, readers will discover powerful lessons throughout Break the Cycle.

With an emphasis on faith and the bonds that defi ne us, “God Is Here to Heal The Family” by O.L. Harrison guides readers on a spiritual journey through the story of a mother raising her children while struggling with mental illness. Poignant and incredibly compelling, this unforgettable memoir illustrates the impact of godly values while undergoing life’s greatest hardships.

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Interactive Christianity Connecting the Dots: The interactions of Christ followers that result in making disciples.

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Jeff Olson first spoke with God and Noel when he was a small child and as an adult traveled around the world when he was a U.S. Marine. These experiences along with God’s guidance, inspired Olson’s thrilling novel, which sends readers on a religious journey depicting how his search for truth in God, Allah, and Jesus, ultimately set him free.

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Interactive Christianity by John W. Mowat is designed to help Christians fulfill their calling as ambassadors of Christ by outlining how believers engage in ministry and guiding pastors in supporting congregations in this mission. Through in-depth examination of Jesus’ Teachings, Mowat prepares readers to embrace Jesus as He lives still as the Body of Christ reconciling this world to Himself.

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By Tiffany Benson

B O O KSTO R E

Post-COVID insights

MVMNT Christian Stores

“It’s more important to keep inventory turning over than trying to make the most profit.”

What was it like opening the store and then getting hit with COVID restrictions? When Lifeway was closing, I was trying to get this store set up at the same time, so it was a struggle. Opening a business was a whole new thing I’d never done. It was overwhelming for a little bit. And I got a lot of people saying, “You can’t do that. That’s not wise. A Christian bookstore in this culture? You’re going to fail.” Even other store owners were telling me, “Just wait and save your money.” But I felt like God was telling me to do 48

it now. And I can see how He was lining everything up perfectly. We’ve been open a little over a year and a half. With COVID, last March through May was rough because it was mostly online and pick-up orders since we weren’t allowed to have anybody in the store. Our biggest hit was VBS since it was all canceled. It’s still affecting us because churches can’t get a lot of people to come. Group Bible studies were a huge seller for us but have slowed down. What lessons have you learned as a Christian retailer? At first, I was thinking I needed to get every inch of a dollar out of each product. I didn’t want to do big sales. I discovered it was better to turn more inventory than getting a big profit. So, I discounted everything to 20% to 30% off, and everything started moving. I’m selling more now, and I’m competing with online Christian booksellers because my prices are not far from theirs. It was a good lesson—it’s more important to keep inventory turning over than trying to make the most profit. I’ve been a member of the Christian Retailers Association since we opened, and I joined the Munce Marketing Group. They’ve been good with helping me get my own catalog and offering special deals on products. What career path led you to open a Christian bookstore? I first worked at Berean Christian Stores. I started off as a part-time employee and moved up every year. I got transferred to the Mesa, Arizona, store and eventually became manager. When Berean filed for bankruptcy, I got a call to work for Family Christian. I was given the worst store in the district, and within a year it was No. 3. One day the new CEO of Berean walked in and offered me a district manager job. I did that for a year, and then out of the blue, they sold to Lifeway. What was the environment like inside Christian retailers? It was an interesting experience when Lifeway took over. With Berean, you just ran the store, didn’t have very much oversight, but Lifeway was very structured. They had rules, and you had to sign a contract since you were representing Lifeway. Lifeway also wanted church business. They made their own curricula, VBS and women’s studies products. They were a good company and really took care of their employees. I was shocked when Lifeway announced they were closing. Why did you choose Christian retail as opposed to pastoring? This is like a ministry. We get people all the time who won’t go near a church, but they’ll come in here and ask questions. One guy asked me, “Why do you believe in Jesus?” So I gave him my testimony and some Scriptures. He said, “OK,” and walked out. We have a prayer box so people can submit prayer requests that we pray over each week. I’m a planter. I plant the seed, and it’s God’s job to harvest it. So if I can just plant that seed, that’s why God put us here. I did this literally trusting God. I would encourage others. Don’t listen to naysayers because there’s a lot of them out there. Listen to God and pray because God will open doors if you listen to Him. CR

C H R I ST IAN R ETAI LI N G / / /Summer 2 0 2 1

M V M N T C H R I ST I A N STO R E

M

VMNT Christian Stores is everything customers expect from a Christian retailer. Opened in November 2019, the bookstore in Gilbert, Arizona, offers keepsakes, Bibles, journals and faith-based literature. Store owner Sam Medar has been in the industry for over two decades. Last year, Christian Retailing took a look at the then-new store. In the ongoing aftermath of COVID, Christian Retailing returned to discover how God is using this store.


From the host of the worldwide phenomenon,

THE JIM BAKKER SHOW

From author and Book of Revelation expert JIM BAKKER, readers will be captivated by Jim’s unfolding of the adversities he faced in 2020 with spiritual attacks against his ministry and his life-changing stroke. Through these struggles Bakker encourages audiences that no matter what they are facing, they can make it.

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17324

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TOPLINE TALK

By Dr. Steve Greene

Showing Up

Follow this principle to increase your kingdom success

50

show up with answers to their problems. Sizzle words in advertising fail for lack of contextual connection to felt needs. We must bridge the reader’s problem to the solution found in the book. The easiest way to reach a specific audience is through your in-house email list. It’s also the lowest cost. If you send the right message to the right audience, email campaigns produce results. Next, expand your email campaign and produce a monthly newsletter. Send one-page updates to your newsletter every week. Newsletters may sound like an oldschool strategy to you. A wise retailer understands the wisdom in using old strategies when they work. If you have a good mailing list and a personal style, you’ll discover why many topline

PODCAST Listen to Spirit-led interviews, commentary and takeaways on how to come up higher and walk in God’s abundance. Download at CPNSHOWS.COM

address specific needs. Your newsletter is not a catalog. Make it feel like a letter from a friend about the books they like. • Keep branding consistent for your store(s.) Show photos of your store, inside and out, and pictures of the featured books. If you do online sales— and you should—include instructions and links to buy online. • Include a story or two about customers and build community. Include stories about plans for future events and outcomes (with photos) for recent ones. Remember, your audience consists of readers. Make your

“The only audience that matters to you is the audience who reads Christian books.” builders use this tool often. Follow these quick tips and reap a solid response rate if you maintain consistency. • Type your own newsletter and send it through email. Make it simple so you can produce it frequently. Content matters more than artwork. • Use a web-based newsletter service such as AWeber, MailChimp or Campaign Monitor—depending on the size of your mailing list. This helps you maintain a professional level of communication and aids in tracking opens and clicks. • Avoid sending spam and make sure your readers opt into your list and can opt out. Your newsletter service company will help you remain spam-free. • Write to felt need groups and tell them about new book arrivals that

C H R I ST IAN R ETAI LI N G / / /Summer 2 0 2 1

newsletter worth reading. • Include helpful links to author pages. When you receive press releases about authors, share the goodies. The most important thing to know about newsletters is to show up. Keep your brand in front of your customers. Don’t let them forget about you. Topline revenue increases as you increase your frequency of showing up. CR Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of media and markets at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His Charisma House book, Love Leads, shows that without love, you cannot be an effective leader. Download his Greenelines podcast at cpnshows.com.

S E A N R O B E R TS

W

oody Allen is often noted for saying, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” Readers of this column will conclude that Mr. Allen didn’t own a bookstore. Perhaps he didn’t understand the words “success” or “showing up.” Most of us stop working for success at some point in our walk with the Lord. We turn our eyes and hearts to the pursuit of kingdom significance. We seek to make an impact in our bookstores. We know we have a business to run in the marketplace that must remain sustainable. But we walk by faith in the economics of the kingdom and don’t allow circumstances to stir us. This means we must show up in our store, work hard and “having done all, stand” (see Eph. 6:13). I’ve taught one core strategy during the bulk of my career to anyone who asked me how to increase topline revenue: Show up every day and meet the needs of your customers, audience and prospects. Share your message in all media and look for low-cost alternatives to build frequency. There is no need to spend heavy to reach the right audience with frequency. Pastors and Bible teachers affirm this as the key strategy God used in reaching His audience with the greatest kingdom message of all. He showed up. Focus on reaching a small audience. A bigger audience isn’t always a better audience. Answer this one key question about your target audience: How do my customers need me to show up? The answer lies in felt needs. The only audience who matters to you is the audience who reads Christian books and buys Christian music, curriculum or giftware. (Don’t you wish every author with books on your shelves understood writing to a felt need?) Our future customers expect us to


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